The Resurrection of the Body.

1877 253 etc. "I believe in the resurrection of the body." This has been in substance an article of the common creed of Christendom from the earliest days of the church's existence upon earth. The ancient creeds made mention of the resurrection of the flesh. Scripture teaches us of the resurrection of the body. In whatever form, then, the doctrine was expressed, the truth meant to be conveyed was the same, namely, that the body is to be raised again, and to be reunited, and that for ever, to the soul which never dies. But is this true, or is it false? Have the saints of God, age after age, departed this life in the expectation of the fulfilment of a hope which, like that of the hypocrite's, shall perish? Have they put off their mortal coil, never more to have to do with it in any form or condition? Or is it true that the hope concisely expressed in that one Latin word resurgam, which so often meets the eye, shall yet have its accomplishment?

In an age in which popular belief is so closely scrutinized, and popular mistakes are exposed and corrected, it need surprise no one if the doctrine of the resurrection of the body is not allowed to pass unchallenged, and even its possibility be plainly denied. For this is nothing new. Some of the Athenian philosophers, when they heard Paul teach the resurrection, mocked at it. (Acts xvii. 32.) Christians at Corinth, led away by human reasoning, denied it. (1 Cor. xv. 12.) Hymenaeus and Philetus appear to have spiritualized it. (2 Tim. ii. 18.) On the other hand the apostle, to encourage the readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews, reminded them that the great Shepherd of the sheep had been brought again from the dead. (Heb. xiii. 20.) Timothy, too, was cheered in his path of testimony, which might lead him to martyrdom, by the remembrance of the raising from the dead of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Seed of David. (2 Tim. ii. 8.) The question, then, is this, Does the body rise? Is that body, once indwelt by the Holy Ghost, and bought by the blood of Christ (Rom. viii. 11; 1 Cor. vi. 20), ever lost, as it has been said, in the circle of matter? Will the man who has made his body minister to his carnal desires whilst on earth, be free for ever from it after death has claimed it? Now, many a question, once debated with keenness and acuteness, has been set at rest, and is no longer regarded as a matter open to dispute. Who, for instance, now doubts that the earth moves round the sun? Who would deny the truth of the circulation of the blood in the human frame? Those, however, who deny the resurrection of the body have yet to establish their case. The scoffs of heathen philosophers, and the reasonings of men, have failed as yet to obliterate from the christian man's creed the belief in the resurrection of the body.

After Adam fell, God acquainted him with the origin of his body: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Was Adam only dust? Surely not. He had a soul and a spirit, as we learn doctrinally from a passage in the New Testament (1 Thess. 5:23), which states what other scriptures confirm, that body, soul, and spirit together make up the man. The distinction between body and spirit all but the most pronounced materialist would admit. (Ecc. xii. 7.) The difference between soul (psyche) and spirit (pneuma) the word of God distinctly asserts (Heb. iv. 12), though often in scripture, and in common language, the word soul (psyche) is used for both. (Matt. x. 28; 1 Peter i. 9.) Adam died, and all his posterity, in the antediluvian world, except Enoch, who was translated, and Noah, and those with him, who survived the divine visitation of the flood within the ark. In process of time Noah died, and his offspring, with one exception — that of Elijah, who was taken up by a whirlwind to heaven without passing through the portals of death. Death, then, having been the common lot of man, and exemption from it having been limited as yet to the two just named — Enoch and Elijah — it is a most important question, which closely concerns man, Is there a resurrection of the body, or is there not? A book has been recently published denying this doctrine, which the author is pleased to call "a theological dogma." (Page 93.) Let us turn to an older book, to learn what it says on this subject.

But before entering at length into this question, a few remarks in explanation of the use of terms may be helpful. When we say of a man that he died, we speak of the individual as ceasing by death to exist on earth, his place here knows him no more. (Job vii. 10.) Yet we are assured from scripture that his spirit does not die. The body can, and does; death claims it; the grave holds it. The person, however, lives to God, as the Lord told the Sadducees in the temple at Jerusalem. (Luke xx. 38.) By death the soul is set free from the body, and the latter thereupon ceases to live, so we talk of a dead body in contradistinction to a living body. Viewing the individual as a whole, we say of him what is true of a part, he is dead; for the body, which is part of him, is dead. On the other hand, if we think of the individual in the unclothed state — for there is such a state (2 Cor. 5:4; 2 Peter i. 14; Rev. vi. 9) — remembering that the soul does not die, we speak of him as living. Personality, which is attributed to him when in the body, is attributed to him equally when out of it. Christians are absent from the body, and present with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8.) The penitent thief was with Christ in paradise, but of the disposal of his body we have no record. Nor is this true of saints only. The rich man died, and was buried, yet was alive in hades. And Samuel, speaking to Saul years after his body had been laid in the grave, told the king that by the morrow Saul and his sons would be with him. (1 Sam. xxviii. 19.) Hence, if we say such an one has died, we understand that a separation has taken place between his body and his soul, the former thereby merely died, though the latter still lives, for in common language we speak of the individual as he appears to us. Thus when we read of the dead, meaning thereby those who have departed this life, we understand that they are so called on account of their present bodily condition. As unclothed spirits they are really alive, but their bodies being dead, they are termed the dead. So we read of the Lord, "These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive." (Rev. ii. 8.) We read of those who share in the first resurrection, "They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Rev. xx. 4.) We read, moreover, of the lost, "The rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years were finished." (Rev. xx. 5.) In each of these instances, the condition, whether dead or living, is viewed as dependent on the state of the body. If that is dead, the person is dead. If that is raised again and reunited to the soul, the person is said to be living.

Next, when scripture speaks of the dead as sleeping, what sleeps, the body or the soul? Stephen fell asleep we read in Acts vii. 60, but we know from 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians i. 23, that he was with Christ. Looked at from man's point of view he slept, for the body was still, and unconscious of all that was passing around it. The same might have been said of the rich man by any who gazed on his corpse. But look behind the curtain which hides the other world from our view. The rich man was in torment, no rest, no sleep, for him (Luke xvi. 23), yet nothing disturbed the peacefulness of the chamber of death. Still, motionless, because lifeless, was his body, whilst in hades he was suffering excruciating torment. Still, motionless, was Stephen's body. He slept. But he was with Christ, to whom he had committed his spirit. And all can understand such language. For when natural sleep overtakes us, what sleeps? The body. And whilst that is wrapped in slumber, the spirit may be holding converse with God, and receiving instruction from Him. (Job iv. 12–21; Jer. xxxi. 26.) Yet we say of the person, he sleeps, nevertheless it is of the body only that the statement is critically correct. So of natural death, which Adam entailed on his posterity. It is called sleep, because the body is lifeless, motionless, and at rest. Speaking, therefore, of such things as man on earth can view them, the condition of the body, whatever that condition may be, guides us in our description of the man. He slept, he is buried, he stinketh, he saw corruption, all these are facts predicated of the person, though critically true only of his body.

To turn to another point. What is the meaning of the resurrection (he anastasis)? Before the Lord came the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead formed part of the creed of every orthodox Jew. (Heb. vi. 2; Heb. xi. 35; Acts xxiii. 6-8.) The Lord's teaching confirmed it. His resurrection proved it. The Sadducees denied it, and clearly, from their question about the woman who had seven husbands, they opposed the thought of the resurrection of the body. Did the Lord by His answer acknowledge that they were right in such opposition? By no means. They erred, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. The power of God they knew not, for they thought that the resurrection state could not differ from the present one. On that the Lord enlightened them. They knew not the scriptures which taught the resurrection. To such the Lord turned them. A resurrection of the person apart from the body, which the author teaches, would not have fitted in with their crucial test, as the Sadducees considered it. Against the resurrection, including that of the body, their question was aimed, but their doctrine was by the Lord condemned, and they were put to silence. (Matt. xxii. 34.) His answer met with the approval of some of the scribes (Luke xx. 39), who clearly did not discern in it any condemnation of that which they considered to be the orthodox View of the subject. Against the resurrection of the body the question of the Sadducees was undeniably aimed, though their heretical teaching was not confined to a denial of that. The Lord completely silenced them. They gained not even a partial victory. Their tenets He utterly repudiated.

After His resurrection a prominence was given to the doctrine of the resurrection in the teaching of the apostles, to which the Jews before the first advent had been wholly unaccustomed. The fulfilment of all Jewish hopes, it was now taught, was inseparably bound up with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts xiii. 34.) And further, resurrection from the dead, first taught by the Lord (Mark ix. 10), was a doctrine now established on a sure basis, since He was risen. Now it was the promulgation of this doctrine which stirred up the marked animosity of the Sadducees, of which we have the account in Acts iv. 2; Acts 5:17. Whilst ministering on earth, the Pharisees were those who had bitterly opposed the Lord Himself. The Sadducees now took a prominent place in attempting to stem the advancing tide of christian truth, being grieved that the apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead, ten anastasin ten ek nekron. Such being their doctrine, what did the apostles regard as an essential feature of the resurrection? Let Peter instruct us, as he did his hearers on the day of Pentecost. David, he said, "spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hades, neither his flesh did see corruption." (Acts ii. 31.) A resurrection of the individual, apart from that of the body which died, did not enter into Peter's preaching. No theory then of a resurrection which does not admit that of the body which has died will be in accordance with apostolic preaching, and the testimony of the Holy Ghost. Will it be objected that Peter, in Acts ii., is only speaking of the resurrection of Christ? Granted. But we learn from Acts iv. that the apostles taught the resurrection from the dead, and their enemies well understood it, not merely of the Lord Jesus, which had taken place, but that of others which had not. They based on His resurrection, already effected, the doctrine of the resurrection from among the dead. Now what Peter taught of the Lord Jesus distinctly affirmed the resurrection of the body. We learn, therefore, what the son of Simon included in resurrection, which, if he did not define, he certainly explained. Speaking thus by the Holy Ghost, we learn that God, when He teaches us about the resurrection of the dead, does not mean the resurrection of the person apart from his body.

This doctrine is not new. It is not confined to Christianity. Old Testament worthies accounted it possible. Old Testament saints looked forward to it. Abraham accounted that God was able to raise up Isaac, even from the dead, from whence he received him in a figure. (Heb. xi. 19.) For in Isaac should Abraham's seed be called. His resurrection, therefore. if he died, must take place, and that clearly involved the resurrection of his body, if the promises which centred in him were to have their accomplishment. Godly women, we read of at a later date, received their children raised to life again, elabon ex anastaseos tous nekrous auton (lit. received by resurrection their dead); but others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection, hina kreittonos anastaseos tuchosin. It would be difficult, surely, comparing and contrasting such statements, to doubt that, as some received their dead brought back from the grave, the well-known and much-loved form again energized by life, so others looked for their own bodies to be raised again, though after a different manner, and for a different end, never again to die, but to live for ever beyond death — a better resurrection indeed! Now, of such a resurrection David distinctly prophesied when he penned that psalm fulfilled by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Resurrection of the body, therefore, Old Testament saints knew was possible and looked forward to as certain.

Coming to New Testament times, we have the Lord teaching about the future of the body. Death may claim it, but God can deal with it after death. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," or Gehenna, that is, the place of everlasting torment. (Matt. x. 28.) But when will this take place? The Lord, in Luke, tells us it will be after death. "For 1 say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him which, after he bath killed, hath power to cast into hell (or Gehenna); yea, I say unto you, Fear him." (Luke xii. 4, 5.) Death then is not the end of the body. It can be cast into Gehenna, called in Matthew 5:22 the Gehenna of fire, which is the lake of fire of Revelation xx., and that after death. As yet this has not been done. But how many of those whose portion will be in that lake have been dead for centuries. The dissolution of the body, and its resolution into dust, will be found no hindrance to God's thus dealing with it. For He can thus deal with it, and He will, and that after its death and resurrection. With these two scriptures before us, that man is bold indeed who would deny the resurrection of the body, and openly assert that "it is lost sight of in the ground for ever." (Page 139.)

Further, the Lord distinctly declares that He will raise the dead. "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life. 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. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 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 judgment." (John 5:21-29.) A very full statement have we in these few verses. The Father acts in quickening power, so does the Son, who quickeneth whom He will. Has this quickening reference to the soul, or to the body? We believe the Lord is here speaking about the soul. Every man is not quickened in the sense in which He speaks in this verse. Some only are the subjects of that power — "whom he will." By-and-by He will call from their tombs all that are in them. Now He is dealing with a class, but with a class who are dead, otherwise they would not need to be quickened. In what sense, then, are they dead? Does scripture recognize death, as at present existing, in two senses, or only in one? Does the New Testament speak of those spiritually dead, as well as of those who are physically dead? It surely does. And the first passage in its pages which speaks of the one, speaks also of the other. "Let the dead bury their dead." (Matt. viii. 22.)

Having announced, then, His quickening power to be exercised on behalf of some spiritually dead, the Lord describes in verse 24 certain characteristic features of those who are the subjects of it, and their full exemption from the judgment which He is empowered to put into execution, that all should honour the Son even as they honour the Father. The characteristic marks are these — hearing His word, and believing (not on, but) Him that sent Him. These are they who have everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but have passed from death unto life. Dead they once were spiritually. Dead in that sense they should be no longer.

Now this change, the passage from death unto life, takes place whilst they are yet in the body, alive upon earth. It is not resurrection in any sense. It is the entrance into a condition in which they never were before. They have passed (ek) out of death into life. But when was this change to take place, and how? The following verse (25) instructs us both as to the time and the means. "Now," when the Lord spoke, that change was taking place, and the means employed was the voice of the Son of God. "They that hear shall live." Not those, however, in the tombs, but the spiritually dead upon earth, for of such scripture undoubtedly speaks; and the meaning to be attached to the term, "the dead" (hoi nekroi) in this verse, the Lord by His statement of the change to be effected definitely fixes. They live who hear the voice of the Son of God. Are these the souls at present in hades? Do souls there hear that voice and live? Do souls there now pass out of death into life? It is impossible thus to apply the Lord's words. For the dead would not remain in hades any longer if that was the case. But they do not live again till resurrection takes place. (Rev. xx. 4, 5.) As immortal beings all of them at this moment live to God. In that sense they have never died. None, however, who have died are said to live again till the resurrection takes place. Now the dead in Christ have not risen as yet; of this 1 Corinthians xv. 20–23; 1 Thessalonians iv. 16; are witnesses. Christ risen is the firstfruits of those fallen asleep, who had not risen when Paul wrote, nor will rise till the Lord shall descend from heaven. The resurrection of these people is still future.

The Lord, however, tells us of the present effect of hearing His word — the dead who hear it live. Of resurrection He speaks not a word in this verse; but the result of hearing the voice of the Son of God is, that life is communicated to the dead, who thereby pass out of death into life. He quickens the dead, and He raises the dead. Both are effected by His voice, but the result in the former case is to give life, the result in the latter is to call forth from the tombs. In each case the dealing is with individuals. They that hear live. All that are in the tombs come forth. Between verse 25 and verse 28 the difference, however, is marked, for the objects in view are different, and the results are different. To quicken is the object in verse 25, so living is mentioned. To call forth from the tombs is the object in verse 28, so resurrection is spoken of. In the former case there is experienced a change of condition — they who were dead live. In the latter there is a change of locality as well, for they come forth from the tombs.

Now by no amount of ingenuity can we evade this conclusion. The words are so clear. "The dead" is the term in verse 25, where soul-quickening is mentioned. "All in the tombs" is the designation, in verse 28, of those that shall hear the voice of the Son of man. Had the Lord spoken of those spiritually dead in the same terms that He does of those physically dead, ambiguity might have been pleaded as a reason for teaching that He speaks only of one class after all. To make His language clear, He has been pleased to speak in the one verse of "the dead," in the other of "all in the tombs."

How, then, does the author attempt to get over this? These are his words: "It is now clear to me that the dead here (ver. 25), and those in verses 28 and 29, are of the same class; that is, they are the actually dead in each case, though apparently differently designated. For, as I conceive, the little word 'ALL' plainly proves that it must be so. Some of the dead were to hear the voice of the Son of God in the hour mentioned in verse 25; but now all those in the grave are to hear His voice in the hour that is to come. Thus the class is the same in each case; for clearly some of the dead, and all of the dead, must refer to the same class of persons. That is to say, you cannot have one kind of dead in verse 25, and another kind of dead in verses 28, 29, included at the same time in the one all. Neither does it follow, I judge, that, because the Lord changed the designation in verse 28, therefore He changed the class." (Page 92.) From one who insists so literally on the rigid interpretation of terms, when they militate against his theory, we might have expected different reasoning from this. The author elsewhere insists that, because those physically dead are said to sleep, therefore the persons, not the bodies, really sleep. (Page 33.) He also intimates, that as he cannot find in the word the modern formula, "the resurrection of the body," that doctrine is no scriptural doctrine for him. (Page 4.) But here, whilst admitting the change in the Lord's language from "the dead" to "all in the tombs," the author writes of the latter as "all of the dead." Just what the Lord avoids, evidently from design, that the author adopts. "All of the dead," says the author; "all that are in the tombs" were the Lord's words. Now the mischief of this change of terms is great. The author probably thereby mystifies himself, and certainly may mystify some of his readers, when he writes, "some of the dead, and all of the dead must refer to the same class of persons." His reasoning, all may see, is based on a mistake, and a mistake of his own making. Attention to the Lord's language throws light on the subject. The marked difference in His language suggests, to say the least of it, that the assumption that the same class of dead are mentioned in verse 25 and verse 28 is quite wrong.

But why must "the dead" of verse 25 be the same as "all in the tombs?" Was the Lord only occupied on that occasion with those in their graves? Had He no word for those then alive in the body? Had the Jews been combating the doctrine of the resurrection? The Sadducees excepted, the Jews for the most part believed it. What, then, was it which called forth these personal and pointed addresses? They objected to the Lord healing the man on the sabbath-day. They challenged the lawfulness of His telling the man to carry his bed on that day, and affirmed that the Lord had broken the sabbath. They stoutly opposed the announcement of His divinity and relationship to His Father. Then the Lord addressed them, and pressed on them the importance of receiving His teaching, and the necessity of recognizing His authority; for life, spiritual life, He was giving, and judgment by-and-by would He execute. Observe too, that when He speaks of those in the tombs, He drops that pointed personal appeal, "Verily, verily, I say unto you." The way He speaks, and His selection of terms in which to convey His teaching, have a definiteness of purpose in them, if the spiritually dead are those spoken of in verses 24, 25, which is lost completely if we take the author's view of the passage. Why address them in that pointed manner, if He were enunciating truth that did not then directly concern His auditors? Regard "the dead" in this passage as the spiritually dead, and the vigour and point of His teaching become apparent.

Again, "the dead" need not be, and indeed are not, synonymous with "all in the tombs." For, though those of them who shall have entered the tombs before the Lord comes for His saints will be included in the first class mentioned in verse 29, yet every quickened soul, formerly dead, will not at that day come forth from them, for there will be a company of saints still alive upon earth, who will be caught up without passing through death. This is admitted (page 155), and the Lord's language, though not here teaching it, clearly leaves room for it. Since, then, there are those once dead, who will never die, "the dead" in our passage need not on prima facie ground be synonymous with "all in the tombs;" and to make plain that they are not, the Lord, when He speaks of those who had died, does not here call them "the dead."

"All that are in the tombs." Surely that must include the bodies laid therein. No, says the author, it does not; and to substantiate his assertion, he directs attention to Ezekiel xxxii., whereby, from a portion of the Bible, highly and confessedly figurative, he would seek to explain away the teaching of the Son of God in one of the most solemn and plain-spoken passages which the New Testament contains. Ezekiel writes of graves in sheol: therefore, says the author, there are graves in the region to which spirits, divested of their natural bodies, have gone. Now, since he has also taught us that the earthly body does not enter sheol at all, it is difficult to see what use there can be for graves in that region. Do you bury a spirit? The idea is absurd. Is the spiritual body, which the author tells us the unclothed spirit gets on its entrance into sheol, to be laid in the grave? (Pages 50, 72, 107.) But that, according to his teaching, can have never been associated with sin. On it, therefore, death has no claim. As, then, the spirit clearly cannot be buried, nor can the spiritual body be required to submit to burial, what is buried in sheol, if the author is to be our guide? To ask such a question, from his point of view, is enough to demonstrate the untenableness of his position.

The fact is, he has started with a mistaken idea of what is comprehended in the term sheol, which really includes the grave, as well as the region in which the unclothed spirits await their resurrection. Thus Jacob exclaimed in the bitterness of his soul, when called to part with Benjamin, that his sons would bring down his grey hairs in sorrow to the grave (sheol). (Gen. xlii. 38.) The congregation of Dathan and Abiram went down alive into the pit (sheol). (Num. xvi. 30, 33.) After the same manner Job speaks (Job xxiv. 19), and the psalmist (Ps. xxx. 3; Ps. xlix. 14; Ps. cxli. 7), and Isaiah (Isa. xiv. 15). For by sheol was understood what we might call the whole underworld. Both body and soul are represented as entering it. Hence the prophet can depict in graphic language the dead in their graves (in sheol), with the worm above them and under them. (Isa. xiv. 11.) To a Hebrew this language was not incongruous, for there are worms in the grave. Graves then can be described as in sheol, for into it the whole person, both body and spirit, was regarded as entering. Now this is a very grave fact for one who opposes the correct teaching of John 5, and denies the resurrection of the body, affirming that it "is lost sight of in the ground for ever." (Page 139.) The supposed scripture authority (page 99), for interpreting John 5:28 of dead persons as distinct from their bodies, is found to be no scripture authority at all. The resurrection of the body, which our Lord there distinctly teaches, the author avowedly denies, and, as he states, on the authority of scripture, which, when examined, only demonstrates his mistaken view of what in the Old Testament is called sheol.

But let us proceed. The Lord having announced what He was then doing for all who would hearken to Him, and what He will do at a future time, namely, call forth all that should be in the tombs, He, in the following chapter of the Gospel (vi.), presents Himself to the multitude and to the Jews as "the True Bread," "the Living Bread," "the Bread of Life," in contradistinction to the manna on which their fathers had fed in the wilderness. The manna sustained life, but could not give life, neither could it preserve from death, nor ensure resurrection to those who cat of it. The Bread of Life, communicating everlasting life to all who eat of it, ensured resurrection at the last day. Not only, then would the Lord quicken souls, but those who eat of the Living Bread, if they afterwards entered the grave, He would raise up at the last day. The whole person He would thus care for, the body as well as the soul. (Vers. 39, 40, 44, 54.) By eating of that Bread one lives for ever. (Ver. 58.) Having eaten of it, if death should supervene, and that is physical death, resurrection should assuredly take place. "I will raise him up at the last day."

Continuing in the company, as it were, of our evangelist, let us listen to the Lord Jesus when He met Martha outside the village of Bethany. To His statement, "Thy brother shall rise again," Martha assented, and fixed the time of it, as she responded, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." To this the Lord at once replied, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John xi. 23-26.) Now what does this mean? Lazarus was already a quickened soul. It was not about his soul the Lord spoke. Yet Lazarus was dead. The Lord knew it. Mary reminded Him of it. Martha, when she met Him, owned it, and again at the grave called His attention to it, "Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days." The Jews who were with them believed it. Physical death was the only thing in their minds. Of spiritual death there was no manner of surmise. The sorrow which filled the sister's heart arose from this, that death held Lazarus in its grasp. Death and burial had taken place when Christ was not there. For resurrection, however, He was needed. His power, and in this instance His personal presence too, were requisite. And now, on His way to the grave, He revealed what He is, the answer to that which had filled them with sorrow; for here among His saints He was ministering to such in their distress. "I am the resurrection and the life." Resurrection he mentions first, then life. For He was speaking with reference to death the wages of sin, and with reference to the circumstances in which at that moment they all were. He is the resurrection.

If, then, His people enter into death, they shall be raised up, for" he that believeth on me" (are His words) "though he have died (kan apothane), shall live." Clearly He is speaking of physical death; the death of one who already has everlasting life by believing on Him. If such an one dies, he shall live. On the other hand, we learn for the first time that a saint may never die, that is, never be separated from his body, as Lazarus was at that moment. "For he that liveth, and believeth on me shall never die." Mark here the order of thought, "Liveth and believeth," not believeth and liveth. The never dying has respect to the body, between which and the soul there shall be, under the circumstances indicated, no separation. The living after death must refer to the body likewise, the reuniting of soul and body, which is here called resurrection, anastasis. Till resurrection takes place, the one viewed as about to be a subject of it is not said to live. For resurrection and living are in this passage corresponding terms. As risen the saint lives. Till risen he does not live. And this will he true of all the dead saints, Lazarus, as raised up, being a kind of illustration of it; a kind of illustration only in one way, because Lazarus was raised to die again, but the dead will be raised to die no more. An illustration in another way, because it teaches what resurrection involved, the calling out of the tomb the body which had been laid in it and, as in his case, his body was raised up again, and till then, after death had come in, he was not regarded as living, so, with the sleeping saints, their bodies must be raised up for them to live.

Thus far we have learnt from the teaching of Christ three important things. He can, and will, deal with the body alter death, calling out from the tombs all who are in them, the one class to a resurrection of life, the other to a resurrection of judgment. Next, that it is through eating His flesh and drinking His blood one can be sure of being in the first of these classes; and, lastly, that the Lord Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Death, therefore, can have no power, save as long as He permits it, and then only over those whom He intends to enter into it: for He can, and will, raise up His sleeping saints; He can, and will, preserve from entering into it some who shall believe on Him. We would now turn from His teaching to a consideration of His own resurrection, and the consequences of it.

Of His own resurrection He had several times spoken (John ii. 20, 21; Matt. xvi. 21; Matt. xvii. 9, 23; Matt. xx. 19; Matt. xxvi. 32; Mark viii. 31; Mark ix. 9, 31; Mark x. 34; Luke ix. 22; Luke xviii. 33; Luke xxiv. 7), and His enemies understood by His words that He predicted the raising of His body; for they asked Pilate for a guard to watch the tomb lest His disciples, coming by night, should steal Him away, and, counting on the credulity of the populace, affirm that He really had risen. (Matt. xxvii. 63.) The soldiers did guard the tomb, yet He rose. The clothes in which His body had been wrapped were left behind, and the arrangement of them, as seen by Peter (John xx. 6, 7), betokened nothing like haste in His exit from that rock-hewn sepulchre. Neither the apostles, John and Peter, nor the women, found the body of the Lord. Of His resurrection there was no doubt. He was seen. He was handled. He was spoken with after it. He ate, too, to convince His disciples that it was Himself. He showed to them His hands and His feet, and bade Thomas thrust his hand into his Master's side.

Now, in treating of resurrection certain terms are made use of by the inspired penmen, namely, two nouns, egersis, and anastasis; and three verbs, egeiro,  anistemi, and anago. Of the two nouns, the first is met with but once in the New Testament (Matt. xxvii. 53), and has reference to the Lord's exit from the tomb. The other word, anastasis, is the common term for resurrection, whether of the Lord Jesus, or of anybody else. Of the verbs, egeiro, when used of the dead, suggests the existence and exercise of power to raise them, the power being vested in and exercised by another than the one who is the subject of it. For no dead man could be said to raise himself. The dead are raised. God raises the dead. Any one also to whom that power has been delegated is said to exercise it (Matt. x. 8); but none of the dead are ever said to raise themselves, the Lord Jesus excepted (John ii. 19), who on that occasion spoke of Himself as God as well as man. The second verb, anistemi, being intransitive in some of its tenses, namely, the present and imperfect passive, and second aorist, perfect, and pluperfect active, directs attention, when any of these are employed, to the condition of the one as risen who once was dead, without suggesting, us egeiro does, the action of another to raise them. (Sec Mark viii. 31; Mark xii. 25; Luke xvi. 31.) The third verb, anago, occurs but twice in connection with resurrection (Rom. x. 7; Heb. xiii. 20), and on both occasions refers only to that of the Lord. Thus far as to the terms employed.

Very momentous are the consequences which flow from the Lord's resurrection. By it He is declared to be God's Son with power (Rom. i. 4), and is marked out as the future Judge of quick and dead. (Acts xvii. 31.) By it likewise the believer's justification is declared (Rom. iv. 25); the resurrection, too, of all the dead is a truth no longer to be doubted, whilst, of the resurrection from the dead of Christ's sleeping saints, His own resurrection is both the illustration and the earnest. Thus man, whether saved or unsaved, is most deeply concerned in the resurrection of the Lord from the dead. He rose, the firstfruits of them that sleep. But His grave is not the only one which has been bereft of its occupant. For "many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matt. xxvii. 52, 53.) Yet not alone are saints concerned with, and share in, resurrection; for all who enter the grave shall come forth, since Christ has risen. Of this general truth 1 Corinthians xv. treats, though it dwells at length on the resurrection of the saints.

Now, in treating of this subject, the truth of which was denied by some at Corinth, the apostle dwells on three important points: first there is a resurrection of the dead (vers. 12–23); secondly, the bodies of our humiliation will share in it (vers. 35–50); thirdly, that event, namely, the resurrection of the saints who form part of the church, will be accomplished in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. (Vers. 51 -58.) With the first of these points all are concerned. Christ has been raised from the dead, so there is a resurrection of the dead. Its possibility is proved. Its certainty is established. But further, the body will be raised up; and here, writing to and of Christians, the apostle has dwelt at length on the resurrection of Christians. Their bodies, sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruption — sown in dishonour, they will be raised in glory — sown in weakness, they will be raised in power — sown natural bodies, they will be raised spiritual bodies. Great indeed is the change to which the body will be subject, the body placed in the tomb. Perfect, too, and abiding will be the condition in which it will be raised; for, sown in dishonour, it will be raised in glory, sown a natural body, it will be raised a spiritual body; and this will take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. That which is sown will be raised, though a change will pass over it, so that the body will not emerge from the tomb in the same condition in which it entered it.

Thus, in common with the bodies of those saints who will never die, the frame laid in the grave will be subject to a change, though the change to which it will be subject must perforce be different from that of those who shall never die. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality.'' (Ver. 53.)

But here the author joins issue, and chiefly on two grounds — the one a question of translation, the other a question of interpretation. The translation of egeiro to raise, he will not hear of, when the subject on hand is resurrection. According to him, this verb, egeiro, must always be rendered to awake, when used of the dead, and the person who dies, he would have us believe, is awakened immediately on his entrance into hades, and then and there receives his spiritual body, in which, clothed at once, he awaits, it may be, and with multitudes it must be, centuries, ere he participates in resurrection (anastasis), anastasis. Is this really the case? Have we been all wrong, both ancients and moderns, Jews and Greeks, in the understanding of the true meaning of egeiro? Let us test this statement. When the Lord first spoke of His death and resurrection, He did it in figurative language, it is true, but in language which conveyed what He wished to be expressed. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" egeiro. Now here, unquestionably, egeiro means to raise up. To speak of awaking a temple would be absurd. To say you would raise it up is not. In this sense the Jews clearly understood the Lord to speak, as they replied, "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up (egereis) in three days?" (John ii. 19, 20.) Further, after His death the Jews applied to Pilate for a guard to watch the sepulchre, on the ground that He had said, "After three days I will rise again," egeiromai (Matt. xxvii. 63), and by that they understood the exit of His body from the tomb. Clearly, then, the author, by the translation on which he insists (page 36), is at variance with the Lord, the evangelist, and the Jews, all of whom attached a meaning to the verb, egeiro, which he distinctly rejects. But, happily for his readers, he is inconsistent with himself, and with his own weapon lays low the edifice which he seeks to build up. He tells us the dead are awakened (egeirontai) in hades, and that is always spoken of as a present reality. (Page 36.) This awakening, he insists on, has nothing to do with the body. It is the person, apart from his body, who is awakened. (Page 58.)

Well, let us test this statement. The Lord was raised (egegertai) on the third day (1 Cor. xv. 4) — so says scripture, and so we believe. Now was He awakened on the third day? Was He personally, and apart from His body, sleeping till then? Nobody but a heretic would dare to teach that. Yet if egeiro, when used of the dead, must always be translated to awaken the person, that is the only conclusion to be arrived at, but one which we must repudiate, and which the author would not venture to adopt. For the moment he writes about the raising of the Lord, or, as he terms it, awakening, he tells us Christ was awakened here. (Page 57.) The addition of that one word, "here," is a confession (perhaps an unconscious one) of the untenableness of his position. The raising of Christ was not immediate, but on the third day. Nor was it apart from His body, but expressly included it. The verb, egeiro, is used of the raising of the body from the grave. All, therefore, that he contends for about the awakening of souls in hades is really surrendered, the moment he has to speak of the raising up of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was raised the third day. All is clear if we keep to the common translation of egeiro, for "if the dead rise not, then is Christ not raised." (1 Cor. xv. 16.) But all is confused and inconsequential if we adopt the suggested translation. For how the awakening of Christ here on the third day after He died is a proof that the dead are awakened in hades the moment they die, is a difficulty which the author has not solved, and one for which, on his hypothesis, there is no solution.

But how did Paul understand his own terms? Did egeiro in his mind mean to awaken the dead person apart from his body? What, then, is the force, the meaning, of his language in 2 Corinthians i. 9? But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth (egeironti) the dead. Was it the awakening of the apostle, or of the dead in hades, which here occupied his mind? We know it was not. One more remark on this question of translation, and we will pass on. "It is sown in dishonour, it is raised (egeiretai) in glory." (1 Cor. xv. 43.) Are those in hades in glory? Does the saint close his eyes in death, to awaken in hades in glory? St. Paul, writing of the resurrection (anastasis) of the dead, says, the body is raised in glory, thus connecting the raising with resurrection. The author admits that the resurrection is future. (Page 36.) Then the raising is also future. This has to do with the body, for of that which concerns the body 1 Corinthians xv. undeniably treats. Here, then, let us very briefly look into the question of the interpretation of this chapter, on which a few words will suffice. The language of verse 42 is clear enough. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption." That which is sown is raised, though a change will pass over it. What it is which is sown none can gainsay. In addition to this, it may be remarked that the chapter throughout treats of the body, so of death, which claims the body, and never of hades, in which the unclothed spirit awaits the resurrection, does the apostle speak; for in the only place in which hades occurs in the common text, we should, it is generally admitted on the authority of B D E F G I Aleph, read, thanate, death. "O death, where is thy victory?" Could that question be asked, if the body was never to be recovered from its grasp? If it is to be raised again, how suited is the triumphant exclamation. Think of the body bought by the blood of Christ, and once indwelt by the Holy Ghost, never to be redeemed from the condition imposed on it by sin! Then death would have gotten a victory indeed.

Now let us see what further light is thrown on the future of the body by the divine word. First, the bodies of the saints shall be quickened and redeemed. (Rom. viii. 11, 23.) Next, we shall all be changed, this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality. A natural body we each have now, suited to that condition in which we are; a spiritual body we shall have by-and-by, suited to our condition then. (1 Cor. xv. 53, 44.) Now the body is as a tabernacle, capable of dissolution; then it will be a building of God eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor. 5:1.) If the earthly tabernacle be dissolved, we have, says the apostle, our house from heaven. He does not say that the dead saints put it on the moment they have died, for he speaks afterwards in the same chapter of the unclothed state, but we have it, the time for being clothed, with it being altogether a different question. Besides this, we learn that the condition in which we shall exist will be very different from our present one. Marriage will not take place (Luke xx. 35, 36), nor will the frame need, as it now does, sustainment by food. (1 Cor. vi. 13.) Yet the body, whatever the change, will be the Lord's. Lastly, the body of our humiliation will be conformed, the apostle Paul teaches us, to Christ's body of glory (Phil. iii. 21); and John tells us that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John iii. 2.)

This is the bright side of the subject. There is also a dark side. For the bodies of the ungodly are to be raised. This John saw in vision. "I saw the dead," he writes, "small and great, stand before the throne; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them." (Rev. xx. 12, 13.) What is in the sea, and in death, as distinct from hades, but the bodies of those which have died, those unburied and those buried. Why does John say of death and hades, "the dead which were in them?" Let the reader compare these words, the last statement in the New Testament on this subject, with those in Matthew x. 28, spoken by the Lord, these last explaining how what He says is to be fulfilled.

The ancient creeds, then, and modern confessions of faith, which assert the resurrection of the body, are in that respect correct. The body which dies will be raised up, to share with its owner his condition for ever and ever. The attempts to set this truth aside, whether by means of suggested translations, or supposed scriptural authority, are futile in the extreme, and on no better ground does the statement rest, that it is the person who sleeps, and not his body. On this point the author has been misled by a statement in Dr. J. Fuerst's Hebrew Dictionary, according to which the Hebrew phrase, "he slept with his fathers," is said to be equivalent to the phrase, "he was gathered to his fathers". Thereupon we are told that to sleep with his fathers is a statement descriptive of the person apart from his body. On this supposition a great deal of the author's argument is made to rest. (p. 28.) But is it true? A little examination will demonstrate that the statement cannot be relied on. For, first, "gathering to one's fathers," mentioned in Judges ii. 10; 2 Kings xxii. 20; 2 Chronicles xxxiv. 28, will, on examination, decide nothing about the point in question, but the phrase more commonly employed, "gathered unto his people," may help in the matter. For, comparing that with the one in question, "he lay with his fathers," we see that the notice of the person's death nearly always precedes the statement of his being gathered to his people. (Gen. xxxv. 8, 17; Gen. xxv. 29; Gen. xlix, 33; Deut. xxxii. 50.) Once only does it follow it. (Num. xx. 26.) Whereas the only occasion on which the person's death is mentioned with the phrase, "he lay or slept with his fathers," the notice of his death follows that well-known statement. (2 Chron. xvi. 13.) This fact would suggest the possibility, not to say probability, that sleeping with one's fathers is not equivalent to being gathered unto them, or to one's people.

Dismissing, therefore, the latter phrase as one with which we have nothing more to do, let us see what is the meaning of, "he lay, or slept, with his fathers." Does it refer to the body, or does it not? It can be applied to the body, for Jacob, the first who introduced the phrase, as far as we know (Gen. xlvii. 30), certainly by it referred to his body. And in the books of Kings and Chronicles, where we so frequently meet with it, coupled as it always is with burial, and taking precedence of the mention of death on the only occasion where the two ideas are expressed together, it seems pretty certain that the meaning attached to it by the patriarch was the meaning the sacred writers in their turn intended to convey to the reader. And this is confirmed by the fact that we only once find the words, "he slept with his fathers," when the king met with death by assassination at the hand of his subjects. If the phrase refers to the spirit in hades, apart from the body, it is difficult to understand why on such occasions that phrase should be generally left out, for the manner of death could make no difference as to the presence of the spirit in hades after it. If, on the other hand, it has reference to the body, and originally described its recumbent position, according to the simple meaning of, "he lay down," we can better understand why it should be used at one time, and not at another. For it is certain that "he lay down," by itself is used of the death of the body. (Job vii. 21; Job xxi. 26; Ps. lxxxviii. 5.) What, then, has been built on this phrase is a mistake. The edifice so reared lacks one grand essential — a good foundation.

And indeed the whole theory of resurrection, as set forth by the, author falls to the ground, when one attempts to examine it. The soul does not sleep in hades. The term sheol embraces more than the region in which the unclothed await their resurrection. The suggested translation of egeiro, to awaken the dead in hades the moment they enter that region, is opposed to the use of the term by the Lord, the evangelist, the Jews, and the apostle Paul. The resurrection of the body is a truth of scripture, and an article of the Christian faith. He who denies it contradicts the divine word, and rejects a foundation truth of Christianity. "For if the dead rise not, then is Christ not raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." (1 Cor. xv. 16-18.) C. E. Stuart.