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waters drowned, the fire consumed, or on which the birds of the air and the beasts of the field were fed. "God giveth it a body,” formed according to his pleasure: and though the man is the same, as to his consciousness and essential being, yet he comes in a body of a very different kind from that in which he was formerly seen before hi death.
But why, proceeds the apostle, should - this create a difficulty ? What a wonderful variety of bodies and material substances are there in nature!
39. “ All flesh is not the same flesh :"
There are even varieties here:
“ But there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial ; but the glory"_“ the beauty and excellency"-" of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another." - The beauty, and excellency, and appropriate nature of these celestial bodies differ also “ There is one glory of the sun,
and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for," -or rather,
nay," or, “ moreover,"_" one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead."
The dead are raised, indeed, in the bodies that God, according to his pleasure, will give them, but in bodies very different from what they had before; as different as one animal is from another; as different, in its nature, as the stars which shine in the heavens are from the substances found upon the surface of the earth, or in its entrails. As different is this body from the former in its beauty, in its excellency, in its peculiar functions and adaptation of parts, as the sun is different from the moon, the moon from the stars ; and as they again are different in the Psalms and in the ancient Prophets i especially under the symbol of “ the little horn,” in the vision of Daniel, which we have already seen to apply, almost without a possibility of doubt - history having interpreted prophecy - to the Papacy; and the reader will find, in Bishop Newton on the Prophecies, a very able and satisfactory dissertation on this prophecy of St. Paul; where the application of the symbol of “ the man of sin” is clearly shown to belong to the papacy, and to the
This prophecy, then, asserts that the coming of Christ could not be looked for until after this “man of sin,”the power symbolized by the little horn of Daniel, was revealed. He had not yet been revealed; the church and the world had never seen such a character: but the apostle refers to a conversation that he had had with the Thessalonians, in which he had explained to them what, in the present state of the world, prevented the appearance of this great corrupter and persecutor.
“ And now ye know what withholdeth,” — or, “ And ye kaow what now restraineth him,' that he might be revealed in his season.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth, will let until he be taken out of the way."
“ The Christian fathers universally understood the restraining power to be the Roman empire; in which opinion, whether it was derived from tradition or from conjecture, they seem to have been well founded,”i The situation of the empire, as it then stood, did not admit of the manifestation of this character in its relative position,
· Macknight. See also Bishop Newton.
45. “ And so," or, “ Thus also it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam, a quickening spirit. Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual.”
What is meant by a “ living soul” we have a proof in ourselves, in that nature which, in common with all our race, we derive from our father Adam. But the risen Saviour becomes to his people the source of a new and very different being; a germ of this spiritual existence is now fixed by the Holy Ghost within them, and being nourished from the same source from which it was taken, it must grow and increase. This is “the new," the “inner man.” This reorganizes the souls and faculties of men into new creatures. Their animal frames, which they still wear, must fall into the earth and die: but their second Adam will quicken for them a spiritual body like his own, so that “ in body and soul they will be like him."
The parallel here, be it again observed, is not between Christ and Adam, as two heads or stocks of the whole race of mankind, as some represent; but between Christ and Adam, as the heads of their respective children,- Adam of all mankind, Christ of the children of God, the seed which God has given himout of mankind,” to whom he is “ to give eternal life,” and whom he is “ to raise up at the last day.” “ Christ is called Adam, because believers receive their sanctified spiritual nature and their immortal body from him, just as mankind have derived their corrupted nature and mortal body from the first Adam.” « This clause-' the last Adam a vivifying spirit' — is not in the passage of the ancient Scripture quoted by the apostle: these are his own words, formed upon what Christ said, John, v. 26:For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. As the apostle is speaking
little horn of the fourth beast, as joint symbols of the PAPACY, and “the wicked,” the emphatic“ lawless one," with the king that doth according to his will ; the symbol of the “
possessors of sovereign authority,” or “ political power,” in the fourth or Roman empire ---- as history has begun to explain. The apostasy that manifests itself among the professed Christians of the Roman world, first perverts the truths of the Gospel, and substitutes in their stead the demoniacal superstition and abominable idolatry of
popery ; but at length arrives at that further pitch of wickedness, that the rulers and governors of the earth throw off all disguise, and act on the avowed principles of infidelity; and, in the character of antichristian infidels, rather than in that of superstitious papists, shall, perhaps, in the last instance, make war with the Lamb,
“ Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they receive not the love of the truth that they may be saved: and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
“ Whose coming” has, by most commentators, been understood of the rise of this “ man of sin” or wicked one;" but the construction of the text seems regularly to confine the application to the coming of the Lord just mentioned. The sense will be : The coming of the Lord Jesus, which you erroneously suppose to be at hand, does not take place till after this' mighty struggle of the prince of darkness, opposing the right ways of the Lord, and, by various artitices, seducing the professed followers of Christ. “ The miracles and lying wonders" mentioned in the text, as the facts of history 49. “ And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
This leads the apostle to state a principle of great importance for us to know, in pursuing our inquiries respecting the second advent, and the future state of the people of God:
50.“ Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
Here we have a confirmation of what has often been advanced in these inquiries, that in whatever more extended sense we sometimes meet with the phrase, kingdom of God,” in its proper sense, and in its strict application, it refers to the state of the righteous after the first resurrection; and this state, we are here told, is of such a nature that “ flesh and blood” cannot inherit it: we must be changed into a spiritual substance, in order to take our allotted portion in that kingdom.
This might well create a difficulty. How, then, shall they which are alive and remain unto the coming of our Lord, and are then “ to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,”-- how are they to divest them of their flesh and blood, and to be made capable of uniting with the risen saints, in order to their receiving the kingdom? This difficulty is next and distinctly answered by the apostle; and his answer affords very minute and most satisfactory information to the waiting people of God :
51. “ 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