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Fate Of The Soul After Death Prior To The Last Judgement

Fate Of The Soul After Death Prior To The Last Judgement
by Chev. Thomas Daniel (Reji), St. George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Cheppaud

In reference to my query, the following reply posted by an Eastern Orthodox priest in one of their forum.


The Orthodox belief in the state of the soul after death is vague and less developed than the Catholic teaching.

Listen to the balanced teaching of the Church, with these three quotes from widely differing centuries (5th, 17th and 20th) which show the same unanimous teaching on life after death... The simplicity is breathtaking.

It speaks not only of affliction and suffering for the wicked, but it also speaks of rest, blessedness, bliss, and joy.

The teaching of Saint Augustine of Hippo:

"During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death
and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth."
-Augustine, Enchiridion, 1099 (A.D. 421).

The 1980 Resolution of the ROCA Synod of bishops on the toll house belief...

"Taking all of the foregoing into consideration, the Synod of Bishops resolve:

In the deliberations on life after death one must in general keep in mind that it has not pleased the Lord to reveal to us very much aside from the fact that the degree of a soul's blessedness depends on how much a man's life on the earth has been truly Christian, and the degree of a man's posthumous suffering depends upon the degree of sinfulness. To add conjectures to the little that the Lord has been pleased to reveal to us is not beneficial to our salvation..."

Interestingly enough, this is almost a word for word repetition of what Saint Augustine said 1500 years earlier!

The Synod of Constantinople of 1672:

"We believe that the souls of the departed are in either repose or torment as each one has wrought, for immediately after the separation from the body they are pronounced either in bliss or in suffering and sorrows, yet we confess that neither their joy nor their condemnation are yet complete. After the general resurrection, when the soul is reunited with the body, each one will receive the full measure of joy or condemnation due to him for the way in which he conducted himself, whether well or ill."


Fate Of The Soul After Death Prior To The Last Judgement
by E.S. John, Australia

The Orthodox Church teaches that the soul soon after death passes through the Ariel realm of 'oyar', accompanied by angels and dark angels for 40 days. Our Fathers teach that the soul go through 20 toll-houses of the demons for questioning and claiming the dead for them. It is alleged that each toll house is meant for a category of sins which are recorded in the software with minute details by both types of angels. This interrogation by the infernal forces focus on each of our evil thought, word and deed , and the helpless soul will have to answer each question, but gets the aid of the good angel, provided the sins committed are forgiven by repentance. For each forgiven sins and good deeds done on earth by the soul earn gold coins and against the devil's accusations that will be presented then. The angel also is helpless because of the Justice system of God. His fate till the last judgment will be decided whether the soul goes to Paradise or darkness on the basis of this toll-house judgment. This is why the Orthodox celebrates the Holy Qurbana, live in penance and do charitable works for the soul for 40 days continually. Our prayers that help the soul's atonement of sins continue till the time of the Last judgment. We teach that all the good souls who are in Paradise now and the good ones raised at the Lord's 2nd coming will be brought for the last judgment, together with the ones that are also condemned due to the devilish life. For more details, read the book 'Soul After Death' by late Rev. Fr. Seraphim Rose or its translation into Malayalam under the title "Marana shesham". "Marana shesham" is out of print now, if needed by many, it can be reprinted.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the soul enters into a place called purgatory, buspurkana' or as we call it as 'kutti narakam' or small hell, where it may have to go through certain constrains and punishments prior to its onward journey. But the Orthodox argues that once the person has repented and given absolution by the clergy, it doesn't have to pass through the baptismal fire of the purgatory.

Pentecostal Teaching

Listen to Jonathan Edwards describe the state of the lost. In his famous sermon (sinners in the hands of an angry God), he said, "They are already under a sentence of condemnation to Hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down [there], but the sentence of the Law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between Him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to Hell. John 3:18 says 'He that believeth not is condemned already'. So, that every unconverted man properly belongs to Hell; that is his place; from [there] he is, John 8:23: 'You are from beneath.' And there be is bound; it is the place that justice, and God's word, and the sentence of his unchangeable Law assign to him."

This condemnation, as I understand is on the basis of Jn.5: 24 onwards. Those who believe in Jesus and do only His works in perfect may escape through the toll-houses without many hazards, as in the case of bishop Macarios in the book "Soul after death". Jn 3: 18 onwards may label the non-believers in Jesus as a category of the condemned ones. However, everyone will have to face the Last judgment. Even the Indian yogis have said two stages to cross through the stages of Nirvana (Paradise as we call) to the stage of Paranirvana (Eternity). Is it the reason that the Pentecostals draw a fraudulent conclusion that all the Pentecostals are saved while they are baptized in their way and are in communion with in their own members. They teach that the Pentecostal saved ones only are able to be with the Lord, who will be raised after the term they call it as the rapture. Believing in the savior by the mouth is not enough, but to do the sacramental worship of the apostolic church, do His work sincerely and helping others only have a chance to be called as His sons and to be with the elects of the Spirit in the new world. It seems that the God of OT time is their God, not a merciful God who absolves the sins by repentance. O what a brave new world!!!! What happens to the souls of the Pentecostals' ancestors before 1,905.A.D, because that church was started only in 1, 905.

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