Sunday, July 21, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on Rewards in Heaven

Early Christian Quotes on Rewards in 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.



The Shepherd of Hermas

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 5, Chapter 2:


The angel said, “A man had a field and many slaves. He planted a specific part of the field with a vineyard, and selecting a faithful, beloved, and much-valued slave, he called him and said, ‘Take this vineyard I have planted, and stake it until I come back, and do not do anything else to the vineyard. Carry out my order, and I will give you your freedom.’ And the master of the slave departed to a foreign country.


“And when he was gone, the slave staked the vineyard. When he had finished the staking of the vines, he saw that the vineyard was full of weeds. He then reflected, saying, ‘I have kept this order of my master: I will dig up the rest of this vineyard, and it will be more beautiful when dug up; and being free of weeds, it will yield more fruit, not being choked by them.’ So, he dug up the vineyard and rooted out all the weeds that were in it. And that vineyard became very beautiful and fruitful, having no weeds to choke it.


“And after a certain time had passed, the master of the slave and of the field returned and entered into the vineyard. And seeing that the vines were suitably supported on stakes, and the ground dug up, and all the weeds rooted out, and the vines fruitful, he was greatly pleased with the work of his slave. And calling his beloved son, who was his heir, and his friends who were his councilors, he told them what orders he had given his slave and the work that had been done. And they rejoiced along with the slave at the glowing review which his master gave him. And he said to them, ‘I promised this slave freedom if he obeyed the command I gave him; and he has kept my command and even done more for the vineyard. This has pleased me greatly. Therefore, in return for the work he has done, I want to make him co-heir with my son, because, being a clear thinker, he did not neglect my wishes, but carried them out.’


“With this resolution of the master, his son and friends were very happy for the slave to be co-heir with the son. After a few days, the master made a feast and sent to his slave many dishes from his table. And the slave, receiving the dishes that were sent to him from his master, took only what he needed for himself and distributed the rest among his fellow-slaves. And his fellow-slaves rejoiced to receive the dishes, and they began to pray for him that he might find still greater favor with his master for having treated them so well.


“His master heard all these things that were done and was greatly pleased with his conduct again. And the master, again calling together his friends and his son, reported to them the slave’s actions concerning the dishes he had sent him. And they were still more satisfied that the slave should become co-heir with his son.”



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.


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