Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
"LAZARUS, COME FORTH!"
"When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked."
As some who heard St. Paul preach the resurrection of the dead mocked, so quite likely many have mocked as they read these sermons. Nevertheless, the Word of the Lord standeth Sure:"there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." It was the great Teacher Himself who said, "All who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the son of Man and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life—"perfection"—they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment," crisis, trial.—
To those that believe that the
are more alive now than when they
alive, the doctrine of the resurrection must, of necessity, be foolishness. And whoever logically believes in the resurrection of the
must, of necessity, consider the popular views on man’s condition in death absurd in the extreme. There is no middle ground. Either man is
when he is dead, as the Bible declares, and can have no further knowledge or hope, pleasure or pain, until awakened from death; or else man does not die at all when he seems to die—a theory with which the Bible is at war and which we claim has no foundation in fact or reason. It is a mythology. The entire heathen world believes this theory today. The doctrine came into the Christian Church in opposition to the "resurrection" doctrine long centuries ago—about the fourth century, when hordes of heathen were baptized and called Christians, with but slight appreciation of "the faith once delivered to the saints."—
RESURRECTION A STUPENDOUS MIRACLE
Numerous objections to the resurrection are raised. It is claimed that it would be impossible for God to resurrect the dead, if they were really
It is claimed that, if our Lord’s words were fulfilled and all that are in their graves should come forth, the earth would be so densely populated that if stood on each other’s heads several rows deep all over the earth, there would not be room for them. It is claimed that it would be impossible to provide food and raiment for so many. The resurrection is denounced as contrary to the laws of nature, according to all the history of the past.
The latter claim we admit. The resurrection of the dead will be something out of keeping with anything in man’s experience. Only those who have an implicit faith in the Creator and in His promise will be able to receive this doctrine, which credits the Almighty with a Divine power exceeding anything else that could be imagined.
As to the other points, let us see: Many wise men in public positions are very unscientific, even when called scientists. They sometimes jump at conclusions in an astounding manner. For instance, we all know how some of these scientific gentlemen laugh at the Bible’s records and declare that humanity has been upon the earth millions of years. If we ask for the proof they are astonished that their omniscience should be questioned. They knock a chip from a block of stone, look at it wisely, and declare it so many millions of years old. But a new school of geologists is arising which takes note of the fact that many of the rocks were evidently formed just as we today set our concrete blocks and turn them to stone within a few days.
Let us take the Bible as our authority. Let us believe what it says: that man was created about six thousand years ago. Let us note the gradual progress of the race. reasonable and, we believe, liberal estimate of the entire number of the race since Adam is twenty thousand
millions. Let us figure out how many square feet it would require to lay them each full length in graves.
Then turn to the atlas. Look at the number of square miles in the State of Texas. Divide this into square feet, and what do we find? We find that more than twice the number of our large estimate of all who have ever lived could be buried in separate graves in Texas alone.
CAN THE AWAKENED BILLIONS BE PROVIDED FOR?
As for clothing, Mr. Edison tells us that new inventions are in progress which, ere long, will make clothing wonderfully cheap—"dirt cheap." "Mineral wool" is the first step in this direction. It sells cheaply by the ton. Further development is expected to make this fit for man’s use as clothing. The supply is inexhaustible.
The Scriptures declare respecting the Divine provision for the human family during the Messianic Reign that "the earth shall yield her increase" and "the wilderness shall blossom as the rose," etc.—
From every direction information is coming of new species of wheat and corn much more prolific than what we have been using. Additionally, there is recently an announcement of a method of magnetizing grains before they are planted, which will permit the raising of at least three crops a year in the temperate zones. Additionally, nitrogen is being extracted from the atmosphere and used to enrich the worn-out soils.
Furthermore, we may be sure that He who provided Eden for our first parents is abundantly able, as He has promised, to make of earth a Paradise, in which the blessing of the Lord will be upon humanity; and the earth, as the Divine footstool, shall be made glorious.
Moreover, be it remembered that the Scriptures distinctly declare that the propagation of the species is intended merely for the present time and that those who will attain, in the New Age, to the resurrection will "neither marry nor be given in marriage." The propagation of the human race is intended to proceed only
until the earth shall be filled. But over and above all this, the great Creator, whose Plan is being worked out in man’s creation, man’s redemption and man’s restitution, knows the end from the beginning and is fully able to do all that He has promised. If necessary, how easy it would be for Him to still further sink the bed of portions of the oceans and to raise up continents in the Atlantic and Pacific larger in extent than the present land surface!
However, we have nothing to say to those who "mock" at the Divine promise of a resurrection of the dead and who, because of a lack of faith in the Almighty, prefer the vain imaginations of the human mind to the positive promises of the Creator. We have merely thrown out some suggestions helpful to the faith of those who are really seeking Divine wisdom and who are in danger of being side-tracked by "science falsely so-called."
"SLEPT WITH HIS FATHERS"
It is in full accord with the promise of a resurrection that in the Bible teachings we read that "Solomon
with his fathers," and similarly of other kings, good and bad; and of Prophets, Apostles and others. Thus St.
Stephen, the first Christian martyr stoned to death, we are told, "fell asleep." St. Paul tells us that some will be alive and remain to the coming of Messiah; and he remarks, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." (
.) Again he tells us that we may comfort ourselves and each other as respects our dead friends and neighbors, that they all "sleep in Jesus" and are to be brought forth from the dead by Him. The whole world sleeps in Jesus, in the sense that their resurrection hope—their hope of awakening in the Resurrection Morning, is based upon the work which Jesus accomplished as the world’s Redeemer.
No one will dispute that the Bible declares that the dead are
It is, therefore, a proper and pertinent question that every Bible student should be prepared
to answer: Where do the dead
waiting for an
Surely not in Heaven, where all is life and happiness! Surely not in the Purgatory which our Catholic friends feel so confident is
And surely not in the fiery hell of which Protestants generally tell us. Surely the dead
in the Bible hell—
the tomb, the state of death. Thus it is written, "Many
that sleep in the dust of the earth
Hearken to the Master. Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany were His particular friends. Lazarus took sick and the sisters sent word to the Master, "He whom Thou lovest is sick." Jesus gave no outward heed to the matter until the third day after, and then said to His disciples, "Our friend Lazarus
They replied," Lord if he sleep he will do well." Then Jesus said plainly (coming down to
ordinary use of language), "Lazarus is dead." With His disciples He then went to Bethany.—
The sisters were greatly disappointed. They had not thought of the possibility of their brother’s dying, because they so thoroughly believed in the power of Jesus.
Mary did not even go to meet her dear friend, the Lord, when He came. Martha met Him with the chiding remark "If Thou hadst been here [if You had come when we informed You] our brother had not died." Jesus did not dispute that Lazarus was
nor tell her that he was more alive than ever. He merely promised that her brother should
Martha replied that she knew that Lazarus would rise in the resurrection, at the Last Day. Jesus assured her that
would be the One who would resurrect the dead, and that He was then present with her, intimating that she might ask even then for her brother to be revived.
But Martha’s faith was insufficient. When the Master asked, Where have ye laid him? she replied that it was now too late, because putrefaction had set in—it was
now the fourth day since his death. When Jesus finally went to Lazarus’ tomb, He did not call him from Heaven, nor from Purgatory, nor from a fiery hell, but from the
This wonderful exhibition of His power the Lord gave, to the intent that His disciples then and since might realize that in Him is vested the resurrection power, by Divine arrangement, and that there is to be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust; that all who are in their graves are to hear His voice and come forth. The Church class will come forth to perfection of life on the spirit plane. The world of mankind will come forth from the tomb imperfect, as they went into it, and will all have a test, to prove whether they are worthy or unworthy of restitution and eternal life in the earthly Paradise.
"WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?"
St. Paul held an imaginary discussion with doubters of the resurrection in his day. He has them inquire, With what body will the dead return? He replies that, as each kind of seed that is planted reproduces its own kind, so it will be in the resurrection of the dead. Whatever kind of seed is planted in death, of the same kind and nature will be the resurrection crop. The Apostle elaborates, showing that the whole world of mankind are of one kind of seed—human stock—and that therefore, in the resurrection time, they will come forth the same—
And they will come forth in practically the same condition in which they died.—
But if we shall suppose
to represent the human stock and can imagine a special treatment of some of that rye grain before sowing—changing it into wheat, then we would know that those
would sprout and develop, not as rye, but as wheat. Thus the Apostle illustrates
dead—the Church. All are of Adamic stock, but some, a few—the spirit-begotten Church—experience a change of nature from earthly to
Heavenly. Hence they, in the resurrection, will come forth Heavenly or spirit beings. He says, Some, the world at large, will be members of the
others, a few, a "little flock," will be members of the second Adam—
Lord. The standard to which the world may expect to be awakened and, later, raised, will be the earthly standard represented in the perfect Adam.
THE FIRST RESURRECTION DESCRIBED
It was not necessary that the Apostle should more particularly describe, at that time, the resurrection opportunity provided for the world of mankind, but it was very appropriate that he should give to the Church a more detailed explanation of the Divine provision for the resurrection of the Bride. Explaining this, St. Paul says, "Thus is
dead: It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown an animal body; it is raised a spirit body. For there is an animal body and there is a spirit body. As it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."—
The resurrection of the Church is called a "life-resurrection," because all those experiencing it will be
—will be instantly and completely lifted out of death conditions. The world in general, on the contrary, will not come forth to a life-resurrection, but will come forth still partly dead, as mankind in general are today. The coming forth or
to them will be merely the beginning of their resurrection, their
In the Divine appointment the thousand years of Messiah’s reign are set apart for their resurrection—their gradual raising up to human perfection. The experiences of Messiah’s Kingdom will all be helpful whether they be chastisements or rewards. They will all be reformatory. Only deliberate and wilful transgressors will be annihilated in the Second Death.