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scious moral being or of the soul in man. It is only a consciousness of the wretched condition of the soul. So spiritual life in Christ Jesus is not the impartation of an indestructible nature to the spirit or soul of man; for that only and essentially is the nature of any spirit. But it is a change of the condition of that immortal element in man, its restoration to divine favor, righteousness, and peace. Death, the fruit of the soul's sin, is so called because it separates man from the enjoyment and glory of God. He is dead to the object of his creation. Life, given by the Word and Spirit of God, reunites the soul to God and makes it alive to his glory. But immortality is an inherent and inseparable nature or property of all spirits. So there is a vast difference between zoen ('life,' 'motion,' 'activity,' the ability to act in harmony with the divine will) and athanasia ('deathlessness,' 'immortality'). The former, when applied to the soul, is a moral condition; the latter describes an endless condition, that which is in its nature imperishable.
“That the soul does not pass a period of unconscious slumber between death and the resurrection is also positively proved by such scriptures as the following: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth: on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give him is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.' John 6:47-51.
"'Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.' John 6:54. “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.' John 11: 26.
“Eternal life signifies life, action, and conscious enjoyment in the service and favor of God, without end or termination. We here possess this life (see 1 John 5:11; 1 John 3:14), and if we hold out faithful we shall never die,' shall not die,' but 'live forever.' This implies that there shall be no interruption of this spiritual enjoyment. Yet, the death of the body is clearly implied in the same text; for, saith the Lord, 'I will raise him up at the last day.' How reconcile the two facts, he shall ‘live forever,' shall 'never die,' and yet shall die and go to the grave, if we do not recognize the fact that man is 'both spirit and body'? 1 Cor. 7: 34. On any other basis the Word of God contradicts itself. But, all taken together, there is no conflict. To 'live forever' and never die' is true of the inner man, the soul; while the death and resurrection pertain to the body, the outer man.
"Nothing but an utter subversion of the inspired Book can give countenance to the gloomy and debasing doctrine that all of man goes into the grave and remains unconscious until the resurrection. In fact,
to assert it is to squarely contradict the Teacher that came from heaven. To live forever and yet the body die, proves that man is something more than an animal body. The same thing is expressed in these words: 'Who died for us, that, whether we wake (remain in the body) or sleep (our body dies), we should live together with him.' 1 Thes. 5:10. That is, our souls will live right on in a glorious presence with the Lord. The fact is we live forever though our bodies decompose in the grave. So teaches the Word of God, and let the wisdom of this world be dumb before the bar of truth. Thank God for life and immortality so clearly brought to light by the gospel.'
The doctrine of the resurrection is well grounded in Scripture. Both in the Old and New Testaments it is clearly taught. Yes, the dead shall rise again. Martha said to Jesus concerning her dead brother, Lazarus, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." John 11: 24. Four times Jesus declares of the righteous, “I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:39, 40, 44, 54. Daniel declares that the bodies “that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Dan. 12:2.
Beloved reader, the last great day is coming. Jesus is going to return to earth again. The same Christ that once trod the shores of Galilee, that bore his cross to Golgotha's rugged hill, and there was suspended between heaven and earth for the redemption of mankind; the man of sorrows, the humble Nazarene, is coming back again; coming with power and great glory. One object of his coming is stated by Paul in these words:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thes. 4:13-17.
Here the order of the resurrection is clearly given. Those who are alive upon earth at the time of his coming will not prevent those asleep. The word prevent is more correctly rendered by other translations “precede,” “go before,
“go before," "enter into his presence sooner than the dead,” etc. This is the correct idea of the text. Those upon earth at the time of Christ's return will not be changed into immortality and rewarded before the dead are raised, but the dead in Christ shall rise first; i. e., before we, the living, are changed. The instant that the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, the slumbering dead will arise, after which we, the living, “shall be changed, 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." 1 Cor. 15:51, 52. The judgment will set, eternal rewards and punishments be meted out to all men. "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the righteous dead just raised] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
In the resurrection morning the dead will appear from two directions. “Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." The Lord will come “with ten thousand of his saints." Jude 14. “At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." 1 Thes. 3:13. He has the keys of that spirit world. See Rev. 1:18. The above texts prove that all the saints—all who sleep in Jesus—he will bring with him. They will accompany him on his return. Only the spirit goes to God at death (Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:8), hence, is the part that will return with him.
It is only our bodies that will be raised at the