Self-Determination and the Last Judgement…

The Last Judgement...

“One, and only one has spoken to us clearly and definitely about all that will come to pass at the end of time: the Lord Jesus Christ… For human understanding and logic, however great they may be, are too puny to reach to the world’s beginning and its end. Understanding is useless where vision is needed. We need a seer, who sees as clearly as we see the sun – to see the whole world, from its beginning to end…their has only been one such: the Lord Jesus Christ….” (St. Nikolai of Zicha, Homily on the Last Judgment. Homilies.)

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
[32] Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
[33] and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
[34] Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
[35] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
[36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
[37] Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
[38] And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
[39] And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’
[40] And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
[41] Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
[42] for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
[43] I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
[44] Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’
[45] Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’
[46] And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

-An article by Fr. Steven C. Kostoff gives an excellent commentary of this passage, and a few parts stuck out to me:

“A merciful and charitable heart — that is what God wants from us: Be merciful like your Father in heaven. If in a human being’s heart there is no love, then all that he has is dead and of no value.”

“The Fathers tell us that we have the gift of “self-determination” (Gr. autexousia). This means that we are forming ourselves in the way we shall be for all of eternity — a sheep “at his right hand” or a goat “at the left.”

-How exciting! I found a sermon by St. John Maximovitch on the Last Judgement. It’s interesting how he discusses the antichrist and then ends it very abruptly with these words:

“When “the books are opened,” it will become clear that the roots of all vices lie in the human soul. Here is a drunkard or a lecher: when the body has died, some may think that sin is dead too. No! There was an inclination to sin in the soul, and that sin was sweet to the soul, and if the soul has not repented of the sin and has not freed itself from it, it will come to the Last Judgement also with the same desire for sin. It will never satisfy that desire and in that soul there will be the suffering of hatred. It will accuse everyone and everything in its tortured condition, it will hate everyone and everything. “There will be gnashing of teeth” of powerless malice and the unquenchable fire of hatred. A “fiery gehenna” — such is the inner fire. “Here there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Such is the state of hell.”

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