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up into the air, still it will not follow that dead material bodics are thus to rise, or that living material bodies are to be thus transported : for, when speaking in a similar manner in another place, to be considered presently, he says, that “we shall be changed" - shall change our material bodies for spiritual ones, .6 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;" evidently teaching that, happen how it may, we are to be dispossessed of that “flesh and blood,” which, he affirms in the same place, “cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” and which are so little suited for flying in the air.
PART II. Other Texts, commonly regarded as adverse to the True Doc
In the First Part of this Section I have considered all the texts, cited as opposed to the View of the Resurrection which we receive as the truth of Scripture, in the work which I have taken as my guide in the composition of this Appeal. In making this remark, however, I except the famous fifteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians; which, regarding it as strongly affirming our view of the subject, I reserve till I enter on the consideration of texts by which that view is established. But first I will request the attention of the Candid and Reflecting, while I make the present branch of the subject more complete, by noticing all the remaining texts, both of the Old Testament and the New, which are commonly referred to the Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body.
In the preceding part of this Section, among other texts from the Old Testament, I have examined the passage of Daniel, ch. xii. 2, which says, • And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt :” and it has been shown, that, “upon no consistent scheme of interpretation whatever, can this verse be made to relate to an actual revi. val of dead bodies.
This image of a revival from the grave, is also used, by other prophets, to express the restoration of the Jews from a state of depression to a state of prosperity; and as such passa.
ges are sometimes improperly cited, by the advocates of the resurrection of the body, in proof of that doctrine, we will here briefly pass them under review.
We will first notice Ezekiel's vision of dry bones, because, though inattentive readers are apt to suppose that it relates to a general resurrection of dead bodies, and some who ought to know beter frequently apply it to that doctrine, it nevertheless explains itself so clearly, that it may serve as a key to all other passages in which similar images are used. Ezekiel was one of those, who, with Jehoiachin the king and a great body of the people, were carried captives tò Babylon at the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. So long, however, as Jerusalem remained standing, and under the government of Jehoiachin's successor, Zedekiah, the captives in Babylon entertained hopes of a return, and of the restoration of the Jewish state to its pristine glory; but when Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, and the principal part of the people who remained was likewise carried into captivity, at the second invasion by Nebuchadnezzar, they abandoned themselves to despair, and regarded all prospect of a restoration as utterly hopeless : which they expressed, in the figurative language to which they were accustomed, by saying, « Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off, for our parts." To counteract this despair, Ezekiel is favored with the vision of dry bones. 6. The hand of the Lord,” says he, was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones ; and behold there were very many in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.” The bones accordingly are clothed with fiesh and skin, “and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceeding great army.” (chap. xxxvii. 1--10). If the reader goes no further, he may conclude that this vision is intended to teach the doctrine of the resurrection of the body; but the prophet, or rather the Lord by the prophet, immediately declares, that the bones were symbols, not of actually deceased men, but of the Israelites in their then state of extreme affliction and depression, when they were held captive in the country of their enemies as dead bones in the grave; and that the revivification of the dry bones is a symbol of the certain revival of the Jewish state, by the restoration of the people to their own land; which, as is well known, took place accordingly, after the captivity nad lasted seventy years. For thus the prophet continues : 66 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost;
we are cut
off, for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel, and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit within
shall live, and I shall place you in your own land : then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (ver. 11-14). In no other part of Scripture is so much said respecting the opening of graves, and bringing up out of graves; but, most evidently, this language does not here mean that there shall be any resurrection of actually dead bodies : consequently, it does not necessarily (perhaps I might say, it necessarily does not) mean such a resurrection, when it is used elsewhere.
Having thus obtained so distinct a clew to the signification of these images, we may easily understand them when they occur in other places.
Isa. xxvi. 19, as it stands in the common translation, appears more in favor of the resurrection of the body than any other text either of the Old or New Testament. “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead.” But for the main strength of this passage in reference to this argument, - its seeming mention of the dead body of Jesus Christ, as that together with which the other dead are to arise, — which would destroy its reference to any restoration of the Jews, it is entirely indebted to the ingenuity of the translators ; which they in fact acknowledge, by printing the words together with in Italic characters, to indicate that nothing answering to them is to be found in the original. Indeed, they have herein departed likewise from all the ancient versions. The chapter consists of a song of praise for the delivery of the church and people of God, and the destruction of the enemies which had tyrannized over them: and, as in the preceding examples, to rise from the dead, and awake from the dust, are used as images to express their restoration from the extreme of depression. Of their enemies it is said in ver. 14; “ They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise : therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all. their memory to perish :" so that if the 19th verse did relate to the resurrection of the body, and could prove that the bodies of the people of God are to rise, from the grave, the 14th verse would prove that their enemies are never to arise again at all, but that when they die, they perish altogether: which alone evinces that thin
resurrection, either with the body or without it, is not the subject treated of. It is to be observed also, that the word (rephaim) translated deceased, in ver. 14, always refers to such as exercise a tyrannical power, and is the same as that translated the dead at the end of ver. 19: which proves that the dead whom the earth shall cast out, mentioned at the end of that verse, are not the same as the dead who shall live, mentioned in the beginning of it: thus for the earth to cast out her dead, does not mean the resurrection of the dead, but the utter and final dispersion of their dust; so that, if the resurrection werə the subject treated of, here also would be mention of some who are never to rise again at all. The true sense of the verse is given by Bishop Lowth, and is as follows:
“Thy dead shall live: my deceased, they shall arise: Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust! For thy dew is as the dew of the dawn; But the earth shall cast forth as an abortion, the deceased tyrants.”' And the bishop gives this note upon it: “ The deliverance of the people of God from a state of the lowest depression, is explained by images plainly taken from the resurrection of the dead. [As an example, he here refers to the passage of Ezekiel considered above. He then adds] And this deliverance is expressed with a manifest opposition to what is said above, ver. 14, of the great lords and tyrants under whom they had groaned :
They are dead, they shall not live;
They are deceased tyrants, they shall not rise :' that they should be destroyed utterly, and should never be restored to their former power and glory.” Plain enough, then, I apprehend it is, that this passage
does not, cannot teach the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. Yet Bishop Lowth, after having so candidly and clearly given its true sense, would fain infer the resurrection of the body from it! To put the reader in possession of the whole of his sentiments, and as an extraordinary example of the power of prejudice over even the clearest understandings, I subjoin the remark with which he concludes his note : from hence, that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead [meaning, it would seem, of the body] was at that time a popular and common doctrine : for an image which is assumed in order to express or represent any thing in the way of allegory or metaphor, whether poetical or prophetical, must be an image commonly known and understood; otherwise it will not answer the
for which it is assumed." Is not this saying, that nothing must be used as an image in poetical or prophetical language, which is not at the same time a matter
6. It appears
• It appears
of fact in common language? Mignt he not as well have said, because the Lord declares to him that overcometh, in the Rev. elation, “I will give him the morning star,” from hence, that the belief that the saints will be presented with stars was at that time a common and popular belief?”. or, because John says that he saw a woman clothed with the sun, .6. It appears from hence, that to suppose that a woman might be clothed with the sun
was at that time a common and popular supposition ?" &c. The cases are exactly parallel, and one inference is as just as the other.
There are two other passages commonly cited from the Old Testament in proof of the resurrection of the body; but they are of precisely the same character as the above, and need not therefore detain us. The first is in Hosea vi. 2: 64 After two days will he revive us; in the third day he will raise us up; and we shall live in his sight.” But here no mention is made of the body or the grave; and the preceding verse shows that it does not relate in any way to the literally dead : “ Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten and he will bind us up.” Now it would be ridiculous to exhort dead bodies to return unto the Lord. The other passage is in the same prophet, ch. xiii. 14. “ I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; 0 grave, I will be thy destruction : repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” This is spoken of Ephraim; and an examination of the context will show that it can have no reference to the return of dead bodies from the tornb. Thus, in the words of Dr. Faber, “ to express the political revivification of the house of Israel, Hosea, like Isaiah and Ezekiel, uses the allegory of a resurrection."
I have confined myself, in my remarks on the above passages, to their external or literal sense only ; because if they do not refer to the resurrection of the body in that sense, they evidently cannot in any other: but we are satisfied, that unless the prophecies contained a spiritual sense also, treating of matters far more important than the affairs of the Israelites and other nations, they could form no part of the word of God. As, in their external sense, such passages as the above treat of a political, so, in their spiritual sense, they must treat of a spit itual resurrection. To pass
to another subject. The translation of Enoch and Elijah is often referred to as supporting the notion of the final resurrection of the material body; for they are supposed to have been taken into heaven with their natural bodies, not hay. ing passed, in the ordinary manner, through the gate of death.