He Will Come to Judge the Living and the Dead in Glory
The relationship between this article of the Nicene Creed and our modern society: we must all have the courage of our convictions.
What is often called the Second Coming. Jesus lived for about 33 years under the Romans approximately 2000 years ago. He was born of woman by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by the seed of His Earthly father Joseph, spouse of Mary His mother. He lived a normal carpenter’s adult life, like any of us, until his active ministry began at the age of 30 years. He died three years later on the Cross crucified in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Was that human life the First Coming? He was truly human and truly divine in Mary’s womb and after he was born to his death by order of Pilate, Governor of Palestine, on Calvary. Yes, the Christian Church is right to call His first human and divine life, under the power of Caesar, His First Coming for all these reasons.
2. The Creed
I am no theologian, but I do believe in the power of Christ and that He will come again in glory to Judge upon this planet Earth. This is not mere invention but incorporated into our Holy and Divinely inspired Nicene Creed in ages gone by. I ask - surely God the Father has judged the dead already and will Judge the Living at the end of time? Why does Christ intervene to judge these dead Himself and these living left alive? I find this article of our Creed very difficult to take. I believe it because it is in the Creed of the Christian Church and it would be heretical to deny its truth. I have no honour of my own - it must come from the Father not myself. Even Jesus said:
“Honour must come to me from my Father.”
St John - Chapter 8, Verses 46-59.
Thus I am left in debt to the Father and the Son when it comes to this Second Coming. This message has been transmitted to our Christian Church that there will be this Second Coming of Christ as enunciated to me in this sacred creed. I take that on trust and get on with my life on Earth like everyone else.
3. How does this truth I refer to affect my life?
Accepting all honour comes from the Father and that He has transfigured and anointed His only blessed Son I firmly believe, without worldly proof, that He has bestowed this honour upon Christ to Judge the Living and dead at the end of time. God the Father, with His inseparable Son, act in unison in the Trinity with the Holy Spirit. It is only proper that Christ be the Bearer of the news of this Second Coming when it happens as He bore the Cross to Golgotha and His suffering to His nailing to the Cross. The Second Coming is a great honour lower only than the Crucifixion itself. Only Christ who dwelt amongst us, and still does, could properly perform this role of Coming again. Thus, the honour Christ speaks of demands He perform the role of Judging the Living and the dead. His Church on Earth will welcome Him naturally as His Bride. He lives in the hearts and souls of mankind by His everlasting sacraments and the Holy Spirit. Thus, He will rejoin us to bring the end to human life on Earth - it will revert to unintelligent existence. It is the human race which matters and our eternal souls. This concerns Christ - He must bring the process He started on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper to a conclusion. It cannot be permitted to peter out. That would be sacrilegious in the extreme. Thus, this Coming must bring the Earthly chapter to a close with due authority and splendour, but Heaven will never pass away and “Christ’s words will always stand”. I accept I have been a little economical with the New Testament quote there: Christ actually says we are told:
“Heaven and Earth may pass away, but these words shall stand.”
I stress the may which saves my case that Heaven will remain the Eternal home for those who attain salvation by their own ardour glowing.
4. To learn this doctrine
Again, I ask how does this article of teaching by our Church affect each one of us? It is beyond our comprehension, but nevertheless comes back to the honour: Almighty Father to the Son. We had better honour Christ who is the only way to the Father, or we will be guilty of dishonouring Him who will Judge the Living and dead. There can be no greater sin than dishonouring Christ who is the hope of the world and His Second Coming. Whatever we think in this world is our choice. What we do may be constrained by circumstances. Thought belongs to each one of us - only we have the keys to our minds. There can be no such thing as “the thought police” as the George Orwell novel “1984” suggested, whether Orwell intended it or not. To honour Christ is our mission as peoples of this Earth. We all understand kindness - that is the core of honouring Christ. Like it or not this doctrine is about understanding how we may honour each other and thereby honour Christ. The saying goes sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Would Christ be cruel in this way? No, He is the one who dies for us. But He has that essence of mercy: He is the greatest and we should take our lead form Him of honouring the Living and the dead now as He will at the end of time. Thus, those who are unlawfully killed (and those who fall asleep) should both be honoured by all of us in Christ. If we will not honour the murdered by trying and executing their killers we do not honour Christ who will Judge those Living and dead: whether (i) they be Judicially executed or (ii) the suffering killed without authority, and relations and friends of both. We do not aid our neighbour if we do not show him his fault in the due course of Capital punishment trials. He who does not help his neighbour is no Christian, and what is more he is dishonouring Christ. To believe in the death penalty for murder in the modern age is, I submit, the ultimate act of Christian Charity as it has fallen into disuse. For the Gospel analogy and allegory to elucidate my thinking on this point: see Matthew chapter 25 - verses 31-40.
Don’t be fooled, Christ spoke plainly and he will so speak when he finally returns to our shores.