VII. - The Church Intermediate Between the Shadows of the Law and the Realities of Heaven.

The apostles taught that the veil was the letter of the Torah that was to be removed to be able to see the true meaning of the future good things. The Tabernacle is a type and shadow of the church which was perceived more clearly to the Early Church. At the time of the resurrection will the heavenly tabernacle, the church, truly be made manifest, which is the church coming into immortality.

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If the law, according to the apostle, is spiritual, containing the images “of future good things,” come then, let us strip off the veil of the letter which is spread over it, and consider its naked and true meaning. The Hebrews were commanded to ornament the Tabernacle as a type of the Church, that they might be able, by means of sensible things, to announce beforehand the image of divine things. For the pattern which was shown to Moses (Exo_25:40) in the mount, to which he was to have regard in fashioning the Tabernacle, was a kind of accurate representation of the heavenly dwelling, which we now perceive more clearly than through types, yet more darkly than if we saw the reality. For not yet, in our present condition, has the truth come unmingled to men, who are here unable to bear the sight of pure immortality, just as we cannot bear to look upon the rays of the sun. And the Jews declared that the shadow of the image (of the heavenly things which was afforded to them), was the third from the reality; but we clearly behold the image of the heavenly order; for the truth will be accurately made manifest after the resurrection, when we shall see the heavenly tabernacle (the city in heaven “whose builder and maker is God” (Heb_11:10) “face to face,” and not “darkly” and “in part.” (1Co_13:12)

~Methodius- Ten Virgins Part 2 Vol. 6

XX. — God Showed Himself, by the Fall of Man, as Patient, Benign, Merciful, Mighty to Save. Man Is Therefore Most Ungrateful, if, Unmindful of His Own Lot, and of the Benefits Held Out to Him, He Do Not Acknowledge Divine Grace.

Understanding that through our faithfulness, gratitude and service to the father do we escape the destiny of our fleshly mortality and come into spiritual immortality. Jesus came to teach us the Torah of God so that we may come into is likeness and glory for God made man to be the inhabitance of His wisdom and glory.

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2. This, therefore, was the [object of the] long-suffering of God, that man, passing through all things, and acquiring the knowledge of moral discipline, then attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and learning by experience what is the source of his deliverance, may always live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from Him the gift of incorruptibility, that he might love Him the more; for “he to whom more is forgiven, loveth more:” (Luk_7:43) and that he may know himself, how mortal and weak he is; while he also understands respecting God, that He is immortal and powerful to such a degree as to confer immortality upon what is mortal, and eternity upon what is temporal; and may understand also the other attributes of God displayed towards himself, by means of which being instructed he may think of God in accordance with the divine greatness. For the glory of man [is] God, but [His] works [are the glory] of God; and the receptacle of all His wisdom and power [is] man. Just as the physician is proved by his patients, so is God also revealed through men. And therefore Paul declares, “For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that He may have mercy upon all;” (Rom_11:32) not saying this in reference to spiritual Aeons, but to man, who had been disobedient to God, and being cast off from immortality, then obtained mercy, receiving through the Son of God that adoption which is [accomplished] by Himself. For he who holds, without pride and boasting, the true glory (opinion) regarding created things and the Creator, who is the Almighty God of all, and who has granted existence to all; [such an one,] continuing in His love (Joh_15:9) and subjection, and giving of thanks, shall also receive from Him the greater glory of promotion, looking forward to the time when he shall become like Him who died for him, for He, too, “was made in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rom_8:3) to condemn sin, and to cast it, as now a condemned thing, away beyond the flesh, but that He might call man forth into His own likeness, assigning him as [His own] imitator to God, and imposing on him His Father’s law, in order that he may see God, and granting him power to receive the Father; [being] the Word of God who dwelt in man, and became the Son of man, that He might accustom man to receive God, and God to dwell in man, according to the good pleasure of the Father.

~Irenaeus- Against Heresies Book III Vol. 1 

XIX. Jesus Christ Was Not a Mere Man, Begotten from Joseph in the Ordinary Course of Nature, but Was Very God, Begotten of the Father Most High, and Very Man, Born of the Virgin.

As our Lord Yeshua overcame the human nature while in the body by way of the spirit so shall we overcome our human nature through the same spirit & be resurrected as the body of Christ just as the head was. The many mansions are not literal, they are speaking of resurrected bodies. 

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3. For as He became man in order to undergo temptation, so also was He the Word that He might be glorified; the Word remaining quiescent1 that He might be capable of being tempted, dishonored, crucified, and of suffering death, but the human nature being swallowed up in it (the divine), when it conquered, and endured [without yielding], and performed acts of kindness, and rose again, and was received up [into heaven]. He therefore, the Son of God, our Lord, being the Word of the Father, and the Son of man, since He had a generation as to His human nature from Mary — who was descended from mankind, and who was herself a human being — was made the Son of man. (Isa_7:13) Wherefore also the Lord Himself gave us a sign, in the depth below, and in the height above, which man did not ask for, because he never expected that a virgin could conceive, or that it was possible that one remaining a virgin could bring forth a son, and that what was thus born should be “God with us,” and descend to those things which are of the earth beneath, seeking the sheep which had perished, which was indeed His own peculiar handiwork, and ascend to the height above, offering and commending to His Father that human nature (hominem) which had been found, making in His own person the first-fruits of the resurrection of man; that, as the Head rose from the dead, so also the remaining pan of the body — [namely, the body] of every man who is found in life — when the time is fulfilled of that condemnation which existed by reason of disobedience, may arise, blended together and strengthened through means of joints and bands (Eph_4:16) by the increase of God, each of the members having its own proper and fit position in the body. For there are many mansions in the Father’s house, (Joh_14:2) inasmuch as there are also many members in the body.

~Irenaeus- Against Heresies Book III Vol. 1 

XIII. — The Resurrection Proved by Examples.

Blessed are those who believe without seeing. Some have an issue with believing in the resurrection because they need to physically see someone who has resurrected. However the Father has given us many examples on this earth the process of the resurrection.

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Then, as to your denying that the dead are raised — for you say, “Show me even one who has been raised from the dead, that seeing I may believe,” — first, what great thing is it if you believe when you have seen the thing done? Then, again, you believe that Hercules, who burned himself, lives; and that Aesculapius, who was struck with lightning, was raised; and do you disbelieve the things that are told you by God? But, suppose I should show you a dead man raised and alive, even this you would disbelieve. God indeed exhibits to you many proofs that you may believe Him. For consider, if you please, the dying of seasons, and days, and nights, how these also die and rise again. And what? Is there not a resurrection going on of seeds and fruits, and this, too, for the use of men? A seed of wheat, for example, or of the other grains, when it is cast into the earth, first dies and rots away, then is raised, and becomes a stalk of corn. And the nature of trees and fruit-trees, — is it not that according to the appointment of God they produce their fruits in their seasons out of what has been unseen and invisible? Moreover, sometimes also a sparrow or some of the other birds, when in drinking it has swallowed a seed of apple or fig, or something else, has come to some rocky hillock or tomb, and has left the seed in its droppings, and the seed, which was once swallowed, and has passed though so great a heat, now striking root, a tree has grown up. And all these things does the wisdom of God effect, in order to manifest even by these things, that God is able to affect the general resurrection of all men. And if you would witness a more wonderful sight, which may prove a resurrection not only of earthly but of heavenly bodies, consider the resurrection of the moon, which occurs monthly; how it wanes, dies, and rises again. Hear further, O man, of the work of resurrection going on in yourself, even though you are unaware of it. For perhaps you have sometimes fallen sick, and lost flesh, and strength, and beauty; but when you received again from God mercy and healing, you picked up again in flesh and appearance, and recovered also your strength. And as you do not know where your flesh went away and disappeared to, so neither do you know whence it grew, Or whence it came again. But you will say, “From meats and drinks changed into blood.” Quite so; but this, too, is the work of God, who thus operates, and not of any other.

~Theophilus- To Autolycus Book I Vol. 2

III. — The Power and Glory of God Shine Forth in the Weakness of Human Flesh, as He Will Render Our Body a Participator of the Resurrection and of Immortality, Although He Has Formed it from the Dust of the Earth; He Will also Bestow upon it the Enjoyment of Immortality, Just as He Grants it This Short Life in Common with the Soul.

The tribulations that we go through is to teach us the weakness of our mortality and to see how powerful God is in our lives. We learn from the infirmities that we go through that will lead us into a knowledge of God, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. This is the preparation for the resurrection. It is also understood by the Fathers that the resurrection of the dead would be as when Adam was formed out of the dust of the Earth.

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  1. The Apostle Paul has, moreover, in the most lucid manner, pointed out that man has been delivered over to his own infirmity, lest, being uplifted, he might fall away from the truth. Thus, he says in the second [Epistle] to the Corinthians: “And lest I should be lifted up by the sublimity of the revelations, there was given unto me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet And upon this I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. But he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee; for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore shall I rather glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2Co_12:7-9) What, therefore? (as some may exclaim:) did the Lord wish, in that case, that His apostles should thus undergo buffering, and that he should endure such infirmity? Even so it was; the word says it. For strength is made perfect in weakness, rendering him a better man who by means of his infirmity becomes acquainted with the power of God. For how could a man have learned that he is himself an infirm being, and mortal by nature, but that God is immortal and powerful, unless he had learned by experience what is in both? For there is nothing evil in learning one’s infirmities by endurance; yea, rather, it has even the beneficial effect of preventing him from forming an undue opinion of his own nature (non aberrare in natura sua). But the being lifted up against God, and taking His glory to one’s self, rendering man ungrateful, has brought much evil upon him. [And thus, I say, man must learn both things by experience], that he may not be destitute of truth and love either towards himself or his Creator. But the experience of both confers upon him the true knowledge as to God and man, and increases his love towards God. Now, where there exists an increase of love, there a greater glory is wrought out by the power of God for those who love Him.

 

  1. Those men, therefore, set aside the power of God, and do not consider what the word declares, when they dwell upon the infirmity of the flesh, but do not take into consideration the power of Him who raises it up from the dead. For if He does not vivify what is mortal, and does not bring back the corruptible to incorruption, He is not a God of power. But that He is powerful in all these respects, we ought to perceive from our origin, inasmuch as God, taking dust from the earth, formed man. And surely it is much more difficult and incredible, from non-existent bones, and nerves, and veins, and the rest of man’s organization, to bring it about that all this should be, and to make man an animated and rational creature, than to re-integrate again that which had been created and then afterwards decomposed into earth (for the reasons already mentioned), having thus passed into those [elements] from which man, who had no previous existence, was formed. For He who in the beginning caused him to have being who as yet was not, just when He pleased, shall much more reinstate again those who had a former existence, when it is His will [that they should inherit] the life granted by Him. And that flesh shall also be found fit for and capable of receiving the power of God, which at the beginning received the skillful touches of God; so that one part became the eye for seeing; another, the ear for hearing; another, the hand for feeling and working; another, the sinews stretched out everywhere, and holding the limbs together; another, arteries and veins, passages for the blood and the air; another, the various internal organs; another, the blood, which is the bond of union between soul and body. But why go [on in this strain]? Numbers would fail to express the multiplicity of parts in the human frame, which was made in no other way than by the great wisdom of God. But those things which partake of the skill and wisdom of God, do also partake of His power.

 

  1. The flesh, therefore, is not destitute [of participation] in the constructive wisdom and power of God. But if the power of Him who is the bestower of life is made perfect in weakness — that is, in the flesh — let them inform us, when they maintain the incapacity of flesh to receive the life granted by God, whether they do say these things as being living men at present, and partakers of life, or acknowledge that, having no part in life whatever, they are at the present moment dead men. And if they really are dead men, how is it that they move about, and speak, and perform those other functions which are not the actions of the dead, but of the living? But if they are now alive, and if their whole body partakes of life, how can they venture the assertion that the flesh is not qualified to be a partaker of life, when they do confess that they have life at the present moment? It is just as if anybody were to take up a sponge full of water, or a torch on fire, and to declare that the sponge could not possibly partake of the water, or the torch of the fire. In this very manner do those men, by alleging that they are alive and bear life about in their members, contradict themselves afterwards, when they represent these members as not being capable of [receiving] life. But if the present temporal life, which is of such an inferior nature to eternal life, can nevertheless effect so much as to quicken our mortal members, why should not eternal life, being much more powerful than this, vivify the flesh, which has already held converse with, and been accustomed to sustain, life? For that the flesh can really partake of life, is shown from the fact of it; being alive; for it lives on, as long as it is God’s purpose that it should do so. It is manifest, too, that

 

God has the power to confer life upon it, inasmuch as He grants life to us who are in existence. And, therefore, since the Lord has power to infuse life into what He has fashioned, and since the flesh is capable of being quickened, what remains to prevent its participating in incorruption, which is a blissful and never-ending life granted by God?

~Irenaeus- Against Heresies Book V Vol. 1

XXXIV. — He Fortifies His Opinions with Regard to the Temporal and Earthly Kingdom of the Saints After Their Resurrection, by the Various Testimonies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel; also by the Parable of the Servants Watching, to Whom the Lord Promised That He Would Minister.

Irenaeus uses scripture from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel to exemplify the Lord’s promise regarding the inheritance of the saints after their resurrection. Irenaeus describes a people who the Lord will gather together and restore them to their own land. He will heal their anguish and do away with their pain. Irenaeus states happy are the servants the Lord finds who are watchful in waiting for His return. The promise was made to the churches united to these from the nations which the Spirit termed “the islands,” because they were formed in the midst of turbulence, suffer the storms of blasphemies, exist as a harbor of safety to those in peril and are a refuge to those who love the height of heaven.

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  1. Then, too, Isaiah himself has plainly declared that there shall be joy of this nature at the resurrection of the just, when he says: “The dead shall rise again; those, too, who are in the tombs shall arise, and those who are in the earth shall rejoice. For the dew from Thee is health to them.” (Isa_26:19) And this again Ezekiel also says: “Behold, I will open your tombs, and will bring you forth out of your graves; when I will draw my people from the sepulchers, and I will put breath in you, and ye shall live; and I will place you on your own land, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Eze_37:12, etc.) And again, the same speaks thus: “These things saith the Lord, I will gather Israel from all nations whither they have been driven, and I shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the sons of the nations: and they shall dwell in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell in it in peace; and they shall build houses, and plant vineyards, and dwell in hope, when I shall cause judgment to fall among all who have dishonored them, among those who encircle them round about; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God, and the God of their fathers.” (Eze_28:25, Eze_28:26) Now I have shown a short time ago that the church is the seed of Abraham; and for this reason, that we may know that He who in the New Testament “raises up from the stones children unto Abraham,” (Mat_3:9) is He who will gather, according to the Old Testament, those that shall be saved from all the nations, Jeremiah says: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, who led the children of Israel from the north, and from every region whither they had been driven; He will restore them to their own land which He gave to their fathers.” (Jer_23:6-7)

 

  1. That the whole creation shall, according to God’s will, obtain a vast increase, that it may bring forth and sustain fruits such [as we have mentioned], Isaiah declares: “And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every prominent hill, water running everywhere in that day, when many shall perish, when walls shall fall. And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, seven times that of the day, when He shall heal the anguish of His people, and do away with the pain of His stroke.” (Isa_30:25, Isa_30:26) Now “the pain of the stroke” means that inflicted at the beginning upon disobedient man in Adam, that is, death; which [stroke] the Lord will heal when He raises us from the dead, and restores the inheritance of the fathers, as Isaiah again says: “And thou shall be confident in the Lord, and He will cause thee to pass over the whole earth, and feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father.” (Isa_58:14) This is what the Lord declared: “Happy 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 evening watch, and find them so, blessed are they, because He shall make them sit down, and minister to them; or if this be in the second, or it be in the third, blessed are they.” (Luk_12:37, Luk_12:38) Again John also says the very same in the Apocalypse: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.” (Rev_20:6) Then, too, Isaiah has declared the time when these events shall occur; he says: “And I said, Lord, how long? Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses be without men, and the earth be left a desert. And after these things the Lord shall remove us men far away (longe nos faciet Deus homines), and those who shall remain shall multiply upon the earth.” (Isa_6:11) Then Daniel also says this very thing: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of those under the heaven, is given to the saints of the Most High God, whose kingdom is everlasting, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” (Dan_7:27) And lest the promise named should be understood as referring to this time, it was declared to the prophet: “And come thou, and stand in thy lot at the consummation of the days.” (Dan_12:13)

 

  1. Now, that the promises were not announced to the prophets and the fathers alone, but to the Churches united to these from the nations, whom also the Spirit terms “the islands” (both because they are established in the midst of turbulence, suffer the storm of blasphemies, exist as a harbor of safety to those in peril, and are the refuge of those who love the height [of heaven], and strive to avoid Bythus, that is, the depth of error), Jeremiah thus declares: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye nations, and declare it to the isles afar off; say ye, that the Lord will scatter Israel, He will gather him, and keep him, as one feeding his flock of sheep. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and rescued him from the hand of one stronger than he. And they shall come and rejoice m Mount Zion, and shall come to what is good, and into a land of wheat, and wine, and fruits, of animals and of sheep; and their soul shall be as a tree bearing fruit, and they shall hunger no more. At that time also shall the virgins rejoice in the company of the young men: the old men, too, shall be glad, and I will turn their sorrow into joy; and I will make them exult, and will magnify them, and satiate the souls of the priests the sons of Levi; and my people shall be satiated with my goodness.” (Jer_31:10, etc.) Now, in the preceding book I have shown that all the disciples of the Lord are Levites and priests, they who used in the temple to profane the Sabbath, but are blameless. (Mat_12:5) Promises of such a nature, therefore, do indicate in the clearest manner the feasting of that creation in the kingdom of the righteous, which God promises that He will Himself serve.

 

  1. Then again, speaking of Jerusalem, and of Him reigning there, Isaiah declares, “Thus saith the Lord, Happy is he who hath seed in Zion, and servants in Jerusalem. Behold, a righteous king shall reign, and princes shall rule with judgment” (Isa_31:9, Isa_32:1) And with regard to the foundation on which it shall be rebuilt, he says: “Behold, I will lay in order for thee a carbuncle stone, and sapphire for thy foundations; and I will lay thy ramparts with jasper, and thy gates with crystal, and thy wall with choice stones: and all thy children shall be taught of God, and great shall be the peace of thy children; and in righteousness shalt thou be built up.” (Isa_54:11-14) And yet again does he say the same thing: “Behold, I make Jerusalem a rejoicing, and my people [a joy]; for the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. Also there shall not be there any immature [one], nor an old man who does not fulfil his time: for the youth shall be of a hundred years; and the sinner shall die a hundred years old, yet shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them themselves; and shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them themselves, and shall drink wine. And they shall not build, and others inhabit; neither shall they prepare the vineyard, and others eat. For as the days of the tree of life shall be the days of the people in thee; for the works of their hands shall endure.” (Isa_65:18)

~Irenaeus- Against Heresies Book V Vol. 1 

XVI. — Analogy of Death and Sleep, and Consequent Argument for the Resurrection.

Just how our body, when sleeping, interrupt the natural senses by the fleshly senses are at sleep, it will be resurrected. It’s a picture of our soul separating from our body. Some call sleep the brother of death.

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And let no one think it strange that we call by the name of life a continuance of being which is interrupted by death and corruption; but let him consider rather that this word has not one meaning only, nor is there only one measure of continuance, because the nature also of the things that continue is not one. For if each of the things that continue has its continuance according to its peculiar nature, neither in the case of those who are wholly incorruptible and immortal shall we find the continuance like ours, because the natures of superior beings do not take the level of such as are inferior; nor in men is it proper to look for a continuance invariable and unchangeable; inasmuch as the former are from the first created immortal, and continue to exist without end by the simple will of their Maker, and men, in respect of the soul, have from their first origin an unchangeable continuance, but in respect of the body obtain immortality by means of change. This is what is meant by the doctrine of the resurrection; and, looking to this, we both await the dissolution of the body, as the sequel to a life of want and corruption, and after this we hope for a continuance with immortality, not putting either our death on a level with the death of the irrational animals, or the continuance of man with the continuance of immortals, lest we should unawares in this way put human nature and life on a level with things with which it is not proper to compare them. It ought not, therefore, to excite dissatisfaction, if some inequality appears to exist in regard to the duration of men; nor, because the separation of the soul from the members of the body and the dissolution of its parts interrupts the continuity of life, must we therefore despair of the resurrection. For although the relaxation of the senses and of the physical powers, which naturally takes place in sleep, seems to interrupt the sensational life when men sleep at equal intervals of time, and, as it were, come back to life again, yet we do not refuse to call it life; and for this reason, I suppose, some call sleep the brother of death, not as deriving their origin from the same ancestors and fathers, but because those who are dead and those who sleep are subject to similar states, as regards at least the stillness and the absence of all sense of the present or the past, or rather of existence itself and their own life. If, therefore, we do not refuse to call by the name of life the life of men full of such inequality from birth to dissolution, and interrupted by all those things which we have before mentioned, neither ought we to despair of the life succeeding to dissolution, such as involves the resurrection, although for a time it is interrupted by the separation of the soul from the body.

~Athenagoras- The Treatise of Athenagoras Vol. 2