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through the instrumentality of the Man Christ Jesus, the dead are raised, it would seem that none had entered that exalted state till he "abolished death." And, if "in Christ all shall be made alive,” we infer that no one was “made alive" in the sense the phrase is here employed, till the Saviour arose from the dead. The apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." 15 Paul said, “ He which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by Jesus.” 16 If the resurrection of the dead is through Jesus if God raises up men by him—does it not follow that none entered the resurrection before Christ was raised ? Either his death and resurrection were not indispensable to the enjoyment of future happiness, or those who died before his coming, did not, at death, enter that state called resurrection, but remained expectants, detained in hades, the state of the dead, till his coming.

The declaration of Christ, that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him,” clearly establishes the fact that those who had gone from earth were in the enjoyment of some kind of an existence. And when we compare this with the assertion that “Christ hath abolished death,” and with the fact that the apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead," and taught that he was the “first-fruits," that “ he should be the first that should rise from the dead," and that David had not then “ascended into the heavens," we are led to the conclusion that those who died before Christ, did not at death “ enter into the full fruition of celestial joys,” but awaited his coming at the setting up of his kingdom.

The question may now arise, if the condition of those who lived and died before the days of Christ was as we have been led to conclude, what is the state of those who have died since the coming” of the Saviour?

The answer to this question is to be found in the correct interpretation of the following passage: Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, (remain in a state of death), 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.” 17 Our first inquiry is, when were

15 Acts iv. 2.

16 2 Cor. iv. 14.

17 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52.

these things to take place ? In verse 23, the apostle tells us that every man shall be made alive in his own order; Christ first, * afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. In the subsequent part of the chapter, he is treating of the same event, and its attendant circumstances. There is nothing in the connection that leads us to conclude that a different time is referred to from the one mentioned in verse 23, the coming of Christ. Further evidence that a time close at hand is referred to, is found in the use of the pronoun we. He says, “We shall not all sleep,” evidently expecting that many of them, himself probably among that number, would live to see the fulfilment of what he there uttered.

Additional evidence that this passage refers to something that would take place at Christ's “coming,” will be found by comparing the apostle's language with the Saviour's description of the signs that would immediately precede and attend that event. “And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds.": 18

What Paul describes was to take place “ at the last trump.” And these references in both to the sounding of the trumpet seem to point to one and the same time. If so, the apostle described what was to happen in that generation ; for the Saviour declared that that “ generation should not pass” till the things he had spoken of were fulfilled.19

Our conclusion will be strengthened by a further comparison with Rev. xi. 15: “And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ." “This is the establishment of Christianity upon the fall of Judaism.” (Whittemore in loc.) And, if this view is correct, we have a clew to the time of the “last trump;” for the seventh and last trumpet sounded at the “ establishment of Christianity upon the fall of Judaism.” If we have determined correctly the time when the event Paul described was to take place, it is evident he did not mean that those who were on earth at the last trump were to be translated without seeing death, for no such thing happened at that time. 18 Matt. xxiv. 30, 31.

19 Matt. xxiv. 34.

The following explanation, we think, will harmonize the view, that Christ was the first that rose from the dead, with the assertion of the Saviour, that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Previous to Christ's coming at the establishment of Christianity, those who died did not enter immediately into the full enjoyment of heavenly bliss. This could not be, till they become children of the resurrection ; and they could not become children of the resurrection, till Christ "abolished death." At his coming," the dead were raised, that is, introduced into that higher and more exalted state,-the resurrection. Since that, each one at death has been transferred from earth to that heavenly abode "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.'

We will paraphrase the passage, giving this view of it: “Behold, I explain to you what has been a secret ; we shall not all remain in a state of death, when we die, as all have who have died before us, and as those of us will who shall die before Christ's coming; but those of us who live till that time, when we die, instead of remaining in a state of deatlı, will, in a moment, be introduced into that happier state, where none entered, till Christ abolished death.' If this exposition is correct, it throws light on that difficult passage in 1 Thess. iv. 14-17, as that also, from its very words, refers to something that was to take place at the “coming of the Lord.”

It seems that erroneous views of the condition of those who had died, caused sorrow among the believers in Thessalonica ; and Paul endeavored to dispel this by informing them, that those who had already died, and those who should die before “ the coming of the Lord,” would then be raised, and the living would have no advantage over them. Then he goes on, as in Corinthians, to tell them what would happen to those who should live until that “coming." When these died, they would not remain in a state of death, but would be " caught up," or, as expressed in Corinthians, “ changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye ; that is, transferred suddenly from earth to heaven. And such thereafter, he told them, would be the case with all at death; the king of terrors was to hold none in bondage any longer. And they were also assured that they should be reunited with those friends who had previously died, and evermore be with them and the Lord.

Before proceeding farther, we will notice the following objection, which may be urged against the interpretation we give of 1 Cor. xv. 23. If those who died before Christ's *

coming” were " made alive at that time, how are we to understand the language of the next verse ?>" Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.” Did the end come at the establishment of Christianity,—the coming of Christ? Were all rule and all authority and power put down then ? The Greek word dos translated end, means fulfilment, accomplishment, or consummation, as well as termination. The word is employed in a great variety of significations. In the New Testament, it is translated custom, end, ending, finally, and uttermost; and the verb tehéw from which it is derived, is also employed in a great variety of significations. In the New Testament, the verb is translated fulfil, finish, accomplish, etc. In the classics, we find tékos čxelv used in respect to a person, meaning to be grown up. By the word end, then, is not necessarily meant the termination of what is spoken of. It is equally as proper,

so far as that word is concerned,—to understand it as referring to perfection, fulfilment, or consummation, as to termination.

The gospel dispensation had been looked forward to by prophets and patriarchs as a golden era. This is clearly shown by the words of the just and devout Simeon, who, when he took the child Jesus in his arms, “ blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peo

He had evidently looked forward to Christ's day with a strong desire to see it. He was rejoiced to see the commencement of that period in which the things foretold of the Messiah's reign would come to pass. The coming of Christ, the setting up of his kingdom here on earth, was the great event so often portrayed by the prophets, and which the Scriptures so fully describe. It was a fulfilment or consummation of numerous predictions. All that was to be done for the world, however, was not then accomplished ;

20 Luke ii. 28-31. VOL. XVIII. 14

ple." 20

but the work was fully inaugurated; the means for its entire completion were then put into operation ; Christianity was then fully established; and this is what the apostle referred to by the word end. Here, as in other places, what was to be done through the instrumentality of Christ is spoken of prospectively, as if already completed. The declaration of the apostle, " he hath put all things under his feet,” is an example of this mode of speaking in relation to what is destined to be done through the instrumentality of the Saviour. In the epistle to the Hebrews, the apostle has himself shown us, that he spoke of what is yet to be done, as already completed. “Thou hast put all things under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”2 This last sentence explains the apostle's mode of speaking. His own limitation of his language clearly shows how he meant to be understood by the Hebrew brethren ; and if we interpret his language to the Corinthians in the same manner, there will be no conflict between what he there said and the views we have presented.

The contest shows that Christ's “coming” and the end (perfection, or consummation,) were closely connected. The Greek word eira translated then, is uniformly used in the New Testament to denote what immediately or very soon follows. If, then, the end immediately followed the coming of Christ, the apostle's language must be interpreted as we have explained it ; for neither at that time, nor at any subsequent period, have “all enemies” been actually put under the Saviour's feet. And this shows clearly, even when taken alone, that the language used was not designed to express what had already been done, but rather what would actually be accomplished under the Messiah's reign.

The revelator,-in language we have before had occasion to quote,-described the setting up of Christ's kingdom in a similar way to the apostle, speaking of what was to be done as already completed. “And the seventh angel sounded ; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ ; and he shall reign forever and ever."

31 Heb ii. 8.

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