Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 35
XXXV. Of Eternal Life.
The kingdom which the blessed shall inherit in the day of the final judgment (Matthew 25:34) we understand (1 John 3:2) to be in general a condition of joy (Matthew 25:21; Psalms 16:11; Isaiah 51:11) and glory (1 Peter 1:4) far exceeding our conceptions in this life of humble limitations. I Tim. 6:16. For this reason the Holy Spirit, in order to help our infirmity, speaks of it throughout figuratively, in terms of such things as in this life are esteemed the most agreeable and delightful. Matthew 8:11; 22:2; Hebrews 11:10; Revelation 19:7; chaps. 21 and 22.
To speak of it more in particular, we believe that it will consist in a life of eternal and heavenly bliss (Luke 15:7; Revelation 19:7), imperishable and unfading, which will be enjoyed under conditions of perfect delight and satisfaction in soul and body, spoken of as a fullness of joy in God's presence and pleasures at His right hand forevermore.
The body will be freed from all its present imperfections and infirmities, altogether changed (Philippians 3:21), spiritual, heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:40-44, 49, 50), shining glory (Matthew 13:43), fashioned like unto the glorified body of Jesus Christ in heaven. In no less degree will the soul be set free from all that is yet painful and grievous (Revelation 7:16; 21:4) and on the contrary will be clothed with all the perfection of which it is capable, both in knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:9-13) and in glory (2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Peter 5:10; Revelation 21:27), perfectly at one with God, and thus transformed into that image of glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) toward which the upward progress in this life is but as the beginning, though its consummation be sought with longing desire. 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2; Romans 8:23.
The place of this blissful state is heaven, where God dwells (Isaiah 57:15; John 14:2), a city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God, of which the greatest glory on earth is but a shadow.
Though there will be degrees of glory (1 Corinthians 3:8), some shining as the sun (Daniel 12:3; Matthj=ew 13:43) others as the stars, even as also one star differeth from another in glory, according as they suffered much and contended rightly (2 Timothy 2:5-12; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Revelation 3:4, 5) or have excelled in holiness and zeal (2 John 8; Revelation 2:17; 3:12), yet each one according to his capability will be filled and satisfied.
The company of the blessed will be extremely delightful. First there will be the perfectly blessed and all-sufficient God (Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 21:3), and Jesus Christ as the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:6; John 12:26; 14:3; 17:19-24), then the holy angels of God (Revelation 7:11; Hebrews 12:22-24) together with all just men made perfect from Eden to the end of the world. Luke 13: 28-30. Among all these there will not be found the least contention or disagreement, but on the contrary, the fullest accord (Revelation 5:8-14; 7:9-12) and the most passionate love. 1 John 4:7-21. In all probability they will know each other (Matthew 17:3; Luke 16:19-31) and also communicate to one another their knowledge, their experiences and their enjoyments, all of which will be the source of unspeakable joy. Psalms 79:13.
The blessed will be occupied largely in beholding unveiled all the perfections of God (Psalms 63:3-6; Exodus 34: 5-8) and Jesus Christ as the mediator between God and man, and all the divine providences and works both in nature and in grace, especially the work of redemption (Revelation 1:5) as well as that of conversion and sanctification (Colossians 1:12), etc. Thus beholding all the wonderful things in God, in His saints, and especially in one's own self (Revelation 15:34; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 3:3-7; Ephesians 2:3-10) under the unbroken influence of the Spirit of glory, the overshadowing of the Almighty, and the guidance of the Lamb in the midst of the throne, both body and soul will be continually refreshed, and be absorbed in the delight of united and responsive praise, worship and glorifying (Revelation 7:10-12) in all eternity.
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