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    March 15, 1888

    “The Resurrection” The Present Truth 4, 6.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the preceding articles concerning the coming of the Lord, we have learned that he will certainly come, that his coming will be manifest to all, that it is for the purpose of receiving all his disciples to themselves, and that this is accomplished by the resurrection of the dead and the translation of the living. One or two more texts on the subject of that resurrection will be sufficient.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 82.1

    When Job was suffering the deepest affliction, and at the point of death, he asked: “If a man die, will he live again?” This was a very pertinent question for a man in his situation. Notice the form of the question: Not, “Shall he continue to live?” but, “Shall he live again?” This expression shows clearly that Job made a plain distinction between life and death. “Again” signifies “another time,” and indicates that an interval of time has elapsed since the same thing occurred or existed before. Job anticipated a time in which there would be no life, in which he would not exist, and he asked whether life would ever be restored. But he asked the question only to answer it, for he immediately added: “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” Job 14:14, 15.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 82.2

    Now we may ask, When will the Lord call and be answered by those who are dead? Christ himself furnishes the answer: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:26-29. And David says that it is at his coming that the Lord calls to his people. Psalm 50:3, 4.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 82.3

    Isaiah said, in prophetic vision, saw the end of the world, and the coming of the Lord. Speaking of the triumph of the righteous, he said: “He the Lord will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 25:8. If the Lord hath spoken it, it must be done. Paul tells how and when it will be done: “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 82.4

    Here, then, is the “change” of which Job spoke, It is a change from death to life, from mortal to immortal. And in what state did Job expect to be until this change should come? In death, for it was that of which he was speaking. The apostle also says that the dead as well as the living are to be changed. And here we find death called a sleep. We shall not all sleep, but both dead and living shall be changed. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54. Death is not swallowed up in victory till Christ comes. The saints do not shout, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” until the voice of the Son of God calls them forth from their tombs. And what does this prove? That death and the grave have for a time triumphed, and held them captives. If it were not so, if the saints had passed at death immediately to a state of the eternal bliss, they would not be obliged to wait until the coming of the Lord to shout their victory. They could once voice their contempt for its weakness; or, more consistently, they could ascribe to it thanksgiving and praise for having liberated them from the toils of earth, and assured them into the joys of heaven.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 82.5

    Now we ask, What is the necessity for a resurrection of the dead? If the faithful of past ages are now “safe in the arms of Jesus,” as is so often taught and sung, what more can they need? Of what benefit to them will will a resurrection be? None at all. The Bible doctrine of the resurrection is directly opposed to the theory that men are taken to heaven at death. The Bible writers rested their entire hope in a resurrection; and this proves that they had no idea of the possibility (since they must die) of being with Christ in any other way.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 82.6

    Paul said that he counted all things loss for Christ, and for him gave up everything, and was willing to know the “fellowship of his sufferings,” and be “made conformable unto his death.” And what for? “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:11. Why did he esteem it so all-important to attain unto the resurrection of the dead? Let him answer: “If after the manner of man I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it to me, if the dead rise not?” 1 Corinthians 15:32. He had no hope in anything else. Let him once be convinced that the dead would not rise, and all incentive to action would have been taken away from one of the most tireless and zealous men that ever lived. Surely, then, the resurrection is a doctrine of no small importance.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 83.1

    In order to try to harmonize the doctrine of a final resurrection with the theory that the spirits of the good are taken to heaven immediately upon the death of the body, it is claimed that they do not receive the fulness of their reward until the resurrection. But this theory is overthrown by Paul’s words: “What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?” Is it nothing to be in the presence of God and Christ and the angels? Is it nothing to be exempt from pain, and free from the assaults of Satan? Certainly to gain such a state, even if it were not the fullness of joy, is worth a great deal of effort. Paul’s words show that he had no knowledge of any benefit that would accrue to the dead except through the resurrection. And if he taught man to place all their hopes in the coming of the Lord and the resurrection, who shall dare to teach otherwise? If he did not know the exact truth in regard to the matter, to whom has a later revelation been made? So true are all the words of Paul that even an angel from heaven would bring a curse upon himself if he should teach anything different. Galatians 1:8.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 83.2

    In view of the testimony that has been quoted to show that the resurrection takes place at the coming of the Lord, it is hardly worth while to notice the position that it is at death; that the rising of the soul or spirit from the body is the resurrection. This theory makes the saints be with the Lord at death, and thus makes death to be the coming of the Lord, which we have seen is a false and absurd position. There were some in Paul’s day who taught that the resurrection was past, and he said that they had erred concerning the truth, and were overthrowing the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:18. Nothing could more surely overthrow faith than such teaching, for who that accepted it could have any belief in the promises of a future second coming of Christ? It is as impossible to harmonize the theory of the past resurrection, or a resurrection at death, with the doctrine of the second coming of Christ, as to mix oil with water.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 83.3

    In closing, we will call attention to Revelation 22:4-6. John says: “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God.... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Ah,” says one, “that is what I believe; the souls of the martyrs went at once to live with Christ.” Let us see; these are not all the dead that John saw. He continues: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power.” Now notice: “The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Then the dead that John first saw were living again. And if living again, this must be the second life, which is separated from the first by an interval called death. Then death and life are not the same. And this “living again,” after an interval, is called a resurrection. Then what is the resurrection? It is the “living again” of those who have been dead, and not the continued existence of something that has never died. Those who do not have part in the first resurrection, do not “live again” until the thousand years are finished. Then they have a resurrection. Now allowing that “the rest of the dead” died at the very beginning of the thousand years, and we have their death and their resurrection separated by a period of a thousand years. That does not look like a resurrection at death.PTUK March 15, 1888, page 83.4

    E. J. WAGGONER.

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