Confession of Faith (1617) - Article XXXIII
Of the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, we confess:
That as there is a visible, perishable kingdom of this, which, through the sins and wickedness of men, lies in darkness, of which darkness, Satan, the spirit of wickedness, who works in the children of unbelief, is the supreme prince, who at last, with all his servants, shall be brought to everlasting lamentation and remorse, and shall perish; so also there is an eternal, immovable and invisible kingdom of heaven, of which Christ Jesus is King, Prince and Lord; in which all believers shall live with God forever in everlasting joy. To this glorious kingdom of heaven, God, through His grace and goodness, from the beginning of the world, caused the fallen human race to be called; first through His servants, the prophets, -and then through the Son Himself, who, leaving this His kingdom for a time, came to preach, and to invite all men, to flee the shadow of this world, and to make haste to enter into this eternal rest. For this end the fatlings are killed, and this glorious feast is prepared; so that men are prevented from making any excuse concerning the piece of land, the oxen, and the wife, but the way, door and gate, is open and well prepared.
This glorious kingdom of heaven is typified and represented to us by a city full of all good things, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven, which is beautifully prepared by God, as a bride adorned for her husband; the streets of it are pure gold, and the gates and walls built of and beautifully adorned with manifold pearls and precious stones. In this city is the glory of the Almighty God, which neither Moses on Mount Sinai, nor the eyes of any mortal man were able to behold. This brightness and everlasting light shall shine in this city forever and ever. Here all sorrow and mourning, cold, nakedness, hunger and thirst shall be changed into everlasting, satisfying joy and consolation. This glory and joy is so exceedingly great and unspeakable, that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; and into this heavenly state, which is beyond all praise, all believers and God-pleasing persons shall, at the resurrection of the dead, when their souls, which through death had become separated from the body, and until this last time were preserved in the hand of God, shall be reunited with their bodies, be caught up from this earthly darkness, to meet the Lord in the air.
And, as a bride is received by her bridegroom, so also shall all true children of God then be received with body and soul through grace, by Christ Jesus, and be admitted to this glorious joy, where they shall see God as He is, in. His unspeakable glory, together with all the heavenly hosts. Then shall their robe of mourning, or the mortal clothing of the flesh be put off, and the immortal be put on; and they shall be clothed in white, shining raiment, and together with all God's chosen ones, be fed by the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world, with the hidden heavenly bread, and shall eat of the tree of life, and drink out of the living fountain of water, and, being as the angels, shall, with joyful tongues and mouths, in gladsome voices, to the honor of the Lamb, their bridegroom, sing the new song, with unspeakable, glorious joy, which no one can take away from them; but they shall be kings and priests of God, and shall live and reign with Christ for ever and ever.
May the God of grace and mercy, and of all comfort, who has from the
beginning called us to this His heavenly kingdom and glory, endow us unworthy
children of men with His good spirit, make us worthy of Him, and draw us to
Him-ward, that we may follow and run after this high prize, and by grace receive
the same, through Jesus Christ, and enjoy it for ever. Amen.
Of the everlasting kingdom of heaven, and its King, read: "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace" (Hebrews 12:28).
"My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36).
"Receive the gift that is given you) and be glad, giving thanks unto him that hath called you to the heavenly kingdom" (2 Esdras 2:37; Colossians 1:13; Psalms 22:28).
Read further how this eternal King, Christ Jesus, at His second coming from heaven, after the dead shall have arisen, and the eternal judgment been held, shall receive all. the members of His kingdom in this His everlasting glorious kingdom of heaven, where they shall behold God in unspeakable glory. "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34).
"But the righteous live for ever more; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand" (Wisdom 5:15, 16; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10; James 1:12).
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4: 17, 18; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Peter 1:8; John 16:22).
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it cloth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:20, 27).
"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).
"Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty. they shall behold the land that is very far off. Thine heart shall meditate terror" (Isaiah 33:17, 1-8).
Of all who from a true faith shall show forth the required spiritual virtues, and shall continue to the end in this divine calling, read: "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1 : 10, 11 ).
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints (Revelation 13:10).
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: "Confession of Faith (1617) - Article XXXIII." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1617. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C6653.html/c6653_33.
APA style: (1617). Confession of Faith (1617) - Article XXXIII. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C6653.html/c6653_33.