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to make war against the Word of God, and against
I now make mention of the image of the Beast.
It is nowhere said in the prophetic writing that this image has been destroyed. Is it not plain that it will fall with that false prophet who shall have the miraculous power to give it life? Who can give life eternal but the one, who, as we know by the word of truth, is the image of God, and who said to his beloved apostle, “ Fear not, I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore ?"
I now declare my belief in the “first resurrection.”
I believe in the resurrection of the natural
bodies of the noble army of martyrs, and of
the great company of prophets, and saints, who have suffered for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus.
I believe, that this is the “ first resurrection,” and that they, who shall have part therein, shall remain alive on this earth unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, on which day their natural bodies shall be changed into spiritual, and made like unto His glorious body.
I ground this my belief upon evidences taken from the holy Bible.
The first evidence I take from the sixth chapter of St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians.
1. “ Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints ?”
2. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matter ?”
3. “ Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? how much more things that pertain to this life.”
How clear that “ the saints” shall judge this world, in other words, “ things pertaining to this life.”
Nevertheless, in the world to come, “ we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.”
The next evidence I take from the fifteenth chapter of the same epistle.
In this sublime chapter the principal objects of St. Paul were--first, to remind the Corinthians of what he had before preached to them, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Then, to convince them of the resurrection of the dead, through Him,“ who is the resurrection and the life.” Afterwards, to show them a mystery, not before shown, the mystery of the “ first resurrection.” This epistle is addressed by St. Paul to a particular Church, and to understand it in all its parts, we must bear this in mind, as well as all the other circumstances under which it was written.
St. Paul, in the chapter before us, (amongst other things,) affirms, that “Christ must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Therefore, as we believe by most certain' warrants of Holy Scripture, that at his second coming all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, so must we believe that St. Paul is here speaking of the reign of Christ above at the right hand of God, until he shall again appear at the end of the world, in the glory of the Father, to judge both the quick and the dead. Then, and not till then, will be brought to pass the saying that is written, “ Death is swallowed up in victory.” After further declaring that "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body,” and explaining in what manner the one differs in its nature from the other, St. Paul writes the following words :
Ver. 50. “ Now this I say, brethren,” (addressing faithful men then living, “ that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
Ver. 51. “ Behold, I shew you a mystery, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
Ver. 52.“ 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.”
Ver. 53. “ For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Ver. 54. “ 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.”
It may be said that the mystery here shown refers exclusively to those believers, who, having never suffered death, shall be found alive at the last day. Such an exposition would show no mystery in those significant words—“ We shall not all sleep.”
St. Paul does not say, “ We shall not all die,” but “ we shall not all sleep,” meaning that himself and those whom he was addressing would not all sleep“ at the last trump.”
He draws a clear distinction between those who shall sleep in Christ at his coming, and those saints, who, having slept, shall awake out of sleep and remain alive unto that day : the former (as St. Paul had before shown) shall be raised incorruptible, “ for corruption cannot inherit incorrup-. tion;" the latter shall be changed by putting on immortality, for “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”