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to show us the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter, we find the word resurrection but twice used, chap. xx. 5, 6, and each time with the distinction of first, implying a second; and both the first and second meaning something in the present life-something besides the resurrection of the body? For the wicked, the rest of the dead, cannot be included in the first resurrection, or among the first raised, because those are blessed and holy; therefore, the living of the rest of the dead is the second resurrection, and includes everything that appears even implied by the resurrection, as the word is used by him who concluded the sacred
And (as their mode of interpretation necessarily requires) some of the last writers upon the modern plan have continued the allegory, and have included the rest of the dead, ver. 5. They suppose the wicked, the rest of the dead, after the millennium, will live in the same figurative sense as the righteous in the millennium. But this, instead of relieving any difficulty, involves the interpretation in new absurdities; it renders the sentence without sense or signification; for, as the interests of the righteous and the wicked are diametrically opposite, it is as impossible they should live, i. e., be in prosperity together, as that light and darkness should come over the earth and prevail together. To say the righteous and kingdom of Christ shall be in prosperity this thousand years, but the wicked and kingdom of the devil shall not be in prosperity until this thousand years are finished, is as unmeaning as to say, it will be day and light for twelve hours,
but it will not be night and dark until those twelve hours are ended; or to say of the balance, the right hand scale is up, but the left hand scale is not up.*
Again, how can the modern millennists interpret this as the first figurative resurrection; when, according to their own interpretations, the resurrection of the witnesses, mentioned chap. xi., is figurative, and is first? It has been considered as the greatest proof of the resurrection of the witnesses being figurative, that the resurrection of the souls of them that were beheaded, &c., i. e., of those that were slain or dead in body, is called the first resurrection.
*How could the wicked be called the rest of the dead, as, in this figurative sense, the righteous and wicked could not be dead together; but, as the one die, the other live; and so, vice versa? Should one go into a floor where was a heap of threshed corn, and take up a part only, the remainder might be called the rest of the heap; but should he take up all, and at the same time thresh out a new heap, that could not with propriety be called the rest of the heap. And though the righteous before the millennium, on account of their scale being down, may figuratively be called dead; and the wicked in the millennium, on account of their scale being down, may also figuratively be called dead; yet they may not figuratively be called the rest of the dead: for, in the nature of things, the cause of the righteous and the cause of the wicked can neither prosper nor suffer together; therefore, the righteous and the wicked cannot in this sense be dead together; and, therefore, the wicked cannot be the rest of the dead. But to follow this figurative labyrinth would be an endless journey. When men depart from the letter of the Scriptures, when the subject-matter will bear a literal sense without absurdity or incongruity, they are greatly exposed to their imaginations and fancies, with which light, active, innumerable hosts, it is in vain to contend
To conclude our remarks upon this passage: the words of the text are plain and express for a literal resurrection as to both, the first and the second; and there is no figurative interpretation, that I know of, that will hold through all the particulars of the text, consistently with itself and with other parts of prophecy.*
*In favor of a figurative interpretation of the first resurrection, it is said,
1. The first part of this passage, all must allow, is figurative: the key, the great chain, and the seal, cannot be understood literally.
But, we answer, because there is a necessity from the subject-matter for our understanding some part of a passage figurative, that is no reason we should understand other parts of the passage figurative, where there is no such necessity.
2. The coming of Christ, and his appearing at the day of judgment in his human nature, is said to be his appearing the second time, answering to his first appearance in his human nature on earth. This would not be the second time, but the third, were he thus to appear in his human nature at the millennium.
This argument mistakes our sentiments. We believe that the coming of Christ at the millennial day is his second and last coming, when he will sit upon the throne of his glory and judge the world.
3. Christ is now in the best situation to be adored and enjoyed by his church on earth. His church and kingdom on earth will, in the millennium, be as happy, splendid, and glorious, as if he were on earth, as he is now in heaven, and much more so.
"Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them; and then shall they fast in those days." The church is ever taught, by the divine word, to look forward to the coming of Christ-the return of the Bridegroom, as an event that will greatly increase her happiness, splendor, and glory.
But this is not the only passage of Scripture in favor of the doctrine of the first resurrection;
4. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. This teaches us to look forward to the second coming of Christ, when he will come to judgment, as the next great event that will immediately respect us after death.
To this we answer, many of the saints have already risen from the dead, and are now with Christ in their bodies: also, the coming of Christ at the millennium is his coming to judgment; for, speaking of his coming to judgment, he says "For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be in his day." His day-the day of Christ-his times, or time, is the millennium. See the concluding words of the remarkable prophecy of the millennium, Isa. chap. lx., “I the Lord will hasten it in his time."
5. Appearing with Christ in glory, means appearing with him in heaven.
"But," as we understand the Scriptures, "when we see our Savior here, we shall be like our Head."
6. It does not appear desirable, or to be any advantage to the departed saints, or to the church on earth, to have the bodies of all who have died before the millennium raised from their graves, and come to live a thousand years in this world, before the general resurrection.
See our answer to this argument in Lecture VIII.
7. There is nothing expressly said of the resurrection of the body in this passage. The apostle John saw the souls of the beheaded, &c., and they lived and reigned with Christ.
To say souls, meaning persons, soul and body, is a manner of expression so common in the Scriptures, that we need not quote examples. But if John had said, the bodies of, &c., it might have been understood figuratively, and doubtless would, as well as now; for I have seen even Isaiah xxvi. 19 interpreted figuratively, and quoted in favor of a figurative resurrection-"Thy dead men shall live together, with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead."
there are many, which, though perhaps not altogether so particular, are yet evidently to the same purpose; some of which we will mention.
1 Cor. xv. 21, 22, 23. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." It seems plainly intimated in this text, that the resurrection at the coming of Christ will not be of all, but only of a part of the dead; and that chiefly of them who are Christ's, or only of them who were visibly and professedly Christ's.
1 Thess. iv. 16. "For 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." The word first here refers to the living in Christ, who will not take their flight until the dead in Christ be first risen; so that both shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord: for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise. This language is the same as before, and plainly intends, that, at the coming of Christ, not all the dead, but the dead in Christ, shall rise.
When our Lord spake of this great event at his coming, he limited it in this same manner. Matt. xxiv. 30, 31. "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