Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
"Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you of the
patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his
sepulchre is with us unto this day....For David is
not ascended into the Heavens."
Accepting the recognized fact that the whole world is rapidly going down into death and the estimate that twenty thousand millions of our neighbors and friends have already gone thither, our topic will be recognized by all as a most pertinent one. To be without thought on this subject or to discuss it lightly should be esteemed a mark of insanity, signifying as little reasoning capacity respecting it as that possessed by the brute creation. Whatever our previous thoughts on the subject have been, we are all inquirers for the truth, and as such endeavoring to have our minds as free as possible from superstition and error. More than this I trust that, living in this blessed land so highly favored of God, and having some acquaintance with His Blessed Book, the Bible, we have learned to appreciate it as a Divine Revelation, able to make us wise in the wisdom which cometh from Above.
We hope, dear friends, that the growing spirit of scepticism has not seriously attacked our faith in this Blessed Book. We are well aware, however, that today the intellectual world, under the lead of so-called Higher Critics, is rushing madly onward into infidelity, into disbelief of the Bible as an inspired revelation from God.
True, this infidelity is not the foul-mouthed kind of Thomas Paine or Robert Ingersoll, but it is all the more forceful in its undermining of Christian faith because its advocates include some of the brightest members of the Christian ministry and nearly all the professors in nearly all the colleges and seminaries of all denominations. I hope that as I shall present to you the true Bible
teaching of "Where are the Dead?" you will see that this Blessed Book has been maligned and misrepresented even by its friends, and that rightly understood, reasonably interpreted, it presents the only tolerable view of our subject, the only satisfactory explanation.
"DOCTRINES OF DEMONS"
The Apostle calls our attention to the fact that the heathen in his day labored under the delusion of "doctrines of demons." (
.) We know what those doctrines were, for they are still prominent throughout heathendom. Plato, one of the philosophers whose teachings were widely accepted at that time and which Were set aside by the Apostle as vain philosophies, the wisdom of men as compared with the wisdom of God, taught the theory of human immortality. (
.) He claimed that man received from the gods a spark of Divine quality which could never be extinguished, and that hence his portion must be to live on and on throughout all eternity.
The Grecians took hold of Plato’s theories, and they—being the most intelligent people of that time aside from the Jews—spread this theory wherever their literature went. It is not surprising, therefore, that it not only tinctured the views of the heathen but also to some extent those of the Jews—though comparatively few, known as the Essenes. These in accepting Plato’s philosophy really ceased to be Jews in the religious sense. This Platonic theory, starting before Christianity, was in many respects its competitor, until gradually in various parts the Christian faith became tinctured with it.
We wish you to notice that this theory is responsible for the world-wide opinion that a human life once begun can never be extinguished. With this theory the people of the East supported their view of the transmigration of souls—claiming that a human soul is separate and distinct from a human body, and that when the latter dies the soul passes out and in due time will be born again in another body—perhaps, again as a man, or a woman
or as a dog or a donkey or an elephant or a mouse. The labors, the privations, the difficulties of all the lower animals are thus looked forward to by these poor people as being their own future state. No wonder their faces, indexing their heart conditions, are woeful and sad! Others of the heathen have beliefs nearer to those entertained by many in Christendom—that the tortures of the life they cannot get rid of will be with fire or ice or other torments at the hands of demons.
THE VIEWS OF CHRISTENDOM
Accepting the recognized fact that Christendom leads the world in thought today we note that the philosophy instituted by Plato—not by Moses, not by the Prophets of Israel, not by Jesus, not by His Apostles—has taken a firm hold upon Christian faith, and left its terrible impress upon nearly every item thereof. Practically all oft he larger denominations of Christendom hold to the Platonic theory, though the majority are quite unaware of the origin of the doctrine, many of them supposing that it is the Bible teaching—that it is supported by every writer on the Holy Scriptures. Quite the contrary of this is true, however; and, as we shall shortly show, the testimony of the Scriptures is radically in opposition to this theory from first to last, and without the exception of a single writer or a single text.
As the oldest of the denominations, Catholicism should be heard first as to its views on the subject—Where are the dead? Its answer is that it ignores the heathen theory of the transmigration of souls, but that it holds to the feature of Plato’s philosophy which declares that the human soul is immortal—that a human existence once having started can never cease—hence that the twenty thousand millions of Adam’s race who have died are not really dead, but more alive than ever before, and that notwithstanding the appearance of death they have been experiencing either joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain. In answer to our more particular inquiries it tells us that the
dead are in one of three places:
(1) A very few saintly ones went to Heaven directly at death;
(2) a comparatively small number who died outside the Roman Catholic faith, in wilful opposition thereto and hence called heretics, have since their death been enduring a hell of torture which will be never ending;
(3) the great mass—all others than those enumerated above—they claim go to Purgatory. Their claim is that nearly all of the heathen go there because they were not counted worthy of the blessing of knowledge before they died, and because on the other hand they had done nothing to merit either the eternal torture of hell or the eternal peace of Heaven.
To Purgatory they assign practically all the members of their own Church also—including bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes.
Dante was one of their prominent theologians, whose description of the Inferno gives the Roman Catholic view of Purgatory. The artist Dore, also a good Catholic, used his remarkable skill in the illustration of Dante’s Epic. We advise you all to notice, in some public library or bookstore, this remarkable work—Dante’s Inferno, illustrated by Dore. The artist has faithfully depicted the descriptions of the teacher, and his work would surely touch the most calloused heart with sympathy.
Every conceivable form of torture is depicted, from roasting and boiling to freezing and mangling—horrible, terrible.
No wonder our dear Catholic friends and neighbors, as they have these pictures before their mental vision as their prospect after death, have not only sad countenances but a terrible fear of death and thereafter.
Neither should any think that these Catholic doctrines of the past have in any degree changed at the present time. In this very day Catholics have tracts for their children which describe in vivid language the most excruciating tortures awaiting those who in any sense or degree are disrespectful or disobedient to the priests and the teachings of the Catholic Church. One of these brought
to our attention recently was published in Ireland, and described a little girl who had done wrong and whose fate after death was to be obliged to live in a room whose floor was red hot. In solemn language the tract exhorted other little boys and little girls to love and serve God lest such a fate should await them. It is not imaginable that any human being could love a God who would provide such tortures for any of His creatures.—
It is no wonder, then, that Catholics make no pretensions to a love for God. They fear and dread. The hope held out to these is that any good deeds of theirs will be credited up and serve to shorten the period of their sentence to suffering, the period of their stay in Purgatory, the period of their deliverance to Heaven. This doctrine of life in Purgatory is the basis for the many exhortations from Catholic pulpits and Catholic books that faithfulness be manifested by penances and masses. A certain number of attendances at Church in the Lenten season constitutes a penance to which is attached a blessing and the remission of so many years of purgatorial suffering. Those who have money are exhorted to set apart a good portion of it to defray the expenses of masses for their own soul or for those of others. The calculation seems to be that all the penances and all the masses imaginable would still leave long years or decades or centuries to be suffered before deliverance to Heaven.
And this rule is applied indiscriminately to rich and poor alike, high and low.
To illustrate, when Pope Pius IX died, masses were said for the repose of his soul throughout all the Roman Catholic Churches of the world. Likewise when Pope Leo XIII died, the same command for masses for the repose of his soul went forth, and was executed in all Catholic Churches. This implied the belief that these men, while the highest functionaries of that Church, were not sufficiently holy or pure or good to be admitted to Heaven; for surely those gaining access to Heaven have no need
of masses for the repose of their souls. The expression "repose of the soul" implies the tortures of that soul in Purgatory, and supplication and endeavor to have God remit a measure of those sufferings and shorten the period of the tribulations.
We are not making light of those matters. We are merely stating them, not because they are unknown, but because they are not realized and appreciated. All Catholics then, we believe, will assent to our declaration that their faith is that the great mass of mankind are now in Purgatory, a comparatively small number in eternal torment, which they call Hell, and a small number, comparatively, in Heaven. It should be remembered, however, that on a Papal Jubilee it is the custom for the Pope to exercise a power he claims is his, of setting free from Purgatory certain thousands of its inmates who have not fulfilled all of their term of punishment, though it is to be supposed that it is not his intention to admit them to Heaven insufficiently purged.
PROTESTANT CHRISTIAN VIEWS
Protestants claim to be much in advance of Roman Catholics in respect to their religious faith. They often, we know, speak of Roman Catholics as ignorant, superstitious and deluded. What shall we say then if we find that the Protestant view on the question of our discourse is much more unreasonable than that of Catholics? We at least would be obliged to say that they have no room for boasting.
Protestant creeds, almost without exception, agree to the Platonic theory that no human being can die—that when men seem to die they really become more alive that same instant than they ever were before. We ask, Where, then, do they go? They reply that they cannot tolerate the Roman Catholic view of a Purgatory, that they have looked into the Bible sufficiently to find that there is no such teaching in the Scriptures. They tell us, therefore, that they believe that there are just two places
for the dead, Heaven or Hell. We inquire of them, Who go to Heaven? They answer, The saintly, the holy, the pure in heart, the Little Flock, the Elect, those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We inquire respecting the rest, and hear the Protestants (to their credit be it said) balk at the teaching of their creeds even while they affirm them, and declare that all not begotten again of the Holy Spirit, not sanctified in Christ, not saints, go to hell.
We inquire the kind of hell they have gone to, and get various replies. Some assert that it is a place of literal fire and excruciating pains at the hands of fire-proof demons, and that this will be the fate of all who enter there to all eternity, without any hope of escape. Others, without being able to give particular reasons, tell us that in their great wisdom they agree with all the foregoing except as to the kind of punishment, which they conclude must be a mental anguish or suffering. But lest we should think of them as being tender-hearted, they hasten to add that this suffering will really be more intense, "worse" than that of the literal fire believed in by others. The whole race, we are told, was started on the broad road for this eternal torment by Father Adam’s disobedience, and in consequence of that we are all born in sin, shapen in iniquity. Those who ever get to Heaven will get there because of Divine mercy and aid extended them to overcome the world, the flesh and the Adversary.
"COME, LET US REASON TOGETHER"
In the Bible the Lord appeals to our reason, saying, "Come, let us reason together." (
.) He does not intimate that we should reason without Him and without His Word; but He distinctly implies that His Word should be reasoned upon, be considered by our minds.
Whoever possesses any measure of reasoning faculty must conclude that the Catholic view of our question—Where are the Dead?—is in some respects worse than the heathen view; that the Protestant view of death is
still worse; that none of these views seem to be God-like, but that all of them condemn themselves as being devilish.
Reasoning power on religious subjects seems to be a scarce commodity. Many Christian people seem to understand the invitation to reason with God to mean that He wishes them to tell Him just what are their preferences; and that if they remain obdurate, holding to their preferences, He will finally give in and say that their wills shall be done in Heaven and in earth.
Let none of us make this mistake. Let us on the other hand remember the greatness of God—His Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Let us remember our own insignificance and lack of knowledge. Then, in harmony with the Master’s precepts, let us become as little children, anxious to be and to do in harmony with the Divine Plan, as God has revealed it. So doing, dear friends, each one of us is assured of the Divine blessing—assured of a growth in grace, in knowledge, in love, toward God and toward our fellows.
Let us begin with our text. It declares that David is dead. Hence he is not alive in any sense. It declares that he is not in Heaven, and we are not bound to accept either the Catholic or Protestant view that he is in hell or eternal torment. What does the inspired Apostle Peter say respecting David’s present whereabouts?
He says in our text, "His sepulchre is with us."
It could be his sepulchre only in the sense that he was still in it, that it still represented him. If he had begun a new existence elsewhere that sepulchre in no sense of the word would be his. We are using the Apostle’s words in the very sense in which he himself used them.
Saint Peter had just quoted from the Psalms, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hebrew,
He points out that David spake not these words concerning himself, respecting his own soul, but respecting the soul of Christ—that Christ’s soul would not be left in hell. The Apostle’s argument is that David’s soul
is still in hell, but that Christ’s soul was delivered from hell—raised from the tomb, from the state of death, on the third day after His crucifixion.
CHRIST’S SOUL DELIVERED FROM HELL
Here, dear friends, we have a declaration sure enough that the dead go to hell—not to Purgatory. Furthermore it is a declaration that the Prophet David and Christ Jesus Himself went to hell—that the latter had been delivered from hell, but that the former was still there. Had we the time it would be an easy matter to bring evidence from the entire Scriptures proving that all who die, both good and bad, go to hell; and that the only means by which they can be delivered from Sheol, Hades, is through a resurrection of the dead. This Scriptural presentation not only differs from the heathen view but differs also from the Catholic and Protestant views. And with the ordinary idea of hell before our minds, it would seem more awful than any other theory that both good and bad alike should go down to Sheol, to Hades.
But wait a moment, dear friends; let us not too hastily decide that the Bible is unreasonable in its presentations.
Let us not prove or test it by human theories.
The poet has truly said: "God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain."
Investigation shows that our difficulty arises from attaching a wrong meaning to these Scriptural terms Sheol and Hades (hell). The unreasonable view of the fire-and-torment hell which we all received with so much credulity came from the Dark Ages, not from the Bible. Dante’s "Inferno" is as different from the hell of Scripture as darkness is from sunlight. We must not carry forward the demonology of the Dark Ages and attach it to our interpretations of the Bible. If we do, we shall be quite confused. We should remember, too, that these lurid pictures of the Dark Ages were painted by the very class of men who, with a devilish spirit, burned one another at
the stake or tortured one another with the rack, the thumbscrew or other devilish inventions. We do not approve the moral character of those men, and we should not expect their doctrinal teachings to be much superior to themselves, nor much in harmony with Divine truth and revelation. Let us then examine hell from the Scriptural standpoint. Let us hear what God has said.
As is well known, our Bible was not originally written in the English language. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek—ours is but a translation. Going to the Old Testament in the Hebrew we find that it contains more than twice as many mentions of hell, Sheol, as does the English translation.
In the English the word occurs thirty-one times, in the Hebrew, sixty-six times. How has this Hebrew word
been translated in our English Bible? We answer that the thirty-one times the word hell occurs are from this word
that it occurs twice more in our common version where it is rendered "pit," and that it occurs thirty-three times more in our common version and is rendered "grave." Furthermore, in two of the places where it is rendered hell in our common version, it is interpreted by the marginal reading, "Hebrew, the grave."
The fact, dear friends, is, as every Hebrew scholar knows, that the word
is never used to refer to a place of fire or of torture. In every instance, whether used literally or figuratively, it refers to a death state.
Furthermore, as we have already stated, both good and bad are reputed to go thither. David went to Sheol, our Lord Jesus went to Sheol, according to the Scriptures.
We might quote you from the words of the patriarch David, also from the various other Prophets, how they all expected to go to Sheol—to the tomb, the state of death. Not only so, but they assure us also that Christ redeemed us and the world from Sheol. For instance, we read in the prophecy of Hosea, "I will ransom them from Sheol: O Death, I will be thy plagues; O Sheol,
I will be thy destruction." (
.) Furthermore, we have the Scriptural declaration respecting Sheol that it contains no fire, no suffering. We read, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest." (
.) In other words, we should be actively engaged in doing some good according to our talents and opportunities because we are all hastening to Sheol—to the tomb—to death, and there is no wisdom nor device nor knowledge there; we can neither help nor hinder, do good nor do harm, when we have reached the "land of forgetfulness." (
.) Realizing this should make us all the more diligent in the present life.
REDEMPTION FROM SHEOL
We have already seen that through the Prophet the Lord declared that He would redeem our souls from Sheol, and that Sheol should be destroyed. What is meant by this? We answer that Father Adam by his disobedience involved himself and all of the race in what the Scriptures designate a "curse" or penalty—not an eternal torment penalty, but a death penalty. Not "Roasting thou shall roast," but "Dying thou shalt die," was the Divine statement of Adam’s penalty. Again, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread until thou return unto the dust from whence thou wast taken. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." It does not read, "unto eternal torture thou shalt be remanded."
God has explained the matter expressly enough, but our poor heads were befogged with the doctrines of devils handed down from the Dark Ages, often by very good and well-intentioned people, amongst others our parents.
Hear the Apostle’s statement of the same matter, and let us notice how closely it corroborates the Old Testament pronouncement. He says, "As by one man’s disobedience sin entered the world and death as a result of sin; and thus death passed upon all men, because all are
.) How plain that is! Not a word about eternal torment as the penalty for our sins inherited from Father Adam. Quite to the contrary, it was a death penalty, a just, reasonable penalty. God, who gave the opportunity for life eternal, had the full right, the full power, to terminate that life when used contrary to His Divine injunction.
Had it not been for God’s mercy the infidel’s view of the matter would have been true—that a man’s death is the same as that of the brute beast—that there would be no beyond, no future. But while telling us this (
), the Lord graciously informs us that He has found a Redeemer for Adam and his race. The Scriptures point us to Jesus and the work that He accomplished on our behalf. He died, the Just for the unjust, that He might reconcile us to God. (
.) As we all came under death conditions through Father Adam, so when Jesus by His death paid Adam’s penalty it was accounted as a sufficiency of price for the sins of the whole world. Thus the Apostle declares that Jesus "gave Himself a Ransom for all" and "tasted death for every man." (
.) Mark well he does not say that Jesus tasted eternal torment for every man. Eternal torment was not the penalty. The Bible has it right. Death is the penalty, and it is upon the whole race. But the whole race has been redeemed, and therefore when God’s due time shall arrive a blessing of resuscitation, of awakening from death, shall come to every member of our race. It is thus that Sheol shall be destroyed—that is, that there will be no longer a tomb or death condition; for all will be taken out of that condition, awakened from the death sleep.
HADES TO BE DESTROYED
The equivalent of the Hebrew word
as we have already stated, is the Greek word
which is found in the New Testament written in the Greek. In proof of this take our context and note the words of St. Peter that he quoted from
—"Thou wilt not leave
My soul in Sheol," and in the Greek rendered it, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in Hades." (
.) In a word, the Old Testament says that Jesus went to Sheol, and that His soul was not left there, but raised from the dead; while the New Testament declares these things of Hades. What we are saying is new to the majority of the so-called laity, but not at all new to the educated of the clergy, who all know, if they would admit it, that Sheol and Hades contain no thought of fire or torment or trouble, but merely represent the state or condition of death—what we would express by the word "tomb."
This great underworld of the dead, the tomb, Sheol, Hades, has many cities of the dead called cemeteries.
But according to the Scriptural symbolization it is a great prison-house. In it are estimated twenty thousand millions who have died. They are called in the Scriptures" prisoners of hope," because the Lord has promised that ultimately the great prison-house shall be broken up and all these prisoners shall be released, brought back to consciousness again under better conditions than now prevail.
This assurance of resurrection the Apostle tells us is "both for the just and the unjust." Not all will have the same degree of blessing when they come forth from the tomb in the Millennial Morning; for the Scriptures declare that some shall come forth to the life-resurrection and others to the judgment-resurrection—to be subject to disciplines, corrections, that if rightly received will help them up, up, out of their degradation and back to a condition in which God will be pleased to permit them to live everlastingly.—
The Scriptures are very clear in declaring that all this hope of a resurrection is based upon the fact that Christ died for the sins of the world, and that without His death there could be no resurrection—the prisoners would all remain in the great prison-house. Indeed, they would not be said to be in a prison-house at all were it not fort he Divine provision for their re-awakening. Hearken
to the Prophet telling of this coming blessing upon the prisoners. Speaking of Christ and His work during the Millennial Age, he declares that the Lord shall say to the prisoners, "Go forth!" to them that are in darkness, "Show yourselves!" (
.) Their coming forth will be that they may manifest their real sentiments either for righteousness or for unrighteousness, when they will have a full, complete opportunity for choice.
Those who choose righteousness will thereby be choosing eternal life, according to God’s provision, and they that will choose unrighteousness will be choosing the Second Death, extinction, from which there will be no hope of recovery ever. "Christ dieth no more." (
)—there will be no resurrection from the Second Death.
All are redeemed from the first or Adamic death because Christ took Adam’s place and bought the whole race, with a view to giving each member of the race an individual opportunity for returning to God’s favor. Mark again the Prophet’s declaration. (
.) There Christ’s mission is declared to be to"bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
How beautiful the picture! Twenty thousand millions of prisoners, slaves of sin! The great Deliverer has provided their ransom by going into death on their behalf. Because of His faithfulness He was rewarded with life on a still higher plane, and has thus become the Author of salvation to all them that will obey Him. (
.) A few have the hearing ears in the present time, and theirs is the great privilege of hearing the Redeemer’s voice and becoming His faithful Bride by suffering with Him for righteousness’ sake, that they may in the Millennial period, with their Lord and Master, pour out upon the whole human creation the Divine blessing of forgiveness, restitution, reconciliation. Notice further that Jesus applied this same figure to Himself, quoting this very passage in the synagogue at Nazareth. We are
all witnesses that He did not open prison-doors of any kind at His First Advent, except as figuratively, he, through the awakening of Lazarus and a few others, showed forth His coming glory and His coming work, which will bless all. Hearken also to His words in his final message to the Church, "I am He that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive forevermore; and have the keys of death and of Hades"—the grave, the tomb. (
.) Ah, yes, the keys are in good hands! They are rightfully His who has bought all the prisoners. In due time He will use the key and bring all forth from the great prison-house, that under the blessed conditions of His Kingdom they may all come to a knowledge of the Truth and, if they will, by obedience, come back into harmony with God and possess eternal life—or, acting otherwise, die the Second Death.
HELL IN THE REVISED VERSION BIBLE
There is an excuse for the rendering of the words Sheol and Hades by the English word hell. In old English literature we find that the words hell, pit and grave were used interchangeably; and that while grave and pit have maintained their original significance, the word hell has gradually changed, until now by that word is generally understood a place of torment. In old English a farmer writing to his friend says, "I intend to hell my house this fall, and we have already helled 150 bushels of potatoes." What does he mean? Simple and plain enough! He means that he is about to thatch his house with straw, covering it over, burying it after the old style almost down to the ground. He means that he has pitted or put away for winter and spring use the potatoes, which will keep better thus than otherwise. So, then, the translators of our Bible are not to be blamed for the indiscriminate translation referred to.
But how about the Revised Version? says one. Ah! we answer, the revisers were educated men, who knew well the significance of hell, Hades—who knew that in no
sense of the word did they refer to a place of torment, but that they do signify the death state. How then did they translate these words Sheol and Hades? We reply that they were too honest to translate them with the word hell, but not honest enough to give the English reader the truth on the subject; and hence they gave no translation at all, but merely introduced the Hebrew word
in the Old Testament and the Greek word
in the New Testament without translating them. The public, thoroughly deluded on the subject, at once declared that their course was one of leniency, and that Sheol and Hades were just as hot as when translated hell. The fact is, dear friends, as we have already stated, that there is no fire connected with either of these words in any proper interpretation of them.
"ALL THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES"
We have set before you the Scriptural presentation on this subject. Where are the dead? It may be disappointing to some of your minds as you think of the saintly ones of your friends and relatives. But they surely have not been very many. On the contrary, the great mass of our friends and those who have died have given no evidence of being spirit-begotten, pure in heart, saintly.
Hence if there be a measure of disappointment on the one hand there is a corresponding measure of relief on the other. However, no matter what our friends may have been, I hope you and I are amongst those who desire to know the Truth and to whom the Lord has promised that they shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make them free. Let us be free then from these awful dogmas of the past, free to love God, free to believe His Word, free to trust in and understand how Jesus tasted death for every man, free to believe that He who redeemed will restore, free to believe that the resurrection of the dead is the salvation which God has provided, and that "in death there is no remembrance of Thee," as the Prophet has declared—
We remind you again of our dear Redeemer’s words, speaking of the resurrection. He not only said, "I am the resurrection and the life," but He also declared, "The hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth." (
#Joh 11:25; 5:28
.) Those of you who are Christians will not doubt the Redeemer knew where are the dead. And in this Scripture which we have just quoted it distinctly says that they are in their graves, not in Purgatory, not in a hell of torment, not in Heaven; they are in the tomb, in the death state, and from the death state He will call them forth in the Resurrection Morning.
What more could we ask than this positive statement?
Who dares to contradict Him, who spake as never man spake? What theologian would have the temerity? Note how complete is the harmony between His statement and that of our text. St. Peter, one of the chiefest Apostles, declares that David was still in his sepulchre, had not ascended into Heaven; Jesus Himself declares, "No man hath ascended into Heaven," and again, "All who are in their graves shall come forth." The next verse tells that in the coming forth there shall be two classes, the one perfect in life, glory, honor and immortality; the other still imperfect and to receive chastisements, judgments, disciplines, with a view to their ultimately attaining a full resurrection out of sin-and-death conditions if they will.
With these clearer thoughts on this important subject, dear friends, I trust that you and myself will more and more seek to make our calling and election sure, that we may have a blessed part in the First Resurrection, of which it is Declared"blessed and holy are all they that have part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power; but they shall be kings and priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."—