Our belief in the Resurrection does not paint a picture of what heaven is like, but it does provide us with some pretty clear truths. Faith in the Resurrection is not just looking forward to the conclusion of a story that we haven’t gotten to the end of yet. Christ reveals the Resurrection to us so that our way of living in this world might be transformed. When we meditate on the Resurrection, we ought to ask ourselves, “if life will be changed at the resurrection, what is the eternal value of my current way of life?” There will be no more marriage, because there will be no more death. There will be no more computers or screens. There will be no toil or necessity in work. There will be no more education, schools, policies, diplomacy or politics. There will no longer be night-time or sleep. There will no longer be a need to explain, or prove, or convince anyone of anything. We will no longer be Americans. We will no longer be homosexual or heterosexual. If we can understand the current conditions of human life as factors that limit human life rather than as what defines it and gives it meaning, we can already begin to enjoy – through hope – the resurrection.
Virgins, persevere in what you have begun to be. Persevere in what you will be. A great reward, a glorious prize for virtue, and an excellent reward for purity are reserved for you. Do you wish to know from what misery the virtue of continence is free and what advantage it provides? “I will multiply,” said God to the woman, “your sorrows and your groans, and in sorrow you will bring forth your children, and your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall have dominion over you.” You are free from this sentence. You do not fear the sorrows of women and their groans. You have no fear about the birth of children, nor is your husband your master, but your master and head is Christ, in the likeness of and in place of the man. Your fortune and condition are in common. The voice of the Lord says, “The children of this world give birth and are born. Those who will be found worthy of that world and of the resurrection from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage. They will not die anymore, for they are equal to the angels of God since they are the children of the resurrection.” What we shall be, you already have begun to be. You already have in this world the glory of the resurrection. You pass through the world without the pollution of the world. While you remain chaste and virgins, you are equal to the angels of God.1
[The prophets] will testify that the one who is present is not the Christ but a certain rogue, a deceiver and a destroyer. He will in no way come as the Son of God in whom one must believe as Savior and as God and who came for the benefit of humankind both in his appearance long ago and in his present appearing. It speaks of “the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit.” He calls the antichrist a “beast” because of his savagery, his inhumanity and his thirst for blood. He calls the life of people a “bottomless pit,” for it is bitter and distasteful on account of sins and unstable because it is buffeted about by evil spirits. For the sinful one will not arise out of any other substance but out of our own human nature, for he will be a man “whose coming is in the activity of Satan,” as was just now said. This beast, it says, will kill the two witnesses and will cast their dead bodies unburied in the streets of Jerusalem. For in it he will rule as king of the Jews whom he will deceive, and he will come to those who assist and trust him in every thing. As the Lord said in [the Gospel of] John: “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” He calls Jerusalem “Sodom,” not in a literal sense but in a spiritual sense on account of the licentiousness and ill-repute it possessed at that time. And he calls it “Egypt” because it had enslaved and abused the servants of Christ, just as the actual Egypt did to Israel. And it was there “where also their Lord,” that is, [the Lord] of the two witnesses, “was crucified.”2
ANDREW OF CAESAREA:
Those Jews and Gentiles, who once were overpowered by the false wonders of the antichrist and who had indelibly engrafted that abominable name upon their hearts, prohibited the holy bodies from being buried, and they rejoiced because they were free from the torments that [the prophets] gave for their correction. For they did not acknowledge that “the Lord reproves him whom he loves,” and that “he scourges every son whom he receives” and “by muzzle and bridle he will pull and tug at those who are not near to him.” And God works in this way so that they might turn from necessity into the straight way from which they turned aside when they were deceived. We must make petition of the Lord and pray, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes,” and “Turn us, O God of our salvation, that you do not enter into judgment with your servant.” “When we are judged by you, our beneficent master, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world” but may rather through a few torments escape an eternal punishment.3
- THE DRESS OF VIRGINS 22. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 313). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 11.7–10. Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 163). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE, 11.9–10. Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (pp. 164–165). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.