Are you ready?
1 Thes 4:15-16 “the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
The Bible tells us in dozens of places that all the old Saints of True Christian Israel Bride (including 12 Israelite tribes which are non-Judaic) are going to resurrect and come back before the Hebrew millennium. If you’re not ready they’re (or we are) going to kick your butt to get you ready for the coming of Christ who will rule on the earth from David’s throne for 1,000 years. He’s coming back for a church that is without spot or wrinkle and will step down when His enemies are made His footstool (and as in the OCC/ Priory of Salem study, all the Majesty/Elders/Marshals are feeding those that trust in YAHWEH).
I would like to send you the notes from Peters in his “The Theocratic Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.
These writings about the ressurection may later become part 2 on “His Ekklesia Will Be Stronger Than It Has Ever Been on christsassembly.com “
(You can download the full text of “Theocratic Kingdom” if you have e-sword (all freely downloadable). The best part is you can click on each verse if you have e-sword and it opens up the full reference Bible texts. Ignore most of these references to any Jews. None of the Bible text says “Jews”, I don’t know how he mixes that part up with the saints. However, it’s the part on the ressurection I want to share. There are several parts all below. )Rev Stephen MK
Minister, The Christ’s Assembly
Grand Marshal, Priory of Salem
Grand Marshal, Priory of Salem
Prop. 125. The Kingdom to be inherited by these gathered saints requires their resurrection from among the dead.
WE HAVE CONCLUSIVELY SHOWN THAT THE COVENANT NECESSITATES A RESURRECTION; THAT THE DESCRIPTION OF DAVID’S SON, WHO IS TO REIGN, DEMANDS A DESCENDANT OF DAVID POSSESSING, IN SOME WAY, IMMORTALITY, SEEING THAT HIS RULE IS EVERLASTING, THUS IMPLYING A RESURRECTION-THAT A RESURRECTION IS PREDICTED OF HIM, ETC.-AND NOW THE FAIR INFERENCE IS THAT THOSE SELECTED TO BE HIS CO-HEIRS, BEING GATHERED OUT DURING A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, AND HAVING DIED “WITHOUT RECEIVING THE PROMISES,” MUST ALSO EXPERIENCE THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION BEFORE THEY CAN INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Obs. 1. Leaving the proof of this union of resurrection and Kingdom for the following Propositions (as we only desire now to introduce the subject of the resurrection), every reader, keeping in view that Christ’s appearing and Kingdom are united, 2Ti_4:1, that a resurrection follows His Second Advent, and that an inheriting of the Kingdom succeeds this appearing and resurrection, must concede that when the righteous “are recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luk_14:14), this also includes the inheriting of a Kingdom. So that, for the present, we are content with the general tenor of the Word, indicating first a resurrection and then the reception and enjoyment of a Kingdom. And, as food for reflection, it is suggested that if the appearing and Kingdom are synchronical, then, as Mede observed, “The appearing must precede the Millennium, for” (taking now the doctrine of our opponents for granted) “at the final resurrection the Kingdom does not commence, but is ‘delivered up,’ then cometh the ‘end,’” etc. Refuge indeed may be taken in a Kingdom in the third heaven, but this, as shown, is not the Kingdom of covenant or prophecy, which is a Kingdom here on earth.
Obs. 2. All along, the position has been taken that, owing to the postponement of the Kingdom, a preliminary dispensation of grace to us Gentiles has intervened, and that even the dead saints, whatever their position in this interval, are waiting until “the day of Redemption,” the time of the resurrection for their inheritance, etc. This is confirmed by the language of Paul in 1Co_15:32, who lays the greatest stress on the resurrection as the necessary and appointed means by which the blessings that are covenanted can be obtained. The memorial, the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant, promise after promise, involve a resurrection from the dead, and the resultant reception of blessings; and hence the emphatic language of Paul, because of this very relationship, “what advantageth me, if the dead rise not.” He well knew that inheritance, crown, and Kingdom belonged to the period of the resurrection. Auberlen (Div. Rev., p. 208) justly argues that one of the doctrinal defects of the Reformation was, that the resurrection of Christ was not made sufficiently prominent as compared with His sacrificial death, while in the apostolic preaching the Crucified and the Risen held equal place. And this feature extended finally in an undue exaltation of the intermediate state, until the resurrection is almost practically ignored as of comparative little consequence to the honor, glory, etc., of the deceased saint. To appreciate the force and pertinency of the resurrection, there must be a return to the scriptural presentation of the matter.
The Liturgical services for the dead, commonly used among the various denominations, being mostly derived from ancient sources, and having a close relationship to Scriptural language, are in sympathy with our position. From many sources, also, do we receive statements confirming the importance of the resurrection on the ground stated by Dr. Nast (Lange’s Com., p. 401), viz., that the intermediate state is “something imperfect, abnormal,” etc. Something may be added respecting the doctrine that death is the result of the fall of man. The favorite argument employed by Free Thinkers is derived from the geological assertion that it is firmly proven that before man trod this earth death raged under the rulership of the mastodon, the dinotherium, etc. Therefore it follows that “the root doctrine” that death follows from the fall of man is an error. But the Scriptural statements are not in antagonism with the alleged proofs of geology, and still consistently make death entailed by the fall. For (1) the Bible only refers to the fact that man was created mortal (hence what preceded him, being a lower creation, was also mortal), and had life offered to him in virtue of obedience; (2) that having disobeyed, the means of life-so that he should not see death-was withdrawn, his mortality-conditioned by faithfulness-was entailed. This is the Scripture teaching, and not the old theological opinion against which the argument is leveled. Hence death, in view of disobedience, is a penal entailment as the Bible represents, because the means of escape from it originally present are withdrawn, and now can only be obtained through the Savior provided by God. Hence, being penal and a result of the fall, perfect redemption through a perfect Redeemer must recover us from the same. (Comp. Prop. 163.)
Obs. 3. This resurrection includes a resurrection of dead saints, or, in other words, is a corporeal, literal resurrection. The changes or modifications that the body may undergo in the process of glorification, or the question whether the whole body or a portion, etc., is raised up, we leave for other works (e.g. art. “Resurrection,” McClintock and Strong’s Cyclop.) to discuss, the point under consideration being merely that of an undoubted, veritable resurrection of the bodies of dead saints, sufficiently distinctive to preserve personal identity, and to make it recognizable to others as a real restoration from the dead. A line of argument can only (owing to lack of space) be indicated. 1. The resurrection necessitated by the covenant promises requires the personal resurrection and continued identity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 2. That applied to David’s Son demands the same, and the distinctive preservation of His humanity, so as to sustain a continued relationship to David as His Son. 3. The belief in a literal resurrection of the body, according to numerous writers, was a common one among the Jews at the time of Christ (Matthew 22; Luke 20; Act_23:6-8; Joh_11:24, etc.), and the language of Christ and the apostles is pre-eminently calculated to confirm them in their belief. 4. That the language of Christ and the apostles taught such a resurrection, is confirmed by the fact that all the early churches distinctively proclaimed it as their faith, thus corroborating the views entertained by the Jews. And this general belief was not confined to Jewish but was embraced in the Gentile churches. 5. Seeing what immediately preceded and followed the First Advent in attachment to this doctrine, if an error, it seems reasonable to anticipate either from Christ or His apostles a plain and unequivocal denial of it. 6. But the Scriptures themselves establish the doctrine. This they do, (1) in the usage of words which denote both in classical and scriptural writings a revivification of the dead. (2) In applying these words to deceased persons in their graves. (3) In representing those “asleep in the dust of the earth,” those “whose flesh rests in hope” etc., as the ones who shall experience it. (4) In speaking of it as something well understood, as e.g. Act_14:2; Act_23:6, etc. (5) In declaring that the unjust (Act_24:15), “all in their graves,” Joh_5:28-29, shall undergo its power, removing the idea of simple moral regeneration. (6) In appealing to us not to think it incredible that God should perform such a work, Act_26:8; Heb_11:19. (7) In the examples of dead persons being restored to life (e.g. Mat_27:52-53), which is a sign of what will be done at the Second Advent. (8) In the body being specifically mentioned, as e.g. Rom_8:23 in “the redemption of the body,” Php_3:10; Php_3:21. (9) In the contrast made between death and the resurrection from the dead (1Co_15:21-22), and in the effects of death and the consequences following the resurrection (1Co_15:42-54). (10) In the rejection of those who spiritualized the resurrection, 2Ti_2:17-18. (11) In the removal of it to a certain fixed period, Eph_4:30; 1Co_15:23; 1Th_4:14; 1Th_4:17, etc. (12) In the fact that “the first begotten of the dead” underwent a literal, corporeal resurrection, as the various Gospels prove; that even in the process of glorification following it He retains His personal identity sufficiently that when He comes again He comes emphatically as “the Son of Man,” David’s Son, and that His resurrection is represented as a pattern for that of His saints, Rom_8:11; 1Co_4:14; 2Co_4:14; Rom_6:5; Php_3:21; 1Jn_3:2. (13) In the mortal, i.e. the part subject to death putting on immortality, 1Co_15:52-53; Rom_8:11. (14) In the effects of Paul’s preaching the doctrine on Athenians, etc., Act_17:32; Act_26:6; Act_26:8, etc. (15) In the fact that if the body is not also redeemed, restored to its forfeited condition, then the Redemptive process is in so far incomplete. Such considerations, with especially the deeper and more significant one that the Davidic-Theocratic arrangement necessarily by covenant insists upon it, are amply sufficient to cause us to retain the old form of doctrine.
The “changing of our vile bodies,” the “quickening of our mortal bodies,”-completed redemption (comp. remarks, Art. 1, Luth. Quart. Review, July, 1874) requiring the raising up of the body, etc., ought certainly to influence every one who receives the authority of the Word to believe in a corporeal resurrection. It is most reasonable to believe that the body which suffers by the fall, which has been honored by the Spirit, which has honored God by its labors and toils, will be saved as well as the soul, and will be honored by God in a glorious manner. No spiritualizing or prevarication can remove the force of numerous Scriptures, as e.g. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (for the connection shows a direct reference to corporeal resurrection, so Barnes Com., etc.). Redemption of the body is something recovered or restored that was alienated in the power of evil; if, therefore, the body itself is not in some way resurrected and restored, there is no redemption of it. Redemption cannot be predicated of a body wholly rejected (as some believe), or of an entire new body substituted (as others hold) in place of the old one. If the reader will but reflect over the Jewish phraseology of 1Co_15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept,” this naturally and forcibly recalls the first fruits of a coming harvest of the same kind of product. In view of the identity of the first representative of the harvest with that of the harvest itself, it seems impossible to refuse our assent to a similarity of resurrection. If the one is a resurrection of the body, the rest must be the same, or else the illustration loses its force. Such passages as Rom_6:5; Rom_8:23; Php_3:21; 1Co_6:14; 2Co_2:14, etc., are decisive, and corroborate the statement of Jesus, Joh_6:39-40; Joh_6:44, that He will lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day; that He will raise up believers (not at death) at the last day. So decisive is this Scriptural proof that nearly all creeds and confessions affirm “the resurrection of the body;” meaning by it an actual revivification of the sleeping or dead body, forming again a reunion of soul and body, and preserving the personal identity of the believer. In this way alone do they consistently hold forth the Scriptural promise, that every believer shall be “ransomed from the power of the grave,” and that “God bringeth down to the grave, and He raiseth up” (1Sa_2:6).
The Church is rapidly drifting away from the idea of a corporeal resurrection. The old-fashioned faith-even evidenced by the Patriarchs-does not suit modern notions. Thus e.g. Dr. Nisbet (The resurrection of the Body. Does the Bible teach it?) refers to Nelson, Hodge, Robinson, and others as declaring that the future body is not derived from the present body, or as Robinson (quoted) says: “Few, if any, intelligent persons can at this day, I think, suppose any part of the body laid in the grave is to rise with us at our resurrection. “To this we only say that, admitting a change or transformation, it certainly then is strange to have a resurrection of the body announced at all, and stranger still to connect it at some future time with our decayed bodies, and strangest of all that the resurrection of Jesus (our pattern) should be really and truly identified with His deceased body. If it is true, as Nesbit quotes Dr. Hodge, that “not a particle of one need to be in the other,” this is due, not to the resurrection of the body, but to the glorification of the body afterward. Many writers confound the resurrection and subsequent glorification, speaking of the future body as the resultant only of the resurrection, when it is one of the resurrection and the subsequent transforming (making the mortal immortal, etc.) power of God. If Nesbit, Robinson, and Hodge are right, then the body of Jesus might have remained in the sepulcher untouched, and its removal, under the idea of resurrecting power, was simply a deception. White (The Redeemer and Redeemed, p. 21, etc.) makes the resurrection of the dead a re-creation simply out of the dust of the earth without any reference to the body itself. His sole Scriptural proof is based on 1Co_15:35-38, especially the phrase “thou sowest not that body that shall be.” But he presses this beyond its connection-for the context proves that while (as we firmly believe) the resurrection body (glorified) is something very different from the body sown (owing to the powers that it receives), yet the resurrection body is in some way connected with the body that has died, as seen e.g. in the phrase, “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.” No wheat, no grain of any kind, is produced unless it sustains an intimate connection with the previously sown grain; so it is with the resurrection, otherwise the Apostle’s illustration fails-and this is confirmed by the allusions to “the graves,” coming up “out of the graves,” etc. A friend (Prof. Breckenridge, with whom many agree) takes the position that the same body is raised only in form, for God preserves the idea of form and in the resurrection restores it and revitalizes it, so that not any of the particles are raised which composed the original form, but the form itself is restored by the rehabilitation of other particles. This is the resurrection of an idea, and when applied to the resurrection of Jesus, and to others, fails in applying the Scripture statements respecting the “flesh,” “the dust,” “this vile body,” “this mortal,” this “seed,” etc. Lee, indeed, in his Eschatology, admits a literal, corporeal resurrection of Jesus-forced to it by the facts, but then contends (p. 198-9), that it was a resurrection only to a mortal life for a few days, and that afterward the resurrection to immortal life was accomplished by His Spirit leaving the body, (1) for “the animal body had answered its purposes, and the Spirit might now take its departure into the spiritual world to live forever a Spirit without a body.” Hence, according to this theory, Jesus died a second death! and as death is the consequence of sin, He endured the penalty of sin twice! There is nothing in the Record to support such a view, and it never would have been entertained if it were not needed to bolster up a preconceived opinion (comp. next Observation and note). Strange how far men will proceed with the Scriptures in order to establish a favorite theory, to which the former must bend. Thus e.g. Rev. Hequeinbourg (Plan of Creation) follows Swedenborg, Bush, Lee, etc., in making the resurrection to be an investiture of new bodies immediately or soon after death, and then asserts respecting the impression or doctrine of a corporeal resurrection: “But if the impression should prove correct, it would be fatal to the inspiration of the New Testament” That is, if the Scriptures do not sustain his theory of a purely spiritual resurrection succeeding death, he denies the divine inspiration-when the Jews, the early Church, and multitudes have found a corporeal resurrection in them and held to their inspiration. When men thus affirm themselves, in the light of the teaching exhibited by us concerning this doctrine, as judges to decide whether it ought or ought not to be received, and inspiration with it, we instinctively feel that their views are unscriptural and dangerous. The resurrection of Jesus is a stumbling-block to all purely spiritual theories, and hence Clamagerau, Fontanes, and others, in some way, against the most positive of Records, make out even a spiritual resurrection of Jesus, defining it to be “the rising of the soul to a higher life,” etc.
Obs. 4. The views of the Gnostics relating to matter, and the consequent rejection of this doctrine, has influenced many to imitate Hymenaeus and Philetus. From Manes down to Eckermann, Henke, Ammon, Priestley, Des Cotes (Knapp’s Ch. Theol., p. 532), Bush, Owen, etc., men have endeavored either to spiritualize the language, or to explain it away as an accommodation, or to refer it to the bestowment of something new immediately after death. Indeed, this leaven has so far worked through the mass, that concessions are made by our theologians which virtually vitiate the whole doctrine so far as its relationship to the future is concerned. An illustration may be in place. Dr. Dwight in expounding (Ser. 64, On resurrection) Mat_22:31-32, not seeing how the covenant promises give the key (Prop. 49) to its meaning, opens wide the gate of arbitrary exegesis; and of his exposition Prof. Bush, in his Anastasis (denying the resurrection of the body) gladly avails himself. Dwight asserts that the word here translated resurrection denotes throughout the New Testament, “existence beyond the grave,” or “a future state or existence.” It is a matter of amazement that so able a writer, to make out a special case of interpretation, should commit himself so erroneously, and thus aid the efforts of those who deny a bodily resurrection. This assertion has no weight with himself afterward, as he advocates a literal resurrection, indicates that it is applied to the corporeal resurrection of Jesus, and admits that the Jews, etc., employed it (as e.g. Joh_11:24) to denote a revivification of the body.313 [Note: 13 313. Dr. Russell’s estimate (Bib. Sac, Oct., 1860, p. 775, given by Hudson, p. 25 Reviewers Reviewed) of Dr. Dwight’s definition may be referred to; when e.g. speaking of those who “quote the loose and rickety statements of Dr. Dwight in full on the meaning of ‘anastasis,’ and then blink the whole question of the usus loquendi of the language itself.”] Why, then, make so sweeping a declaration, which is abundantly disproved by even the simplest passage relating to the resurrection; for, if he is correct, and Bush is right in indorsing it, then his interpretation is synonymous with the word, anastasis or resurrection. Let it be tested as a synonym with Joh_11:25; 1Co_15:42, etc., and its absurdity will appear. Hence, our ablest critics and most talented theologians, as a matter of simple consistency, accept of the word “anastasis” or “resurrection” as legitimately denoting a revivification of the dead, a restoration to life. The student need not be reminded that innumerable testimonies derived from ancient and modern writers can be adduced to support this meaning. To give but a recent illustration: Thompson (Theol. of Christ, ch. 14), following Knapp and others, declares that the word was used by the Greeks, by the Grecian-Jews, and by the Scriptures to denote a restoration to life of the dead. This leads us again to remind the reader that in the following discussion, such candid admissions from those who have no sympathy with our doctrine possess considerable weight, in view of the fact that the selection of such a word which Christ and the apostles well knew was thus employed, indicates, that if a spiritual resurrection or existence beyond the grave is meant by the resurrection, no word could have been selected better calculated to deceive hearers and readers.
It is not surprising that “Reformed Judaism” (Art. on, by Felix Adler, in North Amer. Review, Sep.-Oct., 1877), “inspired by the philosophic (Rationalistic) teachings of the day,” should set aside the doctrine of the resurrection in the flesh, and with it all kindred doctrines, as e.g. the Advent of a personal Messiah. But it is surprising that those who accept the authority of the Word, should virtually deny the same. The Unseen Universe, relying simply on the expression that “there is a natural body and a spiritual body” (overlooking Paul’s statement that the one is a result of the other, for the former must first die, etc.), teaches that we now have the frame or the rudiments of the frame of the spiritual body, which connects us with the invisible world. A writer in the Cin. Enquirer, a Spiritualist, affirms that, at death, mediums have seen it coming out of the person dying, thus leaving the body. The Shakers (Art. on, by Evans, Appletons’ Cyclop.) make it spiritual, and by way of pre-eminence style themselves “the children of the resurrection,” and hence do not marry, as marriage is inconsistent with their professed state. Swedenborgianism (Barrett’s Lectures, etc.) has no resurrection of the body, for “continuation of life is what is understood by the resurrection.” With these and others there is no resurrection out of the graves, unless figuratively. Over against all these mystical conceptions, aside from other considerations (see previous Observation) it is amply sufficient and conclusive to say that as the natural body of Jesus was transformed into a “glorious body,” so, says the Apostle, Php_3:20-21, “shall He change our vile body, that it,” the vile body, “may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Philosophy, science, spiritualizing may speculate and tender objections, but faith accepts the asserted fact that the body itself-like Christ’s-shall undergo this change or transformation, just as it is represented that the bodies of the living at the Second Advent, when translated, shall also undergo a wonderful transformation. Any other view forbids the cordial reception of the promises relating to the resurrection, in their plain grammatical sense. Greybeard, in Lay Sermons, No. 104, opposes the resurrection of the body on the ground that it is “folly” to assume that “the same identical particles of matter composing the body that is sown ‘in corruption’ are to form the body that is to be ‘raised in incorruption,’” basing it on the declaration, “thou sowest not that body that shall be,” etc. But how does he know-for has the modus operandi of the resurrection been revealed to any one?-that some, if not all, the particles will be utilized and form the basis upon which is exerted transforming power? Cannot God take, if such is His will, the very mortal body and clothe it with transcendent power and refined glory? If his theory is true, then, as no particles of the body of Jesus were needed in the resurrection, the empty sepulchre was merely a pious deception, and the proof given to Thomas of a resurrection was a mere pious fraud. No! the Record is too explicit. Besides, in reply to Greybeard’s proof, it must be observed that Paul speaks of the body (natural) as the basis from which springs the incorruptible (just as in the body of Jesus), and holds up the resurrection body in its completeness with the positive declaration that the body is as its “seed.” Hence, while the oak is not the acorn, the same particles, yet the oak proceeds from the acorn through the transforming power of nature. So also the natural body-whether entire or in part we cannot tell, it being also complex-must form the basis, the groundwork of the resurrection body, for it is on the dead bodies in their graves that the transforming power of resurrection will be exerted, so that the dead ones undergo a transmutation; there being a veritable coming out of the graves, and, therefore, a necessity for the graves, the earth, and the sea to give up its dead. When Beecher (The Future Life, sermon, Ch. Union, Sep. 5th, 1877) rejects the resurrection of the body because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom,” he only confuses the wonderful transforming power which accompanies the resurrection with the resurrection itself; because the resultant of resurrecting power is the glorification of the body-a conversion by which flesh and blood is excluded-in order to qualify it for inheritance in the Kingdom.
The “germ theory, which assumes that the soul at death retains a certain ethereal investiture, and that this has by virtue of the vital force the power of accreting to itself a new body for the celestial life,” is virtually the Swedenborgian view as advocated by Prof. Bush (Anastasis), Universalists (Works), Joseph Cook314 [Note: 14 314. Cook (Lectures on Biology) in his Lecture “Ulrici on the Spiritual Body” (which contains highly interesting matter relative to the latest German thought respecting the enswathement of the soul in an ethereal, non-atomic fluid, etc.), makes out a present spiritual body of which the soul is an occupant, and that immediately after death, or at death, the soul continues to exclusively occupy this body, and then jumps to the conclusion that this is “the spiritual body” denoted by “the inspired doctrine of the resurrection.” But was this all that Jesus experienced? Is it a coming out of the graves, etc.? Is it a resurrection limited, as the Scriptures do, to the Second Advent? Does it not virtually make the resurrection of Jesus a pious fraud, and deny the union of the resurrection with the Second Coming of Jesus? Russell (Our Lord’s Return, p. 47), in behalf of his spiritual theory, remarks: “A spiritual body coming out of the grave will not make any more of a hole in the ground than Christ’s spiritual body made in the door when ‘He came and stood in their midst, the door being shut.’” This, however, is to make resurrection (i.e. revivification of the dead) and glorification identical, which they are not. If Russell is right, why such a parade over the grave of Jesus, the missing body, etc.? Why expressly assert that the graves themselves are opened as e.g. Mat_27:52; Eze_37:12; Joh_11:41; Joh_11:44, etc.?] (Lectures), Spiritualists, and others. But this makes the resurrection to be at death when the Scriptures make it still future; it is opposed to the contrast in I Corinthians 15; it is not in accord with the figure of the grain (change), I Corinthians 15; it makes the future body independent of and not the offshoot of this body; it does not really make the whole body to die, but retains a bodily (ethereal it may be) investiture, and is opposed by the plain record of Jesus’ death and resurrection (as we have shown), for to be resurrected there must be a real death in order to be made alive: thus it was with Jesus, 1Pe_3:18, and thus it is with the saints, Rom_8:11. (This germ theory probably is a refinement of an old view-see McClintock and Strong’s Cyclop., Art. “Mohammedanism”-for the Jewish Haggadah had a certain bone (“Bone Luz”), and Mohammed the rump bone (“Bone Al-Ajb”), which would be uncorrupted until the last day, from which the whole body would spring forth anew). If the theory were true that the resurrection is thus only a continuation of life by virtue of this inherent constitution, then a resurrecting Savior need not be provided, for it would not be true that “by man came also the resurrection of the dead,” seeing that, according to this opinion, it would be a result already established by the law of creation, and required no special divine interposition to be secured. Williamson (Theol. and Moral Science, ch. 28) and others of the same class, to make out a purely spiritual resurrection immediately after death, with no relation to the body in the grave, lay special stress on I Corinthians 15, “With what body do they come?” and in the discussion coolly assumes what remains unproven, the time of the resurrection, omitting all reference to the passages which relate to a resurrection still future. He informs us that the body must die or else there can be no rising of the soul from it (how about the translated ones?), and this constitutes the resurrection, which the Patriarchs and all others have already experienced, for it is foolishness to say that the dead come in the same bodies, etc. Now, as there is great mystery connected with the modus operandi of resurrecting and transforming power, we are, of course, utterly unable to answer the questions and objections that may be alleged against the Scriptural idea, but we, unhesitatingly, because declared by God, receive it as follows: Paul’s reasoning includes the outcome or the result, and not the mode of operation; but this embraces so much, viz., that the future body sustains some relation to the dead body in the grave, although when raised and glorified it is very different from this mortal body, having other powers, qualities, attributes, etc., to fit it for its intended glorified use. The analogy of the grain clearly teaches such a relationship, and this is sustained by the references to a still future resurrection at the Second Advent. Take e.g. such a reference as 1Th_4:15-17, and the resurrection is predicated, not of those just deceased (immediate), but of “them who are asleep” in their graves, who are actually to arise from their sleep in the dust of the earth, and which is united with the Second Coming and a connected translation of living bodies. The question, “How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” refers to the future, and the proof is found in the simple fact that all the churches established by the Apostles East and West universally held to such a reference. How account for so general a belief? Any representation, however plausibly put, which disconnects the resurrection from a future second personal Advent of Jesus, and which separates it from any relationship to the deceased body (although moldered in the dust), is erroneous. For Paul’s reasoning shows that the very body which dies is the one quickened (and not another that is quickened because the body dies), but the quickening process (as in grain) gives a body not like that which was sown, it having different properties, powers, etc. The contrast, expressive of relationship, is distinctly and impressively given as follows: “It (the body) is sown in corruption; it (the same body, with the changes introduced) is raised in incorruption,” etc. The repeated references to “this corruptible, this mortal,” and hence this body as the one undergoing a change is so clear that no one, unless prejudiced by preconceived opinions, can fail to see and appreciate the force; thus repelling the notion that our mortal bodies experience no real, literal resurrecting power, which is capable of making the mortal immortal, the vile glorious, etc. A great deal of nonsense is written respecting “the spiritual body,” and because the word “spiritual” is used, many jump to the conclusion that the body is “spirit.” No one mistakes concerning “the natural body” as one under the influence and control of nature, and no one should misapprehend (after the usage of “spiritual”) “the spiritual body” as one under the influence and control of the spirit.315 [Note: 15 315. Hodge, quoted by Nesbit in another place, has some good, sensible remarks on “the spiritual body” in his Com. on I Corinthians, in which he does (1) connect the resurrected with the dead body, and (2) insist upon a body under the influence of the spirit. Probably this influenced Whedon (Com., 1Co_15:44) to coin a new word, making “spiritual” equivalent to “soulical,” i.e. something combined with, directed and controlled by, the soul. Many able writers contend that by “natural body” is meant one that is influenced, etc., by nature, and that by “spiritual body” is denoted one which is the organ of the spirit and the instrument of its operations (thus e.g. comp. Lange’s Com. loci).] But the latter still arises from the former as its basis, being shown by the evident contrast and relationship, thus: “It (the body) is sown a natural body; it (the same body but now changed) is raised a spiritual body.” If death retains the body so that it will not be raised and changed, we fail to see how then “Death is swallowed up in victory.” The critical student will observe the force of the Apostolic position in this respect. If (e.g. Killen’s Anc. Church, with which comp. Neander’s remarks) the Gnostics resisted the notion of a resurrection of the dead because of the principle that evil was inherent in matter, it is exceedingly strange that, if there is no resurrection of the mortal body, the Apostle should not, to this extent at least, have conciliated and incorporated the view, instead of directly affirming against them a resurrection, as e.g. Paul saying to the Corinthians (1Co_15:12): “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Why compare death to a sleep out of which the dead one should awake and directly refer to the bodies themselves? Why give such a decisive rebuke to deniers of a future resurrection (2Ti_2:18)? Enough has been said on this subject to sustain the Pre-Millennial view of the resurrection of dead ones, and the subject may be dismissed with two remarks. First, men are too eager to quote as authority for their views others who really differ from them. Thus e.g. the Universalist Quarterly, p. 150, Ap., 1877, on Luther as a Preacher, quotes him as saying concerning the resurrection of the body, to make it appear that he endorsed the Universalist view of the resurrection: “That the human body after death is not that body that shall be.” But this we also receive, and Luther’s view, as repeatedly taught, was that of a resurrection of the body, but that the resurrected body was one totally changed from the corruptible body buried, and that such a change was only to be realized at the future Second Advent. Second: the interpretation of a passage is made to fit a preconceived opinion. Thus, to take a favorite one. Augustine, and many who follow him, quote Joh_5:25-26, “The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” Because the expression is used, “The hour is coming and now is,” they suppose that it refers only to a spiritual or moral resurrection. But this is opposed to the facts. This announcement on the face of it expresses something as unusual, whereas such a resurrection as these advocate has, according to their view, always existed. Again: “the hour is coming” alludes to a future time coming when a bodily resurrection shall be experienced, and the “now is” indicates that although the resurrection is promised in general as future (at the last day) to those living, yet even now, at that time, a bodily resurrection was experienced in those few who were raised from the dead by Jesus, and the many who were raised up at His own resurrection, including, as the next phrase shows, the resurrection of Jesus Himself. And then the expression “He hath given to the Son to have life in Himself,” shows, as the parallel passages evince, that allusion is made to a resurrection of the literal dead, because we are expressly told that it was in view of this self-lodged power of life that death could not hold dominion over Him. That the Gentiles deemed the doctrine of the resurrection a thing “incredible” (as many now do, pronouncing our view “foolishness,” etc.), did not influence the inspired men to soften it down in order to make it palatable and accommodating to modern notions and unbelief, as is now the fashion, following in the lead of Gnosticism, Priscillianism, etc.
Obs. 5. An important feature that ought to be noticed in this discussion, is this: Commentators and others quote largely from the writings of the Jews, showing that they derived from the Old Testament the belief that the pious dead would be raised up at the Coming of the Messiah, and that they would remain with Him here on earth in His Kingdom. A few specimens will suffice: Eisenmenger (Bush, Anast., p. 221) states that the Jews held that the souls of pious Israelites were in a state of detention until the resurrection, awaiting a deliverance which was to be wrought for them by the Messiah, the Son of David. Bush quotes (Anast., p. 225), as favoring such a resurrection, R. Joshua Ben Levi, who thus applies Hos_13:14 and Isa_35:10, and also the Bereshith Rabba ad Gen, thus interpreting Mic_2:13. Priest (View, p. 40) says that J. Ben Uziel when referring to the prophecies of Eldad and Medad concerning Gog and Magog “in the last days,” adds: “All the dead of Israel shall rise again to life, and shall enjoy the delights prepared for them from the beginning, and shall receive the reward of their works.” R. Eliezer speaks of a resurrection preceding the Millennial age or thousand years. In the Testament of Simeon (Twelve Patriarchs) when “the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, shall appear upon earth as man,” it is added: “Then will I (Simeon) arise in joy and will bless the Most High for His marvellous works, because God hath taken a body, and eaten with men, and saved men.” In the same work, in the Testament of Zebulun, he is represented as saying: “And now, my children, grieve not that I am dying, nor be troubled in that I am passing away from you. For I shall arise once more in the midst of you, as a ruler in the midst of his sons; and I will rejoice in the midst of my tribe,” etc. Having given Jewish testimony in various places, and reserving others for following propositions, this, in connection with the collections given by Burnet (Theory), Lightfoot (Works), Mede (Works), Manasse Ben Israel (On resurrection), Herzog’s Cyclop., Smith’s Bib. Dic, and found in our commentaries, is corroborative of the notion entertained by Jews themselves of a corporeal resurrection, and of its occurrence at the appearing of the Messiah. And, what is remarkable, this very expectation of a resurrection at the time of the reign of the Messiah, a Pre-Millennial resurrection, a resurrection deemed indispensable to fulfill the prophets and the covenant itself to Abraham, etc., is so fully incorporated in the phraseology of the New Testament that not the slightest disconnection is to be found existing, so that Paul himself, Act_26:6-7 (comp. Act_23:6), links “the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come,” with the resurrection itself; and John in the Apocalypse, as many writers have admitted, gives a representation of the resurrection in full accord with Jewish opinions. At least the language chosen in its natural, grammatical meaning confirms these hopes not only in Jewish but in Gentile converts. The latter circumstance is to be considered the stronger in our favor, since, as many authors have shown, the doctrine of a resurrection from the dead was particularly absurd and offensive to Greeks, Romans, etc. Surely this continued reception of “Jewish conceptions” by Gentile churches must have its significance. This doctrine was taught by the apostolic Fathers and their successors as indispensable to their system of faith; and it was regarded as cardinal and exceeding precious, owing to the covenanted Kingdom and blessings being identified with it. Justin Martyr (Dial. with Trypho, *) gives the general view held when he says: “But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead (or as Newton, of the flesh), and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare,” quoting Isa_65:17-25; Psa_90:4; 2Pe_3:8 and the Apocalypse in confirmation.
While this doctrine was almost entirely confined to the Jews and the first Christians, yet traces of it are to be found in several directions. Thus e.g. a resurrection of the body was taught even by a sect of Magians several centuries b.c. A great prophet was to arise toward the expiration of this world, who would be “the Conqueror of death and the Judge of the world,” and after this revival to life the once dead but now “become immortal with a fine ethereal body, would lead a life of bliss upon an earth forever freed from the corrupting influence of evil.” (Quoted by Thompson, Theol. of Christ, p. 182.) The Sibylline Oracles, as many have noticed, teach a resurrection preceding a Millennial age and reign of a Mighty King. However we may account for the advocacy of the doctrine outside of the Jews and Christians, one thing is certain from the constant appeal made to Scripture, that both Jews and Christians derived their belief from the express declarations of God’s Word, so that, e.g. Lactantius (Div. Insti.) when adverting to this Pre-Millennial resurrection connected with the personal Advent of the Messiah, only expresses a uniform sentiment when he says (*): “this is the doctrine of the holy prophets which we Christians follow; this is our wisdom.”
For other references to the Jewish and Primitive belief, see Ante-Nicene Library, Comentaries of Meyer, Gill, Clarke, etc. Articles on resurrection in Kitto, Calmet, writings of Russell, Dodwell, Greswell, etc. Observe the language of Clemens Romanus in his Epis. to the Corinthians. The Apocrypha, as e.g. Maccabees 2:7, 14; 12:45, etc. The Karaites (the party opposed to the Rabbinical) hold to a resurrection of the dead, as seen in their articles of belief (Milman’s His. of the Jews, p. 224). So also the Mohammedans, who (Upham’s His. of Mahomet’s Successors, Greenbank’s Period. Library, p. 247) specially honored Palestine, “as, according to their traditions, it is the place whither all mankind will be summoned at the resurrection.”
Obs. 6. But in view of the variety of theory concerning the resurrection, something more must be stated. Many writers refine the resurrection by using it as a figurative expression, so that it is constituted something coeval with the history of the Church; or as an accommodation denoting the unfolding of greater capacities and newer powers; or as indicative of an inner body or life continued after death, making death not penal, but necessary and friendly to the development of life; or, as the reception of something exclusively spiritual, either the complete transformation of the material into spirit or the union of two spiritual natures into one. There is no end to the variety and scope of mystical language in this direction, and under the guidance of men of learning and genius, it becomes bewildering. But all such notions, however learnedly and eloquently expressed, are opposed to the simple idea of the resurrection as entertained by the Jews and early Christians, and as represented in the Scriptures. We frankly admit that the subject is one of faith, and thus accept of it; but, at the same time, a solid foundation sustaining such faith is produced. Leaving the connection that it has with the body itself in the grave, with the corporeal resurrection of Jesus, with the meaning of the word anastasis as aptly given by Pearson on the Creed, with the corporeal resurrection of some after the crucifixion, etc., we plant ourselves on the “redemption of the body” (Rom_8:23), which clearly teaches that not another body is given and glorified, but the same body, made subject by sin to death and corruption, is raised up again and given immortality and renewed (even spiritualized) powers and capacities. We still have faith to accept of the scriptural statements that death is penal in its nature, that it is an enemy and not a friendly messenger to introduce a spiritual resurrection, or to bestow the inheritance, crown, and Kingdom. We are old-fashioned enough in our belief to cling with hope to that day beyond the intermediate period or state, when the redemption of the body will also be effected. And this, because we rest on a perfect, complete Redemption. Our Savior is a perfect Redeemer; and the early Christians evinced not only faith but logic when they claimed in and through Him “the Redemption of the body.” Everything else that man and the race forfeited by sin is restored through Christ, and we can make no exception in favor of the body, given over to death and corruption, without making Redemption in so far incomplete, and giving in this particular the victory and triumph to Satan. “We dare not limit the redemption of the believer, seeing that God designs and has promised, through Christ, a complete restoration to all forfeited blessings; and even superadds to the same, in virtue of relationship to the Redeemer, increased exaltation and glory. Hence, every theory, however plausible, and no matter by whom advocated, that proceeds to limit Redemption, the work of Christ, must be rejected as irreconcilable with the honor, power, etc. of God in Redemption.
An editor of a prominent religious periodical, in a recent article on the resurrection, complained that some gave it undue prominency in the pulpit, etc., and suggested that one sermon a year was amply sufficient to give it all the prominency that it needs. Some eminent commentators and theologians of his own denomination correctly take a different view from that of the editor, who makes so much of “the intermediate state” that he does not see much necessity for a resurrection. Over against such a loose method we commend the excellent remarks of one of the editors (either Dr. Brown or Dr. Valentine) of the Evang. Quarterly Review, Art. 1, July, 1874, p. 337, insisting upon its fundamental importance and necessity (corporeal) for completed redemption. Sir Thomas Browne (Relig. Medici, S. 47) quaintly says: “The life, therefore, and spirit of our actions is the resurrection, and a stable apprehension that our ashes shall enjoy the fruit of our pious endeavors; without this all religion is a fallacy, and those impieties of Lucian, Euripides and Julian are no blasphemies, but subtle vexities; and atheists have been the only philosophers.” The critical student will find that by “the adoption,” Rom_9:4, Paul refers to this resurrection (for proof, see the preceding chapter, Rom_8:23), making it equivalent to “the redemption of the body” (comp. Judge Jones’ Notes, p. 284, footnote). But it is something distinguished from the general resurrection, being a peculiar and distinctive one, belonging to “the Sons of God;” for by the resurrection of saints is the adoption both perfected and manifested. Jesus is declared to be “the Son of God” by the resurrection from the dead, Rom_1:4, and His Sonship being vindicated and manifested by that sublime manifestation of power, it is employed, Act_13:33, as proof of the resurrection. But the identical principle involved in “the manifestation of the Sons of God,” to become such fully and really, they also, like their Head, must be declared such by a resurrection from among the dead-one peculiar to themselves; and this the Apostle declares, Romans 8, where the formal adoption is linked with the resurrection, for they are born again (as Jesus was born from the dead) as His children. (Query: Can we thus apply “the Sons of the living God” in Hos_1:10?) Brown (Com. Mat_12:25), in confirmation of what we previously said respecting the memorial (Prop. 49, Obs. 2, note) expressing a resurrection, forcibly says: “A beautiful clause is added by Luke, ‘and are children of God’-not in respect of character, which is not here spoken of, but of nature-‘being the children of the resurrection,’ rising to an unending existence (Rom_8:21; Rom_8:23), being the children of their Father’s immortality” (1Ti_6:16). (Compare Rom_1:4, etc.) It will be profitable for us to ponder in our hearts what this means, viz., that if we are so happy as to be “the children of the resurrection” we thus are manifested as God’s children, He calling us out of the dust of the earth by supernatural power and imparting to us. God-like powers. The expression in its relationship is so indicative of a new birth with added capacities and powers, so full of contemplated glory entirely derived out of the ordinary course of nature, that it ought to stimulate our faith and hope to grasp such a distinguishing, peculiar resurrection of saints.
Attention is called to Psa_16:10 : “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.” The mss. have the plural form “holy ones,” and Rosenmuller, De Wette, Gesenius, Bruno, Stange, Fischer, etc., decide that it must be retained. Our version and many commentators follow the Keri or marginal reading, and retain the singular. This has led to some discussion among critics. Some, as Fischer, etc., call it a plural of intention having reference only to Christ. Others, as Hengenstenberg, conclude that “the plural here must have been extremely welcome to the Jews because it furnished them with the best means of refuting the Messianic interpretation of the Psalms.” Some, as Dr. Alexander, contend that even the singular reading in the margin “is collective and includes the whole class of God’s chosen and favored ones, of whom Christ is the Head and Representative” (whereupon a writer in the Bib. Sacra., Oct., 1851, p. 808, asks the Dr., “Is it a fact that God does not suffer His ‘holy ones’ to see corruption?”). Now, so far as the plural form is concerned, if insisted on, we are willing (gladly, as authoritative) to adopt it, but need not necessarily endorse Hengstenberg’s idea. For notice, (1) it is quoted in the New Testament as expressly applicable to a resurrection; (2) Christ being the Head of the brethren or “holy ones” is necessarily included, and therefore the application to Him; (3) that the suggested question whether His brethren, “holy ones,” do not experience corruption, is not stated in the text if we allow due latitude of meaning to the word “see.” For it has also the meaning of sufferance or enduring, of continued experience or under the possession of, etc., as e.g., “It was not meet for us to see the King’s dishonor,” “If a man shall keep my saying he shall never see death,” “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” etc. Hence it is not necessary even to contend that any saint, including Jesus Himself, has not experienced corruption, seeing that the text only asserts that they shall not be suffered to endure corruption, remain under its power, but shall obtain a resurrection. With either reading it is a proof of Christ’s resurrection, and with the plural form it embraces that of His members, and thus makes the resurrection of all a bodily one.
In reference to the body itself it is sufficient to add, that, being something beyond present experience and reason, it is not particularly described, but in general it is asserted that being transformed, made like unto the body of Christ, glorified, it becomes “a spiritual body,” i.e. a body perfectly controlled by Spirit and not dependent any longer on nature for its support (although like angels, because of future supping with Jesus, etc., food and drink may be partaken of-not as a matter of necessity, but rather of pleasure). It is a body freed from weakness, disease, and death, having immortality, perpetual youth, angelic and even Christ-like powers. It is a strange notion of Burnet’s (Com. State of the Bead, and resurrection, ch. 7) that this glorified body will have no members or organs of sensation. Reason would imply the exact contrary, and even largely increase them as means of enlarged happiness (without e.g. interfering with the power of rapid transmission from one point to another), which Scripture supports in that it invariably links the unbounded happiness of the righteous with the period of their resurrection, and conveys the decided impression that the body itself will form an instrumentality through which increased pleasure will be afforded to the soul. We may well imagine, as Scripture intimates (Luk_20:36, etc.), that the future body in its glorified form will vary from the present body in that it is specially fitted for a new and enlarged state or ordering. The description of Jesus glorified, the representations of the saints, all evidence the greatness of the transformation, yet in such a way as to preserve a continued personal identity linking it with that which had previously existed. The critical student will ponder in this connection that (already intimated) glorification (which qualifies for honor and station) follows the resurrection. It is supposed from I Corinthians 15 that glorification and resurrection are one, but a little reflection and comparison will show that Paul in the general subject of the resurrection of the saints, which includes their glorification, unites both, giving the result, under the one general head. The production of the natural body is not instantaneous, and it does not follow that the production of the glorified and spiritual body is. a sudden, instantaneous one. Let the reader consider that the resurrection of the saints leads to a speedy, determined incorruptibility, etc., because a resurrection, same word, is also predicted of the unjust, who certainly are not transformed because resurrected, thus showing that the act of resurrecting or vivifying the dead is one thing and that of glorifying quite another. Men are to be judged for the deeds done in the body, and it would be an incongruity to judge them when already, as evidence of previous judgment, in possession of their reward in a transformed body. The resurrection of Jesus is in point, for we have no evidence that He assumed the glorified form until at His ascension, thus showing a resurrected one can exist restored to life, for some time independent of glorification. The rewarding being at the resurrection of the just, and as the future position, station, etc., of the believer in the Theocratic Kingdom is then assigned to them, and as differences exist, etc., we have every reason to believe that while all glorified bodies are fashioned after Christ’s, some are more like Christ’s than others, or in other words, that a diversity will thus exist even in the glory of the body as in the glory of the soul.
Obs. 7. If charged with credulity in our belief, we answer, that it requires far more to spiritualize away the plainest of facts. Thus, e.g. if the resurrection consists merely in a continued spiritual or future life, why is so much said of the burial of Christ, of the grave, the sealing, the stone rolled away, the rising on the third day (and not after death), the visitation to indicate no absence of the body, etc.? How can these facts be reconciled with such a theory? Again: the precise idea is conveyed of a resurrection “from among or out of the dead,” as all critics admit (as e.g. Php_3:11, etc.). Prof. Bush (Anast., p. 139), noticing this peculiarity in Luk_20:25, says: “This usage is very remarkable, and must be founded upon some sufficient reason.” The reason he assigns is, that it denotes a moral or spiritual resurrection from among or out of the dead in sin, or a future state. But the facts in reference to this usage are decidedly against such a view, for the identical language is employed to denote Christ’s resurrection from among or out of the dead as is seen in Act_4:2, comp. Act_17:31; and hence, if the pleading is valid, it denotes in Christ’s case a moral or spiritual regeneration or a continued future life. How, too, reconcile this usage of language, with precisely the same employed by the Jews to signify, as the words indicate, a separate and distinct resurrection of some of the dead?
Compare Prop. 128. We are satisfied with the charge of credulity, so long as the same is supported by the plain statements of God. The difficulties alleged in the scattering of the dust, in the assimilation of the flesh of martyrs by beasts, etc., have no force to him who believes in the unlimited Omnipotence of God. The question simply is, has God declared that He will raise the dead? If He has, then He will perform it, no matter how incredible, how impossible it may be to man. We are not concerned in replying to objections at length, simply because not knowing how it is accomplished, how the transformation is performed, we might readily be led in our short-sightedness, into error. It is sufficient that a cause efficient enough to produce it is assigned, even Jesus, David’s Son and Son of God, and that the efficiency was practically demonstrated in His own dead body. The illustrations generally employed, however favorites, to show forth the resurrection, apt as they may be in one respect, fail in others. Thus e.g. the change of the ugly caterpillar in its silken cocoon into the beautiful butterfly, lacks the analogy of death and the sudden exertion of power in its behalf; it is simply the product of nature’s laws, while the other is the glorious resultant of supernatural power. The silver cup dissolved by acid and mixed in a large quantity of liquid in an invisible state, so that even the microscope cannot perceive it, and then again by science reduced to visibility, to a compact mass, and formed into another silver cup of greater shapeliness and beauty, this may indeed teach us to have faith in the ability of the great Chemist and Scientist who established and organized the vast laboratory of nature, but its analogy utterly fails because it does not touch the problem of death and life. The only light and illustration that has the requisite force and beauty is that found in Him who is “the resurrection and the life.” It is such that childlike faith can grasp, appreciate and apply with comfort and hope. It preserves, however accomplished and whatever modifications exist, the personal identity of the believer, even as respects his body, as implied by the dead ones being called forth from their graves, etc. Bh. Butler (Analogy) may go too far, as Tyndall (Pop. Science Monthly, Oct., 1874) accuses him, when he says, “Our organized bodies are no more a part of ourselves than any other matter around us” (urged to the statement by his eulogy of the soul and illustrating it by limbs removed, body diseased, and yet the mind active, etc.); but Tyndall goes to the opposite extreme when, retaliating with his Lucretian theory, he makes matter supreme (illustrated by the brain, vital organs, etc., being requisite to sustain a person), for the truth seems to be in a medium, both being essential to constitute the personal identity of a believer, and consequently, as we have shown, there is a redemption which includes soul and body. As to the philosophical and scientific questions that this may suggest, it is again sufficient to say, that this whole matter being beyond our experience and knowledge, we must be content with the general statements which include both, making it satisfactory and comforting (just what we need) at the mouth of the grave, when it receives the mortal remains of a loved one. Simple faith in God’s Word imparts hope and joy, when supposed superior wisdom gives only despair and anguish, or, at least, painful doubt and perplexing suspense diminishing happiness. When we see Christ’s body, the body itself, raised up so that it should not experience corruption; when we consider this requisite to prove His resurrecting power over death itself; when we contemplate the assurance that His resurrection is a pledge, the first fruits, of our own, then we are satisfied, and willing to remain in ignorance of its modus operandi, awaiting its glorious power.
Obs. 8. Candor requires the brief examination of the only passage which can, by careless concessions, be adduced as favorable to this notion of a purely spiritual resurrection immediately after death, viz., that of 2Co_5:1-8. If we entertain the opinion, given by various writers, that this change of body is experienced at death, we are at once plunged into difficulties, for then, (1) we make Paul contradict himself in his teaching concerning the resurrection. For he not only in other places teaches a corporeal resurrection, but he precisely locates this resurrection and transformation at the future Coming of Christ (e.g. I Corinthians 15, and I Thessalonians 4), when “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven,” etc. (2) In consoling those who lost friends and endured tribulations (1Th_4:13; 2Th_1:4-10, etc.), he refers them to an experience of the power of the resurrection at the same period, and professes the same respecting himself (Rom_8:23). (3) That none of the churches established by him, or their immediate successors, believed, so far as we have any knowledge, that believers experienced such a change immediately after death, which omission of faith is corroborative evidence that the passage was apprehended without such an interpretation. If we concede that the change is after the death of the believer, then the concession is seized by Swedenborgians, Universalists, etc., as proof of the non-resurrection of the bodies of the saints. Is this concession necessary, or is it demanded by the passage? The reasons just assigned have already sufficient weight to urge us to avoid it for the sake of consistency; and the solution, if we allow the general analogy of Scripture to speak, is not difficult. It is only a forced comment to say, as some do (e.g. MacKnight, Hodge, etc.), that the resurrection body is not denoted, but only “the heavenly mansions” or places in the third heaven, for then the contrast is not preserved. It is contradictory to profess a belief in a bodily resurrection at the end of the age, and yet when we come to this passage, give the saints (as Barnes) in this intermediate state a body and even “a glorified body.” To say that Paul desired to be with Christ in a disembodied state does violence to the desire as expressed, or to say that a temporary body is given until the day of resurrection is opposed to its being “eternal.” The explanation of Locke that Paul expected the speedy coming of Christ, and desired a transformation, without dying, although plausible, as Barnes admits, is not necessary to reconcile the passage with other statements of Paul. The opinion of that class of commentators who advocate that the resurrection body is denoted, is the only one that accords with the tenor of the resurrection doctrine. Paul is accustomed, owing to the inheritance, etc., being linked with the Second Coming, to pass over the intermediate state, examples of which are found (e.g. Rom_8:30; Heb_12:22-23, etc.) in several epistles. Before entering upon the words of the passage, he expresses his strong faith in the things not seen, in the things eternal, and among those things he had just enumerated (1Co_4:14), “knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.” Hence, grasping by faith the blessings connected with the resurrection by Jesus, he, passing by the intermediate state as not worthy of comparison with what follows it, makes a general affirmation of the resurrection, his desire to experience it, and his safety and blessedness whether he presently, or not, experience it. That his mind was impressed by the desire for a bodily resurrection appears, (1) that this body is “eternal in the heavenlies” (see Prop. 107), which accords with the position and rank of the Rulers after the resurrection; (2) it occurs here on earth for “the house is from heaven,” i.e. the change, etc., is made by God through His Son Jesus (for our “resurrection” even is in heaven); (3) this change is made “that mortality might be swallowed up of life,” i.e., the body itself, the mortal part, is endued with immortality, otherwise it is not correct to say that the mortal receives or attains to life, but it should be (if spiritualized) that the mortal body gives place to another and different body never susceptible to mortality; (4) the “earnest of the Spirit,” given as a pledge for the performance of this, indicates it, as a comparison with Rom_8:23; Eph_1:14; Eph_4:30, etc., will show. Such considerations, to say the least, are ample enough, whatever view we may entertain respecting particular parts of the passage or concerning it as a whole, to prove that we need not endorse a spiritual endowment or resurrection immediately after death, making the resurrection of the body unnecessary and redundant; for, admitting the apostleship of Paul, the writer does not contradict himself, which he inevitably does if we force such an interpretation upon his words.
Rev. Wilson (Proph. Times, N.S., 1875, vol. 1, p. 223) and others simply make the body reserved in heaven to be the body of Christ, the pattern of ours, after whose body ours is to be fashioned, just as He is now in heaven our life. We shall be clothed with this body at His Coming, etc., and as Paul saw this very body, hence his intense longing for it, thus nervously expressed. Lange’s Com. loci refers the reception of this body to the resurrection at the Parousia of Jesus, and Dr. Wing (footnote) endorses and enforces (over against Hodge’s view) the opinion expressed by Dr. Kling. The passage, too, as numerous writers observe, distinguishes between the soul and the body, so that the latter is not pure spirit, but an organized vehicle under perfect control of the spirit. Comp. the excellent remarks of Fausset (Com. loci), who heads his comments with “The Hope of Eternal Glory in the Resurrection Body.”
Obs. 9. Attention is called to the circumstance that many of our op-posers frankly acknowledge that a literal Pre-Millennial resurrection is taught in the Scriptures. Of these we have several classes, (1) such as receive the inspired Word, and profess themselves forced by philological and exegetical reasons to receive the doctrine, but very carefully have these resurrected saints removed to the third heaven. Such are Prof. M. Stuart, Priest, etc.; and the Com. of Stuart and his Excursus on Revelation 20 are commended to the special consideration of the reader, because his candid admissions are particularly valuable both on account of his known hostility to our doctrine, and by reason of this concession of a literal resurrection being antagonistic in spirit and principle to his own theological system.316 [Note: 16 316. Among these may be classed those who express themselves in a hesitating, undecided manner. As e.g. Henry’s comment in the (Compreh. Com. loci, which says: “They were raised from the dead and restored to life, either literally or figuratively,” but then proceeds, owing to preconceived views of judgment, Kingdom, etc., to favor the figurative sense. Among such may also be reckoned those who occasionally give a most decided utterance in our favor, but are largely given to spiritualizing. Thus e.g. Dr. Tomlinson, in his Sermon on the Millennium, is forced to acknowledge a literal resurrection After mentioning the view of a resurrection of a mere spirit of the martyrs, he adds: “Others contend, and, in my opinion, with much more propriety, that it should be interpreted according to its obvious import; and that the martyrs will literally rise from the dead at the beginning of the Millennium, and continue on the earth throughout the whole of that period,” and then approvingly quotes Bh. Newton. To these may be added such writers as Spurgeon, Talmage, and others, who in one place utter the most emphatic Pre-Millenarian views (some we quote in this work), and then weaken the same in other places by indecisive, hesitating, or spiritualistic utterances, showing that a clear, uniform system of Eschatology is lacking.] (2) Then there are some hard to understand and contradictory; admitting in one place a literal Pre-Millennial resurrection, without the Advent of Christ, and in another place rejecting it. Thus, e.g. Kurtz (Sacred History) admits, s. 196, a literal resurrection to precede the Millennium, as his reference to Mat_27:52-53 indicates, and yet in sections 198 and 199 he speaks as if all the Scriptures pertaining to the dead of Christ were only fulfilled at the close of that age. He, too, is guarded in placing those resurrected ones preceding the Millennial age in an “invisible and celestial” reign, just as if the predicted Kingdom of the prophets was an invisible one. The concession, however feebly given, is worthy of notice, as in so far it coincides with “the ignorance and folly” of Jewish expectations.317 [Note: 17 317. To this class Dr. Chalmers may be added (having occasion to quote him occasionally), who at times is hard to understand, unless we allow him a Millenarian bias (comp. his letter to Dr. Bonar, Memoirs, vol. 5). Thus e.g. on Psa_50:1-6 (Posth. Works, vol. 3, p. 51) he remarks upon its being in “the domain of unfulfilled prophecy,” and adds: “And I am far more inclined to the literal interpretation of this Psalm than to that which would restrict it to the mere preaching of the Gospel in the days of the apostles. It looks far more like the descent of the Son of Man on the Mount of Olives, with all the accompaniments of a Jewish conversion, and a first resurrection, and a destruction of the assembled hosts of Antichrist.” Even Origen could not entirely rid himself of the Primitive view, and occasionally utters sentiments in accord with Chiliastic views, as e.g. in his 13th Homily on Jeremiah, he says: “If any man shall preserve the washing of the Holy Spirit, etc., he shall have part in the First Resurrection; but if any man be saved in the Second Resurrection only, it is the sinner that needeth the baptism by fire. Wherefore, seeing these things are so, let us lay the Scriptures to heart, and make them the rule of our lives; that so being cleansed from the defilement of sin before we depart, we may be raised up with the saints and have our lot with Christ Jesus.” (The student will observe that Barbour’s system is Origen’s revived, viz., future salvation of sinners.)] (3) Another class are those who, imitating some ancient opponents of Chiliasm, reject the Apocalypse mainly on the ground that it teaches a twofold resurrection, the first of the saints at the beginning of the Millennial age, the second at its close. So Lücke and others, see Prof. Stuart’s Introd. to Apocalypse. (4) Some, as Prof. Bush (Millennial and Anast.), Neander (Works), admit that the language is well adapted to teach a Pre-Millennial corporeal resurrection, that such an opinion was entertained by the early Church, that it was well suited to sustain the martyrs, etc., but that its true spiritual conception was to be developed by the growth of the Church. (5) Rejectors of Revelation, as Gibbon (History, vol. 1, p. 534, etc.), admit it, and in various works and periodicals it is presented and derided as decidedly too “Jewish.” A writer, e.g. in Westm. Review, Oct., 1861, p. 261, speaking of this doctrine, portrays it thus: “The subjects of this long-desired theocracy are primarily the decapitated martyrs, and then all the true adherents of the now triumphant Messiah. Their restoration to a happy and sinless corporeal existence constitutes the first resurrection,” but pronounces it after all only a splendid idea derived from Jewish Messianic expectations, unworthy of credence. Very recent attacks on the Apocalypse by talented men correspond with this in tone and spirit. (6) Still others fully admit the literalness of the Pre-Millennial resurrection, but injure its force, and materially affect the harmony of prophecy, by linking with it, and regarding as identical in time, events which are separated by the Millennial era. Thus, e.g. Keith in his Harmony of Prophecy. Thus from various sources, antagonistic, and some even hostile, to us, we have the important admission made, so requisite to our system of faith, that a literal Pre-Millennial resurrection is taught in the Scriptures.318 [Note: 18 318. Dr. Keith, in many respects an instructive and valuable writer, connects passages (Har. of Proph.) as descriptive of the same period of time which the Spirit applies to different eras of time. Thus e.g., overlooking the plain fact that the judgments of God fall upon living nations and not upon the dead at the Second Advent (comp. Prop. 134), and the additional fact that the dead in Christ only experience a resurrection at the beginning of the Millennial age and the rest of the dead are not raised until its close (comp. next Proposition), he unites with Rev_20:5-6, etc., such passages as Rev_20:12-15. His objection that we nowhere find “a second” resurrection spoken of, is irrelevant, for two reasons, (1) the term “first,” as shown in next Proposition, has not so much reference to time as to privilege; and (2) the resurrection of all is asserted, but a certain precedence given to the righteous, which necessarily involves precedence in time, etc.]
Obs. 10. An objection, urged by Barnes and others, may as well be noticed here. It is to the effect that in more detailed descriptions of the Resurrection, as in I Thessalonians 4, and I Corinthians 15, Paul does not connect the personal reign and Kingdom of Christ as following here on earth. But if this proves anything, it proves too much, for it would exclude other things also mentioned as occurring, such as the creation of new heavens, etc., the resurrection of the unjust, the last judgment, etc. The omission is decidedly in our favor, for (while Paul in other places unites “the appearing and Kingdom”), he here takes it for granted, from the universally entertained views that the Kingdom is joined to the appearing of this Son of Man, that the parties addressed will supply the order of events omitted, and discusses only that part of it, viz., the resurrection of the dead, which to Gentiles, like the Thessalonians and Corinthians, was the most incredible, etc. If the objection is appropriate, then we might frame another in the same spirit, and ask, Why then, seeing that these Thessalonians are charged by Neander and others as holding to “Jewish forms” of the Kingdom, did not the apostle, when on the subject of the resurrection, refute their Jewish notions of the Kingdom? The one objection is as pertinent as the other.