posted on Nov, 26 2003 @ 08:45 PM
Among numerous testimonies of the future Judgment, the most complete description of it we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew, 25:31-46: "When the Son
of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left …" See also: John 5:22-29, Mt. 16:27, 7:21-23, 11:22-24, 12:35-42, 13:37-43,
19:29-30, 25:31-46, Acts. 17:31, Jude 14-15, 2 Cor. 5:10, Rom. 2:5-7, 14:10, 1 Cor. 4:5, Eph. 6:8, Col. 3:24-25, 2 Thes. 1:6-10, 2 Tim. 4:1, Rev.
Through this pattern in Matthew one can learn about some particulars of the Last Judgment, namely, that it will be universal, extending to all peoples
— both living and dead, of both good and evil — and will extend to fallen angels as well, as inferred by other scriptural indications.
This Judgment will be solemn and open, as the Judge will appear before the face of the whole world in His Divine glory, surrounded by innumerable
It will be stern and fearful, being accomplished in the entirety of God's justice, and it will be "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous
judgment of God" (Rom. 2:5).
It will be final and decisive, determining for eternity the fate of each individual. Its results will be perpetual retribution — either blessedness
and bliss for the righteous, or rejection and torment for the condemned sinners.
Portraying in the brightest and most joyful details the eternal life of the righteous following the Universal Judgment,
the Word of God speaks just as emphatically and assuredly about the eternal torment of sinners: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting
fire prepared for the devil and his angels," will say the Lord on the day of Judgment. "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the
righteous into eternal life" (Mt. 25:41-46).
The place where sinners will be condemned after the Judgment is graphically represented in Holy Scripture as a place of horrible sufferings from
unquenchable fire and the undying worm.
The Lord called this place Gehenna, reminding the Jews of the dreadful valley to the south of Jerusalem in which evildoers were executed and in which
the city's rubbish was constantly burnt.
Similarly, St. Paul speaks of the "flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ" (2 Thes. 1:8).
In the book of Revelation this place of eternal sufferings is called the "lake of fire" (Rev. 19:20). Evidently these and other similar vivid
descriptions in the Scripture symbolically portray the severity of the punishments.
In considering these and similar arguments we should remember that it is not for us to determine the boundaries between the unutterable mercy of God
and His absolute justice.
We know the Lord "wishes that all will be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." However, man, through his own free will, is capable of
rejecting God's mercy and all His means of salvation. St. John Chrysostom, explaining the depiction of the Last Judgment in the Gospel of Matthew,
remarks: "When the Lord spoke of the Kingdom, He said: "Come you blessed ones, inherit the Kingdom," and added, "Which was prepared for you from
the beginning of creation. "But when He spoke of the fire, He didn't use the same words; instead He said that it was prepared for the devil and his
Thus He made the Kingdom for you, but the fire not for you, but for the devil and his fallen angels." (From the sermon on the gospel of Matthew). In
the book of Revelation St. John calls the condemnation at the Universal Judgment the second death.
Then death will lose all its power over the righteous: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death …
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory," states St. Paul (1 Cor. 15:26 and 54).
The book of Revelation predicts that then time will cease to exist.
Apparently in that eternal spiritual world not only will the sensation of the flow of time disappear, but also the very concepts of space and time
will be drastically different from what they are now.
Chapter 21 of the book of Revelation vividly depicts the blissful state of eternal life: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, as the previous
heaven and earth have gone, and the sea is no more." In the Kingdom of Glory all will be spiritual, immortal, and holy.
Most importantly, those attaining eternity in communion with God will become partakers of that perfect union with Him Who is the ultimate Source of
all life and happiness.
In particular, the new members of God's Kingdom share with the Angels the honor and happiness of seeing their Creator and Benefactor. They will
contemplate His glory, not as if through dim glass, not conjecturally, but face to face — and not only contemplate but also partake in His Divine
Life, shining like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
They will become co-heirs with Christ and will share with Him His glory (Rev. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:11-12). As the book of Revelation describes: "they shall
neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd
them and lead them to living fountains of water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." It will be as the prophet Isaiah summarizes: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered
into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (Rev. 7:16-17; Is. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9).
That's what I believe!