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still, without fixing the period of the advent, profess to believe that it is nigh, even at the door ; that the wicked will then all be destroyed; the earth burnt up or renovated ; the martyrs, if not all the righteous dead, be raised to life, which is the first resurrection ;' and then, as some hold, Christ will reign spiritually and invisibly; or, as others, visibly and in person
with his saints, a thousand years. “ But where, in all the Scriptures, is there one word to warrant such sentiments ? The New Testament teaches but one future coming of Christ, which is his second and final coming, to raise all the dead, and to judge the world of mankind. Not a single passage in the New Testament teaches that Christ will ever again come to our world to reside ; much less that he will make it his abode a thousand years, and reign over his saints visibly and in person. Not a passage intimates the time, either the day, the year, or the century, when he will so come. But again and again, we are told that the time is unknown. How presumptuous then for ignorant and short-sighted mortals to pry into the secrets of the Almighty ; to enter into calculations about the end of all things, which angels would not dare to do. When from dark and mysterious prophetic numbers a conclusion is arrived at that the Son of God is coming, the wicked to be destroyed, and saints to reign with him on earth ; then the terrible effect of such presumption is revealed either in wild fanaticism, in the neglect of the ordinary duties of life, in mental gloom and madness, or often in hardened defiance and blasphemous infidelity."
B. FIGURATIVE OR SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION.
[In some passages in the Scriptures speaking of a resurrection of the dead, a figurative or spiritual interpretation is quite familiar, if not unavoidable. Of this class are the following :
Ezek. xxxvii. 1, “ The hand of the Lord was upon me, and
carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. (2) And caused me to pass by them round about: and behold, there were very many in the open valley ; and lo, they were very dry. (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? and I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. (4) Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, 0 ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. (5) Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into
shall live: (6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live ; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
(7) So I prophesied as I was commanded : and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. (8) And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above : but there was no breath in them. (9) Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe
these slain, that they may live. (10) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (11) Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost : we are cut off for our parts. (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land : then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
Isa. xxvi. 19, “ Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (20) Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (21) For behold, the
LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."
John v. 25, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."
Eph. ii. 1, “ And you hath he quickened [brought to life], who were dead in trespasses and sins. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; (by grace ye are saved ;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”
Col. ii. 12, “ Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. . . . (iii. 1) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
Rev. xx. 4, “ And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which 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 a thousand years. (5)... This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
In like manner, some both of the Jewish Rabbins and of Christian interpreters have explained figuratively the very express language in Dan. xii. 2; - a passage which has been more appealed to than any other in the Old Testament, in support of the doctrine of a literal resurrection; and upon which, more than any other, the representations in the New Testament relating to this subject appear to have been based. Of the following extracts, the first may serve as an example of interpretation by double sense, and the others of simple figurative interpretation.]
1. From "Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Gospels,” by Rev.
ALBERT BARNES. John v. 25, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God.] “ The hour. The time. Is coming. Under the preaching of the gospel, as well as in the resurrection of the dead. ( Now is. It is now taking place. Sinners were converted under his ministry, and brought to spiritual life. | The dead. Either the dead in sins, or those that are in their graves. The language of the Saviour will apply to either. Language, in the scriptures, is often so used as to describe two similar events. Thus the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world are described by Jesus in the same language. Mat. xxiv., xxv. The return of the Jews from Babylon, and the coming of the Messiah, and the spread of the gospel, are described in the same language by Isaiah. Isa. xl. - lxi. The renewal of the heart, and the raising of the dead at judgment, are here also described in similar language, – because they so far resemble each other, that the same language will apply to both.”
2. From Mr. BOUTON'S “Historical Sketch of Opinions concerning the
Second Coming of Christ.”
“ Besides the error of the millenarian doctrine in general, it is most manifest from the Scriptures, that the idea of a · first literal resurrection of the martyred or righteous dead is equally without warrant. This first resurrection' is the revival of the spirit of primitive faith, zeal, and devotion to the cause of God, which will characterize some period of the church before the world shall end, and which will in part constitute that glorious period foretold by prophets from ancient times."
3. From a Treatise on the Prophecies, by Rev. GEORGE JUNKIN,
D. D., President of Lafayette College. “Sufficient is it to show, that such language as is before
us [in Rev. xx. 4-6] is used in Scripture to express a revival of the spirit, and a mystical or figurative resurrection; where the design is not to affirm a literal raising of the body to life. If it has been satisfactorily done, we are ready to proceed to a similar inspection of the parallel passage in Daniel (chap. xii. 2).
6. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.'
“ The chronology of the writer leads us here to understand this of the same spiritual awakening; and yet the force of the language in our English translation has led most commentators to the conclusion that a real, bodily resurrection is intended. ... The natural and proper force of the language does not at all involve the idea of dead bodies of men coming to life again ; but only of persons in a careless and secure condition being aroused, rather arousing themselves, to vigorous action, shaking off the dust of indolence, and calling their powers forth into exercise.
“ Such will be the state of the world and the Church, immediately prior to the great revival which ushers in the millennium : the latter will be only half aroused, as it now is ; the former will be wholly stupid and languid as to the great events in prospect. In verse 1st, the angel assures Daniel, that in this season of unparalleled trouble, the Israelites should be restored, as Ezekiel teaches : “Thy people shall be delivered.' And farther, the very clods of Gentilism, the sleeping ones of earthly clay, shall stir themselves up, and inquire after the Lord. Not only the bones, the inanimate fragments of the whole house of Israel, spread up and down the open valley, the dust of Jacob,' will be stirred and moved, bone to bone; but the cold earth that has slept for ages in all the darkness of paganism and delusion, shall be thrown into vast commotion. The blinded heathen, 'multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, and all over the