Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on Heaven

Early Christian Quotes on Heaven


The Shepherd of Hermas 

(1st or 2nd Century)

Vision 3, Chapter 2:


Some have endured plagues, prisons, great torment and trials, crosses, and wild beasts, for God’s name’s sake. On this account, they are assigned the division of sanctification and grace on the right hand, along with everyone who will suffer for God’s name. The rest are assigned the division on the left. The same gifts and promises are available for those on the right and the left; only those who sit on the right have more glory.



Apocalypse of Peter

(Early 2nd Century)



The Lord said, “Let us go up the mountain to pray.” And going with Him, we, the twelve disciples, begged Him to show us one of our brothers, the righteous who have gone before us, so that we might see what their form is like, and having taken courage, might also encourage the men who hear us.


And as we prayed, suddenly, two men appeared, standing before the Lord facing the East. We were not able to look at them because a ray, like that of the sun, shone from their faces, and their robes were shining, unlike anything we had ever seen. No mouth could express or heart conceive the glory they had been granted and the beauty of their appearance. And as we looked at them, we were astounded; their bodies were whiter than any snow and more pink than any rose; and the red was mingled with the white, and I am completely unable to express their beauty. Their hair was curly and bright, coming down to their shoulders, and it was the same with their beard, so that all their hair was like a wreath around their head, woven of beautiful flowers, or like a rainbow in the sky, just like their righteousness.


We were in awe of their beauty since they appeared suddenly. And I approached the Lord and said, “Who are they?”


He said to me, “These are your brothers, the righteous, whose forms you wanted to see.


And I said to him, “And where are all the righteous ones, and what is the time period in which they are and have this glory?”


And the Lord showed me a very great country outside of this world, exceeding bright with light, and the air there lit up with the rays of the sun, and the earth was blooming with unfading flowers and full of spices and plants, fair-flowering and incorruptible and bearing blessed fruit. And so great was the perfume of that place that it even infused us. Those who lived in that place were dressed in the clothing of shining angels, and their clothing was like their country, and angels hovered about them. And the glory of the people who lived there was equal to one another, and with one voice, they sang praises alternately to the Lord God, rejoicing. The Lord said to us, “This is the place of your high-priests, the righteous men.”



Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

(1st or 2nd Century)

Testament 3, Paragraph 3:


Listen to this about the seven heavens. The lowest is the most gloomy because it is near all the sin and evildoing of men. The second has fire, snow, and ice, ready for the day of the Lord's command in the righteous judgment of God. All the spirits who will pay back the wicked in wrath are here. In the third are the hosts of the armies appointed for the day of judgment to bring justice to the spirits of deceit and of Beliar, the evil one.


And the rest of the heavens are holy. In the highest of all dwells the Great Glory—God, in the holy of holies, far above all holiness. In the next heaven down are the angels of the presence of the Lord, who minister and make amends to the Lord for all the ignorances of the righteous, and they offer the Lord a sweet-smelling scent and a bloodless offering. And in the heaven below this are the angels who deliver answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord. And in the heaven next to this are thrones and dominions, in which hymns are continually offered to God.



Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

(1st or 2nd Century)

Testament 3, Paragraph 18:


And He will open the gates of paradise and remove the threatening sword against Adam. He will allow His saints to eat from the tree of life, and the spirit of holiness will be on them.



Fragments of Papias

(Early 2nd Century)



As the elders and ministers say, those who are deemed worthy of a home in heaven will go there, others will enjoy the delights of Paradise. Others will possess the splendor of the city, because the Savior will be seen everywhere, according to those who are worthy who see Him. But there is a distinction between the heavenly home of those who produce a hundredfold and those who produce sixty-fold and those who produce thirty-fold. The first will be taken up into the heavens, the second class will dwell in Paradise, and the last will inhabit the city. Because of this, the Lord said, "In my Father's house are many mansions."


All things belong to God, who supplies everyone with a suitable dwelling-place. As His word says, a share is given to all by the Father, based on each one’s worth. And this is the place where they will recline at the feast, having been invited to the wedding.


The elders, disciples of the apostles, say this is the arrangement of those saved, and that they advance through steps of this nature. Moreover, they ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father; and in due time, the Son will yield His work to the Father, as it is said by the apostle, "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." For in the times of the kingdom, the just man who is on the earth will forget to die.



Irenaeus’ Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching

(Late 2nd Century)

Chapter 9:


This world is encompassed by seven heavens, where the powers and angels dwell—angels and archangels, doing service to God, the Almighty and Maker of all things, not because He was in need, but because they should not be idle and unprofitable and useless.


Therefore, the Spirit of God is manifold in His indwelling, and He is elevated by the prophet Isaiah in seven forms of service, as resting on the Son of God, that is the Word, in His coming as man. He says the spirits will rest upon Him: “The Spirit of God, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and godliness; the Spirit of the fear of God will fill him.”


Now the first heaven encompasses the rest. It encompasses that of wisdom; and the second from it, of understanding; and the third, of counsel; and the fourth, elevated from above, is that of might; and the fifth, of knowledge; and the sixth, of godliness; and the seventh, this sky of ours, which is full of the fear of that Spirit who gives light to the heavens. For, modeled after this pattern, Moses received the seven-branched candlestick.



Clement of Alexandria’s Exhortation to the Heathen

(Early 3rd Century)

Chapter 10, Paragraph 4:


Who follows the path to death, when it is in his power to be a citizen of heaven and to cultivate Paradise and walk around in heaven and share in the tree of life and immortality, and, making his way through the sky along the path of a cloud (like Elijah) see the rain of salvation?



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