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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. - Ixi. 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.”
6 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).
666 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 world, shall rouse up and act vigorously in reference to religion and eternal things. Of the vast masses of mankind who shall thus be brought into energetic action, some will inquire successfully and find the way to salvation, and so live for ever;' some to everlasting life : '— others will spend their faculties in perverting and opposing the truth, as the Romans, Pagans, and the Mohammedan-pagans, and all forms of heretics now do, and shall utterly perish “ in shame and everlasting contempt.' Such is the spiritual awakening which John denominates the first resurrection. ...
“ By the context and the natural force of the original terms we are shut up to this interpretation, and must conclude that we have in it the mind of the Spirit. These words do not teach a resurrection of the body.”
[But why must we stop here in the figurative or spiritual interpretation? If this interpretation must be admitted to some extent, and may proceed thus far, why may it not be carried still farther and applied to other like passages ? Would not consistency of interpretation be thus promoted ? For example, in the following passage, is it not arbitrary to interpret v. 25 figuratively, but the closely corresponding language in v. 28 literally; and this, when there is no intimation of any change in the sense ? That the expression "all that are in the graves " can be explained figuratively just as easily as “the dead,” is evident from Ezek. xxxvii. 12.
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. (26) For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. (28) Marvel not at this : for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, (29) 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."
And in the following passage, is it not evident that “lived” must have the same signification in vv. 4 and 5? And does not v. 13 appear to contain a description of the second resurrection, - the resurrection of “the rest of the dead”?
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) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. 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. (7) And when the thousand years are expired,” &c. “(13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their
Says Professor Stuart, in commenting on v. 5: _" First resurrection, so called in distinction from the second. Of course it is one which precedes it in respect to time; it is not necessary that the two resurrections should differ in other respects. Indeed, the obvious implication here is, that they do not substantially differ ; for what else can the oι δε λοιποί των νεκρών ουκ έζησαν mean, except that the rest of men must wait until the second resurrection, before they would be raised up in like manner as those had been who were partakers of the first resurrection?” — Commentary on the Apocalypse, Vol. ii., p. 362.
And again :-“It [the distinction between the first resurrection and the second] appears to be a distinction of order or succession, but not of kind. There is indeed one other particular of difference or contrast, viz. the second resurrection will be general, universal, comprising both the righteous and the wicked, while the first will comprehend, as the writer's language seems to intimate, only saints and martyrs who have been specially faithful unto death. ... The express contrast here made between the partial and the general resurrection, and the manner in which this contrast is presented, show that the design is not to compare a spiritual with a physical resurrection.”- Do., p. 475.
In view of these considerations, and those, so decisive, present
ed in the foregoing Essay, are we not forced to conclude that the popular notion of a future literal resurrection of the body is entirely unsupported by Scriptural authority ?]
C. A SECOND COMING OF CHRIST HAS ALREADY TAKEN
From “What are Scriptural Views of the Second Coming of Christ ?" by Rev. NATHANIEL BOUTON, in the Congregational Journal, Nov. 8, 1849.
The following came to hand, after the preceding Addenda had been sent to the printer. As it shows that the italicized sentence in the first extract of the Addenda is not to be understood in the sense which would otherwise seem most obvious, it is perhaps but justice to the author that this should be appended. I allow the more room to the extract, from its strong expression of the absolute necessity of admitting to so great an extent the figurative interpretation.]
“ 3. The question then is, Will this risen, ascended, reigning Saviour ever reappear in our world? Will he come a
second time'? And if so, When ? in what circumstances ? and for what end ?
“4. In seeking an answer to these questions from the Scriptures, we may lay out of the account those passages which speak of a'coming of Christ, which we are assured has already taken place. I refer to such passages as the following:
“ Matt. 10: 23, · Ye,' i. e. the Apostles whom he sent forth to preach, shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
“ Matt. 16: 28, · Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.' Or, as Mark expresses it in a parallel passage, “ Till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power,' 9: 1. Or as Luke,
Till they see the kingdom of God'9: 27.