[Photograph above by Derek Hawthorne, - the River Bann near its estuary.]
MIDDLE LIFE - CHAPTER 5
J. R. GRAVES, LL.D
EDITOR THE BAPTIST,
There is a tradition that when Gamaliel, a learned doctor of the law, was appealed to for the clear and unmistakable passage in all Jewish Scriptures to prove the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, he said: The covenant of circumcision which God made with our Father Abraham.*
[* NOTE. This 5th chapter in the authors book Middle Life should be read in conjunction with R. Govetts, Gods Promises To Abraham Have Never Yet Been Fulfilled.]
Many of my readers have given little or no attention to the
provisions of that covenant, and the proof referred to would not appear to
them. Let us examine it briefly:
Prominent among the promises made to Abraham, was that of the land of Canaan for an everlasting*
possession And I will give unto thee, and thy seed after thee, the land
of Canaan, wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.* I am the
Lord that brought thee out of
* Gen. 17: 8. ** Gen. 15: 7, 8. *** Acts 7: 5.
[* That is, for as long as this earth remains, Rev. 21: 1. cf. 2 Pet. 3: 10, 11.
** That is, 1,000 years before the Resurrection of the remainder of the souls of the dead from Hades, Rev. 20: 5. cf. Phil. 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35b, etc.]
Christ declares that Moses understood this, and taught it in his writings, and it was by this interpretation of the covenant of circumcision that Christ confounded the Sadducees who denied the doctrine of the resurrection, [* See footnote.] but professed to believe in the covenant of circumcision. Said Christ to them: Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto him.* He was the covenant God of these patriarchs, and that covenant promised and secured to them a resurrection from the dead and eternal life; for unless they were raised from the dead, the provisions of that covenant could never be fulfilled to them. I have dwelt at some length upon this, as it seems to throw light upon THE COVENANT WITH DAVID.
*See Luke 20: 37.
This I bring
forward as another proof of the doctrine of the resurrection. The
explanation of the covenant made with Abraham will answer for this.* The clause to which I call attention
is this: And thy house [family] and thy kingdom shall be established forever
before thee; thy throne shall
be established forever.
likewise a promise to David of a
resurrection from the grave to an immortal, glorious and blissful life, when his Son, Christ, should sit upon
Davids throne in
* Read 2 Sam. 7: 11-16. ** Acts 15: 16. *** 2 Sam. 23: 3-5. **** Psa. 16: 11.
We find the fact of a resurrection - an awakening of the dead -
clearly announced to Daniel: And many that
sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting
contempt.* There is no mistaking this language. All the pious Jews believed that a future
resurrection was a clearly revealed fact in their Scriptures. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, in reply to
the declaration of Jesus, Thy brother shall rise again, answered, I know that
he shall rise again on the
resurrection of the last day. The hope of
* Dan. 12: 2.
Christ confounded the Sadducees who denied the doctrine of the resurrection.
This true view of the dead will materially affect our comprehension of the Saviours reply to the Sadducees. Jesus argues from the expression used by Jehovah, I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob, that the dead were to be raised. In what condition, then, did Jesus assume these patriarchs to be? Dead? Or alive? Christians ordinarily suppose that He assumes them to be alive. So says Wesley, Therefore Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are not dead, but living. Therefore the soul does not die with the body. So says Barnes. God spake, then, as being their God. They must, therefore, be still somewhere living. He is the God only of those who have an existence.
But then there is in that passage no proof of a resurrection; but only of the separate existence of the soul, after the spirit returns to God and the body is laid aside. Now resurrection never means the immortality of the soul, never means a future state. Then, too, Jesus reply does not refute the Sadducees. Their alleged difficulty did not relate to the intermediate state, but to the coming forth of the dead from their tombs, and the restoration of their bodies. To whom the woman was as wife to belong, was a question applying only to the day when the body was reunited to the soul. Neither Pharisee nor Sadducee believed in marriage among spirits.
This answer, then,
makes Jesus evade the question, and prove the separate existence of the
soul, instead of the resurrection of the body. It
is, in fact, a wrong way of stating the matter. The patriarchs were not
alive, but dead. The dead, as we have shown, are those human beings whose
body, soul and spirit are severed. Then
Jesus admits to the Sadducees, that Abraham is dead, as much as the woman and
her seven husbands. Abraham is dead, for his body is still in the
It is, indeed, quite true that this passage proves the separate existence of the souls of the patriarchs. But that was not the point. Jesus does not cite it to prove that, but Abrahams return to his body. The separate existence of Abrahams body soul and spirit is a proof of his being then and now among the dead. He will not be alive till his body, soul and spirit are reunited. In the same state in which Abraham was when God spoke to Moses at the bush, Abraham is still. Barnes and others call him dead then. He is, then, dead now. Jesus therefore is referring, not to time present, but to a future day of resurrection, of which the Sadducees were speaking.
dead. Jehovah is his God. But Jehovah is not the God of the
dead. Therefore God is not now showing Himself the God of
Abraham, for the first resurrection - i.e., a resurrection to immortality
- is not yet come. That the resurrection was to be
at a future day, the Pharisees held; and on that, allowed as a
basis, the Sadducees plead. God,
then, by these words, engages to restore by His Almighty power Abraham to
become Abraham again in resurrection. Abraham when the Lord
promised him possession of
* * *
MIDDLE LIFE - CHAPTER 5
IS THERE TO BE A RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD?
New Testament Proofs.
When turn to the New Testament we find the fact clearly and unmistakably announced by Christ himself. He declared his power to raise the soul of man from a state of death to a new and higher life As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead [in trespasses and in sins] shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. This, undoubtedly, alludes to the quickening and regeneration of the soul - dead in trespasses and in sins; which process Christ calls a resurrection. But he alludes to the resurrection of the body as something different, and to them, perhaps, more marvellous. Marvel not at this for the hour is coming [he omits the clause and now is, which places the transaction at some future time] in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life [referred to in Daniel], and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. Critical translators render it, to the resurrection of judgment, which agrees with Rev. 20: 5, 15. There is no judgment [at this time] awaiting the resurrection of the righteous dead; their sins have gone before them to judgment - been blotted out, and so their Judgment is past.* Here the fact of a general resurrection is clearly taught, and that it will be of two classes of persons, differing in character, at different times, as we shall see.
[* NOTE. This judgment of the righteous dead - will determine beforehand - who those will be who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection [out] from the dead: (Luke 20: 35, NIV).]
Paul, more circumstantially than any other apostle, explains the resurrection of the sainted dead, and the rapture and change of the living saints at or near the coming of Christ, to the brethren at Thessalonica, who were sorrowing for their departed friends: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died aid rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.**
* 1 Thess. 4: 13, 17.
[* NOTE. We dare not place the word all into this passage, or imagine that all in the strictest sense of the word means that all regenerate believers - whether they are considered worthy by our Lord or not - are to be included amongst those who will be resurrected at this time. See also Phil. 3: 11; Rev. 20: 4, 5.cf. Rev. 3: 21, 22; 2 Thess. 1: 4, 5, 11, etc.]
I cannot better develop the teachings of this and a cognate passage in Corinthians than Dr Hovey has done, He says. Here, it will he observed by the student, first, that Paul uses just the same word to express the fact of Christs resurrection and the fact of the resurrection of the dead in Christ; second, that, according to the apostles teachings elsewhere, the resurrection of Christ was the reanimation of his body and its re-union with his soul; for he appeals, in proof of his resurrection, to men who had identified him by their senses during the forty days before he was taken up; third, that the resurrection of the dead in Christ had not taken place when Paul wrote this letter. They were then asleep, and both the descent of Christ from heaven and their resurrection to meet him in the air were future events; fourth, that the resurrection of the dead in Christ would take place before the living - [i.e., at the end of the Great Tribulation] - would be caught up in clouds; and fifth, that the apostle professes to speak in the word of the Lord; in other words, he claims to have received the revelation which he was making from the Lord himself. Now it must be conceded that these particulars show that believers in Christ did not, in the first age of the church, receive their glorified bodies immediately after death, but were to receive them at the second appearing of Christ.
But it will be noticed that this passage says nothing plainly in respect to a change in the bodies of saints who [are left and] may be yet alive at the coming of the Lord. Possibly a change of some sort may be implied in their being caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain forever with him; but no change is distinctly foretold. Yet this omission is supplied by the apostles words in 1 Cor. 15: 22, 23, 25, words which are very clear and emphatic: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ [i.e., those who are found in Christ] shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order: Christ the first fruit; afterward they that are Christs at his coming [no resurrection of the wicked - those out of Christ - here]. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
These words either confirm or complement those given above from his first Epistle to the Thessalonians: First, they confirm the doctrine of a resurrection of the pious dead; a resurrection by which the spirits [or disembodied souls] of the departed will be clothed with bodies, in some sense identical with those laid in the grave, yet so changed as to be incorruptible and immortal; second, they also confirm the statement that the resurrection of the pious dead will take place at the last trumpet, an event certainly future, in the judgment of Paul; third, they add to this teaching the important truth that all believers in Christ will be changed whether they die or not. And, as the whole chapter proves, that change will be made in the body, that the same may be a fit and perfect organ of the spirit forever.
There are many who absolutely deny the resurrection of the dead while they profess to hold and teach it, as Unitarians claim to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, while they deny his divinity! These hold that a literal resurrection - and there can be no other than a literal resurrection of these bodies - is a physical impossibility; that we must understand the term as used phenomenally, as we do the phrase the sun rises and the sun sets, &c.; it does in appearance, but not in fact. If this is so, then instead of a resurrection it is a new creation, and the Holy Spirit, who verbally inspired the word, is justly chargeable with deception, and in knowingly selecting a word to convey a false impression, when another was at hand that would have conveyed a correct one. Pauls language everywhere employed to teach the Greek reading world could have conveyed no other meaning than a quickening of our mortal bodies laid in the grave, and not the creation of new and entirely different bodies. He used the term anastasis, which can be construed to mean nothing else. But he did more, he explained it in language that cannot be misunderstood, by using this language: But if the spirit of him who raised up Christ from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead SHALL ALSO QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES by his spirit that dwelleth in you; i.e., these mortal bodies are to be quickened - not others created for us out of like elements which they were created by the power of the Holy Spirit. This should settle the question forever.
Paul elsewhere explains it: It [the body at death] is sown in corruption, it [that body which was sown] is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.* The process of changing the elements of the former body, when raised up from earthly to a spiritual body, may take place in the act of reorganization; but this does not militate against the fact of a raising up of the matter of the body that was sown. The new, glorious, spiritual, powerful body, will differ from the old one as one star differeth from another star in glory.
* 1 Cor. 15-42.
But there is another fact that weighs with a determining force in settling this question. When Paul preached the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead to the learned Grecians, they mocked. I ask why did he not explain it to them as our modern would-be-thought-scholars do to those who advocate a resurrection instead of a New Creation? Gentlemen, you misunderstand me, I do not mean a resurrection really, but only phenomenally - in appearance. Would they then have mocked any more than Scientists do now, when an appearance is only claimed? But Paul did not so explain his meaning, which he should have done if he did not mean a resurrection, but simply referred it to Gods Omnipotence and left it there. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead? God can do it, and if he has promised he will do it.
By reference to the last revelation made by Jesus Christ to his churches, through an angel to John, on the Isle of Patmos, we learn that the resurrection of the righteous will precede that of the wicked by ONE THOUSAND YEARS. And I saw thrones, and they [all the saints -Daniel 7: 27] sat upon them and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which [i.e., Toitines whosoever] had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ one thousand years. But the rest o the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they [i.e., such] shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.*
* Rev. 20: 4. For a description of the resurrection of all [that remain in Hades the place of] the dead [and of] those who have never been quickened, have never been the subjects of the soul-resurrection from its death in sin, alluded to by Christ in John - read the concluding verses of this chapter, from the eleventh to the close.
Finally, upon this point, Christian baptism, as is admitted by
all standard commentators, is alluded to repeatedly by the apostles as a
striking symbol of our burial and the resurrection of our bodies from the grave
at Christs second coming and entrance upon a new and glorious life, in bodies
raised and changed into immortal and glorified ones, like unto his own. The baptism of the apostolic Christians was,
we say, referred to by the apostles as teaching the fact of the literal
resurrection from the dead. Paul so uses
it in his letter to the churches at
[* Note. There is a condition implied here by the use of the word if! This would suggest that Christian baptism by submersion in water is a prerequisite to the hope (Tit. 2: 13) of being included amongst those who will rise from Hades / Heb. Sheol - the place of the souls of the dead - at the time of the First Resurrection.
Christs resurrection was a selective resurrection out from the dead (Lit. Gk. See Mark 9: 9, 10; 1 Cor. 15: 23. cf. John 3: 13), leaving the rest of the dead in the underworld of Hades / Sheol the place of the disembodied souls of the dead. See Acts 2: 34; Rev. 6: 9-11.]
** 1 Cor. 15: 29.
Thus, by the only suitable evidence - evidence so plain, direct and complete as to render serious doubt impossible to one who accepts the Bible as an inspired record, have we established the doctrine of a future resurrection of the dead. In establishing this doctrine, the foundation of Spiritism has been destroyed, and the whole system, and all the teachings depending upon it, fall with it.
* * *
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
By D. M. PANTON
The belief of one fact is vital for salvation. If thou shalt confess with thy mouth
Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart - the core of your being that God raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED
The Resurrection Foretold
Twelve times our Lord foretold His own death; and on eleven out of these twelve occasions He foretold His resurrection also; that is, He almost never spoke of His death without also saying that He would rise from the dead. And His enemies witnessed to His saying it:- That deceiver said, After three days, I will rise again (Matt. 27: 68); and the Angel who rolled away the stone from the grave said it, - He is risen, even as he said (Matt. 28. 6). And Jesus foretold - what no one has ever foretold in the history of mankind - exactly how long He would be dead. As Jonah was three days and three rights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12: 40).
A Blocked Tomb
Now let us follow the counsel of the Angel who said, - Come, see the place where the Lord lay (Matt. 28: 6). And first we observe no stone blocking the grave. Cometh Mary Magdalene unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb (John 20: 1). His enemies determined to make resurrection impossible, and so blocked the grave with a stone that only an angel could move:- Joseph rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb (Matt. 27: 60); and so the women disciples cried, - Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb? (Mark 16: 3). But even more remarkable: the stone was secured in place by an official seal; and an armed guard was stationed before the tomb - a Jewish guard, which, if it allowed a prisoner to escape, was executed (Acts 12: 19). Pilate said unto them - the Pharisees Ye have a guard; go your way, make it as sure as ye can (Matt. 27: 65).
An Absent Body
When John entered the tomb, he saw, and BELIEVED; for he seeth the linen clothes lying. The sole occupant of the tomb are the left clothes of the dead. If the body had been stolen - as the Pharisees afterwards said - the clothes would never have been left; and if either the Jews or the Romans had stolen it, they would have produced the corpse since, and so have destroyed the Christian Faith at one blow; or, equally effectively, have destroyed the corpse. Or if the disciples had taken away and destroyed the body, how could such Apostles as Peter and John have lived such holy lives while publishing a conscious lie for the rest of their lives?
It is most remarkable how the evidences of the resurrection were such that our Lords enemies, having heard the facts, took elaborate pains to explain them away. The Angel who rolled away the stone had been seen doing it by the military guard. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone. His appearance was as lightning, and his raiment white as snow; and for fear of him the watchers did quake, and became as dead men (Matt. 28: 2). The guard then returned to the authorities, and reported the facts. And they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. So they took the money, and did as they were taught (ver. 12).
The Risen Body Proved
Next, we find that our Lord took studied care to prove the facts to His disciples; for the disciples - not having understood our Lords own prophecies - could be convinced of the resurrection only by overwhelming facts, seen and felt by themselves. When the women came back from the tomb, she told these things unto the apostles; and these words appeared in their sight as idle talk, and they disbelieved them (Luke 24: 10). But the most sceptical was Thomas. The other disciples said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord. But Thomas said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe (John 20: 25). At their next meeting the Lord Jesus appeared: then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands, and put it into my side, and be not faithless but believing. Thomas was instantly overwhelmed by the facts. Thomas answered, My Lord and my God. It proved that it was the Lord who had come out of the tomb in the actual body crucified; for - as our Lord adds a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having (Luke 24: 39).
So then the mass of the evidence, and the character of it, makes Christs bodily reappearance one of the best attested facts in all history. First, we have the evidence of the soldiers. They actually saw the Angel of the resurrection. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and for fear of him the watchers did quake, and became as dead men. Secondly, we have the evidence of the disciples. Paul enumerates them:- Christ hath been raised the third day according to the scriptures, and appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then He appeared to five hundred brethren at once, then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me also (1 Cor. 15 : 4). Here is a body of evidence unshaken and unshakable. Observe:- the occurrence was too recent to allow of the growth of myth; the witnesses are men of cleansed consciences and therefore of truthful lips; the identifiers of our Lord had been His closest intimates for years, and therefore there could be no mistaken identity; they were, like Thomas, allowed to handle Him, and so prove a crucified body; and their evidence is unanimous, harmonious, and without flaw. Thirdly, we have the evidence of the Angels. They said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you that the Son of man must the third day rise again (Luke 24: 6).
Our Lord could not have stated His resurrection more overwhelmingly than He did in one sentence:- I AM THE RESURRECTION, and the life (John 11: 25).
* * *
MIRACLES AT THE END
Have pondered the critically significant fact that the first recorded prayer of the Church was a prayer or miracle? That SIGNS AND WONDERS may be done through the name of Thy holy Servant Jesus (Acts 4: 30). A heart right and sound in its attitude towards miracle is of grave importance.
1. THE RETURN OF MIRACLE SEEMS PROBABLE
BEFORE THE RAPTURE OF THE WATCHFUL SAINTS
Its return after the Rapture is certain: Mark 13: 11; Rev. 11: 5, 6. But (1) it appears that it is by the Latter Rain that the Harvest, or at least the Firstfruits, shall be quickened into maturity. Behold the husbandman [God: John 15: 1] waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord is at hand (Jas. 5; 7). Thus (2) the Latter Rain, no less miraculous than the Early, would seem to fall before the Great Tribulation sets in. And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. ... before the day of the Lord come (Acts 2: 17, 20). Each dispensation has closed in God counterworking Satan with swift and appalling power: so (3) this also is foretold, in a church (1 Tim. 3: 15) epistle, concerning the closing years of the Church. In the last days grievous times shall come. For ... like as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses [that is, miraculously: Ex. 7: 11], so do these also withstand the truth. ... But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be evident unto all men, as theirs [Jannes and Jambres] also came to be - that is, by the counter-working of mightier miracle (2 Tim. 3: 1, 8; Ex. 7: 12; 9: 11). Our latent title to miracle (Mark 16: 17, 18; 1 Cor. 12: 4-11; Gal. 3: 1-14) may become operative at any moment.
2. NOR MUST OUR FAITH BE STAGGERED
BY THE ABUNDANCE OF SATANIC COUNTERFEIT
Demonic miracles, singularly powerful, and singularly seductive, are to crowd the closing days. In the last days grievous times shall come. For ... evil men and seducers [by magic : so Liddell and Scott] shall wax worse and worse (2 Tim 3: 13): for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect (Matt. 24: 24): and Antichrists presence is to be with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and all deceit (2 Thess. 2: 9). But forged coins are counterfeits of real. Beware of the inevitable stratagem of Satan to create in the mind of the Church loathing for all miracle by swamping, at its outset, the real with the counterfeit. This is an acute peril of the Church today.
3. FOR GODS WORD ABIDES FOR EVER
AN INFALLIBLE TOUCHSTONE OF DISCRIMINATION
The test for a communicating spirit is a direct
question, Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh? (1 John 4: 1-3): the test to put to an inspired man, while energised by the supernatural power, is that he can, or
cannot, say, Jesus anathema, or, Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12: 1-3). Other tests are found
in Matt. 7:
15-20; Gal. 1: 8; and 2 John 7. These tests assume the likelihood
of an outburst, at any moment, of Satanic or Divine inspiration; and the
failure to apply them in all modern supernatural manifestations must be fraught
with heavy disaster. Quench not the Spirit; despise
not prophesying; PROVE ALL THINGS; hold fast that which
is good; abstain from every form of evil (1
Thess. 5: 20). God forbid
that the approaching transference of miracle from the Church to
4. FOR A GREAT CRISIS IS AT HAND.
The World draws on to an Armageddon of hostile miraculous powers: shall any Christian soldier now skulk in his tent, merely eating his rations, in the thunder of battle? Hear the solemn word: Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty (Jud. 5: 23). Matt. 25: 26-30. For Gods commands abide unrecalled. Desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues: desire earnestly the greater [among the miraculous] gifts (1 Cor. 12: 31; 14: 39). We loathe and dread Satanic miracle: but that a child of God should disregard, or distrust, or actually denounce the descent of his Fathers Spirit upon him in supernatural power is as painful as it is astounding. Loved assembly of God, strike out for the highest and the best (Num. 11: 29; 1 Cor. 14: 5). Gods gifts are priceless. Therefore let us seek a frank, open mind; a sensitively alert and lowly heart; an unshaken trust in God and a light hold on earthly things, which Christ may summon us to abandon at any moment. Yet the Holy Spirit shows us a still more excellent way. If the gifts of miracle are the Alps of the Church, grace and love are her Himalayas. Oh for an enduring and deepening baptism of love! Love is the first fruit of the Spirit, the end of the commandment, the summary of the Law, the bond of perfectness, and the nature of God. Whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; ... but now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE (1 Cor. 13: 13).
- D. M. PANTON.
* * *
If the Resurrection goes the supernatural goes; if the Resurrection remains, the door is open for the miraculous. We hear all around about us today, in all sorts of voices the declaration that all miracle is impossible. There is one fact which stands on its own appropriate evidence, evidence which I venture to say is irrefragable: the historical fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which shatters all such contention.
The fact is the key of the position. Like some great fortress standing at the mouth of the pass to some fertile country, as long as it holds out the storm of war is rolled back in broken form from its firm battlements. If it yields, all is surrendered. Around the alleged fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ turns the whole controversy. More and more it will be manifest that any theory of the relations between God and man which is not able to find a place for the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is unable to hold the field. All sorts of preposterous theories to account for the belief in the resurrection upon natural grounds spring up, generation after generation and, generation after generation, are swept away into the dust bin of forgotten absurdities, and the old message stands. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
- Dr. ALEXANDER MACLAREN.
* * *
By JOSEPH ELLISON
There is no charge of intentional misleading, on the part of those Bible teachers who assume, that the Christian enters into his final glory at [the time of] death. Eschatological teaching would be greatly simplified if we were able to take that for granted. Assuming that to be a final statement of truth, then it would disqualify several important christian doctrines. The second advent of our Lord would be one of them. Why should it be necessary for Him to come again and receive you unto Myself, if His people go to Him in a final sense at [the time of their] death? The N.T. doctrine of the resurrection of the Christian dead, when the Lord shall so come, would be redundant if we were able tb say of all departed saints that the resurrection is past already. it would not be the first time in the christian era that such a disastrous thing has been taught (2 Tim. 2: 18).
Consider for a moment the evidence of this mistaken conception, in those well-known lines of Charles Wesley as follows:- Come, let us join our friends above, who have received the prize ... Let all the saints terrestrial sing with those to glory gone. Judge foy yourself as to whether the perfect poet was also a perfect theologian, by an enquiry like this: is - the prize received - in the hymn, the same as the one anticipated by Paul in Phil. 3 : 10-14 I press toward the mark, for the prize of our high calling, of God in Christ Jesus? If so, then there would be this difference between Paul and Wesley - the former expected it in the out-resurrection from among the dead, which he sought so diligently to attain,* and the latter at the time of his death. It is one thing to sing:- Around the throne of God in heaven, thousands of children stand, but quite another thing to prove it from the Holy Scriptures.
[* NOTE. A dictionary definition of the word attain is, - to gain by effort.]
Like the steam locomotive on its two steel rails, so our thoughts must run along the appointed track, if we are to reach the terminus of truth in safety. Alignment of truth is imperative, both for the in-working of our salvation, and the out-working of it in the future; and this is the alignment we follow. The first advent of Christ into this world, is the gateway into salvation: His second advent is the gateway into [millennial] glory. The former is the controlling factor of grace, the latter is the governing factor of our expectations, which is to be consummated by a mighty, collective movement upward, on the part of all* the saints, and of all dispensations up to that time. It is, therefore, an axiom of Christian doctrine, that there is an inteival of time lying between the Christian's death, and the coming of the Lord to receive him unto Himself.
[* NOTE. The word all must be interpreted in its limited sense. That is, when our Lord said: Never again will I destroy ALL living creatures, as I have done (Gen. 8: 21), we know that Noah, his family, and the animals with him are not included in the word all: and this rule of correct interpretation - by comparing Scripture with other Scriptures - is the only correct method. Therefore, when Jesus has said that those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and IN THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD (Luke 20: 35): Pauls recorded words in Phil. 3: 11 with their immediate context, should make us fully aware of the fact that not all the saints are included; and will not qualify as participants in the First Resurrection! Compare Heb. 11: 35b; Luke 14: 14 with Rev. 20: 4, 5.]
We stand like the mountaineer on a sort of promontory, looking across the distance to a higher elevation on the other side of the chasm, where all is radiant with light, and rich with Elysian delight. Between us lie the shadows of death, with possibilities unknown, if they had not been revealed by The Spirit that searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. God has graciously bridged the chasm for us by uniting the strong girders of truth.
With these girder truths spread out on the draughtsmans table, it is evident that they can be divided into three classes, with seven classified sections in each group. In the first group there are seven direct references to the reality of the intermediate state. In the second, there are seven declarations that are concerned with the Christians consciousness in the intermediate state. In the third, there are seven axiomatic deductions, establish in both the certainty of the place, and the self-evident occupations of the people in residence there.
The seven direct references to the reality of the
intermediate state follow an orderly and progressive course in this way - the
first four of the seven are given in the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
the last three in the inspired writings of Paul. The former arrange themselves successively
thus (a) in Luke 16: 19-31 the illustrative story of
the rich man and Lazarus, reveals the state and the experience of two men
immediately after death, the one in Hell [i.e., Hades], the other - [there,
on the other side of the golf is] - in
Abrahams Bosom. That is sufficient authority for the establishment of a continued life and
self-consciousness after death, to all those who accept the full veracity of
the Lord Jesus. (b) Then follows the further
declaration, as given to the Dying Thief in Luke 23: 43 Verily I say unto thee, to-day
thou shalt be with me in
(c) The third utterance of our Lord, takes us a step further. In John 14: 2 He says, I go to prepare a place for you. That is repeated in the next verse. That place is one of the many mansions of My Fathers house. The mansions, of course, are residential, abiding places for human souls; and if there were not many of them, then the Lord said:- I would have told you. Hence we are certain that it is so. In the experience of death, human souls are divided [in the underworld of Hades] from one another, doubtless by the angels, who bear the saints to the mansion known to us as Paradise; while the lost souls go to a third abiding place, to await their call to final judgment. Such appears to be the place which our Lord has prepared for us, until He comes to take us to be with Himself.
(d) The final direct word of our great Teacher was sent by Him to the earth after His arrival at the right hand of God, and it takes us into the deeper recesses of Paradise, in this way:- To him that overcometh I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Not only does He give to us eternal life, and a place prepared where it is to be lived, but He provides for the continual sustenance of it. It is evident from the associations which accompany these truths that they all antedate the second advent.
To these must be added three direct references by
the Apostle Paul, as follows: (a) In
2 Cor. 12: 2-4, he says that he was caught
up to the third
and then repeating himself, he says that he was caught up to Paradise. By his repetition he disclosed the location
Our own impression is that the Paradise of God
is in the heavenlies; but that
The next one (b) is found in Phil. 1: 21-23, in the words:- For me to live is Christ, to die is gain ... having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better:- a better place, since it is freed from natural law and godless folk; a better fellowship with Christ, because free from earthly limitations; a better, nearer, clearer view of the eternal glory into which we are called. Add to this the reassuring words of 1 Thess. 5: 9-10, (c) God hath ... appointed us to obtain salvation, by our Lord Jesus Christ, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
From these seven direct references to the intermediate state we proceed to examine the seven declarations of truth that Support the Christians consciousness in the intermediate state. (a) In John 10: 27-30 our Lord gives a double guarantee of eternal life, tenure, and security, in the words:- I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of My hand. That is the first guarantee, and the second supports it:- My Father who gave them Me is greater than all (possible snatchers), and no one is able to pluck them out of My Fathers hand:- neither natural law, nor man, nor Devil. That is to say, there is no third party in the case can do it. It is absolutely impossible for outside agency, to cut eternal life into two parts. Wherever it is, its function and blessedness is the same.
Also (b) the same continuity of
consciousness applies to our Lords words:- Abide in Me, and I in you, in John
15: 5. Just as the branch abides
in the vine, so we abide in Christ, here, there, everywhere, always, for ever;
with His vitality springing up in us, and bringing forth His fruitfulness
through us. In this respect the vital
process is just the same in the intermediate state as it is on the earth. (c)
The perfect oneness with Himself, and with the Father, for which our Lord
prayed in John 17:16-17, is equally applicable to
us in every
(e) Place in this list the prayer of 1 Thess. 5: 21-22 I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; - preserved from the present hour of our experience, and continuously so, right through the intermediate state, and unto the coming of our Lord. However wide and long the interval of waiting may be, it is still emphatically certain that God is faithful, who also will do it. (f) The living hope also never dies, when once it fills the soul. It is compared to an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entereth into that within the veil, whither The Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus. Think you that the storm fiend of death ever drags that anchor from its mooring? It is sure, it is steadfast, and will continue to be until the personal appearance of the Person in whom it is cast, shall pilot the ship into the port of glory. (g) There is a seventh declaration of truth, concerning the Christians consciousness in and through the intermediate state, and it is found in Rom. 8: 38-39, in these words:- Neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
‑ The Intercessor.
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TWO KINDS OF BELIEVERS
Our Lord has every kind of evidence to present to man. The man who cannot believe save on the plane of his senses can find evidence enough on that plane to support Christs claims. But he has a different kind of proof for those who can open their hearts to him and feel his presence and love. Neither temperment should reject or despise the other. One claims the ladder of facts, the other flies on the wings of the spirit. But so long as each reach love and service and obedience and the conscious presence of God, each can help the other.
I have a life with Christ to live,
And, ere I live it, must I wait
Till learning can clear answer give
Of this and that books date?
I have a life in Christ to live;
I have a death in Christ to die;
And must I wait till science give
All doubts a full reply?
Nay; rather, while the sea of doubt
Is raging wildly round about,
Questioning of Life and Death and sin,
Let me but creep within
Thy fold, O Christ, and at Thy feet
Take but the lowest seat;
And hear Thine awful voice repeat,
In gentlest accents heavenly sweet,
Come unto Me and rest;
Believe Me and be blessed.
- J. C. Shairp, LL.D
Wicked men complain that they cannot understand the Bible. As well might a spendthrift complain because he did not receive his fathers whole estate.* Bishop Wilson says, When religion is made a science, nothing is more intricate; but when made a duty, nothing is more easy. A French infidel once said to Pascal, If I had your principles, I should be a better man. Begin with being a better man, and you will soon have my principles, was the reply.
Wm. H. Lewis.
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How terribly far many churches have gone in their apostasy from this vital fact of the Faith can be seen in an unchallenged statement of Dr. Johnston Ross:- He who can believe in the resurrection of the flesh can believe anything, for he has crucified and trampled on his intellect. The flesh is laid aside for good and all at death. Our Lords reply exactly fits the proud intellect of the Sadducee:- Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, NOR THE POWER OF GOD (Matt. 22: 29). The God who made man out of dust can have no difficulty at all in re-making him out of grave-dust: in the one, moreover, He created a spirit, in the other He merely restores it. It is only the man who denies creation that stumbles at resurrection.
However dim Scripture may be in its portrayal of the intermediate state, it is at least explicit in negativing the current conceptions of Hades, both Roman and Protestant. Nothing short of a betrayal of the original Christian position has been the abandonment, through sheer unbelief, of the clauses in the Creed on Hades and the Ascension: if these clauses are merely figurative and pictorial (the Modernist legitimately retorts) so can be the clauses on the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. Thus also the modern obliteration of the doctrine of Hades has dislocated, and to a large degree nullified, the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead, which, when an intermediate world is eliminated, is made so unnecessary as to slip out of belief. The elimination of a single truth is a hurt done to all revelation. Mr. Govett sets the state after death on its Scriptural foundations.
THYNNE AND JARVIS.
Our Lords priceless word as to the spirit of the Beggar being
borne by angels to Abrahams bosom shows
The unwarranted assumption that Paradise was emptied, when our Lord led captivity captive in respect of Himself, is one of the traditions of the Mediaeval Church where errors grew like grass.
Surely the promise, I will come again and receive you unto myself, or as the French Version beautifully renders it, I will come again and take you with Me, must be fulfilled before we can leave the tomb, enter heaven, and be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18).
CHAS. S. UTTING.
A SELECT RESURRECTION
Paul defines so exactly what he means as to place the truth, finally, beyond all doubt. If by any means, he says, I may attain unto the out-resurrection, that which is from among the dead: an out-resurrection, not out of the earth (Lange), but out from among dead ones: that is, as the context suggests, the first resurrection (Ellicott). It was exactly this which puzzled the first disciples when Christ foretold His rising out of (ek) the dead, for like Martha (John 11: 24) they had never conceived of any emergence from the grave except the general rising of the mass of mankind:- questioning among themselves what the rising again from the dead should mean (Mark 9: 10). The first resurrection is of necessity a resurrection from among the dead (Govett); it is a prior emergence from the tombs: it necessitates a later resurrection of those left; and the rest of the dead LIVED NOT until the thousand years should be finished (Rev. 20: 5). Thus all difficulty attending Pauls uncertainty vanished the moment we realize that the [out-resurrection] is one of the golden prizes for which God summons us [Christians] to compete. As Dr. J. Hutchisan says:- The allusion is undoubtedly not to the general resurrection of the dead. All must attain unto that. No striving is needed thereto. It stands fast in the decrees of heaven, and none can fall short of it or frustrate it. What is referred to here is that which is attained after danger and toil, and attained as a blissful reward. It is what is elsewhere called a better resurrection (Heb. 11: 35); the resurrection of the just (Luke 14: 14; Acts 4: 2); the first resurrection (Rev. 20: 5). It is the resurrection par eminence,
GODS PROMISE OF THE LAND TO ABRAHAM
While Abraham is dead, he is divided, and neither part of him is receiving the fulfilment of Gods promise of possessing the land. Abraham dead is not on the earth, where the promise is to be enjoyed. Nor can he return to earth, till that which death has severed, life shall reunite. But then his body and soul will be re-knit; and that in resurrection.
While Abraham sleeps in death the promises are unfulfilled. But as truly as Christ - the Singular Seed of Abraham - has been raised [out] from among the dead, so shall Abraham himself be. This good pleasure of the Lord was first exhibited on Jesus, the Righteous. It shall by and bye be displayed in Abraham, the justified by the righteousness of Christ. When Christ descends to take the kingdom as Son of Abraham, Son of David, He shall fulfil the covenant to the other seeds of Abraham; both the heavenly seed, and the earthly.
Then shall Israel, the plural seed of Abrahams flesh enjoy the land of promise; and it shall stretch from Nile to Euphrates, embracing even the desert in which they wandered - then a desert no longer, but watered, verdant, and inhabited: Isaiah 35. Then shall the heavenly seed of Abraham, children of his faith, raised from the dead, shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall Abraham enjoy, not the earthly heritage alone, but shall receive also the better country, the heavenly
From this of course it
follows, that Jesus is not coming to burn up the earth as soon as He descends
from heaven. While the Gospel of Gods grace and patience lasts, Jesus
does not leave the heaven. And till He rises up, the
resurrection of the righteous tarries. The Gospel, then, will
never fulfil to Abraham the promise of the land. The Gospel is Christ
waiting, His people falling asleep, and resurrection tarrying. It is
only when the new age of reward according to works has arrived, that the
covenant with Abraham, to be fulfilled to him in a new life, takes effect.
THE FIRST RESURRECTION LITERAL
The spiritualizing, allegorizing, and idealizing, expositors seek to evade the doctrine of the pre-millennial Advent of Christ, by teaching that the First Resurrection. (Rev. 20: 5), is not a literal Resurrection of the Body, but means something else. In like manner, they seek also to evade the fact that the sublime scene of the Diademed Warrior on the White Horse, (Rev. 19: 11-16), is not that of the Second Advent itself, but means something else. Thus, the literal Resurrection denied here, the literal Second Advent is denied also. But if the First Resurrection is literal here, it must be coincident with the literal Second Coming of Christ.
THE FIRST RESURRECTION A PRIZE
I press on toward the goal unto the prize: (Phil. 3: 14).
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
Whilst others fought TO WIN THE PRIZE,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend of grace,
To help me on to God?
Since I must fight IF I WOULD REIGN,
Increase my courage, Lord!
Ill bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy word.
- ISAAC WATTS.
Faith differs from hope in the extension of its object, and in the intention of degree. St. Austin [Anselm] thus accounts their differences (Euchirid, ch. 8). Faith is of all things revealed, good and bad, rewards and punishments, of things that concern us and of things that concern us not: but hope hath for its object things only that are good, and fit to be hoped for, future, and concerning ourselves; and because these things are offered to us UPON CONDITIONS of which we may fail as we may change our will, therefore our certainty is less than the certainty of faith; which (because faith relies only upon one proposition, that is, the truth of the Word of God) cannot be made uncertain in themselves, thought the object of our hope may become uncertain to us, and to our possession .
- JEREMY TAYLOR.
THE BUTTERFLY IS AN EMBLEM OF RESURRECTION
An egg laid by the butterfly hatches, not a miniature adult, but a lava which differs from the adult, not only in the absence of wings, but in the shape of the body, the structure of the mount parts, the length of the antennae, the mode of life, and the internal structure. In this case, the caterpillar when full-fed becomes a passive pupa, and within the pupa case the organs of the body break down and are reconstructed to form those of the adult, or imago This is complete metamorphosis, defined chiefly by the fact that a period of complete quiescence intervenes between the larval and adult life. It is extraordinarily illuminating. The caterpillar, our earth-tethered life; the chrysalis, the rest [of the soul] in Hades; the resurrected butterfly, the heavenly body. So also is the resurrection of the dead.
D. M. PANTON.
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