THE INTERMEDIATE STATE

 

BY HENRY GREW.

 

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life shall appear, THEN shall ye also appear with him in glory

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

FOR SALE $2 PER HUNDRED BY THE AUTHOR; AND BY

 

H. L. HASTINGS, PEACE DALE, R. I.

 

1855

 

 

PREFACE.

 

I am aware of the emotions the doctrine advocated in these pages will excite in the minds of many of my beloved Christian brethren. -With what delight have we cherished the assurance that our loved ones, who are no longer with us, are even now in the presence of God, where is “fullness of joy.”How has the sorrow of the chamber of death been alleviated, and its gloom dissipated by such a faith! Who will take away this cordial for the hour of our grief? Who will throw the pall of darkness over our bright scene, by affirming that “the dead know not anything?”

 

To the soul-thrilling question, “Do they love us still?”the writer is now, by the force of truth, obliged to give the scriptural answer,  Ec 9:6. He now believes it to be the revealed and righteous decree of the HOLY ONE, that MAN, the entire man, shall, for transgression, be subjected to the dominion of death, and that hope of all future existence must be founded on the glorious doctrine of the resurrection from the grave.

 

No one believing the popular theory of the soul’s independent and never ceasing consciousness, can possibly appreciate the importance and glory of the doctrine of the resurrection as it is set before us in the oracles of God. Indeed this theory has, in the minds of many, induced an entire rejection of this doctrine. Where this is not the case, the doctrine is held in a sense entirely incompatible with that forcible question of inspiration, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.”  1Co 15:32.

 

In our researches after truth, conscious of our liability to err, we should lift our hearts to our Father in Heaven, earnestly imploring the guidance of the promised spirit. There is indeed danger, not only of adhering to error, but also of departing from truth. May we be graciously preserved from both, and finally be presented “faultless before the presence of the glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen.”

 

 

THE INTERMEDIATE STATE.

 

THE subject proposed for our present consideration may be thus stated:

 

Are the understanding, the passions and the will of man, faculties of a distinct essence, or spiritual subsistence, which is capable of conscious existence independently of and separate from the body; or do these powers pertain to the organized functions of the animated body?

 

Is the human mind, or soul, or spirit, a purely spiritual or ethereal essence or subsistence possessing consciousness and intelligence in itself, independently of the body, developing itself indeed through the material bodily organs, as one mode of its manifestations,  but not dependent on such mode: or is it a faculty or power of the material organization itself, imparted to it by the Almighty, and in respect to conscious existence, inseparable from the operations of the material organization?

 

In searching for truth in the word of the Lord, I find that,

 

1. The account of the creation of man is opposed to the theory that he possesses a distinct spiritual subsistence which is capable of conscious existence independently of the body.

 

 Ge 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:”  Ge 2:7: “And the Lord God formed MAN of the dust of the ground,  and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

 

MAN, and not merely the body of man, is said to be formed of the dust of the ground. Man, thus formed, is said to become a living soul, not by the distinct creation and impartation of another subsistence of a conscious and intelligent nature, but simply be breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. Let the plain import of this expression be candidly considered. If that material organization, the wonderful product of infinite wisdom and power, became a living soul, simply in consequence of breathing into it the breath of life,  does it not plainly appear that this material structure needed only the principle of vitality, to constitute the living soul or perfect living man? -This material structure is denominated MAN, and not the body of man,  before the principle of life was imparted.

 

God, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”Compare this expression with that in  Isa 2:22, “Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils.” Is this an appropriate expression to define such an immortal independent soul as man is supposed to possess? Read  Ge 7:21,22. If we can possibly cast off from our minds the bias of preconception, shall we not acknowledge that it is a plain expression of the simple fact of imparting vitality to the perfectly organized structure formed of the dust of the ground? The Almighty “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”Will any one affirm that his breath, antecedent to its connection with the new formed man, was itself a conscious, intelligent and immortal substance? -Was not consciousness and intelligence the result of the connection of this breath with all the material functions? Was it not destitute of these qualities antecedent to such connection? If it did not possess this consciousness and intelligence anterior to its connection with the material organization, how can it possess it when, at death, it is separated from that organization? If  Ge 2:7, proves an immortal soul in man, must not  Ge 7:21,22, prove the same in beasts?

 

Our philosophy may ask, how can breath or air impart vitality to matter? Or how can mental operations, be produced by its connection with mere matter, however perfect its organization? The reply is, by the power of God. This reply must be admitted unless it can be proved that it involves a contradiction. Its incomprehensibility is no adequate ground for its rejection. The power of Him in whom we live and move and have our being, gives efficacy to the means his wisdom has adopted to produce and maintain all the vital, physical, and mental functions of that wondrous organization of the dust which his Almighty hand has formed and denominated man.

 

“The Spirit of God hath made me and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”  Job 33:4. “There is a spirit of man and the inspiration (breath) of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”  Job 32:8.

 

If it is true that man possesses a conscious spiritual substance so superior to and independent of the material organization, how can we account of the omission of the fact in the inspired record of his original creation? Why is no mention made of a matter of such transcendent importance? Is it not reasonable to expect, according to the popular theory, that Moses would have been inspired to record, first of all,  the creation of such an immortal soul as the chief part of the noble creature of such an immortal soul who was to have dominion over the whole earth? Would not the mere outward material tenement have been a secondary matter? Or if it was proper to mention it first, was it proper to denominate it MAN previous to its occupation by that which is considered as essential to the nature of man? Is it reasonable to suppose that in the inspired description of man’s creation, a phraseology would be adopted, which precludes the idea of man’s life and intelligence being derived from such a distinct substance?

 

2. The term soul is applied to the animal creation in general.

 

 Ge 1:20, “And God said let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, (Heb.) SOUL.”See also, ver. 30. (Heb.) Lev. 11; 46, (Heb.) &c. We read of the spirit of the beast  Ec 3:21. We know that other animals possess what we term mental faculties; knowledge, memory, and affection. “The ox knoweth his owner.”Does the memory of the horse, the affection of the dog, or the sagacity of the beaver, prove the possession of spiritual subsistence’s by these animals, which can act independently of their material organizations? It may be said that they cannot reason. Suppose that we can demonstrate this; can we demonstrate that the faculties which they do possess can be more rationally predicated on mere animated material organization than reason itself? If the Creator has imparted to their material organizations, knowledge, memory, with affections, without any distinct spiritual subsistence; on what principle can we affirm that he cannot impart to the superior material organization of man these faculties and reason also? Where is the philosopher that can prove this? It is easy, indeed, to affirm that “matter itself is essentially unintelligent, and is utterly incapable of thought.”Mr. Good in his Book of Nature, p. 367, well remarks, that “this is to speak with more confidence than we are warranted; and unbecomingly to limit the power of the Creator.”The question is not what is matter in its primeval state, but what can the Almighty make of it? The answer is, that of “stones he can raise up children unto Abraham,”

 

[Editor, And if He willed, He could make stones cry out, “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” ( Lk 19:40.)]

 

3. The original terms, nesme, nephish, ruah, psyche, and pneuma, translated soul and spirit, mean breath of life.

 

Nesume. This word and nephish are the only terms in the Old Testament rendered soul. Taylor, in his Hebrew Concordance, says, that nesme signifies the chameleon, a kind of lizard, which has its mouth always open gaping for the air, upon which it is said to live. -It is rendered breath and breatheth in the following texts and expresses natural life whether in men or beasts.  De 20:16 Jos 11:11,14  _ 1Ki 15:29 17:17 comp. verse 21, where the breath of the child is called, “his soul.”

 

Nephish. Parkhurst says-“as a noun nephish hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul: I must for myself confess that I can find no passage, where it hath undoubtedly this meaning.  Ge 35:18  1Ki 17:21,22  Ps 16:10, seem fairest for this signification. But may not nephish in the three former passages be most properly rendered breath, and in the last a breathing or animal frame?”Taylor says-nephish, signifies “the animal life, or that principle by which every animal, according to its kind, lives,  Ge 1:20, every moving creature that hath the soul of life. And verse 24, let the earth bring forth &c. wherein there is life, the soul of life,  Le 11:46. Which animal life, so far as we know anything of the manner of its existence, or so far as the scripture leads our thoughts, consists in the breath.  Job 41:21; and  Job 31:39. And in the blood,  Le 17:11,14.”

 

“As lebeb,  the heart, so nephish the life, soul, is applied to the faculties, the actions and affections of the mind; as to the understanding, memory, will, counsel, desire, love, hatred, &c., see  Ex 23:9  1Sa 1:10; 30:6. -“Such is Taylor’s account of the word nephish. He does not even insinuate that it ever signifies an immortal soul which survives the death of the body.”

 

Ruah. Taylor says it “hath four significations.

 

1st., properly, the wind, air, breath,  Job 32:10; 41:16  Ec 3:19 -

 

2nd, from the subtlety and invisibility of the air; as in Greek and Latin, so in the Hebrew, the air, or spirit is used to signify that invisible substance in men, which is the seat of understanding, and of the passions and affections,  Job 32:8. Any temper, disposition, quality of the mind, good or bad;  Nu 14:24 Jud 9:23  _ 1Sa 16:14,15, &c. In particular, the spirit is put for vigor, liveliness or courage of mind,  Ge 45:27  Jos 5:1  1Ki 10:5  Job 6:4; 32:18

 

3d. The spirit or principle of affections and passions in brutes,  Ec 3:21

 

4th. The spirit of God which must signify some secret influences or impressions on the mind or body, &c.  Ps 139:7  2Ki 2:16; 40:7,13

 

5th, any spirit or ghost  Job 4:15.”

 

Psyche. Parkhurst says, “it means breath; animal life; a living animal that lives by breathing; the human body though dead; the human soul or spirit as distinguished from the body; the human animal soul; the mind, disposition, particularly as denoting the affections; a human person; and the souls of those who were slain for the word of God.”

 

When applied to man it is rendered, 1st, Life,  and expresses what we call natural life,  Lu 9:56 Ac 15:26  _ 1Jo 3:16 Mt 6:25 Lu 12:22,23 Ac 20:10 Php 2:30 Mt 2:20, &c.

 

Psyche is rendered soul in the following texts,  Ac 2:41 27:37  _ 1Pe 3:20 Ac 2:43 3:23 Ro 13:1 Lu 2:35 Ro 2:9 Mt 12:18 Lu 1:46  2Co 1:23  1Th 2:8  Mt 11:29  Lu 21:19  Ac 14:22 15:24  1Pe 1:22  2Pe 2:14  Joh 12:27  2Pe 2:8  Heb 6:19  1Pe 2:11,

 

3d.  Joh 2 Re 18:14  _ 1Co 15:45. To substitute the word person instead of soul in some of these texts renders the sense more definite. In the following texts psyche is rendered mind.  Heb 12:3 Ac 14:2 Php 1:27. And in  Eph 6:6  Col 3:23; it is rendered heart and heartily. Though psyche is rendered soul in  Ac 4:32 Mt 22:37 Mr 12:30,33 Lu 10:27: yet the context and scope of the passage show that some part of the mind is meant. Psychikos occurs-  Jas 3:15  Jude 19;  1Co 15:44,46  1Co 2:14, and is rendered sensual and natural.

 

The following texts demand a more particular consideration. -For what is man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul!  Mt 16:26; see the parallel texts,  Mr 8:36,37 Lu 9:24,25; and compare  Lu 12:19,20, to all of which texts our remarks shall apply. It is assumed from these texts that soul in them, means an immortal soul which survives death, and its being lost means its being punished in a future state. But this assumed sense is contrary to the universal usage of nephish, soul, in the Old Testament. It is unsupported by the usage of psyche,  soul, in the New. -Besides, psyche is rendered life in the contexts of these very passages, and in many other places, as we have seen above. It is so rendered in these texts in most modern versions, and the scope of the writers requires it. For example, did our Lord mean, that a man must lose his soul or go to hell for his sake, if he would save it from hell? And did he mean that an immortal soul could eat, drink, and be merry? Had the word psyche been only rendered life uniformly in these passages, as in their contexts, no man would ever have thought of founding such opinions upon them. To illustrate the words-“What shall a man give in exchange for his soul”or life? consult  Ge 47:13,17 and  Job 2:4. But what ought to settle the question about these texts is, the phrase rendered to lose the soul,  is in other places rendered to lose the life, where all will allow natural life is only intended; yea, is rendered to lose the life, in the contexts of these very passages. See  Ac 27:22 Joh 12:25 Lu 17:33 Mr 8:35 Mt 10:39. To lose life is a common and natural expression, but to lose an immortal soul,  is a unprecedented expression not found in the Bible. I may add that Luke chap. 9:24, 25, explains these texts thus, the persons cast themselves away or kill themselves. Of what use is all the world to a man who loses his life?

 

Pneuma is rendered both spirit and life,  and applied to men in the following texts. It is rendered life; in the margin, breath;  Jas 2:26 Re 13:15. Spirit, and refers to the mind of man, its powers, tempers and dispositions,  Mt 5:3 26:41 Mr 14:38 Lu 1:17 9:55 10:21 Joh 4:23 13:21 Ac 6:10 16:18; &c. &c. In the following places we have the phrases, my spirit, thy spirit, his spirit,  Mr 2:8 8:12 Lu 1:47,80 2:40 Joh 11:33 Ro 1:9  _ 1Co 5:4 16:18  _ 2Co 7:13 Ga 6:18. These expressions are used for the sake of the greater emphasis, to express the person’s self. In the following places we have these, among other peculiar phrases; “the spirit of life, spirit of adoption, &c. See  Ro 8:2,15 11:8  _ 1Co 2:12;”&c. {*}

 

4. The Bible teaches that MAN, THE SOUL, as well as the body, dies.  

 

“In the day thou eatest thereof, dying, THOU shalt die,”(Heb.)  Ge 2:17; on what authority do we affirm that this is inapplicable to the entire man? On what authority do we affirm that the main part of man, the very part which is chiefly guilty of transgression,  shall escape this penalty, and never die at all? “The soul that sinneth it shall die.”  Eze 18:4; Read  Ge 19:20  Ps 89:48 33:19. Why then do any speak of the never dying soul? -“The wages of sin is death.”Death is the opposite of life; the cessation or deprivation of it.

 

To say that the threatening is spiritual death, is not only to reject the literal import of the term without necessity, but it is to confound the crime with the penalty. Spiritual death is sin, it is the crime, not the penalty. The Scriptures teach that the soul or spirit dies with the body, by the positive assurance that “in that very day his thoughts perish.”  Ps 146:4. “The dead know not any thing,  neither have they any more a reward-also their love, and hatred, and their envy is now perished.”  Ec 9:5,6,10. Do not the thoughts and affections pertain to the soul or mind? If these perish, where is the soul? How striking is the contrast between the popular theory and the testimony of the Eternal Spirit! The former affirms that the dead know more than they did before. The latter, that they “know not any thing.” The former declares that they have gone to their reward. The latter, that neither have they (present tense) any more a reward. The popular opinion says that the love of the righteous and the envy of the wicked are, at death, perfected. The Bible says that both are perished.

 

So David,  Ps 6:5; declares that “in death there is no remembrance of thee.”The pious poet said, “And when my voice is lost in death, praise shall employ my nobler powers.“ The pious psalmist said, “The dead praise not the Lord.”  Ps 115:17; “man giveth up the ghost and where is he!”Would Job have used such language, if he believed that the main part of man never died at all? He answers the question, not by affirming that the body only dies, but by declaring the glorious doctrine of the resurrection. This language plainly implies that all man’s future life depends on this doctrine. “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call (i.e.,  when the last trumpet shall sound) and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of my hands.”  Job 14:14,15.

 

In respect to the state between death and the resurrection, he declares it is as though we never had any existence, which certainly is not true, if the principal part of man is in a conscious state.- “Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb! O! that I had given up the ghost (spirit) and no eye had seen me. I should have been as though I had not been.”  Job 10:18,19. The reference to the state anterior to birth makes no difference, for in that state he possessed a spirit to be given up, which returns to God who gave it. Here we learn that giving up the spirit, or soul, or life, and its returning to God who gave it, is consistent with the fact of its unconsciousness in the intermediate state.

 

Death, so long as it reigns over man, places him on a level with brutes. “Even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath: so that a man (in the matter of death) hath no pre-eminence above the beast.”  Ec 3:19. It is the glorious doctrine of a resurrection unto eternal life, which gives us the pre-eminence.

 

Some persons appear to have too little confidence in the testimony of the Old Testament Saints. I ask, if they are not the very “holy men”whom the inspired apostle declares “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost?”It would seem that such persons have but little confidence in the apostle himself. How did Job know that his Redeemer lived, and should stand in the latter day on the earth, and that in his flesh he (Job) should see God? How did he know that God would call to him in the grave and that he would answer him? How, I ask, did he know these things but by the teaching of the Holy Spirit? If we believe his testimony concerning the resurrection, why should we not believe his testimony concerning the intermediate state, that it is a state without knowledge, “His sons come to honor and he knoweth it not,”&c., a state of as perfect unconsciousness as though he had not been?

 

5. The Bible teaches that man is dependent on his resurrection from the grave for all future existence.

 

In addition t the testimony already considered, let us hear “the faithful witness.”  Mt 22:31,32. “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead but of the living.”What is the argument here? Certainly it is, that the dead must rise, because God is not the God of the dead, as he would be if the dead rise not. But this is not true, if Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are living in glory. In this case God is the God of the living although the dead rise not. Our Savior predicates their living, entirely on their resurrection from the grave; consequently they have no life at present.

 

Paul rested all his hope of future life on the same basis.  1Co 15:32. “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die.”Would it be no advantage for such a spiritual and independent intelligent subsistence, as the human soul is supposed to be, to enjoy the glory of God forever, although the dead body should never rise? Do not many suppose that such a state would be more advantageous without the body than with it.

 

 1Co 15:17,18. “If Christ be not raised-then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” The apostle’s argument is, that if Christ has not risen, there will be no resurrection of the saints, and if so, they have perished to exist no more. But how can this be if they possessed immortal souls? To say that an immortal soul can perish is a contradiction in terms.

 

 Joh 6:39. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”If Jesus Christ does not raise his saints from the grave, he will lose them, but this is not true, if their souls never die.

 

 Col 3:3,4. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, THEN shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

 

The believer’s life is indeed secured by divine promise, but it is hid, concealed,  until Christ “shall appear”the second time.

 

6. The Bible teaches that the saints are to wait for future glory until Jesus comes to be glorified in his Kingdom.

 

Whatever may be said of the preaching of the glad tidings of the Kingdom or reign of God, of Christ and of heaven, as preparatory to its full establishment on earth, it is most evident, from innumerable divine testimonies, that this glorious kingdom is still future. He whose right it is, has gone to receive it and to return to possess it with his saints.  Lu 19:11-27 Eze 21:27; clearly prove that the Kingdom of God has not yet appeared.

 

 Da 7:13,14. “I say in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven (referring to Christ’s second coming: ‘Behold he cometh with clouds,’ &c.;  Re 1:7)- and there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom that ALL people, nations and languages should serve him,”&c. This has not yet been fulfilled. The nations “have set themselves against Jehovah and against his anointed.”He will dash them to pieces as a potter’s vessel, 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,”&c.  Da 7:27.

 

Observe, this kingdom is not to be in some distant region of space, nor is it a mere spiritual matter. “The kingdoms of THIS WORLD”are to “become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.”It is the kingdom UNDER the whole heaven that is to be given to the saints. “We shall reign ON THE EARTH;”  Re 5:10; have “power over the nations;”  Re 2:26; “inherit the earth,”  Mt 5:5; “reign with Christ,”  Re 20:4; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to take vengeance on his enemies. See  Da 2:34,35.

 

On this very theater, where Jehovah has been dishonored by the rejection of his only begotten Son, he will glorify his great Name by exalting his beloved on the throne of his father David, causing all nations to bow down before him and serve him. He who was here despised and rejected of men, shall here be acknowledged as their rightful Lord and King. When he shall have trodden the wine press of his Father’s wrath, and destroyed the man of sin by the brightness of his coming, he shall sway his blessed scepter of righteousness, of peace, and love, over the whole earth. All shall be fulfilled, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

 

With this kingdom our hour of death has no connection. It existeth not, in the proper sense, until the seventh angel shall sound the trump of God;  Re 11:15. It cannot be established until the King himself comes.

 

It is a truth too much overlooked by Christians, that the exceeding great and precious promises of their future felicity have reference, not to any happiness to be enjoyed by disembodied spirits in the intermediate state; but to their participation in their Redeemer’s kingdom when he comes. Of this kingdom they are “joint-heirs with Christ.”When, I ask, according to the scriptures, are we to enter into life”-“into the joy of (our) Lord”-to be with him-to “see him as he is,”and be “like him,”and “shine forth in the kingdom of (our) Father?”When are we to receive the reward of grace and enter upon the “many mansions”our most gracious Lord has gone to prepare for us? Our Savior himself teaches us most plainly that it will not be until he shall “comeagain,”“I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there shall ye be also.”  Joh 14:3. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and THEN shall he reward every man according to his works.”  Mt 16:27. “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”  Lu 14:14. It is “when the Son of man shall come in his glory,”and not at the hour of death, that he shall cheer our hearts with the thrilling welcome, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  Mt 25:31-34. It is “when Christ who is our life shall appear,”that we shall “appear with him in glory.”  Col 3:4. It is when he cometh after a long time to reckon with his servants that he shall say to his faithful one; “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”  Mt 25:19,21. It is not until the harvest, which is “the end of the world,”or present state, that the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father.  Mt 13:30,39,43. So David looked for the satisfying glory, not to the hour of death, but to the resurrection morning. “As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness. (When?) I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”  Ps 17:15. He looked “for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”  Php 3:21.

 

Paul had no expectation of receiving his crown unto the day of his Lord’s appearing,  2Ti 4:8. Indeed, all the ransomed are represented as waiting for their salvation until that day. “He will swallow up death in victory-And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; WE HAVE WAITED FOR HIM, and he will save us: this is the Lord, we have waited for him,  we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”  Isa 25:8,9 Ro 8:18-23 confirms the same precious truth. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”When? At death? No. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God-“to wit, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY.”“To be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven-i.e.,  the incorruptible body,)- that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”  2Co 5:1-4. “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ!”  1Th 5:23. “And then shall ye see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass THEN look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh.”  Lu 21:27. “When the chief Shepherd shall appear,  ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”  1Pe 5:4.

 

Why were the Thessalonian Christians directed to wait for their Savior from heaven, if they were going to heaven to him eighteen hundred years before he was to come from heaven?  1Th 1:10  _ 2Th 3:5 7. The Bible represents the great object of the saint’s hope to be, not any felicity in the intermediate state, but the coming of Jesus Christ, our resurrection from the dead, and our gathering together unto him in his kingdom.

 

“Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God-and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.”“And I appoint unto you a kingdom as my Father hath appointed unto me.”“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit down with me on my throne,”&c. “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus.”“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection from the dead.”“For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, who shall change our vile body,”&c. “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed (when? at death?) in the last time,  wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season if need be ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations, that the trial of your faith may be found unto praise and honor and glory (not at death, but) AT THE APPEARING OF THE LORD JESUS.”“Be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you (when?) at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”“ Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”-See also  2Pe 1:10,11  _ 1Jo 2:28; Revelation, chapters 20,21,22 Mt 25:34 Joh 6:40 17:24, comp.  Da 7:14; and  Mt 25:31 Ro 5:17  _ 2Th 2:14  _ 2Ti 2:12 4:18.

 

Eternal life and entering into the kingdom of God are essentially the same. See  Mr 9:45,47; and  Lu 12:31 8. Among the innumerable promises, to the saints in general, of future blessedness, not one is to be found of felicity in the intermediate state.

 

The words of our Savior to the individual thief shall hereafter be considered. The apostle having announced the transcendently glorious fact of the Lord himself descending from heaven with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, and that the dead in Christ shall rise first and meet the Lord in the air, exhorts the saints “to comfort one another with these words,”“concerning them which are asleep.”“Is this animating truth, or the supposition of going immediately to heaven, most generally presented by modern preachers as matter of comfort to dying believers and surviving friends? Alas! how do our unfounded opinions turn us aside from the living oracles of God! Is it possible that the apostles could have believed in the conscious felicity of the saints in the intermediate state, and yet never refer to such felicity as a source of consolation, as modern Christians are continually doing? I shall hereafter prove that  2Co 5:8; is no exception. Why should the glory which is more remote be always presented to the redeemed, as the object of hope, and matter of consolation, while that which is nearest is never presented at all? With those who believe the popular theory, it is precisely the reverse.

 

It is true that the fact of the glory of the saints not being consummated, until their Lord shall come and reign, is no proof that there is no intermediate state of partial felicity. Were this however true, it would doubtless have been found among the promises to the saints in general. If the soul (which is certainly the part of man which was first and chiefly in transgression) is to escape the penalty of the righteous law of God and never die-if it is merely to leave the body and enter into the presence of God where is “fullness of joy,” the apostles would not have directed the saints to wait for their Lord from heaven for their joy, nor would the Savior have taught his disciples that they would not see him until he should “come again.” He did not say “if I go away, “ you shall come to me at death,  but “I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am (i.e.,  in his kingdom, see  Mt 25:34) there ye may be also.”

 

8. Because it is written, that the inheritance of the saints is “reserved in heaven,” it is supposed that believers go there at death to gain it.  

 

The truth is overlooked that it is “ready to be revealed in the last time-even at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”  1Pe 1:4,7. The heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, cometh down from God out of heaven.  Re 21:2. This city is not entered at death, when the “thoughts perish.”It is in the new earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness,”that the tabernacle of God shall be with men, where the Lamb shall lead us to fountains of living waters and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Alas! how has the vision of the glorious things spoken of the city of God been obscured by a mystical theology! It is high time to protest against this spiritualizing away the truth which “the Holy Ghost teacheth.”

 

9. The saints will not be presented before the presence “of God”or unto Jesus Christ until the resurrection from the grave.

 

“Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also, by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”  2Co 4:14. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church,”&c.  Eph 5:27. “Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy,”&c.  Jude 24 10. The spirit of God, now given to the saints is an earnest, not of felicity at death, but of their inheritance in the kingdom.

 

 Eph 1:13,14. “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise which is the earnest of your inheritance until the redemption of the purchases possession,”  Eph 1:14. “And grieve not the Holy spirit by which ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”  1Th 3:13. “To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, (when? at death?) at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”

 

11. The apostolic exhortations are enforced, not by the consideration of any judgment at death, but by the coming of our Lord.

 

 Heb 10:25,37. “Exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.”“For yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”  Jas 5:7,8,9. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord”-“establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”-“behold the judge standeth before the door.”  1Pe 1:13 -“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you (not at death, but) at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1Pe 1:13. Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that WHEN HIS GLORY SHALL BE REVEALED, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”  2Pe 1:10,11. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you into (where?) the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  1Jo 2:28. “And now little children, abide in him; that when he shall appear,  we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”  1Ti 6:14. “Keep this commandment until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Re 2:25. “Hold fast till I come.” See also  Jude 14,15 Re 2:26 Re 3:11,12. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,  and ye shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God. &c.

 

12. The apostles joyfully expected to meet their brethren, not in the intermediate state, but at the coming of Christ.

 

 2Co 1:14. “We are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours (when?) in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  1Th 2:19. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? The inspired writers express no hope of meeting their brethren in the intermediate state. By the spirit of truth, they teach us, that our departed friends have gone not to heaven, but, “to the grave,”into “silence,”and “darkness”-that they have “fallen asleep,”and “shall not awake until the heavens be no more.”They plainly teach that their minds, as well as their bodies, are, at present, under the dominion of death-that they “know not any thing,”and that their thoughts are perished. Yet, to them, the simple fact, that when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory, was an anticipation perfectly adequate to fill their most enlarged desires. Those who loved the Savior, although they had not seen him and had no expectation of seeing him until his second coming, “yet believing”in his bright appearing, rejoiced “with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  1Pe 1:7,8 13 . The prayers of the discerning saints imply that the intermediate state is a condition of unconsciousness.

 

 Ps 6:4,5. “Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: Oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”  Ps 88:10,11. “Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy loving kindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?”Now if David expected to praise God with “noble powers,”at death, he would never have offered such a plea for his recovery. How evident it is that he understood death to be the “destruction”of all those powers which are employed in the praise of God. So Hezekiah,  Isa 38:16,19. “So wilt thou recover me, and make me to live-for the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down to the pit cannot hope for they truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee as I do this day.”The popular theory is the reverse of all this, and contradicts Hezekiah, assuring him that if he had died, he would have praised God better than he did that day. If these saints were going immediately to join the choir of celestial worshipers, their language could not have been more inappropriate. What modern christian, who believes in the separate existence of the soul, ever uses such pleas for recovery as did David and Hezekiah? It is not to be affirmed that this is the language of ignorance. It is not the language of doubt or uncertainty. Their words contain positive assurances of the real state of the dead. Our Savior confirms the same truth,  Joh 3:13. “No man hath ascended up to heaven.”Peter said of David,  Ac 2:34, that he “is not ascended into the heavens.”

 

14. Many long since dead, will not know their doom until Christ comes.

 

 Mt 7:22. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”From these words it is evident that some false professors will expect to be accepted of Christ at the judgment, an expectation totally inconsistent with the opinion of their conscious misery in the intermediate state. Judgment is to precede their punishment. This judgment will be at the last day. See  Joh 12:48 Ac 17:31 15. The dead are blessed, not because they “immediately pass into glory,”but because “they rest from their labors,”&c.

 

 Re 14:13. “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”  Job 3:17,18. “There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest.”“There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.”

 

Objections Considered,  

 

The common belief of the immortality of the human soul, cherished with a peculiar tenacity, is, I think, the chief barrier to the perception of revealed truth on the subject. I affirm, however, that it is inconsistent with both reason and revelation to suppose that Immortality is a necessary attribute of any created being. God “ONLY hath Immortality.”  1Ti 6:16. To suppose that the soul is necessarily immortal, is to suppose that it is independent of its Creator, for its continued existence. In the bible, man in the general, is declared to be MORTAL;  Job 4:17. Not in a single instance is man, in the general, declared to be immortal. On the contrary, we are plainly taught that Immortality is to be sought for by faith in Jesus Christ, and patient continuance in well doing.  Ro 2:7. “The wages of sin is DEATH.”  Ro 6:23. “He that believeth not the Son, shall not see LIFE.”  Joh 3:36.

 

It is also affirmed that thought and reason cannot be attributed to matter, that these are evidences of an immaterial substance which survives the body. It appears to me that  Heb 4:12, contradicts this theory.

 

“Shall I be told (says W. Lawrence) that thought is inconsistent with matter; that we cannot conceive how medullary substance can perceive, remember, judge, reason? I acknowledge that we are entirely ignorant how the parts of the brain accomplish these purposes-as we are how the liver secretes bile, how the muscles contract, or how any other living purpose is effected-as we are how heavy bodies are attracted to the earth, how iron is drawn to the magnet or how two salts decompose each other. [Editor: I caution the reader who may dismiss these writings as antiquated, that while this monograph was written in 1855, and while science has probed into these mysteries for some 150 years, uncovering many of the secrets still hidden in Br. Grew’s day, yet his discussion of the properties of the human soul, and its demise at death, has withstood the test of time, and still remains biblically true today.]

 

“Let us survey the natural history of the human mind-its rise, progress, various fates, and decay; and then judge whether these accord best with the hypothesis of an immaterial agent, or with the plain dictates of common sense, and the analogy of every other organ and function throughout the boundless extent of living beings. The senses and brain begin to be exercised as soon as the child is born; and a faint glimmering of mind is dimly perceived in the course of the first months of existence: but it is weak and infantile as the body. As the senses acquire their powers, and the cerebral jelly becomes firmer, the mind gradually strengthens; slowly advances with the body, through childhood to puberty; and becomes adult when the development of the frame is complete. In the perfect period of organization, the mind is seen in the plenitude of its powers; but this state of full vigor is short in duration, both for the intellect and the corporeal fabric. The wear and tear of the latter is evidenced in its mental movements: with the decline of organization the mind decays;  it becomes decrepit with the body; and both are at the same time extinguished by death.

 

“What do we infer from this succession of phenomena? The existence and action of a principle entirely distinct from the body? Or a close analogy to the history of all other organs and functions?

 

“The number and kind of the intellectual phenomena in different animals, correspond closely to the degree of the development of the brain. The graduation of organization and of mind passes through the monkey, dog, elephant, horse, to other quadrupeds; thence to birds, reptiles, and fishes, and so on to the lowest links of the animal chain. In ascending the steps of our ladder, following in regular succession at equal intervals, where shall we find the boundary of unassisted organization? Where place the beginning of the immaterial adjunct? In that view which assimilates the functions of the brain to other organic parts, this case has no difficulty. As the structure of the brain is more perfect, exquisite and complex, its functions ought to be proportionally so. It is no slight proof of the doctrine now enforced, that the fact is actually thus: that the mental powers of brutes, so far as we can see, are proportional to their organization.

 

“If the intellectual phenomena of man require an immaterial principle superadded to the brain, we must equally concede it to those more rational animals which exhibit manifestations differing from some of the human only in degree. If we grant it to these, we cannot refuse it to the next in order, and so on, in succession, to the whole series-to the oyster, the sea-anemone, the polyp, the microscopic animalcules. Is any one prepared to admit the existence of immaterial principles in all these cases? If not, he must equally reject it in man.

 

“Thought, it is positively and dogmatically asserted, cannot be an act of matter. Yet no feelings, no thought, no intellectual operation has ever been seen, except in conjunction with a brain; and living matter is acknowledged by most persons to be capable of what makes the nearest possible approach to thinking. The strongest advocates of immaterialism seeks no further than the body, for his explanation of all the vital processes, of muscular contraction, nutrition, secretion, &c. -operations quite as different from any affection of inorganic substance, as reasoning or thought; he will even allow the brain to be capable of sensation.

 

“Who knows the capabilities of matter so perfectly, as to be able to say that it can see, hear, smell, taste and feel, but cannot possibly reflect, imagine, judge? If the mental processes be not the function of the brain, what is its office? In animals which possess only a small share of the human cerebral structure, sensation exists, and, in many cases, is more acute than in man. What employment shall we find for all that man possesses over and above this portion, for the large and prodigiously developed human hemispheres? Are we to believe that these serve only to round the figure of the organ or to fill the cranium?”

 

 Lu 16:19-31. It must be admitted that a part of our Lord’s representation of the state of the rich man and Lazarus, seems to favor the opinion of conscious happiness and misery immediately after death, especially the request of the former, that Lazarus should be sent to his father’s house. The entire representation, however, is far from sustaining such an opinion. So that the parable could not be considered as clearly teaching the popular theory, even if there was no opposing testimony.

 

By what process of reasoning do we infer the conscious misery of a disembodied spirit,  from the declaration that a man “lifted up HIS EYES”in hell, and felt HIS “TONGUE”tormented in the flame? Is not our Lord’s representation strong proof, that man has no soul which is capable of suffering without the body? If such an opinion is true, was not this the very occasion to teach it? Would the faithful witness of the truth teach that the bodily members were actually tormented, when if fact they were as dead as a stone in the grave? Does not such a representation oblige us to understand our Lord as anticipating that state, when the body, or the man, raised from the grave, should be capable of the suffering and enjoyment which he describes? Even that part of the parable which refers to the rich man’s concern for his brethren, contains some proof that there is no conscious spirit separate from the body, for the representation is, that Lazarus could not make the desired communication, except he “rose from the dead.”

 

Moreover, Jesus Christ in  Mt 25th chap. and in other passages teaches us, that judgment will precede future punishment. But the judgment will not be until the harvest, which “is the end of the world,”or present state, when the Son of man will come in his glory. He plainly teaches us that the wicked are not to be cast into the furnace or lake of fire, (where, it appears, the rich man is represented as being tormented) until the end of the world. See  Mt 13:39-42.

 

Whatever view we take of this part of our Lord’s instruction-whether we admit or deny that it is a parable, and whatever construction we give it, one things is undeniable, viz., it is not all literally true. Therefore, it is totally inconsistent with the acknowledged correct rules of interpreting the oracles of God, to give it a construction which contradicts the plain and positive declarations of divine truth, that “the dead know not anything;”that their “thoughts perish,”and that their hatred and love is lost. Compare  Isa 14:9-24 Eze 32:21-32; where the dead are represented as speaking in the grave.

 

 2Co 5:1-10. I have never been more impressed with a sense of the importance of examining scripture in its connection, than when critically reviewing the sixth and eighth verses of this chapter, which I have long considered as proof of the doctrine I am now obliged to oppose.

 

Before examining these verses in their connection, the reader is requested to consider whether, even separately considered, these verses prove that Paul expected at death to be immediately with the Lord, any more than the first verse proves that he expected immediately at death, to be clothed with the immortal body?

 

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle, (i.e.,  our body) were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,”i.e.,  an IMMORTAL BODY. -“For in this we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (i.e.,  our immortal body.) If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened {see  Ro 8:23} not for that we would be unclothed,  but clothed upon (how?) that mortality might be swallowed up of life, ( i.e.,  by the possession of the immortal body as verse 2 proves. See also  1Co 15:54) “Now he that hath wrought us for the self same thing is God.”What “self same thing?”certainly, for the possession of this house from heaven which is the immortal body. “Who also hath given us the earnest (i.e.,  of the self same thing) of the spirit.”Thus far the premises, now for the conclusion. “Therefore,”i.e.,  because God hath wrought us for this self same thing of giving us an immortal body, “ we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, (i.e.,  our mortal body) we are absent from the Lord; (for we walk by faith not by sight.) We are confident, I say,  and willing rather to be absent from the body (i.e.,  this mortal body) that (in our immortal body) we may be present with the Lord.”According to the common opinion, Paul and his brethren might have been confident of their being present with the Lord, if God never had wrought them for that self same thing, viz.,  the immortal body. The unbiased reader will perceive that the common construction of the sixth and eighth verses destroys all connection between the apostle’s premises and conclusion. It makes him reason most absurdly. What sense is there in the following argument? Because God has promised us the immortal body, therefore we are confident and desire to have no body at all. It is evident that the apostle had in his mind, “the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”from the grave, throughout this connected chain of premises and conclusion; which is further proved by his reference to our appearing before the judgment seat of Christ, which certainly will not be till he comes in glory and raises the dead. See  Mt 25:31-46  _ 1Th 4:16.

 

It is evident from the first four verses of this very chapter, that Paul’s hope of being present with the Lord, was founded on the doctrine of the resurrection.

 

It may be said that according to the view advocated, the saints never will be absent from the body. I reply that the dissolution of our body is sufficient to justify such an expression. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”It is in the incorruptible and immortal body only that we can be present with the Lord. If the believer is present with the Lord in a disembodied state as many suppose, he would then see him as he is and be like him, but this is not to be until he appears. See  1Jo 3:2 Php 1:23. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and be with Christ; which is far better.”The apostle does not affirm that he expected to be with Christ immediately on his departure; though such would be a fair construction of his words, if it were not a violation of the general tenor of divine truth on this subject. It will indeed appear to Paul that he is with his Savior immediately on his departure, for of the intervening period he has no consciousness. Compare this passage with  2Co 5:1. To deny that a release from his toils and sufferings was an adequate cause for his desiring to depart, is to deny the word of the Lord which declares that such are blessed because “they rest from their labors,”  Re 14:13. The wise man “praised the dead-more than the living, not because of their being in a state of conscious felicity, but because of their deliverance from oppression,  Ec 4:1,2. In the grave “the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.”The righteous are taken away from the evil to come.  Isa 57:1  Lu 23:43. “And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

 

In the “Improved Version”of the New Testament this passage is marked as doubtful. Neither of the other evangelists record it. If it is genuine, the Greek does not require the pointing of our version. In the margin, though not in the text Griesbach has the comma after to-day. We may understand our Lord as saying, “Verily, verily I say unto thee to-day,”&c. What was the request of the dying thief? “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”Our Lord has not yet entered into his kingdom, nor will he, until the seventh angel hath sounded, see  Re 11:15. Then,  the penitent thief, who will have part in the first resurrection, will be with him in paradise, which will be in the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Then the promise, given him on the day of our Lord’s crucifixion will be fulfilled.

 

Is it reasonable to suppose, that Jesus Christ, who assured his disciples “all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you,”although he spoke to them of death and of the resurrection would never say a word to them on this subject, if it were true? -Moreover, how could our Savior be in paradise that day, when, on the third day after, he told Mary, “I am not yet ascended to my Father?”Such a supposition subverts the great truth that, on that day Jehovah made “HIS SOUL AN OFFERING FOR SIN,”  Isa 53:10; and that, for us, he “poured out HIS SOUL unto death,”see  Mt 26:38  Ps 16:10. Is hades or sheol paradise or heaven? Never. If his soul was in paradise, or in heaven, that day, then his soul was not poured out unto death. It did not die at all. The separation from the body, of a soul which still exists in a conscious state, is not death but life. It is the very opposite of death. We know from  Ps 16:10, that Jesus Christ’s SOUL was in sheol from his death to his resurrection; and from  Ec 9:10, we know that “there is no work, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in sheol.” &c. According to the common theory, God never gave HIS OWN SON to die for us. He gave only a human body to DIE for the sin of the world! Where then is the love of God which the inspired writers delighted to celebrate, as manifested in the fact that God gave that very Son, who was with him before the world was, TO DIE FOR us? Where is that efficacy of the atoning sacrifice which is to give us confidence before God? Alas! how have the corrupt theories of that wisdom, which is foolishness with God, eclipsed the true wisdom and glory of redeeming love!

 

 Mt 10:28. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

 

In some passages, it is positively declared, that men do kill and destroy the soul. See  Jos 10:28,30,32,35,37 Jos 11:11. In the passage before us it is affirmed that men are not able to kill the soul. How shall we reconcile these apparent opposite testimonies? By flatly denying the former altogether, which we must do to sustain the common theory? Or by understanding that in one sense men can kill the soul, but not in another? Men can kill the soul temporarily but not eternally. See  Lu 12:4,5  _ 1Pe 3:19. “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison,”Milton says, “literally, in guard,  or, as the Syriac version renders it, in sepulchres, in the grave.” The spirit of Christ in Noah, preached to those who were in the grave when Peter wrote.  2Pe 2:5.

 

The angel in  Re 22:8,9, might be Enoch or Elijah.

 

 Re 6:9,10: “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God-and they cried with a loud voice,”&c.

 

It would be absurd to give this passage a literal construction. No one can suppose that the souls of the departed are under an altar in heaven. The blood is the life. In the sacrifice under the law, it was poured under the altar. As the blood of Abel cried from the ground for vengeance, so the blood of the martyrs cries for vengeance against their persecutors.

 

 Ac 7:59. “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.”

 

It is indeed true, that, at death, the dust returns to dust, and the spirit, or life, to God who gave it. But in what sense, is the question? I understand that the dying martyr committed his spirit or life to the care of Him who is the resurrection and the life, and who will restore it, by raising Stephen from the dead when he comes. The passage contains no proof that the spirit or life, is distinct immaterial substance susceptible of consciousness without organization. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid (i.e.,  concealed, not manifest,  secured,) with Christ in God.”What then? Are the saints therefore in a conscious state of felicity previous to the resurrection? The apostle makes no such inference. The consequence of our life being thus hid is plainly stated. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, THEN, shall ye also appear with him in glory.”  Col 3:3,4.

 

“The spirits of just men made perfect.”

 

The proof that verses 22 to 24 are an illusion to the state, after the first resurrection,  is as follows-1. The apostle says “ye are come unto the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,”&c. Now we know from  Re 21:1-3, that this City will not come down out of heaven to be the residence of the saints until the new earth is established. 2. From  Joh 14:3 and  1Jo 3:2, &c., it is evident that the saints will not see their Savior, or be with him, until he comes to reign on the earth. 3. From  Php 3:10,11,12,21, it is evident that Paul believed that just men are not “made perfect”until the resurrection. Until then they are in bondage.  Ro 8:21. They will not be perfect until “the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”23d. ver.;  2Co 5:2.

 

But some exclaim, “What a gloomy doctrine!”

 

Did the apostles think so? Let us hear them. “But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (not in heaven,) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (Why not Paul? Because the departed are now with Christ?) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (How?) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”  1Th 4:13-16. Whatever it may be with us, it is manifest that with Paul, the doctrine of the resurrection, with its concomitant glories, was an adequate source of consolation in respect to departed brethren. So Peter’s representation of the incorruptible inheritance, “ready to be revealed in the last time,”even “at the appearing of Jesus Christ,”actually produced in the minds of believers, in their “manifold temptations,”a joy unspeakable and full of glory! Far be it, that we should be found undervaluing such promises.

 

Let us candidly review this subject, and ask, what is the evidence of the existence of such a distinct spiritual and independent substance as the human soul is supposed to be? The original terms translated soul and spirit, mean no such thing, the most learned being judges. The scriptures of truth reveal no such doctrine. The account of man’s creation is opposed to it. The divine testimony is plain and positive, that when the body dies, the thoughts, affections, purposes, &c., which, it is admitted, pertain to the soul or spirit, perish. No reason or philosophy can prove that it is any more absurd to admit that the Almighty Creator can make the material organization of man to reason, &c., than it is to admit that he can impart mental capacity to the beasts which perish.

 

Reader, are thou prepared to enter into the kingdom of God? You may profess to believe the Gospel-you may have been baptized and united with the church of Christ-all this Ananias and Sapphira did, yet they perished. All this Simon did, yet he had no part in the kingdom of Christ for his “heart was not right in the sight of God.” So Demas, but alas! he “loved this present world.” The King himself has declared that, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.”“And there shall in no wise enter into it (the holy city) any thing that defileth, neither whosoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable-shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.”  Re 21:8,27.

 

The first scene of the great drama of Jehovah’s wisdom and love in our salvation has been exhibited to an astonished universe-“THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.”The second, “THE GLORY THAT SHALL FOLLOW,”will soon burst upon us. “He that shall come WILL COME, and will not tarry.”“EVEN SO COME, LORD JESUS.”“Blessing and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever.

 

NOTE

 

The learned George Campbell, in his preliminary dissertations to the Gospels, remarks on the original words, SHEOL and HADES. “It appears at present (he observes) to be the prevailing opinion among critics, that the term, at least in the Old Testament, means no more than keber, grave or sepulchre.” He admits that it often means this, but thinks that it denotes “the state or place of (conscious) departed souls.”He quotes  Job 11:7,8,9  Mt 11:23, &c., to prove that the terms express the “lowest” depths, which a grave does not: an additional proof, it appears, that it cannot denote a state of conscious felicity, being in these very passages contrasted with heaven, to which the saints are supposed by many to ascend at death. He also remarks, “It is plain that, in the Old Testament, the most profound silence is observed in regard to the state of the deceased, their joys, or sorrows, happiness or misery. It is represented to us rather by negative qualities than by positive, by its silence, its darkness, its being inaccessible, unless by preternatural means, to the living, and their ignorance about it. Thus much in general seems always to have been presumed concerning it, that it is not a state of activity adapted for exertion, or indeed for the accomplishment of any important purpose, good or bad.” {*}

 

If the departed saints are in a state of consciousness in the “lowest depths of the earth,  in “silence” and darkness, not engaged in any good purpose,  I hope my Christian brethren will not consider me as worthy of many stripes, for attempting to deprive them of such “glory.”