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The same may be said of the restoration from Babylon, when their city and temple were rebuilt under Zerubbabel; and of their final glory, when Jerusalem shall put on her beautiful garments;-distinct events, which are nevertheless so blended together, that it requires careful observation in order to point out the distinguishing marks.
Next I may instance the Advent of our Lord Jesus. Many texts might be brought forward, which seem to include his first and second coming as one event; and we know that the Jews, because they did not distinguish these, were led into error, and rejected our Lord when he came to suffer. I will instance one passage, (Job xix. 25,) connected with the resurrection; in which Job says "I know that my Redeemer liveth and he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms shall destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God,whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes, shall behold and not another." Many might suppose from this text, that the point of time when the Redeemer should stand on the earththe latter day'-was the period of the general resurrection, in which Job should have his lot: and it is only from other texts, and from the fact, we find, that two comings were to take place, with a long interval between, reconcileable with the phrase latter day. Were not indeed the principle for which I am contending to be received, a Jew might deny from this text the reality of any standing of the Redeemer upon earth prior to the time, when Job should be raised to behold him in the flesh.
The next important event which I shall notice is that prophecy of Joel, quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost, and beginning "It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." Let any man, unacquainted with the history of the apostolic times, look at this prophecy, and hit the joint if he can, which shall separate between the first and second outpouring of the Spirit: though we all seem to expect a further fulfilment of it, and allow that an interval must be interposed.
I shall only instance further the prophecies concerning Antichrist. The second advent of Jesus was thought by the Thessalonians, from Paul's occasional language, to be immediately at hand. And no wonder: for he speaks of himself and them, as if they were to survive till that event should happen -"we which are alive and remain." But he reminds them in another Epistle, that he had taught them, how that event should not take place, except there should come a falling away first, and the man of sin should be revealed: so that the time for Antichrist to grow up, seize the dominion, and reign, must
of necessity come in before the glorious appearing of the Lord: which the Thessalonians certainly might have inferred, had they carefully considered other Scriptures, or remembered all that the Apostle had taught them.
Now I claim for the general doctrine of the Resurrection the exercise of this same principle of interpretation; and if I can show, that in many places the doctrine of a resurrection of the saints is revealed, altogether distinct from that of the wicked, we are bound to receive that doctrine in such manner as shall fall in with the general scope of Scripture.*
1. I begin with 1 Cor. xv. 22-26, which explicitly gives the order in which all shall rise. "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits;-afterwards, they that are Christ's, at his coming; then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom, &c. and shall finally destroy the last enemy, death." Here are three degrees in the order of the resurrection. (1) First we have "Christ the first fruits." St. Paul tells Festus and Agrippa, that Moses and the Prophets had testified, "that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead:" which was typified by the offering of the first-fruits of the harvest. And in this first-fruits may be included those saints, who came out of their graves after the resurrection of Christ, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many,t-a blessed earnest of their own future manifestation in the same place. (2) Secondly we have it— "afterwards they that are Christ's, at his coming:" or as I would paraphrase it, "Afterwards, at the coming of Christ, those that belong to him." For some read this (or at least so interpret it) as if it were "Afterwards those who, at the coming of Christ, shall be his; as if those only are intended, who shall at that time be walking in the faith of Christ. But forasmuch as
e Acts xxvi. 23.
It is worthy of remark, that most of those expositors, who, from the two places of Scripture now under consideration, insist on the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked as one in point of time, do nevertheless, in their interpretation of our Lord's prophecy in Matthew xxiv. generally contend for two judgments; (the one on Jerusalem, the other at the second advent;) though they confess them to be so involved the one in the other, that it is difficult to distinguish them. I differ entirely from such an interpretation of that chapter, as makes it an involved prophecy; but I mention it now merely to show the inconsistency of their objection, when urged against the millennarian doctrine of the Resurrection.
+ Another instance of negligent exposition, which I have more than once heard from the pulpit, is the making these saints come out of their graves at the crucifixion of our Lord: in which case Jesus would not be the first that rose from the dead to die no more. The Evangelist, though he mentions it in connexion with his narrative of the crucifixion, does nevertheless distinctly state, that they came out of their graves after his resurrection. Matt. xxvii. 52, 53.
these will be then already living in the flesh, the promise of a resurrection cannot have reference to them. They will undergo a change; and they will be privileged, like Enoch and Elijah, never to see death. All those must therefore be intended, who shall be asleep in Jesus, and whom, at his coming he will raise and bring with him. Let it be observed however, that there is no mention of the wicked dead;-"those that are Christ's." (3) Next it follows,-"Then, (after that) cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom;"-a plain proof that the kingdom is to be between his coming and this end.
2. I shall take a second testimony from 1 Thessalonians iv. 13-18; because there can be no doubt that this passage, like the former, is to be understood in a plain and literal sense. For as in the former instance, the Apostle expressly instructs them in the nature of the resurrection, to guard them against the error of those who denied it; so here he teaches them plainly concerning those who sleep in Jesus, that they may not sorrow as men without hope of seeing them again. To suppose that in either instance the language is symbolical, allegorical, or figurative, beyond what belongs to our ordinary use of figure, is to offend against the context and common sense of these passages.
The Apostle, then, assures those, who were disposed to sorrow without hope of seeing their believing friends again, that "the Lord Jesus will bring them with him when he comes;-For that the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST. Then we, which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in (the) clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Note how exactly this agrees with the former testimony in Corinthians:-the dead in Christ only are raisedthose living in Christ are changed-and at the last trump, announcing the coming of the Lord.* (See 1 Cor. xv. 22.)
* As the learned Dr. Wardlaw, in his recently published volume of sermons, attacks the millennarian view of this text, a few observations on his argument may not be unacceptable. I will first give his exposition verbatim. "The following expression, in 1 Thess. iv. 16, has been sometimes adduced in evidence of the resurrection of the righteous preceding that of the wicked:-and by many, indeed, who do not hold the tenets of millennarianism, it is often inconsiderately quoted as if it conveyed this meaning:-'For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST.'-But it requires only the reading of the passage to satisfy any candid mind, that there is in it no reference to the resurrection of the wicked at all. The preceding verse-the 15th, stands thus: 'For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.'-In this verse, the word 'prevent' means to anticipate, to get the start, or take the precedence, of another. Of the statement thus given,
3. The next circumstance I shall notice is, that the Scriptures particularize some one resurrection by certain phrases, added for the sake of eminence. For example: "the resurrection of life;"_"The poor cannot recompense thee, but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just;"-"They accepted not deliverance that they might obtain a better resur
f John v. 29. g Luke xiv. 14.
the 16th and 17th verses are an explanatory amplification. 'We who are alive and remain,' says the Apostle, 'shall not PREVENT,' that is, shall not anticipate, or take precedence, or get the start of 'them that are asleep: for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall first rise; then'-what? a thousand years after the wicked shall rise? Not at all:-'then, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM,' (this is the explanation of their not preventing or anticipating them,) 'to meet the Lord in the air:and so shall we ever be with the Lord.'-The living saints, at the Lord's coming, shall await the rising of those that are dead, and all shall then ascend together. Such is the Apostle's own explanation of his own language.” P. 513. The chief circumstance which I complain of in this exposition is, that Dr. Wardlaw, after stating "that it requires only the reading of the entire passage," &c. limits the entire of the passage to the previous verse, instead of beginning at the 13th verse; and thus he wrests the passage from its real context. The Apostle's object is evidently to prevent the Thessalonians from sorrowing for the dead, as though they had no hope of seeing them again: not, as the Doctor would have us infer, to correct erroneous notions of their getting the start or precedency of the dead. (See a further exposition of this text at page 56 of my last Essay.) Secondly, I would ask, How it is consistent with showing, that there is to be no precedency in the resurrection, to expound this passage, as if, after all, the dead are to get the start of those remaining in the flesh? Thirdly, if "the living saints, at the Lord's coming, shall await the rising of those that are dead, and all shall then ascend together;" how are we to understand the Apostle, when he says, "them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him?" This is their de-scent, not their as-cent. The same is expressed in Zechariah; "The Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee:" and also in Jude; "Behold the Lord cometh with myriads of his saints." Fourthly, I have an observation to make upon the words-"to meet the Lord in the air." The word used in the original is amarnos-not the verb, but a noun; and literally is "caught up into the air to the meeting of the Lord." The word anavinois occurs in three other places in the New Testament, and invariably signifies a meeting for the purpose of receiving and welcoming the individual and to escort him back. Thus it is in Matthew xxv. where the ten virgins are first said to go forth and meet the bridegroom, (v. 1,) and then are surprised in their slumber by the cry, "Go ye out to meet him.” (v. 6.) It occurs the third time in Acts xxviii. 15:—“And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us, (eis añaνтnow Åμw) as far as Appii Forum and the three taverns, whom when Paul saw, he thanked God and took courage. And when we came to Rome," &c. It is evident here, that they met Paul, not to stay with him at the three taverns, but to continue with him by going back with him. And the whole context in Thessalonians seems to require, that we explain it of the saints going out to welcome the Lord in the air: not to continue in the air with him; but to accompany him on his visit here, and therefore to return with him. For unless the saints return with Christ, the wicked must also be caught up for that judgment, which the anti-millennarians always suppose happens at the same time with this event. I may add here, in defence of this view of anaνTHOIS, that, on referring to Schleusner, I find he interprets it—"cum quis alteri obviam procedit (vel rapitur) ad eum excipiendum."
rection." Now what can this better resurrection, this resurrection of life, this resurrection of the just mean, but something eminently distinguished from the resurrection of the wicked? Yea, such an emphasis is generally laid upon this one, that we might with more reason conclude against any resurrection of the wicked at all, than against a resurrection of believers separate and distinct from it. Thus our Lord says of the risen saints, "that they are the children of God, being the children of THE resurrection."i In John's Gospel he three times declares it to be the special privilege of a believer, "that he will raise him up at the last day;" but the single circumstance, that he should be raised at the last day, would cease to be a distinction, were the wicked to be raised at the same time. A similar argument may be raised on a passage in St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, where he says, that he sought to know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, &c. "if by any means he might attain unto THE resurrection of the dead:"* for St. Paul knew well, and had declared, that there should be a resurrection both of the just and unjust:1 it could not therefore be merely a resurrection that he was so earnest about; but the resurrection-the resurrection of the just.
The Old Testament also affords us evidence of this doctrine. The angel Gabriel informs Daniel, "MANY of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake." This is to be at that
h Heb. xi. 35. i Luke xx. 36. j John vi. 39, 40, 44. k Phil. iii. 11. 1 Acts xxiv. 15.
*Phil. iii. 11. It is not unimportant to notice, that the Greek word used in this instance by St. Paul, for the resurrection unto which he was so desirous to attain, is not avasasis, the usual phrase employed; but ğavasasıs—THV E&AVAṢATIV TOV VExpwv-implying, as some argue, the resurrection of a part out of many dead ones. So far as emphasis is laid on the peculiar use of the word in this one place, I must confess I attach no peculiar importance to it; not seeing why the preposition should imply a partial resurrection when attached to avasaris, more than when used separately. We meet with it in connexion with the resurrection in every possible position, that is consistent with grammar: e. g. in composition, vasaris, as in the text;-detached from avasaris yet before and governing it, as in Acts xxvi. 23, where it is spoken of Christ, who was poos & αναςάσεως νεκρών; and in Luke xx. 25, and in other places, η ανασασις ή εκ νεκρών. In all which places there does appear to me a special signification intended; viz. that in them mention is made, not of the abstract doctrine of a resurrection of dead ones, (avasaσis vexpov,) nor merely of a resurrection from death; but EK vexpwv, from or out of dead ones, leaving therefore dead ones be
+ Dan. xii. 2. Since writing this an able writer in the Investigator, under the signature of Edinensis, has thrown great light on the latter part of this text, as it stands in our English version, viz. "some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." He says "These many (adverting to the former part of the verse) are the saints; and the next clause ought, we think, to be thus understood and rendered:-These (raised ones) are destined to everlasting life: and the others (the oλool of John) to shame and everlasting contempt." Afterwards he adds in a note, that the Jewish Rabbi Saadias Gaon