« PreviousContinue »
TEXT 35 But some man will
say, “ How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come ?" 36 Thou fool! that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be,
but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain. 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed
his own body 39 All fesh is not the same flesh : but there is one kind of flesh of men,
another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
say to make
of this life. For there are some 8 atheistical people among 35 you: this I
you ashamed. But possibly it will be asked, “How comes it to pass, that dead men are raised, and with what kind of bodies do they come? h Shall they
have, at the resurrection, such bodies as they have now 36 Thou fool! does not daily experience teach thee, that the
seed, which thou sowest, corrupts and dies, before it springs 37 up and lives again? That, which thou sowest, is the bare
grain, of wheat, or barley, or the like; but the body, which
it has, when it rises up, is different from the seed that is sown. 38 For it is not the seed, that rises up again, but a quite different
body, such as God has thought fit to give it, víz. a plant, of
a particular shape and size, which God has appointed to each 39 sort of seed. And so, likewise, it is in animals; there are
different kinds of flesh i: for the flesh of men is of one kind;
NOTES. 34 8 May not this, probably, be said to make them ashamed of their leader, whom
they were so forward to glory in? For it is not unlikely, that their questioning, and denying the resurrection, came from their new apostle, who raised such op
position against St. Paul. 35 b If we will allow St. Paul to know what he says, it is plain, from what he
answers, that he understands these words to contain two questions : First, How comes it to pass, that dead men are raised to life again ? Would it not be better they should live on? Why do they die to live again? Secondly, with what bodies shall they return to life? To both these he distinctly answers, viz. That those, who are raised to a heavenly state, shall have other bodies: and next, that it is fit that men should die, death being no improper way to the attaining other bodies. This, he shows, there is so plain and common an instance of, in the sowing of all seeds, that he thinks it a foolish thing to make a difficulty of it; and then proceeds to declare, that, as they shall have other, so they shall have
better bodies, than they had before, viz. spiritual and incorruptible. 39 i The scope of the place makes it evident, that by “ flesh," St. Paul here means
bodies, viz. that God has given to the several sorts of animals bodies, in sbape, textare, and organization, very different one from another, as he hath thought good; and so he can give to men, at the resurrection, bodies of very different constitutions and qualities from those they had before.
TEXT. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory
of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and
another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star
in glory: 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it
is raised in incorruption :
PARAPHRASE. the flesh of cattle is of another kind; that of fish is different
from them both; and the flesh of birds is of a peculiar sort, 40 different from them all. To look yet farther into the differ
ence of bodies, there be both heavenly and earthly bodies ;
but the beauty and excellency of the heavenly bodies is of one 41 kind, and that of earthly bodies of another.
moon, and stars have each of them their particular beauty and 42 brightness, and one star differs from another in glory.
And so shall the resurrection of the dead be: that, which is sown
NOTE. 42 k " The resurrection of the dead,” here spoken of, is not the resurrection of all
mankind, in common, but only the resurrection of the just. This will be evident to any one who observes, that St. Paul, haviug, ver. 22, declared that all men shall be made alive again, tells the Corinthians, ver. 23, that it shall not be all at once, but at several distances of time. First of all, Christ rose; afterwards, next in order to him, the saints should all be raised; which resurrection of the just is that which he treats, and gives an account of, to the end of this discourse and chapter ; and so never comes to the resurrection of the wicked, which was to be the third and last in order : so that from the 23d verse to the end of the chapter, all that he says of the resurrection is a description only of the resurrection of the just, though he calls it here by the general name of the resurrection of the dead. That this is so, there is so much evidence, that there is scarce a verse, from the 41st to the end, that does not evince it.
First, What in this resurrection is raised, St. Paul assures us, ver. 43, is raised in glory; but the wicked are not raised in glory.
Secondly, He says, “we” (speaking in the name of all that shall be then raised) shall bear the image of the heaveuly Adam, ver. 49, which cannot belong to the wicked. “We" shall all be changed, that, by putting on incorruptibility and immortality, death may be swallowed up of victory, which God giveth us, through our Lord Jesus Christ, ver. 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, which cannot likewise belong to the damned. And therefore “ we,” and “us," must be understood to be spoken in the name of the dead, that are Christ's, who are to be raised by themselves, before the rest of mankind.
Thirdly, He says, ver. 52, that when the dead are raised, they, who are alive, shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Now, that these dead are only the dead in Christ, which shall rise first, and shall be caught in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, is plain from 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17.
Fourthly, He teaches, ver. 54, that, by this corruptible's putting on incorruption, is brought to pass the saying, that “Death is swallowed up of victory.” But I think nobody will say, that the wicked have victory over death ; yet
NOTE that, according to the apostle, here belongs to all those whose corruptible bodies have put on incorruption ; which, therefore, must be only those that rise the second in order. From whence it is clear, that their resurrection alone is that which is here mentioned and described.
Fisthly, A farther proof whereof is, ver. 56, 57, in that their sins being taken away, the sting, whereby death kills, is taken away. And hence St. Paul says, God has given “us” the victory, which is the same “us,” or “we," who should bear the image of the heavenly Adam, rer. 49. And the same “we,” who should “all” be changed, ver. 51, 52. All which places can, therefore, belong to uone, but those who are Christ's, who shall be raised by themselves, the second in order, before the rest of the dead.
It is very remarkable what St. Paul says, in the 51st verse, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in the twinkling of an eye." The reason he gives for it, ver. 53, is, because this corruptible thing must put on incorruption, and this mortal thing must put on immortality. How? Why, by putting off flesh and blood, by an instantaneous change, because, as he tells us, ver. 50, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; and therefore, to fit believers for that kingdoni, those who are alive at Christ's coming shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye ; and those, that are in their graves, shall be changed likewise, at the instant of their being raised; and so all the whole collection of saints, all the menibers of Christ's body, shall be put into a state of incorruptibility, ver. 52, in a new sort of bodies. Taking the resurrection, here spoken of, to be the resurrection of all the dead, promiscuously, St. Paul's reasoning in this place can hardly be understood. But upon a supposition that he bere describes the resurrection of the just only, that resurrection, which, as he says, ver. 23, is to be the next after Christ's, and separate from the rest, there is nothing can be more plain, natural, aud easy, than St. Paul's reasoning; and it stands thus : “Men alive are flesh and blood; the dead in the graves are but the remains of corrupted flesh and blood; but flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither corruption inherit incorruption, i, e. immortality: therefore, to make all those, who are Christ's, capable to enter into his eternal kingdom of life, as well those of them who are alive, as those of them who are raised from the dead, shall, in the twinkling of an eye, be all changed, and their corruptible shall put on incorruption, and their mortal shall put op immortality : and thus Gol gives them the victory over death, through their Lord Jesus Christ.” This is, in short, St. Paul's arguing here, and the account he gives of the resurrection of the blessed. But how the wicked, who are afterwards to be restored to life, were to be raised, and what was to becoine of them, he here says nothing, as not being to his present purpose, which was to assure the Coristhians, by the resurrection of Christ, of a happy resurrection to believers, and thereby to encourage them to continne stedfast in the faith, which had such a reward. That this was his design, may be seen by the beginning of his discourse, ver. 12-21, and by the conclusion, ver. 58, in these words : “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord : forasmuch as ye know, that your labour is not in rain in the Lord.” Which words show, that what he had been speaking of, in the inmediately preceding verses, viz. their being changed, and their putting on incorruption and immortality, and their having thereby the victory, through Jesus Christ, was what belonged solely to the saints, as a reward to those who remained stedfast, aud abounded in the work of the Lord.
The like use of the like, though shorter, discourse of the resurrection, wherein he describes only that of the blessed, he makes to the 'Thessalonians, 1 Thess. iv. 13—18, which he concludes thus : “ Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
Nor is it in this place alone that St. Paul calls the resurrection of the just by
TEXT. 43 It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory : it is sown in weakness,
it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a
natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul,
the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
PARAPHRASE. in this world', and comes to die, is a poor, weak, contemp43 tible, corruptible thing: When it is raised again, it shall be 44 powerful, glorious, and incorruptible. The body, we have
here, surpasses not the animal nature. At the resurrection it
shall be spiritual. There are both animal m and spiritual » 45 bodies. And so it is written, “ The first man Adam was
made a living soul," i. e. made of an animal constitution, endowed with an animal life; the second Adam was made of a spiritual constitution, with a power to give life to others.
NOTES. the general name of the resurrection of the dead. He does the same, Phil. ii. 11, where he speaks of his sufferings, and of his endeavours, “if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead :" whereby he cannot mean the resurrection of the dead in general; which, since he has declared in this very chapter, ver. 22, all men, both good and bad, shall as certainly partake of, as that they shall die, there need no endeavours to attain to it. Our Saviour, likewise, speaks of the resurrection of the just, in the same general terms of the resurrection, Matt. xxii. 30. “ And the resurrection from the dead," Luke sx. 35, by which is meant only the resurrection of the just, as is plain from the
context. 42 1 The time, that man is in this world, affixed to this earth, is his being sown;
and not when being dead, he is put in the grave; as is evident from St. Paul's own words. For dead things are not sown ; seeds are sown, being alive, and die not, until after they are sown. Besides, he that will attentively consider
what follows, will find reason, from St. Paul's arguing, to understand him so. 44 " Ewle ce fuxixòy, which in our Bibles is translated, “ a natural body," should, I
think, more suitably to the propriety of the Greek, and more conformably to the apostle's meaning, be translated “an animal body :" for that, which St. Paul is doing here, is to show, that as we have animal bodies now, (which we derived from Adam) endowed with an animal life, which, unless supported with a constant supply of food and air, will fail and perish, and at last, do what we can, will dissolve and come to an end ; so, at the resurrection, we shall have from Christ, the second Adain, “spiritual bodies," which shall have an essential and natural, inseparable life in them, which shall continue and subsist perpetually of itself, without the help of meat and drink, or air, or any such foreign support; without decay, or any tendency to a dissolution : of which our Saviour speaking, Luke xx. 35, says, “They who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead," cannot die any more; for they are equal to the angels, i, e, of an angelical nature and constitution. n Vid. Phil. iii. 21.
TEXT. 46 Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is
natural ; and afterward, that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord
from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the
heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And, as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear
the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall
all be changed. 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must
put on immortality.
46 Howbeit, the spiritual was not first, but the animal ; and 47 afterwards the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made
up of dust, or earthy particles: the second man is the Lord 48 from heaven. Those who have no higher an extraction than
barely from the earthy man, they, like him, have barely an animal life and constitution; but those, who are regenerate,
and born of the heavenly sced, are, as he that is heavenly, 49 spiritual and immortal. And as in the animal, corruptible,
mortal state, we were born in, we have been like him that was earthy; so also shall we, wlio, at the resurrection, partake of a spiritual life from Christ, be made like him, the Lord from heaven, heavenly, i. e. live, as the spirits in heaven do, without the need of food, or nourishment, to support it,
and without infirmities, decay, and death, enjoying a fixed, 50 stable, unfleeting life. This I say to you, brethren, to satisfy
those that ask, “with what bodies the dead shall come ?” that we shall not at the resurrection have such bodies as we have now: for flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom which the saints shall inherit in heaven; nor are such fleeting,
corruptible things, as our present bodies are, fitted to that 51 state of immutable incorruptibility. To which let me add,
what has not been hitherto discovered, viz. that we shall not 52 all die, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye at the sounding of the last trumpet ; for
the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise: and as many 53 of us, believers, as are then alive, shall be changed. For