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Man’s Nature and Destiny

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    THE RESURRECTION A NECESSITY

    We return to the Bible doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, the literal resurrection and resuscitation of the very persons who go into the grave, and affirm that the Bible makes this resurrection necessary, by representing the dead to be in such a condition, that, without this event, they can have no future existence.MND 206.1

    1. Death is compared to sleep. There must, then, be some analogy between a state of sleep and a state of death, and this analogy must pertain to that which renders sleep a peculiar condition. Our condition in sleep differs from our condition when awake simply in this, that when we are soundly asleep, we are entirely unconscious. In this respect, then, death is like sleep; that is, the dead are unconscious. This figure is frequently used to represent the condition of the dead. Daniel 12:2:MND 206.2

    “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Matthew 27:52: “Many bodies of the saints which slept arose.” Acts 7:60: After Stephen had beheld the vision of Christ, and was stoned to death, the record says he “fell asleep. In 1 Corinthians 15:20 Christ is called the first-fruits of them that slept; and in verse 51 Paul says, “We shall not all sleep. Again Paul writes to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14), that he would not have them ignorant concerning them which are asleep. In verse 14 he speaks of them as asleep in Jesus, and explains what he means, in verse 16, by calling them “dead in Christ.” And the advocates of the conscious state cannot dispose of these expressions by saying that they apply to the body merely; for they do not hold that the consciousness which we have in life (which is the same we lose in death) pertains to the body merely. Job plainly declares that they will not awake till the resurrection at the last day. “Man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” If, therefore, there is no resurrection, these dead are destined to sleep in unconsciousness forever.MND 206.3

    2. The dead are in a condition as though they had not been. So Job testifies; for he affirms that if he could have died in earliest infancy, like a hidden, untimely birth he would not have been; and in this respect he declared he would have been like kings, counselors, and princes of the earth, who built costly tombs in which to enshrine their bodies when dead. To that condition he applies the expression which has since been so often quoted, “There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest.” Job 3:11-18. If, then, a person when dead is as though he had not been, without a resurrection to release him from this state, he will never be, or exist, again.MND 207.1

    3. The dead have no knowledge. Speaking of the dead man, Job says (14:21), “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, and he perceiveth it not of them.” Psalm 146:4: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Solomon was inspired to speak to the same effect as his father David (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6): “For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything.... Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished: neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Verse 10: “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.” Evidence like this can neither be mistaken nor evaded. It is vain for the immaterialist to claim that it applies to the body in distinction from an immortal soul; for they do not hold that the thoughts (dialogismos, URS MNAD 26 THE RESURRECTION 208.1 thought, reasoning), which David says perish in death, belong to the body, but to the soul. And according to Solomon, that which knows when the man is living, does not know when he is dead. Without a resurrection, therefore, the dead will forever remain without knowledge.MND 207.2

    4. The dead are not in heaven, nor in hell, but in the dust of the earth. Job 17:13-16: “If I wait, the grave is mine house.”MND 208.1

    In chap. 14:14 he said, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” The change referred to must therefore be the resurrection, and he describes his condition till that time in the following language: “I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father; to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister, ... when our rest together is in the dust.” Isaiah 26:19: “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, “ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Is it possible that the phraseology of this text can be misunderstood? It, speaks of the living again of dead men, of the arising of dead bodies, and of the earth’s casting out the dead. And the command is addressed to them thus: “Awake and sing.” Who? Ye who are still conscious, basking in the bliss of heaven, and chanting the high praises of God? - No; but “Ye who dwell in dust;” ye who are in your graves. If the dead are conscious, Isaiah talked nonsense. If we believe his testimony, we must look into the graves for the dead; and if there is no resurrection, there they will forever lie mingled with the clods of the valley.MND 208.2

    5. The dead, even the most holy and righteous, have no remembrance of God, and cannot, while in that condition, render him any praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 5:6: “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Psalm 115:17: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Good King Hezekiah, when praising the Lord for adding to his days fifteen years, gives this as the reason why he thus rejoiced (Isaiah 38:18, 19): “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day; the father to the children shall make known thy truth.” Modern doctors of divinity have Hezekiah in heaven, praising God. He declared that when he was dead he could not do this. Whose testimony is the more worthy of credit, that of the inspired king of Israel, or that of uninspired and backslidden theologians of subsequent ages of error and confusion? If we can believe Hezekiah, and we think we can, the righteous dead are never more to praise their Maker, unless there is to be a resurrection of the dead.MND 209.1

    6. The dead, even the righteous, are not ascended to the heavens. So Peter testifies respecting the patriarch David (Acts 2:29, 34, 35): “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.” We call the special attention of the reader to the whole argument presented by Peter, beginning with verse 24. Peter undertakes to prove from a prophecy recorded in the Psalms, the resurrection of Christ. He says (verse 31), “He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [hades, the grave], neither did his flesh see corruption.”MND 210.1

    And how does he prove that David speaks of Christ, and not of himself? - He proves it from the fact that David’s soul was left in hades, and his flesh did see corruption; and his sepulcher was with them to that day. For David, he says, has not ascended into the heavens. Now if David’s soul did live right on in consciousness; if it was not left in hades, no man can show that David, in that psalm, did not speak of himself instead of Christ; and then Peter’s argument for the resurrection of Christ would be entirely destroyed. But Peter, especially when speaking, as he was on this occasion, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, knew how to reason; and his argument entirely destroys the dogma of the immortality of the soul. But if David has not yet ascended into the heavens, how is he ever to get there? There is no other way but by a resurrection of the dead. So he himself says (Psalm 17:15): “I shall be satisfied when I awake [from the sleep of death] with thy likeness.”MND 210.2

    7. And finally, Paul, in his masterly argument in 1 Corinthians 15, states explicitly the conclusion which is necessary from every one of the texts which we have quoted, that if there is no resurrection, then all the dead, even those who have fallen asleep in Christ, are perished. Verses 16-18: “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are PERISHED.”MND 211.1

    As we read this testimony, we pause in utter amazement, that any who profess to believe the Bible should cling with tenacity to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which so directly contradicts it. If the souls of the dead live right on, are they perished? What! perished? and yet living in a larger sphere? Perished? and yet enjoying the attendant blessings of everlasting life in heaven? Perished? and yet at God’s right hand where there is fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore? Perish amid the ruins of the heathen mythology from which it springs, that theory which thus lifts its dead men on high, contrary to the teachings of the word of God!MND 211.2

    Paul speaks of the whole being. As in Adam we die, so in Christ shall we be made alive. Is it conceivable that Paul drops out of sight the real man, the soul which soars away to realms of light, and frames all this argument, and talks thus seriously about the cast-off shell, the body, merely? The idea is preposterous to the last degree.MND 211.3

    After stating that if there is no resurrection, we perish, he assures us that Christ is risen, and that there is a resurrection for all; then he takes up the resurrection of those who sleep in Christ, and tells us when that resurrection shall be. It is to take place, not by the rising from this mortal coil of an ethereal, immaterial essence when we die, but it is to be at the great day, when the last trump shall shatter this decrepit earth from center to circumference.MND 211.4

    The testimony on this point is well summed up by Bishop Law, who speaks as follows:-MND 212.1

    “I proceed to consider what account the Scriptures give of that state to which death reduces us. And this we find represented by sleep; by a negation of all life, thought, or action; by rest, resting-place, or home, silence, oblivion, darkness, destruction, or corruption.”MND 212.2

    This representation is abundantly sustained by the scriptures referred to; and by all these the great fact is inscribed in indelible characters over the portals of the dark valley, that our existence is not perpetuated by means of an immortal soul, but that, without a resurrection from the dead, there is no future life.MND 212.3

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