Second Part of the System of Doctrine: Explication of the Facts of the Religious Self-Consciousness, as they are determined by the Antithesis of Sin and Grace
Second Aspect of the Antithesis: Explication of the Consciousness of Grace
Second Section: The Constitution of the World in Relation to Redemption
Third Division: The Consummation of the Church
§157 Since the Church cannot attain to its consummation in the course of human life on earth, the representation of its consummated state is directly useful only as a pattern to which we have to approximate.
§158 As the belief in the immutability of the union of the Divine Essence with human nature in the Person of Christ contains in itself also the belief in the persistence of human personality, this produces in the Christian the impulse to form a conception of the state that succeeds death.
§159 The solution of these two problems, to represent the Church in its consummation and the state of souls in the future life, is attempted in the ecclesiastical doctrines of the Last Things; but to these doctrines we cannot ascribe the same value as to the doctrines already handled.
First Prophetic Doctrine: The Return of Christ
§160 Since the disciples of Christ could not consider the comforting promises of His Return as having been fulfilled by the days of His resurrection, they expected this fulfillment at the end of all earthly things. Now since with this is bound up the separation of the good and the bad, we teach ‘a Return of Christ for Judgment.’
Second Prophetic Doctrine: The Resurrection of the Flesh
§161 Not only did Christ sanction, by figurative utterances and also by His teaching, the idea, prevalent among His race, of the resurrection of the dead, but He further in His utterances ascribed this awakening from death to His own agency; and it is an extension of this His teaching—a perfectly natural extension based on kindred utterances—to say that the general awakening of the dead will in a sudden manner interrupt the usual course of human life on earth.
Third Prophetic Doctrine: The Last Judgment
§162 The idea of the Last Judgment, the elements of which are likewise found in the utterances of Christ, is meant to set forth the complete separation of the Church from the world, inasmuch as the consummation of the former excludes all influences of the latter upon it.
Fourth Prophetic Doctrine: Eternal Blessedness
§163 From the resurrection of the dead onwards, those who have died in fellowship with Christ will find themselves, through the vision of God, in a state of unchangeable and unclouded blessedness.
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