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OF THE QUICKENING AND THE GENERAL RESURRECTION, THE CONSUMMATION OF THE MATERIAL WORLD AND THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW WORLD.
AFTER Elijah comes and conquers the son of destruction, and encourages the believers, for a space and a time which is known to God alone, there will appear the living sign of our Lord's Cross, honoured and borne aloft in the hands of the Archangel Gabriel. Its light will overpower the light of the sun, to the reproach and putting to shame of the infidels and the crucifying Jews. As soon as the life-giving Cross appears before our Lord, as the Doctor saith, 'His victory comes before Him,' etc., then a powerful light will fill the whole vaulted space between the heavens and the earth, the radiance and light whereof will be above all (other) lights; and suddenly will the mighty sound of the first trumpet of the Archangel be heard, concerning which our Lord said, 'At midnight there will be a cry, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Him2."' At this trumpet the sun shall become dark, the moon shall not display its light, the stars shall drop from the heavens like leaves, and the powers of the heavens shall be moved. The earth shall totter and tremble, the mountains and hills shall melt, the sea shall be disturbed and shall cause terrible sounds to be heard. The rivers shall submerge the earth, the trees shall be uprooted, buildings shall fall, towns and villages shall be overturned, and high walls and strong towers shall be thrown down. The wild beasts and cattle and fowl and fish shall come to an end and perish; and everything shall be destroyed, except a few human beings who p. 134 shall remain alive, and whom the resurrection shall overtake, of whom Paul has said, 'We who are left shall not overtake them that sleep1,' meaning to say that those who are found alive at the time of the resurrection will not sleep the sleep of death; as the apostle says again, 'Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed2.' As touching the heavens, some say that they will be rent, and that the waters which are above the firmament will descend, for it is not possible for the substance of water to pass through the substance of the firmament. Others say that as water passes through a tree or a piece of pottery, and sweat through the skin, so also will men enter into heaven and not be prevented, and (in like manner too) will the waters descend from above. Others say that the firmament will be rolled up like the curtain of a tent.
The second trumpet is that at the sound of which the firmament will be opened, and our Lord will appear from heaven in splendour and great glory. He will come down with the glory of His divinity as far as two-thirds of the distance between the firmament and the earth, whither Paul ascended in the spirit of revelation3. He will then make an end of the son of perdition, and destroy him body and soul, and He will hurl Satan and the devils into Gehenna.
The third trumpet is the last, at which the dead will rise, and the living be changed, as the blessed Paul says, 'Swiftly, as in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet when it sounds; and the dead shall rise without corruption, and we shall be changed4.' So swiftly and speedily will the resurrection of all men be wrought, according to the spiritual nature of the new world. For the swiftness of the resurrection will surpass the swiftness of understanding, and the spiritual hosts alone see and know in what manner it will take place, every man being suddenly found standing in his spirituality. Some men therefore have a tradition that the resurrection of the righteous and the just and the believers will precede that of other men, who are remote from the true faith; but according to the opinion of the truthful and of people generally, the resurrection of the p. 135 whole human race will take place quicker than lightning and than the twinkling of an eye; from the generation of Adam to the latest generation they shall rise at the last trumpet. And though, according to the opinion of the Expositor1, many sounds will be heard on that night, each one of which is a sign of what will happen, yet, according to the consent of the greater part of the expositors and of Scripture, three distinct trumpets will sound by which the whole work of the resurrection will be completed and finished. Michael the expositor and exegete, however, says otherwise in the book of Questions2, speaking as follows: 'The world will not pass away and be dissolved before the vivification of the dead, but the coming of our Lord will be seen first of all, who will come with the spiritual hosts; and immediately our Lord's power will compel the earth to give up the parts of the bodies of men who have been slain and have become dust and ashes within it; and there will be a making ready and preparation of the souls to receive their bodies all together. If, before the vivification of the dead, the world and all that is therein were to pass away, from whence pray would the dead rise? Those who say that the world will pass away before the vivification of the dead are fools and simpletons; for Christ will not make the world pass away before the vivification of the dead, but He will first of all raise the dead, and men will see with their eyes the passing away of the world, the uprooting of the elements, and the destruction of the heavens and the earth and the sun and the moon and the stars; and from here sorrow will begin to reign in the mind of the wicked, and endless joy in the mind of the righteous.
1 In the Oxford MS. chap. lviii, fol. 202 b.
2 Matt. xxv. 6.
1 Solomon is quoting 1 Thes. iv. 15 (Peshîttâ).
2 1 Cor. xv. 51.
3 2 Cor. xii. 2.
4 1 Cor. xv. 52.
1 Probably Theodore of Mopsuestia.
2 See Assemânî, Bibl. Orient.; t. iii, pt. i, p. 147; Hoffmann, Opusc. Nest., p. xxi.