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« on: December 28, 2011, 01:03:29 AM »

In another thread someone posted a hymn sung to the Theotokos at Pascha.  In it were these words, "The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead!"

My question is about the part in bold.  Coming from a protestant background, this sentence stands out as it sounds like what is being said is that there is no Hell.  I've heard things here and there about what the Church teaches on Hell but I just don't really get it.  Would someone want to spell it out for me?  Is that verse in the hymn saying that there really isn't a Hell and that Christ literally raised everyone, every single person, from Hell? 

This is such a confusing topic to me.   Huh  To be clear about my background, I came mostly from the teaching that once you asked Jesus into your life, you were saved from Hell.  If you chose not to follow Jesus, you would go to Hell.  The whole point being that Heaven was the only objective.
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From: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18911
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 01:36:05 AM »

In another thread someone posted a hymn sung to the Theotokos at Pascha.  In it were these words, "The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead!"

My question is about the part in bold.  Coming from a protestant background, this sentence stands out as it sounds like what is being said is that there is no Hell.  I've heard things here and there about what the Church teaches on Hell but I just don't really get it.  Would someone want to spell it out for me?  Is that verse in the hymn saying that there really isn't a Hell and that Christ literally raised everyone, every single person, from Hell?  

This is such a confusing topic to me.   Huh  To be clear about my background, I came mostly from the teaching that once you asked Jesus into your life, you were saved from Hell.  If you chose not to follow Jesus, you would go to Hell.  The whole point being that Heaven was the only objective.
It's important to understand the distinction between Sheol/Hades and Hell. Hell is the coming Gehenna, I.E. the state of those who hate God.

Sheol/Hades was "the pit" where all the dead, righteous or unrighteous, went in death before Christ came. Christ opened and despoiled Hades, thus freeing all of humanity from death. That doesn't mean that people do not/will not experience Gehenna.

The 9th Ode on the Great Sabbath says:

"By mine own will the earth covers me, O Mother; but the gatekeepers of Hades tremble as they behold me, clothed in the bloodstained garment of vengeance: For on the Cross as God have I struck down mine enemies, and I shall rise again and magnify thee.

Let the creation rejoice exceedingly, let all earth-born be glad: for Hades, the enemy, has been despoiled. Ye women, come to meet me with sweet spices: for I am delivering Adam and Eve with all their offspring, and on the third day I shall rise again."
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 01:40:31 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 03:04:08 AM »

Yeah, many time the liturgical texts talk about Hell being emptied, but really this is about Hades/Sheol as Nick stated. At least not "Hell" in the way it is understood by most people, which arguable doesn't exist anyway.
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2011, 04:44:45 AM »

In another thread someone posted a hymn sung to the Theotokos at Pascha.  In it were these words, "The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead!"

From message 29
"Question Concerning Hell" at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38128.msg606198.html#msg606198

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks of the Church teaching that with the decent of Christ into Hell
the Liberation of ALL souls held there was accomplished and not just of the Old Testament righteous.


"The Descent of Christ into Hades in Eastern and Western Theological Traditions"
A lecture delivered at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Minneapolis, USA,
on 5 November  2002
by the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)


http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/11/1/5.aspx
[For full article]

Extract:
__________________________________________
The descent of Christ into Hades is one of the most mysterious, enigmatic
and inexplicable events in New Testament history. In today's Christian
world, this event is understood differently. Liberal Western theology
rejects altogether any possibility for speaking of the descent of Christ
into Hades literally, arguing that the scriptural texts on this theme should
be understood metaphorically. The traditional Catholic doctrine insists that
after His death on the cross Christ descended to hell only to deliver the
Old Testament righteous from it. A similar understanding is quite widespread
among Orthodox Christians.

On the other hand, the New Testament speaks of the preaching of Christ in
hell as addressed to the unrepentant sinners: 'For Christ also died for sins
once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to
God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which
he went and preached to the spirit in prison, who formerly did not obey,
when God's patience waited.

However, many Church Fathers and liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church
repeatedly underline that having descended to hell, Christ opened the way to
salvation for all people, not only the Old Testament righteous. The descent
of Christ into Hades is perceived as an event of cosmic significance
involving all people without exception. They also speak about the victory of
Christ over death, the full devastation of hell and that after the descent
of Christ into Hades there was nobody left there except for the devil and
demons.



-oOo-

Bishop Hilarion was also guest speaker at the Divine Mercy Congress where his speech was so greatly appreciated that the applause could not be stopped.  This is all the more remarkable because it was also applauded by Cardinal Schornberg and yet by Catholic lights the speech contained some notable heresy!!

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 05:11:43 AM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2011, 05:33:56 AM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 03:24:11 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?
Hades =/= Gehenna

Christ does save everyone. But some reject that anyway.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 03:24:59 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2011, 04:38:47 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)


Thanks for posting that, Fr. Ambrose. Very interesting.  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2011, 04:47:16 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)


WOW   Shocked  I just read the link.  I had some teaching on the possibility of purgatory in my last church...the pastor is a Jew by birth, raised Catholic, and now a protestant (Baptist) pastor.  He's quite the theologian and once brought up that he could see purgatory in some passages of the bible.  But the rest of the article would be FAR outside the scope of his teachings.  I obviously don't attend there anymore but haven't had much teaching on Heaven/Hell since starting my entrance into Orthodoxy.  This article is SO good but it is so FAR from what I've been taught...I'm leery.  Is it truly an Orthodox teaching???
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From: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18911
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2011, 04:57:17 PM »

Gregory Boyd is also an interesting protestant who believes in some sort of purgative experience.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 04:57:27 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2011, 10:10:36 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)


WOW   Shocked  I just read the link.  I had some teaching on the possibility of purgatory in my last church...the pastor is a Jew by birth, raised Catholic, and now a protestant (Baptist) pastor.  He's quite the theologian and once brought up that he could see purgatory in some passages of the bible.  But the rest of the article would be FAR outside the scope of his teachings.  I obviously don't attend there anymore but haven't had much teaching on Heaven/Hell since starting my entrance into Orthodoxy.  This article is SO good but it is so FAR from what I've been taught...I'm leery.  Is it truly an Orthodox teaching???


It certainly is a theologoumen that is very prevalent in Orthodoxy and one that has a long history.
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2011, 10:53:35 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)


WOW   Shocked  I just read the link.  I had some teaching on the possibility of purgatory in my last church...the pastor is a Jew by birth, raised Catholic, and now a protestant (Baptist) pastor.  He's quite the theologian and once brought up that he could see purgatory in some passages of the bible.  But the rest of the article would be FAR outside the scope of his teachings.  I obviously don't attend there anymore but haven't had much teaching on Heaven/Hell since starting my entrance into Orthodoxy.  This article is SO good but it is so FAR from what I've been taught...I'm leery.  Is it truly an Orthodox teaching???


It certainly is a theologoumen that is very prevalent in Orthodoxy and one that has a long history.

May I add that the "purgatory" part is only part of Metropolitan's presentation, which seemed to concentrate solely on St Isaac the Syrian's teachings. However, the central premise of an all merciful God is perfectly Orthodox.

Incidentally, regarding "purgatory" +Hilarion did say the following: "St. Isaac was quite resentful of the widespread opinion that the majority of people will be punished in hell, and only a small group of the chosen will delight in Paradise. He is convinced that, quite the contrary, the majority of people will find themselves in the Kingdom of heaven, and only a few sinners will go to Gehenna, and even they only for the period of time which is necessary for their repentance and remission of sins." (my emphasis). Contrast this with the Roman Catholic teaching of purgatory where most folks will go through.
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2011, 11:30:24 PM »

With this view of *hell* being only for an age and, I suppose, different for everyone, does this mean that the new heavens and new earth will wait until all are reconciled to God, to be given resurrected, new bodies to enjoy said new heavens and earth? I hope this question makes some sense. I'm not totally sure how to frame it.
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2011, 11:40:04 PM »

With this view of *hell* being only for an age and, I suppose, different for everyone, does this mean that the new heavens and new earth will wait until all are reconciled to God, to be given resurrected, new bodies to enjoy said new heavens and earth? I hope this question makes some sense. I'm not totally sure how to frame it.
Resurrection, then final judgment.
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2011, 11:40:16 PM »

Father Ambrose, I read the Divine Mercy link you provided.  Is Metropolitan Hilarion saying that Gehenna is for most a mere stepping stone on the road to Theosis?
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2011, 11:48:47 PM »

With this view of *hell* being only for an age and, I suppose, different for everyone, does this mean that the new heavens and new earth will wait until all are reconciled to God, to be given resurrected, new bodies to enjoy said new heavens and earth? I hope this question makes some sense. I'm not totally sure how to frame it.
Resurrection, then final judgment.

I'm still confused.  laugh
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2011, 11:53:04 PM »

With this view of *hell* being only for an age and, I suppose, different for everyone, does this mean that the new heavens and new earth will wait until all are reconciled to God, to be given resurrected, new bodies to enjoy said new heavens and earth? I hope this question makes some sense. I'm not totally sure how to frame it.
Resurrection, then final judgment.

I'm still confused.  laugh
What I'm saying is that the final judgment will follow the Resurrection on the New Heaven and New Earth, if I understand it correctly.
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2011, 11:56:31 PM »

With this view of *hell* being only for an age and, I suppose, different for everyone, does this mean that the new heavens and new earth will wait until all are reconciled to God, to be given resurrected, new bodies to enjoy said new heavens and earth? I hope this question makes some sense. I'm not totally sure how to frame it.
Resurrection, then final judgment.

I'm still confused.  laugh
What I'm saying is that the final judgment will follow the Resurrection on the New Heaven and New Earth, if I understand it correctly.

So when does the apokatastasis take place?
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« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2011, 03:02:56 AM »

With this view of *hell* being only for an age and, I suppose, different for everyone, does this mean that the new heavens and new earth will wait until all are reconciled to God, to be given resurrected, new bodies to enjoy said new heavens and earth? I hope this question makes some sense. I'm not totally sure how to frame it.
Resurrection, then final judgment.

I'm still confused.  laugh
What I'm saying is that the final judgment will follow the Resurrection on the New Heaven and New Earth, if I understand it correctly.

So when does the apokatastasis take place?

After that, if it happens at all. And it wouldn't be an apokatastasis, because we all won't be henotically merged with a primordial, immaterial, irreducible monad.

"If anyone shall say that all reasonable beings will one day be united in one, when the hypostases as well as the numbers and the bodies shall have disappeared, and that the knowledge of the world to come will carry with it the ruin of the worlds, and the rejection of bodies as also the abolition of names, and that there shall be finally an identity of the gnpsis and of the hypostasis; moreover, that in this pretended apocatastasis, spirits only will continue to exist, as it was in the reigned pre-existence: let him be anathema." -Anathemas against Origenism, attached to Constantinople II
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2011, 08:41:33 AM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

Hades is not torment and punishment for unrepentent sinners, just the place of the dead. Christ raises us up in His resurrection which is fulfilled at the second coming. Scripture speaks of some being raised to eternal life and some to condemnation, either way, everyone is raised form the dead, this is why gehenna is referred to as the "second death" happening after the final judgement when everyone is raised at the second coming.
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« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2011, 09:58:55 AM »

This is such a confusing topic to me.   Huh  To be clear about my background, I came mostly from the teaching that once you asked Jesus into your life, you were saved from Hell.  If you chose not to follow Jesus, you would go to Hell.  The whole point being that Heaven was the only objective.

To dissipate your fear I will say that Orthodox Christians believe that they are being saved by God.  They are not yet fully There, but they firmly and totally believe that they are being saved and that their Destination is totally secure.  In a way we are sad that we are not yet There, but it brings enough comfort to know that we ARE in God's Hands ALREADY and that He is bringing us to our Destination as promised.  So, we are to simply remain on the path, neither despair, nor rush towards anything. That's enough.
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« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2012, 08:43:49 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?
Hades =/= Gehenna

Christ does save everyone. But some reject that anyway.

So to hell goes anyone who does not want to have anything to do with God. right? Not people with a weak faith, or who are less than perfect. But people who leave God totally out of their lives consciously. Am I understanding that correctly?
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« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2012, 08:49:48 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)


WOW   Shocked  I just read the link.  I had some teaching on the possibility of purgatory in my last church...the pastor is a Jew by birth, raised Catholic, and now a protestant (Baptist) pastor.  He's quite the theologian and once brought up that he could see purgatory in some passages of the bible.  But the rest of the article would be FAR outside the scope of his teachings.  I obviously don't attend there anymore but haven't had much teaching on Heaven/Hell since starting my entrance into Orthodoxy.  This article is SO good but it is so FAR from what I've been taught...I'm leery.  Is it truly an Orthodox teaching???


It certainly is a theologoumen that is very prevalent in Orthodoxy and one that has a long history.

May I add that the "purgatory" part is only part of Metropolitan's presentation, which seemed to concentrate solely on St Isaac the Syrian's teachings. However, the central premise of an all merciful God is perfectly Orthodox.

Incidentally, regarding "purgatory" +Hilarion did say the following: "St. Isaac was quite resentful of the widespread opinion that the majority of people will be punished in hell, and only a small group of the chosen will delight in Paradise. He is convinced that, quite the contrary, the majority of people will find themselves in the Kingdom of heaven, and only a few sinners will go to Gehenna, and even they only for the period of time which is necessary for their repentance and remission of sins." (my emphasis). Contrast this with the Roman Catholic teaching of purgatory where most folks will go through.


So the Hell will not be forever and ever and ever and ever.? what do the other orthodox fathers say?
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« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2012, 09:58:33 PM »

so if Christ pulled everyone out of hades, how does this not imply universal salvation?

It seems to be the theme of the second link....

http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=3132

The [Divine Mercy] Congress Catches Fire!
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Russian Orthodox Bishop: God's Mercy is immeasurable love of the Father
By Dan Valenti (Apr 6, 2008)


WOW   Shocked  I just read the link.  I had some teaching on the possibility of purgatory in my last church...the pastor is a Jew by birth, raised Catholic, and now a protestant (Baptist) pastor.  He's quite the theologian and once brought up that he could see purgatory in some passages of the bible.  But the rest of the article would be FAR outside the scope of his teachings.  I obviously don't attend there anymore but haven't had much teaching on Heaven/Hell since starting my entrance into Orthodoxy.  This article is SO good but it is so FAR from what I've been taught...I'm leery.  Is it truly an Orthodox teaching???


It certainly is a theologoumen that is very prevalent in Orthodoxy and one that has a long history.

May I add that the "purgatory" part is only part of Metropolitan's presentation, which seemed to concentrate solely on St Isaac the Syrian's teachings. However, the central premise of an all merciful God is perfectly Orthodox.

Incidentally, regarding "purgatory" +Hilarion did say the following: "St. Isaac was quite resentful of the widespread opinion that the majority of people will be punished in hell, and only a small group of the chosen will delight in Paradise. He is convinced that, quite the contrary, the majority of people will find themselves in the Kingdom of heaven, and only a few sinners will go to Gehenna, and even they only for the period of time which is necessary for their repentance and remission of sins." (my emphasis). Contrast this with the Roman Catholic teaching of purgatory where most folks will go through.


So the Hell will not be forever and ever and ever and ever.? what do the other orthodox fathers say?

Eternal punishment (as hell) is eternal, unending. That is the teaching of the Church. That's what has been revealed. The difference is that, until the universal resurrection and judgment, there is a foretaste of blessedness or punishment. And through the Church, mercy and intercession those who experience suffering can obtain relief.

Hell is a choice. Heaven is a choice. It is a choice we make in process in this life. And there is no in between. How people make the choice and what they choose depends. They may not be aware of their choices on a certain level, but on a fundamental level even the ignorant participate in the decision-making process.
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Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
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