Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Beheading Of Saint John The Baptist

The Beheading Of Saint John The Baptist.

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner. You were shown in truth to be the most honorable of the prophets, for you were deemed worthy to baptize in the streams of the Jordan Him whom they foretold. Therefore, having suffered for the truth with joy, you proclaimed to those in hell God who appeared in the flesh, who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great mercy.
The glorious beheading of the Forerunner, became an act of divine dispensation, for he preached to those in hell the coming of the Savior. Let Herodias lament, for she entreated lawless murder, loving not the law of God, nor eternal life, but that which is false and temporal.

4 comments:

Rob said...

When Christ descended to the dead, as the Creed states, it is also said that he "harrowed Hell", or rescued the souls of the Just who preceded Him. Now, I have heard varying arguments on whether this refers to Hell, or simply Sheol, which seemed to serve as a waiting place, or something else. But my question is, wherever Christ went, was the Baptist among those he saved? Oh, I know the Baptist was not consigned to Hell. But was he already in heaven, or awaiting Christ?

Any clue as to what the Fathers say?

Lucian said...

Imagine there's no heaven
Above us only sky ...


... just kiddin' ... :p

I think I've already given You this link to read:

orthodoxeurope.org/page/11/1/5.aspx

Rob said...

Yes, you have given me tht link before. I read it again, anyway, because it is a good read. However, I didn't find anything about the Baptist in there. Ah well, I'm not too worried about the old boy, just curious.

Lucian said...

The English Hell is connected to German Hoehle, meaning 'cave' or 'cavern': the tenebrous underground dwelling-place of the departed -- people are burried, after all, thus 'returning to the ground from which they were taken', 'ashes to ashes and dust to dust', via decomposition. See the Parable of Lazarus and the rich man: both of them pre-taste their future, final resting-places: one in Father Abraham's bossom, the other in flames that never lessen, and worms that never sleep. (Gehenna was the valey outside of Jerusalem, where they burned their trash and garbage). This was the Jewish belief at the time, which Christianity has preserved: that the Judgement will come with fore-telling angelic trumpets and the general resurection from the dead of the deceased. Before that faithful moment, which would finally decide and settle ones eternal destiny once and for all, each man had the pre-taste of what was coming to him: some were peacefully laid to rest in the bossom of their friendly ancestors and loving Patriarchs, while the others were placed in unsettling states of tormenting passions, which reflected their own disability to come to terms with their fallen nature during each their respective earthly lifes. "Our God is a consuming fire", and He "will be all in all" -- but His countenance is insupportable to the faces of sinners: the righteous will ALSO burn -- but with love of God, just like the fiery Seraphs. In ONE way do the flaming Angels burn with the righteousness of God, and the faces of His Saints shine forth the divine Glory of the uncreated Light, ... and in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT way does trash, or garbage, burn: with gross, despicable and heavy smoke which no human being can ever stand or come to terms with. And it is in this grave where Christ entered: to save both righteous and unrighteous alike: both were expecting eternal death, but Christ came and destroyed death: thar was the whole point of the Torah: to save or rescue the entire being from death. See: Psalms 37:27, 34:14; Proverbs 10:2, 11:4; Tobit 4:10 (11), 12:9; 14:10 (11); Romans 10:5.

Manasses gave alms, and escaped the snares of death which they had set for him: but Aman fell into the snare, and perished.

Since man couldn't fulfill the Torah, the Torah had to become man. See Sirach throughout, identifying Wisdom with the Torah, and the Torah with Wisdom: he thus builds the bridge between the Mosaic and Solomonic Pentateuchs. And since everybody was dieing, everybody had to be saved: otherwise they would've all have perished eternally, for bodilly death is just a fore-taste of the eternal death of the soul: first the body becomes dumb, being separated from the living soul (Genesis 2:7), and then dies, only for the soul to follow him thereafter, by his susequent separation from the life-giving spirit: see 1 Corinthians 15:45 AND Hebrews 4:12. From this eternal, existential self-inflicted damnation had man to be saved and rescued. This saving rescue-mission was enacted by the same Word of God and divine Logos that by a cry brought it out of nothingness and gave it shape, form and being. So He was the One who plunged again into the very depths of darkness to redeem it and give her life, through the indwelling Holy Spirit -- His Life, that He gave for the life of the whole world, which otherwise would've perished, after initially being desfigured and mutilated by sin and death beyond distinction through the envy, pride and jaundice of the evil one: see Solomon 2:24. As the Pharisees who were present at the crucifixion said truly --though in a mocking manner, but also in the same time prophesying: see John 18:14-- "Oh, Doctor, rescue thyself!" -- which Jesus truly did, and in doing that He saved the entire human race by the destroying of death and temptation (and therefore sin: see 1 Corinthians 15:56) in His own godly flesh, thereby cleansing the entire human nature through his spotless life, awful passion, splendid ressurection and glorious ascension. People aren't born sinful --were it so, Jesus Himself would've had to have been born this way, since "anything that's not assumed cannot be saved" (to quote the Patristic axiom from Iraeneus to Athanasius to Cyril to Maximus to this day)-- but they are born mortal and it is this mortal body that Jesus took upon Himself in order for Him to save us. And every human person dead or alive is in the need of that salvation: wheteher Old Testament righteous, pagan philosophers, gentile holy men, raging heretics, or the lasts of all sinners.