CHRISTIAN IDEAS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
Christ Appearing to Mary by Rembrandt Bodily resurrection is official dogma of Judaism but it is a doctrine that many modernist Jews have trouble accepting. It was incorporated into Judaism around 600 B.C. presumably from the Zoroastrian Persians. See Zoroastrianism.
In the Old Testament, Isaiah 26:19 reads: “dead corpses shall rise awake and sing.” After the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C., the Jews were exiled to Babylonia, where the Prophet Ezekiel predicted the resurrection of the Jews and described a field of dry bones that God told to "come together bone by bone" and lived again.
Jewish concepts of resurrection are believed to have been influenced by the Greeks and Egyptians. Judaism doesn’t talk much about judgement, which is different Christianity and Islam. It talks a little about some people being blessed and some being condemned but it doesn’t really have any episodes in which people stand before God, who judges them and sends them to heaven or hell.
During the period of upheaval that occurred after Greeks desecrated the Temple in 167 B.C. the idea of a resurrection gained more credibility. According to the Book of Daniel, written 165 B.C., “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that the Pharisees, a Jewish sect, “believe that souls are endowed with immortal power and that somewhere under the earth rewards and punishment will be meted out to them, according to whether they have lived vice or virtue. The former will be condemned to perpetual imprisonment, but the others will be allowed to return to life.”
Websites and Resources: Christianity Britannica on Christianity britannica.com//Christianity ; History of Christianity history-world.org/jesus_christ ; BBC on Christianity bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity ;Wikipedia article on Christianity Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/christ.htm ; Christian Answers christiananswers.net ; Christian Classics Ethereal Library www.ccel.org ; Bible: Bible Gateway and the New International Version (NIV) of The Bible biblegateway.com ; King James Version of the Bible gutenberg.org/ebooks ;
Early Christianity: Elaine Pagels website elaine-pagels.com ; Sacred Texts website sacred-texts.com ; Gnostic Society Library gnosis.org ; PBS Frontline From Jesus to Christ, The First Christians pbs.org ; Guide to Early Church Documents iclnet.org; Early Christian Writing earlychristianwritings.com ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Christian Origins sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Early Christian Art oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth212/Early_Christian_art ; Early Christian Images jesuswalk.com/christian-symbols ; Early Christian and Byzantine Images belmont.edu/honors/byzart2001/byzindex ;
Jesus and the Historical Jesus ; Britannica on Jesus britannica.com Jesus-Christ ; Historical Jesus Theories earlychristianwritings.com ; Wikipedia article on Historical Jesus Wikipedia ; Jesus Seminar Forum virtualreligion.net ; Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ bible.org ; Jesus Central jesuscentral.com ; Catholic Encyclopedia: Jesus Christ newadvent.org
Christian View of Judgement
Christians have a doctrine of two judgements: one for individual after death, and one for mankind at the end of the world.
The concepts of judgement was adapted by Zoroastrianism and passed on to Christianity and Islam ( See Zoroastrianism) and influenced by the Greeks. One of the first people to suggest the after death the soul was freed from the flesh and there was a judgement in which the Blessed were selected for the Elysian Fields (Greek heaven) was Plato.
Judaism doesn’t talk much about judgement. It talks a little about some people being blessed and some being condemned but it doesn’t really have any episodes in which people stand before God, who judges them and sends them to heaven or hell.
Last Judgment, See Below
Angels With Seven Trumpets The Book of Revelation is the final chapter of the Bible. Often incorrectly referred to as Revelations, it is a doomsday tale that describes the second coming of Christ, the End of the World and the Last Judgement with images of good people being pulled to heaven, bad people being attacked by locusts and Jesus fighting an epic battle with Satan in the sky. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Seven Seals, the Beasts with the mark 666 written on their foreheads, and the Whore of Babylon all came from Revelation.
Revelation it was written during the rule of the Roman Emperor Domitian (81 A.D. to 96) when there was great deal of upheaval in the Roman empire and Christians were persecuted. Although some people have taken it literary most scholars have regarded it as a symbolic warning to early Christians in Asia Minor to avoid being seduced by the paganism of Rome. Many of the events it describes are similar to what Jews expect to happen when their Messiah arrives..
In the A.D. third century, there was a great debate among Christian leaders on whether or not Revelation should even be included in the Bible. There were concerns that it would set off waves of fanaticism. St Augustine took the position that became the position of the Catholic church that Revelation was an allegory of good and evil in the church and the world.
According to the BBC: The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, has fascinated and puzzled Christians for centuries. With its vivid imagery of disaster and suffering - the Battle of Armageddon, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the hideous Beast whose number is 666 - many have seen it as a map to the end of the world. Some say it predicts global warming, AIDS and even the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But Biblical scholars, having studied the text and the social and political history of the time, have a different interpretation. [Source: BBC, August 4, 2009 |::|]
John, the Author of Revelation
Revelation was written around A.D. 95 by John of Patmos, a mysterious Christian prophet, sent to a prison for persecuted Christians on the Greek Island of Patmos after having a vision in a cave in the form of letter to seven major churches. While John was in prison, Domitan was assassinated and replaced by a more lenient emperor, Nerva, who decreed that Christians should be exiled rather than imprisoned. John was set free. According to one legend, when John went to Patmos all the inhabitants were pagans. When he left 18 months later he converted them all to Christianity.
According to the BBC: “The author of the text tells us that his name is John. Christian tradition has taken him to be the apostle John, author of the Fourth Gospel. However, the John of Revelation does not claim to be one of the disciples or to have known Jesus. Stylometric analysis, a process which analyses an author's style of writing, shows that the Book of Revelation and John's Gospel display more differences to each other than any other two books in the New Testament. [Source: BBC, August 4, 2009 |::|]
“What scholars can say about the John of Revelation is that he was a significant figure in the early church in the Roman province of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The text starts with a series of seven letters addressed to the Christian communities in seven important cities of the province - Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. He mentions details about these communities that indicate he knew and was known to them. Scholars conclude that John was a Jew from Palestine. His use of the Greek language indicates that he was not a native speaker but of a Semitic mother tongue, and he is very familiar with the Hebrew Bible. |::|
“John tells us in the text that he's writing from the island of Patmos and that he's there "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus". Christian tradition tells us that he was a prisoner of the Roman Empire, but again scholars disagree and say he may have been exiled to Patmos for being a bit troublesome or he may have gone there to preach. In any case, he was able to write (or more likely dictate to a scribe) and circulate the texts to the Christian communities. |::|
Revelation: an Expression of John’s Anger Towards Romans?
The Book of Revelation certainly contains some vivid and disturbing imagery and many have called it an angry text. John's anger has traditionally been understood to be directed at the Romans. According to the BBC: “Christians were certainly persecuted in Rome and the Emperor Nero blamed them for the devastating fire that destroyed much of Rome in 64CE, but there is no evidence for a systematic persecution of Christians in Asia Minor. Rome was a society that worshipped many gods and goddesses, each with their own temples. In the first century BCE people began to worship the Roman emperors and temples were built in their honour. This was blasphemy to Jews and the early Christians, who believed there was only one God and saw worship of other gods as idolatry. [Source: BBC, August 4, 2009 |::|]
“Academics believe that the development of this Imperial Cult made John angry and the Book of Revelation is a polemic against it and a warning to the Christians not to engage with it. The imagery shows that good triumphs over evil, that faithfulness will be rewarded and justice will be done. |::|
Events in Revelations
Durer's Dragon with Seven Heads According to Revelation, the Old Testament prophets and some other passages in the New Testament, the end of the world begins with an event, called the Rapture, in which all faithful Christians are suddenly pulled from the world while non-believers are left behind to face a series of tribulations — including fire, hail and blood falling from the sky; swarms of human-faced locusts that emerge through smoke from a bottomless pit; beasts with six wings and covered by eyeballs; horses with fire-breathing lion’s heads; a lamb with seven horns, vengeful angels dressed in clouds and rainbows — that unfold over a seven year period.
Also during the Tribulations a red dragon with six crowned heads and ten horns chases a woman, the seas turn to blood and everything in them died; cities and nations collapse, islands flee and mountains vanish in a colossal earthquake; birds invited to a huge feast “eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men.” At one point John wrote these events “must shortly come to pass.” Faithful Christians are spared these events because they have been raptured.
During the period of tribulations the world is ruled by the Antichrist, a charismatic but evil leader who makes peace with Israel only to break his word and persecute the Jews. The persecution of the Jews brings the major world powers to the Middle East, where the horrible battle of Armageddon takes places with satanic warriors led by prince named Gog, from a land in the north called Magog.
The battle ends with the return of Jesus and a celestial clash between Jesus and the Antichrist, with Jesus ultimately defeating the forces of evil and ushering in his 1000-year reign of peace and righteousness. After the 1000-year reign, the Last Judgement occur. The faithful are welcomed to heaven, the unrepentant are condemned and “a new city, a new Jerusalem” comes “down out of heaven from God.”
Meaning of Revelation
Much of the imagery — a kingdom of God established on Earth and series of plagues and pestilence — harks back to the Old Testament and was borrowed from the Old Testament prophets Ezekial, Isaiah, Zachariah and Daniel. It also has more parallels what Jews believed would happen during the coming of the Messiah than what Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God inside of us.
Binding of the Beast Other images from Revelation are believed to be connected with fears and wishes that early Christians had about Rome. Scholars now believe that the 666 was a coded reference to the Roman Emperor Nero, who is regarded as the model for the Antichrist, and that the seven headed beast was a symbol of the first seven Roman emperors.
The word apocalypse comes from Greek word “apo” for "uncovering” or "remove” and literally means “lifting of the veil.” Much of the current scenario of the end of the world is the work, John Nelson Dardy, an evangelical preacher who cobbled together passages from Revelation, the Old Testament prophets and some other passages in the New Testament to create the series of events mentioned above.
Megiddo (five miles southwest of Nazareth in Israel) is the traditional site of Armageddon, where the final battle between good and evil, described in the Book of Revelations, is supposed to take place. It is also the traditional home of one of King Solomon’s three fortified cities. Mentioned eight times in the Bible, Megiddo was a royal city that was founded around 4000 B.C. and abandoned around the 4th century B.C. It is located in the Jezreel Valley (known as the Valley of Mageddon in Book of Zachariah in the Bible) and is believed to have been selected as the site of Armageddon because this valley was the site of many important battles because of its location on a major road between Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Seven-Headed Beast and the Four Horsemen
The infamous seven-headed Beast that rises from the sea demanding to be worshipped symbolises Rome. By John's time seven emperors had ruled over Rome and Rome was known as the city of seven hills. According to the BBC: “The number of the Beast - 666 - has always puzzled Christians and led to many speculations about who this could be. Scholars now believe that this was a matter of numerology, a popular puzzle in ancient times. The letters of a name were ascribed numerical value and added up to give a number. The name of the Emperor Nero adds up to 666. Historians believe that Nero's persecution of Christians in Rome may have entered the consciousness of early Christians, making him a hate figure. [Source: BBC, August 4, 2009 |::|]
“However, evidence from ancient manuscripts indicates that 666 may not have been the number of the Beast. In the late 19th century, British archaeologists working at the site of the Egyptian city Oxyrhynchus discovered a cache of papyri that were brought to Oxford, where academics have been working their way through them ever since. One of these papyrus fragments is of the Book of Revelation and gives the number of the Beast as 616. Working on the same principle of numerology, academics work out 616 to indicate the Emperor Caligula. Caligula had had a statue of himself erected in the temple in Jerusalem, greatly offending Jews. If John indeed was a Jew from Palestine he would have known this. |::|
The image of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse is borrowed and updated from the Hebrew Prophet, Zachariah. The red horse symbolises war and destruction; the black horse symbolises famine; the pale horse symbolises death; the white horse symbolises vengeance and salvation. The word Armageddon is taken from al-Megiddo, a place on the Jazreel Plain in modern-day Israel. By John's time many famous battles had been fought there and in the first century it was the site of the camp of the brutal Roman Ironsides. |::|
“To John's mind this would have been the perfect place for the final battle between good and evil. So it seems that the Book of Revelation is not prophesising the end of the world but is a polemic against the Roman Empire. John frames his attack in a way that parallels other religious writings of the time and which would have made sense to early Christians. John was telling first century Christians to galvanise themselves against compromising with Rome, and that their faithfulness would be rewarded.” |::|
Second Coming of Jesus
In the Gospels there are references to Christ’s imminent return. Many of his followers thought it would happen soon after hid death. Matthew 24:42-44 reads: “So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming....you must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Evangelical Christians today believe that when the Jesus returns he will come down off the Mount of Olives and stride through the Golden Gate into Old City of Jerusalem. Jerry Fallwell told New Yorker believes during the seven-year Tribulation period the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt, Moses and Elijah will appear and be murdered in the streets of Jerusalem before an international television audience and rise from the dead three days later, setting off a global celebration followed by a mass resurrection of the dead. Then a man will appear and say he is Christ (but actually he is the Antichrist) and he will attract many Christian and Jewish followers, most of whom will die in the struggle between good and evil. Many evangelical Christians believe that three events need to take place for Christ to return and two of these have already occurred: the founding of Israel in 1948 and the restoration of the Jewish people to Jerusalem in 1967, which have fulfilled prophecies in the Bible that point the way to the second coming of Jesus Christ. For them the only prophecy that has not been fulfilled is the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
Some evangelical Christian groups have allied themselves with ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups because both groups want to see Muslims kicked off the Temple Mount and the Jewish Temple rebuilt as a fulfillment of their doomsday prophecies when Christians believe Jesus will return and ultra-Orthodox Jews believe the true Messiah will show up (which Christians believe is the False Messiah that will battle Jesus).
Revelation and End of World Scenarios
Some Christians see Revelation and warnings by the Old Testament prophets Ezekial, Zachariah and Daniel as predictions of the End of the wWorld. They often see certain world events as fulfillment of the prophecies and often weave in the own interpretations. Some Christians, for example, say the Antichrist will rule over a revived Roman Empire, enforce a “false” peace, create a heretical religion and declare himself God.
Doomsday Christians get excited every time a world tragedy happens, believing it’s a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, or an evil dictator comes to power because, believing him to be a possible Antichrist. Over the years Mohammed, Napoleon, Hitler, Saddam Hussein and even Gorbachev have been proposed as Antichrist candidates.
Doomsday scenarios have also been the basis of number of popular films (and many unpopular ones too) and best-selling fiction (and purported non-fiction) books. The “Left Behind” series by Tim LeHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, which describes the events of Revelation as if they were to happened today, starting with people being snatched up to heaven from a plane when the Rapture begins, has sold tens of millions of copies. According to a 2002 Time-CNN poll 59 percent of Americans believe the prophecies of Revelation will come true and 36 percent said the Bible is the word of God and this should be taken literally .
Apocalypse and Christian End of World Fever
End-of-the-world fever fueled by the predications of Revelation and the Old Testament prophets periodically grips groups of Christians. Europe was plunged into a period of end-of-the-world fervor in the 11th century after Jerusalem was captured by Christians during the Crusades. End-of-the-world fever also occurred on the eves of year 1000 and the year 2000.
The latest wave of end-of-the-world fever has been fueled by the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 and the takeover of Jerusalem by the Israelis in 1967. These events, plus the building of a new Jewish Temple in Jerusalem were predicted by the Bible as occurring before the second coming of Jesus. Some Christian cult members have been even taken insurance polices if certain people disappear during the events leading up to the Second Coming.
Some evangelical Christians saw the Iraq war as the major war that would spark the end of the world. According to John in Revelations: “The sixth angel poured out his bowl in the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried to prepare the way for the kings from the East.” The kings will then move through the Euphrates Valley in Iraq to Har Megiddo (Armageddon). The Euphrates is mentioned again when the angles blow their trumpets as the Final Judgment nears. Then according to John 9:11 an army of locust is released by Abddon (Hebrew for destroyer, one of the meanings of the name Saddam).
“Millennialism, premillennialism and dispensationalism are all theories of the end of the world. Introduction According to the BBC: “Many Christian Churches are greatly concerned about the ultimate fate of everything in creation. They believe that God has a divine plan for the end of everything. The technical name for the subject of the end-times is eschatology (from the Greek word eschatos which means last). Many of the theories are inspired by the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible. [Source: BBC |::|]
“Much of the writing and teaching about the end times is apocalyptic, frightening and threatening, and it's important to remember that many mainstream churches do not believe that these teachings should be taken literally. But you can find a popular expression of these theories in the best-selling (over 63 million copies by 2010) Left Behind series of novels, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, which bring the ideas right up to date. |::|
“Some Christians do believe that the end of everything is going to happen soon. But don't panic; throughout recorded history people have believed that the end of the world is about to happen, and it hasn't happened yet.
According to the BBC: “Millennialism is the belief that Christ will rule the earth for a period of 1,000 years (the Millennium), and that this will be a good time when people accept Christ as King. At the end of this time Christ will judge the living and the dead. Modern millennialists are not dedicated to a period of 1000 years - the important idea is that there will be a period during which God's will is actually carried out on earth. [Source: BBC |::|]
“This is a very popular idea. It suggests that the world will be turned upside down and be taken over by the meek - or at least by the good and the righteous - and that this will be a time of peace and justice. It also implies a solution to the problem of evil (i.e. why does an all-good, all-powerful God allow evil to flourish unpunished or corrected) by showing that at the end of time there will be justice for everyone. Evildoers will be punished for their behaviour on earth and the good rewarded, as God balances the scales of justice at the end of time. |::|
“Millennialism comes in different flavours: 1) premillennialism; 2) postmillennialism; 3) amillennialism; 4) dispensationalism - partly a particular form of premillennialism popularised by J N Darby, founder of the Exclusive Brethren. Dispensationalism is also a doctrine of Bible interpretation.
According to the BBC: “Premillennialism is a doctrine particularly popular among Evangelical Protestants in North America. Other premillennial groups include Jehovah's Witnesses, the Exclusive Brethren, and Seventh-day Adventists. It's often mocked as the belief that "the end of the world is nigh". [Source: BBC |::|]
“Premillennialism is a pessimistic view of the world. It says that things are getting steadily worse on earth and will go on deteriorating until God has had enough and takes action in a way that will be catastrophic for humanity. Premillennialists believe the Second Coming of Christ will happen at the start of the Millennium (the 1000 year period when Christ rules the world). Before this period will come a time of destruction, war and disaster on earth, called the tribulation, which will be ended by God defeating evil at the battle of Armageddon. |::|
“Those who follow this doctrine have a very different view of Christ to that held by other Christians. As one church leader (Bob Edgar) put it, "[Premillennialists] see a Messiah who leads an army and kills the bad guys, we see Jesus coming as a man of peace." Although premillennialism is sometimes said to be only 200 years old, it's more like 2000 years old; early Christians held very similar beliefs about the Second Coming. |::|
According to the BBC: “Millions of Christians believe that the tribulation is a period immediately before the Millennium when God's judgement is carried out on the world and humanity endures great suffering. Most mainstream Christians think the doctrine of the tribulation should be regarded as a poetic or symbolic way of describing the eternal conflict between good and evil. However there are many millions who believe the doctrine of the tribulation is a literal and truthful description of what will happen sometime in the future. [Source: BBC |::|]
“During the tribulation the antichrist (Satan's emissary) will torture humanity, and God will go to war against the antichrist. The tribulation ends after seven years when God defeats the antichrist. The tribulation has provided the background to many novels and a great deal of prophetic writing. Most premillennialists believe that the Church will escape the Tribulation altogether, through the doctrine of the Rapture. |::|
“One group of premillennialists (called 'posttribulationists') believe that the righteous believers have to remain on earth throughout the tribulation, but that God keeps them safe. Dispensationalism, postmillennialism and amillennialism |::|
According to the BBC: “The Rapture is the event in which Christ carries the faithful believers off to heaven before the Tribulation. This word refers to a "taking up" of Christians, both alive and dead, at the return of Christ. The idea is based on 1 Thessalonians 4.17, which speaks of Christians who are alive being "caught up in the air" at Christ's return. Rapture derives from Latin for "to seize" (rapere, also the root for raptor, a bird of prey). [Source: BBC |::|]
“During the Millennium the believers will remain in heaven, and God will be working on earth with the people of Israel. Some Christians believe in the rapture, but disagree about the timing. Some think the rapture will occur at the end of the tribulation period and others believe it will occur in the middle. |::|
“This doctrine says that Christ will come to earth and take all the true believers to heaven before the Second Coming. Christians disagree as to exactly when in the "end times" this will happen, and the Bible itself doesn't explicitly say whether it will happen before, during or after the great tribulation. The rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4, which says that believers will be "raptured" or "caught up" (Latin: rapiemur) in the clouds to meet Christ in the air. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. [Source: BBC |::|]
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. — 1 Thessalonians 4 |::|
According to the BBC: “The antichrist is the enemy of God who appears during the final years of the world's existence and takes over the world. He is a very powerful and evil ruler who pretends to be God and appears to perform miracles. [Source: BBC |::|]
Satan as The Antichrist “Some beliefs about the antichrist are that: 1) he or she is already living in this world and we will soon discover who he/she is. 2) Throughout history various villains have been accused of being the antichrist. Popes have been accused by Protestants in the past of being the antichrist; the emperor Frederick II was another candidate. 3) the antichrist is an institution rather than an individual. A) So the Papacy itself, rather than individual popes, has been attacked as the antichrist. B) Following 9/11 some have accused Islam of being the antichrist. C) During the cold war the Soviet Union was sometimes called the antichrist. D) The United Nations, and the League of Nations have both been regarded as the antichrist. 4) heretics are the forerunners of the antichrist - this probably derives from the passage in 1 John that says "even now are there many antichrists..." |::|
“Some Christians believe that the antichrist will take over the earth at a time in the future and will bring great destruction until eventually overthrown by Christ. One modern writer (2002) has suggested that the antichrist will emerge as the leader of a European super-state, impose a peace settlement on Israel "and possibly her neighbours," get assassinated and then resurrected, win the Nobel Peace Prize and be named Time's Man of the Year; after these triumphs, he will set himself up as God and rule the world. |::|
“The Christian doctrine of the antichrist is a development of a similar Jewish belief, which makes it all the more regrettable that the antichrist doctrine has been used as a weapon of anti-Semitism. The Jewish references are found in the book of Daniel. Biblical references for the antichrist |::|
“The antichrist is only mentioned in the Bible by that title at 1 John 2:18: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. — 1 John 2:18 |::|
“But there are many other New Testament passages that have been regarded as referring to the antichrist. Here are a few of them: And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. — Revelation 11:7 ...Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. — Revelation 12. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. — Revelation 13 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition — Revelation 17 |::|
The Last Judgment
According to Matthew the Day of Judgement will occur “when the Son of man comes in his glory” and will be heralded by “angels with a loud trumpet” who stand at the four corners of the earth. On that day all people who have lived will be judged. Those have done good things and maintained their faith in God and Jesus will be separated from the wicked who are condemned “to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.” Jesus plays the role of a judge and redeemer who asks God to show mercy.
The Last Judgement is presided over by Jesus as the ruler of the world. The Book of Revelation 20:11-21:8 reads: “Then I saw a great white throne, and the One who sat upon it; from his presence earth and heaven vanished away, and no place was left for them. I could see the dead, great and small, standing before the throne; and books were opened. Then another book was opened, the roll of the living. From what was written in these books the dead were judged upon the record of their deeds.
Last Judgment by Michelangelo
“The sea gave up its dead,” the passage continues, “and Death and Hades gave up the dead in their keeping; they were judged each man on the record of his deeds. Then Death and Hades were flung into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is second death; and into it were flung any whose names were not to be found in the roll of the living.”
Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons except Rapture, You Tube
Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Christian Origins sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org; New International Version (NIV) of The Bible, biblegateway.com; “Egeria's Description of the Liturgical Year in Jerusalem” users.ox.ac.uk ; Complete Works of Josephus at Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL), translated by William Whiston, ccel.org , Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org, Frontline, PBS, “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994); National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018