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Bulgakov. Christ the King Category: 1000 years World beyond the grave

Enthronement of God on earth
According to Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

For the Lord God Almighty reigns

1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

The answering voice of “a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluiaa,” also belongs to the afterlife. This comparison marks his special, reciprocal enthusiasm and strength, “for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (6). This verse has a prophetic and proleptic character: it refers to the fall of Babylon that is about to take place, although it is still only taking place in the world, which is also the accession of Christ. And this enthronement is further described as taking place in the second part of this chapter (11-21), in the war of “King of kings and Lord of lords.” This war is still about to take place, but here it is evidenced only proleptically. The meaning and power of this future accomplishment, which is pre-depicted as having already happened, is expressed in images of unique and exceptional significance. They seem to sum up everything that has happened in the world so far. This is the marriage of the Lamb. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him,” sounds in heaven the call to heavenly joy, which anticipates events, perceiving the future as already accomplished, for “for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (7).

First Resurrection. Millennium Kingdom

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

So it is with the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. XV:22-28), the enthronement of Christ in the world takes place in a certain sequence and, so to speak, gradually, even with a hint that can be associated with the doctrine of the first resurrection: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." The entire Revelation is devoted to the depiction of this enthronement of Christ in the world, for which, however, the last, final act will be the thousand-year kingdom of the saints with Christ, their blessed destiny.

So, the participants in the first resurrection are promised to be priests of God and Christ. But this priesthood — not hierarchical, but universal — is inseparably associated with universal prophecy (which is spoken of by the prophet Joel and in the speech of the Apostle Peter: “and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”) The sons of the Kingdom of God, together with the gifts of prophetic and priestly service and inseparably with them, will take part in the royal ministry of Christ, on the paths of His enthronement: “they shall reign with Him a thousand years” and should be understood in this sense. The content of the XX chapter still refers to the state of the world when Christ, although He enthrones in it, is not yet completely, as evidenced by the new liberation of Satan along with the rebellion of the peoples — Gog and Magog — against Christ (7-8). Thus, the expression: “they shall reign” (6) does not mean “they will already become kings,” but they will enthrone together with Him. They are credited with some active participation in this enthronement with Christ. What this reign may consist of and how it will be expressed is also the mystery of the future. We cannot help but note, however, that this enthronement will not be accompanied by war, which has temporarily — precisely for a thousand years — already passed, and Satan — also temporarily — has been weakened. (Here comes to mind the prophecy of Isaiah and others about the triumph of peace on earth). Consequently, enthronement with Christ presupposes not only efforts to combat evil, but also the triumph of good. This is the positive construction of the Kingdom of Christ on earth, which prepares for the enthronement of Christ at His Second Coming. Thus, here is contained a highly important dogmatic thought about theanthropic synergism as applied to the final destinies of the world and the enthronement of Christ, according to the manifestation of two wills and energies, divine and human. This enthronement is not only a Divine matter, but also a human one, and not only through the union of two natures and two wills in the God-man himself, but also in the own existence of human nature. The entire earthly history of mankind, as it is symbolized in Revelation, is such a synergistic preparation of the Kingdom of Christ and His new coming into the world. His thousand-year Kingdom is one of the final links in this preparation, if not yet the last, then already its penultimate page. Moreover, what is said here about the accession of the participants of the first resurrection in the reign of Christ, and specifically about them, cannot, of course, mean the non-participation of the living, whom the millennial kingdom finds while still on earth. Moreover, what is said here about the enthronement of the participants of the first resurrection in the enthronement of Christ, and specifically about them, cannot, of course, mean the non-participation of the living, whom the millennial kingdom finds while still on earth. But here it speaks directly and positively about the new participation of the saints who are still in the afterlife, together, of course, with the entire earthly Church in this construction of the Kingdom of Christ. In any case, here is evidence of the advent of a new, unprecedented era in the life of the world, which in the language of Revelation is called the thousand-year kingdom of Christ.

The Enthronement of God on Earth

22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

We also find this image applied to Gog and Magog in Ezek.XXXVIII:22, see the entire chapter XXXIX. Of course, here these images are complicated by Old Testament geography and history, but they are preceded in ch. XXXVII enthronement of God on earth: XXXVII:23-28.

Revelation ends with the promise of the enthronement of Christ and the kingdom of God forever and ever and, moreover, without any restrictions. For it is said above that “there shall be no more curse” and “His servants shall serve Him (the Lamb)” (3). Consequently, here we assume a general and complete submission to the Lamb of all creation, about which the Apostle says: Christ “shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (this obviously refers to Satan and his kingdom), “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under His feet... He hath put all things under His feet... all things shall be subdued unto Him" (1 Cor. XV:24-28), and "God may be all in all." Both solemn promises about universal apokatastasis, or the subjugation of everything to God, or the enthronement of God in the Apostle Paul and the Apostle and the Evangelist and Prophet John merge into one and do not allow for any reinterpretation or derogation. “They will reign forever” in meaning is completely equivalent to “God will be all in all,” the kingdom of God, in which creation is given participation in the fullness of living God.

The ongoing enthronement of Christ in the world

History, as it is depicted in the Apocalypse, is a divine-human accomplishment in which human destinies are united with the deeds and appearances of Christ in the world, and the latter relate not only to the past and present, but also to the future, which has not yet come, for who would dare to say, that all the works of Christ in His enthronement in the world have already been completed and ended? History continues as the ongoing and accomplished enthronement of Christ in the world.

The main and only theme of the Apocalypse, like its prophetic preaching, is to endure history courageously and to the end, for it is also the enthronement of Christ the King, the path to the Kingdom of Christ in the world, accomplished on the cross and taking place in the ways of the cross in the world. "lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matt XXVIII:20).

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