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Remarks on 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3, and on Chapter xv. We next turn to the First Epistle to the Corinthians. I know of no other fair exposition of the second and third verses of the sixth chapter but that which refers them to the coming of the glorified saints with the Lord Jesus at the last day :
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? how much more things that pertain to this life ?"
The term rendered “judge” seems to have here the same latitude of meaning as the corresponding term in the Hebrew language, and applies to the general exercise of rule and authority. This passage is, therefore, parallel to the predictions in the ancient prophecies: “ And the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom,” &c. &c. In what manner angels are subjected to the same rule and government, our information is at present inadequate to explain; but, perhaps, the ministering of angels, mentioned Heb. i. 14, has reference to their subjection to glorified saints, as the partners of the Redeemer's throne: “ Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them that shall be heirs of salvation?”
The fifteenth chapter of this epistle will principally claim our attention. There we have a full revelationrespecting the resurrection of the dead; not, however, immediately of the general resurrection, as it includes that of the unjust, who “come forth to everlasting shame
and contempt.” What this chapter treats of, is, the resurrection as it forms the blessed hope and expectation of the redeemed - the emphatical “children of the resurrection.”* It is a principal object with the apostle to show that there is to be a real resurrection of the body: that the Christian doctrine of immortality and of a future state does not only teach, that the spirit, when separated from the body-returning to its dust-will. exist, and be blessed in the beatific vision ; but that, in order to enter upon that state of being which is destined for the heirs of glory, the body itself must be raised from the dust, and the departed spirit again come into it.
This was a doctrine, it seems, which some early philosophical corrupters of the church wished to get rid of: they thought it, perhaps, a more refined and spiritual notion, to represent the soul of man as at once a glorified spirit in heaven, without regarding, as further necessary to its perfection, its former tabernacle, taken originally from the dust of the earth. But here our thoughts are not the thoughts of God: human philosophy, in these matters, speculates about things too high for its comprehension. It is certain, that the doctrine of the revealed word of God is totally different from this. It knows nothing of the glorifying of a separated spirit in heaven. It gives sufficient assurance, indeed, that those who sleep in Jesus are safe and happy in their separated state, in “ the safe keeping” of God, and are " present with the Lord;" but the consummation of their bliss is still connected, by the divine decree, with the resurrection of the body,- as it is called in another place, “ the redemption of the body;"4 of the body sleeping in the dust of the
Luke, xx. 36.
† Rom. viji. 23.
earth, or waiting its final change at the appearing of Christ. Such is the doctrine of the future state of the blessed, as taught in Scripture.
The apostle's argument, in the chapter before us, is equally against those who denied the resurrection of the body, as against those who denied the future existence of the soul altogether. It is also against those who taught that the promises of the glorious kingdom could be realized without a resurrection, who taught that “flesh and blood" might" inherit the kingdom of God.”
But in all this important revelation, the apostle touches not upon the condition of those who “ died in their sins," and who come forth to the judgment of the last day: he is speaking of that resurrection of which Christ is the “ first fruits ;” and he teaches its certainty - as to a real resurrection of the dead body - by the fact and by the known circumstances of Christ's resurrection. He was not glorified as a spirit separated from its body: “ his soul was not left in hell, nor did his body see corruption.” It was shown to be the very same body in which he had toiled and suffered in the days of his flesh; the very wounds of the nails and of the spear were seen upon it. For there was this peculiarity in the resurrection of our Lord, that his body, after its resurrection, but before its glorification - before it endured that final change that rendered it a spiritual body-was exhibited to his disciples upon earth. They saw it and they handled it. It had flesh and bones, which a spirit had not. He even ate in their presence. All this was to show, that as well the same identical body which he took upon him in the womb of the blessed Virgin, and in which he suffered upon the cross, as his human soul, in which he had been for three days existing in the separate state, was to be the subject of that glory, which was“ given him” in the eternal counsels of the Deity “ before the foundations of the world were laid.” It is this same glory which he will give to those whom God hath given him, and this glory respects the whole man, both body and soul.
Having shown, in Christ's resurrection, both the truth and the proof of our resurrection - the resurrection of the body - the apostle proceeds:
20. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept,”—or, " are fallen asleep."
" Which are fallen asleep in Christ,” as it is in the eighteenth verse: so that the resurrection treated of in the following verses is that of his people exclusively :
“ For since by man came death,' by man. came' also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Conceiving “ the resurrection to life” to be the exclusive subject in this Scripture, I believe the parallel to be, as in the fifth of Romans, between Christ, the federal Head of his people, and Adam, the head of human kind. As the one brought death, so the other brings life; not to the same persons, but to “ the many" —" the all” whom they represented, which, in the one case, was all mankind; in the other, as many as God has given to the Redeemer out of mankind. “ Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he may give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” “All that the Father hath given me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will, which hath sent me, that of all that he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”*
. 23. “ But every man," or, “ each,”. “ in his own order : Christ, the first-fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming; each according to his own proper destination or appointed order : Christ at one time; his people at another."
Christ had already risen ; “the first-fruits of them that slept ”in him—“ the first-begotten born from the dead," — and they that slept in him would rise on his coming, at his second advent.
[ 24. “ Then [cometh] the end," '_ or, “ Then the end [shall be,"] — " when he shall have delivered,” — or, “ will deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have,” — or, “ when he will put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ;"or rather, with Macknight, “ Death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed;"_“ 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 that did put all things under him; and when all things shall be subdued unto him,"— or, “ put in order under him,"_" then shall the Son also himself be subject unto,” — or, “ put in order under him, that God may be all in all.”
A difference exists among commentators as to the meaning of this passage. I will state to the reader my conception of it - arriving at its exposition, after travelling through all the former prophecies that have been