Anastasis: A Treatise on the Judgment of the Dead at the Appearing of Christ
ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE DEAD
The Appearing of Christ
With reference to the nature of the body
when it first emerges from the grave
BY JOHN THOMAS, M.D.
Author of "Elpis Israel"; "Eureka, an
Exposition of the Apocalypse"; and other works.
"There shall be a Resurrection of Dead Ones, both of just and unjust ones."—(Paul.)
"And as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and the Judgement to Come, Felix trembled."—(Acts xxiv. 25.)
"Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that the Deity should raise the dead?"—(Paul to Agrippa.)
"The Christadelphian," 21, Hendon Road,
This treatise on Resurrection and Judgement owes its existence to the urgent request of friends in Detroit, who heard the substance of it orally delivered there at a private meeting. The exposition on that occasion was deemed highly satisfactory; and they determined that I should not rest until they obtained it in the present form. I was the less disposed to refuse compliance when I considered the importance of the subject, the little information possessed upon it, the nearness of its development, and the "signs of the times" indicative thereof. In the present state of the public mind it is a subject very difficult to present in such a form, that he who runs may read it intelligibly. My aim has been to set it forth with all possible simplicity, that the reader might be instructed; his faith, if he have any, enlarged and strengthened; and his conduct purified by the conviction so sublime and terrible a wonder cannot fail to produce in a well balanced and judicious mind.
But some may be prompted to enquire, Is it necessary to understand all the details of the Resurrection and Judgment in order to possess the faith which justifies? In reply, I would say, if it were necessary, there would scarcely be found, in this generation, a corporal's guard of justified believers. I apprehend that if a person heartily believe in "the resurrection of the just and the unjust," and that both these classes will appear in the presence of the Righteous Judge, "to give account of themselves to him," their understanding so far is sound upon these two first principles; but if on the contrary, he deny the resurrection of "the unjust," or saints of the Sardian type, and repudiate the citation of the righteous to judgment, saying that there is no other judgment for them than what they are subjected to in the present state; and that they will not be called upon to give account: I can only say for myself, that I had rather never have been born than appear in the Divine Presence with such a tradition. It would not be difficult to make out against such, a case of constructive treason to the truth. But this is neither my purpose nor desire. "Judge nothing," says Paul, "before the time until the Lord come, Who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart." My purpose is to enlighten, not to condemn. The more we understand of what we profess to believe, the stronger is our faith therein; and the nearer we approach its development, the more necessary is it, that a lively interest be kindled in us, that our lamps be well trimmed, and our lights be found brightly burning (Matt. xxv. 4, 7, 10).
West Hoboken, Hudson Co., N.J.,
December 8th, 1866.
NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The Author having been removed by death from the scene of his labours, this (second) edition of Anastasis is published by his executors, under an arrangement by which the Author, in his will, lays the foundation of a "Christadelphian Publication Society."
Birmingham, 29th July, 1871.
NOTE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
The Publisher of the second edition of Anastasis having been laid to rest by the side of Dr. Thomas, in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, U.S.A., in October, 1898, and a third edition being called for, it is issued in the conviction that "the time of the dead" is now imminent, the "signs of the times" having become unmistakably evident in the thirty years that have elapsed since the work was first issued.
Birmingham, 6th March, 1899.
Reprinted… Nov., 1920.
Resurrection and Æon-Judgment are the subject-matter of these pages.
Etymologically, resurrection is a rising again, from the Latin word resurgo. In the Greek original of the New Testament it is represented by the noun αναστασις, as in Acts xxiv. 15, where Paul, in his address to Felix, declares that he entertains the hope that there shall be a "resurrection of dead ones, both of just ones and also of unjust ones." This word anastasis signifies a rising up, a standing up from ανιστημι, to stand up, or again, to cause to rise, &c. The word resurrection occurs about forty times in the English testament, but not once in the Old Testament, though the subject is amply set forth in "the Law and the Prophets," only in other terms.
Thus, in Luke xx., the Great Teacher, in his argument against the Sadducees "who deny that there is any resurrection," declares that Moses taught it in the Law; and cites from his book of Exodus iii. 6, in proof that he did so. The words of Jesus are these: "Now that the dead ones are reared up (εγειρονται), Moses also showed at the bush, when he called Yahweh the Elohim of Abraham, and the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob. For Deity is not (afffirmable) of dead ones, but of living ones, for they all live to Him." This is unquestionable proof that Moses taught the resurrection of some from among dead ones, although the word does not occur in his writings. The phrase Yahweh Elohœ Avraham implies this: for Yahweh is the name of the Eternal Spirit, and Elohim are powerful ones. He who shall be the powerful ones of Abraham is the plain English of Moses' words. The Eternal Spirit, or Power, manifested in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, necessitates their egersis and anastasis—their rebuilding and standing up: for there can he no such manifestation in unorganized dust of the ground; which was the then, and is the now, condition of these fathers. At present, they are merely historical characters, without any existence, corporeal or incorporeal, in the universe of the Deity; yet "they all live to Him" in an indefinite present. I say indefinite, because Jesus, in his discourse with the Sadducees, did not define the time of their resurrection, but simply affirmed "they all live to Him." But, can it be inferred when? Truly yes; when he becomes their Elohim; so that, as Paul says, "Deity, who makes the dead ones living, calls the things not existing, as though existing—τα μη οντα, ως οντα"—(Rom. iv. 17).
David, one of the prophets, speaks copiously of resurrection in the Psalms. The word is not found there, but the thing itself very frequently is. He treats of the resurrection of his descendant, the Christ, from among the dead; to the end that He may reign King in Zion as the sovereign ruler of the world. He teaches this in the second Psalm. "In death," he says, "there is no remembrance of the Deity" (Psalm vi. 5), and "the dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence" (Psalm cxv. 17); "the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything: their love, and their hatred, and their envy, are now perished:" hence, "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol, whither thou goest" (Eccles. ix. 5, 6, 10). This Sheol is styled in Job x. 22, "the land of darkness;" and in Psalm lxxxviii. 12, "the land of forgetfulness;" and in Psalm xxx. 3, and many other places, "the grave."
Thus the Scriptures speak of the Death-State into which all go when they depart from among the living. While "in death" they are said to sleep. From this sleep some never awake; which is equivalent to saying that they are never the subject of resurrection. This is evident from Jer. li. 57, where, speaking of the princes, wise men, captains, rulers, and mighty ones of Babylon, the Eternal Spirit saith "they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake": and Isaiah speaking of the same class, says, "They are dead, they shall not live; they arc deceased, they shall not rise; therefore, hast Thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish" (xxvi. 14); so that "the man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead" (Prov. xxi. 16): a decree of very extensive application.
But all dead ones in the grave shall not sleep the sleep of death perpetually. "The wicked shall be turned unto sheol, all the nations that forget God; but the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever" (Psalm ix. 17–18). These poor and needy are those dead ones, who, while living, "obtained a good report through that faith, which is the full assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb. xi. 1, 39, 40). These are they styled by David in the Psalms the righteous, who shall flourish as the palm tree; the upright in their hearts; the seed to be accounted to Yahweh for a generation; the excellent in the earth, in whom is all His delight; those who regard His works and the operation of His hands; His people; His inheritance; them that reverence Him; the blessed, whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, to whom Yahweh imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile; the broken of heart and the contrite of spirit; they who shall inherit the earth and dwell therein for ever; the meek, who shall delight themselves with abundance of peace; the saints, who are preserved for the Olahm, and shall shout aloud for joy, when they execute the judgments written; the perfect, whose end is peace; His lovers and His friends; the fellows of the King, and princes in all the earth; those under whose feet the peoples and nations are to be subdued; the Man styled by Paul "the One Body"; the prisoners of Yahweh; His servants, who take pleasure in the stones of Zion; the heavens who declare His righteousness; those who keep His covenant, and remember His commandments to do them; the seed of Abraham His servant, the children of Jacob His chosen; the priests of Zion clothed with salvation; the kings of the earth, who shall sing in the ways of Yahweh. These have been sleeping the sleep of death for ages; but, inasmuch as that many of the things affirmed of them by the Eternal Spirit, are no part of the estate of the poor and needy during their sojourn among the living, it follows that, as not one jot or tittle of the divine word shall fail, by implication David inculcates their resurrection to execute the judgments written against the kings and nobles of the nations; to take possession of the earth, and to dwell therein for ever.
This, then, is the teaching of the Old Testament scriptures that there shall be an awakening and standing up of certain of the dead—not of the dead universally; and that, after this, there shall be judgment. But this awakening from the sleep of death is not taught there simply by implication. It is directly testified. In the book of Job, the most ancient section of the word, the patriarch says, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth; and, after I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet from out of my flesh shall I see Eloah; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger" (xix. 25). This was the hope of those who held the true faith in the days of Job, and of Moses. They expected to awake from the sleep of death, and, after the destruction of the body in Sheol; and again to be bodies of flesh capable of beholding the Redeemer. This was awaking to renewed corporeal existence—a reorganization of their disintegrated remains with renewed identity. This was awaking, coming, or springing forth, and standing again, or resurrection.
Many passages of like import might be adduced from the prophetic writings; but the limit assigned to these pages will not allow of quotation. I will merely remark here that "the poor and needy," whom David so amply characterizes, "poor in the world, but rich in faith," while strangers and pilgrims among the living, are styled by Isaiah, "Yahweh's dead ones," and "His dead body." Concerning them, he says, "they shall live," "they shall arise." They are to come forth from the dust of sheol; in which, having been reduced thereto, they are considered as dwelling, as well as sleeping. Hence, the Eternal Spirit, who makes them live and spring forth by His power, addresses them prophetically in the words, "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust." They must awake in order to sing, which implies previous reorganization—the formation of their dust into bodies again; for dust cannot praise in song, neither any that go down into the silence of "the land of forgetfulness" (Psalm xxx. 9; lxxxviii. 11–12; cxv. 17).
I cannot dismiss this passage in Isaiah without inviting attention to the beautiful figure by which he illustrates the development of these singers from dust. He styles them "dew," and their evolution as its manifestations upon plants. Thus, addressing the Eternal Spirit, he is caused to say, "For Thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead" (Isaiah xxvi. 19); and in Psalm cx. 3, "in the brilliancies of holiness from the womb of the dawn, there shall be to thee the dew of thy birth." The sleepers in the dust are styled dew, because of the resemblance subsisting between the process of nature in the formation of dew, and the operation of the Eternal Spirit in the generation of living beings from dust. In comprehending the formation of dew, we are enabled to form some idea of the evolution of a living body from dust. A dew-drop is a sparkling globule of water, secretly and silently deposited upon the leaves of plants. The elements of which it is composed exist previously to its formation, free or uncombined, in the air of night. These are the invisible gases termed oxygen and hydrogen. But, besides these, there is the indispensable formative agent, styled electricity. Without this, there could be no dew-drop visible or invisible. The gases might be mechanically mixed; but without the invisible and silent operation of the electricity, they would not be chemically combined in the manifested product called a dew-drop. This is a visible and tangible thing, generated from invisible and intangible latent elements. According to the electrical law of its formation it is globular and light-refracting, or sparkling in the open brightness of the dawn. These refractions are the hàdrai, brilliancies, splendours, or glorious vestments of the dew. Before the dawn, the dew-drops are all in the womb of night; from which both they and the dawn receive their birth, begotten by the orb of day. No figure can be more beautiful, no resemblance more complete.
After this similitude, then, we may discover the reproduction of living beings from dust. With this dust were combined, previously to death, fluids, in the proportion of five-sixths to the whole. These fluids were mainly water holding divers earthly particles in solution. The gathering of the spirit and breath of Ail in the article of death, is the withdrawal of that antagonism which, during life, resists a man's return to dust (Job xxxiv. 14–15). The power that keeps bodies in living existence is "spirit," or electricity, as it is called by philosophers; who studiously avoid expressing things natural in the terms of scripture. The "breath of Ail, by which frost is given" (Job xxxvii. 10), is the air we breathe; and consists of oxygen and nitrogen mechanically mixed. These three things are essential to life—oxygen, nitrogen, and electricity. Without them, "flesh, a wind that passeth away" (Ps. lxxviii. 39), cannot long retain its organic constitution; but rapidly runs into a state in which its original elements are set free. It is truly "a bag of wind;" for when the creature ceases to breathe, the wind, or gas, soon begins to distend the skin; nor does the process intermit until he is resolved into hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and a little dust.
Such, in general terms, is the analysis of those who sleep and dwell in dust. In sheol all these elements are there ready for a synthetic operation to be elaborated by him, who, while tabernacling in the flesh among the Jews, said, "I am the resurrection and the life." He alone can perform the wonderful and mighty synthesis—the reunion of these gaseous elements with the dust, and their development into forms, the living images and likenesses of those to whom the dust formerly belonged. This is resurrection—the reproduction of a former intelligent being by almighty synthetic power, styled by Paul, "the energy whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself " (Phil. iii. 21). He who recombines these simple elements of the dead is the Word, in whom is life, and by whom all things were made (Jno. i. 3–4). This Word is the resurrection—the Eternal Spirit, "who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto." His name is Yah, by which He is well pleased to be extolled (Ps. lxviii. 4). He takes away men's breath, and they die, and return to their dust. He subjects them to analysis; and then at the time appointed, He reverses the operation, in sending forth His spirit for their renewal (Ps. civ. 29–30). This is the formative or recreative power of resurrection. The gases and the dust might all be mechanically and intimately combined; but no image and likeness of a previous entity would result. The power of the life-word, intelligently operative, is indispensable. This power sent forth by Deity, and applied by Jesus (2 Cor. iv. 14), in its application, secretly and silently, as in the combination and formation of like elements into dew, will synthesize the gases and the dust of sheol, and from "the sides of the pit, wherein no water is," and where no forms exist, this formative power will evolve living men and women, who shall come forth from the land of darkness, where the light is as darkness (Job x. 21–22), like dew "from the womb of the dawn." He, by whom this power is applied, may well be styled "the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty Power, the Father of Eternity." What an astonishing evolution of living substantial intelligences out of a few invisible elemental principles of nature! It cannot be said that they are created out of nothing, any more than such a creation could be affirmed of the dew. The crude materials abound in sheol, where they would continue eternally in a formless condition, irrespective of their natural affinities. These would never evolve them into previously existing men and women; still less would their elemental affinities, however strong, reproduce beings of remote antiquity, with their consciousness of self in as lively exercise as though they had only had a wink of sleep! Nothing but the wisdom and power of Omnipotence definitively applied, can accomplish so extraordinary a result. The Sadducees utterly denied that such a thing was either probable or possible; but, as Jesus said, "they erred, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of the Deity." If they had understood Moses and the Prophets, and had had any appreciation of the power by which all things had been created, and were sustained, they would have been preserved from the fatal error of denying a resurrection. It is this ignorance of the Scriptures in their signification, that is the source of all the errors so variously and widely prevalent respecting resurrection. Few have any rational conception of the process by which living, previously-existing, self-conscious, intelligent forms, are evolved from a few gaseous and earthly particles; and almost as few understand the nature of the forms, or living images, produced; and the doctrinal principles upon which, when reproduced, they attain to their full and final development. Though Pharisaic in word, the religious world universally is practically Sadducean. Its creeds confess a resurrection of all the dead; while those who have received them implicitly from their ancestors, hold the dogma of the heathen, which decrees the existence in all human, beings of a divine principle, styled by them "the immortal soul." This, they say, is "the thinking I," the real, responsible man, which was created in the image and likeness of the gods. At death, it is said, a separation ensues between this soul and the body; and, as both ancient and modern heathen, in their ethics, distinguish between virtue and vice, for which there are rewards and punishments in another world, they provide two separate regions for the reception of the two several classes of immortal souls. The one country they style "the Elysian Fields," or "Heaven beyond the realms of time and space"; the other "Tartarus," the kingdom of Pluto, or "Hell." At death they send all who please them to endless bliss in heaven; but their enemies to eternal torments in hell. Thus, logically, resurrection, either to a blessed existence, or to punishment, is denied; for if rewards and punishment are awarded at death, and have been enjoyed and suffered incorporeally for thousands of years, resurrection, as scripturally taught, is a needless superfluity, a mere incumbrance upon faith, and uselessly perplexing to the minds of men.
But these traditions of the heathen, which were early blended with the apostolic faith, by "men of perverse minds," are utterly vain. By whomsoever held, they make of none effect in him the words he may believe. Without an awakening and coming forth from the dust of sheol, there are neither life, blessedness, nor punishment, for those who are sleeping and dwelling there. Resurrection of body is indispensable to either reward or punishment, for without resurrection, the metaphorical sleepers and dwellers in the dust are nonentities, being without bodies or parts—mere historical characters, whose "remains" are simple elementary gases and particles of earth. Deny a resurrection, and all the promises of the Deity to the fathers, which He has confirmed "by two immutable things," His word and His existence, are reduced to "cunningly-devised fables." No resurrection, no salvation—no "glory, honour, incorruptibility, and life," in the kingdom of the Deity.
It will be easily perceived, then, that resurrection is an important and indispensable element of the beginning of the oracles of the Deity. A system of belief in which it is not prominent, is a body without life; and can, therefore, impart none. Paul exhibited resurrection and æon-judgment as ingredients of "the milk of the word" designed for the nourishment and growth of babes (Heb. v. 12–13: vi. 1–2; 1 Pet. ii. 2). Hence, a man "wise in his own conceit," who does not discern these elements of "the beginning of the word of the Christ," must be in a very pulpy and puny state of mind. He is truly "unskilful in the word of righteousness," and incapable of digesting "the strong meat" of the mystery of the Christ, which, in the pre-apostolic generations, was not made known to the sons of men as Paul and his companions taught it (Eph. iii. 4–5): for "strong meat belongeth to them who are perfect (τελειων); to those who, by reason of use ,have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." But they who would make a merit of not pretending to understand the prophets, yet presumptuously mete out to others, who can read them with intelligence, condemnation and repudiation, are not only the sickliest of mortals, but well-nigh to the fate of thorns crackling under a pot.
But some, while they confess that there will be resurrection, in the same breath in which they pray you to "have patience with them, because they are thick-headed," boisterously and positively assert that on the dust of dead ones awakening to life, they spring forth from their graves incorruptible and immortal; so that, manifestly, according to them, Paul was not treating of body, but simply of incorporeal dust, when he says, "this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality!" This corruptible incorporeal dust must put on incorruption. But this cannot be the apostle's meaning; for the dust, instead of being corruptible, has resisted corruption for thousands of years, as in the case of Abel, Abraham, Daniel, and so forth; it would, therefore, be superfluous to put on a quality it already has. No; Paul was speaking of body, not of incorporeal dust. It is, therefore, necessary that the dust be first formed into body in the grave; so that body being evolved, there may be body to "put on" what may be appointed for it.
Paul's saying, "This corruptible must put on incorruption," though it may, and does, apply to living bodies existing at the resurrection, which will be changed, or quickened, without tasting death, cannot apply to bodies living contemporary with him; for those bodies, instead of putting on incorruption, put off everything, ran rapidly into corruption, and ceased to be bodies at all. His argument clearly assumes the existence of a body waiting to "put on incorruption and immortality," when the fiat of its Creator shall be declared. This body, which springs forth from the ground, "as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth" (Is. lxi. 11), is, doubtless, the body he styles "a natural body," in comparison with another body, which he terms "spiritual body." He gives "the first man Adam," before he sinned, as the type of the one; and "the last Adam," when made "a quickening spirit," the type of the other. "The first man is out of the earth, of dust, χοϊκος"; and such also will they be who will be called upon to "awake!" They will be "εκ γης χοϊκος, out of the earth, of dust"; but when they afterwards "put on incorruption," in their incorruptible investiture (το οικητηριον, το εξ ουρανου), they are "clothed upon with their dwelling, which is from heaven." Thus, the two bodies, the natural and the spiritual, are represented by Paul as derived from two opposite regions, as remote the one from the other as the earth and heaven; yet both as intimately connected as cause and effect; or as the seed sown, and the body the Deity is pleased to give it.
But Paul says, "in the last trumpet which shall sound, the dead ones shall be raised incorruptible." So it reads in the Common Version; and if the words be understood in the sense intended by the apostle, there cannot be the least objection to it. He announced a truth, which was afterwards apocalyptically represented to John in Patmos; that in the period symbolized by the seventh trumpet "the dead shall be caused to exist incorruptible." This is the import of the word εγερθησονται, rendered "shall be raised," in this text. It includes the whole process of rebuilding from the awakening to the quickening, when the subject of the finished operation can shout aloud with joy, and exclaim "I am immortal! Hallelu Yah!" This will be seen in any lexicon under the word εγειρω; among the definitions are "to raise up, or again, to rebuild, to cause to exist." The raising of an edifice is not begun and consummated in an instant. It is the pleasure of the Deity, who is "the builder of all things," to execute His purposes with deliberation. He lays the foundation of "the house, which is from heaven," in the dust. This foundation is the body which springs forth therefrom; while the superimposed building is the white robe of immortality, "the house from heaven," with which it is arrayed, and in the panoply of which it dwells. Hence raising in this text, is not an instantaneous act, as though a body shot forth from the dust incorruptible and immortal; but a process consisting of divers successive stages. These are all developed in, or during, the sounding of the last, or seventh, trumpet; but the interval to elapse between the beginning and the finishing of the process, is nowhere revealed. It will, doubtless, be sufficiently long to afford scope for "the gathering unto Christ," and the judgment of His house, which is to follow. They are caused to exist when they come forth from their graves; but they are not "caused to exist incorruptible," until they shall have been approved at His tribunal, when the raising will be complete.
Thus, from these premisses, it may be perceived that the raising of the righteous is the exaltation of them from a lower to a higher nature. The lower nature is that exhibited in Adam on the day of his formation. It was "very good" of its kind, but not equal to the nature of the Elohim. This is the higher nature, and styled by Paul the spiritual body. The lower nature is human; the higher, divine. From the one to the other is an ascent; and he who ascends from an earthly body to a heavenly, is said to have been raised.
When spirit became flesh in the evolution of Jesus from the substance of Mary, he is said to have been "made a little lower than the angels," whose nature He did not assume (Heb. ii. 9, 16). It is the inferior nature of which resurrection, in its broadest sense, is affirmed. If Adam had continued faithful and obedient, his "body of life" would have been raised to equality with the Elohistic body by the transforming energy of spirit forth sent from Deity. His body of life, just evolved from the dust, would have been clothed upon by a house from heaven; or, in other words, having been permitted to eat of the tree of life, his body would have "put on incorruption and immortality." But, in his case, this was not permitted. It was reserved for the last Adam to illustrate, in his own person what would have been if the first had been faithful; and what will be to all of his descendants who walk after the example of the last.
The resurrection, or raising of Jesus from the lower nature with which he emerged from the tomb to the divine nature, his "house from heaven," the white robe of spirit in which he was "taken up," supplies the deficiencies in the case of the first Adam; and exhibits to his brethren the stages of the raising process they have to pass through before it can be said they are like Him (1 Jno. iii. 2).
The first stage is the formation of their dust after the image and likeness of the first Adam, which were Elohistic; and then, being thus Elohistically formed, to be caused to exist by "the breath of lives" being breathed into their nostrils. By this process of formation and inspiration they become bodies of life—naphshoth chaiyah. Before the inspiration of the breath of lives, their condition answers to that of the lifeless body of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, when he deposited him there. In this parallel, they are naphshoth maith, "bodies of death," such as Paul prayed to be delivered from in Rom. vii. 24. But when the breath of "the spirit of life from Deity enters into them," they awake "and stand upon their feet," bodies of life, styled by Paul in 1 Cor. xv. 44–45, "psychical bodies" and "living souls." This stage of the raising process is strikingly illustrated in the resurrection of the witnesses apocalytically exhibited in Rev. xi. 11. These were bodies of death during three symbolic days and a half; but, as soon as spirit from Deity entered into them they became subjects of egersis, or awakening, and anastasis, or standing up; after this, they ascended, and so, being clothed upon with power, their raising was complete.
Having emerged from sheol, from "the womb of the dawn," the second stage of the process finds them, after the type of the first Adam, "standing before the judgment-seat of Christ " (Rom. xiv. 10), as the result of their having been angelically "gathered together unto him" (Matt. xxiv. 31; 2 Thess. ii. 1). Adam, at the bar of Deity in Paradise, had arrived there through probation, and emergence from a hiding place, whence he had been brought forth by the voice of Yahweh Elohim (Gen. iii. 1–9); so with his descendants; they arrived at the judgment-seat of Christ through probation and emergence from sheol, in which they have been long hid; and from which the voice of Yahweh Elohim brings them forth that "every one of them may give account of himself to Deity" (Rom. xiv. 12). Had Adam been able to give a good account of himself in probation, he would have been permitted to eat of the tree of lives, that, eating, he might live for ever; but he was self-condemned in the account he rendered, so that he was sentenced to perpetual exclusion from Paradise, and to "receive through the body for what he had done evil " (2 Cor. v. 10); which evil is defined in the penalty attached to the law he had transgressed according to the exposition thereof by the law-giver and judge, in the words, "dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return"; and which, after a life of labour and of sorrow, took effect A.M. 930, when he died, and, by corruption, became dust again. Thus, "having sown to the flesh, of the flesh he reaped corruption"; as will all his descendants who elect to walk in his steps rather than after the example of the last Adam (Gal. vi. 8).
Here the similitude between the first Adam and his posterity ends. Those of them who "reap life everlasting" are such as, after the example of the last Adam, have, in their probation, sown to the Spirit; "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." When those who have sown to the Spirit appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, they will be able to show in the account rendered, that the righteousness of the Mosaic law was fulfilled in them by their walk after "the Spirit, which is the truth," through which they mortified the deeds of the body, and crucified it with its affections and lusts (Rom. viii. 4, 13; Gal. v. 24). This was sowing to the Spirit. And who that has been engaged in this work of faith and labour of love would dread to make his appearance before the judgment-seat of Christ? They are gathered there as hopeful expectants of a verdict justifying them before angels and the Father who is in heaven (Matt. x. 32; Luke xii. 8–9); for the angels will be present at this assize, and will be attentive observers, approving the just and despising with ignominy those who loved the world and the things pertaining to it, more than "the truth as it is in Jesus." It can surely be only those whose consciences are not void of offence toward God and men, who contemplate their appearance in His presence with affright. They are, doubtless, conscious of disaffection and disloyalty to the truth; of not walking worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called; of conformity to the world upon the things of which their affections are placed, and of glorying in pursuits of which they ought rather to be ashamed. Professors who are making for themselves a record of this sort, have reason to be affrighted; for, "if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him"; and the world's friends are God's enemies (1 John ii. 15; James iv. 4); hence, for such, the expectation of standing before Christ in full angelic assize, is "a certain fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb. x. 27). No marvel that they view this prospect with frantic repugnance, and declaim against it as a senseless conceit. But, what is the use of this? Bad words and rough speeches will not alter the predetermination of Deity. If it be His purpose to demand account from every one, of himself, before he confers upon him, through the Spirit, life everlasting, that purpose will assuredly stand. And that it is His pleasure so to do, is emphatically and explicitly taught in the word. Paul, who testifies it among others, did not view it with dismay, although he says that evil as well as good is then to be dispensed. He was conscious of having done well, and he knew that such would be accepted (Gen. iv. 7). Therefore, in view of the judgment, which made Felix tremble, he could joyfully exclaim, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me in that day," when "He shall judge living and dead ones at his appearing and kingdom"; "and not to me only, but also to all who love the appearing" (2 Tim. iv. 1, 8). Surely, they who are keeping the faith, and earnestly desiring" the appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ," may view the judgment of that day, now so close at hand, as cheerfully. It is only evil doers that have reason to be afraid.
The consummation of the judgment of Christ's house indicates the epoch of the third and last stage of the raising process. This crisis is the quickening, by which resurrection is perfected. The analogy is found in nature, from which its divine Creator selects many processes and principles, which He employs as figures to illustrate His teaching in the word. Thus, in regard to corporeal regeneration, in the process of developing an immortal being from the dust of sheol, the terms expressive of the stages of what may be styled the spiritual gestation are conformed to the phenomena pertaining to the natural. The same fact obtains in relation to moral regeneration, which must precede in probation, the corporeal in the resurrection state. In the moral process "the New Man" is "begotten," or conceived, when the sinner perceives "the truth as it is in Jesus"; and he is "quickened" unto a new and independent life, when the truth works in him to will and to do the good pleasure of Deity. If he stop short of the quickening in moral or in corporeal gestation, he is a mere abortion; but, if in the moral, the process is matured in a "faith that works by love and purifies the heart," the immersed believer is addressed in these words, to wit: "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins … He hath quickened you together with Christ" (Ephes. ii. 1, 5). It will be perceived by the thoughtful, that there is necessarily a marked interval between the moral conception and the quickening of the dead in sin. An unquickened intelligent sinner is a theorist—a speculator in divine thoughts, which have no moral influence over him; while a quickened sinner has become circumcised of heart and ears, "the workmanship of Deity," "created by knowledge after His own image" (Eph. ii. 10; Col. iii. 10).
The moral gestatory order of development, I have said, is in strict conformity with the law of nature. According to this, quickening usually occurs about eighteen weeks after conception. During this interval, the bearer has no direct consciousness of the embryo forming within; but when quickening occurs, the attention is strongly excited. Now, the English law recognises the cause of the phenomena of quickening to be, the acquisition of a life by which the fœtus might live independent of its bearer. This idea is probably correct; and certainly exact enough to illustrate the phenomena of the moral and corporeal generation of "the new man which, after Deity, is created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph. iv. 24). The matrix of this new being is "the heart" of the sinner. "The word of the kingdom" is the incorruptible seed sown into his heart. For some time, he has no direct consciousness that a new creature is forming within him. In process of time, however, his attention is strongly excited, and he perceives that he carries within him new ideas, aspirations, and feelings, to which, before he began to read and study the Word, he was an entire stranger. These are a new creation; and, if they do not prove abortive, will ultimate in the development of the incorruptible and immortal man: for this new corporeal being is originally quickened by the truth, or spirit-and-life Word, in the heart of the Old Man (John vi. 63). "It is the spirit that quickeneth, and the words which I speak unto you, spirit is and life is"—πνευμα εστι και ζωηε στιν. This is true, whether the quickening be moral or corporeal; in the former case, the quickening power is in divine ideas, of which "the words" are the signs; while in the latter, the quickening power is what philosophers would term electrical.
According, therefore, to the analogy of nature, the second stage in the process of raising, answers to the interval between the begettal, or conception, in the dust of sheol, and the quickening after judgment. This interval is perceptible in the case of the last Adam. He was begotten in the tomb, in fulfilment of the second Psalm, "this day have I begotten thee" (Acts xiii. 33). But, when Mary afterwards saw him in the garden, he had not been quickened; for he told her then not to touch him, because He had not yet ascended to His Father, who was His Ail, strength or power (John xx. 17). But subsequently to this, we find Him in the midst of His disciples, when He breathed upon them holy spirit. When the breath of a man from the tomb is holy spirit, that man must have been corporeally quickened, or have become spirit. He came forth from the sepulchre so early that it was yet dark; and it was the same first day at evening that he breathed upon them. Here was a day. Eight days after this he appeared among them, and on that occasion invited Thomas to touch him. He had given the same invitation to the rest eight days before, when he declared that he was flesh and bones, and not a phantasm, as they supposed (Luke xxiv. 37, 39). Now some time in the interval between the dawn and the evening of the resurrection day, the cause for the interdict, "Touch me not," must have been removed; in other words, the ascent from the lower nature, begotten to incipient life in the tomb, to the Father, " who is Spirit " (John iv. 24), must then have taken place. This transition from the one nature to the other, when the fulness of the time is come, is "in the twinkling of an eye": which instantaneous operation of Almighty power constitutes the putting on of incorruptibility and deathlessness; and confers upon the quickened being a life independent of the natural laws, by which "death is swallowed up in victory."
In the original, the word rendered quickened is ζωοποιἑω, and signifies "to impart life; to make alive." Now, as there are two natures, there are also two sorts of lives. The life of the lower nature is an inferior life, which depends upon the natural laws for its precarious continuance. It partakes of the quality of the nature or body through which it is manifested. This being corruptible, the life is only temporal, or for a time. This is our present life, intermitted at death, and restored when we awake from our sleep in the dust of sheol. We are then as Adam was when he came from the Creator's hand. The life is organic and terminable; and liable to disturbance from any cause operating judicially. In the case of "the unjust," this judicial operation will develop in their flesh certain morbid phenomena, which will ultimate in the cessation of the life, and the entire disorganization of the body; a consummation, styled by Paul in 2 Cor. ii. 15–16, perishing, or "death unto death"; and in Gal. vi. 8, "of the flesh reaping corruption."
This post-resurrectional conclusion of the existence of the unjustified, is referable to their not being deemed worthy of quickening by the Righteous Judge. He rejects them as not being fit and proper characters to have incorruptibility and life imparted to them. In His good pleasure, therefore, He leaves them naked, and exposed to shame and contempt (Dan. xii. 2; Rev. xvi. 15): but the wise, who inherit glory (Prov. iii. 35), their lamp shall not be put out thus (Prov. xiii. 9): they will be quickened. Their bodies will be perfected, as the body of Jesus was perfected in its ascent to the Father. Spirit, or power, will be imparted to them without measure; so that their bodies, conceived in the dust of sheol, and capable of a return thither, will be deprived of that tendency; and be transformed into the likeness of the glorious body of Jesus, who never will be mistaken again for the gardener of Gethsemane. Hence, the transforming operation is the quickening, or impartation of incorruptibility and life to bodies already endowed with temporal life. The casting of the dead out of the earth only puts them into the position occupied by those who are alive at the advent of Christ. These, not having died, are prepared for transformation. If the advent occurred immediately, it would find them living men and women, waiting to be gathered together to the tribunal of Christ. They will appear there an unquickened assembly, bearing the image of the earthy Adam (1 Cor. xv. 49); and in that image, standing before "the last Adam, the quickening spirit"; that it may be seen if they be worthy, from their account given of themselves, to bear the image of the heavenly. The fitness of things requires, that all the dead and all the living gathered to the judgment seat of Christ should appear there an unquickened host. All have to appear there in the same nature, or body, and for the same end; namely, for quickening, or transformation, if worthy; otherwise, not. What fitness would there be in a mixed assembly? Certainly, none. The judgment seat is occupied by the quickened and quickening spirits; and this throne is not set up for the judgment of quickened spirits by the Quickener; but for that of unquickened flesh and blood, whether contemporary with the judgment, or reproduced from sheol for judicial purposes.
The attentive reader of the Scriptures will have perceived, that a distinction is made in things pertaining to the resurrection process. Thus, in Jno. v. 21, Jesus says, "as the Father rebuilds (εγειρει) the dead ones, and imparts life to them (ζωοποιἓι); so also the Son imparts life to, or quickens, whom he will." Here, the dead are first awakened, which implies the rebuilding of their dust and their animation; and afterwards, quickened with independent and unending life and power. According to Paul, Jesus himself was the subject of these operations. This appears from Rom. xiv. 9, where he says, that "Christ both died, and rose (ανεστη), and revived ανεζησε)." Here are two distinct things affirmed of Him after His death. Paul was not content with saying, "He died and rose," because that form of speech did not express all that happened to him: anëste or "rose," from which anastasis is derived, did not express the whole truth; for the dead may stand up, and yet not be quickened. For this reason, Paul adds the word anedzese, from αναζαω, which signifies, to live with increased and strengthened life, which was consequent upon his being quickened by "the Father," or Spirit, who caused him after he died to stand up (Jno. vi. 63); hence, because strength and power are related to what is quickened, the word of the Deity is said to be "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword."
And so also of all who are to be raised ; they are said, first, to "come forth" from their graves: but this is not all. When they have come forth, they stand up; but what do they stand there at the gates of sheol for? To what end have they emerged from thence? The Lord Jesus answers these questions, as follows: "They who have done good things come forth unto a standing up of life; but they who have done evil things unto a standing up (αναστασις) of condemnation" (Jno. v. 29). In this the life and the condemnation are subsequent to the coming forth; for the Lord says, they come forth to or for (sis) these results: which are awarded to them, according to the good or evil they may have done before they.entered sheol.
Such, then, are the things, and the order of their development, in the resurrection period. First, re-organization of dust as a basis for the restoration of personal identity; then the breathing into the nostrils breath of the spirit of life, that the individual may awake, and stand upon his feet; after this, restoration of identity for appearance at the judgment seat of Christ, that the appearer may give account of himself to that Righteous Judge in presence of the angelic apparitors of his court; afterwards, when these proceedings are closed, and sentence in accord with the accounts rendered, has drawn the line of separation "between him that serveth Elohim, and him that serveth Him not" (Mai. iii. 18)—between the just and the unjust; then spirit-power, administered by the Judge, quickens or imparts incorruptibility and life to "the just"; who, in the instantancity of the operation, ascend to the Father who is spirit, or are corporeally transformed into identity of nature with the body of Christ. Such is resurrection from conception in the dust of sheol to the quickening inception of a life that ends no more.
Some idea of the extraordinary change wrought upon the "mortal body" by its quickening, may be formed from Daniel's description of the "certain man" he saw in the third year of Cyrus, which was the year in which he was consigned to sheol, now 2,406 years ago (Dan. i. 21; x. 1, 5). That certain man represented to him, was what Paul styles in Eph. iv. 4: i. 22–23, the "One Body, the Ecclesia," of which Christ is "the Head." Daniel describes this body corporate of the quickened just ones, as "a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: his body also like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude." Of this host, Daniel was assured he should be one, "at the end of the 1335 days": which would reach from a given event to the epoch of resurrection "in the latter days." Now, while contemplating "this great vision," he was subjected to an operation indicative of his approaching decease; and of the process he and others would have to go through, in passing from the death-sleep of sheol, to the firmamental and enduring brightness of the kingdom.
The decease he was about to accomplish, and which he speaks of as though he were already in the dust of death, is specified in the words, "I was left alone, and there remained no strength in me; for my vigour was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face upon the earth. I was dumb; nor was breath left in me." Now, after remaining thus an indefinite period, the time arrived for him to awake from this death-sleep; and to be raised from his recumbent position on the ground. He did not make a sudden and vigorous leap to an upright position in which he was fearless, fluent of speech, corruptionless and strong, as some imagine the dead to be, when they dream of their leaping forth incorruptible and immortal. No, he had to progress by stages from his proneness in corruption, to a state of confidence and power. In the first stage of the process, a hand touched him. This was the application of power for his resuscitation. Its effect was partial, not complete. It gave him existence; but it was not vigorous: for it only placed him upon his knees and the palms of his hands; and in a state of mind apparently expressed by the word quandary. He was awake, but in perplexity, not knowing what move to make; he was, however, relieved of this, by being invited to "stand upon his feet." Although he was addressed as "a man greatly beloved," he arose from his hands and knees with fear and trembling. "I stood," said he, "trembling."
Daniel was now in the second stage of the process. Standing upright, he was the subject of anastasis, or "standing up"; but he was nevertheless in trembling and fear; and still tending earthward and speechless. But he was bidden not to fear; and was further encouraged by assurances of good, based upon his previous devotion to the Word, and his conduct before God. This judicial conference, though it would gladden the heart of Daniel, did not of itself impart vigour to his constitution. He was still earthward and speechless; for after the words of comfort were spoken, he says, "I set my face earthward (pahnai artzah), and I was dumb."
He had now arrived at the third stage in which he was to be quickened into courageousness, tranquillity and strength; by which he might "stand in his lot at the end of the days"; and shine a star of great brilliancy in the constellations of the "New Heavens," in which alone righteousness shall reign. This quickening is accomplished by "one like the similitude of the sons of men," touching him. In this way he alludes to Jesus, then unborn, who, in "the time of the dead," shall touch him with Spirit power; and impart to him the peace, wisdom, and potency of incorruptibility and life. His ability to speak, and so to give account of himself in regard to his existence, had been restored to him in the second stage by the touching of his lips; but this did not make him "strong," nor give him "peace." It only enabled him to confess his condition of utter feebleness. It remained, therefore, that there should be a greater impartation of power, by which his whole man should be strengthened. He was thus touched a second time by the same "appearance of a man"; not upon the lips, but upon the body. "He came again, and touched me; and said, O man, greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee; be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened."
Such was the preface, dramatically exhibited, of a prophecy revealing to Daniel the awakening and recompensing of sleepers in the dust in "the time of the end." It was the last of his visions, and the greatest of them all; because it culminated in "the apocalypse of the Sons of the Deity" (Rom. viii. 19). In the vision John had in Patmos, a like instance occurs in Rev. xi. 1, in which a prophecy ending in resurrection and judgment (verses 18–19) is prefaced by the dramatic rising of the prophet himself. The things seen by Daniel in his last vision began to transpire "in the first year of Darius the Mede," which was two years before he had the vision; and are strewn along a period reaching "to the time of the end," in which is the resurrection of himself and people. It is an amplification of what he saw in the third year of Belshazzar, when he was also a subject of symbolic resurrection (ch. viii. 18); and for the same reason. From the tenth chapter to the end of his book, is one continuous record of "that which is noted in the Scripture of truth."
But, in connection with this extraordinary evolution of living beings from apparently nothing but a little incorruptible dust, the question of identifying them as men and women flourishing in society thousands of years before, has wonderfully perplexed the astuteness of the wise and prudent. But the restoration of identity with Deity is neither impossible nor difficult. The dead are historical characters, who lived and moved and had being in Deity (Acts xvii. 28). Hence, all their thoughts and actions, constituting their characters, are recorded in Him as in "a book of remembrance" (Mal. iii. 16). Therein is written their history; and, with the exception of their incorporeal dust in sheol, their characters inscribed upon the divine page, are the all that remains of them in the universe. This scroll of record is the broad sheet of spirit, styled by philosophers, ether and electricity, which, filling the universe, enwraps the world. All thoughts and actions are vibrations excited in this spirit of the Creator, by corporeal agents. These subtle vibratory impressions are never obliterated, unless He wills never to revive them. Many such impressions He has willed to blot out; as in the case of those who are consigned to "a perpetual sleep"; and of sins that have been forgiven. But there are impressions, at present latent, that are to be intensified and made manifest; and "whatsoever doth make manifest is light" (Eph. v. 13). The electrical, and electrically recorded, thoughts and actions to be manifested, are "the hidden things of darkness, and the counsels of the hearts" of the just, who have accepted, and of the unjust, who have rejected or extinguished, the light. These two classes, evolved from the dust of sheol, in the first stage of their raising, are "earthward and speechless." They may be said to be like a man newly aroused from deep and heavy sleep, who fails to realise his exact condition; and is in doubt where, what, and how, he is, being in a state not inaptly termed quandary. A recent evolution from dust, what can he know, or what language can he speak? He is like a babe, without speech or knowledge, and, therefore, without identity; so that with Daniel, when he acquires speech, he can say, "I set my face toward the earth, and I was dumb."
What then remains for the establishment in these resurrected men and women of a consciousness of having existed as members of human society three thousand years, more or less, before? All that remains is that, like Daniel, their lips be touched with the lightning of divine power—"He touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake." This magic and enlightening touch restored to him the consciousness he had lost on falling into the deep sleep, in which all his vigour was turned in him into corruption, and he retained no strength. The electrical vibrations of his former self, by that potent touch upon his lips, were flashed upon his brain; and he was enabled to give an account of himself as affected by the vision before he slept. And so with the just and the unjust in general. Their histories will be flashed upon their brains, being transferred thither by Almighty power from the divine and electrical page upon which they are all inscribed. So that truly of the dead it may be said, "they all live to Him" (Luke xx. 38).
The analogy of nature is often referred to in the Scripture in illustration of the deep things of the Spirit. It is reasonable that the one should be laid under contribution in expounding the other; because the beings to be taught are natural beings; and the exponent is the Creator of them all. The explanation I have given of the manner in which consciousness of identity is impressed upon newly-created beings, was suggested by the remarkable effect of lightning recently observed upon the bodies of a man and his son, killed by a flash while sheltering under a tree. A perfect likeness of the tree was flashed upon them. "Whatsoever doth make manifest is the light." The lines and shadows of the tree had been imparted to the subtle fluid, so that, when it touched their bodies, it flashed upon them a likeness identical with the original; and thus the likeness was transferred from the lightning to the bodies. All that is required in resurrection is, identity of form or image, arid identity of likeness: so that the intellectual and moral likeness of a pre-resurrectional man be not flashed upon the post-resurrectional image of a woman. This would be confusion.
From this view of the development of identity, it will be seen how futile are all human efforts to circumvent resurrection. The enemies of the saints in various ages have thought to prevent their resurrection by burning their bodies, and scattering their dust to the winds! But, the Lord in heaven holds all such enterprises in derision. Any other dust may do as well; the powers of identity not residing there; but in the character already formed beings flashed by the spirit upon the new creature.
But in opposition to all this, are the notions of "the prudent," who are "wiser in their own conceit than seven men who can render a reason." Their tradition is, that no such doctrine is taught in the Scriptures, as that the righteous have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and to give account of what they have done since their adoption into the family of Christ; that upon such a principle,, nobody would be saved; because none could attain to the standard of acceptance; they repudiate the idea with scornful indignation, and say, there is no sense in it; for if such were the case, it would put them into such a state of feeling as to make them fit inmates of a lunatic asylum. They affirm that all the account, or confession, the righteous have to make is now; and that their leap from their graves incorruptible and immortal, is their judgment; upon which they are caught up into the air, where they are for ever with the Lord. This tradition they have thrown into the form of the three following propositions:—
1. Mortal resurrection is not taught, directly nor indirectly, in the Scriptures.
2. The righteous are not brought to judgment.
3. The Scriptures teach positively and without reservation, that the righteous are raised incorruptible.
These have been affirmed and argued for the purpose of setting aside the doctrine set forth in the first and second volumes of my Exposition of the Apocalypse, called Eureka; and which is termed by them "false teaching"; an opinion unscriptural, heretical, and contrary to the gospel Paul preached! They consider that, in the second volume of Eureka, this alleged false teaching is in form more offensive than in the first: and that in the exposition given by me in said work, I have denied the faith, and endeavoured to preach another gospel, and so have brought myself under the curse pronounced by Paul upon such. Thus they charge me with "apostasy"; while they, under the banner of the aforesaid propositions, consider themselves the veritable Simon Pures! Their language is by no means complimentary. The following is a choice specimen: "The Doctor comes like the wily serpent, whispers, in the ears of his brethren with specious arguments until he poisons their minds, and thinking that what he has written will not be taken notice of, boldly pushes the matter, until those whose minds cannot be corrupted, turn away in sorrow and grief that a great man has fallen in Israel!"
These are certainly grievous charges; and, if they could be substantiated, would classify me among the most miserable of men. But, happily, the indictment is not true. What they regard as a denial of the faith, is neither more nor less than an enlargement of faith by an increased knowledge of the first principles of the divine oracles believed. My faith has not been stinted in its growth. Seventeen years ago, I believed that "the dead are raised incorruptible," and taught that truth in Elpis Israel. But when I wrote that work (now styled by those who curse me, "a precious book," because they think it justifies their view, and condemns mine), my attention had not been drawn to the subject in its details. At that time I strenuously affirmed the resurrection of the body as the only way to eternal life, in opposition to the dogma of immortality independent of resurrection, by which both resurrection and judgment, two of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, are abolished; and without which no system of belief is worth a rush. But now, the times are no longer what they were. We are seventeen years nearer resurrection and judgment; nay, more, we are on the verge of these awful and fearful events. It has, therefore, become necessary to study them in detail, that by adding knowledge to our faith and virtue, we may be" neither sluggard nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ " (2 Pet. i. 5, 8); for the more one studies a subject and knows about it, the more lively his conception of it, and the more earnest and faithful his convictions.
But why are these zealots so scornful of the doctrine I affirm? Why are they so frantically opposed to the idea that all, both just and unjust, must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give account of themselves, previously to being quickened with a life that shall never end? Why does the proof of such an arrangement threaten them with lunacy, if not already lunatic? The answer to these inquiries is found in their own confession, that "man commits so many things, owing to his infirmities, and omits to do so many things, that he would under any circumstances be lost." In other words, they are conscious of loving the world and the things that are in the world; of being more devoted to these than to the truth; of glorifying more in the politics of some political faction of "the Court that is without," in which they live and move and have their social being, than in the understanding and knowledge of Jehovah and His ways. This is the loose screw in their machinery that causes so much rattle. Hence, to quiet their disturbed consciences, they adopt the theory more congenial to the thinking of the flesh, that "the righteous are not brought to judgment." Their argument is this: "We have," say they, "no righteousness of our own. Jesus Christ is our righteousness. He covers us. And the Deity beholding his righteousness, does not see our filthy rags. If we confess our sins, He is not only just to forgive us, but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Here is truth misapplied, and which therefore nullifies it. The phrase "filthy rags," is nowhere used in Scripture as descriptive of "the righteousness of the righteous" (Ezek. xviii. 19–30). It is only used once; and then it is expressive of the "righteousness" of unpardoned, but repentant Israel (Isai. lxiv. 6). Hence, therefore, it is only correctly applied, not to the work of faith and labour of love, or good works of the righteous, but to the righteousness of unpardoned sinners. If a saint has no righteousness of his own, Jesus Christ will refuse to be righteousness for him at the judgment. He covers naked sinners, that, as saints, they may develop works; that by these works which perfect faith, they may be justified, as Abraham was (James ii. 21–26). Zealots in their frenzy do not perceive the difference between the justification of sinners and the justification of saints. Sinners are "justified by faith" in the obedience of faith,which is baptism; while saints are "justified by works" in the presence of the Righteous Judge "at his appearing and his kingdom." Hence, these theorists, who have "a zeal of God but not according to knowledge," in their argument condemn themselves. They declare that they have "no righteousness of their own." I fear this is the fact; and that their garments are as filthy as they say. If their theory brought such ragged pretenders to judgment, what would become of them in view of the man cast into outer darkness because of the filthiness of his garment? (Matt. xxii. 12–13). Truly, as they say, if they were required to appear in "raiment clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints" (Rev. xix. 8), the lunacy of despair awaits them. But they are saved from this at present by self-deception. They seize hold of a great truth and misapply it, and from the mis-application, they extract comfort. "If any one sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one." This is said by John to those whom he styles his "little children." To such he also saith, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This is a great truth; but it is available only on certain conditions. The apostle shows, that mere confession is not enough. If the confessor walk in darkness, the confession is denounced as a lie; for "the Deity is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin " (i Jno. i. 5–10: ii. 1). Saints are forgiven if they walk in the light; otherwise they are not.
It is a great and consoling truth, that the saints have "an advocate with the Father." If they had not, they would be in a worse case than sinners, for it is bad not to know the truth; but it is worse to know it, and not to walk in the light of it. If they had no advocate with the Father, few of them indeed, fewer than the few that will be chosen, would be saved. But, because they have an, advocate, some of them will be saved; but of sinners, none. Through this advocate, "Jesus Christ the righteous one," the Father will forgive the sins of all saints, which are not unto death (1 Jno. v. 16). Mortal sins, however, He will not pardon. No amount of confession will obtain the remission of these. The advocate will not plead for saints who commit such offences (Eph. v. 3, 6; Gal. v. 19, 21). Their fate is shame, contempt, and exclusion from incorruptibility and life in the kingdom of the Deity. "They shall not see life; but the wrath of Deity abideth on them " (Jno. iii. 36).
But when are venial sins committed by saints forgiven? As soon, says Protestant tradition, as they are repented of and confessed. This it regards as "giving account"; and it might be added, as settling the account to the satisfaction of the debtor, who indignantly repudiates the idea of having to give account at the judgment seat, which he regards as settling a debt twice over! "There is no sense in it," says he; "and if such is to be the order of things, I would rather be in the grave and never leave it more!"
It is no use, however, getting fretted at the Deity's plans and purposes. The question is not what we would rather do, but what He has appointed. He has answered the question in the Mosaic "parable," which is "the pattern of the things in the heavens." In this He shows that, while the High Priest, or Advocate, is in the most holy place, the people are without, engaged in confession and prayer, waiting and looking for the appearing. They knew not whether their confession of sins and supplications for forgiveness were favourably responded to, or not, until the advocate came forth to bless them in the appointed form (Numb. vi. 23). Upon the pronunciation of the benediction, which was the judgment in the case, they were relieved of all anxiety, and were now prepared to rejoice before Jehovah in the ensuing feast of tabernacles. Thus, "as it was appointed for the men (or Aaronic High Priests), once to die (symbolically in entering through the Veil with sacrificial blood), but after this, judgment (in coming forth to bless): so the Christ who was once led forth to bear the sins of many, shall appear unto them who are looking for Him a second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. ix. 27–28). This is, then, the divine plan. The Advocate of the saints has been for many centuries in the Most Holy; in all of which long period the saints have been praying without, and sending up as incense, "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings"—"spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Deity through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. ii. 5): and while thus engaged, waiting and looking for His appearing to pronounce the blessing, or to withhold it, according to conditions specified in the word. When He comes forth to judgment, "He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then the praise shall be to each one from the Deity" (1 Cor. iv. 5). The manifestation of character first, and praise afterwards, if deserved.
But, we are told that "mortal resurrection is not taught, directly nor indirectly, in the Scriptures." By "mortal resurrection," I suppose objectors mean, the coming forth of bodies from the dust of sheol, whose life is terminable. They deny that the bodies of the just and unjust, in their coming forth, are alike. Perhaps they would admit that the unjust come forth mortal; but not the just. These, they affirm, are generated in the dust incorruptible and immortal; and come forth as perfect as they will ever be.
But in opposition to this notion, is the teaching of Paul. He very plainly tells the saints, in Rom. viii. 11, that "the Deity who raised up the Christ from the dead, shall also quicken their mortal bodies by His spirit"; and in 1 Cor. vi. 14, "He will raise us up by His own power." This is affirmed of all saints of all generations. Did Paul mean the "mortal bodies" called saints, living at the time he penned these words? If he did, were they ever quickened? No; instead of having life imparted to their mortal bodies, they lost even the life they had, in common with all flesh. And where are said mortal bodies now? Body is a congeries of organs in the image of Deity. Where are these bodies? They are nowhere! Only a little dust remains of them in sheol, and unorganized dust is not body. What, then, is necessary that Paul's words may come to pass? Manifestly, that the saints re-appear as mortal bodies; so that when they have come forth corruptible and mortal, "this corruptible" may "put on incorruption, and this mortal" may "put on immortality," by the spirit or power of Deity, who quickens.
Again, he teaches that "the life of Jesus" is intended for manifestation in our body, or mortal flesh. The troubles, perplexities, and persecutions the saints endure on account of the truth, he styles "bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus"; in order that "the life of Jesus might be made manifest in their mortal flesh" (2 Cor. iv. 10–11). The phrase, "the life of Jesus," is expressive of his moral example, or conduct, and the life-power of his resurrection. Paul's teaching requires that both these be manifested in our mortal flesh. The Deity has predestined that all saints who would attain to eternal life, be "conformed to the image of His Son"; both to his moral and material image. But the moral conformity must precede the corporeal. We are buried with him by baptism into death, that we should walk in newness of life—the life of Jesus—and by virtue of this come to be planted in the likeness of his resurrection (Rom. vi. 4–5: viii. 29; Phil. iii. 10). But where is the "mortal flesh" of the saints of past generations, in which the resurrection-life of Jesus maybe manifested? There is no flesh pertaining to them in existence. There is nothing of them remains, but their characters recorded in the divine register, and a little dust. Is it not evident, then, that "mortal flesh" must be created, and pre-resurrectional consciousness flashed upon it, that the saints of Rome and Corinth may experience the life of Jesus in their mortal flesh?
Again, Paul teaches, in 2 Cor. v. 4, saying, "We would not be unclothed," or reduced to dust; "but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." The thing to be "clothed upon" is το θνητον, the mortal, which is another word for mortal flesh, or mortal body, or body of death. This is the thing to be "clothed upon with the house from heaven," or, in other words, "incorruptibility and life." But where is the mortal thing to be swallowed up? The dust of sheol is not mortal, being devoid of any kind of life. The dust is incorruptible and would continue as it is, and as it has been for thousands of years, without change indefinitely. It is not the incorruptible that is to be swallowed up of life, but the mortal. It is evident, then, that the thing which comes forth from the grave must be mortal flesh, or body; and that it is this which is to be "clothed upon," or to "put on incorruptibility and life," in being quickened after judgment.
From these premisses, it may be seen whether "mortal resurrection is taught, directly or indirectly, in the Scriptures," or not. I have shown that it is; and furthermore affirm that it is in perfect harmony with all Paul's teaching as exhibited in all his writings that have come down to us. I proceed now to remark, that the second proposition of our opponents is as foundationless as their first. They say that the "righteous are not to be brought to judgment." By this they mean that the elect are not to stand at the bar of Christ's tribunal, and there to tell the story of their lives, as developed in connection with the profession of the faith. Their theory of being conceived, quickened and born of the spirit in an instant of time, will not allow of giving account. They are satisfied with nothing short of an instantaneous and sudden bound from the dust, somewhat after the manner of a rocket skyward through the air! They do not seem to have any respect for figures, or analogies; and, I am sorry to say, some of them manifest as little deference for the plain and direct testimony of the Word.
Moses and Paul both testify that "Jehovah shall judge His people" (Deut. xxxii. 36; Heb. x. 30). And Solomon says, "The Elohim shall judge the righteous and the Wicked" (Eccl. iii. 17). This Elohistic Judge is the Father and the Son in flesh-manifestation, justified by spirit (1 Tim. iii. 16). "The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son, and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man" (Jno. v. 22, 27). "As I hear," adds Jesus, "I judge; and my judgment is just." "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (Jno. xii. 48). "The Lord will not condemn the righteous when he is judged" (Ps. xxxvii. 33). "He shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Eccl. xii. 14). "Every injurious word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in a day of judgment" (not merely when they confess in prayer): "for by thy words," saith Jesus, "thou shaft be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. xii. 36–37). Paul teaches that "men treasure up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of Deity: who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and incorruptibility, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with Deity. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by law, in the day when Deity shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Rom. ii. 5–12,16).
No teaching can be plainer than this. There is a day styled "the last day," which is "a day of judgment"; specified by John as "the time of the dead that they should be judged" (Rev. xi. 18). In that day, "a great white throne" is set; and "the dead, small and great, stand before Deity "sitting thereon: certain books are then opened; "and the dead are judged out of those things which are written in the book, according to their works" (Rev. xx. 11–15). This judicial throne is what Paul terms in Rom. xiv. 10, and 2 Cor. v. 10, "the judgment seat of Christ"; and in writing to the saints therein, he says we must all appear and stand before it. He includes himself among the appearers, and declares that on that occasion, as Jehovah has sworn in Isa. xlv. 23, "every one of us shall give account of himself to Deity": in order that according to the account rendered) "every one may receive the things through the body (δια του σωματος, according to what he hath done, whether good or evil": according to his works, as they may be adjudged good or evil, by the gospel rule. This rule declares that "whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. vi. 8). Now sowing to the flesh is for a saint to live after the flesh; and Paul tells them that "if they live after the flesh, they shall die; but if, through the spirit they mortify the deeds of the body, they shall live" (Rom. viii. 13). Now, this reaping corruption of the flesh, and dying, is receiving "through the body," evil. It cannot be evil received in ordinary death; for this evil is common to all mankind, whether righteous or wicked. No; it is evil received through the body which comes out of the grave; and it is evil inflicted after the Righteous Judge has heard the account rendered, and pronounced His disapproval of it. Saints who have thus sowed to the flesh must come forth corruptible and mortal, or they could not reap corruption of the body. But, it is objected, that these are not the righteous. True; but the righteous appear at the same time and place; and for the same purpose: and the good rendered to them through the body is subsequent to the account given. It is understood, that the good to be rendered through the body is incorruptibility and life—a reaping of the spirit, life everlasting. How could this be reaped, consequent upon an account given and approved, if the saint had incorruptibility and life before he appeared at the tribunal, and before any account were rendered? Clearly, then, he appears in body for judgment; and in one that is neither incorruptible nor deathless: but his historical character being approved, the body upon which that character has been flashed, is perfected; and he lives for evermore. It is proved, then, if testimony can prove anything, that the righteous will be brought to judgment; and receive through the body presented the good the Righteous Judge may be pleased to award.
But the righteous are not only gathered to the judgment of the last day; but the judgment of that day begins with them. "The time is," says Peter, "that judgment must begin at the House of the Deity; and if first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of the Deity? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? " (1 Pet. iv. 17–18). This judgment begins with the judgment of the saints in the presence of Christ; and as they are now exhorted to "work out their salvation with fear and trembling"; and however excellent their Christian character, are not judges in their own case; for even Paul said, "I judge not myself": so they appear at his tribunal with more or less of the feeling of misgiving Daniel had before he was strengthened, consequent upon peace being pronounced upon him. Because of the certainty of this state of mind being that of the most excellent of the saints in the Divine Presence, the beloved apostle exhorts the faithful to a certain course of spiritual life in the present world; that "when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming" (1 Jno. ii. 28). "By loving in deed and in truth," says he, "we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, the Deity is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards Deity" (1 Jno. iii. 19–21). The only way, then, for the righteous to approach the dread tribunal in the spirit evinced by Paul in 2 Tim. iv. 7–8, is to "walk so as we have Him for an example"; and he walked "in the steps of Abraham's faith," and after the example of Jesus Christ. In this way we may attain to the degree of excellence which will give us "boldness in the day of judgment" (1 John iv. 17); otherwise, not only timidity, but a vivid apprehension of being put to shame before Him and the angelic apparitors of His court, will be the enervating feeling attendant upon us, when we report ourselves in the presence of the Judge.
Now, this judgment, which begins at the House of the Deity, is styled by Paul, in Heb. vi. 2, κριμα αιωνιον, aionian judicial trial. It is termed aionian, because the great spiritual assize is opened for the examination of cases aspiring to the glory, honour, and immortality of the kingdom "in the last day." This last day is "the Day of Christ," which succeeds the day of his predecessor and rival, the Antichrist; whose judgment-seat is now about being abolished by French and Italian policy (2 Thess. ii. 2, 8). Christ's day is judicially inaugurated, and styled in Rev. 1. 6, the æons of the æons. Whatever, therefore, pertains to his day in its inception or continuance, is æonian. The judicial period is a transition period, termed "the Hour of Deity's judgment" in Rev. xiv. 7; a period intervening between the advent of Christ and the consummation of the destruction of Daniel's fourth beast; or the powers of modern "Christendom." This Æον-judgment in its beginning separates the wheat from the tares, which it destroys; "but gathers the wheat into the barn." When this process is complete, authority is given to "the called and chosen and faithful," to execute the judgment written against the enemies of Deity, until "the powers that be" are abolished; and the kingdom promised to the saints is established in their stead (Dan. vii. 22; Psa. cxlix.; Rev. xvii. 14).
The third proposition, upon which great stress is laid by those who skim the surface of things, and having obtained a smattering of some, swell out like the frog in the fable, until they burst; when all their wisdom turns out to be gas, and nothing more—this same proposition is blazoned, as though they were its special guardians; and that no one believed it but themselves! "The Scriptures teach positively, and without reservation, that the righteous are raised incorruptible." This is their form of words; not "the form of sound words "delivered by Paul. He says, "the dead ones (Οἴ νεκροι) shall be rebuilt (εγερθησονται) incorruptible" (1 Cor. xv. 52). This I believe and teach. He does not say, οἴ νεκροι αναστησονται αφθαρτοι, "the dead ones shall stand up incorruptible." He does not teach such an anastasis or standing up as this; for both the just and the unjust will stand up; but they will not stand up incorruptible; it will only be those of them who so stand up, that will become incorruptible, when their rebuilding is completed in their putting on incorruptibility and life; or in being "clothed upon with their house from heaven," when they are quickened by the Spirit, because their account rendered is well-pleasing to the Judge.
But the notion of the objector is that the righteous, like sky-rockets, shoot out from their graves into the air, incorruptible and immortal. This is the idea thay have of being raised. No matter what diversity of figure, word or analogy may be employed in unfolding the subject, they merge it all in one idea—that of being raised from various depths below the sod to the earth's surface; and thence caught up into the clouds, in an instant of time, to meet the Lord in the air. This is their opinion of what Paul meant, on the supposition that the words of the English version are the exact representatives of those he wrote. But I have shown that their opinion is erroneous, and does not express his meaning. This, on account of their critical inability, they pervert; and as they cannot, or will not, reason upon the testimony, as Paul's manner was, unlike him, they substitute denunciation, and cry "heresy." This is the Old Man over again. Of his devices we are not ignorant. His cries are as impotent as himself; and not to be regarded by those who know the truth.
ψυχηζωσαIn the days of Paul, he, or some of his adherents, had succeeded in creeping in among the saints at Corinth unawares. They seem to have been very forward in talking about things they did not understand. They ran wild in speculation, until they came to deny that there is any anastasis, or standing up, of dead ones at all. Paul began with them at this point, and completely demolished their tradition. He declared that, if there were no future resurrection of saints, there had been no past resurrection of the Christ; and that, if he were still among the dead, the doctrine he (Paul) preached was false; and there was eternal life for none. But, in opposition to the traditions of these disciples of the Old Man (whom he charged with being destitute in the knowledge of the Deity, to their shame), he testified that the Christ had been raised; and that his resurrection was the earnest of the resurrection of those he left sleeping; and of those who shall be his at his coming. Thus Paul taught. Nevertheless, they were incredulous; for they could not perceive how one who had been nonexistent for ages, could be built up and made immortal. They said, "How are the dead ones rebuilded? And for what body (ποιω σωματι) do they come forth?" Paul put their difficulty into this form of words. He did not say, as in the English version, "with what body do they come?" There is no word for "with" in the original. The words are in the dative case, the sign of which is to or for. They are to come forth from their graves for something. Are they to retain the body emergent from the ground; or, is this to be changed into some other kind of body? Is this other kind of body that for which they come forth? As Paul put the inquiry, it was not to know "with what body," they come forth; but "for what body," when the building shall be completed.
In considering Paul's treatment of these questions, it should be remembered that he is speaking of resurrection, or anastasis; and not analusis, or dissolution. His point of departure in his argument, is not burial; it is not the putting a body into the ground; but the bringing of an entirely new body out of it. His discourse in illustration of the questions proposed, has to do with this new body, and with that which is to succeed it. The old body buried is done with. It has answered its purpose as a medium through which a character might be developed. It dies, is buried, and dissolves, leaving only a residuum of dust. It is no more a body; so that whatever comes forth must be a new creation, after the similitude of the first Adam in his original formation.
Paul's proposition in relation to resurrection, is, that "there is a psychical body like the first Adam's; and a pneumatical body, like the last Adam's." The former he styles ψυχη ζωσα, a living breathing frame, and earthy, or χοϊκος, of the dust: the latter πνευμα ζωοποιοῡν, or quickening spirit; and εξ ουρανον, out of or from heaven. In the wisdom of Deity, no body coming out of the dust can be anything but earthy; and, therefore, neither incorruptible nor immortal. Incorruptibility and life, which is the incorruption of spirit, must come down out of heaven; so that a body issuing from the dust, when invested with this incorruption, is reckoned as a body from heaven, or heavenly—"a house from heaven."
Now the thing to be accomplished in resurrection is the development of a spirit-body, with the consciousness that the character flashed upon the new earthy body was evolved through an old earthy body in a previous state. In this wonderful development, the new resurrection-earthy body takes the place of the old body dissolved in the grave; so that, as far as body is concerned in the matter, the one character on record in the Lamb's book of life, when glorified, will have been related to three bodies, more or less intimately connected—the first, the body of sin; the second, a body like Adams' before he sinned; and the third, this second new body changed, or transformed, by quickening, into a glorious, powerful, and spiritual body. When this is manifested, the process is complete; and the spiritually embodied character, named Abraham, for example, is "clothed upon with his house which is from heaven." He is then "raised incorruptible."
Now this remarkable process, Paul illustrates by the raising of wheat or of other grain. He was a more intelligent botanist than most of his readers. In raising of wheat, he did not make the sprouting and ripening one and the same phenomenon, as they do. He did not first put his seed into the earth, and as soon as it showed itself above ground, run with sickle to reap it! The raising of grain is a process which takes months to perfect; and it is not said to be "raised" until it is ripe in the ear. When the naked seed is put into the ground, that particular seed never reappears. It dies and loses its form; it is no longer a seed-body; but is succeeded by a new body, which appears above the ground. This is the sprout-body from that sown, and, therefore, said to have been sown. But as Paul says, "it is not that body that shall be." It has to tarry for months until it shall have received a body according to the pleasure of the Creator. Here, then, are three bodies in grain-raising, more or less nearly related—the seed-body; the sprout-body; and the raised-body, divinely given. This third, or raised body, was not sown; the sprout-body was the body sown, because it sprouted or sprang forth from the naked grain cast into the ground. The springing forth is the third stage of the sowing process. It is first begotten in the earth; it is then quickened, or made alive; and, thirdly, it springs forth, or is born. All this is of the earth, earthy; and, without the further spiritual influences of heaven, such as air, rain, and sunshine, this terrestrial and inglorious body would never become a raised body bearing fruit. It would fade, shrivel up and die.
And "so also," says Paul, "is the anastasis, or standing-up of the dead ones" (1 Cor. xv. 42); and, speaking of the sprout-body (for there is no other body in the premisses), he adds, σπειρεται εν φθορα, εγειρεται εν αφθαρσια. This word speiretai, he associates with corruption, dishonour, weakness, and naturality; while egeiretai, is connected with incorruption, glory, power, and spirituality. In the active voice, σπειρω signifies to scatter, as when seed is cast upon the earth; but, in the passive voice, it signifies "to spring or be born." In 1 Cor. xv. 42–43, speiretai is passive, and used in this sense. The antithetic word egeiretai is also passive, and relates to the same body as speiretai; for it is the sprout-body that is transformed; there being no other body in the grave, nor out of it, for transformation. When, therefore, it can be affirmed that the sprout-body has become incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spritual, the word egeiretai will be applicable. It can then be said to have been raised, or built, incorruptible. "Destroy this temple," said the Spirit, "and in three days I will raise it up (εγερω αυτον)." The Jews retorted, "forty and six years was this temple in building, and in three days wilt thou rear it up (εγερεις αυτον)?" "But this spake He of the temple of His body" (John ii. 19–21). In this text, the same verb is used as in 1 Cor. xv. 42, and in relation to resurrection. To raise, rear up, or build, is the correct idea; and every one ought to know that such an operation is progressive, not instantaneous.
This passage, then, in 1 Cor. xv., so little understood by them who quote it most, should be read, "the resurrection-body speiretai, springs, is sprouted or born, in corruption: egeiretai, it is built, reared up, or raised, in incorruption; it is sprouted in dishonour; it is reared up in glory: it is sprouted in weakness; it is built up in power: it is born (of the earth) a natural body; it is reared up (or transformed by Spirit into) a spiritual body." This is the sense of the passage, and in strict harmony with "the form of sound words" used by the apostle.
But the analogy of nature in resurrection is not confined to the sprouting or germinating, and the ripening into "the fruit of righteousness," which is incorruptibility and life (Rom. viii. 10). It is seen in a field of newly-sown grain. When the seed scattered therein has lain certain days in the earth, if germinable, it sprouts, or springs, into view, and the whole field looks fresh and green. But what observer, from mere appearance of the field of vision, can tell whether the green herb be grass, wheat, rye, or cheat? If he desired a pure field of wheat, and he were to undertake to separate the wheat from the cheat and rye, he would be as likely to root up the wheat as the others, being so much alike before they have received the bodies the Deity has been pleased to give them. So, also, in the resurrection fields of bodies sprouted, germinated, or generated, from the dust. Viewed by a spectator unacquainted with their antecedents, all who have come forth, both just and unjust, appear alike to him. He could not from mere appearance, separate the one class from the other. The crowd before him in this stage of resurrection, which is simply anastasis, or standing up, are in corruption, dishonour, weakness, and naturality; for those physical qualities are constituents of all bodies begotten or conceived in dust—"dust of the earth, earthy "; yet "very good" bodies, in the sense that the first Adam's was "very good" before he sinned (Gen. i. 31: ii. 7).
But, to return to the similitude of the fields fresh and green. On the supposition that the seed sown were all wheat, and that it had all sprung forth, and made a very fair show to the eye; nevertheless, agriculturalists know well that much of what has sprung forth will, from various causes, perish; to use the phraseology of Paul, that, to very many of the plants, the Deity will not give bodies bearing seed. So also will it be in the resurrection of the saints. Many sinners become saints by "the obedience of faith," and run well for a time. The obedience of faith constitutes them "wheat." After a time, however, they are often bewitched, and tire of obeying the truth (Gal. iii. 1). Hence, their vitality or vigour is impaired, and they become wheat of a shrivelled and feeble constitution. Their characters become sicklied over with the pale cast of scepticism, indifference, apathy, and conformity to the world and its practices. Thus "they walk after the flesh," and are "in the flesh," which is regarded by the Deity as "sowing to the flesh," the penalty of which is death.
Now, according to the constitution of the wheat sown, is its ability, when sprouted, to resist the influences which cause to perish. So with the saints of the Sardian type, who have a name that they live, but are dead. The pallor of death is upon their characters; so that when bodies come forth from sheol, those of them upon which are enstamped, or flashed, these sickly, death-stricken characters, are conscious of being identical with the "bewitched" of a former state. "Boldness in the day of judgment" does not pertain to such. The influences which cause to perish will be too strong for them; for the account they will give of themselves will be truthful then, if they eschewed the truth before; and this will overwhelm them in shame and condemnation. They will be "wheat turned to cheat," to which is never given the wheat-body bearing seed. The divine sentence will be against them; so that an incorruptible and living house from heaven will be withheld; and they will perish in the corruption of the sprout-body in returning to the dust from whence it came.
Tertullian, who became a Christian about eighty-five years after the reception of the Apocalypse by the apostle John, that is, about a.d. 185, in writing upon the resurrection, says: "He who raises the dead to life will raise the body in its perfect integrity. This is part of the change which the body will undergo at the resurrection; for though the dead will be raised in the flesh, yet they who attain to the resurrection of happiness will pass into the angelic state and put on the vesture of immortality, according to the declaration of the apostle Paul, that 'this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality;' and again, that 'our vile bodies will be changed that they may be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ.'"
In this testimony, Tertullian teaches, first, the resurrection of the same kind of flesh as that deposited in the grave; and, second, that those of them thus restored to life, who may be appointed to happiness do not remain in the same state, and of the same nature; but pass out of it in passing into the angelic state, and so putting on the vesture of immortality; in which, as Jesus expresses it, "they can die no more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of the Deity, being the children of the resurrection" (Luke xx. 36). [This is for the consideration of those who style "mortal resurrection," as they term it, a new doctrine.—R.R.]
But some will say: Are all that ever breathed the breath of life to stand up in resurrection? Unquestionably not. I have already shown from Scripture that "multitudes sleep a perpetual sleep," but not all. What, then, it may be said, is the ground of difference? Why should some rise and others not? In the first place there is no necessity for resurrection where hope is excluded and condemnation is final. "All the world is guilty before the Deity, who has concluded all under sin" (Rom. iii. 9, 19; Gal. iii. 22). Now, respecting this guilty world, "walking in the vanity of its mind, having its understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of the Deity through its ignorance and blindness of heart" (Eph. iv. 17-18), respecting this, Jesus says, "it is condemned already"—it is condemned to "sleep a perpetual sleep."
But some will say, "Has the Deity then made all men in vain?" Nay, verily, His purpose is to evolve a righteous and immortal world out of the world of mortal sinners, and to lay the foundation of this great work in their scriptural intelligence and the obedience of faith. This being His purpose, knowledge, belief, and obedience are made the basis of accountability and responsibility. By the former is meant liability to give an account, and to receive reward or punishment for the same; and, by the latter, the state of being answerable for something entrusted to one's care. Now, Christ Jesus says in John iii. 19, "this is the κρισις or ground of judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. "The light shining into the darkness and divinely attested, makes sinners accountable and saints responsible; but into that region of the shadow of death where the light has not shone with divine attestation, the inhabitants of that region, who do not attain to the comprehension of the light, are not accountable to the resurrection and judgment it reveals. "The whole world lieth in the wicked one,"—εν τω πονηρω—in sin; and, therefore, in the shadow of death; for the wages of sin is death. When Paul appeared in Athens upon Mars Hill, he shone as a bright light into the darkness of death's shadow. The polished and learned Athenians he addressed, were the sons of a superstition inherited from a remote ancestry. They had been made subject to it by circumstances they could not control, or, as Paul expresses it, "made subject to vanity not willingly." Of the God of Israel manifested in flesh, His purposes, promises, and commands, they knew no more than their ancestors knew for ages; and had not Paul, or someone else divinely commissioned, visited them, they would never have discovered the truth concerning these things. Who by searching can find out the Deity?" No one; yet He "was found of them who sought Him not;" for to a nation not called by His name He said, by Paul, "Behold me, behold me!"
Thus they were under "times of ignorance" when Paul appeared in their midst. They were not liable to be called.upon to give an account for not doing what they were helplessly ignorant of. "In times past, the Deity had suffered all nations to walk in their own ways" (Acts xiv. 16). This was winking at times of ignorance. Their own ways were the ways of death, in which they were hopeless and atheistic (Eph. ii. 12). To them there were neither rewards nor punishments beyond the grave. By their wisdom, of which they boasted, they knew not God. "Professing to be wise, they became fools," and, being left to themselves as devoid of understanding, they died and perished like the beasts (Ps. xlix. 12, 20).
Such is the fate of all who die without an understanding of the truth revealed for the faith of their generation. He that understands the truth, but declines the obedience it commands, will be held accountable for its rejection; for "he that believeth not shall be condemned" "in a day of judgment," "when the Deity shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus .Christ, according to the gospel Paul preached" (Rom. ii. 16; Mark xvi. 16).
But, sinners understanding and believing the truth, and rendering the obedience it commands, in that enlightened and faithful obedience, become saints. As such, they have received the truth as a sacred deposit, for the use or abuse of which they are held responsible in the great day of account (Jude 6). Saints, who use the truth aright, styled by James "doers of the Word, and not hearers only," are the "just" or "righteous"; but saints who abuse it, being hearers only of the Word and not doers, lovers of the world and the things that are in it, striving at once to serve God and Mammon, are the "ungodly" and the "unjust," who, like Esau, sell their birthright for a morsel of the world's meat; to whom, in the judgment, will be found no place for repentance, sought ever so carefully with tears (Heb. xii. 16–17).
These three classes are indicated by Peter in the words, "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Epist. iv. 18): the enlightened sinner, who rejects the truth; the ungodly, who disgraces it; and the righteous, who do it. Add to these a fourth class, constituted of unenlightened sinners, among whom, and into whom, the light has not shined and cannot shine, from whatever cause, and the whole race of Adam is marshalled, or arranged in due or scriptural order before the mind.
Now, would it be reasonable to subject unenlightened sinners, illuminated sinners, and ungodly Sardian saints, to one and the same condition? The Righteous Judge is not "a hard man, reaping where He hath not sown." Where the Word hath not been sown, He will look for no result; but, on the contrary, where He has made proclamation by "faithful men, able to teach others," whose teaching He has borne witness to "by signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and distributions of Holy Spirit," which is "preaching the gospel with Holy Spirit sent down from heaven" (Heb. ii. 4; 1 Pet. i. 12), He expects to reap and gather in. This is just and reasonable, as well as scriptural. And as "no man can come to me," saith the Spirit, "except the Father who hath sent me draw him," He will not raise them up in the last day upon whom the drawing influence of the word has not been brought to bear (Jno. vi. 44). They are "as the beasts that perish."
But illuminated sinners and Sardian saints are obnoxious to a perdition arrived at in different ways. These are they "who obey not the Gospel of the Deity" (i Pet. iv. 17), or disgrace it; and who come forth to anastasis of judicial condemnation. These two classes are punished on the principle that "it is better not to have known the way of righteousness than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (2 Pet. ii. 21). In the apostolic age, this holy commandment was delivered with power descending from heaven; but now, there is no such sanction confirming a faithful teacher's exposition of the word. Nevertheless, if a sinner come to the understanding of the truth, the result being the same, he is held accountable. An enlightened sinner cannot evade the consequences of his illumination. I have known some of this class flatter themselves that they would not be called forth to judgment; but would perish as the beasts, if they did not come under law to Christ. Such reasoning, however, is simply "the deceitfulness of sin." When Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom to this class in Israel, among them were the self-righteous Scribes, Pharisees, lawyers, and priests, he told them that, in the judgment, He will say to all workers of iniquity, "Depart from me!" And then he added, "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of the Deity, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of the Deity. And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last "(Luke xiii. 28). This evidently teaches their anastasis kriseos, or coming forth from sheol, for judicial condemnation and punishment, contemporarily with the establishment of the kingdom in the Holy Land.
But whatever the details of their punishment may be, the evils befalling ungodly Sardian saints will be more intense. Both classes will "of the flesh reap corruption"; but the post-resurrectional antecedents of the one leading to this common fate, will be "sorer" than those of the other. So Paul teaches in Heb. x. 26, saying, "If we sin wilfully after that we have the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment (κρισις) and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of the Deity, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace?" This "sorer punishment" awaits all saints, who, like the majority in Sardis, lived in name, while they were dead in fact—"twice dead, and plucked up by the roots " (Jude 12).
But some will inquire, What about Catholics and Protestants of all "Names and Denominations" of piety in "Christendom" so-called? To what class do these belong? Under what times do these of our day and generation live? These, with the followers of Mohammed for a torment, are the all nations of modern times, upon which has been entailed "a strong delusion that they should believe the lie," invented for them by a remote ancestry that apostatized from the truth. The Deity sent this "strong delusion" upon their unfaithful ancestors as a punishment for not receiving the truth in the love of it: and, foreseeing that their posterity would "have pleasure in unrighteousness," He permitted the "strong delusion" to inebriate the peoples of Daniel's fourth beast dominion; and to reign over them, until he should send Jesus Christ to dispel it with the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness, or manifestation, of his presence (2 Thess. ii. 8–12). These nations, like all the heathen at the birth of Christ, are all under times of helpless ignorance; being so strongly deluded that their minds are impervious to the testimony of Scripture and reason, which are the only instrumentality extant for the enlightenment and salvation of sinners. If one show them the truth, the Deity does not now endorse the teaching by a manifestation of power. Hence, every thing is resolved into opinion; and as one man's opinion is said to be as good as another's, the idea of certainty is ignored. The case of our modern world is helpless, hopeless, and incurable, by anything short of the presence of Christ. The times of this event are predetermined and revealed. Until then, "times of ignorance" obtain, and the nations are "suffered to walk in their own ways." These denominational ways are apocalyptically labelled, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth." These are the ecclesiastical ways of death, making, in the aggregate, "the unmeasured Court which is without the Temple, given to the Gentiles " (Rev. xi. 2). In none of "the names" of the Gentiles is there any life, nor anything to make men accountable. Clergy and people are all unenlightened sinners, by whatever "name" they may be called. They are "condemned already"; and however popular and honoured by the world, being without understanding of the truth, they are like the beasts which perish (Ps. xlix. 20).
But have they not got the Scriptures; are not these sufficient to make them accountable? It is true they have them; and so had Ptolַemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt; but they understand them no better than he. They "err not knowing the Scriptures," as the old Sadducees did. How can they understand them, judicially blinded as they are by the "strong delusion?" Would it be reasonable to put a book of any kind into the hand of a confirmed sot, trembling with delirium in his cups, and to expect him to read and expound it? The Scriptures testify that all the inhabitants of the apocalyptic earth "have been made drunk with the wine of the fornication," of what the people themselves style, "the Mother of all Churches," as drunken as they (Rev. xvii. 2, 6; xviii. 3). Their blind and misleading clergy are more studious of Shakespeare, and of the dark-minded poets of Greece and Rome, than of the oracles of the Deity; so that their sayings and doings are more suggestive of the heathen sentiments of Plato and Horace, than of the prophets and apostles of the Lamb. And, if the national and dissenting clergies, who have so much time for the study of the Word, fall so miserably short of comprehending it, what can be expected of their strongly deluded followers, all of whose labour is for the bread which perisheth? The Bible is a sealed book to them all. Then, of what use is it in the matter of salvation? In the hands of "faithful men able to teach others," it is primarily and principally the Father's instrumentality, whereby, in "the times of the Gentiles," He "draws" from among them as many of them as He has given to His Son for eternal life; and secondarily, it is a moralizer of society: and so it is written, "they shall be all taught of the Deity. Every man, therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh," saith Jesus, "unto me" (Jno. vi. 45; xvii. 2).
But, in conclusion of this important subject, what may be said of "the time of the dead" that they should be judged, and that the reward should be given to the servants of Deity, the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear His name, small and great? Of that time, when a wonder shall he done to the dead; and the healed among them shall praise Him? (Ps. lxxxviii. 10). In answer to this enquiry, the approaching fall of the Papal Throne admonishes us that it is very near. The Papal power is that element of the Little Horn represented in Dan. vii. 8, by "Eyes like the eyes of a man, and a Mouth speaking great things." In verse 20, the Mouth is said to speak "very great things"; and the look of the Eyes is said also to give the horn in which they are set, a stouter, bolder, or more audacious aspect than its fellow ten horns. John describes this same Mouth in Rev. xiii. 2. He there styles it, the Mouth of the Beast as the mouth of a lion: which lion is Daniel's symbol of the power of Babylon. In verses 5 and 6 he says, that this Babylonian Mouth speaks great things and blasphemies against Deity, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them who dwell in heaven. The Mouth being associated with the Eyes, represents the blasphemer as Episcopal. To this Blasphemous Bishop were given his power, and his throne, and great authority, by a decree of the Constantinopolitan power, styled by John "the Dragon." By the power given, he was enabled to make war upon the saints and to overcome them; by the throne given, he was enabled to establish himself in Rome; and by the great authority given he was enabled to assume spiritual jurisdiction "over all the kindreds and tongues and nations" of Daniel's fourth beast dominion. But this Roman Pontificate was not intended by Deity to be eternal. He told John that its authorized continuance should be "forty-and-two" symbolic "months"; a period equal to 1,260 years from the time when the power, throne, and authority, were decreed to the Blasphemer. These were decreed to him in the epoch a.d. 606–608; which, in the current epoch 1866–1868, is the end of the required period of 1,260 years.
Now, it was told Daniel, that the saints should be given into the hand, or power, of this episcopal and blasphemous horn "until a time, times, and, the dividing of time"; which is a period equal to John's "forty and two months." They cannot be subject to him when he ceases to reign. Their subjection to him, and his reign or supremacy, necessarily terminate in the same epoch. Hence, the fall of the Papal sovereignty will be the rise of the saints: that is to say, the next series of events will develop their resurrection; when judgment will be given to "the called and chosen and faithful"; "who, with Christ, the Ancient of Days, will take away his dominion," in all its relations, "to consume and destroy it to the end."
The apocalyptic "Holy City" is symbolical of the "saints." The Gentiles were to tread this under foot for the same period as that allotted to the supremacy of the Roman Mouth. This is the measure of their subjection, which began when, as "heretics," they were given into his power. The 1,260 years of their measure, and the 1,260 of the Mouth, are parallel periods, beginning and ending together. "The time of the Dead," therefore, is at hand; and happy will they be who are found prepared.
To this sketch of Papal constitution, it may be added that the Austrian Power by "concordat" with the Roman Pontifical, or Spiritual Power, is the imperio-civil, secular and military element of Daniel's Little Horn (ch. viii.); and symbolised by John, in Rev. xiii. 2, by a beast with two horns like a lamb, and speaking as a dragon. In this chapter, as a whole, symbolical of a European Constitution in Church and State, the Eyes and Mouth, or Spiritual Element of the power, are represented by "an image." The Spiritual Power would not have been able to sustain itself by its own force in such a world as this. It would have perished long ago amid the clash of arms. In order, therefore, to perpetuate its existence "until the words of Deity be fulfilled," Deity caused the Roman Pontifical to be allied by Concordat with the Austrian power; "for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of Him" (Rom. xiii. 1). This political concordat, or agreement, constituted Austria in Italy the legitimate protector of the Roman Pontificate. So long as the Austrian power remained intact in Venetia, where it joined "the States of the Church," the Roman Pontiff was comparatively safe, although the protection of France might be withdrawn. The evacuation of his States by the French would not have left him at the mercy of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel; for his ally and friend, "His Apostolic Majesty" of Austria, was at hand to protect him with his troops. But this Austro-Papal, or Little Horn dominion, of Middle Europe, was sentenced- to dissolution by the Eternal Spirit, who decreed that the Roman Pontifical power should not be perpetuated with ability to tread His saints under foot (thousands of whom are sleeping in the dust of Rome and Italy), beyond the end of 1,260 years from the time the Dragon-Power gave them, as heretics, into its hand. To secure this result, it was necessary that the Austrian military support of the Pontificate should be broken; and that it should be abandoned to its own resource. This is the providential reason of the Austrian power being recently rolled back from the Quadrilateral and Venetia; and of being so crippled that the Concordat has become a nullity, and its ability any longer to strengthen and protect the Roman Blasphemer of the Deity and His saints, destroyed. France, being relieved from Austrian rivalry in Rome and Italy, has no longer any inducement to prolong an expensive military occupation of the Papal territory, which brings neither profit nor glory to its arms. Its troops are therefore being removed, in execution of the Franco-Italian Convention of 1864. Thus is the Deity, who rules the world through the blind instrumentality of His enemies, compassing the fulfilment of His word, and the execution of His decrees. He is about to "do a wonder to the dead"; and, by the signs of ancient record, He is displaying before the world, He announces to those of the living whose discernment may be spiritual, that "the time of the dead that they should be judged" is at hand; and that after they are raised He will command their attendance with them in the judicial presence of the Majesty enthroned (1 Thess. iv. 16–17). Therefore, blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame (Rev. xvi. 15).
Printed in Great Britain at the Press of Frank Juckes Ltd., Birmingham 4.
- ↑ In this verse of the English version the word dead occurs twice; but, in the original, it is not one and the same word. In the first instance, it is טתים, maithim, dead ones, without distinction of class; in the second, it is רפאַים, rephaim, healed ones, or the just who are "clothed upon with the house from heaven."
- ↑ The Papal throne has since fallen; Anastasis was written in 1866.
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