Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: St. John, in the Apocalypse, Equally Explicit in Asserting the Same Great Doctrine.
Chapter XXV.—St. John, in the Apocalypse, Equally Explicit in Asserting the Same Great Doctrine.
In the Revelation of John, again, the order of these times is spread out to view, which “the souls of the martyrs” are taught to wait for beneath the altar, whilst they earnestly pray to be avenged and judged: 7455 (taught, I say, to wait), in order that the world may first drink to the dregs the plagues that await it out of the vials of the angels, 7456 and that the city of fornication may receive from the ten kings its deserved doom, 7457 and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into the bottomless pit for a while, 7458 the blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be ordained from the thrones; 7459 and then again, after the consignment of him to the fire, that the judgment of the final and universal resurrection may be determined out of the books. 7460 Since, then, the Scriptures both indicate the stages of the last times, and concentrate the harvest of the Christian hope in the very end of the world, it is evident, either that all which God promises to us receives its accomplishment then, and thus what the heretics pretend about a resurrection here falls to the ground; or else, even allowing that a confession of the mystery (of divine truth) is a resurrection, that there is, without any detriment to this view, room for believing in that which is announced for the end. It moreover follows, that the very maintenance of this spiritual resurrection amounts to a presumption in favour of the other bodily resurrection; for if none were announced for that time, there would be fair ground for asserting only this purely spiritual resurrection. Inasmuch, however, as (a resurrection) is proclaimed for the last time, it is proved to be a bodily one, because there is no spiritual one also then announced. For why make a second announcement of a resurrection of only one character, that is, the spiritual one, since this ought to be undergoing accomplishment either now, without any regard to different times, or else then, at the very conclusion of all the periods? It is therefore more competent for us even to maintain a spiritual resurrection at the commencement of a life of faith, who acknowledge the full completion thereof at the end of the world.
Rev. 6:9, 10.563:7456
Rev. xx. 2.563:7459
Next: Even the Metaphorical Descriptions of This Subject in the Scriptures Point to the Bodily Resurrection, the Only Sense Which Secures Their Consistency and Dignity.
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