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45. " And so," or, “ Thus also it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam, a quickening spirit. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual.”
What is meant by a " living soul” we have a proof in ourselves, in that nature which, in common with all our race, we derive from our father Adam. But the risen Saviour becomes to his people the source of a new and very different being; a germ of this spiritual existence is now fixed by the Holy Ghost within them, and being nourished from the same source from which it was taken, it must grow and increase. This is “the new," the “inner man." This reorganizes the souls and faculties
. of men into new creatures. Their animal frames, which they still wear, must fall into the earth and die: but their second Adam will quicken for them a spiritual body like his own, so that “ in body and soul they will be like him.”
The parallel here, be it again observed, is not between Christ and Adam, as two heads or stocks of the whole race of mankind, as some represent; but between Christ and Adam, as the heads of their respective children,- Adam of all mankind, Christ of the children of God, the seed which God has given himout of mankind,” to whom he is “ to give eternal life," and whom he is “ to raise up at the last day." • Christ is called Adam, because believers receive their sanctified spiritual nature and their immortal body from him, just as mankind have derived their corrupted nature and mortal body from the first Adam.” “ This clause the last Adam a vivifying spirit — is not in the passage of the ancient Scripture quoted by the apostle: these are his own words, formed upon what Christ said, John, v. 26:For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. As the apostle is speaking
here of Christ after he received his glorified body, he calls him a vivifying spirit, because the presence of his spirit in his glorified body is all that is requisite to preserve it alive for ever; and because he will communicate the same power to the spirits of the righteous, with respect to their bodies, after the resurrection.".
"The apostle's meaning, therefore, in this part of his discourse, is, that the body which we derive from Adam is an animal body, which, to its life, as Locke observes, needeth the aid of food, and air, and sleep; whereas the body which the saints shall receive from Christ, at the resurrection, is a spiritual body, a body like Christ's, to the life of which no foreign aid whatever is necessary, but which will be supported, like his, merely by the presence of their spirit; on which account it is said, “Neither can they die any more, for they are equal to angels."1
The apostle proceeds to illustrate the parallel between Christ and Adam:- "The first man is of the earth, earthly; the second man is the Lord from heaven." The contrast, observe, is between the first source of our being, who was created out of the dust of the earth, and the glorified Jesus, quickening his mystical body from above, and, especially, as raising his people at the last day.
48. "As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly."
As the sons and daughters of Adam, as born into this world, resemble their father Adam, so shall the children of the resurrection, as born into "the world to come," resemble the Lord from heaven, the "Father of the everlasting age:"—
1 Ισάγγελοι εισι,--Luke, xx. 36. MACKNIGHT.
49. “ And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
This leads the apostle to state a principle of great importance for us to know, in pursuing our inquiries respecting the second advent, and the future state of the people of God:
50. “ Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
Here we have a confirmation of what has often been advanced in these inquiries, that in whatever more extended sense we sometimes meet with the phrase, “ kingdom of God,” in its proper sense, and in its strict application, it refers to the state of the righteous after the first resurrection, and this state, we are here told, is of such a nature that “ flesh and blood” cannot inherit it: must be changed into a spiritual substance, in order to take our allotted portion in that kingdom.
This might well create a difficulty. How, then, shall they which are alive and remain unto the coming of our Lord, and are then “ to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,”-- how are they to divest them of their flesh and blood, and to be made capable of uniting with the risen saints, in order to their receiving the kingdom? This difficulty is next and distinctly answered by the apostle; and his answer affords very minute and most satisfactory information to the waiting people of God:
51. “ 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave," or rather, “ O hell," “ where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Such is a plain statement of facts of things that shall be hereafter. We have not here the usual obscurity of prophecy, partially veiling what it sets before us. The mystery is altogether revealed: the language is so plain that it needs no comment. And what light does it throw upon the ancient oracles ! and also upon a former revelation made by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Thessalonians! and, especially, on the passage of the Old Testament here referred to by the apostle, and which he tells us is then accomplished :
“ And he shall penetrate in this mountain
“ Thy dead shall live, their dead bodies shall rise ;
They do, indeed, arise and sing, “ O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory? The apostle having in his view another passage of Scripture, as many imagine: -" I will ransom them from the power of the grave,” or “ hell;" “ I will redeem them from death: 0 death, I will be thy plague; O hell, I will be thy destruction.” *
I would only remark further, that these last observations and the quotation of the apostle fully confirm our exposition of the former part of this revelation, where “ death, the last enemy, is said to be destroyed ;" that it does not mean the destruction of death and the departed state absolutely; so that they no longer keep any of the dead in their custody, which destruction, as we shall learn hereafter, will take place at a very distant period after the glorifying of the righteous; but that the victory here in view is the releasing the redeemed people of Christ from the hand of death and from the place of their abode in the separate state. It is the destruction of death, as the enemy of Christ, and of his redeemed, that is in the view of the prophetic Spirit; and this takes place, not at the judgment of the wicked dead, but at the second coming of Christ to establish his kingdom upon earth. Enemies, in view of that kingdom, are both death and the separate state; the souls and bodies of Christ's people must be released from these, their detainers; and those that have not yet been seized by death must be changed into immortal, incorruptible beings, and put beyond his reach. This is necessary in order to their inheriting the kingdom of God.
And here we should remark, what has often imposed itself on our view, in consulting former prophecies con
• Hosca, xiii. 14, &c. See Horsley on Hosea.