3. After conferring, the first company, which came from the north, said that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are the same as the life of heaven. "Consequently," they said, "everyone who enters heaven enters with his life into its festivities, just as one who enters into a wedding celebration enters into its festivities. Is not heaven something we can see above us, thus something that has location?1 There and nowhere else exists bliss upon bliss and pleasure upon pleasure. On account of the fullness of joys in that place, a person is introduced into this bliss and pleasure with every perception of his mind and every sensation of his body when he is introduced into heaven. Therefore heavenly happiness, which is also eternal happiness, is simply admission into heaven, and admission by Divine grace."
 Following that statement, the second company from the north presented in accordance with its wisdom this conjecture: "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness consist simply in delightful associations with angels and enjoyable conversations with them, which keep the countenance in continual expressions of gladness and the mouths of all in pleasant laughter as a result of charming and witty exchanges. What are heavenly joys but varying interchanges of this sort to eternity?"
 The third company, which was the first of the wise from the western zone, expressed in accordance with the thoughts of its members' affections this opinion: "What else is heavenly joy and eternal happiness but dining with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,2 at tables that will be set with rich delicacies and fine vintage wines, followed by exhibitions and dances by young men and women performed to the rhythms of stringed and wind instruments, and from time to time the sweet singing of songs? And finally in the evening there will be theatrical performances, and after that more dining. And so on every day to eternity."
 After that pronouncement, the fourth company, the second from the western zone, reported its verdict, saying, "We have entertained many ideas with respect to heavenly joy and eternal happiness, but having considered various kinds of joy and compared them with each other, we have come to the conclusion that heavenly joys are like those of a paradise. What else is heaven but a paradise,3 stretching from east to west and from the south to the north, containing fruit trees and delightful flowers, and in their midst the magnificent tree of life, around which the blessed will sit, feeding on fruits of exquisite flavor4 and adorned with garlands of sweet-smelling flowers?
"We conclude, too, that owing to a climate of endless spring, these fruits and flowers are produced again and again daily, with unlimited variety; and that because of their continual production and growth, and at the same time the constantly springlike temperature, minds and hearts cannot help but breathe in and out new joys every day, being forever rejuvenated so as to return to the flower of their youth and through this to the pristine state into which Adam and his wife were created. Thus they are restored to the paradise of old, transferred from earth to heaven."
 The fifth company, which was the first of the brilliant from the southern zone, declared the following: "Heavenly joys and eternal happiness are nothing else but positions of great power, possessions of great riches, and so superregal magnificence and superglorious splendor. We have discerned that the joys of heaven and the continual enjoyment of them (which is eternal happiness) consist in such things from observing people in the previous world who there possessed them. Furthermore, we know that the happy in heaven will reign with the Lord and will be kings and princes, because they are the sons of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.5 Also that they will sit upon thrones, and that the angels will minister to them.6
"As for the magnificence of heaven, we have discerned this from the account of the New Jerusalem, by which the glory of heaven is described, that it will have gates, each one of which will be one pearl, and streets of pure gold, and a wall founded upon precious stones.7 From this we conclude that everyone received into heaven has his own palace of gold, resplendent with precious things, and that the right of dominion will pass from one to another in turn. And because we know that joys are intrinsic to such things and happiness inherent in them, and that the promises of God are unbreakable, we have been unable to trace the origin of the most happy state of heavenly life from any other source."
 After this, the sixth company, the second from the southern zone, raised its voice and said, "The joy of heaven and eternal happiness there consist solely in a continual glorifying of God, a religious celebration lasting to eternity, and blessed worship with singing and exultation, resulting in constant elevation of the heart to God, with full confidence in His acceptance of prayers and praises offered in gratitude for His Divine munificence in rendering the worshipers blessed."
Some members of the company added that this celebration would be accompanied by magnificent lighting and sweet-smelling incense, with solemn processions led by a high priest carrying a great trumpet, followed by prelates and other clergy, great and small, and behind them men with palm branches and women with golden images in their hands.
1. Cf. Matthew 22:1-14.
2. Cf. Matthew 8:11.
3. Cf. Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
4. Cf. Revelation 2:7.
5. See John 1:12, Romans 8:14, 16, 17, Galatians 4:4-7, 2 Timothy 2:12, , Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 17:14, 19:16, 20:4, 6, 22:5.
6. See Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:29, 30, Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 1:13, 14.
7. Revelation 21:18-21.