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one another in their labor." No wonder a shout is made, for then all Christ's enemies are put under his feet, and death the last enemy is then destroyed.
It is also said, "with the voice of the arch-angel," or the chief angel," and, with the trump of God." Paul, 1 Cor. 15: 51, 52, connects the change effected in the living, as well as the raising of the dead, with the sounding of the trumpet. So in this passage, after speaking of the trump of God, he adds, "and the dead in Christ shall rise first." If the question is asked-shall rise first, or before what shall take place? The answer plainly is-before those found alive and remaining on the earth shall ascend to meet the Lord in the air. In verse 15, we were told, that those found alive on the earth, "shall not anticipate or go before them who are asleep." At the sound of the trumpet, both are to be prepared for ascending. Mortals shall put on immortality, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. Without this change, both are utterly unprepared for ascending or being forever with the Lord, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." 1 Cor. 15: 50. That this is the meaning of the words, "the dead in Christ shall rise first," will appear obvious from
Verse 17. "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Those who are alive and remain on the earth, are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; but observe, they are not to anticipate, or go before them who are asleep or dead. They shall not ascend, until the dead are raised, for says Paul, "we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." They shall all ascend at once, in one
vast company," and so shall we ever (pantote) always be with the Lord." Comp. John 14: 1-4, and 17: 24. The apostle adds
Verse 18, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Some manuscripts add, tou pneumatos, of the spirit. These words of the spirit are the words we have been considering. But if some people's views of a part of this passage are correct, the apostle ought to have said, "wherefore make yourselves miserable by these words of the spirit."
In concluding our remarks on this passage, I would ask 1st, if Paul believed in the immortality of the soul, and its existence in a disembodied state, how happened it, that he drew all his consolation to the Thessalonian Christians, from the resurrection from the dead? He does not take the slightest notice, that they or their deceased friends ever had such souls, to be either happy or miserable after death. 2d, I ask, do not Christians now derive their chief comfort from what Paul entirely omitted? I appeal to every candid man, if at death, surviving relatives are not chiefly comforted from the consideration, that the souls of their deceased friends have gone to heaven to receive their crown, and are before the throne of God. Now, let candor say, had Paul known all this to be true, would he have omitted all mention of it to the Thessalonians, in writing expressly to comfort them under the loss of their friends. Would he not have used similar statements to those used in our day, and then concluded as he does, "wherefore comfort one another with these words." But the whole passage shows that the resurrection from the dead, through Jesus who died and rose again, was all the hope he knew of in regard to future life, and from it he drew consolation for himself, and consoled the minds of others. If Jesus is risen we shall rise, if not, all is lost.
2 Cor. 5: 1-9. Some think, Paul teaches here, a resurrection at death to immediate happiness and is all the resurrection man has to expect. But does he contradict himself? For we have seen, he taught a different doctrine to the Phillipians, Thessalonians, and to the Corinthians. It is also at variance with the doctrine taught by our Lord in his discourse with the Sadducees. That Paul's doctrine here is the same he taught in his first letter to the Corinthians, I shall now attempt to show. Let us examine verse 4, of this passage, and compare it with 1. Cor. 15. "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." From this verse let us ask, first, did Paul groan being burdened in this tabernacle, that he might be unclothed, or was it that he might be clothed upon with his house from heaven? He answers, "not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon." I ask again, why did he so earnestly desire to be clothed upon with his house from heaven? He answers, "that mortality might be swallowed up of life." It is very evident Paul did not expect to be clothed upon with his house from heaven, until mortality was swallowed up of life. Well, let us ask again, when did he expect mortality to be swallowed up of life? If he expected this when the earthly house of his tabernacle was dissolved, or at death, why did he not groan, desiring to be unclothed, seeing the moment he was unclothed, this would take place. But he tells us he groaned, being burdened,
not for that he would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." But let us look at 1 Cor. 15: 53, 54, and compare what he says there with what he says here. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corrupti
ble shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory." In both passages, Paul uses the word neton, but it is rendered in the one by the word mortal, and in the other by the word mortality. Again; in both he uses the word kalapothe, which is rendered in both, swallowed up. In verse 4, of the passage before us, mortality is said to be swallowed up of life, and in 1 Cor. 15: 53, 54, death is said to be swallowed up in victory. What he called mortality in the one passage, he calls death in the other. Swallowed up in victory, and swallowed up of life, were with Paul synonimous expressions. But I ask, is the saying brought to pass, that death is swallowed up in victory or of life, at every man's death? Facts show that at every man's death, his life is swallowed up of mortality or death. Then death obtains the victory over him, instead of being swallowed up in victory. Well, when is death swallowed up in victory, or mortality swallowed up of life? It has been shown above, on 1 Cor. 15, and need not be repeated, that this saying never can be brought to pass, until the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel and the trump of God; for then the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and all found alive shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye. But does the Lord descend from heaven at every man's death? And what trumpet sounds, or what living beings are changed, when every individual man expires?
There is no evidence from either Scripture or facts, that any man is clothed upon with a house from heaven, or that mortality is swallowed up of life at death. Before any man says the immortal soul is thus clothed upon, he ought first to prove that
man has an immortal soul which exists after death. And is it rational to speak of the mortality of an immortal soul being swallowed up of life at death? But we have just as little evidence that Paul's body was raised at death, or that its mortality was swallowed up of life. Dust he was, and unto dust he returned like other mortals. That there is a germin in the human body which at death shoots forth into a spiritual body, is a theory of which there is no proof from facts, and I can find none from Scripture. Paul, in the passage, speaks in the plural, and his expectations and desires as to a future life were not peculiar to him, but were to be enjoyed by others, and he speaks of them as well known. But was it well known, that every man at death was raised again from the dead? Peter said, David had not ascended into the heavens, in his day, and certainly Martha did not think her brother Lazarus rose the day he died, but expected his resurrection at some future time, which she called the last day. Nor, is it ever intimated that a single individual, at his death, was clothed upon with his house from heaven, or that then mortality was swallowed up of life. But if this doctrine be true, why are all the Scripture writers silent on the subject?
But at verse 5, Paul says God had given him and others "the earnest of the spirit." By this they were "sealed unto the day of redemption," Eph. 4: 30. And he adds, ch. 1: 14, "which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession." What purchased possession? The church, which Christ purchased with his own blood, Acts 20: 28. But let us ask, the redemption of the church from what? I answer, from death and the grave, Hosea 13: 14. 1 Cor. 15: 54, 55. Compare all this with Rom. 8: 22, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain