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results of his Scripture studies upon it. With the main teaching of the article we are in cordial sympathy. We have always taught in these pages, that resurrection is eclectic and progressive. The special point at which we would speak less positively than our contributor is the ex abrupto character of the events, including the First Resurrections which Scripture connects with the coming of the Lord.
The early Christians believed that martyred saints, if not already raised, were at least far advanced toward the glory of the resurrection-state. Expressions in St. Paul's writings indicate that there is an element of progress in the steps by which the believer attains to the final glory. We cannot therefore, accept, without qualification, a view which regards even apostles and martyrs as still among the dead (we do not mean the unconscious dead). We feel constrained to make a distinction between resurrection, which the Scriptures speak of as already begun in the Christian, and "the redemption of the body." Rom. VIII. 23 Our friend admits very fully the principle of progress and successive stages in his interpretation of the passages which refer.to the transformation of the creature. The final glorification of humanity, he sees also, is to be accomplished in this way. May not, therefore, the transition to the Millennial age, with the resurrection that precedes it, be less violent and abrupt than would appear from the surface reading of the passages referring to it?
THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
In the twentieth chapter of the Revelation of St. John, occur the following wonderful and beautiful words, relating to the hope of the Church,—the resurrection from the dead. "And I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God .... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection." etc.
These words, in spite of the uncertainty with which many students interpret them, set forth clearly that which is implied in other Scriptures, that the resurrection of the most faithful servants of God,—otherwise called the elect,—shall precede the resurrection of other men by a distinct interval. The martyrs are mentioned as representative of all the elect ones; nor is this the only place in Holy Scripture where a part is taken for the whole. The very sound of the announcement, " Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," assure us that the prophet is describing a blessedness unto which we all may attain, by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,— unto which we all are called.
And lest any should conceive the idea that to inherit a resurrection which shall long antedate the consummation of all things is not a proper hope for Christians, I desire to submit one single consideration in the way of argument, and then to proceed, not in a controversial manner, but rather in the way of a reverent and devotional study of various passages of Scripture, bearing on this great, subject. The consideration is this: We are aware that the apostles and their earliest disciples lived in the hope that the Lord would come again in their own day to raise the departed saints and to translate the living: and we know also that they were not ignorant of the purpose of God to fill the earth with His glory, and cause every knee to bow to Him. We cannot harmonize these two facts by saving that they expected within a few short years to bring every man, Jew and Gentile, to repentance and holiness: none are so foolish as to have such an idea as this. And so there is but one admissible explanation, which is that those who thus looked for the Lord had been taught that there would 1 e a first resurrection, embracing a limited number (though that form of expression was not used by them at that time), and that the full blessing of the nation would be a subsequent work of God.
After the passage already quoted from the Apocalypse, the words which most clearly imply the truth enunciated are those in Matt. 24: 36-41, and 1 Cor. 15: 23, 24.
In the former we read as follows: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man . . . then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." (See also Luke 17: 34-3G). What does this taking and leaving mean? Is the word " taking " merely equivalent to approving? The word so translated is the same that occurs in John 14 : 3,— "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself." Can it be then that it means a taking away from the earth into the mansions in the Father's house? Even without further comparison of Scriptures, we see that the words will easily bear an interpretation which is in harmony with that idea of the future before mentioned. And in the light of the wonderful words of St. John it seems to me that all uncertainty must vanish. These words speak of a time when a portion of the living shall be translated and caught up into the immediate presence of the glorified Redeemer,—all others in Christendom beiti"; left here on the earth in the outer darkness. "I his is the first resurrection," "(for the translation of the living saints shall be accompanied, and, indeed, preceded, by the resurrection of the sleeping ones). Dean Alford does not hesitate to say that the "taking" is that work of the angels spoken of in the 31st verse, "He shall send His angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." He says also that this is not the great trumpet of the general resurrection, except so far as that resurrection may be spoken of as including also the first resurrection ;" And he refers to Psalm ijO as finding its fulfilment in the events here mentioned by St. Matthew,—" The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Our God shall come and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him [see 2 These. 2:8], and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heaven from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me [at this time His saints only are gathered unto Him], those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice," [not all who may at the last enter into life, but those who, through the appointed means of grace, had been received into covenant relations with God]. His " saints," those who are elsewhere called "the first-fruits of His creatures," "the general assembly and church of the first-born" [James 1 : 18; Heb. 12 : 23] shall then by resurrection and translation be advanced unto the perfect likeness of the risen Lord; the rest of the dead shall be suffered to remain still under the power of death; and those who being alive were not counted worthy to be numbered with His saints, shall be exposed to the judgments which God shall pour out upon the nations,—for He shall "rule them with a rod of iron and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel, and shall prepare the earth for the establishment of that universal Kingdom, whose progress shall intervene between the first and the final resurrection. The blessed and holy ones who had part in the first resurrection shall reign, seated with Christ in His Throne.
The other passage of which I spoke in this connection is 1 Cor. 15 : 22-24 " 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; afterwards, they that are Christ's at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father."
Here also we find the same succession of events as those I have been describing. And yet, but for the light afforded by other Scriptures, we might be slow to understand that the truths I desire to enforce are really implied by it. But notice, even in the Authorized Version " the end" is not made identical with the resurrection of "those that are Christ's at his coming ;" and in the Greek original the difference between the two is more plainly marked. The Greek may be freely translated thus, "Christ the first-fruits; and after a length of time, those who are Christ's, at His coming; and after another interval, cometh the end." Notice further, that it is declared that the end shall follow upon an act of our Lord which is called " delivering up the Kingdom to the Father," after having put down all rule and all authority and power. It is plain that this Kingdom has not yet fully come, for not yet is all rule and authority put down, under the all-compelling power of the King of kings,—the nations are still rebellious, and will be in rebellion when Christ comes ; and yet we know from numerous Scriptures that it is to be a Kingdom upon earth. It is, therefore, a Kingdom which shall be fully established only after the coming of the Lord and the first resurrection. The Church in its present condition is only an earnest of that condition. God does not intend that the Church shall exercise dominion over the earth now,—to suppose this is the error of the Roman Church. The Kingdom spoken of in prophecy is a Kingdom over which God's elect shall reign, not in mortal but in immortal bodies. "They shall live [t. e., they shall be raised to life again] and reign with Christ a thousand years." And after this, " cometh the end."
To give weight to this interpretation, I quote again from Dean Alford, who says, " It ought to be needless to remind the student of the distinction between this coming of Christ and the final judgment: it is here peculiarly important to bear it in mind."
The light shining out from these passages, enabling us to discern the purposes of God concerning the quick and the dead, also shines out from the oft-recurring expression, " the resurrection from the dead." The resurrection of our Lord is called His " Resurrection from the dead," the meaning being that His rising to life again separated Him from the company of those who were dead. Now we find this same expression used of that event to which we ourselves look forward in hope: it is a resurrection from among, or out from the company of the dead. The words " resurrection of the dead " signify that the dead to whom reference is made shall be raised to bodily life again. But the words "resurrection from the dead" point us to a day when God shall raise in glorified bodies a portion of the dead,—all the rest being still left under the power of death until another day shall dawn, when they too shall be brought back again through the gate of the tomb and be "judged according to their works." In Philippians 3 : 11, St. Paul plainly has reference to that which is by St. John called " the first resurrection." He declares himself desirous of attaining unto (literally) " that resurrection which is from among the dead," unto that resurrection, special in time and in glory, which is the prize of our high calling, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. It was not enough for him to attain merely unto " the resurrection of the head." He might have part in that and still be a castaway, for wden the dead, small and great, stand before God and are judged according to their works, among them shall be those