The Nestorians and their Rituals/Volume 2/Chapter 8

CHAPTER VIII.

OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.

"Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again His body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature; wherewith He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth, until He return to judge all men at the last day."—Article IV.

§ 1. "Christ, Who by the resurrection of His holy body, gave us the promise of a general resurrection, that we should arise after the renewal of His resurrection,—have mercy upon us.

"Jesus, Who in His risen body appeared ofttimes to His disciples, and breathed into them His Spirit, and they received the Holy Ghost, and Who by His resurrection made all to rejoice and exult,—have mercy upon us." From a Litany appointed in the Khudhra for New Sunday, or the first Sunday after Easter.

§ 2. "Christ Who is the first-fruits of the salvation of mankind, has, by His rising again, certified the resurrection of our corruptible bodies. After His resurrection from the dead He appeared to the disciples, and Thomas saw and touched the mark of the spear, and the wounds of the nails wherewith He had been nailed by those wicked ones who pierced Him, and who are destined once more to behold that same One, when He shall come again in His great glory." From the service appointed in the Khudhra for New Sunday, or the first Sunday after Easter.

§ 3. "On the triumphant festival of the King Who ascended in the clouds, and went to the holy of holies in heaven, as it had been foretold, He was glorified by the spiritual ranks of the cherubim and seraphim who sing Holy, Holy, Holy, and was welcomed with awe by the thrones, dominions, and powers above. The evangelical apostles wondered when they beheld the clay of the corporeal and the despised nature of the earthly ones thus praised and extolled by the heavenly ones. Let us also who are of the earth with our tongues laud and magnify Him for ever, and let us ceaselessly celebrate the praises of Him from "Whom all help doth come." From the service appointed in the Khudhra for Ascension day.

§ 4. "On the day of the great ascension of the heavenly King of kings to the height of the highest heavens. He lifted up His holy hands and blessed the disciples, then separated from them, and ascended up in glory into heaven. A cloud of light received Him, and hid Him from the eyes of the disciples, and so they saw Him no more. Then there appeared unto them two angels in white apparel who said unto them: 'Ye men, why are ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus Who is taken up, shall so come in like manner, in glory, in the day of the great resurrection." From the Khudhra, ut supra.

§ 5. "He who is by His Self-existence perfect God, the Word, magnified His compassion towards our weakness, took upon Him our likeness to be the abode of His Divinity, lifted it up and nailed it to the cross, and surrendered it up unto death thereby to give us life, then raised it up, and seated it in the heavens far above all principalities and powers." From the service appointed in the Khudhra for the day after the festival of the Ascension.

See also chap. vi. § 6, par. v.

REMARKS.

The above extracts most fully declare the certainty of our Blessed Lord's resurrection and ascension in the same body in which He lived and suffered, and the assurance which this fact affords of our own resurrection to eternal life in endless glory, if we truly trust in Him who tasted death for every man, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Appendix B., Part V. c. vii., contains an excellent exposition of the doctrine of the resurrection, and the nature of the rewards which shall be dispensed by the Redeemer in His glorified body on the day of final judgment. That day shall not come "until the tenth circle shall be made up from among men, then shall the end be, and the cutting-off of time shall come, and shall not fail." This passage, which is of like import with the prayer in our own Burial Service, "We beseech Thee, that it may please Thee, of Thy gracious goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of Thine elect, and to hasten Thy kingdom," suggests the beautiful idea, that the nine circles of the heavenly hosts are imperfect, until another shall be fully formed from among the redeemed of earth, who shall sing the song of Moses and the Lamb for ever and ever.