1 CORINTHIANS 15
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
...we, thanks to God's unmerited favour, have had our attention called back to the truth concerning him, and are waiting in silence, in quietness and patience, for his return from heaven.
Are we worthy of this position? Are we quite ready to go and meet him, with the account which every one of us will have to render? James indicates the principle of readiness, in the chapter read, James 1. He says,
"Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves; for if any be a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."
Now that is very plain and simple, there is no mistaking the meaning of it.
The "perfect law of liberty" is to be found in the Bible. Jesus says,
"ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,"
that is to say, the unfolding of God's mind to us in various matters made known to us in the Bible constitutes the law of liberty. What we have to do, is to look into it, and not to forget what we read. A great deal depends on memory, in reference to salvation; in fact, it is true what was once said by Dr. Thomas,
"that salvation is very much a matter of good memory."
...But some may say that some persons have good memories, and some bad ones, by natural constitution. The answer to this is, that everybody has a good memory for what they give their attention to, and what they like. Nobody forgets the house he lives in, no one forgets his friends; no one ever forgets the money that is owing to him. Why? Because these things are continually under cognisance, seen by the eyes or heard by the ears.
Now the reason the majority of people are forgetful hearers of the Word is because they are not constant readers of it. They do not "continue" in this law; they allow themselves to be diverted by the ephemeral things of life, from the important business of making themselves familiar with God's Word, by reading.
They are without excuse. They plead bad memories, but they forget they have the power of making a good one. They have a good memory for what they continually busy themselves about. This is a universal rule.
Do you think anybody would have a good memory for Greek or Algebra if they did not apply themselves with diligence? People dive into musty and intricate studies to qualify themselves for a good position in society. In this way they make a memory for learning and gain their object. So it must be with us.
We must qualify ourselves for the great future, by studying day and night those disclosures of the divine mind which have been preserved in the record for our benefit.
We must be diligent readers of the Bible, and thus we shall gain a good and serviceable memory of all that God would have us to remember, viz., the truth concerning Christ and His will concerning us. In this way we shall stand ready for the summons which may at any time come forth.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
First of all
It is not true that Paul delivered this in the Gentile sense of the phrase "first of all," that is, that the first thing he preached was the crucifixion of Jesus for sins.
When he went among those who had the scriptures of the prophets, and professed to believe them, the first thing he did was to lay before them the things concerning the Christ; and when he thought he had sufficiently enlightened them upon these matters, he then submitted to them the things concerning Jesus, and his name.
But when he went among idolaters, who knew not the prophets, he first showed them the absurdity of idol-worship, endeavouring in so doing to turn them from dumb idols to the living and true God, whose messenger he announced himself to be; he then proclaimed God's future vicegerent reign over the nations by A RIGHTEOUS MAN whom he had prepared for the purpose, having raised him from the dead; which resurrection was an assurance that said Divine Kingdom would certainly be established.
Having thus introduced the subject of the King's resurrection, he then preached to them Jesus, that is, the things concerning him; who confirmed the apostle's testimony "with signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and distributions of the Holy Spirit, according to his will."
The foregoing statement is proved by Paul's course at Thessalonica, Athens, and Corinth; for thus it is written, "And Paul, as his manner was, went into the synagogue of the Jews, and three Sabbath days (or Saturdays) reasoned with them out of the scriptures (of the prophets, the only scriptures then in being,) opening and alleging that it behoved the Christ to suffer, and to rise from among the dead (ek nekroon)." (ACTS 18:4) While he confined himself to this, the general question, he was listened to without tumult. The Jews had no objection to listen to the discussion of the question, "Is the Anointed One to suffer death, and to rise from the dead, before he assumes the reins of government over Israel and the nations?"
This is clear from Paul's adventures at Corinth as well as at Thessalonica. There he reasoned with the Jews for several Sabbaths, during which all was peace and quietness, and obviously, because he said nothing about Jesus. He spoke only of the Christ, without affirming whether he had appeared or not. But when Silas and Timothy joined him from Macedonia he was encouraged, and, being pressed in spirit, could no longer forbear to affirm that the Christ had appeared, and that the crucified and resurrected Jesus was He. This avowal threw the hitherto peaceable Jews into an uproar, as the announcement of the same truth had at Thessalonica.
It is evident, therefore, from the effect produced at both places, that Paul did not preach the things concerning Jesus first of all. If he had, his first discourse would have resulted only in tumult. He would not have convinced a single Jew. He had first to prepare the minds of the Jews by convincing them from the prophets that, whoever the Christ might be, and whenever he should appear, he must prove himself worthy of exaltation to David's throne by obedience unto death, from which God would deliver him by a resurrection to everlasting life. If he could get the Jews to believe this he would remove the great obstacle in the way of their confessing that Jesus was the Christ.
HERALD OF THE KINGDOM AND AGE TO COME, JULY 1852
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Sin nature was not put away by death and resurrection but by change after resurrection:
"Would anyone intelligent in the Word affirm that an unclean body made yet more unclean by becoming a corpse, and therefore defiling to anyone who touched it, became clean by putting it into an unclean place and lying there for three days less or more?
"Would the simple fact of that corpse coming to life in a tomb which its presence had
Mosaically defiled, and walking out of it, make it a clean body or nature . . . . . . .
"But passing through the grave cleanses no one. They who emerge thence come forth with the
same nature they carried into it, therefore their coming forth is Re-surrection. If the same kind of body did not come forth that was buried it would not be Resurrection but only surrection as in the case of the first man.
"Jesus 'rose again.' His coming forth was therefore re-surrection."
Excerpts from Eureka
The Three Days and Three Nights
-Respecting the "three days and three nights" that Christ was to be in the heart of the earth, corresponding to the type given us in Jonah; there has been from time to time, a good deal of ingenious devising, with the object of making the burial of Christ fit in with mathematical exactness to the period thus described. To this end various tables have been prepared, in which each point of time is calculated with all the precision with which the astronomer calculates the hour and the minute at which the sun rises, or the moment the moon will be in a state of eclipse.
It is doubtful if this is called for at all. Jesus usually employed conventional modes of speech, with such meanings as were well understood, and matter of general recognition.
That the phrase did not mean literally three twenty-four hours, is evident from the fact that Christ was to rise from the dead on "the third day" according to his own words (Matt. 16:21; 17:23), and did so according to the facts subsequently recorded, and in harmony with Paul's declaration that
"he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures."
In this description the day of his crucifixion and the day of his resurrection are each counted one, although he was not buried till the evening of the first day (Mark 15:42), and rose with the rising sun on the third day (Matt. 16:2). The results of the combined records set down in their natural simplicity may be thus stated:-
Thursday evening ate passover.
Later, same night taken prisoner.
Friday, crucified at 9, died at 3.
Evening of same day, buried.
Saturday, sabbath-rest in the grave.
Disciples also rested.
Sunday, rose at break of day.
It will be easily seen from this, that reckoning from Friday we get three separate days, but reckoning his crucifixion to have taken place on Thursday, we should plainly have four days. This will not do. We get a first night on Thursday evening in the way described, and following that, Friday night and Saturday night, which makes the three. But you cannot make him buried on Thursday night. without adding another day to the three, for the night of his burial is necessarily but the end of the day on which he was crucified.
Bro. F. R. Shuttleworth
The Christadelphian, June 1888
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above 500 brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
From the place Paul gives to this occurrence in the enumeration of the witnesses to Christ's resurrection, it must have happened during the first week after that event, but where, or under what circumstances, is not recorded. It was a matter evidently well known among the believers of the first century.
Paul would hear of it from Peter during the fortnight he spent with Peter at Jerusalem, after-his own enlightenment (Gal. i. 18). It would be a thoroughly authenticated circumstance, since the majority of the 500 were still living when Paul wrote. It would be interesting to know the particulars, but it could not add to the strength of the
Nazareth Revisited Ch 60
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
His concern is for the stability and welfare of the Corinthian ecclesia. For the Truth's sake in Corinth, he must establish his divinely-appointed authority, and he must expose the falseness of those who are endeavoring to undermine that authority and turn the ecclesias against him.
There is guidance for us in every detail of this record, and without this guidance clearly in our minds, we are lost.
Every time we -- however well-meaningly -- allow ourselves to be guided by natural thinking in dealing with problems, we shall get off the true, God-pleasing track. We shall be either too harsh, or too lenient -- both are very harmful.
There is only one safeguard: the Word of God. Generally, we must by consistent study fill our minds with a deep background of the instructions and examples of the Scriptures.
And specifically, in each particular instance and decision, consciously and prayerfully, each step of the way, seek a direct guide from Scripture as applying to each circumstance we face.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
This is a conclusive argument against the dogma of an immortal soul in man, whether good or bad. An immortal soul cannot perish, neither would the immortality of the faithful be dependent on the resurrection, but on the divine nature of their souls, which are supposed to be imperishable and undying; but seeing that the apostle argues against the immortality of the believers consequent upon their non-resurrection, it follows to a demonstration, that their imperishability and entrance into glory, result solely from their resuscitation from the dust.
The Christadelphian May, 1870
22 For as in Adam all die, even so IN Christ shall all be made alive.
Imagine yourself charged by either God or man with eating the forbidden fruit in Eden. Would not your understanding be outraged? Is it necessary to say, "You never did eat of the fruit: that you weren't there to eat"?
Adam ate: Adam sinned: Adam was condemned to death: Adam was driven out into a state of evil because of sin: you have been born into that state, or constitution of things, sharing his very being in all its relations, and therefore may be described as constitutional members of a sinful state, alias constituted sinners - that is, men helplessly made subject to a state of sin, from which you cannot, by your own will, deliver yourself.
The Christadelphian Aug 1894. p304
Do the Scriptures exhibit or hint at any but one channel of hope for the condemned in Adam? Do they reserve a future opportunity for such in darkness as think they are in the right way? To this, there is but one answer: that there is but
"one faith, one hope, and one baptism;" (Eph. 4:5);
that the apostles were the men who shewed the way of salvation" (Acts 16:17); that there is no other way than the one proclaimed by them.-(Acts 4:12).
If this answer is true, (and who shall overthrow it?) it determines the position of all who are in an ignorant state in relation to God's system of righteousness. Being "condemned already," (John 3:18), they simply remain as they are.
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."-(Rom. 3:23).
It is of the Almighty's entire favour that any earthborn shall ever see another life and a higher state. There is no injustice done to those circumstantially excluded. Our sympathies may incline us to demur at the fate of such as we esteem excellent, who are outside of the Divine arrangement; but sympathy is blind, and might be as naturally exercised toward animal pets.
The sole question is, What is the Divine will? To this we must be trained to bow, even if requiring the sacrifice of ourselves.-(Luke 9:24).
It is unsafe to speculate in the direction of benevolent possibilities, not only unrevealed but inconsistent with what is revealed. It is unsafe, both with regard to ourselves and the influence we may have upon others. Our only wisdom is to accept our position, and save ourselves (Acts 2:40), and as many others as we can.-(2 Tim. 2:2; Jude 3).
It is hard to learn but wise to remember that out of Christ man cannot put God under any obligation. Conscientious exertions in a wrong direction create no rights beyond the present life. Conscientious and benevolent sympathy are as much attributes of the brain-flesh as the more odious impulses.
Socrates, Plato, and other ancients appear to have been characterised by these sentiments, but they were not thereby emancipated from the sentence of death which all men have in themselves.-(2 Cor. 1:9.)
It has pleased God to adopt a way of His own in releasing men from this. What can we do but fall in with this way? relinquishing as futile all conceptions our limited intellects may form as to how God ought to proceed or may proceed.
To encourage hope apart from his way is dangerous. To run strictly in the groove of that way is safe. "God's moral government" is a phrase largely burdened with the theories of the schools, all of which have this grand fallacy at the bottom, that man is a creature as everlasting as God Himself.
When we come to see that "all flesh is as grass," and that man is a creature of a day, vanishing in successive generations under the operation of the law of sin and death, it considerably alters our thoughts about moral government. It brings us to accept our position as earth-borns, having no everlasting rights and no power of creating them; and humbles us to the grateful acceptance of the "high-calling" to which God is inviting men through his Son.
The Christadelphian, May 1871
Concerning the working out of this plan, we read that God was in Christ—in Him by His Spirit, which dwelt in Him without measure. It was God in Christ that enabled him to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, or sin in the flesh.
Through death he destroyed this devil, and by the shedding of his blood offered a sacrifice for sin's flesh, and therefore could and did thereby obtain eternal redemption for himself because of his holy and perfect life.
This was God's purpose from the beginning, namely, the perfecting of one of the race for the salvation of many; making by him a declaration of his righteousness, and showing thereby the justice of His dealings with the human race; and having done this, He, through forbearance, remits or passes over the sins of all coming unto Him through this perfected Son, whom He has constituted a mediator, and in whom He has been sanctified, on condition of their belief or faith in certain promises relating to this work, and a manifestation of their faith by obedience rendered to certain commandments and ordinances which He wisely instituted.
Thus God has opened up a way through His dear Son whereby many shall be redeemed from death. As in Adam we die, so in Christ we shall be made alive. In Adam we partake of his sinfulness, and in Christ we are covered by his righteousness. Christ having had our nature,
"our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed;"
and God through His forbearance having remitted our sins, we can understand that
"there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1).
The law of the Spirit in Jesus Christ maketh us free from the law of sin and death. And so it is that
"as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19).
But it must be the obedience of one of the race that was under the condemnation of death. This was the case with Jesus Christ, who was the Son of Man as well as the Son of God, and consequently it was not possible for him to enter eternal life alone without dying.
Some when they hear these things, cry out in dismay that such a theory belittles Christ, but the argument really turns the other way; for it is truly honouring Christ and the Father to say that a life of perfect obedience was forced, as it were, out of a nature encompassed with the infirmities of our flesh. This was the case with Christ.
B. J. Dowling
The Christadelphian, Jan 1889
This passage is still quoted in certain quarters as evidence that only the baptised will rise. When will some men learn wisdom? Doubtless in certain cases this inability to comprehend Paul's simple' and obvious meaning is the reluctance to abandon any seeming proof for the unreasonable theory of the non-resurrectional responsibility of enlightened rebels. But to repeat once more the apostle's meaning. Paul is not referring to a mere rising from the ground, but to a rising to eternal life.
Proof: The apostle says the order of the making alive is, Christ the first-fruits, next, those who are his at his coming, then the end (verses 22, 23). Christ could not be called the first-fruits, if the making alive merely meant the resuscitation to flesh and blood existence, for in this many had preceded him. To wit, Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, and others.
But Christ was the first raised to deathlessness and immortal life. Further confirmation is to be found in Paul's statement that the resurrection, or making alive, so far as his argument is concerned, implies the attainment of a spiritual body (verses 42-44).
If brethren are determined to hold on to the false theory already alluded to, let them not distort this passage to support it. God will not hold that man guiltless, who is wilfully ignorant, or who knowingly and persistently perverts the simple teaching of any part of His word. ATJ
The Christadelphian, Jan 1899
Adam's innocence ended with the fall
Adam was condemned, and we have the testimony of the Spirit that his condemnation hath passed upon all men. Now what is that condemnation? Is it a condemnation against the nature or against the life in the nature? Which? It cannot be a condemnation against the life in the nature: that is what immortal-soulism says; and, in this respect, the new theory makes an advance towards immortal-soulism.
The abstract life in all nature is the same. Men and animals have all one breath. With God is the fountain of life. God is the life of all; and He giveth unto all life, and breath, and all things; and when death happens, the dust returns unto the dust, and the spirit or the life returns to God who gave it. It is not the life that is condemned, for it is not the life that is the sinner.
It is the person, the individual, the nature that is condemned, because it was the person, Adam, that was the sinner. Condemnation in Adam means, therefore, that we are mortal in Adam: mortal in the physical constitution—the organisation.
Look at any of us when we are just newly born. Why are we mortal at that moment? We have not sinned. "Oh, but we sinned in Adam," says this same theory. Did we sin in the individual sense in him? How could we sin individually when we did not exist? Paul says No. He says death reigned over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.
Why is it we are mortal then? In what sense is the sentence of Adam upon us when we are born? Well, we are Adam's organisation. It is in the organisation that the law of mortality resides. It is in the physical substance that the principle of death is at work. Hence the phrase, "this corruptible." If the substance were not corruptible, "life" would be ours for ever.
The Christadelphian, June 1873
24 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.
Yahweh is now with Christ Jesus, dwelling in him with his fulness; and during the thousand years, he will be with Christ's brethren, the saints, dwelling in them as in their elder brother; but with the residue of men he will not so dwell, until Christ has accomplished the work of "destroying that having the power of death, that is, the devil," and its works, or, in other words, until he shall have "taken away the sin of the world;" destroyed all its dominions, jurisdictions and powers; and have extinguished death. When this is consummated there will be no obstacle preventing God's abode with men but the Melchizedec kingdom; which must, therefore, of necessity be taken out of the way, as no longer adapted to the state of things upon the earth.
The Melchizedec kingdom was both kingly and priestly. At the end their will no longer be need for the priestly. With no sin and death there is no need for mediation.
What will be the use of priests to God for men, when, because of the effectual suppression of transgression, and the extinction of sin in the flesh, there are no gifts and sacrifices to offer, no errors and ignorance to atone for? Christ and the saints' occupation will then be gone. It will then have expired according to the statute of limitation, which says, "Thou art a priest for the age after the order of Melchizedec"-Psalm 110: 4. The word le-olahm, in the Hebrew text, is rendered in Paul's citation of it eis ton aiona in the Greek; which I have translated "for the age," which is not only probably correct, but made certainly so, by the scripture doctrine concerning priesthood.
Then - the long interval is a moment in time to eternal power and wisdom and presence 'a thousand years as one day' (2 Pet 3v8)
He does not say how long after Christ's coming it would be to that end. Indeed, he did not know, for "the times and seasons" were reserved by the Father in his own power, until he revealed them to Jesus Christ, "who sent and revealed by his messenger to his servant John."
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Death is the last enemy
The power of death is the corruption of the flesh, which is the consequence of sin. But, the wicked all being destroyed by fire, there remain upon the earth only the faithful and true, who are rewarded for their fidelity with the inheritance of the ages.
The "law of sin," or law of their flesh, is abolished in the change they undergo from corruption to incorruptibility and life. This is the abolishing of death from the earth, so that its inhabitants can die no more. This being brought to pass, the saying will be fulfilled, and the work accomplished, that
"the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the Devil;" and "him that hath the power of death, that is the Devil."
"the end, when the Son shall deliver up the Kingdom to the Father that God may be all and in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 21:3).
The separation between God and Man began with the transgression of the first Adam; it continues till the end of the 7000 years, when sin and death are utterly eradicated, and harmony again established in this orb of his glorious universe. Earth will have been delivered from moral and physical evil by his power administered and displayed through the Lord Jesus Christ, who, though "subjected to the Father," will have the pre-eminence over all "his brethren" through the endless duration of ages.
The last resurrection, which is implied in the development of "the end" (Rev. 20:6), will bring up from the dust the sleeping dead of the previous thousand years. Those who are accounted worthy of eternal life will receive it, and be added to the saints of the "first resurrection."
Thus a population will have been provided for the earth, which, instead of being destroyed, will be renovated, and all things belonging to it made new (Rev. 21:5).
The earth and its inhabitants will be incorruptible, undefiled and unfading.
God, according to his word, will have made "a full end of all nations," except that of Israel; which will be the sole occupant of the globe, and every Israelite, "an Israelite indeed," "equal to the Elohim," and crowned with glory and honor throughout all ages. During, the thousand years their nation will consist of three classes, Christ and the saints, righteous Israelites in the flesh, and those who "die accursed," but when perfection comes, there will be but one class, and all will be immortal.
The purpose of God, in the formation of the earth, will be accomplished; and
"the headstone of the creation will be brought forth with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it."
Elpis Israel 3.6.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him (the Son), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (the Father) that put all things under him (the Son), that God may be all in all.
The race being destined to ultimately escape death by being brought into harmony with the mind and will of God.
The kingdom will not be destroyed, but only changed in its constitution, so as to adapt it to the improved and altered condition of the world. The kingdom in its Melchizedec or millennial organization, is the heavens planted, and the foundations of earth laid by the Lord, when "he proclaims to Zion, Thou art my people;" and saith, "Thy God reigneth!"-Isaiah 51: 16; 52: 7. John styles this organization in reference to that of the post-millennial ages, the former, or "first heaven and the first earth" - that constitution of Israel predicted in the sixty-fifth of Isaiah.
This heaven of the kingdom is destined to be changed, so that when "the End" comes, it will have "passed away" as entirely as if it had been destroyed. This constitution of the kingdom will have perished, though Christ and the Saints remain in undiminished glory and beatitude. Hence, it is written in the hundred and second Psalm, and applied to Jesus in Hebrews 1: 10,
"Thou, Lord, at the beginning (kat' archas, at the beginning of Zion's earth and heavens) laidst the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish; but thou shalt stand: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:" then Jesus creates all things new: "but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) shall continue, and their seed (the saints) shall be established before thee."
Now, when the Lord Jesus has changed the whole system of things terrestrial and mundane, by the Spirit of the Father, a new world will be the result, in which the constitution of society will be royal, but not priestly; Jesus and the Saints being the Yahweh and the Elohim of the new order of things, as others were of the old, as appears from the Mosaic account of the Six Days.
Yahweh-Jesus and his Elohim will have consummated the work begun by Yahweh Elohim, the Lord of the Gods, seven thousand years before. But though "great," Jesus is always "the Son of the Highest," of whom he says, "My Father is greater than I." He is Yahweh's servant to perform an appointed work, and to establish his Father's authority in all the earth. This done, the Father no longer veils his face in a representative, but appears as sovereign in his own kingdom; in which, however, his glorious son is always pre-eminent, and next, but not upon, the throne.
The words of Pharaoh to Joseph will express the idea I wish to convey of the Son's subordination to the Father in the Ages, that God may be the all things for all.
"There is none so discreet and wise as thou. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou."
29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
What is the baptism for the dead?—(1 Cor. 15:29.)
Paul's allusion is to something true in itself and recognised by the Corinthians to whom he was writing. ... It has to do with death, the dead, and the burial of the dead. It is "a likeness of the death of Christ."—(Rom. 6:6.) The dead (to sin) are the subjects of it (Rom. 6:2), and it is a burial of such in Christ.—(Col. 2:12.)
These things were received by the Corinthians; and Paul might as well ask "if there is no resurrection of the dead, what is the meaning of all this? Do men go through this death-performance for the sake of rejoicing over the curse, or is it not that there is a hope of rising again to which all this points?"
The Christadelphian, July 1873
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
The Resurrectional Responsibility Question
"Whan an immense amount of writing and talking there has been about our being in Adam, under Adamic condemnation, having Adam's sin imputed to us, being saved from Adamic sin, being saved from Adamic condemnation, being under the law of sin and death in Adam, and so on, and so on.
"I have grown weary and sick of heart over all that conglomerate mess. The simple truth of the matter is that by nature we are in Adam, and will be as long as we possess his nature, while as to mind and disposition, or morally, and as to relationship, we pass out of Adam and into Christ at baptism.
Being morally and constitutionally in Christ through the obedience of faith, we are under and serve the law of the spirit of life in Christ by obeying the truth, by conforming our mind to the mind of the Spirit, and striving to keep the flesh under subjection; but the flesh itself is still in Adam, serving the law of sin and death, a body of death, yet with good hope of redemption and entire escape from Adam, if with the mind we continue faithfully to serve the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
As to righteousness, Christ's righteousness is his own, and it avails us only as a covering for our sins that we may work out a personal righteousness, or a righteousness of our own, in him.
Christ's righteousness has as yet redeemed the Adamic nature only so far as he is personally concerned, and he is the only one of Adam's race who has as yet escaped completely from that nature.
All who are in Christ, and thus covered with his righteousness, can by faith and obedience work out for themselves a personal righteousness in him, and thereby also secure the redemption of their nature and an entire escape from Adam. When we have passed physically into Christ, then will we be entirely out of Adam and entirely in Christ; but this will not be till in the resurrection of dead ones. The only Adamic sin and condemnation that attaches to us is that which pertains to his nature, and we cannot and do not escape from it until we escape from the nature.
As to dying, we die because we are by nature still in Adam; but we die in hope of a resurrection unto eternal life because of our adoption in Christ through belief and obedience of the truth. The life to which we are begotten is hid with Christ in God. Having been begotten in Christ to that life, and having abided in Christ by a faithful and obedient walk in the truth, we die in hope of a resurrection unto that life.
"It strikes me that it would be well to pay less attention to Adam, his sin and condemnation, and more attention to our own and the means of our escape from his sin-laden nature. It is our own sins, our own disobedience, and our own condemnation that will exclude us at the last from life eternal. We need not lay on Adam blame of our failure, if failure be ours, for that favour is open and free to all who honour God by faith and obedience of His revealed will.
"The decree of Eden simply declared that a sinful nature could not live for ever; that none but a holy and sinless nature can live in God's presence. Such is the entire scope of the Edenic decree of condemnation. The decree has no intricate and technical features about it. It does not mean only one death, nor two or more deaths, but simply that such a nature cannot live for ever in God's presence; so He simply sends it to the dust from whence He brought it in the first instance.
He can punish those who possess the nature when and where and how and as often as He pleases, even bringing them from the grave for that purpose, and sending them back again to the dust. He does not bring the nature from the grave for punishment, without good and sufficient reasons for so doing. There could be no stronger reason for bringing that nature from the grave for punishment, than in the case of one possessing it, and who having come to a clear understanding of God's revealed will, deliberately mocks Him by rejecting His proffered mercy, favour, salvation, His name and glory.
No greater insult could be offered to God. The disobedience of a weak, easily tempted, and simple baptized person pales into insignificance before it. Better had such an one never been born than to so mock and insult God.
"The pamphlet in which the new doctrine has been given its greatest impetus is the most bewildering document brought to my notice since I learned the truth. It requires more than one reading to find out just what the author is endeavouring to set forth. The specious pleadings and hidden meanings, with which the pamphlet is replete, are certainly too bewildering for the needs of plain, unvarnished truth."-
L. B. Welch.
let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
Wrong views are natural, because without special information, we cannot help coming to wrong or uncertain conclusions from what we see. We see life an aimless journey from the cradle to the grave, if we are to judge by the sight of our eyes.
A man, with much toil and anxiety, conducts himself to old age, and dies, and is forgotten. We see this in the untold millions of cases in the past. We see it going on around us. We see no exception.
What is the impression it makes-what is the "view" it gives us apart from special information? Why, that it is of no use troubling about anything. Let us take all the pleasure we can while we live, for we came out of darkness and go soon to darkness again, and to darkness for ever.
What a depressing, demoralising, degrading "view" this would be...History, to the eye of a merely contemporary observer, seems a chaos, without plan, without result, a meaningless struggle-an endless repetition of little incidents, without a goal in the progress of the ages. Let a man give in to this view, and he will be dwarfed and withered by it. He will consider only the exigencies of the passing hour, and respond only to ideas of self-interest and consult his pleasure alone. His natural tendency to stuntedness and smallness will be increased by the powerful super-incumbent pressure of this intensely dreary "view."
...We see that human history is not the unmitigated vanity it seems. We see that the hand of God is in it, and as we contemplate the consummation exhibited in the prophetic delineations of the glorious future to which he is guiding affairs on earth, we take heart amid the despondencies of the merely natural mind, and adapt ourselves to the new and enlightening "views" with strengthened hand and ennobled heart, waiting for God in the season of his appointed visitation.
A resolutely atheist member of the public told me that we have never had life so good. He was running a thriving business, had a healthy family and his Deity was a football club which happens to be enjoying a period of "success". For him this was his supreme source of joy.
I told him that while life might be bright for him for many it is a bitter and monotonous struggle without hope of anything better...especially so among the populations of impoverished nations.
These days of many inventions, diversions and convenience leave the natural mind in denial of the reality of "the unmitigated vanity" of man's condition and destiny in the natural order outside of the eternal purpose - Deity manifestation.
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
" How are the dead ones rebuilded ? And for what body do they come forth?''
Paul put their difficulty into this form of words. He did not say, as in the English version, "with what body do they come ? " There is no word for " with " in the original. The words are in the dative case, the sign of which is to or for. They are to come forth from their graves for something. Are they to retain the body emergent from the ground ; or, is this to be changed into some other kind of body ? Is this other kind of body that for which they come forth ?
As Paul put the inquiry, it was not to know "with what body," they come forth ; but "for what body," when the building shall be completed. In considering Paul's treatment of these questions, it should be remembered that he is speaking of resurrection, or anastasis ; and not analusis, or dissolution. His point of departure in his argument, is not burial ; it is not the putting a body into the ground ; but the bringing of an entirely new body out of it. His discourse in illustration of the questions proposed, has to do with this new body, and with that which is to succeed it.
The old body buried is done with. It has answered its purpose as a medium through which a character might be developed. It dies, is buried, and dissolves, leaving only a residuum of dust. It is no more a body ; so that whatever comes forth must be a new creation, after the similitude of the first Adam in his original formation.
Paul's proposition in relation to resurrection, is, that " there is a psychical body like the first Adam's ; and a pneumatical body, like the last Adam's." The former he styles a living breathing frame, and earthy of the dust: the latter quickening spirit ; and out of or from heaven.
In the wisdom of Deity, no body coming out of the dust can be anything but earthy ; and, therefore, neither incorruptible nor immortal. Incorruptibility and life, which is the incorruption of spirit, must come out of heaven ; so that a body issuing from the dust, when invested with this incorruption, is reckoned as a body from heaven, or heavenly-" a house from heaven."
Now the thing to be accomplished in resurrection is the development of a spirit-body, with the consciousness that the character flashed upon the new earthy body was evolved through an old earthy body in a previous state. In this wonderful development, the new resurrection-earthy body takes the place of the old body dissolved in the grave ; so that, as far as body is concerned in the matter, the one character on record in the Lamb's book of life, when glorified, will have been related to three bodies, more or less intimately connected-the first, the body of sin ; the second, a body like Adams' before he sinned ; and the third, this second new body changed, or transformed, by quickening, into a glorious, powerful, and spiritual body.
When this is manifested, the process is complete ; and the spiritually embodied character, named Abraham, for example, is " clothed upon with his house which is from heaven." He-is then " raised incorruptible."
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
Paul declares that God giveth to every seed its own body: that is, according to the nature of the germ, so will be the nature of the body springing from it. Now, the germ I have been speaking of, the truth germ, is of divine origin, and, therefore, its germination should result, ultimately, in the production of that which is divine; it is a spiritual germ, and should produce spiritual bodies.
This indeed, I need hardly say, is the object that God intends it to accomplish, as exemplified in the case of Jesus, who is the first fruits of the deposition of that germ. But how is it that this germ results in raising above the ground many who will never attain to the full resurrection-state?
Why, for the very same reason that a good many wheat germs do not succeed in forcing their produce to the full ripe ear, because in some cases it is weak.
We must remember that this divine germ has to be deposited in our hearts before the body dies and is placed in the ground, and it depends entirely upon the vigour of that germ at the time of death, as to how far it will afterwards succeed in carrying on the body toward that state represented by the grain fully ripe.
If it be weak, it will only just succeed in forcing up a sickly plant, that will die as soon as it appears; if it be strong, it will carry forward the body to full resurrected life. It depends wholly upon how we, who have the germ nature, foster it now; and, therefore, let us take care that we nurture it well.
Bro J Butler
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Dec 1868
41 There is one glory of the sun <Yahoshua and that is his>, and another glory of the moon ,<and that is the glory of his companions collectively>, and another glory of the stars <and that is the glory of his brethren individually>: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
The gorgeous canopy of heaven so thickly studded with bright starry orbs, although so frequently seen and admired, never fails to excite in the thoughtful mind an idea ofthe greatness, grandeur and perfection of the handiwork of the Deity. All through the solemn hours of the night we may watch the various constellations moving slowly but steadily in their silent majesty, climbing, as it were, the vast hills of heaven, and after reaching their zenith, or greatest height, they again as silently and gently descend with the same measured motion, to again disappear in the vast abyss of infinite space.
Throughout the whole realm of infinite space, the truth of Paul's words is verified-
"One star differeth from another star in glory."
By the consideration of these things we are enabled to at least feebly estimate the Almighty Power of that Infinite One who has declared by His Spirit in the prophet-
"All things hath mine hand made" (Isa. 66:2).
And again, it is written-
"He telleth the number of the stars; He causeth them all by their names. Great is our Lord and of great power. His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:4, 5).
Read also David's further meditation (Psalm 8:3, 4)"When I consider thy heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?"
The study of the heavens is not only marvelously sublime, majestically profound and awe-inspiring, but if we are willing to learn, it also teaches us as nothing else can, how little man counts as a mortal item in the eternal scheme of things.
"He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not" (Job 14:2).
But God hath spoken comfortably to man, and how uplifting are the assurances given in His Word (Isaiah 66: 1, 2)-
"Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool ... but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at my word."
"He that telleth the number of the stars, healeth the broken heart and bindeth up their wounds or griefs" (Psalm 147:3,4).
Faith perceives that all things in heaven and in earth are, as brother Roberts expresses it, under "one law and one control throughout the immeasurable fields" of space; even all "the stars which God hath ordained" (Psalm 8:3).
God has established in wisdom "the sweet influences" exercised by the mightiest of orbs in their perfectly balanced sway over other stars; and over our own solar system, with all its internal and wonderfully involved whirl of movements in a fixed, firm and abiding stability.
"Thy word is settled in heaven, thy faithfulness is unto all generations: Thou hast established the earth and it abideth.
"They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants" (Psalm 119:89.91).
The Spirit's question, addressed to Job, was-
"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" (eh, 38:31).
These words are clearly indicative of the fact so plainly declared in the Psalms above quoted, and also in Jer. 31:35, 36, that the sun, moon and stars are ordinances of heaven__:they are God's servants, and shall never "depart from before him."
"Lift up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth" (Isaiah 40:26).
Many are continually caught up in the frightening prospect of a Mass Extinction Event, reacting with breathless anxiety to the conjectures of scientists regarding "close calls" from passing heavenly bodies. But Solomon, voicing the wisdom from above, hath said, "the earth abideth for ever" (Eccl. 1:4). Ignorant of the principle that "the fear ofYahweh is the beginning of knowledge," the frightened masses have no respect nor knowledge of the power and wisdom of the Deity, who has proclaimed that ALL things are under His power, and thus keeps the earth safe for
Popular sentiment has absolutely no use for the earth as the final inheritance of the saints. They long for the colonization of the stars and planets of the heavens, and daydream of the great cleverness of men launching ships to escape a cataclysmic event. They have no faith whatever in the promised "abundance of peace on earth" which is to endure as "long as the moon endureth" (Psalm 72:7,8). Yet before all the truth is declared-
"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men" (Psa. 115:16).
Based on remarks by BRO. B. J. DOWLING
The Berean Christadelphian, March 2018.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption [the resurrection-body speiretai, springs, is sprouted or born, in corruption]; it is raised in incorruption [egeiretai, it is built, reared up, or raised, in incorruption]:
Now this remarkable process, Paul illustrates by the raising of wheat or of other grain. He was a more intelligent botanist than most of his readers. In raising of wheat, he did not make the sprouting and ripening one and the same phenomenon, as they do. He did not first put his seed into the earth, and as soon as it showed itself above ground, run with sickle to reap it !
The raising of grain is a process which takes months to perfect ; and it is not said to be
" raised " until it is ripe in the ear. When the naked seed is put into the ground, that particular seed never reappears. It dies and loses its form ; it is no longer a seed-body ; but is succeeded by a new body, which appears above the ground. This is the sprout-body from that sown, and, therefore, said to have been sown.
But as Paul says, " it is not that body that shall be." It has to tarry for months until it shall have received a body according to the pleasure of the Creator.
Here, then, are three bodies in grain-raising, more or less nearly related-the seed-body ; the sprout-body ; and the raised-body, divinely given. This third, or raised body, was not sown ; the sprout-body was the body sown, because it sprouted or sprang forth from the naked grain cast into the ground. The springing forth is the third stage of the sowing process.
It is first begotten in the earth ; it is then quickened, or made alive ; and, thirdly, it springs forth, or is born.
All this is of the earth, earthy; and, without the further spiritual influences of heaven, such as air, rain, and sunshine, this terrestrial and inglorious body would never become a raised body
bearing fruit. It would fade, shrivel up and die.
And " so also," says Paul, " is the anastasis, or standing-up of the dead ones " (i Cor. xv. 42) ; and, speaking of the sprout-body (for there is no other body in the premisses),... he adds, This word speiretai, he associates with corruption, dishonour, weakness, and naturality; while
egeiretai, is connected with incorruption, glory, power, and spirituality.
In the active voice, [Greek -hard copy needed] signifies to scatter, as when seed is cast upon the earth ; but, in the passive voice, it signifies " to spring or be born." In 1 Cor. xv. 42-43, speiretai is passive, and used in this sense. The antithetic word egeiretai is also passive, and relates to the same body as speiretai; for it is the sprout-body that is transformed ; there being no other body in the grave, nor out of it, for transformation. When, therefore, it can be affirmed that the sprout-body has become incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spritual, the word egeiretai will be applicable.
It can then be said to have been raised, or built, incorruptible. " Destroy this temple," said the Spirit, " and in three days I will raise it up [Greek -hard copy needed]." The Jews retorted, " forty and six years was this temple in building, and in three days wilt thou rear it up [Greek -hard copy needed] ? " " But this spake He of the temple of His body " (John ii. 19-21). In this
text, the same verb is used as in 1 Cor. xv. 42, and in relation to resurrection. To raise, rear up, or build, is the correct idea ; and every one ought to know that such an operation is progressive, not instantaneous.
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
There are two bodies, one natural, the other type of body is spiritual. They are distinct from one another. The natural body is not a 'casket' for the spiritual. (the natural does not contain within it an 'immortal soul').
MAN IN LIFE AND IN DEATH
A body developing life is "a body of life;" and a body developing life according to the natural laws, is a natural, physical, or animal body; and a body which has either not developed life (as the groundling before respiration) or having developed it in breathing, ceases to do so, is "a body of death."
A body of life may be natural or animal, and it may not. Mankind in general have no experience of any other. In the present state, we all belong to "this death;" and as far as the conceptions of "the natural man," or breathing groundling, are able to reach, the idea of any other "body of life" elaborated from the body of this death state, has never invaded the horizon of his crazy thinking.
He assumes that the higher manifestations of life are developed independently of body. Hence, God, angels, and "saints in heaven" are with him lives without body or parts! Things through which you can wave your hand as through the air. Such is his immortal soul as well as his immortal gods, in corporeal or bodiless entities floating on seas of heavenly rest!"
But the Spirit in Paul reveals the great truth, that there are in relation to man two bodies of life—one the natural; and the other the spiritual. "There is," saith he, a natural body (σωμα ψυχικον) and there is a spiritual body (σωμα πνευματικον.") Here are two bodies whose existence is affirmed, or made the subjects of a logical thesis. This requires proof; and the proof is immediately adduced. In answer to the question, What proof is there that there is a natural body?—the apostle answers, "And so it has been written, "the first man Adam was for ψυχμ́ ζωσά, a living soul," according to the English version.
Here is the proof. Now, whatever dispute may exist about the propriety of the rendering "living soul," amounts to nothing. Paul's proof of a natural body existing, is the writing recorded in Gen. 2:7. He calls upon Moses to prove it; and if we admit the proof, we are bound to admit also, that Paul's "natural body" and Moses' "living soul," are the same thing. If, on the other hand, they are not identical, then Paul failed to prove the position he affirmed.
But Paul did prove it by Moses most satisfactorily; so that we may boldly affirm in defiance of the Devil and all his spirituals and their inventions, that the "living soul" of the English version, is not "the immortal soul" about which the clergy are everlastingly twaddling and mouthing in "holy tone," with eyes upturned heavenward, and sanctimonious grimace. It is not this, but the "natural body," or "body of life," after "the law of sin and death;" and, therefore, "the body of this death." The very reverse of the clerical speculation; being a soul without a spark of immortality to boast of.
But, another member of Paul's thesis affirms that "there is a spiritual body." He points to the resurrected and ascended Lord in proof of this. He styles him
"the last Adam for a life-imparting spirit."
This is the scriptural idea of an immortal soul. The first Adam was the figure, or type, of the second Adam; so that the living soul, or natural body, was only the type of the ever-living soul, or spiritual body. The former is to the latter as the acorn to the oak; for without the seed, no tree will be produced.
What sad havoc the clergy have made of "the Deep Things of God." They have resolved, or rather dissipated, all things into gas; so that nothing substantial, or material, remains. In fact, of materiality they have the greatest horror. A spirit constituted of body and parts is a monstrosity—a conception of the grossest kind.
The Devil hates materialism, because he has nothing to fear from any other source than this. It is the Material Son of the Deity, whom Paul styles "the spirit," who is to destroy the Devil and his works.—Heb. 2:14; 1 Jno. 3:8. He has no fear of "immaterial immortal ghosts;" for, if what the "divines" tell us is to be received, he has been so long roasting them upon his gridiron, that he knows precisely all they are capable of doing against him; for he is said to have billions piled upon billions within his gates! But for material spirits he has no relish; for by their power, he is to be hurled like lightning from his throne.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1860
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
His argument clearly assumes the existence of a body waiting to " put on incorruption and immortality," when the fiat of its Creator shall be declared. This body, which springs forth from the ground, " as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth "
(Is. lxi. 11), is, doubtless, the body he styles " a natural body," in comparison with another body, which he terms " spiritual body."
He gives " the first man Adam," before he sinned, as the type of the one ; and " the last Adam," when made " a quickening spirit," the type of the other. " The first man is out of the earth, of dust. and such also will they be who will be called upon to "awake ! " They will be out of the earth, of dust"; but when they afterwards " put on incorruption," in their incorruptible
investiture, they are "clothed upon with their dwelling, which is from heaven."
Thus, the two bodies, the natural and the spiritual, are represented by Paul as derived from two opposite regions, as remote the one from the other as the earth and heaven ; yet both as intimately connected as cause and effect; or as the seed sown, and the body the Deity is pleased to give it.
....The raising of an edifice is not begun and consummated in an instant. It is the pleasure of the Deity, who is " the builder of all things," to execute His purposes with deliberation. He lays the foundation of " the house, which is from heaven," in the dust. This foundation is the body which springs forth there from ; while the superimposed building is the white robe of immortality, " the house from heaven," with which it is arrayed, and in the panoply of which it dwells.
Hence raising in this text, is not an instantaneous act, as though a body shot forth from the dust incorruptible and immortal ; but a process consisting of divers successive stages. These are all developed in, or during, the sounding of the last, or seventh, trumpet; but the interval to elapse between the beginning and the finishing of the process, is nowhere revealed. It will, doubtless, be sufficiently long to afford scope for " the gathering unto Christ," and the
judgment of His house, which is to follow.
They are caused to exist when they come forth from their graves ; but they are not " caused
to exist incorruptible," until they shall have been approved at His tribunal, when the raising will be complete.
Thus, from these premisses, it may be perceived that the raising of the righteous is the exaltation of them from a lower to a higher nature. The lower nature is that exhibited in Adam on the day of his formation. It was " very good " of its kind, but not equal to the
nature of the Elohim. This is the higher nature, and styled by Paul the spiritual body. The lower nature is human ; the higher, divine. From the one to the other is an ascent; and he who ascends from an earthly body to a heavenly, is said to have been raised.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
The cycle of mortality contains 7,000 years: this may be divided, as regards the past, present, and future, into five aions, worlds, or ages, viz., the Adamic, the Noachic, the Mosaic, the Gentile, and the Messianic.
The constitution of the Adamic and Noachic aions was Patriarchal; the Mosaic and Messianic aions are both Theocratic, while the Gentile aion is autocratic, aristocratic, democratic, and ecclesiastical.
The first Adam represents the fall, and the second Adam the rise of the Adamic race; by the one came sin and death, by the other comes righteousness and life.
The Christadelphian, Mar 1873
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
"This is Eternal Life, to know the only true Deity, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent."
1. What was "the first man Adam," and where did he come from? He was dust "formed into a living soul, "and came" out of the ground." -(Gen. 2:7; 3:19.)
2. What does Paul term "a living soul?" "A natural body:" soma psuchikon. (1 Cor.15:44, 45.)
3. What does Paul term a body, or nature, that comes out of the earth?
His words, in 1 Cor.15:47, are ek ghes choikos, "out of the earth, EARTHY."
4. What does experience teach are the characteristics of a body, or nature, created out of the dust of the earth?
That the earthy body is corruptible, without honour, or "vile," weak, and natural.
5. Was the earthy body of the first man before he sinned like what experience teaches us our bodies are?
Paul, speaking of Adam at the epoch of his creation, says, "As the earthy, such are they also that are earthy," or earth-born (1 Cor. 15:48.): hence his earth-born body was capable of corruption, weak and natural, soulish or sensual; yet, as an earthy body, "very good." (Gen.1:31.)
6. Does the fact of a body, or bodies, many or few, being created out of dust some 6,000 years after the creation of the first man from dust, destroy the principle contained in Paul's words, "out of the earth, earthy?
"Certainly not: time works no change in the principles of the Deity. Hence the new creations of dust, when they "come forth" from the earth to judgment, are "earthy," and being earthy, their earthiness is corruptible, honourless, weak, and soulish or sensual.
7. If all come forth from graves "earthy bodies," do they come forth to one and the same end?
No; some come forth to justification of life; and others of them to condemnation. (John 5:29.)
8. What causes this divergence of results?
The accounts rendered by each class at the judgment-seat of Christ. Those who, in the present state, have become saints, but, instead of patiently continuing in well-doing, and so seeking for glory, honour, incorruptibility and life, (Rom. 2:7), have turned aside to "live after the
flesh, shall die," and "reap corruption" (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8); while those saints who "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," "shall not come into condemnation; but of the Spirit shall reap everlasting life." (Rom. 8:1,13; Gal. 6:8.)
9. What is MORTALITY?
An earthy body in living action; or life manifested through an earthy body; and therefore from constitution of the body, terminable life.
10. Does mankind in particular stand related to any other kind, or sort, of body or nature, than to the earthy? If so, what is it? Yes, a portion of mankind is related to what Paul terms the spiritual body, or "quickening spirit." (1 Cor.15:44, 45.)
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
The body is of common nature with the head. The younger members of the family bear resemblance to the Elder Brother. The wisdom, nobility, and love of the head radiate to the utmost member, and impart beauty and health to the whole alike. We may not see this illustrated at present. The one body, of whom these things are affirmed, is only in process of development. Its principal constituents are in the womb of the night. The gates of Hades enclose the multitude of sleeping saints.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.Now, a Spiritual body is as material, or substantial and tangible, a body as that which we now possess. It is a body purified from "the law of sin and death." Hence it is termed "holy," and "spiritual," because it is born of the Spirit from the dust, is incorruptible, and sustained by the ruach, or spirit, independently of the neshemeh, or "atmospheric air."
"That which is born of the flesh," in the ordinary way, "is flesh," or an animal body: and that which is born of the Spirit, "by a resurrection to life, "is spirit," or a Spiritual body (John 3:6). Hence, in speaking of Jesus, Paul says, "born of David's seed according to the flesh; and constituted the Son of God in power, by the spirit of holiness, through a resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:3,4). Thus, He was born of the spirit, and therefore became "a Spirit;" and, because highly exalted, and possessing a name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9-11), He is styled "the Lord the Spirit."
That the Spiritual body is independent of atmospheric air for its support, is clear from the ascension of the Lord Jesus. An animal body can only exist in water, or in atmospheric air, and at a comparatively low altitude above the surface of the earth. Now, the air does not extend beyond forty-five miles; consequently beyond that limit, if they could even attain to it, creatures supported by breath in the nostrils, could no more live than fish in the air. Beyond our atmosphere is the ether; through which they only can pass, who, like the Lord Jesus and the angels, possess a nature adapted to it. This is the case with the Spiritual nature. Jesus was changed eiV pneuma, into a Spirit, and was therefore enabled to pass through it to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. Enoch, Elijah, and Moses, are also cases to the point.
The Spiritual body is constituted of flesh and bones vitalized by the Spirit. This appears from the testimony concerning Jesus. On a certain occasion, He unexpectedly stood in the midst of His disciples, at which they were exceedingly alarmed, supposing they beheld a spirit, or phantasm, as at a former time. But, that they might be assured that it was really He Himself, He invited them to handle Him, and examine His hands and feet: "for," said He, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have."
Incredulous for joy, He gave them further proof by eating a piece of broiled fish and of a honeycomb (Luke 24:36-43). Thomas thrust his hand into His side, and was convinced that He was the same who had been crucified (John 20:27). What stronger proof can we need of the substantial and tangible nature of the Spiritual body? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour.
It is a bloodless body; for in the case of Jesus He had poured out His blood upon the cross. The life of the animal body is in the blood; but not so that of the Spiritual body: the life of this resides in that mighty power which suspends "the earth upon nothing," and is diffused through the immensity of space.
When the Lord Jesus said, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have," He did not mean to say that a spiritual body had not; but a Spirit such as they thought they saw. "They supposed they had seen a spirit." In the received reading the same word, pneuma, is used here as in the text which speaks of Jesus as "the Lord the Spirit;" but, evidently, not in the same sense. Indeed, the reading in Griesbach's edition of the original text is clearly the correct one.
The word rendered spirit is properly fantasma, a phantom or mere optical illusion; and not pneuma, spirit. When Jesus walked upon the sea both Matthew (Matt. 14:26) and Mark (Mark 6:49) make use of the same phrase as Luke, and say that the disciples when they saw Him, "supposed they had seen a spirit, and they cried out for fear." In both these places the word is phantasma, and not pneuma.
Having affirmed that man stands related to two kinds of body, the apostle gives us to understand, that in the arrangements of God the spiritual system of things is elaborated out of the animal, and not the animal out of the spiritual. The natural world is the raw material, as it were of the spiritual; the bricks and mortar, so to speak, of the mansion which is to endure for ever. In relation to human nature, two men are presented as its types in the two phases it is to assume.
These Paul styles "the First Adam," and "the Last Adam," or "the first man," and "the second man." The former, he terms "earthly;" because he came from the ground, and goes thither again, and, the latter, "the Lord from heaven;" because, being "known no more after the flesh," He is expected from heaven as the place of His final manifestation in "the body of His glory." Then, says John, we shall be like Him."
If, therefore, we have been successful in depicting the Lord as He is now, while seated at the right hand of God; namely, an incorruptible, honourable, powerful, living person, substantial and tangible, shining as the sun, and able to eat and drink, and to display all mental and other phenomena in perfection: if the reader be able, to comprehend such an "Image of the invisible God," he can understand what they are to be, who are accounted worthy to inherit His kingdom. Therefore, says Paul, "as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:49), or, Lord from heaven.
Elpis Israel 1.2.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
The kingdom of God is a spiritual institution. I do not mean by this it is a mere aura, or gaseous afflation, like Plato's "immortal soul;" but spiritual in the sense of its being incorruptible and indestructible; and founded by the power of God, who is spirit; and governed by a king who is spirit; and everything relating to it divinely appointed.
Such an institution as this is pre-eminently spiritual; and because it is so every son of Adam who would inherit it must be spiritualised in heart and substance; or, as the phrase is, "in body, soul, and spirit, the whole person." The principle laid down by the royal teacher in John 3: 5, may be termed the law of spiritualisation, unsubject to which no man can possibly in the nature of things enter upon the possession of the glory, honour, life, power, and emoluments of "the kingdom of Christ and of God."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1853
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God— 1 Cor. 15. 50.
Israel after the flesh will not "inherit the kingdom of God," but merely live under it in subordination to those who will inherit it. The inheritor of an estate is the man who owns it and has the disposal of all its affairs: the servants and tenants are not inheritors.
...Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Only immortals—men changed from "the image of the earthy" to "the image of the heavenly," from the natural or animal to the spiritual, will reign with Christ. Only
"the saints take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever".— Dan. 7:18, 27.
The rest—Israel after the flesh included, will be in the position of the servants and tenants except that their lords will rule them, not to make a gain of them as the lords of the present order do; but to bless them and fill the earth with the Father's glory.
The Christadelphian, June 1873
52 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.
The Seventh Vial is the concluding period of the Seventh Seal, and of the Seventh Trumpet; in other words, the vial, the trumpet, and the seal, all terminate at the same time.
The seal began With "the silence in the heaven about the space of half an hour" (ch. 8:1), A.D. 323; the trumpet, which is called in 1 Cor. 15:52, "the last trump, " began to sound With the issue of the Great Voice, A.D. 1790; but when, or at what date, the seventh and last vial shall begin to pour out its wrath, I am unable to say.
This, however, may be assuredly affirmed, that it will not begin until after the resurrection period, or "time of the dead;" and the capture of Jerusalem by Gog's forces; and its recovery by YAHWEH ELOHIM, "the Great King".
The casting out of the enemy from Jerusalem is followed by the establishment of the Nave, or Most Holy, and the Throne of David, therein. This must precede the outpouring of the wrath into the Air; because "a great voice" goes forth from the Nave-Throne, saying, "It is done;" which could not be if the throne had not already been set up.
'... in the period symbolized by the seventh trumpet " the dead shall be caused to exist incorruptible."
This is the import of the word rendered " shall be raised," in this text. It includes the whole process of rebuilding from the awakening to the quickening, when the subject of the finished operation can shout aloud with joy, and exclaim
" I am immortal!
Hallelu Yah ! "
These are trumpet-soundings that are not heard by the world. They are heard only by such as have had their ears opened by the truth to hear; and the last trump will, in a special sense, be "heard" by the dead, who, under its operation, will come to life, and reopen their eyes and ears, and come to the great gathering of saints.
True, there was the literal voice of a trumpet, "long and loud," in connection with the declaration of the first covenant from Sinai, but that system was altogether "a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image thereof."—(Heb. 10:1.)
We need not, therefore, look for a repetition of its incidents in a literal form. The substance is of Christ, and the great power that assembles the dead from their graves is the trumpet-voice of the Son of Man—the power of which is seen in its effects and not in an audible sound.
The resurrection of the dead will, doubtless, be as private in relation to the world as was the giving of the law at Sinai, the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension. The world will make the acquaintance of the saints for the first time when, with Christ, they appear on the scene as the breakers of the power of the nations. Then will the coming of Christ be apparent "in a way that all the world will know."
The Christadelphian, May 1873
Now, in considering this passage, I do not think sufficient attention is given to the statement that it is at the sounding of the last trump that the dead (and the living also) are to be instantaneously changed. I think this is the key to the meaning of the whole verse. The mention of the trumpet is evidently an allusion to, or a figure drawn from, the custom of the Jews to sound the trumpet on certain important occasions.
The form of the Jewish trumpet, says Josephus, was invented by Moses, and in length the instrument was a little less than a cubit. Two of them were employed. When the first sounded, the heads of the tribes were to assemble for consultation, but when they both sounded, it was a call to the multitude to come together.
The children of Israel whilst journeying in the wilderness also moved their tabernacle and their tents at the sound of the trumpet, all the people being in motion at the end of the fourth blast.
In the book of Revelations, certain important epochs are represented as being marked by the sounding of this instrument; and, taking all these facts together, we must conclude that the mention of the last trump by Paul indicates the close of a series of events, each symbollically marked, as in Revelations, by the trumpet's blast.
What the details of such events so marked are, Paul has not told us, but from the analysis I have made of Paul's comparison, and from the words of Jesus himself in Matt. xxiv. 30, 31, where he says that the Son of Man shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other-from these we gather that the blasts referred to must embrace the whole period from the rising of the dead from the ground to the conclusion of the judgment.
The dead rise from the ground, the dead and the living are then summoned before the judgment-seat of Christ; judgment is pronounced; the words
"Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,"
are uttered; then the last trump resounds, and "instantaneously, in the twinkling of an eye, " the accepted are "raised" to the perfect state of spiritual life to which the good seed gradually leads. Then, to use the simile of the wheat once more, the divine germ has produced the results it was intended to accomplish-the fruit is ripe and pure, and it is placed in the storehouse of the Son of God.
This exposition of the passage, you will see, is quite in harmony with Paul's analogy and indeed with all the other statements that we find in scripture respecting this great and awful event; and in conclusion, in view of the glorious prospect opening out before the finally-accepted believer, I need only urge upon each and all of us, in the words of Paul, to be
"steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord."
The Christadelphian, Dec 1868
When a true believer dies, he falls asleep in Christ. He corrupts; and when the process of decomposition is complete, he is reduced to dust, which is all that remains of his former self. Nevertheless, he reappears, his restored consciousness claims his former self as his. The dust to which he is reduced is at once the debris of his former, and the nucleus of his future, self. In reference to this nucleus, or detritus of the animal body sown into the grave, Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:53, "It is necessary that this corruptible put on incorruptibility, and this mortal put on deathlessness."
This putting on, he tells us in Rom. 8:11, is effected by the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from among the dead. The Spirit operates upon the dust of the former man, and fashions it into a new man, after the image of Jesus as he now is. Being formed, the formation is caused to live. In commencing life again at this epoch, this renewed man is said to be "waked as a man that is wakened out of his sleep."
At this awaking, he is as Adam was before he fell; because, having been pardoned, or justified from all sin by an obedient faith, perfect in kind and degree, in his former lifetime; and after that, "walked worthy of God" to the end thereof; in the resurrection he is awakened as a man without sin.
Being thus renewed, he is still in the image of the earthy Adam, before he fell. But he is not always to continue in this image; for Paul says, "As we bear the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." A change must, therefore, take place; as a change must have been operated upon the first Adam in order to transform him from "a living soul" or animal, into an incorruptible and deathless creature, or SPIRIT. In his case, this would have resulted from eating of the Tree of the Lives in Paradise, if he had been permitted.
Through that appointed medium, the Eternal Spirit, self-named Yahweh, would have changed the body of his lower estate, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," into a like form with that which Jesus now possesses, and the Saints are hereafter to possess. But transgression prevented this; and postponed the spiritualization of the Adamic Nature until the resurrection era, in which, instead of two persons only becoming spirits, a multitude of their descendants, numerous as the stars of heaven, will bear the image of the heavenly, who is "the Lord the Spirit."
The dead saints being awakened to renewed bodily existence, they are prepared for bodily change. "This corruptible must put on incorruptibility; and this mortal, immortality;" but at what precise moment, or point of time, after being brought up out of their graves the saints shall be immortalized, does not appear to be explicitly revealed. This is certain, -- those who are among the dead will be awakened first; and afterwards the saints among the living will be, "together with them," exalted to the Aerial, where the Ruler will have appeared.
This "together with them" indicates to my mind, that the saints from among the dead and the living will be simultaneously exalted to dominion, and therefore immortalized in the same epoch; the saints among the living must wait for their glorification, till the saints are awaked from among the dead; but how long it will be from the awakening to the immortalization of the whole body, does not distinctly appear. I say, exaltation to dominion, and therefore immortalization, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."Eureka
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Kerr (Edinburgh):—
"Brother Turney's strong point is that in Adam we all die, and therefore are all sinners. He points out that before Adam had the law he was not a sinner; after he received it he was not a sinner, but when he broke it, then he was. He then adds, in the public discussion, that Adam lived so many years after he broke the law as a condemned criminal and ultimately paid the penalty. This is correct; but why does he stop here?
If Yahweh had stopped at this point, then brother Turney's statement that, all being sinners, no man could have redeemed his brother would have been correct, and is so in a certain sense. But Yahweh does not stop here; He gives other laws (to Cain and Abel, at least, if it is contended that Adam was not included). For what purpose were other laws given? Unquestionably that men might obey them.
What is the reward for obedience of these second laws? Life undoubtedly. But how can God carry out both the penalty of the first law (the Edenic), and still allow man to eat of the Tree of Life and live for ever by man's compliance with the second? Only by a resurrection from the dead. The one law, so to speak, was the key into death, and into death man must go; the second law was the key out of death if man could only use it. This agrees with Paul's statement,
'What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.'
God was the Saviour therefore. He gave the second law that the door of the prison-house of death might be opened; and it was opened by Christ's obeying the whole of God's will. If eternal death had been the sentence, then no law would have been of any avail. Death, however, alone is pronounced. The introduction a second time, therefore, of God's will is of the greatest possible moment if it is obeyed.
An illustration which seems to carry great weight in brother Turney's arguments is that, suppose the case of a man having committed an offence under the laws of a country, for which he had to die. Nothing can save him, says brother Turney, die he must.
Brother Turney's illustration falls, however, to the ground; it does not go far enough. Suppose a man under condemnation of death; and he is allowed to live on yet for some time after the sentence is passed. During this time he is informed if he is very submissive and does all he is told, that after he is dead—after he has suffered the penalty because of his disobedience—a certain restorative will be administered which will bring him alive again; you have in this the real facts of the case.
Jesus, so to speak, does not save us from death, but saves us out of death. The second intimation of the will of God has done it all, taken in connection with the beloved of Yahweh in whom He was well pleased."
The Christadelphian, Oct 1873
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Do what you should, rather than what you want to. It will give you far more pleasure and satisfaction in the long run. It will lift you out of fleshly babyhood into spiritual maturity. Self-pleasing now means later regret, for self-pleasing has no LASTING benefit.
Duty now means permanent satisfaction: pleasure that not only lasts but compounds with time: pleasure that does not need a constantly accelerating input to maintain the output, like all the "pleasures" of the world that cheatingly end the moment the passing ecstasy stops.
There is one thing you should do right now -- this very minute. DO IT! Do not sidetrack it; do not procrastinate; do not fiddle with rubbish for mere "amusement." That's childish. That's babyish. Grow up! Do the thing right now that SHOULD be done. And make that the constant, purposeful, satisfying pattern of your life, from moment to moment. And do it cheerfully, heartily, thankfully, joyfully. Relunctant, unhappy, grudging service is an insult to God, and a self-imposed burden to ourselves.
The thing to be done at the moment may be just nothing: it may be just waiting -- patiently and faithfully. Sometimes that's all there is to do. Sometimes that's all we have the physical capacity to do. But do it profitably, and in a godly manner. Fill the mind with profitable and godly thoughts. Always have something profitable at hand to read. Or, failing that, let your mind dwell on the rich treasure of information and instruction you have wisely stored up beforehand, while you had opportunity. Above all: never, never just sit and fret. That's destructive, physically, mentally and spiritually. Always be doing SOMETHING useful.
The human mind tires of monotony just as the body tires of one position. It is pleasant to have a change for mere change's sake. Hence new things have an attraction for many people who resemble the ancient Athenians in nothing else.
New things may be all right, but they may be much the reverse. They may be a mere appeal to the weakness that tires of one mental attitude. A liking for them, regarded as a system of intellectual superiority, may be due to a mere love of change, such as marks and constitutes the shallow and the fickle mind. The change of fashion from age to age, in every department of human activity, is the result of this. Taste roves and returns in an aimless whirligig of change.
God changes not, and His children partake of this characteristic. Enlightened and well-balanced intelligence stably rests in that which is true and eternal. It is the mark of wisdom to be established-to be steadfast-to abide in the same thing from year to year as time rolls. Of course, this presupposes the attainment of truth.
Pilate asked what this was. He did not wait for the answer. Those who know the gospel know the Truth, and recognise the wisdom of being "steadfast, immovable." In this connection, change is not progress.
In divine things, change is always more likely to be retrogression than progress. The inherent tendency of the natural mind is to indulge in thoughts and fancies in harmony with its own predilections, which are opposed to divine thoughts and ways, and as the process is combined with the pleasing sensation of the relief that comes from variety, it has resulted in past ages of the world's history, first in the slight declension and then in the complete apostasy from the ways of God - as in the case of Israel in Canaan after the death of Joshua; and 1,500 years afterwards, in the case of the Christ[adelphian] community when the apostles had all gone to their graves.