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dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave,” or rather, “ O hell," “ where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Such is a plain statement of facts - of things that shall be hereafter. We have not here the usual obscurity of prophecy, partially veiling what it sets before
The mystery is altogether revealed: the language is so plain that it needs no comment. And what light does it throw upon the ancient oracles ! and also upon a former revelation made by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Thessalonians! and, especially, on the passage of the Old Testament here referred to by the apostle, and which he tells us is then accomplished:
“ And he shall penetrate in this mountain
And again :
“ Thy dead shall live, their dead bodies shall rise ;
They do, indeed, arise and sing, O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory? The
apostle having in his view another passage of Scripture, as many imagine: -" I will ransom them from the power of the grave,” or “hell;" “ I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plague; O hell, I will be thy destruction." *
I would only remark further, that these last observations and the quotation of the apostle fully confirm our exposition of the former part of this revelation, where “ death, the last enemy, is said to be destroyed ;” that it does not mean the destruction of death and the departed state absolutely; so that they no longer keep any of the dead in their custody, which destruction, as we shall learn hereafter, will take place at a very distant period after the glorifying of the righteous ; but that the victory here in view is the releasing the redeemed people of Christ from the hand of death and from the place of their abode in the separate state. It is the destruction of death, as the enemy of Christ, and of his redeemed, that is in the view of the prophetic Spirit; and this takes place, not at the judgment of the wicked dead, but at the second coming of Christ to establish his kingdom upon earth. Enemies, in view of that kingdom, are both death and the separate state; the souls and bodies of Christ's people must be released from these, their detainers; and those that have not yet been seized by death must be changed into immortal, incorruptible beings, and put beyond his reach. This is necessary in order to their inheriting the kingdom of God.
And here we should remark, what has often imposed itself on our view, in consulting former prophecies con
cerning the kingdom ; that it is one thing to be an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven; and another thing, to be a subject of that kingdom, when it shall be manifested on earth. The inheritors of the kingdom are glorified saints ; the subjects of the kingdom are the nations upon earth that shall survive the troubles of the last time, and the judgment of the apostate churches and nations. To inherit the kingdom, is, to be made partakers of its sovereign rule and authority in joint heirship with Christ. The Scripture, when it promises the people of God that they shall be “ kings and priests," and shall reign in life, has not used an indefinite language, merely expressive of greatness and dignity ; but it has used proper terms to convey appropriate ideas. “ The saints of the Most High” are to stand in the relations of kings and priests, to the inhabitants of a new world; they are to reign upon earth, and to be “ priests of God and of Christ.” On earth they reign - here is the seat of their dominion: but, they inhabit not houses of clay: “ the children of God being the children of the resurrection," are “ like unto the angels." In order to inherit and take a share in this kingdom, they must of necessity be divested of flesh and blood. But a kingdom implies a people to be ruled; and a priesthood implies also a people for whom its functions are ordained. Those who are heirs of a kingdom, become kings. Those that receive a priesthood, “ are ordained for men in things pertaining to God.”
We saw, clearly, in former prophecies, that the earth and multitudes of its inhabitants survive, to submit to the sceptre of Christ and his saints. “ The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the king. dom for ever, even for ever and ever.” Other Scriptures have shown us, in this new world, the Jews restored to their own land ; a new temple, and new services instituted ; a sacred character given to Israel among the nations upon earth; their priests and Levites restored : all these things pertain to the regulation of things among men, in flesh and blood; and place will be found for the fulfilment of every prediction. But the dominion of the Lord and his heavenly hosts will be paramount to all this. “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
The Sixth Chapter of the First Epistle to l'imothy.
We next pass to St. Paul's notice of this blessed epiphany, in the sixth chapter of his First Epistle to
Timothy :; “ I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ, who, before Pontius Pilate, witnessed a good confession, that thou keep the commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his times” — “which, appearing-he will manifest—God in his own good time shall manifest—who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see, to whom be honour and power everlasting.".
There are two remarks I would make on this passage.. It was ever matter of surprise to me, as perhaps it has been to my reader, to find the epithets of “ only, Potentate,” “ King of kings, and Lord of lords :" applied to God, as distinguished from the Son, in his capacity of Lord and Christ; since these titles generally designate the Son's office and authority among men — the office especially which he is to assume at the last day. But the right understanding of the last passage of Scripture which we have considered, has presented to us the business of the second advent in another point of view. It hath shown us not only the kingdom of Christ, and of his saints, which is to rule over the earth; but it has also shown us the places of Christ, and his redeemed, in “ the kingdom of their Father.”
It represented to us the glorified Saviour, not only as coming to receive a kingdom upon earth, but as also delivering up one in heaven, which he had held as Mediator between God, even the Father, and his redeemed people ; the absolute Deity having veiled itself in light not to be approached, and having committed all power and authority to the Son of man. But it was represented to us, that when the many sons are brought to glory, the mediatorial reign, as to them, will cease ; 1 and the Son, as glorified man, will descend from the station he occupied before, arranging himself among his brethren, to go again with them, “ the first-born among many brethren," with delegated power from the Deity.
We have seen, how, with respect to these glorified saints, Christ is not upon the throne of the Supreme, otherwise than he is one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, “ God is all in all.” As Lord and King,
I“ A Mediator is not of one."