A FOE OF CHRISTIANITY.
[Edited from writings by Robert Govett, M.A.]
At the present crisis, when so many are turning to spirits as their instructors, it seems to be well to point out to those willing to listen, the contrariety of Spiritism to the Word of God, on one or two main points; and the awfulness of the results in which land its followers.
Our subject, then, is to show that,
‘NOT DEATH, BUT THE RESURRECTION [OUT] OF THE DEAD IS THE CHRISTIAN’S HOPE.’
To the apostles the resurrection was the great foundation of the faith. It was proved by the actual resurrection of Jesus. It was the great and startling piece of news which they were sent to proclaim, with all its consequences, to an unbelieving world.
But soon this truth fell out of view. In the middle ages, the intermediate state and deliverance from it, usurped the place of resurrection. At the Reformation the doctrine of the intermediate state fell through, together with the false doctrine of Purgatory. The idea which Justin Martyr stigmatizes as false - that at once on death, the soul enters on heaven and glory - took its place. If that be true, resurrection is an impertinence. Hence resurrection almost ceased to form a subject of Protestant discourses, and the case is not very different now.
In most instances - as is evidenced by the hymns usually sung - death is the object set before the believer’s view. The topic of funeral sermons is the victory achieved at death, when any one departs in faith. The departed faithful have entered the land of promise; may we go to them! The body is a ‘clog,’ a ‘burden,’ a ‘prison.’ Death is emancipation from the flesh, a sudden entry on glory. This, I suppose, is not Scripture doctrine, but contrary to it.
To unbelievers, resurrection has always been one of the chief stumbling-blocks of Christianity. 1. Of old it was declared, that the rising of the dead and decomposed body was something beyond the power of God Himself. 2. The philosophers added, that even if it were possible, it was undesirable in the highest degree. Mater was in itself evil. To be delivered from the appetites and importunities of the body was the great object of the philosopher. And should he allow, that the body which had wrought so much mischief to the soul, and was at length laid away out of sight - a putrid mass - was anew and for ever to be associated with the purified spirit? It was man’s glory to leave it for evermore.
Celsus said of resurrection, that it was ‘a hope to be cherished by worms.’
Let me then set forth the Christian doctrine upon this important subject. And in so doing I propose to treat of three points.
1. WHAT IS DEATH?
2. WHO ARE THE DEAD?
3. WHAT IS RESURRECTION?
First then -
1. WHAT IS DEATH?
It is the opposite to life. And life is the union of spirit, soul, and body.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:" 1 Thess. 5: 23.
Man is made up of three parts then - the visible body, and the invisible spirit and soul. At death these three component parts are severed; and each of them goes to a different place. The unseen spirit returns to God: Job 34: 14, 15; Eccl 3: 21; Luke 23: 46; cf. Acts 7: 59; Jas. 2: 26; Luke 8: 55. The unseen soul [i.e., the man himself] departing from the body, is conducted to a region called Hades. The body left upon the earth is visibly conveyed away to the tomb by men.
Of these two latter statements you have a proof in Acts 2. There, Peter inspired of the Holy Ghost, refers to the 16th Psalm, where it is written, "My flesh shall rest in hope, because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption:" 26, 27. That, says the apostle, was not fulfilled in David. His body was entombed; His flesh was corrupted, and His soul is still among the souls in Hades. But this was true of "Jesus the Nazarite." He was slain by the wickedness of Jew and Gentile. At death His soul went down among the souls in the under world. His body was conveyed to the sepulchral chamber that belonged to Joseph.
1. Death then is a dissolution, the undoing of the bond of life which keeps in unity man’s spirit, soul, and body. And so it is written, "If our earthly house of the tent be dissolved," or taken down: 2 Cor. 5: 1.
2. It is an unclothing. "We that are in the tent, groan, being burdened; not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by life:" (Greek) 2 Cor. 5: 4. The soul in the living is clothed with the body. At death it is driven out from its tent. It is a naked, or disembodied soul.
3. It is a taking down of a tent or temporary abode. "Yea I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance, knowing that speedy is the laying aside of my tabernacle, (or tent,) even as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me:" (Greek) 2 Pet. 1: 13, 14.
4. It is a departure. "Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." "Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you:" Phil. 1: 23, 24. "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (or dissolution) is at hand:" 2 Tim. 4: 6.
AFTER DEATH COMES BURIAL.
God has made the disposal of the corpse after death by way of interment or burning, a necessity to the survivors; both by its hideousness to the eye, and its noisomeness to the smell. It is also an occasion of showing either respect or dishonour to the dead. The refusal of burial is threatened by God as a disgrace to some of His enemies. "Their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and unto the beasts of the earth:" Jer. 34: 20. Of Jehoiakim, who cut in pieces and burned the word of God, Jehovah says, "His dead body shall be cast out, in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost:" Jer. 36: 30.
We come now to the Second Point.
2. WHO AND WHAT ARE THE DEAD?
Death is a momentary thing: it is the separation of the spirit and soul from the body, which is complete at a given instant. And so we speak of ‘the point of death:’ Gen. 25: 32; Mark 5: 23. But this severance introduces the soul into an abiding state. The Scriptures distinguish between the act of death and the state of the dead, by the use of two different Greek words.
The dead, then, are those whose component parts remain rent asunder, or dissevered. Their bodies are either in the tomb, or completely disorganized and turned to dust. The corruption of their bodies, which begins at death, is the proof that their souls are amongst the dead. Jesus was dead, and was among the souls of the departed, as long as His body and spirit were severed.* In that state He remained three days only. But Abraham, David, and the prophets, with unnumbered others, are still among the dead. For David, "by the will of God fell asleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised again saw no corruption:" Acts 13: 36, 37. The one great exception tells us what is the ordinary rule.
[* See Psa. 88. "Free among the dead." Here it is the souls of the dead. "He went (journeyed) and preached to the spirits in prison:" 1 Pet. 3. The soul is the Person who moved: the body was fixed by death in the tomb.]
1. The dead are described in Scripture - specially the believing dead - as "the sleepers." Their bodies are motionless, as in sleep. "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." They are asleep, as compared with the activity which they once displayed as the living. It is a sleep from which we cannot awaken them.
2. They are the unclothed.
As, when retiring to rest for the night, we take off our clothes in which we
have been labouring and active; so it is with the dead. Their raiment
suited to activity is laid aside. Their
spirits and souls are unclothed. And
as such they are unfit for the
3. They are partially unclean.
They are not fit for the presence of the living God in heaven among the
angels. The severance of the body, soul and spirit is the effect of sin,
and of the original sentence of God upon the guilty. Corruption of the
body is the token of God’s displeasure; it is the proof of being a
sinner. It is the repulsive path leading to the sentence of
Hence under the Old Testament the touch of the dead defiled. For seven whole days was he defiled, who by accident or intentionally had touched a corpse or a bone. He needed to be purified on the third day and on the seventh, with a specially holy water prepared from the burnt heifer. He must wash his clothes and bathe in water, before he could be considered clean once more.
To the eyes of Spiritist’s the dead are the really living, the free, the active, and awake. They are the cleansed - evil being put away with the mortal body. According to them the spirit-state is the final one. There is to be no uprising of the body. In all these points they are opposed to Scripture. I give some passages in illustration of their views.
1. “We have constant proof that a man never really dies. (m.i.) He builds up his body as a house for himself in the course of his earth-life, which he decorates and lives in." Grant - Modern Spiritualism: p. 22.
2. “The truth that there is ‘no such thing as death,’ is the noblest consolation that ever blest humanity." (m.i.) Dr. Sexton’s Conversation: p. 2.
3. “Thus we claim, that the phenomenon of death rightly understood and fully interpreted, removes the ignorance and superstition that has hitherto surrounded it, and thus takes the sting out of the adder’s mouth, and the old enemy ceases to be regarded as such." Morse’s Phenomena of Death: p. 15.
4. "To the enlightened
mind ‘there is no more death,’ ‘nor sorrow nor crying,’ to those
who live in conjunction with Eternal Truth."
As the natural consequence of God’s decree concerning defilement by the dead, intercourse with the spirits was forbidden. No Israelite was to be a "consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or one that inquired of the dead: (Heb.) For all that do these things are an abomination to the Lord:" Deut. 18: 11, 12.
Were the living, when in difficulty, to inquire of the dead? Nay,
but of our God! It was because of the contrary wickedness that the
There have risen, however, in our day, those who knowingly and habitually consult the spirits. This was an abomination even in the heathen, left to the light of conscience: how much more in those who have the light of Scripture and profess the name of Christ!* And, as a consequence, those who do are being led away from Scripture and from God and Christ of whom that Scripture speaks. The doctrine of the Spiritists is becoming more and more opposed to Christ, and openly blasphemous.
[* Witchcraft is one of the works of the flesh, excluding
from the future (millennial)
This true view of the dead will materially affect our comprehension of the Saviour’s 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 spirit returms 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.
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 Abraham’s return to his body. The separate existence of Abraham’s 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.
is 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
A new and better age - [i.e., the millennium.] - is coming, in which the resurrected neither die nor marry, nor are given in marriage. As long, then, as marriage and death last among believers, so long have we clear proof that the better age and the resurrection out from the dead are not come. Luke 20: 35, 36.
But if ‘death be resurrection,’ and the bodyless state be the eternal one, Abraham had already risen ages before, and was either then enjoying the land of promise, or God’s pledged word was broken. Then, too, the Sadducees should not have said, "Whose wife in the the resurrection shall she be?" For already in the bodyless state - [or the spirit-state, as the Spiritist’s would say.] - she was the wife of one or more of them. If they were wrong in their supposition about this, Jesus would have corrected their error. But while He affirms the reality of resurrection, which they falsely denied, He confirms them in regard of the futurity of the resurrection. "But when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage:" Mark 12: 25. "They which shall be accounted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection [out] from among the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage:" (Greek) Luke 20: 35.
This then leads us to consider the next point. Is the spirit-state the final one? Nay - for God’s testimony is that the dead shall rise.
3. WHAT IS RESURRECTION?
First let us notice what it is NOT.
Spiritists and Swedenborgians (in all essentials the two agree) assert that ‘Death is resurrection. Resurrection is something true of the spirit of man alone. The spirit is the spiritual and eternal body of which Paul speaks: 1 Cor. 15; and its rising up out of the corpse is the only resurrection.’
1. "By resurrection (says Swedenborg) is not meant the resuscitation of the rent or worn-out carcase laid in the grave. On the contrary, it is the deliverance of the spirit from the bondage of the flesh, when man awakes in the other world with his whole nature intact." - Life, p. 327, by White.
2. Jesus "arose after death on the third day with his whole body, which never happens to any man; for man only rises as his spirit and not as to his body:" p. 381.
3. "Man does not die, but is only separated from the corporeal part which was of use to him in the world; for man himself lives. It is said, that man himself lives, because man is not man from the body, but from the spirit.” "Death in the Word in its internal sense, signifies, resurrection and continuation of life!" "As soon as this motion [of the heart] ceases, the man is resuscitated; but this is done by the Lord alone. By resurrection is meant the drawing forth of the spirit of man from the body, and its introduction into the spiritual world, which is commonly called resurrection!" Heaven and Hell: 445. See also Bailey’s Discourses, No. 12, p. 32.
Dr. Sexton says: - "In reality there is no such a thing as death; when the material body - which is no more the man himself than the coat he wears - (m.i.) is worn out and thrown aside, the man himself - that is - the spiritual being, in whom all the identity resides, walks forth in the majesty of renewed vigour in the bright summer land prepared by God:" p. 20.
"The lump of clay that had been her earthly covering, was but the outer garment of the real person on whom his affections had been fixed, and she could do even better without it." 22. "We approach the grave and lie down on the couch from which there is to be no more an uprising." P. 24. God and Immortality.
A. J. Davis says of the struggle of the dying: - "I realized the fact, that those physical manifestations were indications not of pain or of unhappiness, but simply that the spirit was eternally dissolving its co-partnership with the material organism." Philosophy of Death: p. 8.
Judge Edmons says: - "what happens immediately after death? The first thing as I understand it, is the formation of the spirit-body." What is Death? P. 9. This is "justly called the resurrection of the body!" p. 6. So Harris. The New Church: p. 19.
This idea is thought to derive sanction from the inspired declaration, in 1 Cor. 15, that there is a spiritual as well as an animal body.
But the whole strain of the Apostle’s argument is against such a thought. The Spiritist’s say, the resurrection occurs in individual cases daily, and at once on death. Paul speaks of it as something that has not yet occurred, but is to take place at some unknown time after burial, when myriads of the Lord’s people will rise together, at the last trump.
I once visited a Swedenborgian minister, and observed to him that Paul’s account of the resurrection given in 1 Thessalonians seemed to me in exact opposition to Swenenborgian doctrine. Swedenborg says - that resurrection takes place individually and immediately after death; Paul, that the resurrection has yet to take effect, and then at once on multitudes both of the living and the dead. Swedenborg says, Christ’s return in the flesh is impossible. Paul, that the resurrection is to take place at His descent, His shout and the last trump. He said - "You are right. There is that opposition. But these epistles were Paul’s first, and any one can see they are not inspired." So he set up Swedenborg, as not only equal to Paul, but superior to him the inspired!
The grand foundation of the Apostle’s argument is the actual resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Is resurrection impossible? Then deny that of Jesus! Did He rise? Then resurrection is not impossible. He rose, so will His saints rise. This is asserted in many texts: 1 Cor. 15: 20.
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our body of humiliation, that it may be fashioned like unto his body of glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself:" (Greek) Phil. 3: 20, 21.
"And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power:" 1 Cor. 6: 14.
Christ rose in His capacity of "firstfruits." Now the firstfruits are a specimen of the whole harvest which is to follow: 2 Cor. 4: 14. Jesus Christ is "the first-born from the dead." His other brethren who are to be born after Him from the dead, will then be like Him in that birth: He indeed having the pre-eminence, but their resurrection being after the pattern of His: Col. 1: 18; Rev. 1: 5.
The Swedenborgians and Spiritists assert, that man is only temporarily a corporeal being. He is essentially a spiritual being: the body is but the scaffold to the building; taken away for ever, after the spirit is matured at death.
Against this I will bring proofs, that the body is in the mind of God, an essential part of the man, destined to form a part of his eternal condition.
1. This appeared at Creation, Gen. 2: 7: "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." The body moulded into the human form is called "man:" to this is added the spirit and soul - and man is seen in his created perfection to consist of three parts.
2. So Scripture speaking of the future, predicts:"In my flesh, (says Job,) shall I see God:" Job. 19: 26. "Thy dead men shall live, my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:" Isa. 26: 19. "I pray God that your whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming (presence) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it:" 1 Thess. 5: 23.
We resume then the inquiry; -
WHAT IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD?
unscriptural theory taught by Spiritists is -
that ‘death is resurrection.’ ‘At death the spirit clothes itself with a very etherial or subtle body and rises up out of the
corpse. This spirit-body is the spiritual body, of which Paul speaks.’
What is death?
We reply - ‘NO - IT IS NOT.’ And we proceed to the proofs against it: there being indeed no proof in its favour; nothing save the assertions of believers in spiritualism.
We say, then, the whole man is to be restored from death, both his body soul and spirit. This is proved by THE CASE OF THE LORD JESUS. There we see what is meant by resurrection.
Jesus did not rise at His death. His spirit - [Not the Holy Spirit, but His human spirit which He expired on the cross and which returned to His Father in heaven.] - and His soul went down out of His body at His death - went down to Hades.
"Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is to bring up Christ " - [here the soul is proved to be the Person] - "again from the dead:") Rom. 10: 7.
And again: "Now that He ascended, what is it but the He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth:" Eph. 4: 9.
There He preached, a disembodied soul Himself - to the spirits in prison: 1 Peter 3: 19. He did not for three days show Himself on the earth. He was amongst the dead. His human soul was amongst the human souls of the dead, in the place appointed them below. His body was among the bodies of the dead, in the sepulchral chamber allotted to it. He suffered the curse on Adam, and His soul, body and spirit were severed, on purpose that He might triumph over death; and that as death could not hold Him, He might bring in life in resurrection.
He rose again the third day after death, before corruption - [if it were possible] - could seize upon His sacred body. He rose, the entire man came forth from among the dead. His soul ascended from the lower parts of the earth, and was reunited to His body. His spirit , which was surrendered into His Father’s keeping, reanimated His body, which then came forth from the place of the corpses, to appear to the living. Only then, when He had so risen, was He said to be alive. His death was the dissolving of the temple in which the Son of God dwelt. But He promised to rebuild it after three days. Only after that time is He said to be alive: Mark 16: 11; Luke 24: 23. "Why seek ye the living One among the dead?" That was, true, only after He was risen out of the tomb.
This then is God’s meaning, where Scripture uses the word "resurrection." Death is not a rising up but a lying down of the body, in which posture it abides. Death is not the mounting up of the soul, but its going down into the underworld of Hades. On this example of Christ, Paul rests the whole Gospel. This alone is God’ news. The departure of the spirit and soul from the body, was and is, the ordinary course of things. God raised Jesus not from death alone, but from among the dead, to whom He descended when He died; and from whom He came up, when He returned to life. How was the Saviour known to be dead? By His spirit, committed into the hands of His Father. How was He known to be buried? By His friends bearing His body to the place of dead bodies, and His soul descending into Hades. How was He proved to be risen? By His body no longer being found in the tomb to which it was committed, but by its being seen and felt alive by credible witnesses. The whole man had arisen. His spirit and soul dwelt anew in His body.
As the Father at His baptism, and transfiguration saluted Him as His "Son," so also does He after His birth from the tomb. "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee:" Acts 13: 33. Raised from the dead, He is still the Son of David, AND IS TO RETURN AS SUCH: 2 Tim. 2: 8; Rev. 22: 16. As He rose, so AFTER THIS MANNER are we to rise.
1. On this as their basis, the apostles took their stand, and provoked, by their powerful testimony, the persecution of the Sadducees.
"And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, and grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection [out] from the dead:" Acts 4: 1, 2.
announced this rising up of Jesus, God’s Nazarite, as
the first instance of that which was to come to pass in the saved, to fit them
for their expected kingdom of glory. Jesus was raised from the dead
"by the glory of the Father:" Rom. 6. Thus the Lord God manifested His
good pleasure in the Christ Whom they had maltreated and slain. The
visible glory of God in the wilderness had delivered Caleb and
Joshua from death, when assailed by
Christ is now a ‘man.’ Though He be exalted to the Father’s right hand on high: Acts 7: 56; 1 Cor. 15: 21, 45, 47; 1 Tim. 2: 5; Heb. 2: 6; Rev. 1: 13; 14: 14.
Christ rose as the Forerunner and the Firstfruits.
2. The resurrection of the dead who
came forth at
[*There is a vast difference between the resurrection of Jesus, from that of Lazarus, Dorcas and Eutyehus; Christ was resurrected in an immortal body without blood; the latter were all resurrected in mortal bodies.]
3. Or take a fresh view of the matter from 1 Cor. 15. Where Paul announces to us the tidings is a spiritual body. The apostle tells us that death, with its sad surroundings both to the departing one and the friends, is the penalty of the first sin of our first parents. Life and resurrection come with righteousness. In Christ alone, in Him first the meaning of death put away was seen. No such resurrection as Christ’s was going on in Paul’s day. But this false theory contends that, resurrection came by Adam, and that it is the ordinary course of things. It ignores the change brought in by our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. That the doctrine I oppose is unscriptural, is evident at once on comparing its theoretic statements, with the word of God. Paul says of "the resurrection of the dead," -
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it 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": 1 Cor. 15: 42-44.
"It is sown, etc."
Now this is quite true of the body of the dead. Its sowing is its burial. It is let down into the grave in a state of decomposition. That is not true of the soul. The soul is not decomposed; it is not committed to the grave. It is not visibly weak or dishonoured, as the corpse is. The Holy Spirit speaks of the state of the dead generally, as "corruption."
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit
"Flesh and blood" is the condition of the living: "corruption," the state of the dead. Such Paul affirms was the state of David. He "saw corruption:" Acts 13: 36. If there be no resurrection, then the dead in Christ have perished. Wrecks of the man may exist in the separate state, just as the cargo may be washed ashore, after the vessel has gone to pieces on the rocks. But the ship is no more - it has perished!
Now if the body is to moulder, and to come forth never more, Paul’s whole strain of argument and of statement must have changed. He must have told us, that death is our final state, into which men depart, one by one. That dissolution is our goal of hope, our entry on joy and immortality. The immortality of the soul, (the doctrine of human reason at its highest,) is alone true. What he does say is the reverse of this - ‘that the body committed to the earth in its state of weakness, dishonour, and corruption, shall arise in a state quite contrary.’
"It is sown an animal [‘natural’] body, it is raised a spiritual body." (Greek,). What is the meaning of the last expression? It is taken by opponents to signify a body rare, subtle, fine, capable of being seen, but not ordinarily capable of being touched by the living. That is, I am persuaded, not the sense of the apostle. This appears by a comparison of the expression with the other epithet previously used. Our present body is an "animal body" of flesh and blood, one suited, that is, to the wants of this natural life, to the career on which Adam entered at his creation. The body to come, then, is ‘a spiritual body,’ not in reference to its fabric as peculiarly etherial and impalpable, but as it is a body suited to man’s new life in resurrection. The spiritual body, then, is suited to the eternal life in the heavens - [as well as on earth]. That is the result, not of Adam’s desert, but of Christ’s; and is effected by His power. The natural body is that which Adam bore. The spiritual is that which Christ is now wearing. Paul says not - as on this theory he should have said - ‘Out of the dead arises at once the incorruptible spirit.’ But "the dead shall arise incorruptible, and we (the living) shall be changed."
5. Paul’s figure of the seed sown and arising, is absolutely convincing on this head to any who will listen to God’s testimony. Not merely you have had instances of resurrection, and they clearly show what the resurrection is to be. But in answer to the cry - ‘How are the dead to be raised up, and with what body are they coming?' He replies, by telling us, that our ordinary sowing of seed is a God-given pattern of our future destiny. We commit to the ground the seeds from which we desire life to spring. Beneath the clods they die; out from their grave they spring up, and after burial. It is not - ‘Their sowing is really their rising; their casting into the earth is really their coming up out of it.’ That were too absurd. But ‘After their burial they arise. Out of the earth in which they were sown they come up, even as the whole man, spirit, body and soul shall ascend out of the tombs.’ So said Jesus: John 5: 28, 29. Our Lord also compared death and resurrection to the same sowing and rising of the seed: John 12: 24.
Thus then the body rises because the spirit and soul is re-knit to it. It is not said - ‘The dead at death possess (or acquire) this spiritual body.’ They acquire (or possess) "corruption" only; "incorruption" is a putting on of something after burial, and after coming forth from the tomb.
6. We gather the same conclusion from the nature of the case. Death, or the severance of spirit, soul and body, coupled with the body’s thenceforth mouldering into dust, was the consequence of man’s offence and of God’s displeasure: Gen. 3. Until, then, the body is restored from the dust, the proof of God’s acceptance of the saved, and of His rolling away the curse, is not visible or complete. And so saith Paul: "When this corruptible (the dead body) shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal (the living saint) shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory:" 1 Cor. 15: 54. Until the resurrection then the visible victory belongs to death. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Now the power of death is visibly broken only when the body is rescued from its grasp.
7. Man consists, according to the inspired writer, of three parts - one visible "the outer man," and two invissible, "the inner man." When the spirit and soul are driven out of the body, it is unclothed. Not nakedness, however, but clothing is God’s mind: 2 Cor. 4: 16; 1 Pet. 3: 3; Rom. 7: 22; Eph. 3: 16. Till the outer man is knit anew to the inner man, man is incomplete. The work of God is up to that moment marred by sin "The body is dead because of sin," although "the spirit is life because of righteousness": Rom. 8: 10. But if the body be part and parcel of man in his perfection, his resurrection implies his rising up of the body.
8. The same thought appears also from the meaning of ‘resurrection’ and ‘awaking,’ as used in Scripture. It has two faces.
Resurrection is the restoration of life. Life as now
manifested is the union of body and soul. Life in resurrection then is
the reunion of body and soul. "Christ both died and revived, that He might be Lord of the
dead and of the living:"
Resurrection is the undoing of death, in all its work; whether on the
visible part of man or the invisible. As then death is the
dissolution of body, soul and spirit, resurrection is the combining anew.
This is exhibited in the fullest clearness in the case of our Lord. "What sign showest thou to us, said the Jews, seeing that thou doest
these things? Jesus answered and said
unto them, Dissolve this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
As death was the taking down of the
(3.) The fundamental ideas of the Greek words used to describe resurrection yield also a sufficient proof. The first signifies ‘a rising up.’ Now the rising up has a direct reference to the previous lying dawn. That only rises up which previously lay down. What then lies down, or is laid down? The body of man. The sick lays himself down on his death-bed. His body is laid down in the tomb after death: John 11: 34, 41. It abides there unable to move. Or, if we take the case of sudden and violent death, the matter is still more evident. It is only the living who can maintain the erect posture of standing up. When death takes place the body falls to earth. "Ananias hearing these words fell down and gave up the ghost [spirit]:" Acts 5: 5. Sapphira "fell down straightway at his feet and gave up the ghost:" 10. "Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there and died in the same place:" 2 Sam. 2: 23; Acts 28: 6.
the rising up is the visible consequence of the spirit’s
invisible entrance on it. As the body lay dead because of the
spirit’s withdrawal, so it rises up because of the spirit’s
return. Take the case of Jarius’ daughter.
Jesus "entereth in where the child was lying. And
he laid hold of the child’s hand, and said unto her - ‘Talitha
koomi,’ which being translated, ‘Damsel, I say to
thee arise!" "And her
spirit returned and she arose at once."
(Greek) Mark 5: 40, 41; Luke 8: 55.
The two prophets yet to be sent are slain at
The same conclusion follows from the other common expression for resurrection. It is strictly ‘the awakening and rising up’ of the sleeper. Life is ordinarily active, and activity is generally displayed in the erect posture. Sleep is the assumption of the attitude of lying down, a posture suited to rest. Every night we lie down for repose, to awake and arise in the morning. Now death visibly resembles sleep. The two are often mistaken the one for the other. Death is a longer and deeper sleep, incapable of being shaken off by any methods we can employ. The word ‘awaking,’ however, applied to the dead, hints to us the visible restoration of activity to the man by supernatural power; to commence on another and better morning than those of this life. So Jesus said of Lazarus - "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go to awake him out of sleep." How was that done? By Lazarus coming forth out of the tomb. "The maid is not dead, but asleep." ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, awake! And at once the damsel arose:’ Mark 5. The body is the visible seat of sleep; so also, then, is it the awaking.
In short, resurrection respects the whole man, such as God made him at first - the being consisting of spirit, soul, and body. Death affects all parts of him and severs them. Resurrection, as the undoing of death, causes the dissevered parts to come together again.
This then will meet an objection which may have suggested itself. You speak of "the resurrection of the dead" - not of "the resurrection of the body" - as it is usually expressed, and as it is found on ‘the apostles’ ‘Creed’ (so called.)
The expression was used designedly, FOR IT IS THE CONSTANT ONE EMPLOYED BY SCRIPTURE. The other expression IS NOT ONCE EMPLOYED. And the reason is clear. They who speak of ‘the resurrection of the body’ fix the eye on a part of the man, while God’s eye is on the whole man. The phrase would suggest to the unbeliever the objection - ‘The body then is to rise without the soul or spirit.’ For while some err by making the soul or the spirit all in all, God’s word maintains body, soul and spirit.
God speaks of "the resurrection of the dead" - because that word embraces all parts of the man. "Give me (says Abraham about Sarah) a possession of a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of sight." "In the choice of sepulchres bury thy dead:" Gen. 23: 3, 6. "Whited sepulchres full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness:" Matt. 23: 27. Here it needs no proof that the reference is to the body of the dead.
"If one from the dead went unto them they will repent:" (Greek) Luke 16: 29. Here it is the soul of the dead coming up from Hades/ Sheol, the place of disembodied/naked souls "in the heart of the earth." Psalm 16: 10; Acts 2: 31a; Matt 12: 40. "I saw under the altar" - [that is, the earth where they were slain for their testimony] - "the souls of them that were slain" "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth:" Rev. 6: 9, 10. This supposes the souls of the dead to be intended.
And the expressions "resurrection from among the dead," and "the judgment of the living and of the dead," include all parts of the man: 2 Tim. 4: 1 Pet. 4: 5.
The whole man is given up to death, and is in its keeping. The spirit returns to God. The body is moved away from the abodes of the living to a place sacred to the dead. The soul is "in prison." Or in custody in Hades - the place of departed souls. And its gates as yet prevail against the dead: Matt. 16: 18. While the soul is there detained, the body is captive; overwhelmed with the slavery of corruption, from which it cannot deliver itself. Christ then is the Redeemer who shall - [at the time of His return and word] - bring together the severed parts from their widely sundered places: Rom. 8: 21. "For the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves (tombs) shall hear His voice and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation:" John 5: 28, 29.
The saved under the law, were the slaves of fear. Christ has redeemed us from that: 1 Cor. 15: 56, 57; Rom. 8: 15; 7: 4, 6. "God sent forth His Son, made of a wamon, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons:" Gal. 4: 4, 5. But God does not own the saved to be sons, until their bodies as well as their souls are rescued. Hence believers are "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body:" Rom. 8: 23. And this result is determined on already, as the same chapter tells us. "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; He that raised up the Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies, because of (marg.) His Spirit that dwelleth in you:" 11. Now as God salutes Jesus by the title of Son in a special manner after His second birth from the tomb - as He says - "Thou art; my Son this day have I begotten thee." (Ps. 2.) so shall it also be with the other brethren who are to follow on the same road with "the Firstborn from the dead."
Thus, then, Christians, let not our eye be fixed on death, but on resurrection! Death severs the parts of Christ’s mystic body. Death rends asunder our present fellowship with the departed in Christ. And if we fix our eye on death, we draw off each into his separate individuality, for death attacks each singly. Blessed be God, that, even that, is far better than life. Our departure is the being - in a spiritual and mysterious sense - with Christ. It is the falling asleep in Christ; and the sleep is sweet. But Scripture would turn our gaze in the direction of Christ’s promised return. The Holy Spirit would lead us to look for the Redeemer’s second advent, who shall knit together the severed members of His mystic body. Even unbelievers can look for death. But they have not our hope - of the coming of the Son of God, of His awaking of the sleepers, and bringing together the living and the dead into His presence of glory. If the falling asleep be good, how much better shall the awaking be!
If the disembodied soul’s distant vision of the Lord be glad, how much greater shall be the joy of the presence of the risen beside the risen Son of Man! It is not the death of the believer that gives him the victory. It is when the mortal has been clothed upon with immortality, and the corruptible with incorruption, that then shall the saying be brought to pass, "Death is swallowed up in victory! O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?" This is the cry of the rescued, as for ever they leave the soul’s place of custody in Hades, and the cerements of the tomb.
The Lord speed that day!
THE BODY’S SAMENESS.
1. It is also the same body that is to rise, else the man is not the same. Abraham is not Abraham, save as Abraham’s spirit and soul are brought again to join Abraham’s body. This was proved in all previous instances of resurrection. The body that was laid down in the sepulchre was the body which was raised up and came forth from it. This was manifestly the case with our Lord. His mode of death was peculiar, and left behind it visible traces on hands, and feet, and side. His resurrection, then, was of especial importance, as He rose before the flesh was corrupted, so as [not] to lose the marks by which the body could be identified. The risen Jesus bore the body which the disciples knew of old. He presented to them those marks of death as the proof of the sameness of the body crucified. "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Handle me and see:" Luke 24: 39. On these marks of crucifixion Thomas’ unbelief fastened: he would not believe unless these were apparent.
2. Yet the body was changed too. Here is an example of the two-foldness of Divine truth. In one sense it was the same, in another it was different. So the Spirit of God speaks of the seed. I bring you the seed of an olive. You plant it in a special pot. By and by a young tree arises: yes, it is an olive! That comes from the seed you sowed; does it not? That olive tree is the olive seed developed. And yet how different in appearance is the tree to the naked stone you buried! That was bare; this is clothed with leaves.
These points too, Paul notices. He supposes the body raised to be the body buried: 1 Cor. 15: 36. "That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die." “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." Here is its unity. And yet he says, "Thou sowest not the body that shall be:" 37.
So, while Jesus’ body bore still the marks of death, it was now no longer confined by walls, but could enter in or pass out, could make itself visible, or vanish, at pleasure. His sacred blood had all been drained away, by the nails and by the spear, to be the ransom of our lost souls. His body, thenceforward, was one of ‘flesh and bones,’ not of ‘flesh and blood.’
The time of resurrection, as stated by the apostle, is quite different from that contemplated by the Spiritist theory. The righteous are to rise before the wicked in a future day. The dead saints have to rise, in order to set them on a level with the living saints, who are expecting Christ’s return. The resurrection is to take place on vast numbers at once, not on men one by one. Their mouldering relics are to be restored to life in an instant - at the last day, at the last trump - the worthy signal of the Great Congregation’s assembly. Death and its changes are the penalty of sin. This is the forth-bursting of Almighty power of Him who has for believers put away the penalty. Such a change is absolutely necessary; for, as Paul says, believers, whether they be alive of dead, are in neither condition fitted for the kingdom of glory: v. 50. The bodies of the living are moving down to death. Much less is the corruption of the dead suited to the city into which death cannot enter, and where God dwells for ever. Thus the testimony of Corinthians and of Thessalonians agrees.
So with the butterfly, it is the same individual creature that appears at the egg, the grub, the chrysalis, and the butterfly. But how vast the difference in appearance and action between the chrysalis and the perfect insect!
TYPE OF RESURRECTION.
has given us, in the ordinances of His assembly, a pledge of the restoration of
our bodies in resurrection. Under the patriarchal dispensation and the
law, the bodies of God’s ancient people were marked as His: and the mark was
designed to recall God’s covenant and promise, that they should one day enjoy
Under the gospel Paul tells of the scars in his body received for Christ’s sake. Thereby the Lord had consecrated to Himself Paul, his body as well as his soul: Gal. 6: 17.
But that was something special, and by no means common to all believers. We pass on, then, to one which is commanded to all. God testifies that Jesus, His Son, has died for sin, been buried, and risen again. Do you believe it? Then you are called to undergo a visible death, burial, and resurrection. Be you buried, and risen again [in baptism], like your Master! Accordingly, the believer is plunged under water, and rises out of it again. The immersion presents the burial into the drowning element of water. The emersion represents a new life, like that of Christ.
This rite, then, has two great meanings.
1. First, it is an emblem of a new present life of the soul, after the pattern of Christ’s. I bury my old life in Adam. I take up a new one in the Son of God. I die to the sins and responsibilities of my unconverted life. They are taken up by the second Adam and buried. I arise to walk with Christ in newness of life, after His command, and in His spirit.
2. But it also looks towards the believer’s hope and future heritage. I have been buried in water, after the likeness of Christ’s burial. Myself entire - body, soul, and spirit - was plunged beneath the waters of death. I was presented as one with Christ my substitute, in the likeness of His death. The Son of God with whom I am one, one of whose members I was made, came forth in resurrection. The name of God who raises the dead was called over me. O then, in the figure which by God’s command was enacted on me, I read a pledge of my rising again - the whole man - body, soul, and spirit! In the emblematic burial and resurrection which then took place I read God’s purpose soon to give me the reality, of which this is the shadow. My Redeemer has reconciled my soul to God, and gives me present peace. But He has consecrated my whole self to God, and means to redeem from Satan and death my whole self, body, spirit and soul, in resurrection. He has consecrated me priest by a better bathing, a better blood and oil than those wherewith the sons of Aaron were set apart: Ex. 29: 4. I look then to stand and minister as a priest in the sanctuary above; not naked, not unclothed of my [present] body, a thing which God abhors, but clad in flesh rescued from the tomb, or changed in a moment without death: Rev. 7: 14, 15.
have been planted in the waters of baptism together with Christ, a living seed
buried into the waters of death with Christ. O then! As with Him
buried, I look, as God has promised, with Him to rise
from the earth. He has arisen, a tree in the
Lord’s planting, loftiest in the
Spirit of God by His indwelling without measure in Jesus Christ made His body the
Jesus when dead was buried. In resurrection He became the Firstborn of the dead, and God saluted Him as His Son come forth in the power of an endless life. So, then, the Spirit of God has renewed me in soul. I am possessor of a really eternal but invisible life. With a new life comes a new birth. The typical birth I have experienced, the real one I expect. I look, therefore, that my heavenly Father should cause my body also (if I depart,) to be born again from the tomb. The redeemed soul awaits its union to a redeemed body. The spirit rescued from spiritual death expects a rescue of the body from material death. The soul rescued from Hades/Sheol expects to be reunited to the rescued body. Till that time the traces of the fall are not removed. The three parts of me are now at variance. My soul belongs to the new creation; my body to the old. My body is dead in law because of sin; but my spirit is life, because of its renewal; the Spirit of God within it, the righteousness of Christ upon it: Rom. 8: 10. O, then, Christian, this discord is not meant to continue for ever. He who is the Saviour of the soul, is the Saviour also of the body: Eph. 5: 23.
Shall I refer to that illustration of the future existence which has always struck men? when they made the butterfly an emblem of resurrection? Observe, then, it is not a resurrection at death which is therein set forth: (cf. Davis p. 13.)
The grub comes forth from the egg of the caterpillar, to feed on leaves. When it has attained its full size, and finished its earthly life, it prepares its coffin, and rolls its self up in its winter cerements. But when the spring opens up into summer, it comes forth from its buried existence to live its new and ethereal life. All the winter it remains in suspended animation; its new life is entered on by bursting forth of its coffin to enjoy its airy heritage and pasture. So with man. Death is his entry on the state of the chrysalis. It is not till he has burst the tomb that he comes forth to his heavenly heritage and life.
DIFFERENCES GATHERED UP.
The doctrine, then, of the Old Testament and the New, is that at death the soul goes to the place of departed souls, which is called (in Greek) ‘Hades’ or ‘Sheol’ (in Hebrew). The soul is the person; not the spirit as the Spiritists (and multitudes of regenerate believers) believe. The New Testament calls the dead ‘the sleepers.’ Spiritists describe them as those specially alive, and awake.
The two doctrines differ as to the nature of our final state. The Spiritists and Swenenborg find it in the spirit’s (or ghost’s) coming forth from the corpse. Christ and His apostles speak of the final state as being the restoration and recovery of the whole man from the grasp of death. They describe resurrection, not as being the same thing with death, but as death’s undoing. Not as the spirit’s coming forth from the corpse, but as the whole man - body soul and spirit - coming forth from the tomb.
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation:" John 5: 28, 29.
That is no mere word of theory, devoid of reality and power. God has given us proof in the coming forth of Lazarus from the cave of death; and in the opened graves, out of which the companions of Jesus’ resurrection came, and exhibited themselves as alive in spirit soul and body. Still more satisfactorily, Jesus has come forth in body, soul, and spirit, as the risen man, the pattern and the proof of ours. At this point Swedenborg is reduced to affirm, that the Saviour’s resurrection is altogether unlike ours. Indeed Jesus did not really die. For on the cross His body and soul (says Swedenborg) were more firmly knit than ever; all that made Him passive being then and there put off. And His body, when laid in the tomb, was wholly spiritual; all that was human in it, and derived from His mother, had passed away.
God speaks of "the bondage (or slavery) of corruption:" Rom. 8: 21. Swedenborg, of "the bondage of the flesh." The one tells us of the putting off of the results of death from the body, and clothing it with incorruption. The other, of the body laid aside for ever, given up as worthless to the worm. Death and Satan get the victory visibly. Swedenborg’s ‘deliverance’ is Paul’s ‘perishing!’ 1 Cor. 15: 18. If the soul does not die, and the body, which does die, is not to be raised, the resurrection of the dead is impossible. It is merely casting dust in our eyes to talk of ‘resurrection.’ Life and death are seen and known to us the living, only in their effects on the body. If, then, you deny the rising up of the body in a new life, you cannot believe in the resurrection of the dead. For you deny that reunion of body, soul, and spirit which constitutes life.
As to the mode of resurrection again, the three parts are at variance. The Spiritist’s make their resurrection to take place naturally, as part of the usual course of things. It takes effect, according to them, on men one by one. It effects alike the wicked and the righteous. Both are daily arising together. But God’s resurrection is to effect the righteous, first: a thousand years before the others: Rev. 20. The Spiritist’s resurrection [translation] cannot take place in the living. God’s resurrection and translation will take effect on both together: in masses caught up to meet the Lord, who breaks in upon the present scene with supernatural power. Not ‘all saints will be dead;’ but all ["accounted worthy"], both dead and living believers, must be changed, in order to be fitted for the millennium, and for the eternal kingdom: Luke 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35.
To the Spiritist’s - [and multitudes of deceived Christians] - the resurrection is "past already" as it regards the dead, who are far the largest portion of the human family. But the Holy Spirit tells us, that such a statement is an overthrow of the faith: 2 Tim. 2: 18. You have destroyed the very sense of resurrection. Resurrection is an act of God the Son, (1 Cor. 15: 22,) not experienced now, but to be put forth at the last day, at a time unknown; but, then, signalled by the trump of God. Jesus is "Resurrection and Life," on the living He will work the change which will make them immortal. On the dead saints He will put forth His power in resurrection.
The error here combated sets aside both sin and redemption. According to Scripture, death, and the decomposition of the body which follows it, were the effects of Adam’s trespass. Life and recomposition of the body is the consequence of Jesus’ work of obedience and atoning. But the Spiritist’s make death to be resurrection, and the penalty of sin to be our deliverance!
What makes the subject of resurrection so solemn? Because it is the portal to the eternal state. Because it is designed to prepare for judgment. It is setting the culprit personally before the Judge, to receive his reward according to his works. And Christ was raised first of the dead, that He might be Judge of all: Acts 17: 31. Men, both believers and unbelievers, are raised to be judged; the one before the Great White Throne, believers before the bar of Christ: Rev. 20; Rom. 14: 10-12.
It is because death is the consequence of sin, taking effect according to law, by sentence of God the Almighty, the ever-living Judge, that it is so justly to be feared by the sinner. "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law." Who, then, can deliver the guilty?
Death, threatened by God in the Garden, was disbelieved by our first parents. They trusted the Father of Lies in his promise, ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ They sinned, and found the threat of God to be true. Death came. It is here. All around are the trophies. Who can deliver from death?
But resurrection has been foretold by God in His grace. Death, the penalty of sin, is not to be the end of man. Resurrection is possible, for He who promises has Almighty power. It will be no harder to Him to reunite the scattered parts of man, than it was to mould him at first. Resurrection is certain, for He has determined on it, and His truth binds Him to perform it. Nay, He has already effected this His counsel, in the case of His Son Christ Jesus. This God testifies in His Word - attests by His witnessing churches everywhere, which began at that very era of the crucifixion, and through that testimony to the risen Man. Will you, reader, believe God? And come into the light? And dwell in the love of God through His Son and Spirit? Or will you disbelieve? Will you make God a liar, dwell in eternity now, and in disobedience, and abide in damnation forever, when this time for mercy is to you past.
I warn all, trust not the spirits! They are lying spirits! They are lost themselves, and seek to drag others into ‘the lake of fire’ too. What if they teach that God exists, and that the soul will live forever? That will not save you, reader. That will not "blot out" your "sins." Moreover, if from being a perfect unbeliever and atheist, they lead any to become instead a necromancer, or inquirer of the dead, he is sinning on. That is a new offence, which God threatens to visit with fire everlasting. Here then - There is but one Deliverer, but one who can by His blood blot out your sins, and give present pardon, and future eternal glory. To Him, reader, draw nigh, ere this brief time of offered mercy close!
A word to believers in Christ! Some may think that there is some truth in Spiritism, which they will try to find out and will adopt, while still retaining their hold on Christ. No, friends! It can’t be done! First, it is an awful offence against God to seek these lying spirits and their prophets. They are liars. That among them are "seducing spirits" is confessed by every Spiritist. How are you then to know which are the spirits to be trusted? You can make no true discrimination. Vainly you would seek, save with God’s clue and by His Spirit, to disentangle "the wiles of the devil." God has indeed given tests in His word, and there are occasions on which a Christian may be called to put them to the test. ‘Is Jesus Christ come in the flesh?’ is the touchstone which the Holy Spirit by John teaches us to use in the case of the inspired. This has been tried, and the spirits have denied this foundation truth: thus proving themselves the spirits of Antichrist: 1 John 4; 1-3. . . .
Not a few have apostatized from the faith; as the Lord said they would: 1 Tim. 4: 1-6. Their doctrines are frightful. They affirm, sometimes that there is no personal God - He is the soul of nature. All things, specially man, are a part of Him! Sometimes they speak of Him as the Heavenly Father of all men. They teach that there is no sin, and no responsibility, because everything is under necessity. They denounce Christianity. ‘Down with the creeds, but our no-creed!’
They put forth a Gospel by Judas Iscariot and Paul - a romance - which affirms Jesus to be the son of Herod! They are liars, who blaspheme God and His Christ! They are unclean spirits, who give full license to sin. They are leading back to images and the old heathenism. They teach men to adore the spirits, and worship the God within each man.
The results in practice are terrible. They lead to breaking the marriage bond, and to libertinism on principle. They have led many to suicide, insanity, or murder. The old possessions have returned. Then stand aloof. God gives you warning in love. The spirits, my readers, are the enemies of God and His Christ. And the time of their being tormented according to their deserts hastens on.
Let us, then, believers, like the Thessalonian saints of old, turn to our God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and look not for death and corruption, but for the coming of the Son of God from heaven. He shall assemble to Himself the saints, living or dead, and so shall we be ever with the Lord!
Bishop Beveridge, -
"If His [Christ’s] soul had ascended to heaven as His body descended to the grave, then one part of his human nature had been exalted, whilst the other had been debased. For His soul, that would have been shining in the highest heavens, whilst His body was lying under a piece of earth; and so this would have been in a state of humiliation, whilst the other was in a state of exaltation. By which means, at the time He would have been wholly in either state, but partly in both. And so most of the systems of divinity that ever were made, teaching only a double state of Christ, the one of His humiliation, the other of His exaltation, must be changed, and a third added, partly of exaltation, partly of humiliation. But that needs not, for certainly Christ was never in more than one state at one time: when He was in a state of humiliation, not of exaltation; when in a state of exaltation, not humiliation ... We cannot but maintain that the soul was in a state of humiliation, as well and as long as the body, and so not in heaven, while this was upon the earth, but under earth in hell [Hades], whilst the body was under the earth in the grave [tomb]. And when He rose, they both rose; the soul being fetched from hell [Hades] to be united again to its body. But in few words, to put this question out of question, that the soul of Christ was not in heaven (but therefore in hell [Hades]), in the third place, our Saviour Himself, who best knows when He first descended into hell [Hades], tells us plainly the third day after His death, being the day of RESURRECTION, that He was not then ascended up to heaven, saying to Mary, ‘Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to by Father,’ John 20: 17."
Barrow on the Creed, vol. 1 Serm. 27,- P. 172-175.
Midrash Coheleth on Eccl. 1: 7, - "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full:’ That is, all the dead go into Sheol only, that is Hades: yet Hades is never full; as it is written, Prov. 27: 20, ‘Hades and Destruction (Abaddon) are never full.’"