By Adam Clarke
THOSE systems which contain any thing
like the hope of a resurrection are borrowed from this Book. But the
authors have admitted this gleam of light into their systems, as a
sort of veil to cover the mass of putrefaction, which otherwise
would be too horrid, and to impress their followers with the idea
that their system was sacred and divine.
The justice of God is as much concerned in the resurrection of the dead, as either his power or mercy. To be freed from earthly encumbrances, earthly passions, bodily infirmities, sickness, and death; to be brought into a state of conscious existence, with a refined body, and a sublime soul, both immortal, and both ineffably happy—how glorious the privilege!
The day of judgment! what an awful word is this! what a truly terrific time! when the heavens shall be shrivelled as a scroll and the elements melt with fervent heat? when the earth and its appendages shall be burned up, and the fury of that conflagration be such, that "there shall be no more sea!" a time when the noble and ignoble dead, the small and the great, shall stand before God, and all be judged according to the deeds done in the body; yea, a time when the thoughts of the heart and every secret thing shall be brought to light; when the innumerable millions of transgressions, and embryo and abortive sins, shall be exhibited in their purposes and intents; a time when justice, eternal justice, shall sit alone upon the throne, and pronounce a sentence as impartial as irrevocable, and as awful as eternal! There is a term of human life; and every human being is rapidly gliding to it as fast as the wings of time, in their onward motion, incomprehensibly swift, can carry him! And shall not the living lay this to heart? Should we not live in order to be judged? And should we not live and die so as to live again to all eternity, not with Satan and his angels, but with God and his saints? O thou man of God! thou Christian! thou immortal spirit! think of these things!
Observe the order of this terribly glorious day:—1. Jesus, in all the dignity and splendour of his eternal majesty, shall descend from heaven to the mid region, what the apostle calls the "air," somewhere within the earth's atmosphere. 2. Then the shout or order shall be given for the dead to arise. 3. Next the archangel as the herald of Christ, shall repeat the order, "Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment!" 4. When all the dead in Christ are raised, then the "trumpet shall sound," as the signal for them all to flock together to the throne of Christ. It was by the sound of the trumpet that the solemn assemblies, under the law, were convoked; and to such convocations there seems to be here an allusion. 5. When the dead in Christ are raised, their vile bodies being made like unto his glorious body, then, 6. Those who are alive shall be changed, and made immortal. 7. These shall be "caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air." 8. We may suppose that the judgment will now be set, and the books opened, and the dead judged out of the things written in those books. 9. The eternal states of quick and dead being thus determined, then all who shall be found to "have made a covenant with him by sacrifice," and to have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," shall be taken to his eternal glory, and "be for ever with the Lord." What an inexpressibly terrific glory will then be exhibited! I forbear to call in here the descriptions which men of a poetic turn have made of this terrible scene, because I cannot trust to their correctness; and it is a subject which we should speak of and contemplate as nearly as possible, in the words of Scripture.