Apocalypse. Millennium

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The verses in John’s Revelation (the Apocalypse) about the millennial reign of Christ together with the righteous are still subject to fierce debate. There are two major lines of interpretation of these verses: literal and figurative. Both (Chiliasm and Chillegorism) are very diverse and have several important distinctions. This paper is only concerned with the major differences. First of all, we will explore the exegetical views that emerged between the 1st and 5th centuries and form the basis for further interpretations.

The book also provides the analysis of Chiliasm and Chillegorism based on some written sources translated for the first time as part of this research.

Review of the 2018 edition

“Apocalypse. Millennium: Chiliasm and Chillegorism” by Valeriy Sterkh draws the reader’s attention to the question which is not fully resolved in the Eastern Christian tradition, and, one might say, has been forgotten. The book gives a detailed analysis of chapter 20 of the last book of the Bible – The Revelation of John – with a primary focus on the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth. In keeping with the existing methods of interpretation of this passage, the author differentiates between the two major views – Chiliasm and Chillegorism. The first one is based on the literal rendering of the text in question, and the second one on its figurative (allegorical) interpretation. The term “Chillegorism” is not found in the theological literature; it is the author’s invention to help systematize the concepts related to the Millennial Kingdom. The author considers Judeochiliasm to be a form of Chiliasm, classifying it, from the Christian perspective, as a heresy. Premillenarism is treated as a variant of the dogma of the Holy Fathers and the Church. According to the author, Postmillenarism and Amillenarism are forms of Chillegorism and subspecies of the patristic exegetical tradition.

Section 2 is a brief history of this debate. Section 3 explains some chronological aspects of the teaching about the Millennium. Section 4 is an introduction to the most important texts of the ancient Church writers who held to Chiliasm. It would be a good idea to include here the chiliastic texts of St. Victorinus of Petava, translated from Latin and published by N.A. Handoga. It’s also a good idea to include not only the quotes from the commentary of St. Victorinus on the Apocalypse but also quotes from his treatise “On the Creation of the World”. Another suggestion is to translate the original excerpt from “Chapters against Gaius” by Hippolytus of Rome.

Section 6a is especially interesting because it deals with the biblical texts which allow for a chiliastic interpretation. The author did an excellent job collecting relevant excerpts and interpreting them from the point of view of patristic Chiliasm, presenting the biblical eschatology in a new light. Allowing for such an interpretation, at least in theory, helps the reader to discover new dimensions in Christian eschatology. The events preceding the end of the world appear more epic and more internally coherent than described in most books on dogmatic theology. The end will come not because of the “wearing out” of the world or because it is drowned in evil, but because God’s merciful plan for the earth will come to full fruition.

The chiliastic kingdom of Christ together with the righteous after His second advent looks more like the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, sealed in the Bible. It will a temporary era in the history of the earth, a “golden age”, a preparation and transition to the full acceptance by the creation of the eternal Kingdom and logical completion of the earthly history.

The author is not a professional scholar or theologian, and his work does not claim to be scientific research. However, it contains many bold and sound arguments in defense of Chiliasm, based on purely Orthodox insights into biblical and patristic theology. The author notes and demonstrates the weaknesses of chillegorical interpretations of the Millennium in light of the inner logic of the biblical texts in question.

Chiliasm and Chillelgorism serves as an introduction to a wide range of questions related to the millennial Kingdom of Christ. It is remarkable that the author stands up for the unpopular view of the ancient chiliastic writers and attempts to explore their arguments through the lens of the Bible and, partially, theology. An important addition to this book is a compilation “Anthology of Chiliasm and Chillegorism” by Valeriy Sterkh. It lists all the primary sources and the existing commentaries on the Millennium.

Most modern theologians, unfortunately, lack creativity in their approach, yet it can help to organically incorporate the chiliastic interpretation into the context of the Byzantine intellectual tradition and to enrich orthodox eschatology by solving a number of problems related to historiosophy and cosmology.

Gregory Musokhranov, a priest

Note: In subsequent editions, the author followed the suggestion of Father Gregory and included the texts of St. Victorinus and St. Hippolytus.

Section 1. Terminology

Millennium (Lat. Mille — one thousand) — a period of one thousand years.

Millenarism or Millenarianism (Lat. millenarius – containing a thousand) is the belief in a coming, literally or figuratively, millennial fundamental transformation of society, after which all things will be changed.

Chiliasm (Greek χιλιας — one thousand) or Millennialism (Lat. mille — one thousand) — a doctrine based on the literal interpretation of the prophecy of Rev 20:1—4 about the millennial reign of Christ together with the righteous.

Chillegorism (Greek. χιλιας — one thousand; αλληγορία — allegory) — a doctrine based on the figurative interpretation of the prophecy of Rev 20:1—4 about the millennial reign of Christ together with the righteous.

Chiliasm is further subdivided into Judeochiliasm and Premillenarism.

Judeochiliasm is a chiliastic doctrine of the Messianic Kingdom which represents the Kingdom in an almost entirely carnal sense, with all sorts of sensual pleasures promised to the followers of the Messiah. As a rule, Judeochiliasm includes the idea of a full restoration of the ceremonial part of the Mosaic law in the Old Testament, that is, of Judaism.

Premillenarism or Premillennialism (Lat. mille — one thousand; “pre” means “before”) — chiliastic teaching placing the Second Coming of Christ before the millennial reign of Christ together with the righteous.

The two types of Chillegorism are Postmillenarism and Amillenarism.

Postmillenarism or Postmillennialism (Lat. mille — one thousand; “post” means “after”) — a type of Chillegorism which teaches that the Second Coming of Christ will occur after the millennial reign of the righteous; the reign here is understood as something already happening or something that will happen in the future. In Postmillenarism, the Millennium is seen as not exactly a 1000 years but as an extended period of some limited duration.

Amillenarism or Amillennialism (Lat. mille — one thousand; “a” is a negation prefix) — a type of Chillegorism which teaches that there will be no millennial reign of the righteous on earth. Amillennarists interpret the thousand years symbolically to refer either to a temporary bliss of souls in heaven before the general resurrection, or to the infinite bliss of the righteous after the general resurrection.

PS1. In modern theology, there is a tradition of using the term “Chiliasm” or “Millennialism” mainly in relation to the teachings that imply a literal interpretation of Rev 20:1—4. We will retain the same terminology here to avoid confusion. Also, a new term “Chillegorism” (i.e. “allegorical Chiliasm”) is introduced as a general concept of Postmillenarism and Amillenarism.

PS2. Some authors writing on the topic use these terms incorrectly, often confusing them with each other (especially “Postmillenarism” and “Amillenarism”). However, if the reader knows the proper meaning of these terms, such errors are fairly easy to spot. So, in the citations below, we retain the terminology “as is”.

Some will say that “the fundamental difference between Postmillennialism [Postmillenarism] and Amillennialism [Amillenarism] is not entirely clear” (Nikolay Kim, a priest, The Millennial Kingdom. Exegesis and the History of Interpreting the 20th Chapter of the Apocalypse. St. Petersburg, 2003, p. 28), or that “the term ‘Amillennialism’ [‘Amillenarism’] is not a happy one” (Anthony A. Hoekema Amillennialism//The Meaning of the Millennium, 1977; see also Jay E. Adams, The Time Is at Hand, Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1970. pp.7—11). The real reason for such confusion lies in the incorrect definition and use of the above terms.

PS3. There are other types of chiliastic and chilleagorical doctrines (Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses [their activities are banned or restricted in some countries], Dispensationalism, Communism, etc.). Most of them are speculative, heretical or non-Christian in their nature. A detailed analysis of these teachings is not in the scope of this book.

Section 2. Background

Premillenarism as a doctrine was developed after the wide dissemination of the book of Revelation (The Apocalypse) which talks about the future millennial reign of the righteous. This doctrine can also be found in other canonical books of the Bible, though in a less clear way (See Section 6a).

In early Christian sources, Premillenarism appears as ideas about a separate resurrection of the saints (Didache, St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius the God-Bearer, St. Polycarp of Smyrna), a thousand-year Sabbath or a time of peace for the righteous (St. Barnabas, St. Justin the Philosopher and Martyr), the transformation of nature that happens in this time (St. Barnabas, St. Papias of Hierapolis). A highly detailed exposition of the patristic version of Premillenarism is found in “Against Heresies” by St. Irenaeus of Lyons.

Premillenarism was also supported by the Apostle Hermas, Clement of Alexandria, bishop Nepos of Egypt, Tertullian, St. Hippolytus of Rome, Commodian of Gaza, St. Victorinus of Petava, St. Athanasius the Great, St. Methodius of Patara and Olympus, Lucius Lactantius, St. Sulpicius Severus (presumably), St. Aurelius Augustine of Hippo (in his early works, later he leaned towards Chillegorism).

Premillenarism was opposed by the heresy of Hymenaeus and Alexander Philetus (who interpreted the resurrection allegorically [2 Tim 2: 16—18; 1 Tim 1:18—20]) as well as by the heresy of the Ebionites (Judeochiliasm), the heresy of Marcion (who taught about the resurrection of souls), the heresy of the Alogi (who rejected the books of the Apostle John), the heresy of Origen (taught about pre-existence and evolution of souls), the heresy of Marcellus of Ancyra (one of the founders of Postmillenarism), the heresy of Apollinaris of Laodicea (opposed by St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Epiphanius of Cyprus who accused him of Judeochilasm).

The above-mentioned heresy of the Alogi even influenced the books which were included in the canon of the Holy Scriptures — some Christians, following their deception, even questioned the apostolic origins of the Apocalypse (Gaius of Rome, St. Dionysius of Alexandria, Eusebius Pamphilius of Caesarea), and as a result, the book of Revelation became part of the canon with much delay.

Over time, the heresies of Hymenaeus and Alexander Philetus and the heresy of Marcion were transformed into Chillegorism of the Alexandrian school (probably under the influence of Origen). This tendency was severely criticized by the bishop Nepos of Egypt in his book “Refutation of the Allegorists” [“Denunciation of the Lovers of Allegory”]. However, this new teaching found favor with those who had rejected the apostolic origins of the Apocalypse, namely Gaius of Rome, St. Dionysius of Alexandria, Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea.

From the 4th century on, when Christians were no longer persecuted in the Roman Empire, the teachings of Gaius of Rome on the “restraining of Satan” (Rev 20:2) became popular among some theologians. This is when Chillegorism took its final form. The following people took an active part in this process: Ephrem the Syrian, St. Philastrius of Brescia, Tychonius Africanus, St. Jerome of Stridon, St. Aurelius Augustine of Hippo, Theodoret of Cyprus. Later, Chillegorism made its way into the widespread “Interpretation of the Apocalypse” by Andreas of Caesarea, which further popularized this teaching.

In the Russian Orthodox theology, Chillegorism was popularized by the metropolitan Macarius Bulgakov in his textbook “The Dogmatic Teaching of the Orthodox Church”. This textbook (more precisely, the Chillegorism it taught) was harshly and most vehemently criticized by the priest Boris Kiryanov in his book “The Complete Explanation of the Earthly Millennial Kingdom of our Lord”.

Section 3. The chronological aspects of the problem

Chronological considerations left their mark on both Chiliasm and Chillegorism.

The Apostle Barnabas suggested that the Second coming of Christ would happen 6000 years after the creation of the world. After that, the resurrection of the chosen righteous would take place — the first resurrection [Rev 20:5]. After that comes the Millennium of peace [Rev 20:6]. He based this opinion on the correlation between the seven days of creation and the literal interpretation of the Biblical statement about the day of the Lord being like a 1000 years [Gen 1:1—2:3; Ps 90:4 (Ps 89:5 rus); 2 Pet 3:8]. The Old Testament promise of the seventh day, the Sabbath [Ex 20:8; Deut 5:12; Ps 24:3—4 (Ps 23:3—4 rus); Jer 17:24—25], was interpreted as a prophecy of the millennial Kingdom (Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 15).

St. Justin the Philosopher and Martyr also supported this view by adding his interpretation of the verse from Isaiah “the days of My people, the works of their hands, will be like unto the days of the tree of life” [Is 65:17—25] as well as his reckoning of God’s promise about Adam dying on the day of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [Gen 2:17] — Adam was not 1000 years old when he died (Conversation with Triphon, the Jew, 81).

This opinion is shared by St. Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies, 5, 28, 2—3), Hippolytus of Rome (Commentary on the book of Daniel, 4, 23—24; Chronicle), Commodian of Gaza (Carmen apologeticum adversus judaeos et gentes), St. Methodius of Patara and Olympus (The Feast of the Ten Virgins, Discourse 9, Tisiana, chapter 1 and 5), Lucius Lactantius (The Divine Institutes, VII, 14).

The same position was held by Andreas of Caesarea who quoted St. Hippolytus of Rome (Commentary on the Apocalypse, chapters 28, 54, 63).

The idea was that at the end of the seventh millennium, the universal resurrection of the remaining righteous and all sinners would take place corresponding to the eighth day — the day of the resurrection: “For all our care about a virtuous living is looking forward to the future, to the age to come, the onset of which, following the cessation of the sensual time which runs in cycles of weeks and days, is called the eighth day. That is why the superscription: According to sheminith <With the eight-string> [Ps 12 (Ps 11 rus)] is advice to look beyond the present times to the eighth day. For when this transient and fleeting time, in which one comes to life and another one is destroyed, when there is no more need of coming into being and nothing destructible due to the transformation of our nature to another state of being through the resurrection that we hope for, and when this temporary time ceases to exist because there is no longer a force that brings to life and destroys — then, undoubtedly, these time-measuring seven days will come to an end. And the eighth day will be ushered, that is, the age to come, entirely composed of one day, even as one of the prophets predicts by calling the future life ‘a great day’ [Joel 2:11], since this day will not be illuminated by the sensual Sun but by the true Light, the sun of righteousness, which the prophecy calls the ‘east’ [Zech 6:12] because it never sets in the west” (St. Gregory of Nyssa “The Superscriptions of the Psalms”, book 2, chapter 5).

Besides, at that time an idea was widely spread that the first coming of Christ had taken place about the year 5500 from the Creation of the world. It was shared by St. Hippolytus of Rome (Commentary on the book of Daniel, 4, 23—24), Sextus Julius Africanus (Chronographiai, fragment 18). We can also find traces of it in the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus:

“Then Seth said, having approached the holy prophets: “When I, Seth, prayed to the Lord at the gates of Paradise, Michael, the archangel of the Lord, closed them, and an angel appeared to me saying: “I am sent from the Lord; I have been given charge over the body of your father. Therefore, I say unto you, Seth: do not labor with tears praying and asking for the balm of the tree of mercy to anoint your father Adam’s ailed body. For according to some law, you will only be able to get it in the end times, when 5500 years have been fulfilled (from the creation of the world) [in some manuscripts 5505 or 5555]. Then, the beloved Son of God, Christ, will appear on earth to restore the body of Adam and to raise the dead. And He will come to the river Jordan to be baptized, and when He has come out of the waters of the Jordan, He will anoint all those who believe unto him with the oil of His mercy, and the oil of His mercy will make one born of water and Spirit unto eternal life. Then, having come down to earth, the beloved Son of God, Christ, will take your father to Paradise and the tree of mercy” (Gospel of Nicodemus, chapter 19).

This view was based on the correlation between the birth of Adam some time in the course of the sixth day [Gen 1:26—31] and the coming of the new Adam (i.e. Christ) in the middle of the sixth millennium.

In these chronological calculations, the beginning of the events related to the last days would fall about 500 years after Christ. This was one of the reasons why Chillegorism was not prevalent in the first few centuries of Christianity. In the Apocalypse, Satan’s imprisonment lasts for 1000 years [Rev 20:2—3], while the postmillenarists came up with just 500 years. That’s why at that time, premillenarism seemed more reasonable in terms of the existing chronology.

However, in the first few centuries, even chillegorists were expecting the end of the world in 500 NE (from the New Era). They did it even though they were not able to successfully fit the 1000 years of Satan’s imprisonment into the 500 years. It must have been Tychonius Africanus who first found a solution. He suggested that the second half of the sixth millennium should be reckoned as [the seventh (?)] millennium, just like the three days of Jesus’ remaining in the tomb do not constitute three full days (Tychonius Africanus, The Book of the Seven Rules for Studying and Understanding Scripture, Rule 5. Concerning the times).

This idea was then picked up by other chillegorists: St. Jerome of Stridon (The Second edition [by Hieronymus] of “Commentary on the Apocalypse”, St. Victorinus of Petava, on Rev 20:1—3), St. Aurelius Augustine of Hippo (On the City of God, book 20, ch.7), Andreas of Caesarea (Commentary on the Apocalypse, chapter 63).

After 500 NE (from the New Era), it became clear that “more time now has elapsed than what was said concerning the fullness of years, or five hundred years” (Oicumenuis, Commentary on the Apocalypse, Rev 12). Some theologians came to the opinion that 6000 years have not yet passed. They incorporated shorter chronologies from the creation of the world (see, for example, Pr. Boris Kiryanov, Complete Explanation of the Earthly Millennial Kingdom of our Lord, Chapter 6. Concerning chronology). Postmillenarists, on the other hand, had one more reason to expect the end of the world by 1000 NE; there was a corresponding prediction attributed to Pope Sylvester II (who, according to the legend, prevented the Judgement Day from taking place that year by overcoming the devil). After that, the date for the end of the world shifted several times. In Russia, the coming of the Antichrist was set on the year 7000 according to the Byzantine era (1492 NE), and they didn’t even dare to compile Paschal tables beyond this date. However, the predictions did not come true, and gradually Christian theology shifted to the idea that “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Act 1:7). “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thess 5:2).

The idea that the events of the last days will be sudden existed from the very inception of Christianity (Mt 24:42—51, 25:13; Mk 13:32—37; Act 1:4—8; 1 Thess 5:1—10). Despite other opinions, many Church Fathers believed it and passed it on down the centuries (St. Clement of Rome, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 12; Apostolic Decrees, 7, 31). Even those who believed that the end of the world would happen by the year 6000 viewed it as an assumption, simultaneously believing in the suddenness of the Lord’s coming (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, 5, 30, 2; St. Hippolytus of Rome, Commentary on the book of Daniel, 4, 16). Generally speaking, they considered any chronological calculations about the end of the world as an indulgence of human curiosity (St. Hippolytus of Rome, Commentary on the book of Daniel, 4, 22—23).

Section 4. An anthology of the ancient Chiliasm

The author’s note: Initially, I wanted to include in this section not only the anthology of Chiliasm but also a brief overview of the development of these doctrines over time. But due to the limited space, I decided to only give a summary of the most important points.

St. John the Evangelist, the Apostle, one of the 12 (c. 2 — c. 102)

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev 19:11—20:15).

St. Barnabas, the Apostle, one of the 70 (1st century)

[…] The Lord said: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” [Gen 1:28]. This was said at the beginning about us and addressed to the Son. Next, I will show you how He, at the end of time, wrought into us the second creation. The Lord says: “Lo, I will make the last like the first” [compare Is 43:18—19; 2 Cor 5:17; Rev 21:5]. The prophet also said something to the effect: “Enter into the land flowing with honey and milk and take possession of it” [Ex 33:1; Lev 20:24]. So, we have been restored, even as the Lord says once more through another prophet: “Behold, says he, I will take out of them,” that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, “the hearts of stone and will put in them the hearts of flesh” [Ezek 11:19; 36:26]. For He had to appear in the flesh and dwell in us, since, my brothers, the abode of our hearts is a holy temple of the Lord. The Lord also says: “In what place shall I appear to the Lord my God and be glorified?” [Ps 42:2 (Ps 41:3 rus)] And then: “I will bring my confession to You in the church, among my brethren, and I will sing Your glory among the church of the saints” [Ps 22:22 (Ps 21:23 rus)]. So we are those whom the Lord has brought into the good land. But what is milk and honey? Just like the life of a baby is sustained first by honey and then by milk, so we, after being brought to life by faith in the promise and by the word of God, shall live and rule over the earth. In the beginning, the people were commanded to multiply and rule over beasts, birds, and fish. Who can now, at this time, rule over beasts, fish, or birds of air? And we must understand that ruling implies dominion when someone controls and commands. Now, however, we do not see such dominion — yet it is promised to us. When will it take place? When will we become so perfect so as to become heirs to the covenant of the Lord (The Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 6).

Also, about the Sabbath it says in the Ten Commandments, proclaimed by the Lord to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai: “Sanctify the Sabbath of the Lord with pure hands and with a clean heart” [Ex 20:8; Deut 5:12; Ps 24:3—4 (Ps 23:3—4 rus)]. And in another place He says: “If my sons keep the Sabbath, then I shall pour out My grace upon them” [compare Jer 17:24—25]. Scripture also mentions the Sabbath at the beginning of the creation: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” [Gen 2:2].

Children, note well what it means that He “ended his work”. It means that the Lord will complete all things in six thousand years because for Him one day is like a thousand years. For He Himself testifies to that saying: “Here, the present day will be like a thousand years” [Ps 90:4 (Ps 89:5 rus); 2 Pet 3:8]. So, children, everything will be accomplished in six days, that is, in six thousand years. “He rested on the seventh day” [Gen 2:2]. It means that when His Son comes and destroys the times of the lawless one, and carries out his judgment over the wicked, changes the sun, the moon and the stars, then He will rest in perfect peace on the seventh day.

Moreover, it is written, “Sanctify it with clean hands and a clean heart” [Ps 24:4 (Ps 23:4 rus)]. So, we would be mistaken to think that someone could at this time sanctify this holy day of the Lord without a heart pure in every way. Therefore, to rest and to sanctify this day one must be able to do what’s right, having received the promise — when there is no more lawlessness, and everything is made new by the Lord. Then, having been consecrated ourselves, we will be able to consecrate that day also.

Finally, God says to the Jews: “Your new moons and sabbaths I won’t tolerate” [Is 1:13]. See what He says: “The Sabbaths that you practice now I cannot stand — only those that I have commanded and those that will come when, putting an end to everything, I will usher in the eighth day, or the beginning of the next world” Therefore, we celebrate the eighth day in joy — the day when Jesus rose from the dead and, having shown Himself to believers, ascended into heaven (The Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 15).

“The Teaching of the Lord to the Nations Through the 12 Apostles” (Didache), 1st century

Watch over your lives; your lamps must keep burning, and (let) your loins be girded. But be ready, for you do not know the hour in which your Lord will come. You must often get together exploring what is good for your souls, for the time in which you can practice your faith will not benefit you unless you are perfect by the last hour. For in the last days, false prophets and destroyers will multiply, sheep will turn into wolves, and love will turn into hatred. With the increase of lawlessness, people will start hating and persecuting each other, and then the deceiver of the world will appear like unto the Son of God and will show signs and wonders, and the earth will be given into his hands, and he will work iniquities that have never been seen before. Then the human race will be subjected to fiery trials, and many will be led astray and perish, but those who stand firm in their faith will be saved from his curse. And then the sign of the truth will appear: first, the sign of the opened sky, then the sign of the trumpet, and then the third one — the resurrection of the dead. But not all will rise (together) but as it says: “The Lord will come together with all the saints” [Zech 14:5; 1 Thess 3:13]. Then, the world will see the Lord coming down on the clouds (Didache, chapter 16).

St. Clement of Rome, the Apostle, one of the 70 (died c. 99)

So, do we consider it marvelous and wonderful that the Creator of all things should raise all those who have diligently served Him in hope and good faith when He will use even a bird to reveal His great promises to us? For somewhere it says: and you will raise me up, and I will praise you. Also: I fell asleep and slept but rose again because you are with me. In the same way, Job says: “You will restore this flesh of mine which suffers all this” [compare Job 42:18] (1 Corinthians, chapter 26).

So, having accepted the command, the Apostles, fully convinced through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and strengthened in their faith by the word of God, went out to preach the coming Kingdom in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians, chapter 42).

All the generations from Adam until now have passed, but those who have been perfected in love by the grace of God are in the place of the godly: they will be revealed with the coming of the Kingdom of Christ. For it is written: “Enter into the earthly tabernacle for a while until My anger and indignation have passed, and I will remember the day of goodness and will bring you out of your tombs” [Is 26:20; Ezek 37:12—13] (1 Corinthians, chapter 50).

And you know, brethren, that the sojourn of our flesh in this world is of short duration, and the promise of Christ is great and wondrous, namely, peace in the future Kingdom and eternal life (2 Corinthians, chapter 5).

Let us consider that it is better to deny the temporary earthly blessings because they are small, short-lived, and perishable, and embrace those other blessings as beautiful and imperishable. For in obeying the will of Christ we shall find peace; otherwise, no one will be able to deliver us from the eternal punishment, should we scorn His commandments. And Scripture says in the book of Ezekiel that “if Noah, and Job, and Daniel rose from the dead, they would not be able to save their children who are in captivity” [Ezek 14:20]. But if even these righteous men cannot save their children by their own righteousness, then what hope do we have for entering the Kingdom of God unless we keep our baptism pure and blameless? Or who will be our intercessor if no righteous and godly works are found in us? (2 Corinthians, chapter 6).

For as we are called in the flesh, so will we appear before the judgment seat in the flesh. Just as our Lord, the Savior, was once a Spirit but became flesh and called us in the flesh, so we shall receive our reward in this flesh. Let us love one another so that all may enter into the Kingdom of God (2 Corinthians, chapter 9).

For He who promised to reward each person according to his works is faithful. If we do what is right in the eyes of God, then we shall enter His Kingdom and receive the blessings according to the promise: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man” [1 Cor 2:9] (2 Corinthians, chapter 11).

So, let us in love and godliness expect the Kingdom of God at any moment because we do not know the day of His coming (2 Corinthians, chapter 12).

(31) […] Watch over your lives. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return, whether in the morning or in the evening, for the Lord will come at an hour when you think not. If ye open the door — “blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. He shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them” [Lk 12:37]. Be ye vigilant and pray so you won’t fall into slumber unto death, for all the former virtues will not help you at the hour of your departure if you have strayed away from the true faith.

(32) In the last days, false prophets and Word defilers will multiply, and sheep will turn into wolves, and love into hatred; for with the increase of iniquity the love of many will grow cold, and people will hate, persecute, and betray one another. And then the deceiver of the world will come, the enemy of truth, the champion of lies, whom our Lord Jesus will slay with the Spirit of His mouth, destroying the ungodly with his word. And many will fall into temptation, but those who endure to the end will be saved. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven followed by the trumpet sound by the archangel and the resurrection of the dead, and then the Lord will come down in the midst of clouds, sitting on His throne, with angelic hosts and all His saints — to condemn the deceiver of the world, the devil, and repay each one according to his deeds. Then the wicked will depart into eternal perdition, and the righteous will go to eternal life inheriting what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and what never came to a person’s heart — what God prepared for those who love Him. They will rejoice in the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus […] (Apostolic Decrees [through St. Clement, Bishop and Citizen of Rome], book 7).

St. Ignatius of Antioch, the God-Bearer (died 107)

Ignatius the God-Bearer, loved by God and Father of Jesus Christ, a saint in the church of Tralia in Asia which is chosen and worthy of God, enjoying the peace in the flesh and blood and the suffering of Jesus Christ who is our hope when we rise from the dead transformed into His image — sends his greetings in full in the manner of the Apostles and wishes you to rejoice greatly (Epistle to the Trallians, Prologue).

Therefore, do not listen to those who preach another Jesus Christ, different from the One who came from the line of David through Mary, was truly born, ate and drank, was condemned under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in view of those in heaven, earth and under the earth, and then truly rose from the dead because His Father had raised Him, and who will in the similar fashion bring to life those who believe unto Jesus Christ, for without Him we have no life which is life indeed (Epistle to the Thrallians, chapter 9).

I praise our Lord Jesus Christ who made you so wise. For I have learned that you hold steadfastly to your faith as if nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ both in flesh and spirit, being strengthened in love by the blood of Christ and and full of faith in our Lord who has truly come from the house of David according to the flesh but is the Son of God through the will and power of God. He was indeed born of the Virgin, baptized by John, and crucified for us in the flesh by Pontius Pilate and Herod the Tetrarch to fulfill all the righteousness (we are the fruit of his most blessed suffering) in order to establish a sign for the saints and the faithful through the resurrection from the dead, both among Jews and Gentiles united in one body of the Church (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, chapter 1).

For I know and believe that He was and is in the flesh even after His resurrection. When he appeared to his followers with Peter, he said to them, “Touch me and see that I am not a bodiless spirit” They immediately touched Him and believed, being convinced by His flesh and spirit. Therefore, they despised even death and triumphed over it. Moreover, after His resurrection, He ate and drank with them as someone in the flesh, although he was spiritually united with the Father (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, chapter 3).

St. Hermas, the Apostle, one of the 70 (1st2nd century)

Again the shepherd showed me many trees, some of which blossomed and others were dry.

“Do you see these trees?”

“Yes, I do, my lord”, I answered. “Some of them are dry, and some are covered with leaves”.

“These green trees”, he said, “signify the righteous who will reach the age to come. For the coming age is like unto summer for the righteous and winter for sinners. So when the goodness of the Lord shines forth, then those who serve God will be revealed and all things will be seen. For as the fruit of every tree ripens in summer, and it becomes clear what it is, so the fruit of the righteous will be revealed and seen, and they will all be joyful in that age. Pagans and sinners are the dry trees that you saw; they will be found withered and barren in the age to come and will be burned like wood, and it will become obvious that during their lives on earth their deeds were evil. Sinners will burn because they have sinned and have not repented of their sins. And heathen will burn because they have not come to know their Creator God. Therefore, bring forth good fruit that it may ripen during that summer. Keep from the many cares of the world, and you will never sin. For those who have many cares sin a lot, troubled as they are by their worries. Such people do not serve God. How can a man who does not serve God ask and receive anything from God? Those who serve God will ask, and God will answer their petitions, but those who do not serve God will never receive anything from Him. He who has but one focus can serve the Lord because his spirit is not alienated from Him. He serves God out of a pure mind. So, if you do this, you will bear fruit in the coming age, as well as all those who obey this and bear fruit” (Shepherd, book 3, Likeness Four).

St. Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 70/80  155/167)

Therefore, having girded your loins, serve God in fear [Ps 2:11] and truth, leaving behind the vain rhetoric and delusions of many. Believe unto Him “that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory” [1 Pet 1:21] and allowed Him to sit at His right hand, to whom all things are subject whether in heaven or earth, and who is served by all the things that breathe, who will come as the Judge of the living and the dead and whose blood God will require of them who do not put their faith in Him. He who raised him from the dead will also raise us if we obey his will, walk in his commandments, and love what he loves, if we flee from all unrighteousness, covetousness, avarice, slander, falsehood, do not repay evil for evil, blame for blame [1 Pet 3:9], blow for blow, curse for curse, and if we remember what the Lord taught in saying: “Judge not, that ye be not judged [Mt 7:1]. Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” [Lk 6:37; Mt 6:12, 14] (Philippians, chapter 2).

St. Papias of Hierapolis (c. 70  155/165)

“Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord” written by St. Papias has been preserved only in fragments, partly in St. Irenaeus (Against Heresies, 5, 33, 4) and in Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea (Church History, 3, 39).

St. Justin, the Philosopher and Martyr (c. 100  165)

(80) “I have told you, my lord”, answered Triphon, “that in every way you try to guard yourself against evil by strictly following the Scriptures. Tell me, do you really believe that this place in Jerusalem will be restored, and do you hope that your people will gather here and have a blessed life with Christ along with all the patriarchs, prophets, and believers from our nation as well as those who have become our proselytes before the coming of your Christ? Or have you made this confession just to win this argument?”

“I am not so miserable, Triphon”, I said, “that I should say something I don’t believe. I have told you before that I and many others believe that this will actually take place, just as you are entirely convinced of. But, as I have explained, there are many Christians with a pure and Godly disposition who do not believe that. As for those who only bear the name of Christ but are in fact godless and unholy heretics, I have shown you that they are teaching what is entirely blasphemous, godless, and foolish. And so that you may know that it is not something I say only in your presence, I will record the whole of your conversation in this book inasmuch as my strength allows. And I will put the very same thoughts of mine there which I have expressed before you now. For I desire to follow no man nor any human teachings but God Himself and His teachings. If you should meet such people who call themselves Christians but do not believe this and even dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and do not accept the resurrection of the dead believing that their souls will be taken up to heaven immediately after death, then do not consider them Christians, just as a reasonable person does not consider Sadducees or similar sects — Genists, Merists, Galileans, Hellenian, Pharisees and Baptists (do not be offended if I openly speak my mind) — as Jews, as well as those Jews and Abraham’s children who only bear the name but honor God just by their lips, yet their hearts, as God Himself says, are far away from Him. As for me and other Christians who are sensible in every way, we know that there will be a resurrection of the body and a thousand-year reign in the city of Jerusalem which will be adorned, decorated and magnified as declared Ezekiel, Isaiah, and other prophets.

(81) — Isaiah speaks of this millennial Kingdom in this way: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people. And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD” (Is 65:17—25). I continued — from the words “for as the days of a tree are the days of my people” we gather that this is a mystical prefiguration of the Millennium. For Adam was told: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17), but we know that when he died he was not yet a thousand. We also know the utterance: “The day of the Lord is like a thousand years” (Ps 90:4 [Ps 89:5 rus]; 2 Pet 3:8). In addition, we have someone named John, one of the Apostles of Christ, who in the book of Revelation predicted that believers in Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years [Rev 20:6], and after that there would be a universal, that is, eternal resurrection of all the dead, and then the judgment would come even as the Lord had said: “They neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven like unto the children of God’s resurrection” (Lk 20:35—36).

(82) — We still have the prophetic gifts which point to the fact that we received something that had already existed in your people. Just as there were false prophets among the holy prophets, so now we have many false teachers whom we should beware according to the command of our Lord. So we are prepared for everything, knowing that He told us in advance what would happen after His resurrection from the dead and ascension. He said that they would kill us and hate us for His name and that many false prophets and false Christs would come under His name and deceive many (Mt 10:21—22; 24:5,9,11,24). It is being fulfilled because many, under His name, are spreading godless, blasphemous, and unholy doctrines. They have taught and still teach what the evil one, the Devil, has put in their minds. We try to convince such people, as well as you, that they should reject the falsehood, being fully convinced that anyone who can speak the truth and does not do so will be condemned by God, even as God Himself testified through Ezekiel: “I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel. If a wicked man sins, and thou givest him not warning, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezek 3:17—19). Therefore we try to reason with you in accordance with Scripture out of fear, not out of lust for money, fame or pleasure: no one can blame us for anything like that, nor do we want to live in the same way as the leaders of your people whom God rebuked saying: “Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards” (Is 1:23). But even if you know such people among us, you do not blaspheme Christ or the Scriptures, nor distort them on their account” (Conversation with Triphon the Jew, 80—82).

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130 — 202)

Excerpt from “Five Books Against Heresies” (“Against Heresies”):

Book 5.

Chapter 28. On the distinction between the righteous and the wicked; on the future apostasy under Antichrist and the end of the world.


2. […] “For they will receive a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads so that no man might buy or sell, save he that has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name; and his number is six hundred threescore and six” (Rev 13:15—18), that is six times hundred, six times ten and six — to heal all the apostasy that happened during the six thousand years.

3. For just as the world was created in six days, so also it will last for just as many thousands of years. That’s why the book of Genesis says: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And in six days God finished all the works which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made” (Gen 2:1—2). And this saying refers to the past — how things were accomplished — and also it is a prophecy about the future. For the day of the Lord is like a thousand years, and just as the creation was accomplished in six days, so it is clear that it will end in the six thousandth year. […]

Chapter 30. Although the number of the name of the Antichrist is known, we should not make rash conclusions about this name because this number fits many names; concerning the kingdom and the doom of the Antichrist.

1. Considering all this and that this number (666) is present in all the best and ancient manuscripts (of Revelation), and John himself personally attested to this, and reason itself teaches us that the number of the name of the beast according to the Greek numeration through the letters contained therein adds up to six hundred and sixty-six, that is, it contains as many tens as hundreds and as many hundreds as units — for the repetition of number six symbolically points to the healing of all apostasy (of the Antichrist) that was at the beginning and in the middle and will be at the end of time — I don’t know how some, in their ignorance, fell into the delusion, distorting the average number of the name by subtracting from it fifty and positing one ten instead of six tens. I think this arose from the error of the scribes, as is usually the case, since the numbers are represented in Greek letters, and the Greek letter [xi], which stands for “sixty” [ξ], can easily be changed into the Greek letter “jot” [ι]. Then, others must have accepted it without consideration using the number ten blindly, while others, through their foolishness, dared even to look for a name containing this erroneous and incorrect number. To those who have done it without any evil intent, God will grant forgiveness, I am sure. As for those who, through their vanity, search for names based on erroneous numbers or ascribe to the future Antichrist a name that they have invented, these will not go unharmed for they have deceived themselves and those who put their trust in them. And the first harm is that they have deviated from the truth and have accepted something unreal as true. Such a person will certainly entail severe punishment, prepared for those who add or take away from the words of Scripture. Also, there’s another danger for those who falsely usurp the knowledge of the name of the Antichrist. For if they propose a name, and he comes under a different name, they will be easily deceived by him, (thinking) that there is no one to watch out for.

2. Therefore, such people should recognize the true number of the name and embrace it, so as not to be counted among the false prophets. But those who know the correct number revealed in Scripture, that is, 666, let them first acknowledge that the kingdom will be divided between the ten, and secondly, when these kings reign and begin to prosper and spread their kingdom, and he who has the above-mentioned number in his name suddenly appears snatching away their kingdom and bringing fear upon them, — let them acknowledge that this one is truly the abomination of desolation. This is what the Apostle says: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them” (1 Thess 5:3). Jeremiah predicted not only the suddenness of his coming but also the tribe from which he would come: “The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein” (Jer 8:16). That’s why this tribe is not listed in Revelation among the saved (Rev 7:5—8).

3. Therefore, it is more accurate and safe to wait for the fulfillment of the prophecy rather than suppose and predict possible names, for there may be many names containing the above number, and yet this question will remain unresolved. For if there are many names matching this number, which of them will be the name of the Antichrist who is to come? I say this not because of the lack of names containing the number of his name but for the sake of the fear of God and the love of truth, for the name Evanphas (ΕΥΑΝΘΑΣ) has the required number, and yet I do not claim anything about him with certainty. Also, the name Latiner (ΛΑΤEΙΝΟΣ) has the number 666, and the last kingdom may very well bear this name: for now the Latins do reign, yet I do not wish to boast about it. But of all the proposed names Titan seem the most appropriate — if we write down the first syllable using the two Greek vowels E and I (TEITAN). It contains the above-mentioned number and consists of six letters, each syllable with three letters. It is an ancient and uncommon name — none of our kings were called Titan, and none of the idols openly worshiped by the Greeks and barbarians bears such a name. Yet it is honored as divine by many, so that the Sun is called Titan by the current rulers [Massuette cites Cicero and Ovid as evidence that the Sun was called Titan], and also it contains some hint of revenge and the avenger, just like he (the Antichrist) will pass himself off as the one who avenges the oppressed. Besides, it is an ancient, reasonable, and a royal name befitting a tyrant. Therefore, since the name “Teitan” has so much in its favor, the one to come (the Antichrist) might very well be called Teitan. However, I do not dare to conclusively say that it is so, knowing full well that if it was necessary to openly proclaim his name at this time, it would have been announced by that very person who had received the revelation. For revelation was granted not long before our time, almost in our age, closer to the end of the reign of Domitian.

4. He states the number of the name (of the Antichrist) so that we would be vigilant when he comes, knowing who he is; the Apostle didn’t reveal his name because it is too disgraceful to be proclaimed by the Holy Spirit. For if it had been proclaimed by Him, then perhaps the Antichrist would have endured for a long time. And now, since “he was and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition” (Rev 17:8), as if he had never existed, his name was not declared since the name of the non-existent should not be declared. When the Antichrist has laid the world bare, having reigned for three and a half years, and has sat down in the temple of Jerusalem, then the Lord will come down from heaven in the clouds in the glory of the Father and will cast him and his subjects into the lake of fire, while the righteous will receive the Kingdom, that is, peace, the holy seventh day. He will restore the promised inheritance to Abraham, the Kingdom, in which, according to the word of the Lord, “many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 8:11).

Chapter 31. The preservation of our bodies is sealed by the resurrection and ascension of Christ; the souls of the saints are waiting for the time when their full glory will be revealed.

1. But some who say that they are believers violate the established order of the exaltation of the righteous and, by holding on to heretical teachings, do not know how to prepare themselves for the incorruptibility. For heretics, degrading the creation of God and not recognizing the salvation of their flesh by despising the promise of God and putting themselves above God in their thoughts, say that they will ascend above the heavens and above Demierge immediately after death and will go to the Mother or Father of their own invention. They reject the resurrection of the whole person and thus completely deny it in any way they can. But it isn’t surprising since they do not know the order of the resurrection. But He was in the place of the dead for three days, even as the prophet says about him: “The Lord remembered His dead saints who had rested in the land of their burial, and came down to them to raise them and save them” [See 3, 20, 4]. Just as the Lord Himself said: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt 12:40). And the Apostle: “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” (Eph 4:9). David also says in his prophecy about Him: “And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell” (Ps 86:13 [Ps 85:13 rus]). After His resurrection on the third day, the Lord said to Mary, who first saw Him and fell prostrate before Him: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jn 20:17).

2. So, if the Lord has fulfilled the law of the dead, that is, to be the firstborn among the dead, and remained in the lower parts of the earth until the third day, and then, having risen in the flesh in such a way that He even showed the wounds from the nails to the disciples, ascended to the Father, how can they say without shame that “the lower parts of the earth” just mean the world around us and that the inner man, after leaving the body behind, will go up to a heavenly place? For when the Lord “walked in the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps 23:4 [Ps 22:4 rus]), where were the souls of the dead? He then rose from the dead in His flesh and ascended to heaven: it is clear that the souls of His disciples, for whom He gave up His life, will go to the invisible place appointed to them by God and will remain there until the day of the resurrection awaiting His coming, and then, having received their new bodies and having attained to the full resurrection, that is, the bodily resurrection, even as the Lord has risen, they will come into the presence of God. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Lk 6:40). Therefore, just as our Teacher did not immediately depart or ascend (to heaven), but, having lingered until the time of His resurrection appointed by the Father — as was also prefigured in Jonah — rose from the dead and ascended after three days, so must we wait for the God-appointed time of our resurrection as predicted by the prophets. And, having been raised, we shall ascend to heaven if the Lord finds us worthy of it” [The following five chapters are omitted in some copies of the codes of Irenaeus. Feuardent was the first one to publish these chapters from the code of Vossius. He explained that this omission might be attributed to the medieval copyists’ rejection of the doctrine on the Millenial Kingdom of Christ which the codes contained. Harvey published citations from these chapters, which were preserved in Syrian and Armenian manuscripts. Fragments of these chapters can be found in Eusebius and “Sacra Paralella” by John of Damascus.].

Chapter 32. The saints will receive rewards for their labors in the same flesh in which they suffered here on earth.

1. Because some are carried away in their thoughts by heretical teachings and do not know the commandments of God nor the mystery of the resurrection of the righteous and the Kingdom, which is the beginning of our incorruptibility and through which those who are worthy gradually get used to abiding in God, it must be said that the righteous must first, having been raised to see God face to face, receive in the new creation the promised inheritance prepared by God for our forefathers, and reign in it, and then the judgment will come. For it is only just that they should reap the fruit of their suffering in the same creation in which they fought the good fight of faith or were subjected to sorrows, having been tested in every way, and that they should be brought back to life in the same creation, in which they were put to death for the love of God, and that they should reign in the same creation, in which they were brought to slavery. For God is rich in all things, and everything belongs to him. It is also necessary that the creation itself, restored to its primitive state, should freely serve the righteous. And this was shown by the Apostle in the Epistle to Romans: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:19—21).

2. So also the promise of God to Abraham stands true. For He said: “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever” And also: “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Gen 13:14—15, 17). However, Abraham did not receive even a single inch of the promised land but was always a stranger and an alien in it. And after the death of his wife Sarah, when the Hittites had offered to give him a place for her burial without any payment, he refused but bought a place for her burial with four hundred silver didrachma from Ephron the Hittite. Abraham was hoping for the fulfillment of the promise of God and did not want it to look like he was receiving from man what God had promised him as a gift. For God had said to him: “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Gen 15:18). So, since God had promised him the land as an inheritance, and he did not receive it while on earth, it must mean that he and his seed — those who fear God and believe unto Him — should receive it in the resurrection of the righteous. For his seed is the Church which receives adoption by God through the Lord Jesus Christ, even as John the Baptist says: “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Lk 3:8). The Apostle also says in the Epistle to Galatians: “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (Gal 4:28). And he also clearly indicates in the same letter that those who believe in Christ receive Him through the promise to Abraham: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal 3:16). And again confirming the same he said: “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:6—9). So, believers will be blessed with faithful Abraham, and they are his sons. Since God had promised Abraham and his seed the land as an inheritance, but neither Abraham nor his seed (those justified by faith) received their inheritance by this time, they will receive it in the resurrection of the righteous. For God is faithful and just; that’s why He said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5).

Chapter 33. The testimony about the same based on the promises of Christ the Savior and the blessing of Jacob according to the interpretation of Papias and the elders.

1. Therefore, before His suffering, (Christ) gave thanks, held the cup, drank from it and gave to His disciples, saying: “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Mt 26:27—29). Thus, He Himself will renew the inheritance of the land and will restore the mystery of the glory of the sons of God, even as David says: “Thou renewest the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30 [Ps 103:30 rus]). He promised to drink of the fruit of the vine with His disciples to foreshadow both the coming inheritance of the land in which the new wine will be drunk and the bodily resurrection of His disciples. For it is the new resurrection body that will receive the cup. And He cannot represent Himself as partaking of the fruit of the vine if He is above heaven together with His own; those who are with Him cannot be without flesh, for it is the flesh, not the spirit, that can partake of the fruit of the vine.

2. For this reason, the Lord says: “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Lk 14:12—14). And also: “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Mt 19:29; Lk 18:29—30). For what is the hundredfold return received in this age for feeding the poor? It takes place in the times of the Kingdom, that is, on the seventh holy day in which God rested from all his work, which is the true Sabbath of the righteous when they do nothing earthly but partake of the feast prepared by God — with all kinds of “fat things” to eat.

3. The blessing that Isaac pronounced over his younger son has the same connotation: “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed”. The field is the world. That’s why he added: “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee” (Gen 27:27—29). If anyone does not interpret this in relation to the promised Kingdom, they will surely fall into contradiction and inconsistency, just as the Jews did when they got entangled in all kinds of inconsistencies. For not only wasn’t Jacob served by any nation — he served his uncle Laban in Syria for twenty years even after receiving the blessing and leaving his home. And not only didn’t he become his brother’s lord but bowed down to Esau, his brother, upon his return from Mesopotamia to his father’s house — and offered him many gifts. Besides, how could he inherit plenty of corn and wine if he had to move to Egypt because of the famine in the land of his dwelling? And after that, he had to submit himself to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So, the above-mentioned blessing undoubtedly looks forward to the times of the Kingdom when the righteous will reign, having been risen from the dead, when the renewed and liberated creation will bear plenty of fruit and produce every kind of food from the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. So even the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, said that they had heard from him the Lord’s teaching about those times: “The days will come when vineards will produce ten thousand vines, each vine will have 10 thousand branches, each branch 10 thousand twigs, each twig 10 thousand clusters, and each cluster 10 thousand berries. And each squeezed berry will produce twenty-five metretes of wine. And when one of the saints reaches out for a cluster, the other one will cry out: ‘I am the best one, take me and bless the Lord through me’ Similarly, a wheat grain will produce 10 thousand ears, and each ear will have 10 thousand grains, and each grain will yield 10 pounds of pure flour; and other fruit trees, seeds and herbs will be fruitful in the same manner, and all the animals eating the food of the earth will live in peace with each other and complete submission to man” [These words of the elders have been preserved in the Armenian translation — an excerpt was found in an Armenian manuscript of the 12th century and published by Jean Baptiste Pitra (Specil Solesm. 1852); Harvey reprinted it in his own publication.].

4. Papias [of Hierapolis], a disciple of John [the Evangelist] and a friend of Polycarp [of Smyrna], a man of old, testifies to the same in writing in his fourth book, for he has written five books [Under the title: “Compendium of the Lord’s Sayings”. Eusebius, Ch. Hist. III, 39.]. He added the following: This is a trustworthy saying. When Judas the traitor did not believe this and asked how the Lord would create such an abundance of growth, the Lord said: “Those who reach those times will see it”. Isaiah also speaks about these times saying: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (Is 11:6—9). And then again: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD” (Is 65:25). I know that some refer this to barbarians from various nations and various occupations, who, having come to faith, will unite with the righteous. But, although it is now (so) about some people who come to the one faith from various tribes, nevertheless, whatever is stated concerning the animals, will come to pass after the resurrection of the righteous, as it says: “For God is rich in all things”. And it is proper that with the renewal of creation all animals should obey and submit to man, returning to their original, God-given foods, that is, to the green herbs — even as they were (initially) obedient to Adam. The prophecy about the lion eating straw points to a future time, not the present. There will be an abundance of food of high nutritional value; for if a lion can feed on straw, how much more nutrition will be found in wheat itself since lions will be getting enough by having just straw?

Chapter 34. The testimonies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel in favor of the opinion on the earthly Kingdom of the saints and a parable of the vigilant servants.

1. Isaiah clearly indicated that there would be incredible joy at the resurrection of the righteous: “Thy dead shall live, those who are in their graves shall rise, and those who are on earth shall rejoice” (Is 26:19). Ezekiel says the same thing: “I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves when I bring My people out of their tombs and put my spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I am LORD” (Ezek 37:12—14). And also: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I shall gather the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God” (Ezek 28:25—26). As mentioned above, the Church is the seed of Abraham. Therefore Jeremiah lets us know that the One who in the Old Testament gathers all those who are saved from every nation, will in the New Testament raise Abraham’s children out of stones: “Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, the LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel (out of the land of Egypt; but, the LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country), and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land” (Jer 23:7—8). [The words in brackets must have been mistakenly omitted by scribes while copying Irenaeus’s works.]

2. All creation will enjoy great abundance according to the will (of God) so that it will produce and bear incredible fruit as Isaiah says: “And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and (the light of the sun) shall be sevenfold in that day when (the LORD) bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound” (Is 30:25—26). The words “stroke of their wound” point to the affliction with which the mankind was struck after Adam’s disobedience — death. God will heal it by raising us from the dead and restoring to us the inheritance of our fathers according to Isaiah: “Thou will hope in the Lord and He will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father” (Is 58:14). The Lord says the same: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants” (Lk 12:37—38). In Revelation: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection” (Rev 20:6). Isaiah also announced the time when it would happen: “And I said,” he says, “how long God? Until the cities become empty, so that they will not be inhabited, and the houses will not be without people and the earth will remain empty: And after this, God will continue us people, and those who remain will multiply on the earth” (Is 6:11—12 LXX). And in Daniel: “Both the kingdom, and the authority, and the majesty of those who are under heaven, are given to the saints of the Most High God, and His everlasting kingdom, and all the authorities will serve Him and obey” (Dan 7:27). And so they don’t mistakenly conclude that the promise is about the present, the prophet hears the following message: “You also come and stand on your lot in the end of days” (Dan 12:13).

3. And that the promises were given not only to the prophets and fathers but also to the churches made up of those nations which the Spirit also calls “islands” — since they are set in the midst of unrest and storms of blasphemy while being a quiet haven for those in danger and a refuge for those who “love what’s on high (heaven)” trying to avoid the depths, i.e. delusions, — Jeremiah confirms by the following: “Hear the people, the words of the Lord, tell the distant islands, say that the Lord, who scattered Israel, will gather it and keep it, as a shepherd his flock of sheep; for the Lord has delivered Jacob and has made him out of the hand of his strongest. Therefore they shall come and rejoice in Zion, and shall come together to the goodness (of the LORD), to the land of the wheat, wine, and fruit, to flocks and sheep: and their soul shall be as a fruitful tree; and they shall hunger no more. Then shall the virgins rejoice in the assembly of young men, and the old shall rejoice: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and will lift up and delight the souls of the priest, the sons of Levi, and My people will be satisfied with My goodness” (Jer 31:10—14). As I have shown in my previous book [See 4, 8, 3], all the disciples of the Lord are Levites and priests — for they have broken Sabbaths in the Temple, yet are innocent. Such promises clearly show that a feast will be held in the Kingdom of the righteous for all those whom God Himself will serve.

4. Concerning Jerusalem and the Kingdom of God Isaiah also says: “Thus saith the Lord: ‘Blessed is he who has seed in Zion and servants in Jerusalem.’ Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment” (Is 31:9; 32:1). About the foundation on which it will be restored: “Behold, I will prepare for you carbuncles and sapphires for your foundations, and I will make thy fences of agates, and thy gates of crystals, and all thy borders of select stones. And all thy children (shall be) taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established” (Is 54:11—14). And also: “Lo, I create joy for Jerusalem and My people. And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Is 65:18—23).

Chapter 35. Continuation of the same topic.

1. If someone attempts to interpret the promises like these as allegory, they will end up contradicting themselves and will be exposed by the very meaning of these sayings. Such as, for instance: “Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate” (Is 6:11); “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the city and land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Is 13:9); and also:”(The wicked man) shall be taken away so he won’t see the glory of God” (Is 26:10). And when this has come about, “God will extend the existence of man but those that remain will be multiplied on earth; and they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them” (Is 6:12). For all these and other (words) have undoubtedly been said about the resurrection of the righteous which will take place after the coming of the Antichrist and the demise of all the nations that subjected themselves to him. At that time, the righteous will be reigning on earth, multiplying while beholding the Lord, and through Him they will learn to be the vessels of the glory of God and will enjoy communicating and communing with the holy angels in His Kingdom and remaining in fellowship with the spiritual beings. And concerning those whom the Lord will find in the flesh awaiting His return from heaven, those who have suffered persecution but have been rescued out of the hand of the evil one, the prophet says: “And the rest will multiply on the earth” [Is 6:12]. Jeremiah also speaks about the believers who will, just as the Lord taught them, serve Jerusalem and the Kingdom of (Christ) so that those who remain will multiply on the earth: “O Jerusalem, look about thee toward the east, and behold the joy that cometh unto thee from God. Lo, thy sons come, whom thou sentest away, they come gathered together from the east to the west by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God. Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever. Cast about thee a double garment of the righteousness which cometh from God; and set a diadem on thine head of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will shew thy brightness unto every country under heaven. For thy name shall be called of God for ever the peace of righteousness, and the glory of God’s worship. Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and look about toward the east, and behold thy children gathered from the west unto the east by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the remembrance of God. For they departed from thee on foot, and were led away of their enemies: but God bringeth them unto thee exalted with glory, as children of the kingdom. For God hath appointed that every high hill, and banks of long continuance, should be cast down, and valleys filled up, to make even the ground, that Israel may go safely in the glory of God, Moreover even the woods and every sweetsmelling tree shall overshadow Israel by the commandment of God. For God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of his glory with the mercy and righteousness that cometh from him”. [These words are not in Jeremiah but in the deuterocanonical book of the Prophet Baruch (Bar 4:36—37 and chapter 5 to the end)].

2. Such sayings cannot refer to the realm above heaven because it says: “For God will shew thy brightness unto every country under heaven” (Bar 5:3). They refer to the times of the Kingdom when the earth will be restored by Christ (to its primitive state) and Jerusalem will be recreated in the image of the heavenly Jerusalem, concerning which the prophet Isaiah says: “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” (Is 49:16). In the same way, the Apostle also says in Galatians: “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal 4:26). He says this not about some wandering Eon or some force that may have emanated from Pleroma and Prunica but about the Jerusalem written on the hands (of God). And this (heavenly Jerusalem) John saw coming down to the renewed earth in the book of Revelation [Rev 21:2, 10]. For after the times of the Kingdom, “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them”. He tells us about the universal resurrection and judgment: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and the books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Rev 20:11—14). This place is called hell; the Lord calls it eternal fire (Mt 25:41). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15). Further, John says: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:1—4). Isaiah says the same thing: “There will be a new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in it” (Is 65:17—18). The Apostle testifies to the same: “For the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Cor 7:31). Likewise, the Lord also says: “Heaven and earth pass” (Mt 5:18). With the passing of these two, the new, heavenly Jerusalem will come down to earth, according to the words of John, the disciple of the Lord. It will be adorned like a bride for her husband, and this is the Tabernacle of God in which He will dwell with His people. This (heavenly) Jerusalem was foreshadowed by the former earthly Jerusalem in which the righteous are prepared for incorruption and salvation. Moses saw a copy of this Tabernacle on the mountain, and nothing in this can be taken allegorically — everything is real, true, and essential, having been created by God for the enjoyment of the righteous. For just as surely as there is a God who raises the dead, so will every man truly rise — not allegorically, as I have repeatedly shown. And just as surely as he is raised from the dead, he will also be prepared for the incorruption and will grow and become stronger during the times of the Kingdom so that he will be able to receive the glory of the Father. After the renewal of all things, he will surely live in the city of God. For (John) says: “And he that sat upon the throne said, behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, it is done” (Rev 21:5—6). This is how it should be.

Chapter 36. All people will surely rise from the dead; the world will not be destroyed but there will be different abodes for the saints according to their dignity. And all things will be subject to God the Father, and he will be all in all.

1. Since people are real (people), the place of their abode must be just as real and not reduced in any way. And this place of abode must prosper. For neither the substance nor the essence of creation is destroyed — the One who made it is faithful and true. It is the “fashion of the world” that is passing (the sin was committed in it) because this is where man has fallen. And therefore this “fashion” was temporary according to God’s foreknowledge of all things, as I have already explained in my previous book [See 4, 5, 5 (?)] where I attempted to show the reason for creating the temporary things of the world. When this “fashion” passes away and the mankind is restored and strengthened enough to be ready for incorruption so that they would not decay anymore, then there will be a new heaven and a new earth in which the new man will abide forever, ever conversing with God about new things. Isaiah says that this will go on forever and ever: “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain” (Is 66:22). And, As the elders say, those who are found worthy of the heavenly abode will at that time go there, that is, up to heaven, while others will enjoy the pleasures of the Paradise and some will enjoy the beauty of the city. Yet God will be seen everywhere as long as those who dwell there are worthy to see Him.

2. Besides, (they also say) there is a difference between the abodes of those who bore fruit a hundredfold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold (Mt 13:3—8); some of them will be taken up to heaven, others will abide in Paradise, and others will dwell in the city. Therefore the Lord says that the Father has many mansions (Jn 14:2). For everything belongs to God who provides all with decent abodes, just as His Word says that everything is distributed by the Father according to who we are or what we deserve. And this is a table around which those invited to the wedding feast will recline. According to the elders, the disciples of the Apostles, such is the distribution and the order of salvation for those who are being saved, and through such a gradual course they are perfected: they ascend to the Son through the Spirit, and then through the Son to the Father, because the Son will hand over all His works to the Father as the Apostle says: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”. For, during the times of the Kingdom, a righteous person on earth will forget how to die: “But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:25—28).

3. So, John clearly foresaw the first resurrection of the righteous and their inheritance in the Kingdom on earth. The prophets spoke of this Kingdom as well. The Lord taught the same, promising his disciples to drink of the new cup with them in the Kingdom to come (Mt 26:29). And the Apostle said that the creation itself would be liberated from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the sons of God (Rom 8:21). And in all this and through this, the same God and Father who created man and promised the fathers their earthly inheritance reveals Himself, bringing the creation out (of its slavery) and into the resurrection of the righteous, fulfilling the promises in the Kingdom of His Son, and then, out of His fatherly compassion, granting that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man (1 Cor 2:9). For the one and only Son who accomplished the will of the Father, and the one human race in which the mysteries of God are being unfolded — the mysteries “which the angels desire to look into” (1 Pet 1:12) — cannot comprehend the wisdom of God through which His creation is being perfected. For the creation has been conformed to the image of the Son and united with Him through His body so that the firstborn Word of God descends into the creature, that is, into the (bodily) creature, and is embraced by it. On the other hand, the creature receives the Word and ascends to Him, rising above the angels, and gets conformed into the image and likeness of God [Grabe and others suppose that the conclusion of St. Irenaeus’s work is missing, and has probably been lost.].

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 c. 215)

After all, not only our spirits but also our character, life, and body must become holy. For how else should we understand the words of Paul that the unbelieving wife sanctifies her husband and the unbelieving husband sanctifies his wife? [1 Cor 7:14] Did not the Lord give a similar answer to the one who had asked him about divorce that Moses had given them permission to divorce? The Lord said that it was done because of the hardness of heart. Did you not hear what God had said to the first man: “They shall become one flesh” “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, committeth adultery”. But after the resurrection from the dead, “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage” [Mt 19:3—9; 22:30]. About food and stomach we read the following: “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them” [1 Cor 6:13]. So he condemns those who think that they can live like goats and bulls doing nothing but eating and having sex. But if they have really attained to the resurrection state, as it is claimed, and for this reason they do not marry, then why do they not also refrain also from eating and drinking? After all, the Apostle indicated that food and stomach will not exist after the resurrection. If they have already been risen, then why are they still experiencing thirst, hunger, and physical pain — everything from which the full resurrection in Christ must set us free? What is the problem here? After all, even some idol worshippers will fast and abstain from sex. But it says: “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink”. Even sorcerers can by their sheer willpower abstain from wine, meat, and sex, and yet they worship angels and demons. Just as moderation is a form of humility which does not involve castigation of the body, so asceticism is a spiritual virtue practiced privately, not for a show (Stromata, 3,6, 47—48).

Nepos of Egypt (between the 2nd and 3rd centuries)

The work of Nepos of Egypt “Denunciation of the Lovers of Allegories” (“Refutation of the Allegorists”) has not been preserved. See Eusebius of Caesarea on Nepos (Church History, 7, 24).

Tertullian (155/165 220/240)

“And what a sight we shall soon see — the coming of the Lord, recognized by all, triumphant and victorious! What rejoicing for the angels, what glory for the risen saints, what a Kingdom for the righteous, and what a magnificent new Jerusalem! And then there will be other great sights too: the day of the last and final judgment, which the heathen reject and ridicule — when the whole dilapidated world with all its inhabitants will be destroyed by fire [compare 2 Pet 3:10]! What a sight will it be!” (On the Spectacles, 30).

Excerpt from “On the Resurrection of the Flesh”:

Chapter 19.

Thus, our consideration of these words (taken, of course, in their proper sense) and their meaning must ensure that the obvious prevails and that every time the error is eliminated by what is correct — if the opposing party should bring about any confusion in the form of symbolism or riddles. For some, seeing the typical prophetic utterance, which is often (though not always) given in the form of imagery and symbolism, offer distorted allegorical interpretations even to the resurrection of the dead which has been clearly revealed. They argue that death should be taken in a spiritual way. “For death, which is a familiar experience to all”, they say, “is in fact not a separation of body and soul but our ignorance towards God through which a person, being dead unto God, remains in error as if in a coffin. Therefore, the true resurrection takes place when someone, having found the truth, has regained his soul and life by turning to God, and, having crushed the death of ignorance, came out of the coffin of the old man, just like the Lord had compared the scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed tombs (Mt 23:27). It follows that those who by faith have attained to the resurrection of the dead remain with the Lord after being clothed with Him in baptism”. With such sly talk, they often gave a false impression that they don’t deny the resurrection of the flesh. “Woe to him who did not rise in this flesh”, they say (fearing to repel us by the direct denial of the resurrection). But secretly they think, “Woe to him who, while being in the flesh, did not become initiated into the heretical secret doctrine”, — for this is their resurrection. Many of those who recognize the resurrection after the departure of the soul, take it allegorically, as if our coming out of the tombs means denying this world, for this world is, so to say, the abode of the dead, that is, of those who do not know God. Many even see our coming out of the body as resurrection, saying that the body is like a tomb in which the soul is fettered in its worldly death.

Chapter 23.

Indeed, the Apostle teaches in Colossians that we who were once dead, alienated, and hostile to the Lord in spirit through our wicked deeds (Col 1:21), having been buried with Christ in baptism, were also raised with Him through faith in the power of God by which He was raised from the dead. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col 2:12—13). And again: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?” (Col 2:20) If then he describes us as spiritually dead while admitting that we also will one day die physically, then, by considering us spiritually risen, he does not deny that we will also be raised in our bodies. For example, he says: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”. Seek those things which are above, not below (Col 3:1—2). By this he points out that we will be raised in spirit because only through the spirit we can partake of the things that are above. We would not have to seek it or think about it if we had already possessed it. Also, he adds: “For you have certainly died for your sins, not for yourself, — and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). So, the life which is hidden has not yet been comprehended. John also says: “And it doth not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 Jn 3:2). We can’t possibly be what we do not yet know, because if we had already become it, we would for sure have known. Therefore, at this time we only contemplate the object of our hope in faith; it is not yet in front of us or with us but is only an expectation. Paul writes to Galatians about this hope and this expectation: “In spirit we expect by faith the hope of our righteousness” (Gal 5:5). He does not say: “We already possess it”. The righteousness of God refers here to the final judgment after which we will receive our reward. Paul, waiting for this judgment himself, writes to the Philippians: If I somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead, this does not mean that I have already attained it or become perfect (Php 3:11—12). Surely, he who was the vessel of election and the teacher of pagans had strong enough faith and knew all the mysteries and yet he adds: “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Php 3:12). And even more: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto the inaccessible reward which I am to strive for” (Php 3:13—14). Clearly, he is talking about the resurrection of the dead, but it will come in due course, for he says to Galatians: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap” (Gal 6:9). And he says to Timothy about Onesiphorus: “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day” (2 Tim 1:18). He urges him to observe the commandment purely and irreproachably until that day — until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will be revealed in due time by the blessed and only Ruler, King of kings (1 Tim 6:14—15), that is, by God. Peter also talks about these times in Acts: “Repent and see to it that your sins are blotted out so that the times of refreshing might come to you from the presence of God and so that He would send you the appointed Christ, whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets” (Act 3:19—21).

Chapter 25.

Similarly, the book of Revelation indicates a certain sequence of times which even the souls of martyrs learned to endure while crying out for vengeance and judgment from under the altar so that the world might first drink of its sufferings from the bowls of the angels, so that the harlot city would meet its doom together with the ten kings, and so that the Antichrist (Beast) and his false prophet would begin persecuting the church, and so that, after the temporary imprisonment of the devil in the abyss, the first resurrection would be announced from the heavenly thrones, after which (when the devil is finally cast into the fire), the judgement of the resurrection would be proclaimed according to the books [see Rev 6:9—11; 15:7; 16:1; 17:12; 19:19—20; 20:4—12]. So, since Scripture points out the order of the end times, connecting the whole fruit of Christian hope to the end of the age, it is clear that either everything that God has promised to us will be fulfilled at that time (and, therefore, all that the heretics promise to us on the earth is false) or — if the greatest of mysteries is our resurrection itself — that even in this case one can believe in everything predicted for the end of the world without in the least denying the above opinion. Moreover, since one resurrection is interpreted as spiritual, it follows that the other must be bodily, because if nothing had been proclaimed about the [end] times, then there would only have been one resurrection, that is, a spiritual one. But if there is a resurrection proclaimed for the end times, it must be a bodily resurrection, because no spiritual resurrection is predicted along with it. This spiritual resurrection would have to be either happening now, regardless of the difference in time, or then — at the end of the age. So, it is more fitting for us to defend the spiritual resurrection taking place at the point of our turning to faith, but we also recognize that the full resurrection will take place at the end of the age.

Excerpt from “Against Marcion”, book 3:

Chapter 24. About the millennial Kingdom on earth

1. “Certainly,” you say, “I expect from him what will be the evidence for the difference <between the two gods> — the divine kingdom of the eternal heavenly dominion. But your Christ promises to restore to the Jews their former status after returning them to the land, and then, after death — to comfort them in the realm of the dead, that is, in the bosom of Abraham” [compare Lk 16:22]. O, what a kind god if he should, after getting appeased, restore to us that which he took away in anger! Your god [i.e. the way you portray him] both smites and heals [compare Deut 32:39; Job 5:18], causes calamities and creates the world [compare Is 45:7]! O god who is merciful even to the dead!

2. <I will comment> on the bosom of Abraham in due course. As for the restoration of Judea (which the Jews expect to happen exactly as it is described, deceived as they are by the names of places and countries), it would take a long time to investigate the manner in which the allegorical interpretation, spiritual by its outward appearance and fruit, refers to Christ and the Church. It is a subject for another book which we entitled “The Hope of the Faithful” [“De spe fidelium” is one of Tertullian’s lost works]. Besides, it would be unnecessary now because we are concerned with the heavenly promise, not the earthly one.

3. After all, we confess that we have been promised [the millennial] Kingdom on earth, but <it will come> before <our ascent to> heaven, and it will be a different Kingdom <than the one that the Jews are looking for> because it is found in the city of Jerusalem which is not made by hands and which the Apostle calls “our mother from above” [compare Gal 4:26]. And after <our> resurrection, it will be brought [Croymann’s conjecture. In the manuscript, this word refers to Jerusalem] from heaven to earth for a thousand years [compare Rev 20:6]. And by saying that our country, that is, our citizenship, is in heaven [compare Php 3:20], he, naturally, connects it with a certain heavenly city.

4. Ezekiel also knew about this city [compare Ezek 48:30—35], and the Apostle John saw [compare Rev 21:2, 9—14] and confirmed the word of the new prophecy which abides with our faith so as to predict that the earthly copy of this city, <shown> to us before its revelation, would become a sign. In recent times, it happened during the Eastern expedition. After all, even pagan accounts contain stories about a city floating around above Judea for forty days every morning. The apparition would gradually dissipate with the light of day, and in other cases it disappeared immediately.

5. We say that this city was prepared by God for the saints who will dwell in it after their resurrection. They will be strengthened with every kind of abundance, which is, certainly, of a spiritual nature — to compensate for everything we have denied or left behind in this present age, for, after all, it is only just and fair for God to ensure that His servants are overjoyed where they were persecuted for his name. This is the meaning of the Kingdom <under heaven> [Croymann’s conjecture. In the manuscript: “heavenly”].

6. After the thousand-year Kingdom, during which the resurrection of the saints will be completed as they rise from the dead at different times according to the merits of each, and after the destruction of the world and the judgment of fire [Et mundi destructione et iudicii conflagratione commissa, demutati in atomo in angelicam substantiam <…> transferemur in caeleste regnum. Compare: Et istas ego receperim causas, <…> et illam quae in conflagratione nostris placet hoc quoque transferendam puto (Sen. Nat. Quaest, III, 29,2)], we shall change in the twinkling of an eye [compare 1 Cor 15:52: ev atomo] to an angelic state, being clothed with incorruptibility <as described by the Apostle> [compare 1 Cor 15:52—53]. And we shall be taken up to the Kingdom of Heaven which is now being re-evaluated <in such a way> as if it had not been foretold by the Creator and as if it would, consequently, prove that Christ had belonged to another god, who, allegedly, was the first and only one to have revealed it.

7. Know now that this <Kingdom> was foretold by the Creator and must be considered as <staying> with the Creator. What do you think: when the seed of Abraham, after receiving the first promise that they would become as countless as the sand on the seashore, received also their calling of becoming like unto the stars [compare Gen 22:17], isn’t this a sign of both earthly and heavenly blessings? When Isaac, blessing his son Jacob, says: “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth” [compare Gen 27:28] — are these not examples of both of these mercies?

8. One should finally consider the structure of the blessing itself. Indeed, with respect to Jacob who is a symbol of a later and a better people, that is, of our people, the first promise is the promise of the heavenly dew and the second one of the earthly abundance. For we are first invited to enjoy the heavenly blessings after we have rejected the world, and thus we subsequently prove that we have been predestined to inherit also the earth. And your Gospel [i.e. the Gospel of Luke distorted by the Marcionites] also testifies: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and this will be added to you as well” [see Lk 12:31].

9. However, he first gives to Esau [Croymann’s conjecture. In the manuscript: “he first promises”] the blessing of the earth and then adds to it the heavenly things by saying: “Thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above” [see Gen 27:39]. In Esau, the Jews, who are firstborn by nature yet inferior to others in love, having been satiated through the Law with earthly blessings, are redirected towards heavenly blessings through the Gospel by faith. But when Jacob sees in a dream a staircase spanning the earth and heaven, and angels ascending and descending, and the Lord standing on it [compare Gen 28:12—13], will it be reckless to interpret it as pointing to the right way to heaven [Tertullian refutes Marcion who claimed that, according to Jewish beliefs, the dead remain in hell] through which some ascend, others descend, [Croymann assumes a lacuna here: “and since the Lord is standing above, both are done by the Lord’s decree”] as determined by the Lord’s decree?

10. Why did he, after waking up [compare Gen 28:16] and getting terrified at this place, immediately start interpreting his dream? Having said: “How dreadful is this place!” he adds: “This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” [compare Gen 28:17]. For he beheld Christ the Lord who is the Temple of God [see Jn 2:19—21] and the gate [see Jn 10:7], <the Lord> through whom we go to heaven. And, of course, he would not have mentioned the gates of heaven if the Creator had made it impossible to go to heaven. But the gates are open, and there is a <road> [Croymann’s insert] leading <there>, already paved by Christ, of whom Amos <says>: “He who prepares His ascension into heaven” [see Am 9:6]. Naturally, He prepared it not just for Himself but also for His own who will remain with Him.

11. For he says: “You shall be clothed in them like in a bride’s adornment” [see Is 49:18]. Thus the Spirit marvels at those who strive to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because of that ascension, saying: “They fly like unto kites [Neither the Septuagint nor the Vulgate mention kites. The Septuagint: ‘Who are these that fly (petantai) like unto clouds and like unto pigeons with their young (sun neossois)?’ Compare Job 5:7: "<…>, but the kite chicks (neossoi) fly (petontai) to high places”. The original: “as the sparks fly upward”], like clouds and like young doves fly to Me [see Is 60:8], that is, simply like doves. After all, according to the Apostle, we will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord [see 1 Thess 4:17], that is, the Son of Man [compare Dan 7:13] who treads on the clouds and about whom Daniel testifies. So we will always be with the Lord [compare 2 Col 5:8] as long as <He is present> on earth and in heaven, summoning as witnesses even the elements for the sake of the ungrateful in both Covenants [Lit.: “promises”]: “Listen, o heaven, and give ear, o earth” [see Is 1:2].

12. And even if Scripture did not reach out to me this hand of heavenly hope time and time again, I would still have waited for this promise <from heaven> for I already have the earthly grace. I would have expected something from heaven, from God who is the Lord of both heaven and earth. So, I would have believed that Christ who had promised to give us the heavenly things belonged to Him who had also promised us earthly blessings — who had made the lesser the proof of the greater, and who had left the proclamation of this unprecedented Kingdom, if you will, to Christ alone, so that the earthly glory would be proclaimed through servants, and the heavenly glory through the Lord Himself [Croymann’s conjecture. In the manuscript: “from God”].

13. But you argue that Christ is different based on the fact that He is proclaiming a new Kingdom. First, give me an example of the grace of <your god> so that I would have no reason to doubt the reliability of such a great promise in which I have put my trust. For I have been taught to be cautious. First of all, of course, you should prove that the one who, allegedly, promises to us heavenly things actually possesses some sort of heaven. For now you are inviting us to dinner but do not show us the house; you are speaking of a Kingdom but you do not show the royal palace. How does [Croymann’s conjecture. In the manuscript: “Does your Christ promise a heavenly kingdom without possessing any heaven because (literally: how) he represented mankind without putting on flesh?”] your Christ promise a heavenly Kingdom without possessing any heaven? How did He represent mankind without putting on our flesh? Oh, there is a ghost in everything! Oh, what a [Croymann’s conjecture. In the manuscript: “the great (promise)”] deceit with regard to the promise!

St. Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170 — 235)

Fragment from “Heads against Gaius”

(The text is quoted by Dionysius Barsalibi “Commentary on the Apocalypse” [Ms. Rich. 7185, f. 9v-10r]):

And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up and sealed the bottomless pit upon him, in order that he should not deceive the nations till the thousand years should be fulfilled: after that, he must be loosed a little season (Rev 20:2—3).

On this Gaius the heretic objected: that Satan is bound here, according to that which is written, that Christ went up into the strong man’s house and bound him, and spoiled his goods for us (Mt 12:29).

Hippolytus answered this and said: If the Devil has been bound, how does he deceive the faithful and persecute and plunder men? And if you say that he has been bound as regards the faithful, how did he draw near against Christ, Him who aid no sin? according to the text, The Prince cometh and findeth no sin in me (Jn 14:30). And if then he has been bound, how did the Lord teach us to pray, that we should be delivered front the evil one (Mt 6:13)? And why did he desire to tempt Simon and the Apostles (Lk 22:31)? And how was one who had been bound able to sift and trouble the disciples?

And truly for us the conflict is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12). If he had been bound, he would not maintain the conflict, or catch away the word which was sown (Mt 13:19), as is said in the Parable of the Seed. That He has bound the strong man; the meaning of it is this: that He has rebuked and cast scorn on those who did not come unto Him when He went against the Devil in order to purify them from his bondage and make them sons unto the Father.

And this is proved by what He said just after, that he that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad (Mt 12:30). Accordingly, in the end of times, the Devil is to be bound and to be flung into the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1—3), when the Lord comes; even as Esaias hath said, that the wicked shall be taken away in order that he see not the glory of the Lord (Is 26:10 [LXX, Syr. Hex.]).

And the number of the years is not the number of days, but it represents the space of one day (2 Pet 3:8), glorious and perfect; in which, when the King comes in glory with His slain, the creation is to shine: according to the text, The sun shall shine sevenfold (Is 30:26); while the righteous eat with Him and drink of His vine. This is the day which the Lord hath made (Ps 118:24 [Ps 117:24 rus]), which David spoke of.

Accordingly, when with the eye of the spirit John saw the glory of that day, he likened it to the space of a thousand years; according to the saying, One day in the world of the righteous is as a thousand years (2 Pet 3:8). And by the number he shows that day to be perfect, for those that are faithful.

But as for what he has said, that after the thousand years he [Satan] shall be loosed, and shall deceive the nations (Rev 20:7—8), it is this: that justly he is to be loosed, and to be cast into the burning, and to be judged (Rev 20:10); with those who from old time were gathered together with him, when he gathered the strangers of the kingdom, and Gog and Magog (Rev 20:8).

(Translated from the syriac: John Gwynn, Hippolytus and his “Heads against Caius [Gaius]”).

Excerpt from “On Christ and the Antichrist”:

(65) Daniel also speaks about the resurrection and the Kingdom of the saints: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2). Isaiah says: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise… for thy dew is as the dew of herbs” (Is 26:19 LXX). The Lord says: “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (Jn 5:25). The prophet says: “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph 5:14). John says: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power. This is the second death — the lake of fire” (Rev 20:6,14). “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun shines in its glory” (Mt 13:43). He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34). And what will He say to the wicked? “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41) by My Father”. John also says: “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev 22:15). Their part in the lake which burneth with fire (Rev 21:8). Similarly, Isaiah says: “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Is 66:24).

(66) Paul writes to the Thessalonians about the resurrection of the righteous: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:13—17).

Excerpt from the “Commentary on the book of Daniel”:

Book 4.

(16) But someone will ask: when will it be? (Mt 24:3) When and at what time will this man of sin be revealed, and what is the day of the Lord’s coming? So the disciples wanted to learn the exact time from the Lord but He hid it from them in order to encourage them and all of us to look ahead into the future and expect the Bridegroom of heaven every day — so that they would not slack off, become careless, and, having fallen asleep, lose their eternal life on account of the Lord’s delay (Mt 25:5). “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Mt 24:42; compare Mt 25:13; Mk 13:35). That’s why He says: “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 24:46—51). “Therefore be ye also ready” (Mt 24:44; Mk 13:37). This is what the Lord Himself states in the Gospels while admonishing his disciples. In the same way, after the resurrection, the disciples asked Jesus again: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” He answered: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Act 1:6—8).


(22) Why do you wish to know the time and day of the Lord’s coming if the Savior Himself has hidden it from us? Tell me, do you know the day of your death? Why then are you curious about the end of the whole world? If the Lord in His abundant mercy had not been patient, everything would have perished long ago. See what John also says in the Apocalypse: “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for (the name of Jesus) [preaching the word of God], and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, (O Lord, our God), holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev 6:9—11). So, even if martyrs who shed their blood for the sake of Christ are commanded to be patient, then why don’t you persevere so that [in this way] others might be saved and so that the number of the saints who are called might increase?

(23) But so that we do not leave [here] this question unresolved — for men are curious — we will speak out of our need and about something we should not be speaking of. By calculating time from the creation of the world and from Adam, we can easily find what we are looking for. The fact is that the first coming of our Lord in the flesh happened in Bethlehem, eight days before the January calends, on Wednesday, in the forty-second year of Augustus. It was the year 5500 from Adam. He suffered in the year 33, eight [days] before the April calends, on Friday, in the 18th year [of the reign] of Tiberius Caesar during the consulship of Rufus and Rubelion and <Gaius Caesar who was [consul] for the fourth time, and Gaius Sentius Saturninus>. So, these six thousand years must be fulfilled for the Sabbath <rest, the holy day, in which “God rested from all his work which he had made” (Gen 2:3) to come>. For the Sabbath is also an image and likeness of the Kingdom of the saints which is to be revealed, even as John says in the Apocalypse — they will reign together with Christ after He comes down from heaven. Indeed, for the Lord one day is like a thousand years. So just as God created all things in six days, so six thousand years must be fulfilled. But they have not yet been fulfilled, according to John: “Five are fallen, and one is”, that is, “the other is not yet come” (Rev 17:10). “The other” means the seventh day which will be the day of rest.

(24) But in any case, someone will ask: how can you prove that the Savior was born in the year 5500? Easily. What was written by Moses regarding the tabernacle of old, built in the desert, was an image and likeness of the spiritual mysteries. And indeed, with the coming of this very truth in the last days, i.e. with the coming of Christ, you can see all this fulfilled. [The Lord] commands him: “Make an Ark [of the Covenant] of shittim wood… thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about...two cubits and a half shall be the [length] thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof” (Ex 25:10—11). So, if you add it all up you will get five and a half cubits which stand for 5500 years — when the Savior, born of a Virgin, brought to the earth the Ark of His body, overlaid with pure gold on the inside, that is, with the Word, and with the Holy Spirit on the outside. And in such a way the truth and the ark were revealed. So, we must add 500 years to Christ’s birth, which remain until the completion of the six thousand years, and then the end will come. John confirms that the Savior came into the world bringing an imperishable ark, that is, His body, in the year 5500: “It was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour” (Jn 19:14). This indicates half a day. Since the day of the Lord is like a thousand years, half a day is five hundred years. He could not come before this time because the yoke of the law was still there, nor at the end of the sixth [millennium] — for this is when the baptism ceases — but [precisely] after five and a half [thousand] years so that the Gospel might be preached to the whole world in the remaining half the time. And then, after the sixth day, the present world would cease. And since the Persians reigned for 230 years, and after them, the Romans reigned with even greater glory for 300 years, it is, therefore, necessary that the fourth beast, who is stronger and mightier than all the former ones, should reign for 500 years. After this time, when the ten horns have grown out of this [kingdom] in the last days, the Antichrist will appear from among them. When he begins his fight against the saints and starts persecuting them, then we should expect the appearance of our Lord from heaven. Then He, the King of kings, will appear again, openly, and, as the Judge of judges, He will come forth with confidence and glory. In a word, everything that has already been set by God and announced through His prophets — all this will be fulfilled in due course.


(55) The king that they set up [the Antichrist], worshiped by all, made himself the abomination of desolation to the world; he will reign for a thousand two hundred and ninety days. And, as Daniel says, the abomination of desolation will last for one thousand two hundred and ninety days. “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (Dan 12:11—12). In fact, when the abomination sets in and begins its fight against saints, those who are able to endure its domination and persevere for the following forty-five days, until the end of Pentecost — only those will attain to the Kingdom of Heaven. After all, the Antichrist, intending to receive the inheritance together with Christ, will only remain for a part of this [i.e. final] Pentecost. That’s why Isaiah says: “Let the ungodly be taken away, that he see not the glory of the Lord” (Is 26:10 LXX). Paul says in the letter to the Thessalonians: “The Lord shall consume [the Wicked] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess 2:8). And the Kingdom will be inherited by the saints together with Christ (compare Dan 7:27; Mt 25:34; Rev 20:6).

Commodian of Gaza (3rd century)

Excerpt from “Carmen apologeticum adversus judaeos et gentes”, also known as “Carmen de duobus populis”:

...The law and the prophets proclaim who is worthy of God’s heaven,

And reveal the secrets of the golden age.


In addition, he adds that we will be immortal,

To enjoy what the eye hath not seen before.

After the six thousand years have passed…

Excerpt from “Instructiones adversus gentium deos pro christiana disciplina”:

[…] A city will descend from heaven in the first resurrection.

And what shall we say about this heavenly creation?

We shall all rise who were faithful to Him.

They will be incorruptible, and life will be untouched by death,

There will be no more illness or sighing.

Only those will enter the city who were victorious in the times of the Antichrist

In martyrdom they have gained life forever and ever.

They will receive good things, for they have suffered through tribulations.

They will marry, and they will bring forth offspring

In the course of a thousand years, and earthly tributes will be given to them.

For the earth will bring them forth and renew them without end.

Shower rains will not come, nor will this golden fortress be touched by cold,

And there will be no siege, as it is now, nor robbery.

The city will not want the light of lamps,

For the Creator Himself will be its light, and night will be no more.

It will be twelve thousand stadia in length, width, and hight,

Its root will abide in the earth, and its head will rise to heaven.

And before the gates of the city, the sun and the moon will shine,

The evil one will be captured in anguish for the sake of nourishing the righteous,

For a thousand years God will keep him in chains. […]

St. Victorinus of Petava (230 303/304)

Excerpt from “On the Creation of the World”:

4. On the fifth day, earth and water yielded their fruit [see Gen 1:20—23]. On the sixth day, all that was still lacking was made. Because of this, God made the man out of the earth [see Gen 2:7] and set him as the ruler over all things that God created on earth and under water [see Gen 1:28]. However, before [man], God created angels and archangels, thus setting the spiritual principle above the earthly one. The light was created before the heaven and earth. The sixth day is called Friday [Paraskeva], or the preparation for the Kingdom [see Rev 5:10; 20:4]. God created Adam in His image and likeness [see Gen 1:26]. He created angels, as well as man, after finishing all His works so that neither man nor angels could claim to have been His helpers in the creation of the world.

5. On the seventh day, God rested from all his works, and He blessed and sanctified them [Gen 2:2—3]. This day we honor above all other days because on the Day of the Lord we partake of the Bread with thanksgiving. And Friday becomes our fast so that it would not seem as if we were observing the Sabbath together with the Jews, for the Lord of the Sabbath, Christ [Mt 12:8], said through the prophets that His soul hates the Sabbaths [Is 1:13—14] because He had fulfilled the Sabbath in His body. However, even before that, He had commanded Moses about the circumcision that should be performed no later than on the eighth day [see Lev 12:3], which often falls on the Sabbath as we read in the Gospels [see Jn 7:22]. Moses, seeing that these people are hard-hearted, lifted his hands and crucified himself in the battle waged by an enemy on the Sabbath [see Is 17:8—13], so that they would be captured and learn through the strictness of the law the doctrine which they had been neglecting.

6. And that’s why in the sixth psalm, David pleads with the Lord about the eighth day, asking him not to rebuke him in anger, nor chasten him in hot displeasure [Ps 6:1 (Ps 6:1—2 rus)]. This is indeed the eighth day of this coming judgment, which will be taken outside of the order of events during that week. Joshua, the successor of Moses, also broke the Sabbath. For he commanded the sons of Israel to go around the walls of Jericho with the sound of trumpets and declare war on the enemy on the Sabbath day [see Josh 6:3, 15]. Mattathias, the leader in Judea, broke the Sabbath rest, putting to death the commander Antiochus, the king of Syria, on a Sabbath and pursuing his enemies on the same day [see 1 Macc 2:25, 41, 47]. In Matthew [see Mt 12:3—5], we find a similar text. Isaiah and some of his followers [see Is 1:13; Hos 2:13] broke the Sabbath to keep the true Sabbath of the seventh millennium. Therefore, by each of these seven days, the Lord individually points to the Millennium. For it says: “For a thousand years in thine eyes are but as one day” [Ps 90:4 (Ps 89:5 rus); 2 Pet 3:8]. Therefore, each millennium is “in the eyes of God”, and there are seven eyes of the Lord, according to my calculations [Zech 4:10]. As I have mentioned earlier, this is the reason why the true Sabbath is the seventh millennium, in which Christ will reign with his elect [see Rev 20:6].

Excerpt from “Commentary on the Apocalypse”:

19 And a white horse, and one sitting upon him shows our Lord coming with the heavenly army to reign, at Whose coming all the nations will be gathered [Rev 19:11—16], and will fall by the sword [Rev 19:21]. And others who were nobles will serve in the service of the saints [Rev 20:4]; and of these (nobles) also he shows they will be killed in the end time, at the finish of the reign of the saints, before the judgment, after the release of the devil [Rev 20:7—8]. On these all the prophets likewise agree.

20,1 And the scarlet devil is imprisoned and all his fugitive angels in the Tartarus of Gehenna at the coming of the Lord; no one is ignorant of this [Rev 20:1—3]. And after the thousand years he is released, because of the nations which will have served Antichrist: so that they alone might perish, as they deserved [Rev 20:7—10]. Then is the general judgment. Therefore he says: And they lived, he says, the dead who were written in the book of life, and they reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first resurrection: toward this one the second death has no power [Rev 20:4—6]. Of this resurrection, he says: And I saw the Lamb standing, and with him 144 thousands, that is, standing with Christ, namely those of the Jews in the last time who become believers through the preaching of Elijah, those who, the Spirit bears witness, are virgins not only in body, but also in language [Rev 14:1—5]. Therefore, as he reminds above, the 24 elder-aged said: Grace we bring to You, O Lord God who has reigned; and the nations are angry [Rev 11:16—18].

20,2 At this same first resurrection will also appear the City and the splendid things expressed through this Scripture [Rev 21:2, 10]. Of this first resurrection Paul also spoke to the Macedonian church, thus: For as we have thus said to you, he says, by the Word of God, that at the trumpet of God, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven for raising up; and the dead in Christ will stand first, then we who are living, as we will be taken up with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord [1 Thess 4:16—17]. We have heard the trumpet spoken of; it is observed that in another place the Apostle names another trumpet. Therefore he says to the Corinthians: At the last trumpet, the dead will rise, will become immortal, and we will be changed [1 Cor 15:51—52]. He says the dead will be be raised immortal for bearing punishments, but it is shown that we are to be changed and to be covered in glory. Therefore where we hear “the last trumpet,” we must understand also a first, for these are two resurrections. Therefore, however many were not previously to rise in the first resurrection and to reign with Christ over the world, over all nations, will rise at the last trumpet, after the thousand years, that is, in the last resurrection, among the impious and sinners and perpetrators of various kinds. He rightly adds, saying: Blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first anastasis: toward this one the second death has no power [Rev 20:7]. For the second death is being thrown into hell.

21,1 Therefore in the kingdom and in the first resurrection appears the holy city, of which he speaks, descending from heaven [Rev 21:2, 10], foursquare, walled around with stones of different and precious and coloured and various kinds, like fine gold, that is, bright [Rev 21:12—20]. In crystal, he says, is its street paved [Rev 21:21]; the river of life flowing through the middle, and springs of waters of life; the tree of life around it, making different fruits for every month [Rev 21:1—2]; no light of the sun is there, because of a greater glory. The Lamb, he says, is its light [Rev 21:11, 23; 22:1—5].

21,2 Its gates, truly, are each a single pearl, three from each part, not closed, but to be open [Rev 21:21, 25]. Scripture shows many reasons for the gifts of the kings of regions and nations, (kings) who will be servants, being brought there: he speaks of the subjection of the last ones, which we have treated. But the city is not thus understood, as one (?) we have known; for we are not able to testify any further, without a guide, to that which we have heard and seen. Otherwise, the city is spoken of as all those provinces of the Eastern region promissed to the Patriarch Abraham. Look, he says, to the heavens, from the place in which you are now standing [Gen 13:14], that is, from the great river Euphrates to the river of Egypt [Gen 15:18]; all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your seed [Gen 13:15]. Finally, the Holy Spirit says: It will be ruled from sea to sea, that is, from the Red Sea, which is in Arabia, to the North Sea, which is the Sea of Phoenicia, and to the ends of the earth [Ps 72:8 (Ps 71:8 rus)]: which are the major parts of Syria. Therefore, all these provinces are to be levelled and cleansed at the coming of the Lord and (His) brightness descending from heaven like a cloud, outshining the brightness of the sun, and are shown contained in the circuit (of its walls).

21,3 For as the Holy Spirit has also testified through Isaiah: Like a smoke of light burning with fire; with all the glory it will be covered [Is 4:5]; and in another place he says, Shine, Jerusalem! For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen for you. For the sun will not illuminate for you by day, nor the moon for you by night; the Lord your God will be for you an eternal light [Is 60:1, 19—20]. And David says: And there will be on the earth a firmament above the peaks of the mountains, and his fruit will be exalted over that of Lebanon, and they of the city will flourish like the grass of the earth [Ps 72:16 (Ps 71:16 rus)]. And Daniel spoke of the stone cut out without hands to strike the statue having four in it, that is, gold and silver, bronze and iron, and clay in the last; and this stone, after it will have reduced the statue to dust, will become a great mountain, filling the whole earth [Dan 2:31—35]. And he interpreted the dream for the king, and says: You are, he says, the gold head, and your nation. Another kingdom, he says, will rise, lesser than you, and there will be a third kingdom which will rule the whole earth. And the fourth kingdom: very hard and very strong, like iron which subdues everything and cuts down every tree [Dan 2:37—40]. And in the end time, he says, like clay mixed with iron will men be mixed, and there will not be treaties nor agreement. i And in those times the Lord God will raise up another kingdom, which kingdom, he says, the saints of the Most High God will take up [Dan 7:18]. And this kingdom will not be captured by another nation; for God will strike and capture all the kingdoms of the earth, and His will remain forever [Dan 2:44].

21,4 Paul also, speaking to the Corinthians, recalled mention of His kingdom: He must reign until He puts His enemies under His feet [1 Cor 15:25]. The saints are spoken of in this kingdom: I have rejoiced [Ps 60:6 (Ps 59:8 rus)] just as we have have heard [Ps 48:8 (Ps 47:9 rus)]. In the same kingdom he will find those serving a perfect faith, of whom he says: they stood upon the sea of glass, having kitharas and bowls, that is, firmly established upon their baptism, and having their confession in their mouth, they are rejoicing there [Rev 5:8; 14:1—5; 15:2—4].

21,5 In this kingdom, He has promised to His servants, saying: Whoever will leave father or mother or brother or sister for the sake of My name will receive the reward of one hundred parts multiplied, both now, and also will in the future possess eternal life [Mt 19:29; Mk 10:29—30]. In this kingdom, those who have been defrauded of their goods because of the name of the Lord, and those many killed for all crimes and in prisons? and indeed before the coming of the Lord the Holy Prophets were stoned, killed, sawn [2 Chron 24:20—21; Mt 23:35; Lk 11:51; Rom 11:3]? they will receive their consolation [Mt 5:5], that is, heavenly crowns and riches. In this kingdom the Lord Himself has promised He will restore for the years in which the locust and the wingless locust and the corruption ate [Joel 2:25]. In this, all of creation will be saved and, by the command of God, will give forth the good things hidden in it. Then the saints will receive for bronze, gold, and for iron, silver [Is 60:17] and precious stones. In this place, He will send to them the riches of the sea and the excellent things of the nations [Is 60:5]. In this kingdom, the priests of the Lord will be called the servants of God [Is 61:6], just as they have been called sacrilegious. In this kingdom, they will drink wine [Is 25:6—7] and be anointed with ointments [Rev 3:18] and they will be given to rejoicing.

21,6 Of this kingdom, the Lord reminded the Apostles before He suffered, saying: I will not drink of this fruit of the vine any more, until when I will drink with you again in the coming kingdom [Mt 26:29], which is the hundred parts multiplied, ten times, a thousand times, to greater things and better things.

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