« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
"And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." Therefore, the phrase, "Christ the first fruits," in Paul's peculiar sense, signifies, first Christ, in his order, and next, believers, in their own order, as specially contradistinguished from the last mentioned, viz: "afterward they that are Christ's at his coming;" and, immediately, "then [referring to the resurrection of those raised after the first fruits,] the END:" For at that time, emphatically, are the dead, perished, destroyed, and lost Israelites or Jews, Christ's own, to whom he came; and who, John affirms, are his own, and they received him not, raised.
But our text now comes with a peculiar emphasis"And whosoever LIVETH and believeth in me, SHALL NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?" For when the last trumpet shall sound the last time, (remember, the last trumpet, because the seventh!) they that have never died will be alive; and however they may be changed, by their everlasting life being exchanged for immortality, they cannot be the subjects of the resurrection from a death they never died!
In Paul's account, given very briefly, to the Thessalonians, (1 Thess. iv. 14-17,) we have a farther explanation of the resurrection in the inclusive sense that embraces in the imagery, the whole, in a few words, he enumerates three classes, or series in their order, etc. Speaking of the parousia, he says, of believers, or those of whom, to distinguish as sleeping in Christ, "Even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him." They are not dead. And in his Epistle to the Ephesians, (i. 10,) Paul represents in his imagery, that at the dispensation of the fulness of times, the scene of the gathering together of all things in one in Christ, is heaven and earth-things in heaven, and things on earth. Therefore, believers, all who have not died the death, are represented as being gathered from Heaven. And the dead—Paul, necessarily, represents the resurrection as a passing event, in the present tense of the parousia; and in reference to the design of God, all being in Christ, in the sens of his raising up all at or during the last day, as members of his heavenly body, in conformity to God's will, (John vi.) and being the second Adam, or Spiritual Head of every man, for whom he died, according to the Father's will, therefore, they are his own, and died to him, and to this resurrection. Consequently, they are then raised as the dead in Christ, in contradistinction to believers who are
brought from heaven, as those who sleep in Jesus, and are alive in Christ their Head. And the third class in this series, in their order, who are alive on the earth, are then changed, and the end is accomplished by all God's offspring being "delivered from the bondage of corrup tion into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Reader, "Believest thou this?" AMEN.
NOTE-Paul's phrase, "We shall Nor all sleep, but we SHALL ALL be changed," and the declaration that "the dead shall be raised incorruptible," constitute the strongest possible testimony of the final, and complete restitution of all the race of Adam, to life and holiness in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE LAST DAY.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." JOHN xii. 48.
THE LAST DAY, "the great, and dreadful day," has been the theme of thousands; who, I am apprehensive, have not had so much as one reasonable, or consistent idea of the subject they have talked so much about. Insane visionaries, and mad fanatics, have, on various occasions, designated some particular period, which they have predicted would be the great, and the Last Day. Timid and superstitious people, on such occasions, have been alarmed; and some to that degree, as to be deprived of their peace of mind; until the predicted last, and dreadful day has come, passed by, and gone, like other days; save that these predicted last days, have always proved that certain persons have lost the last of their wits, if not their reason. I have seen several last days, in my day; but new days have come; and will continue to arrive, after you, and I, reader, and all who now breathe the breath of life, shall be gathered to our fathers.
The Greek term emera, rendered day in the Scriptures, has a varied, or qualified signification. A day, affirmed
* I have found it indispensably necessary, to abridge the matter of the greater number of the residue of the twenty-five Sermons contained in this second volume. The unexpected length of Sermons VI., VII., and VIII., have not only led to this result, but will operate, de facto, to cause this volume to considerably exceed, (with all my precaution to the contrary,) in its contents, the quantity of matter originally contemplated; consequently, the cost or expense to the publisher, will be proportionally enhanced; and the price to the purchaser, inevitably increased in proportion, etc. I should much regret this condition of things, were it not for the conviction, that the increase of matter, etc., will be considered more than a full equivalent for the additional cost of the book. One thing will be very certain the cost of this book to the purchaser, will be but as "the drop of the bucket" to its expense to the author; who will not have any pecuniary interest in the profits, if any shall accrue, from the publication and sale of this work.
to be the day, signifies a determinate period or portion of time; contradistinguished from all other days, and all other time. In John viii. 56, emera emen, rendered my day, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day;" viz: the lifetime of the Son of God in the flesh; thirty-three years; or, according to the Greeks, one generation. Methuselah's lifetime of 969 years, was his day; and a very long day, too, compared with the day of an infant, who lives only one solar day of twenty-four hours. We, therefore, see, that the Greek term air, (aion,) a synonyme for the English term age, and strictly applicable to designate the lifetime of an old man, and an infant that lives but an hour; also, the dispensation of the law; also, of the gospel, etc.; however it may signify an endless or eternal duration in the creeds of men, is sometimes very limited, when the truth defines its legitimate signification.
In Heb. iii. 8, 9, "the DAY of temptation" of the Israelites, is specified; and its duration affirmed to be forty years. Daniel (vii. 13, 14,) says, "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came near to the Ancient of Days, [the Being of all days, ages, and dispensations,] and they brought him near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." That is, it shall not pass from him de facto, by force, or by an adverse power. It shall continue a day-the subjection of all that wear the earthly image shall be complete. It cannot pass away; for the subjection of all that serve him will be perpetual. And the delivering of the kingdom, when all are subjects of the kingdom, is a willing acknowledgement of the Son of Man, that God the Father is God of all. And this kingdom shall never be destroyed, for JEHOVAH Our King, will reign ad infinitum.
The prophet Zechariah, (ii. 10, 11,) on the same subject, says, "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. [See 2 Cor. v. 19.] And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that DAY, [not a few elect, in that day!] and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of Hosts hath sent me unto thee." And the prophet Isaiah, affirming of the feast that the LORD of Hosts shall make unto all people, when
he shall destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, (the earthly image,) and the veil that is spread over all nations, (moral darkness,) and swallow up death in victory, and take away the rebuke of His people (blind Israel,) from off all the earth, and wipe away tears from off all faces-emphatically, "And it shall be said in THAT DAY, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him and He will save us." (See Isa. xxv.) Reader, this is the Last Day.
"And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and swear by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: [the second aionos is ended,] but in the days of the voice of the SEVENTH angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." (Rev. x. 5-7.) And Christ's apostle Paul, as we have seen in the sermon that precedes this, spoke of this mystery, when he said, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but [on the contrary,] we shall all be changed." And this, when the SEVENTH angel, having the SEVENTH and last Trumpet shall sound the last time!
The prophet Hosea, (vi. 1, 2,) speaks the true parabola of the mystery-"Come, and let us return unto the LORD; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After Two days will he revive us: in the THIRD day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." The prophet refers to the three Dispensations, the "three measures of meal," in which were hidden the leaven that shall leaven the whole lump-the three days that the Son of Man lay in Hades the grave-and he designates the third, and last day, or aionos, as the day when the mystery should be seen, and the dead rise, and live in God's sight. But it is after two days. One day had then ended; the dispensation from Adam to Moses. The second day was advancing, and in the evening of that day, Jesus Christ appeared; and he affirmed, that that aionos, or second day, should end, before the then living generation of men should go to the tomb; saying, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matt. xxiv. 34.) But not until the third, and last day, is the prediction, the mystery of the