all become of one stature

Then the trumpet shall blow with great shouting, and the foundations of the earth shall shake, and the dead shall rise from their graves, and all become of one stature, and the secret thoughts of all stand revealed before Thee.

A hymn from the Orthros service on the morning of Judgement Sunday (Orthodox church, Antiochian jurisdiction).

When I asked friends what “stature” means in this hymn, someone responded: “Eph 4:13, until all of us come to … the measure of the full stature (‘helikia’, as in the hymn) of Christ. …on course to Christlikeness, as a dynamic state, ever-increasing, real inasmuch as it is ever ‘in progress.'”

Here are the eight instances of this word (ἡλικίας) in the New Testament:

  • Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature…”
  • Matthew 6:27 and Luke 12:25 “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”
  • Luke 19:3 “And he [Zacchaeus] sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.”
  • John 9:21 and 23 “But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age. …Therefore said his parents, He is of age.”
  • Ephesians 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
  • Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”

So this ancient hymn writer (who I have not tried to look up) imagines that everyone in the general resurrection will “rise from their graves” and stand together with a similar age or maturity level. This term does suggest being “on the way” toward a goal or ideal or final maturity. So the comment that I received is helpful in saying that all who are raised to face Jesus Christ will be placed into a similar way of being “on course to Christlikeness.” It is helpful to envision this “one stature” of all humanity alongside this vision of Paul: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

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