Question: What did the Jews and early Christians really believe with regard to a three-part heaven?

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Question: What did the Jews and early Christians really believe with regard to a three-part heaven?

Note: The following text is based upon an essay written by Marc A. Schindler


Let's take a look at what Jews and early Christians really believed. Before we start, let's point out that simply mining the Church Fathers and pseudepigrapha for references that defend one's point of view is akin to proof-texting and in and of itself, doesn't prove anything. However, even finding one reference in the patristic and pseudepigraphal writings is sufficient to destroy an "argument from absence". That is, if critics say, in effect, "Jews and early Christians never believed x" and we succeed in finding even one solitary reference to x then we have proven their assertion wrong. Proving that it was a common or even normative (authoritative or orthodox) belief is something else altogether, but fortunately many critics' style of criticism tends to lean towards the absolute: things are either all or nothing. And this kind of position is easy to demolish.

Having said that, it so happens that there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sources contemporary with or within a few centuries of Paul, sources that showed consistently what ancient Christians and Jews believed in-enough, as it happens, to establish not just an objection to an argument from absence, but an actual consensus. And that consensus is exactly the opposite of what some claim. The following sections examine only a sample of quotes both from modern commentaries and ancient sources to show that the normative belief of early post-Apostolic Christianity and contemporary Judaism was in a multi-tiered Heaven in the LDS sense of different mansions corresponding with the achievement of different levels of earthly valour.

Modern Christian Scholarly Commentary: The Anchor Bible

Orr and Walther have this commentary on the term "third heaven":

The third heaven. The original text (=a) of T Levi [Testament of Levi] 2:7-10; 3:1-4 seems to have conceived of the heavenly spheres as three in number, in the third of which Levi found himself standing in the presence of the Lord and his glory. Later, however, this material was re-worked to refer to a set of four additional heavens, conforming the narrative to the common Jewish and Christian tradition about seven heavens, as in Apoc Mos [Apocalypse of Moses] 35:2; 2 Enoch 3-20; b. Hag [Babylonian Talmud tractate of Hagiga]; Ascension of Isaiah; Apoc Paul [Apocalypse of Paul] 29, etc...The otherworldly journey is a common feature in ancient apocalyptic literature.[1]

Modern Christian Commentary: Daniélou (Roman Catholic)

The LDS commentator Seiach[2] quotes,

Jean Daniélou [a Roman Catholic theologian and cardinal] has recently shown that contemporary Jews had further developed this three-step attainment of God's glory into a system of three heavens: the heaven of God, the heaven of stars, and the heaven of meteors.....[3]

That this three-tiered heavenly world was also recognized by the original Christians is evidenced by the Savior's mysterious saying that the 'seed of the Kingdom' (i.e. the saved) would bring forth fruit 'some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold' (Matt 13:8,23). That this was also an esoteric doctrine, is suggested by the fact that it was introduced by the usual covert signal: 'Who hath ears, let him hear' (Matt 13:9). As might be expected, 'orthodoxy' soon forgot it, either expanding the three heavens to seven (see below), or reducing them to a single place reserved for 'all' who are 'saved by grace,' without further effort on their part.

Nevertheless, for several centuries, the original Church continued to speak of a graduated system of heavens and rewards, just as the Saviour had taught (Matthew 16:27). The very early Church Father, Papias, for example, understood that the Saviour's three degrees of 'fruitfulness' (Matthew 13:8, Matthew 13:23) corresponded to the Pauline three 'heavens' or 'glories' (1 Corinthians 15:41). According to him (as recorded in the first century account of Polycarp),[4] the 'Elders' agreed that 'Those who are deemed worthy of an abode in Heaven shall go there, others shall enjoy the delights of Paradise, and others shall possess the splendor of the City.[5] For everywhere the Saviour will be seen, according as they shall be worthy who see him. But that there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundredfold, and that of those who produce sixtyfold, and that of those who produce thirtyfold; for the first will be taken up into Heaven; the second class will dwell in Paradise, and the last will inhabit the City; and that on this account the Lord said, 'In my house are many mansions,' for all things belong to God, who supplies all with a suitable dwelling place, even as his word says, that a share is given to all by the Father, according as each is or shall be worthy (Relics of the Elders, 5).

By the 'Elders' Papias meant the Primitive Community, including the Apostles, whose oral traditions he had diligently preserved as he himself heard them. 'If anyone chanced to be a fellow of the Elders,' he wrote, 'I would enquire as to their discourse, what Andrew, or what Peter said, or what Philip, or what Thomas or James or what John or what Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples...For I did not think that things out of books could profit me so much as the utterances of a voice which liveth and abideth.'[6]

Modern Christian Commentary: Disley (Mainstream Protestant)

Protestant theologian Emma Disley cites many of the early Reformers and their first followers as teaching the concept of differing degrees of glory. She points out at the outset that "the writings of the Father were weightily disposed towards the concept of degrees of reward and punishment" and refers to Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Jerome, and Pope Gregory the Great. She concludes her article:

"For the majority of Protestant writers who addressed the issue, belief in degrees of reward in heaven thus did not conflict with the Protestant insight of justification freely attained through the merits of Christ, since rewards resulted naturally or automatically from good works, which were part of the elect's sanctification."[7]

Modern Christian Commentary: Daley (Catholic)

Brian E. Daley, a Jesuit scholar, cites the following Church Fathers as teaching varying degrees of glory: Irenaeus, Cyprian, Ambrose, and some lesser-known fathers: Macarius, Quodvultdeus (died 453) Bishop of Carthage, and friend of Augustine; Severus, Bishop of Antioch (died 538); and Caesarius, Bishop of Arles.[8]

Modern Christian Commentary: Ryk (Eastern Orthodox)

Twenty-five years ago Marta Ryk wrote an article on deification in Eastern orthodoxy in which she pointed out that there are "diverse degrees of deification."[9]

Modern Jewish Commentary: Dr. Eliezer Lorne Segal (Scholarly Orthodox)

Further evidence of Jewish traditions of a hierarchy of heavens (as opposed to some proto-astronomical interpretation) can be found in an interesting Website, "The Seventh Heaven," by Dr. Eliezer Lorne Segal, who teaches a number of senior-level courses in Judaism in the Religious Studies Department of the University of Calgary (including RS 365 - Medieval Judaism; RS 463 - Jewish Mysticism; RS 465 - Topics in Rabbinic Judaism, RS 201 - World Religions: Western; RS 361 - Second Temple Judaism; RS 363 - Judaism in the Modern World; and RS 367 - Judaism of the Talmud and Midrash [commentaries by Rabbis on the Talmud]).

In his article "The Seventh Heaven"[10] he takes issue with the answer given to a phone-in listener on the local CBC[11] Radio One morning program feature called "Good Question." This particular question, about where the term "seventh heaven" comes from, elicited the response that the term comes from "the popular Muslim conception of paradise, which is divided into several celestial levels, awarded according to the degree of righteousness achieved during one's mortal lifetime." Now that, in and of itself, is interesting, but Prof. Segal says it actually predates the rise of Islam by "many centuries" and has "deep roots in Jewish tradition."

Segal says that the Talmudic rabbis were presumably influenced by the fact that the Hebrew word for "heavens" or "sky" appears only in a plural form, shamayim, implying a multiplicity of heavens. The number seven has special significance in Biblical writings, and Jewish sages, Segal reports, "had no trouble finding distinct functions for each of the seven levels." While several had purely "astronomical" functions, the others had distinctly religious functions: "According to their imagery these heavens are actually palaces-'heikhalot'-and the task of the mystic is to ascend as high as he can until he reaches the highest level, where he will be vouchsafed a peek at the throne of God." Thus we have a direct connection with the Enochian tradition of a mystical ascent through the spiritual realms to the Throne of God, and also to the terminology "palaces" or, as the KJV puts it, "mansions."

Modern Jewish Commentary: Tracey Richards (Popular Orthodox)

The Talmud states that all Israel has a share in the Olam Ha-Ba.[12] However, not all "shares" are equal. A particularly righteous person will have a greater share in the Olam Ha-Ba than the average person. In addition, a person can lose his share through wicked actions. There are many statements in the Talmud that a particular mitzvah will guarantee a person a place in the Olam Ha-Ba, or that a particular sin will lose a person's share in the Olam Ha-Ba, but these are generally regarded as hyperbole, excessive expressions of approval or disapproval.

Some people look at these teachings and deduce that Jews try to "earn our way into Heaven" by performing the mitzvoth [the covenant to obey the commandments]. This is a gross mischaracterization of our religion. It is important to remember that unlike some religions, Judaism is not focused on the question of how to get into heaven. Judaism is focused on life and how to live it. Non-Jews frequently ask me, "do you really think you're going to go to Hell if you don't do such-and-such?" It always catches me a bit off balance, because the question of where I am going after death simply doesn't enter into the equation when I think about the mitzvot. We perform the mitzvot because it is our privilege and our sacred obligation to do so. We perform them out of a sense of love and duty, not out of a desire to get something in return. In fact, one of the first bits of ethical advice in Pirkei Avot (a book of the Mishnah [part of the Talmud]) is: "Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward; instead, be like servants who serve their master not for the sake of receiving a reward, and let the awe of Heaven [meaning G-d, not the afterlife] be upon you."

Nevertheless, we definitely believe that your place in the Olam Ha-Ba is determined by a merit system based on your actions, not by who you are or what religion you profess. In addition, we definitely believe that humanity is capable of being considered righteous in G-d's[13] eyes, or at least good enough to merit paradise after a suitable period of purification.[14]

Modern Judaism: Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi (Conservative Mystical)

When a soul is ready to enter Gan Eden (Paradise, literally the Garden of Eden), it must first be immersed in the River of Light, created from the perspiration that flows from the heavenly hosts as they fervently sing glory to the Highest. This immersion is to empty the soul of any lingering earth images so that it may, without further illusion, see heaven for what it really is.

First the soul enters the lower Gan Eden, which is a paradise of emotional bliss. While on earth most persons are unable to experience more than one dominant emotion at a time. However, the bliss of the souls in the lower Gan Eden is likened to a majestic chord of benign emotions, which the soul feels towards God and towards other souls. In the Hasidic view, heaven is organized into societies. Those souls who share mutual interests are drawn together so they can serve His Blessed Name according to their own specialty and individuality. Each heavenly society is taught by its own rabbi and led to further celestial attainments. Thus, the lower Gan Eden is the heaven of emotional fervor.

Before a soul is raised from the lower to the higher Gan Eden, it must again immerse itself in the River of Light so that it will forget and forsake the furor of the emotions. for the even greater delights of knowing God through understanding. The serving of God with insight through the study of Torah is itself a reward. The societies of the upper Gan Eden are organized into yeshivot (schools! in which a blissful understanding of the divine mind is attained. Each midnight, the Holy One, blessed be He. Himself appears and enters Gan Eden to delight in the sharing of His blessed wisdom with the righteous who have gained the upper Gan Eden."[15]

Jewish Commentary: Lurian Kabbalism (Mediaeval Mysticism)

Karen Armstrong refers to the Lurian Kabbalah tradition of the 16th century mystic Saint Teresa of Avila:

Like John of the Cross, Teresa was a modernizer and a mystic of genius, yet had she remained within Judaism[16] she would not have had the opportunity to develop this gift, since only men were allowed to practice the kabbalah. Yet, interestingly, her spirituality remained Jewish. In The Interior Castle, she charts the soul's journey through seven celestial halls until it reaches God, a scheme which bears a marked resemblance to the Throne Mysticism that flourished in the Jewish world from the first to the twelfth centuries CE. Teresa was a devout and loyal Catholic, but she still prayed like a Jew and taught her nuns to do the same.[17]

This tradition of a hierarchy of celestial "halls" (or mansions?) goes back even further.

Ante-Nicene[18] Church Fathers: Irenaeus

Irenaeus directly contradicts the critics' theory of "earth/astronomical" heavens and then refers explicitly to the thirty/sixty/hundredfold imagery in terms of a hierarchy of Heaven:

If, then, the Lord observed the law of the dead, that He might become the first-begotten from the dead, and tarried until the third day "in the lower parts of the earth;" then afterwards rising in the flesh, so that He even showed the print of the nails to His disciples, He thus ascended to the Father; [if all these things occurred, I say], how must these men not be put to confusion, who allege that "the lower parts" refer to this world of ours, but that their tuner man, leaving the body here, ascends into the super-celestial place? For as the Lord "went away in the midst of the shadow of death," where the souls of the dead were, yet afterwards arose in the body, and after the resurrection was taken up [into heaven], it is manifest that the souls of His disciples also, upon whose account the Lord underwent these things, shall go away into the invisible place allotted to them by God, and there remain until the resurrection, awaiting that event; then receiving their bodies, and rising in their entirety, that is bodily, just as the Lord arose, they shall come thus into the presence of God.[19]

He goes on to say about the degrees of glory:

[They {the presbyters} say, moreover], that there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundred-fold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those who produce thirty-fold: for the first will be taken up into the heavens, the second will dwell in paradise, the last will inhabit the city; and that was on this account the Lord declared, "In My Father's house are many mansions." For all things belong to God, who supplies all with a suitable dwelling-place; even as His Word says, that a share is allotted to all by the Father, according as each person is or shall be worthy. And this is the couch on which the guests shall recline, having been invited to the wedding. The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, affirm that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved.[20][citation needed]

Ante-Nicene Church Fathers: Clement of Alexandria

Chapter XIII.-Degrees of Glory in Heaven Corresponding with the Dignities of the Church Below.

For these taken up in the clouds, the apostle writes, will first minister [as deacons], then be classed in the presbyterate, by promotion in glory (for glory differs from glory) till they grow into "a perfect man."[21]

One of the chapters of the Stromata is even entitled "Degrees of Glory in Heaven." In this chapter, he writes,

Chapter XIV.-Degrees of Glory in Heaven.

Conformably, therefore, there are various abodes, according to the worth of those who have believed. To the point Solomon says, "For there shall be given to him the choice grace of faith, and a more pleasant lot in the temple of the Lord." For the comparative shows that there are lower parts in the temple of God, which is the whole Church. And the superlative remains to be conceived, where the Lord is. These chosen abodes, which are three, are indicated by the numbers in the Gospel-the thirty, the sixty, the hundred.[22]

Ante-Nicene Church Fathers: Origen

And some men are connected with the Father, being part of Him, and next to these, those whom our argument now brings into clearer light, those who have come to the Saviour and take their stand entirely in Him. And third are those of whom we spoke before, who reckon the sun and the moon and the stars to be gods, and take their stand by them. And in the fourth and last place those who submit to soulless and dead idols.[23]

Compare this with modern LDS scripture: "These are they who receive of His glory, but not of his fulness. These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father." (D&C 76:76-77)

Pseudepigrapha: 2 Enoch

Enoch is a book that was held in high regard in the early Church, being quoted by Jude, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and many Church Fathers, including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria. We don't know which, if any, of the three major textual traditions we have today is the one that Jude, for instance, would have known (Ethiopic, Slavonic and Hebrew, referred to respectively as 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch), but regardless, this pseudepigraphal work is a genuinely ancient tradition. In 2 Enoch, a first century AD work that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith, in Chapters 6 through 20, Enoch is taken on a tour of the heavens.

The First Heaven was called the "stellar order" (in LDS terminology, the "Telestial Kingdom"). In Chapter 7 he travels to the Second Heaven, where he gazes down upon those who "turned away from the Lord, who did not obey the Lord's commandments, but of their own will plotted together and turned away with their prince and with those who are under restraint in the fifth heaven." In Chapter 8 he goes to the Third Heaven where he gazed down upon Paradise, where the tree of life is located. Although the imagery is confusing, there appears to be a "northern" portion that is a frightful and dark place (is this paradise and the spirit prison?). In Chapter 11 he goes to the Fourth Heaven where the moon and the sun have their orbits, and which is filled with wondrous beasts. The emphasis isn't so much on the astronomical bodies as upon the order and the timing of the universe in which we reside. Now, this does appear to be an astronomy and horological treatise of some strange, mystical kind, but it all relates to the Earth. (Could this be a reference, then, to the Terrestrial Kingdom?)

In Chapter 18 we accompany Enoch to the Fifth Heaven, which is filled with a strange contingent of "soldiers" and princes known as the Grigori. The sense is one of disappointment, of a potential not quite achieved somehow-not much detail is given (could this be the lowest level of the Celestial Kingdom?) The next chapter brings us to the Sixth Heaven where the leaders of the angels and of celestial speech and life preside. The keys of life are in their hands (the ministering angels of the second level of the Celestial Kingdom?).

Finally, in Chapter 20 we read Enoch's vision of the Seventh and highest Heaven. Here is the throne of God Himself, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim. Enoch's Virgilian guides desert him-they may not enter, and Enoch is left by himself, terrified at the sight. He is comforted by the archangel Gabriel who tells him to present himself to the Lord.

2 Enoch exists in two recensions (families of manuscripts), the "A" or shorter recension and the "J" or longer recension. In a brief flurry of verses in Chapter 20, after mention of the Seventh Heaven, some astrological references are given and given the names of the Eighth through the Tenth Heavens are given to these, but this exists only in the "J" recension. At present it's hotly debated as to which recension is older, but it has been argued that "J" is a later expansion of "A", which might account for the brief and post-first-century AD additions of the Eighth through Tenth heavens. The point isn't to speculate as to how 2 Enoch can be made to fit into the Restored Gospel as a textual defense-that would be the Biblicist approach. Rather it is to show that there is ample precedent for LDS beliefs in the ancient world, documented in texts that would have been unavailable to Joseph Smith, and thereby refuting the claim that the Restored Gospel can't be the original Christianity. If we can show plausible precedent, then we do not have to prove authenticity, but we do disprove our critics' claims of impossibility. Possibility is not proof of existence, but it is disproof of non-existence.[24]

Pseudepigrapha: Testament of Levi

Listen, therefore, concerning the heavens which have been shown to you. The lowest is dark for this reason: It sees all the injustices of humankind and contains fire, snow, and ice, ready for the day determined by God's righteous judgment. In it are all the spirits of those dispatched to achieve the punishment of mankind. In the second are the armies arrayed for the day of judgment to work vengeance on the spirits of error and of Beliar. Above them are the Holy Ones. In the uppermost heaven of all dwells the Great Glory in the Holy of Holies superior to all holiness. There with him are the archangels, who serve and offer propitiatory sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of all the sins of ignorance of the righteous ones.. They present to the Lord a pleasing odour, a rational and bloodless oblation. In the heaven below them are the messengers who carry the responses to the angels of the Lord's presence.[25]

New Testament Pseudepigrapha: The Apocalypse of Paul

The Apocalypse of Paul, a Coptic work found in the Nag Hammadi Library,[26]</ref> is typical of Jewish and early Christian apocalyptic writings that feature a tour of the heavens. The earliest versions seem to have only three; later texts, under Gnostic influence, elaborated this to seven and even ten. Here is MacRae and Murdock's introduction:

The first of the series of four apocalypses in Codex V, the Apocalypse of Paul, describes the ascent of Paul through the heavens. Though other ancient works of the same or similar name are known, the Coptic Apocalypse of Paul seems quite unique in its focus upon Paul's ascent through the fourth to the tenth heavens [as opposed to just three heavens -- MS]. The precise circumstances surrounding the composition of the document remain uncertain. Yet the polemic against the apocalyptic "old man" in the seventh heaven may indicate that the document comes from a Gnostic group with an anti-Jewish tendency. Furthermore, the portrait of Paul as one exalted above his fellow apostles resembles the portrayal of Paul in the Gnosticism, and especially the Valentinianism, of the second century C.E.

The Apocalypse of Paul opens with an epiphany scene: a little child, probably the risen Christ, encounters Paul on the mountain, provides a revelation, and guides Paul to the Jerusalem above. Clearly this scene with the heavenly child provides an interpretation of Galatians 1:11-17 and 2;1-2. Of course, the basis for the entire ascent narrative is to be found in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. As Paul ascends through the heavens, he witnesses, in the fourth and fifth heavens, a scene of the judgment and punishment of souls, a scene which is reminiscent of similar pictures in Jewish apocalyptic literature but which also illustrates popular syncretism. Paul's heavenly journey seems to rely upon Jewish apocalyptic tradition, but the Gnostic character of the present ascent narrative is obvious. Finally Paul reaches the tenth heaven where, tranformed, he greets his fellow spirits.[27]

Pseudepigrapha: Vision of Ezra

It seems that, in general, one reason Biblicists have such trouble accepting the clear references to different rewards after this life is that they are hampered by post-Biblical notions which came into vogue during the Reformation; especially the idea of salvation by grace alone (sola gratia). Latter-day Saints accept that salvation in the sense of all of us receiving some level of glory (with the exception of a presumably small number of "Sons of Perdition" who actively fight the atonement-whatever that may mean), but because Biblicists have lost the doctrine of exaltation and theosis/deification, they assume these doctrines of levels of glory are wrong. And in any case, they reject the notion of works as being a prerequisite for which level of glory one is to receive-they have lost the original doctrine, especially under the influence of fifteenth- through eighteenth-century Protestant Reformers.

But we know that not everything that Jesus taught is contained in the New Testament-it explicitly says this in two places, one of which in particular has some interesting significance in light of documents that have come to light since Joseph Smith's day.

The first passage is at the end of the Gospel of John: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." (John 21:25)

That should be clear enough to Biblicism, but the second, even more significant verse is also towards the end of John: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:30-31) In other words, John (and presumably his fellow-evangelists) wrote their books to give the basic knowledge proselytes (investigators and new members) would need to know in order to come to a belief in Christ, and excluded that which might distract from a proselyte's education. But there was more to Christian doctrine, "signs" not to be revealed publicly.

Was this something unique to John, or is it found elsewhere in early Christian thought?

We've already discussed the common theme of touring up through the heavens until one finally reaches the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom, a theme that runs through the ancient non-canonical works called the Pseudepigrapha, and Church Fathers. Latter-day Saints perform a dramatic (liturgical, or participatory and symbolic) form of this every time they go through the endowment ceremony, so temple worship fits well into ancient tradition. This isn't the place to go into the details of temple worship, but the point is that not all doctrine is to be found in the gospels and epistles of the New Testament. The canonical books of the New Testament (the books which ended up becoming part of the modern-day New Testament) suffer from two limitations: a) they happen to be what survived; we know that many other writings did not survive; and b) they were directed by and large to new members and proselytes, so they deliberately avoided deeper doctrines.

Now the concept of the necessity of works is a clear theme in the New Testament, despite the best efforts of Biblicists to ignore or rationalize it, but it so happens that some of the esoteric doctrine that seems to have been revealed in these visionary tours of the heavens was the doctrine of exaltation, wherein more than mere belief is required-the building up of the Kingdom of God (works) is also a requirement over and above universal grace in order to gain a higher degree of glory.

For instance, the second- or third-century pseudepigraphal work, "Vision of Ezra," which was traditionally considered an Old Testament pseudepigraphum, but which scholars now believe is actually of Christian provenance, has the Lord saying the following to Ezra when Ezra is finally admitted into His presence:

And after he saw this, he was lifted up into heaven, and he came to a multitude of angels, and they said to him, 'pray to the Lord for the sinners.' And they put him down within the sight of the Lord. And he said, 'Lord, have mercy on the sinners!' And the Lord said, 'Ezra, let them receive according to their works.' And Ezra said, 'Lord, you have shown more clemency to the animals, which eat the grass and have not returned you praise, than to us; they die and have no sin; however, you torture us, living and dead.' And the Lord said, 'In my image I have formed man and I have commanded that they may not sin and they sinned; therefore they are in torment. And the elect are those who go into eternal rest on account of confession, penitence, and largesse in almsgiving.' And Ezra said, 'Lord, what do the just do in order that they may not enter in judgment?' And the Lord said to him, '(Just as) the servant who performed well for his master will receive liberty, so too (will) the just in the kingdom of heaven.' Amen.[28]


  1. Victor Paul Furnish, II Corinthians. Anchor Bible, Vol. 32A, (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1984), 525.
  2. Eugene Seiach, Ancient Texts and Mormonism: Discovering the Roots of the Eternal Gospel in Ancient Israel and the Primitive Church, Second Edition (Salt Lake City: Eugene Seiach, 1995), 572.
  3. Jean Daniélou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964), 174, quoted in Seiach, Ancient Texts and Mormonism, 571.
  4. In Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Vol. 3:4. [citation needed]
  5. Ante-Nicene Fathers, I:154, fn.
  6. Quoted by Eusebius, "Preface to Papias," Historia Ecclesia, III.39:3-4. See also "Fragments of Papias" V at
  7. Emma Disley, "Degrees of Glory: Protestant Doctrine and the Concept of Rewards Hereafter," Journal of Theological Studies 42 (1991), 77-105. I am thankful to Ted Jones for this citation.
  8. Brian E. Daley, The Hope of the Early Church. A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). I am thankful to Ted Jones for this citation.
  9. Marta Ryk, "The Holy Spirit's Role in the Deification of Man According to Contemporary Orthodox Theology," Diakonia 10 (Fordham University, 1975), 122. I am thankful to Ted Jones for this citation.
  10. [citation needed]
  11. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; somewhat similar to National Public Radio in the United States. See also
  12. Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH): literally "the world to come." 1) The messianic age; 2) the spiritual world that souls go to after death.
  13. "G-d" [sic]; many observant Jews try to avoid spelling "God" out in full in English just as they substitute the word "Adonai" ("Lord") for the "Tetragrammaton" (YHWH, "Yahweh," or "Jehovah.")
  14. Tracey Richards, "Judaism 101," an Orthodox Jewish FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Website: See specifically:
  15. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is Professor Emeritus, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; 1987 through the present; see
  16. Teresa was a 'conversa' or forced convert to Christianity from Judaism.
  17. Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God (New York: Ballantine, 2000), 14.
  18. Ante-Nicene refers to Church Fathers who lived and wrote before the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.
  19. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Vol. 31:2; see also, (emphasis added). [citation needed]
  20. Ibid., Vol. 36:2; [citation needed] see also
  21. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (Miscellanies): XIII.13; see also
  22. [citation needed]
  23. Origen, Commentary on John, II.3; see also
  24. For the complete text of 2 Enoch, see "2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch," The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Vol. 1, edited by James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, New York: Doubleday; 1983), 102-213.
  25. Testament of Levi 3:1-8, in H.C. Kee, "Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs," The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Vol. 1, edited by James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1983), 788-789.
  26. The Nag Hammadi library was found by an Egyptian farmer in Upper Egypt in December, 1945. It contains the library of an early Christian (Gnostic) monastery.
  27. George W. MacRae and William R. Murdock, "The Apocalypse of Paul (V,2)," The Nag Hammadi Library in English, directed by James M. Robinson (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1977), 239. For an online text, see also [citation needed]
  28. J.R. Mueller and G.A. Robins, "Vision of Ezra," The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1, edited by James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1983), 590.