A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume Three

Chapter 6

Eschatology, or the Last Things






               Scripture and Ecclesiastical History



               Scriptural Doctrine and Historical Hypotheses


               Scriptural and Historical


               The Judge;

                    the Judged;

                    the Judgment, with its Standards and Results



               Doctrine and Error




                    Univrersalism, and Intermediate Tendencies



It has been seen, as we have proceeded, that all the facts, doctrines and ethics of theology point forward to one great Consummation. The things concerning Christ and His kingdom HAVE AN END. To exhibit that End, whether as universal or as individual, in one connected whole is the province of Eschatology, or the doctrine of the Last Things. It is obvious that all the lines here converge to one event, the Return of the Redeemer, which is the supreme Hope of His people: His Coming, however, cannot be disconnected from the Resurrection of all men and the universal Judgment. Before that final event of time, therefore, the destinies of Christ's cause belong to the other world as well as to this, and

we have a profoundly interesting department of theology in Death and the Kingdom of the Dead: here time is strangely blended with eternity, though it is time still. After that final event, when time shall be no more, we have only the Consummation of all Divine designs and human destiny


Before entering on these topics in detail a few observations may be made on the general characteristics of this branch of theology, as it is specifically the prophetic part of the perfected revelation of Christianity

1. As such it is almost if not altogether shut up to the predictions of Christ and His Apostles. Of the future of mankind, whether in this world or in the next, we can from other sources know nothing. Men may speculate as to the destinies of the race, and argue as to what is to be by an induction of what has been 5 yet all this adds nothing to knowledge. But the very same authority which gives us our theology of the past and of the present gives us also our theology of the future. If we examine the New Testament carefully we find that a very large portion of it is occupied with THINGS TO COME. Our Lord Himself spoke very much of the future of His kingdom and Church. What He predicted in the hearing of His Apostles was to be brought to their remembrance. Moreover, He said of the Holy Ghost, He will show you things to come.1 One remarkable form of the accomplishment of this prophecy was His own disclosure of the future to His Church by the Spirit through the last Evangelist: The revelation of Jesus which God gave unto Him to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.2 1 John 16:13; 2 Rev. 1:1

2. There is an analogy between the Old-Testament prophecies of what were then the Last Things and those of the New Testament. In ancient times the prophets enquired and searched diligently . . . searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.1 The same may be said of their successors the Apostles. There is throughout evidence that the law of disciplinary reserve which governs the prophetic part of Divine revelation rules with scarcely any relaxation. What the First Coming of the Messiah was to the ancient saints His Second Coming is to us: we have the same certain but indefinite future; very much more clearly outlined as to its great events, but equally undefined as to times and seasons, and vanishing into equal if not deeper mystery. It might have been expected that it would be otherwise; and that the coming of the Object of all prophecy would have introduced a new order of prediction, leaving no room for uncertainty or error as to the future. But it is far otherwise. A few words, here and there spoken, might have precluded a thousand controversies. But they are unspoken. As the Master of Wisdom said in the older and more immature economy it is the glory of God to conceal a thing,2 the glory of His wisdom; so still the honor of kings is to search out a matter, and all the Lord's people have this royal prerogative. From beginning to end the law of revelation is probationary: man's original sin of penetrating to forbidden knowledge seems to be remembered in the Divine economy of discipline. While on all points that concern probation the teaching is distinct and sufficient, nothing is disclosed for the gratification of curiosity. From the Apostles' first question, Lord, dost Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?3 there has been constant evidence of the error of the Church to speculate unduly: sometimes in fanciful, sometimes in tragic, sometimes in sentimental outlines the future of Christianity has been sketched with more or less of confident temerity. The Saviour's answer, It is not for you to know [the] times or [the] seasons, which the Father hath set in His own power,4 is of wide and unlimited application. We are taught that we must be content to leave some portions of the unknown future in their obscurity; and to muse without definitions before the unlifted veil: remembering that for us it may be lifted even while we are musing. This is a severe discipline, especially to the theologian, who delights in a clear confession of faith, and is sorely tempted to aim at the same formal analysis of the Last Things as he has been able to give of the work of Christ finished on earth and of the present administration of the Holy Spirit. He would fain weave into a system the scattered hints of prophecy. But nothing is more certain than that the Holy Ghost does not encourage this desire: prophetic theology can hardly be dogmatic

1 1 Pet. 1:10,11; 2 Pro. 25:2; 3 Acts 1:6; 4 Acts 1:7

3. Meanwhile, it is equally certain that there is a peculiar blessing attached to the humble, patient, and earnest study of the dread realities of the future. Eschatology, or the doctrine of the Last Things, appeals to certain principles and instincts of our nature which it alone has power to touch. There are elements in the constitution of man the cultivation of which is of great importance to religious discipline; and their education is almost entirely dependent on this branch of subjects. These have also an irresistible attraction to all classes, especially in times of sorrow and in advancing life; and their very indefiniteness and obscurity and unsearchable mystery enhance that attraction. Moreover, a considerable range of the ethics of Christianity grows out of the contemplation of future destiny and preparation for it. Hence there is the amplest encouragement to the study of these things, though there is no encouragement to the systematic, or, as it were, scientific arrangement of them. It is left on record as a general principle that Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy:1 not blessed because either reader or hearer will ever know the times and the seasons which symbolically expand before the vision; but blessed because this kind of meditation tends to withdraw his mind from all lower interests and will keep him at the Saviour's feet in the attitude of adoring expectation, humility, and trust

1 Rev. 1:3

4. The methods of analysis that may be adopted are many, and will be shaped variously according to the bias and prepossessions of the theologian: especially his bias on the subject of the Millennial future glory of the Church and the second coming of the Lord

Some are so prejudiced against the perversions of Millenarianism that they place the Lord's return generally under His judicial office and thus rob Eschatology of its keystone

Others are so bewitched by that one theme that they virtually divide redemption into two sections: the first and the second Coming of Christ. Certainly, the return of its Head as such is the undying hope of the militant body on earth. It is the vanishing point of all Christian expectation. It commands the great futurity; but in theological order Death and Hades belong to the preparations for His advent; the Coming itself precedes the resurrection and judgment; and beyond it, though still suffused with its glory, opens out the Consummation of all things


Death is a word of large meaning in theology. There is a sense in which it does not belong to the Last Things, being one of the first facts in the religious history of mankind

As the penalty of sin it has already been considered. Here it must be viewed chiefly, though not exclusively, as the last event in the probation of man translated by it into the region of the dead, which in its relation to the coming of Christ and the final consummation may be called an Intermediate State


Death spiritual and eternal will reappear at a later stage in Eschatology. Its physical aspect is here more directly concerned; and it must be regarded, first, as in a certain sense abolished by the death of Christ, but, secondly, as nevertheless continued in the discipline of the Gospel and made the minister of the Divine purpose. All is summed up in one word, that Christianity has taught us what death is as the result of sin under the economy of grace


It is said by St Paul that Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.1 Death is in fact abolished by being also brought under the light by the same revelation: that is, Christianity has finally and fully explained what death is, and under what conditions the human race is subjected to it notwithstanding the great redemption

1 2 Tim. 1:10

1. Death in the new dispensation never means the opposite of existence: were it such, it could not be said to be annihilated, unless indeed the Saviour's intervention as the Second Adam gave back to mankind an existence that would otherwise have been forfeited. But it is never said that existence was forfeited by sin: the threatening of death that took effect upon disobedience was primarily a separation of the soul or spirit from the body. The body began at once to sink towards the earth whence it came; and the spirit began to know those preliminary infirmities that issue in the agony of the final severance, the most violent and unnatural experience to which in this life transgression has made man subject: the physical type of the separation of the soul from God

2. This is the only death that can befall the soul, so far at least as the sentence pronounced upon the sinner is concerned. The immortality or continued conscious existence of man's spirit is everywhere assumed in Scripture and nowhere proved. And, so far as the doctrine of death is before us, continued existence and immortality are one. The absolute immortality of the human spirit is not in question as yet. Absolute immortality, indeed, can never be matter of argument. God only hath immortality;2 if He has given it to man as such it must be as something that is made inherent in man's reflection of God's likeness

The Christian doctrine of death leaves untouched the natural immortality of mankind

The arguments in its favor, in their variety and their various degrees of strength, belong to the subject of the Divine Image in man. Those which rest upon the immateriality of the soul and its indivisibility, upon its high aspirations, upon its universal instincts, are valid pleas against the materialist; but all subordinate to the original testimony given to the stamp of the Creator's own nature impressed upon it. Apart from that no argument demonstrates the immortality of the soul, even as there is none that proves the being of God. But we have only now to make emphatic the fact that the Christian doctrine of death implies that immortality: first, because nothing is said to the contrary when the separation of soul and body is spoken of; and, secondly, because death is said to be in its widest meaning done away in Christ

1 1 Tim. 6:16


Death as a penalty, whether physically or spiritually considered, is abolished in the Gospel of our redemption

1. In the widest possible sense it is negatived or done away. There is no restriction in the words used to signify the Saviour's endurance of death in the stead of the human race. He underwent in dying the curse of the law; received the wages of sin not due to Himself; and all mankind are delivered as one whole from the original sentence. For the entire family of Adam it is virtually and provisionally abolished. Our Lord tasted death for every man,1 huper pantos. He removed this specific condemnation from the race; and if annihilation were, in any sense whatever, the meaning of the sentence, the Substitute of man, the Second Adam, abolished it. But we have no hint in Scripture that annihilation was the import of the original sentence. It was rather the separation of the soul from the body and of both from God; and that as an absolute sentence upon mankind was reversed and abolished

1 Heb. 2:9

2. It is really abolished to all who are found in Christ. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:1 the opposite of that wrath of God which abideth on the unbeliever. He that hath the Son hath life.2 It is true that the abolition is conditional, and gradually revealed both in the soul and in the body; even as the full revelation of the death from which we are saved is gradual We were saved by hope:3 this law runs through the Christian economy; we receive only the firstfruits, every blessing and every deliverance being at best given in its earnest alone until the redemption of the purchased possession.4 But the day will come when every trace of this sentence shall be effaced. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.5 It was also the first enemy destroyed

1 John 3:36; 2 1 John 5:12; 3 Rom. 8:24; 4 Eph. 1:14; 5 1 Cor. 15:26


Death, in its more limited sense as physical, is taken up into the Evangelical economy: continued as an ordinance for the human race, and as a discipline for every believer. It is this death which specifically belongs to Eschatology

1. The continuance of death is bound up with the Divine purposes touching the development and the destiny of mankind. What that development would have been without sin we know not: all that we know of the eternal counsel concerning the human species deals with it as a race continued through a succession of dying generations. It is appointed unto men once to die1 in their federal relation with the first Adam, that they may rise again with the Last. The economy of redemption which was established before the gates of Paradise opened on human history retains death as a law in the government of the world. This is all that can be affirmed; and speculation beyond these limits finds no encouragement. It may be said that this was, in a certain sense, letting the original tendency go on, inasmuch as physical death had reigned upon the earth before Adam was created; and further that the earth was adapted to the condition of man as living and dying. Such a view requires us to believe that without sin man would have risen above the general law: the tree of life being a sign of what might have been a sinless immortality. But this, like the question whether or not the Son would have become incarnate had the Fall not taken place, is left in profound silence in the holy record Suffice it that when the history of the world has reached its last term death shall cease

Mankind waits till the Deliverer comes for its emancipation. Then will He prove Himself the Lord and Abolisher of death by superseding and displacing it; and the last undying generation will give evidence that this firstborn of sin was only assumed into the Divine counsel for human development within the limits of time

1 Heb. 9:27

2. Christian death is abundantly and most impressively brought to light as not abolished absolutely; but as taken up into the Divine plan for the individual just as it is for the race

(1.) It enters into the probationary discipline of believers. Hence it is hallowed and dignified as part of the fellowship of their lot with Christ. For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him:1 here the suffering of death physical must be included; the sacred graces of our Lord's dying experience must be reflected in the dying of His saints

That unknown element in His suffering which negatived the sinner's eternal death is of necessity unshared, but His physical surrender to death admits us to a fellowship with it Hence it is the last sacrifice of Christian obedience; according to the Apostle's word, I am now ready to be offered.2 This refers to less or to more than martyrdom, specifically so called: in a sense all death is a martyrdom, by which the servants of Christ testify of redemption and glorify God.3 There is no grace of Christian life which is not made perfect in death: not that death is the minister of the Spirit to destroy sin, but the last earthly act and oblation of the sinless spirit in which the sacrifice of all becomes perfect in one. Therefore it is the appointed end of human probation. Other methods of placing a limit to the probationary career, especially in relation to the unfallen creature, may be imagined: this is the appointed end since sin and redemption began. The very execution of doom is made the goal of destiny, in which the sentence is finally reversed. And thus in a certain sense death is the preliminary and decisive judgment for every individual on earth who knows the connection between sin and deliverance

1 2 Tim. 2:11; 2 2 Tim. 4:6; 3 John 21:19

(2.) Finally, Christian death is transfigured into a departure from this life to another

Every former name is retained in the dispensation of the Gospel; no new one, strictly speaking, is added; but all are sanctified to a higher character and put on their perfection

It is Dissolution, but not as limited to the idea of going down to the dust of death: it is the separation of spirit and body; the body being also dissolved into its component elements in the earth, and the spirit, no longer a soul, gathered to the fathers and to Christ, returning to God who gave it, but not dissolved into the abyss of Deity. The Christian thought of being unclothed1 is an advance upon any former revelation: the body is only the clothing which, folded in the grave, will be hereafter re-fashioned for the naked spirit

Death is rest,2 as of old: but rest in the ceaseless service of the Lord. It is sleep; but it is sleep in Jesus.3 It is still the penalty of sin; but no longer only a penalty. For to those who believe in Jesus death is no more death: not only is its sting gone, but itself is already as to its terror—which is its shadow following it, the Second Death— annihilated; whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.4 Finally, it is more than the Old- Testament going the way of all the earth:5 it is a Departure or Decease, for these two words are one. Such it was in the case of our Lord: Moses and Elias spoke of the Decease, teen exodon, which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.6 And among the last allusions to death in the New Testament it is regarded as only a removal to another sphere: the time of my departure is at hand;7 which is the simplest and sublimest description of it given to our faith and our hope

12 Cor. 5:4; 22 Thes. 1:7; 31 Thes. 4:14; 4John 11:26; 5Josh. 23:14; 6Luke 9:31; 72 Tim. 4:6


Throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, the departed souls of men are represented as congregating in one vast receptacle, the interior conditions of which differ much in the Two Testaments and vary in each respectively. On their estate the light steadily increases as revelation proceeds, though even its final disclosures leave much obscurity which only the Lord's coming will remove. It is, however, made certain that the intermediate state is under the special control of the Redeemer as the Lord of all the dead who have ever passed from the world; that those who have departed in unbelief are in a condition of imprisonment waiting for the final judgment, while those who have died in the faith are in Paradise, or rather with Christ, waiting for their consummation; and that the universal resurrection win put an end both to death and to the state of the disembodied dead. Some few hints which the New Testament gives as to the conscious personality of the subjects of the Lord's kingdom in Hades have been made the basis of doctrinal determinations and ecclesiastical institutions and speculative theories which belong to the department of historical theology


1. In the earlier revelation the collective inhabitants of the earth pass through death into a state or place which is to the spirit what the grave is to the body. This has one invariable name: sheol, shaowl, the house appointed for all living.1 The word was derived from a root signifying to be hollow; or from one denoting a chasm or abyss; or from a third, meaning to ask, in reference to its insatiable demand for souls. It is to be distinguished from the grave, which is often used in the English translation. For instance, when Jacob says, I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning,2 the word is shaolaah, unto Sheol: Joseph was supposed not to be in any grave. The patriarchs went to their forefathers: Abraham, as afterwards Aaron, was gathered unto his people;3,4 they were gathered to their people, but in the great majority of cases were not buried with them

From the beginning the hollow place in which the body was deposited had neither more nor less reality than the Sheol or under-world, supposed to be local and within the earth, into which all souls descended, retaining their conscious personality. They are never called souls, however, or spirits; but, in writings later than those of Moses, rephaim, signifying languid, or nerveless, or shadowy beings: different therefore from the giants of the Pentateuch

1 Job 30:23; 2 Gen. 37:35; 3 Gen. 25:8; 4 Num. 20:24

2. It is moreover in the earlier books, and indeed throughout the canonical Old Testament, one indistinguishable receptacle of a11 the dead; generally a place of terror and gloom cut off from God, not without conscious and continued existence, but with only a feeble hold of life; brightened to the righteous by hope, but by fluctuating hope

The testimonies of Job and of Hezekiah represent the darkest aspect of Sheol. Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.1 We hear Job's own answer to his desponding question, If a man die, shall he live again? that his sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not, . . . but his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.2 Hezekiah's forecast is as gloomy as Job's: The grave cannot praise Thee; death cannot celebrate Thee,3 Job's anticipation, yet in my flesh shall I see God,4 finds no permanent and true fulfillment this side of the resurrection

1 Job 10:20-22; 2 Job 14:14,21,22; 3 Isa. 38:18; 4 Job 19:26

3. There are hints, though only hints, of distinct allotments of doom. While the Old Testament everywhere assigns to the departed a continued existence — immortality, therefore, as making the spirit survive bodily death—it preserves a silence almost unbroken as to retribution after the probation of life. But the one Pit, bowr, into which all alike descend has its lower depths. The servants of God, faithful to His covenant, have in Him their portion, and therefore He is their God, not the God of the dead but of the living;1 but in the mystery of gradual revelation the secret of the prison is reserved for the coming of Christ. Of Enoch it is not said that he died; he was not, for God took him;2 but this was only a standing testimony, that death is not essential to the development of man

Balaam's wish, to die the death of the righteous,3 is indefinite, and did not necessarily refer to anything beyond this world. But many of the prayers of the Psalmists more than hint at a difference hereafter: draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity.4 The speculations of the Preacher point to the same difference; as one, however, that the day of judgment will bring to light: for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.5

 1 Mat. 22:32; 2 Gen. 5:24; 3 Num. 23:10; 4 Psa. 28:3; 5 Ecc. 11:9


In the New Testament there is a resumption and very remarkable development of doctrine concerning the state of the dead in the interval preceding the final resurrection

1. Before His own resurrection our Lord adopted the ancient description of the unseen world, using the term hades, which the Septuagint had invariably employed as the Greek representative of the Hebrew sheol. But He subdivided it into two departments: the place of Lazarus He called, with the Jews, Abraham's bosom;1 but He does not place the rich man in Gehenna, which had also become the Rabbinical term for the place of final woe

In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments; but in the same Hades he could see Lazarus though afar off. Our Lord this once uses the word in the Old-Testament meaning of the general receptacle of departed souls. But elsewhere He employs it to signify the empire of ruin and desolation and subversion of human life: in this sense He said of His Church, The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it;2 and of the doomed city of Galilee, thou shall be brought down to Hades.3 In the Apocalypse the Lord returns to the old idea of one vast disembodied realm: I have the keys of Hades and of death,4 though, as in the Dives-parable, with a predominant reference to the condemned prison-house in it. This last the Lord calls Gehenna again and again, as in that ever-memorable word concerning the fire of hell, that never shall be quenched;5 and in that solemn denunciation of the Pharisees which seems to make this hell a state, like eternal life, which may be the present characteristic of the soul: twofold more the child of hell,6 or Gehenna, than yourselves. Before His departure our Lord gave a new designation to the realm of the blessed in Hades: Today shall thou be with Me in Paradise.7 1 Luke 16:22,23; 2 Mat. 16:18; 3 Mat. 11:23; 4 Rev. 1:18; 5 Mark 9:43; 6 Mat. 23:15; 7 Luke 23:43

2. What had been the descent of the Redeemer into Hades has been elsewhere considered: it introduced, not only a new state of things in the under-world, but a new terminology for the intermediate state. The Paradise and Gehenna of the Gospels— figurative names, one taken from the original Garden, and the other from the Valley of Hinnom where the perpetual fire burnt up the refuse—reappear, with Hades including both; but neither of them emphatically, nor with certain reference to the intermediate condition of souls. The place is not described so much as the state or character and employments of its occupants

The Lord's victory over death and glorious descent has changed the whole scene. The saints who are in life and death united to Him are spoken of as those who sleep in Jesus:1 He is their koimeethentas, or Cemetery, where sleep is life while life is sleep. The current language of the Epistles refers to their death as departure to be with Christ,2 with right to an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,3 and the attainment of an almost consummate state in the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, where are the spirits of just men made perfect.4 All this seems inconsistent with a locality in any sense corresponding to the under-world of Sheol: in fact the term Hades would be all but lost, save in the symbolical Apocalypse, were it not for the explicit declaration that in the resurrection its victory will be taken away: 0 Hades, where is thy victory!5 With the Lord's resurrection Paradise seems to have risen also into a lower heaven: as it were the third heaven6 if not the seventh. Of the elevation of Paradise some hint was given when many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection:7 these may have been the mysterious symbolical firstfruits, whose spirits reunited to their bodies appeared unto many on their way with Christ from Paradise to heaven. The disembodied ungodly are never spoken of save as being generally or by implication in Hades. It is said in the Apocalypse that death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.8 As symbols they vanish for ever; and the real persons they represent know the second death in the lake of fire,9 which is the same as the Gehenna of fire in the Gospel. In the language of Christendom these terms have been exchanged for hell, which is moreover often regarded as, in its full terror, existing for the lost before the judgment. St. Peter uses yet another word, when he speaks of the spirits in prison10 to whom the Savior preached or announced the accomplishment of redemption

1 1 Thes. 4:14; 2 Phil. 1:23; 3 2 Cor. 5:1; 4 Heb. 12:23; 5 1 Cor. 12:2; 6 2 Cor. 12:2; 7 Mat. 27:52,53; 8 Rev. 20:14; 9 Mark 9:43; 10 1 Pet. 3:19,20


Historical theology has here a wide domain, especially if we include, as we ought, the entire range of the opinions and practices of mankind beyond the pale of revelation


Comparative Theology gives ample evidence that all, or almost all, the religious systems of antiquity have had their Region of the Dead. From east and west and north and south all travel thither in their various systems of belief. In the east, however, what we call the intermediate state was distorted into an ever-recurring series of transmigrations until the final heaven of souls was reached in a state of absorption into God. In all the mythologies with which revelation came into contact there is an estate and a place and a government of the lower world. So was it in Egyptian eschatology. So also in the classical Hades or Plutus, and Persephone or Proserpine received the dead, the Inferi, into Hades or Tartarus below it, and into the Elysian fields: their jurisdiction being that of strict retribution. The speculations of mythology were far more definite than those of the Old Testament in one sense; but had not in them the distant Messianic hope that lightened the gloom of the Hebrew Sheol. And, when the True Light appeared, the dim and distorted shadows projected upon the future all vanished: giving place to a clear and definite doctrine of Hades, as linked with the probationary past still, but now declared to be the threshold only of the resurrection and eternity, neither of which was in distinct human conception until the Gospel brought them out of darkness into light


Many and various speculations of Christian Theology, which have not been confined to any particular age, may be noticed

1. That of the SLEEP OF THE SOUL in the Intermediate state very early prevailed: strictly speaking, it was the sleep of the whole man reduced for a season to nonentity, to be called into existence by a new creation linking the personality to its former self. This notion regards the spirit as only soul and having no existence apart from the body: forgetting the tripartite distinction of body and soul and spirit, according to which the immaterial principle in man is soul as using a corporeal organization and spirit as independent of the bodily organ. The article in the Creed " He descended into Hades " expressed the early condemnation of this hypothesis. In the third century Origen opposed the same belief as held by the THNETOPSYCHITAE. In the Middle Ages and at the Reformation the speculation was revived; and again and again condemned under the name of PSYCHOPAN-NYCHIA, or the spirit's intermediate night The idea has exercised a strong fascination on many who, like Luther occasionally, have found it hard to believe in a continuance of consciousness without the corporeal organism; and they have sought support in the fact that the dead sleep in Jesus:1 a figurative expression which by no means favors the view. It has seemed to many that the subject is relieved of much difficulty if we assume that in the consciousness of the soul the moment of death is literally the moment of resurrection, the long interval being in that consciousness less than a moment. But both the Lord's parable of Dives and the whole scenery of the Apocalypse present the intermediate state as a scene of life. The Apostle says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord;2 and the tenor of the New Testament runs that way. This hypothesis, however, has found and still finds many supporters in modern times

11 Thes 4:14; 2 2 Cor. 5:8

2. The basis or tendency of that theory is materialistic; but there has never been wanting a current of anti-materialist speculation, which, asserting that the resurrection is past already,1 equally annihilates the intermediate state though in a different way. Those who early represented this notion, condemned by St. Paul, held the Gnostic error that redemption wrought its final triumph in the deliverance of the spirit from its bodily prison. They supposed the dead to have already come to the spirits of just men made perfect;2 misunderstanding that perfection as the release from matter of all creaturely existence. This error, like the former, is inconsistent with the uniform doctrine of Scripture that the dead are assembled in an antechamber of eternity, a waiting-place for final decision; and that the consummation of the individual, whether for weal or woe, is that of his triple nature: death being a violent dissolution of elements never intended to be disjoined, and the resurrection being the raising of the whole man in his integrity in order to his appearance in the body of his former probation before the bar of God

1 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Heb. 12:23

3. The dogma of Purgatorial discipline in the great Interval has been already alluded to when the sacraments were studied. It must be noticed here in its connection with a vast system of formulated doctrine, concerning the souls of the departed, which has been erected especially by the Western Church. The older mediaeval theology taught that there were five regions: Heaven and Hell, on the extreme frontiers of Hades, if not beyond; the Limbus Infantum, where the unbaptised infants wait, without suffering but without the vision of God, for their higher beatification; the Limbus Patrum, where in the same negative state of mere poena damni the Old-Testament fathers long expected Christ's coming and finally welcomed Him; and Purgatory, where the mass of imperfect Christians are fitted for heaven, aided in the process; whether that of literal or of spiritual fire, by the suffrages of their friends on earth. This dogmatic addition to the Faith was confirmed at the Council of Trent. But it does not profess to find its foundation in Scripture. It is true that it appeared early among the tendencies of Christian speculation

We find traces of it in Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine; it was largely developed by Gregory the Great—the last of the Fathers proper, and the first of the Pontifical Fathers— about the beginning of the seventh century; and it was laid down as dogma by the Council of Florence in 1439. But it is not the unforced teaching of any passage in the sacred Canon. And the superstitions based on it in the current Roman theology, with the abuses to which it has ministered, are its sufficient condemnation: if any other argument is needed than its too close affinity with heathenism, and the dishonor it puts on the perfect satisfaction of the Atonement, 4. Modern views of the continued application of the Redeemer's work in the other world do not lie open to the same objections; though they also are beset with much difficulty and equal danger. They have taken a variety of forms, some having a seeming Scriptural support, others only defended by sentiment. It has already been seen in connection with the Mediatorial History of the Redeemer that His Descent into Hades was accompanied by a proclamation of His Gospel. Sound exegesis requires this; but sound theology will be careful to found no dogmatic teaching upon a revelation which is strictly limited to our Lord's own personal assumption of the keys of Hades.1 He is declared to be the Lord of the dead;2 but it is not said of Him or of His servants that they preach to the dead

Nothing is more plainly revealed, for all who hear the Gospel, than this: Behold, now is an accepted time; behold, now is a day of salvation.3 There is no branch of theology the study of which requires more self restraint and strict submission to the Word of God

1 Rev. 1:18; 2 Rom. 14:9; 3 2 Cor. 6:2

5. There is need of avoiding opposite extremes. It is hard to conceive that the spirit which we trace only as developed in strict harmony with a bodily organism can exist in full consciousness without it; but we must hold that mystery of a resurrection before the resurrection—a resurrection of the spirit from its body —until the time of the revelation of all solvable mysteries shall come. It is equally hard to understand that the spirits of just men consummated1 with Christ are only in a state of comparative consummation, and wait for a fuller disclosure of what is to them almost as full of mystery as it is to us. Yet it is so, and we must submit to regard the intermediate state as one in which the grace of patient waiting will have her perfect work;2 the grace which pre-eminently belongs to time, and in time almost shares the supremacy of love, but cannot exist in eternity. The reaction from the dogma of purgatory has tended rather to efface the distinction between what is after all the kingdom of the dead3 and what has yet to be revealed as the kingdom of the living beyond. The extremes of assuming a perfect unchangeable fixedness of condition, on the one hand, and of assigning to Paradise the true work of probation, on the other, must be avoided. The permanent and consummated destinies of the good and the evil are associated with the day of judgment and its issues. We must not antedate those issues; nor ought we, with regard either to the saved or the lost, to think of heaven as entered or hell as opened before the crisis of which the angelic oath gives a watchword, that there shall be time no longer,4 chronos ouketi estai. Not until then may either exegesis or speculation think that the mystery of God should be finished

1 Heb. 12:23; 2 Jas. 1:4; 3 Rom. 14:9

6. The Apocalypse shows that the disembodied spirits of the saints follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.1 Remembering all that this phrase means in the Gospels, we conclude that they enjoy the blessed discipline of communion with Him. Moreover, we are told that having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,2 they still serve Him day and night in His temple; that the Lamb Which, is in the midst of the throne shall feed them;3 that, with us their fellow-servants also and their brethren,4 while they reign on the earth, they are still companions in the kingdom and patience that are in Jesus, crying: How long, 0 Lord?5 All this indicates a progress in blessedness and in the development of moral energy during the disembodied state. They have the discipline of hope; and of hope as not yet eternal in the heavens, though no longer probationary. They wait for the consummation, their Lord's and their own. And their progress in the spiritual life is not simply that which after the judgment will go on for ever, but an advance from stage to stage peculiar to the intermediate state. Time is behind them; time is also before them; the day of eternity is not yet fully come

1 Rev. 14:4; 2 Rev 7:14,15,17; 3 Rev. 6:11; 4 Rev. 1:9; 5 Rev. 6:10

7. As to the locality and the bodily investiture of this state we know only that we know nothing. In proportion to the scantiness of revealed doctrine has been the abundance of speculation. By some it has been supposed that the spirit is naked and absolutely bodiless: an idea which our physical training on earth renders inconceivable, but which is not on that account to be rejected. Others suppose that the descriptions of the Apocalypse are not entirely figurative, but that the separated spirit will as it were create for itself, or have provided for it, an ethereal vehicle answering to the soul once animating the body

But this intermediate corporeity, this Prima Stola, which has found large acceptance among modern theologians, and early received its highest poetical expression in Dante, has no countenance in Scripture. The white robes1 of the Apocalypse are by the Apocalypse interpreted: and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.2 The notion is inconsistent with the Scriptural idea of death, as well as with the description of the departed as pneumata or spirits;3 and it is a peculiar version of the first resurrection which unscripturally anticipates the resurrection proper. No subject has been more fantastically dealt with; but speculation is here misplaced. Suffice that all who die in the Lord are united to Him in His glorified incarnate nature; and His heavenly body is their home

1 Rev. 3:5; 2 Rev. 7:14; 3 Heb. 12:23

8. This leads us back once more to the probabilities of the estate of the ungodly departed, already hinted at in another connection. Whatever the progress of the disembodied spirit of the saint may be from glory to glory, there is nothing in Scripture to sanction the hope of any influences in the intermediate state that shall tend to translate from their dishonor the disembodied rejecters of Christ. In the present day the word of God is most keenly scrutinized for any the faintest gleam of encouragement. But none is found upon which hope may be surely grounded. Certainly as to the despisers of the atonement no language can be more explicit than the testimony of our Lord and His Apostles. And as to those who have not deliberately rejected Him of Whom they never heard, the silence of revelation should be our silence. There is no distinct announcement as to the publication of the glad tidings of redemption in the other state to those who never heard them on earth. This, like many other secrets of that state, is kept hidden in the Divine counsel, Son, remember!1 may seem to imply that until the Day of Judgment warning counsel is given for profit; but those words were spoken to one whose condition could not be changed: There is a great gulf fixed.2 And, what is more, the definitive separation is not only ordained of God but it is also declared to rest upon an internal disability: If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.3 The Savior certainly speaks of one kind of sin which is to be forgiven neither in this world, nor in that which is to come;4 and it might appear that there is pardon to be offered at least for all other sins. But it is undeniable that the entire phrase was current in the sense of NEVER. Moreover, the words might mean that the sin against the Holy Ghost would be committed as well in the coming dispensation of the Messianic kingdom after Pentecost as in His own preliminary dispensation. Certainly no doctrine can be based on such designedly mysterious words. Undoubtedly the whole tenor of the New Testament teaches us that, as there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,5 all who are not saved must reject that Name in some way revealed to them. From this conclusion neither Scripture nor human charity permits us to decline. But how that light is to irradiate the dread future we know not, and it is presumptuous even for charity too curiously to inquire: this and many other mysteries must be left to the infinite love and the infinite wisdom of the Holy Trinity. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?6

1 Luke 16:25; 2 Luke 16:26; 3 Luke 16:31; 4 Mat. 12:31; 5 Acts 4:12; 6 Gen. 18:25


The second coming of our Lord is the one all-commanding event of prophecy and the future: itself supreme, it is always associated with the universal resurrection, the judgment of mankind, and the consummation of all things. Though these epochs and crises are in the style of prophecy presented together in foreshortened perspective, they are widely distinct. But while we treat them as distinct, we must be careful to remember their common relation to the Day of the Lord; which is a fixed and determinate period, foreshadowed in many lesser periods to which the same term is applied, but the issue and consummation of them all


Throughout the ancient economy a future period called the day of Jehovah appears as the one perspective of all prophecy. In the New Testament this day is declared to have come; all the purposes of the Divine mercy and judgment are regarded as accomplished in the advent of Christ, which is the last time or the end of the world. But the day resolves itself into days; and what Old-Testament prediction beheld as one undistinguished whole is now divided into times and seasons, which all however converge to one decisive and fixed event, the return of Jesus from the invisible world. There is a rich and steady light thrown upon the Christian day of Jehovah, which is variously described in relation to the final manifestation of the Person of Christ, and the final consummation of His work. As it regards the latter, there are some historical theories of very considerable importance which must be examined


This event cannot be studied to advantage apart from the work of the Redeemer. But a few observations on the final manifestation of His Person will pave the way; besides being a fit tribute to the Lord Himself. The great crisis is connected with Him as His final Mission, His second Coming, and in both His Day. In this order we have a certain ascending progression, terminating in the Divine-human dignity of the Lord Whose day is always associated with His highest glory. The first expression suggests that even in heaven the Incarnate is still subordinate and will be SENT of the Father, this being the end of His mediatorial estate of humiliation. That He may send Jesus, the Christ who hath been appointed for you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things.1 In harmony with this the New Testament ends with the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him.2 But in that revelation He foreannounces Himself as waiting for the hour when in His majesty He will return to the earth with no trace of His humbled estate. He will, as the glorified Divine-human Person, COME. So had He promised His disciples: I will come again.3 This same Jesus, Which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner,4 said the angels of the Ascension omitting the Again. Behold, He cometh with clouds,5 is the corresponding human testimony of the last Apostle when in prophetic vision he beheld His glory and spoke of Him. Thus it is the coming, in one sense, in another, it is the second coming, or the coming again of the Lord. Hence, also, the Scripture rises above both these phrases, and speaks of that future event as His Day,6 or that day,7 or the day of Jesus Christ,8 which is in the new economy all that the day of Jehovah was in the old. The day of the Lord9 is the horizon of the entire New Testament: the period of His most decisive manifestation in a glorious revelation of Himself which could not be, and is never, predicated of any but a Divine Person. And this may be regarded as the most emphatic word used concerning the great Future

1 Acts 3:20,21; 2 Rev. 1:1; 3 John 14:3; 4 Acts 1:11; 5 Rev. 1:7; 6 Luke 17:24; 7 2 Tim. 1:18; 8 Phil. 1:6; 9 1 Thes. 5:2


The Second Coming of our Lord is His final and definitive appearance for the consummation of all things pertaining to His work of redemption

1. The terms used to describe it are such as refer both to His Person and to His office

They must be taken in their combination as including both. The most prominent is Parousia, indicating that when He comes He will always be present: the time of His absence shall have passed for ever. It may not mean the blessed paradox that present always by His Spirit He will then be always present in person: but the word simply signifies His Presence, which will then be so different from what it is now that the change from one to the other is no less than a coming again. Hence it is apokalupsis, the disclosure or manifestation of Himself from heaven which has received Him. It is the epufaneia, His manifestation in a glory which His people will share: When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear,1 or be made manifest, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory

At His first coming, when He became incarnate, the saving grace appeared, epefanee, and we still look for the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior.2 These several terms must be united. They are found all together in one classical passage. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, en tee apokalupsei tou Kuriou Leesou, that Wicked, also to be revealed,3 He shall destroy with the brightness of His coming,4 tee epifaneia tees parousias autou. Thus it follows from the combination of all, that, while He is always present by His Spirit, He will yet be revealed from the other world, from whence also we look for the Savior;5 and His glorious power and perfections will attend Him for the rejoicing of His saints, and the confusion of His foes

1 Col. 3:4; 2 Tit. 2:11-13; 3 2 Thes. 1:7; 4 2 Thes. 2:8; 5 Phil. 3:20

2. It is very important to note that this great event is always connected with a complete end and consummation of that work which the Lord began in His first appearance: which, indeed, had been commenced with the beginning of human history, but still more truly commenced in the fullness of time. With regard to His atonement, it is said that He will appear a second time without sin unto salvation:1 that is, without any redeeming relation to the sin which He will still find, and for the complete and bodily salvation of those whom He has already saved in spirit. This is a cardinal text, and the variation in the phraseology, chosen with great precision, must be observed. In this verse the word is oftheesetai, while in another which says that He appeared to put away sin2 it was pefanerootai: His manifestation between these two, now to appear in the presence of God for us, is emfanistheenai, The first is the most visible exhibition of Himself as King, in the judicial form of His kingly office. He vindicates His atonement as against all who have despised it. Sin will be finally punished as the rejection of Himself and His redemption. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:3 upon all hearers of that Gospel who shall then be found without Evangelical knowledge of God: of which more hereafter

1 Heb. 9:28; 2 Heb. 9:24,26,28; 3 2 Thes. 1:7

3. Hence the Parousia is the object of expectation only to the Church as such, as a collation of the passages in which it is used will prove. The word literally means the Lord's PRESENCE with His people for ever, and the tabernacle of God is with men1 in St

John. It is applied in Scripture, and in current theology, to the beginning of that presence by a common metonomy; the Coming being made to stand for what follows the coming

The individual Christian has his share in the hope; but not as expecting necessarily to see it. To him the night cometh when no man can work.2 As to the corporate body the night is far spent, the day is at hand.3 The Church never dies nor thinks of death, though she buries her dead. But throughout the New Testament the two prospects are always in view, and referred to in the same style. As the individual must remember that death is at hand, though with every probability of surviving many years, so the Church must remember the coming of the Lord, though it may probably be ages in the distance

1 Rev. 21:3; 2 John 9:4; 3 Rom. 13:12


The period of the Second Coming is perpetually referred to in the New Testament; but in such a way as to demand the utmost caution in the interpreter. The historical review of the question will bring it again into consideration; meanwhile the following hints are of importance

1. It is evident that the Day of the Lord is one definite season or karios, preceded by times or chronos. But it is evident also that the several terms are applied to other events which foreshadow its coming. The whole space of the Christian dispensation is described as these last days1 of which it is said that the darkness is past, and the True Light now shineth.2 It is this of which the Lord said, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.3 He also spoke of events anterior to the final consummation as His coming. For instance, when He declared, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.4 He referred to the destruction of the Jewish polity, and to the Pentecostal glory of His kingdom assumed in the Ascension, To that great event, immediately impending over the generation to which the Lord was a Prophet, may be referred many of the predictions which are sometimes referred to the final catastrophe. Moreover, it is undoubted that every special intervention for judgment, whether in the case of a church or even of an individual, is spoken of as a coming of the Lord. It is, indeed, sometimes very difficult to decide when the prophecy leaves behind all lesser accomplishments and points to the supreme consummation. But, allowing all this, there is a constant and clear allusion to one definite day which marks the second coming, or the return of Jesus to the earth which He has left

1 Heb. 1:1; 2 1 John 2:8; 3 John 8:56; 4 Mat. 16:28

2. Again, it is obvious that the Supreme Prophet of His own dispensation has made it a law of His kingdom that its final consummation shall for ever be uncertain as to its date

Even after His resurrection He said: It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in, His own power.1 During His humbled estate He condescended to be a partaker in His human faculties of that ignorance: But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven neither the Son, but the Father.2 Hence in His eschatological discourses He answered the disciples' double question, Tell us, when shall these things be?3 in such a manner as to prevent their attempting to define either the date of the nearer end of the world, the destruction of Judaism, or that of the more distant end of all things. He gave, after the manner of ancient prophecy, an answer that embraced all the future in one sublime series of predictions: giving the prominence to that more immediate catastrophe which concerned the present generation; so much so that He did not hesitate to say: Verily, I say unto you. This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.4 The final consummation, however, was present to His thoughts, and nothing short of it, when He added, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. In His eschatological revelations in the Apocalypse the order is inverted. First, it is said, Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over Him;5 and then follows a series of subordinate comings before the end, Behold I come quickly,6 which returns to the beginning again

This is one key to all the eschatological notes of the New Testament. St. Peter, speaking of the great event, says, One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,7 in order to suppress the spirit of restless impatience. Nor is there a single passage in all the Apostolical writings which lends any help to an exact chronological determination

1Acts 1:7; 2Mark 13:32; 3Mat. 24:3; 4Mat. 24:34,35; 5Rev. 1:7; 6Rev. 22:12; 72 Pet. 3:8

3. In harmony with this truth, it must also be maintained that the New Testament gives some hints of an historical development in its eschatology. There are some events which are predicted as to take place before the return of Jesus

(1.) Our Lord Himself has given one clear note. And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.1 He does not say that all nations will receive it, though St. Paul prophesies that the fullness of the Gentiles,2 to pleeroma ton ethnon, will enter into Christendom, by a general conversion which leaves the question of the personal conversion of all individuals untouched. Of course, it is understood that these nations are literally the entire congregation of the tribes of heathenism scattered over the whole earth. Let this be connected with the commission given to the Christian company as represented by the Apostles; and it will be manifest that the times of the Gentiles3 stretch over the whole stadium of the present missionary work of Christendom. The final and proper coming of the Lord cannot take place until the whole world has been, in the New-Testament sense of the word, evangelized. The Lord will never again preach His own Gospel in person, though He will be always with those who preach it unto the end of the world.4

1 Mat. 24:14; 2 Rom. 11:25; 3 Luke 21:24; 4 Mat. 28:20

(2.) The calling of the Gentiles implied, in a sense, the diminishing of Israel's prerogative; but if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?1 The conversion of Israel is to follow the ingathering of the heathen, and issue in a virtual resurrection of Christendom. The whole tenor of Scripture points to a restoration of the Jewish nation through its acceptance of the Messiah; and that as taking place before the final return. St. Paul here also is the interpreter of prophecy, as well as a prophet himself. At the close of the Epistle to the Romans he gives its rightful prominence to the revelation of the MYSTERY which was now at length made known to all nations for the obedience of faith;2 but on his way to the close he had alluded to the same secret of heaven as affecting the Jews. I would not9 brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this MYSTERY, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that hardening in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.3 The hardness of heart that has fallen upon the rejecters of Jesus is to continue— not through any determinate counsel of God, but in the order of their own probationary course; as the same Apostle preached, Seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles4—until the great mass of the heathen nations is at least nominally converted. But their hour will come. As touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake.5 The descendants of Abraham must, sooner or later, enjoy the fulfillment of a thousand promises, and enjoy them as a people; for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.6 There will be to them times of refreshing7 prepared for by penitent faith. But this involves no restoration to their own land; nor any distinction between them and the rest of mankind: the calling and gifts of the Gentiles also are not repented of; they also may say We are the circumcision;8 and the children of the promise are counted for the seed.9 The middle wall of partition is broken down10 for ever. And all the predictions of the Gospel which introduce the entire scenery of the Law and the Temple are to be understood as figurative representations of the Christian Church

1Rom. 11:15; 2Rom. 16:24-26; 3Rom. 11:25; 4Acts 13:46; 5Rom. 11:28; 6Rom. 11:29; 7Acts 3:19-21; 8Phil. 3:3; 9Rom. 9:8; 10Eph. 2:14

(3.) What this life from the dead1 may mean is part of the MYSTERY2 of the great change in the relative position of Israel and the Gentiles which will take place. It is not the literal resurrection; for the Lord has not yet come. It is doubtless the great result to the Catholic Church; and we may make it the foundation of the largest millennial hopes that ever gladdened the hearts of Christ's suffering people. There is in prospect a resurrection state of His cause in comparison of which all previous life has been death. Though the first resurrection has long begun, and multitudes of souls have heard the voice of the Son of God and lived, yet the future age has in store the more abundant life, of which we enjoy at the utmost only the firstfruits

1Rom. 11:15; 2Rom. 11:25

(4.) Yet the coming of the Lord will not even then be literally at hand. A great Apostasy, or a series of apostasies, governed by one spirit of Antichrist, and issuing in one mysterious development, is in the unrolled history of the Church before the Lord's Day

This enemy of the Faith is described as having two characteristics: it is a political power, and a gigantic spiritual delusion, separate and combined. But these will be finally concentred in one personality, the anomos, that lawless One,1 who is sometimes called the Antichrist pre-eminently. This Antichrist, if that is his name, no man knows. Previous manifestations, as St. John teaches, have never been wanting. The Roman power or the Beast has been broken, but other forces, political and intellectual, have always been opposing, and will reach a height as yet unparalleled. Spiritual and ecclesiastical corruption in a carnal church has overshadowed Christendom for ages; but it has a career yet to be run, before it will vanish away. Prophetical theology has its many hypotheses for the explanation of the symbols of Daniel and the Apocalypse, and the plain words of St. Paul. But there has not yet been found on earth the power or the being to whom all St

Paul's terms are applicable. Before the end he will be made manifest. Of the tribulation thence resulting, when Satan, hitherto bound, is for a little season let loose, our Savior said that it will be such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.2 For it will be the last: the longsuffering of Jesus will be exhausted. When His Church shall be oppressed to the uttermost He will suddenly appear, taking vengeance on them that know not God, but to be glorified in His saints.3

12 Thes. 2:8; 2Mat. 24:21; 32 Thes. 1:8-10


On the subject of our Lord's Return, Christian speculation has from the beginning found matter of deep and inexhaustible interest. Errors have abounded; and all the more as the standard of appeal is the prophetic, and therefore the obscurer, part of Scripture. The history of opinion may be traced with ease so far as concerns the leading idea—that of the Millennial Kingdom—which has been its centre. There have been no sects based solely upon opinions on this topic; but almost all Christian communions have been more or less infected by them. It will be sufficient to note the critical stages of thought in the ante-Nicene age; the aspect of the question during the Mediaeval times down to the Reformation; and its development in more modern theology

1. But first it must be observed that the New Testament itself contains the germs of all subsequent speculation on this subject. Beginning with the Apostles, we find the restless spirit of inquiry as to the future dates of the Divine dispensations at once repressed by our Lord: in an interdict which was never afterwards removed. He who well weighs the words of Jesus will never feel any disposition to calculate the times and the seasons: not even when the Apocalypse earnestly enjoins their study generally. The Thessalonians were disposed to err on this subject; and the Apostle simply declares that the coming of the Lord must not be regarded as instantly impending: he does in fact intimate that all thought on this subject must take account of intermediate events. The visions of the Apocalypse described, for the then present community, scenes which were shortly to come to pass, for the encouragement of the suffering Church; but those who first read them were not taught precisely when to expect the downfall of the persecuting emperor, and the events that followed. And, on the whole, the tone of New-Testament teaching regards the Day of the Lord, His coming and His eternal reign, as at hand always. Neither the Apostles nor the Churches knew when He would come. Nor can we without presumption suppose that any study of the prophecies will give us a knowledge denied to them

2. There was an early CHILIASM, or MILLENARIANISM—the Greek and Latin forms respectively of the thousand years of our Lord's supposed reign on earth—which was predominant in early times especially among the Jewish or Judaising Christians: part of the residue of their carnal Messianic expectation so tenaciously held. In the second century this doctrine was largely held by orthodox Christians, and was adopted by the heretical Montanists. It was undoubtedly the faith of some of the Fathers, such as Papias, Justin, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Tertullian, and Lactantius; but by no means at any time the faith of the Church, as is proved by its absence from all the early Creeds. It may be said, further, that as a general belief Chiliasm vanished from Christendom with the fourth century. It was resolutely opposed by those—such as Caius of Rome and Dionysius of Alexandria—who denied the apostolicity of the Apocalypse, on the twentieth chapter of which the notion of a pre-millennial advent is mainly based. The Alexandrian theology, always spiritualistic and allegorical, condemned it on account of its grossly carnal conception of the earthly reign of Christ with the saints. Clement and Origen strongly argued against it in every form. With the accession of the empire, under Constantine, to Christianity the main inducement to cherish the hope of a speedy visible return of a victorious Redeemer passed away. Augustine and other teachers introduced an interpretation of the First Resurrection and the Millennial Reign which referred both to the present estate of Christianity: and this has been in subsequent times the prevalent catholic interpretation. Hence the doctrine of a pre-millennial Coming of Christ was excluded from every form of the Early Creeds, the keynote of all these being, FROM THENCE HE SHALL COME TO JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD

3. Mediaeval Chiliasm was generally the badge of fanatical and heretical sects. At the close of the tenth century Christendom was deeply disturbed by an undefined expectation that, the thousand years—dating from the first Advent—having elapsed, the end of the world would come. When that fear was suppressed the notion again deeply slumbered

But after the Reformation, the Anabaptists in Germany preached a carnal reign of Christ upon earth, as the Fifth Monarchy Men in England afterwards did, and with frightful consequences to life and morals. Hence the Lutheran Symbols were emphatic in condemning it. The leading Confession conjoins in its condemnation the idea of a personal Reign and of the final restoration of all souls: "Damnant Anabaptistas, qui sentiunt hominibus damnatis ac diabolis finem poenarum futurum esse. Damnant et alios, qui spargunt Judaicos opiniones, quod ante resurrectionem mortuorum pii regnum mundi occupaturi sint, ubique oppressis impiis." Similarly the earlier English Articles, or Confession of Edward VI. The Reformed Churches were equally strenuous. The Belgic Confession assigns the date of Christ's Coming as that in which the number of the elect shall be complete. " Credimus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, quando tempus a Deo praestitum, quod omnibus creaturis est ignotum, advenerit, et numerus electorum completus fuerit, e coelo rursus venturum." The Articles and Formularies of the Anglican Church are not in favor of Pre-Millenarianism. " Christ ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until He return to judge all men at the last day." It may be safely affirmed that the Confessions of the Reformation, as well as its leading divines, were opposed to the doctrine of two resurrections, and of a personal reign of Christ on earth intervening between them


No Church having incorporated the doctrine into its profession of faith, it has been in modern times confined to schools of thought within the several communions, influenced, for the most part, and led by individual students of prophecy. Modern hypotheses for the solution of the mystery of a double resurrection are far too numerous and far too diversified to be sketched even in outline. They spread into a great variety of schemes; almost every holder of the general idea having his own interpretation. From Mede, perhaps its earliest and ablest supporter in England, and Bengel in Germany, a century later, through a multitude of students of prophecy in nearly all religious communities, there has been an always increasing number of believers in the intermediate coming of the Lord. Widely differing on a thousand subordinate points they agree in this one, and all their speculations may be said to be variations on the theme of a Pre-Millennial Advent. This belief has, during the present century, been incorporated into many systems, being almost the leading characteristic of some. Still it is generally speaking held only by individuals and private schools of interpretation: inconsistently by divines of the Lutheran, Anglican, Westminster, and some other Confessions; consistently by those alone who in other respects deny the analogy of the faith as expressed in the ancient creeds and the formularies of the Reformation and the general consent of the Catholic Church, being limited by no Confession

1. The main foundation of the system is the Apocalyptic passage which is thought to predict the binding of Satan a thousand years, the first resurrection of martyrs and other elect saints who reign with Christ upon earth, the subsequent loosing of Satan for a season, a final apostasy, and the coming of the Redeemer to vindicate Himself and His Church.1 Now we have seen that our Lord expressly speaks in one and the same discourse of a first resurrection, understood spiritually, and of a second resurrection understood physically.2 If we apply the same principle here, this much contested symbolical prophecy is made perfectly harmonious with the rest of Scripture, and the most substantial ground of the pre-millennial advent is taken away

1Rev. 20:1-9; 2John 5:28,29

2. Those who understand both resurrections literally build so many and such contradictory systems on this passage that it is impossible to reach any consistent dogmatic result. Some, like Mede, admit a glorious presence of Christ, but not a personal visible reign. Others think, following Bengel, that there will be two periods of a thousand years. Some again hold that the reign of Christ will be visible, at Jerusalem, and in the midst of His risen and glorified saints; that the Temple at Jerusalem will be rebuilt, the ancient sacrifices restored, though only as commemorative; and that the end of the Christian economy, as it precedes the final consummation, will be little other than another glorified Jewish dispensation. Rejecting this, many think that the Lord will reign from heaven amidst His risen saints: He and they alike being only occasionally visible, after the analogy of the Forty Days' Interval between the visible and the invisible Christ before the Ascension. A still more moderate class allow that there are certain events in the program of prophecy which must previously take place, and patiently wait for them; though the endeavor to insert these events before the Return really undermines their doctrine. Baffled in this endeavor, the majority are content to live in daily expectation of a Savior, Whose coming will vanquish all opposition, and begin a new, better, more effectual, and more glorious dispensation of the Gospel: though this requires them to suppose that the residuary processes of the mediatorial work will be miraculously condensed or foreshortened in a way for which the Scriptures allow no encouragement

Finally, in despair of any other solution, not a few blend all theories into one indiscriminate confusion, and profess to believe that the return of Jesus will accomplish all prophecies in a manner of which no theory ever devised gives a hint: that He will carry on a judgment for an indefinite period, and gradually glorify the earth into a meet residence for a generation of the holy which will be propagated, as some of them think, throughout eternity

3. The inconsistency of this hypothesis with the Scriptural representations of the work of Christ is its sufficient refutation. There is but one visible appearance of Christ set before the expectation of His people. We have seen the several terms which describe this appearance; but it is observable that one, not yet mentioned, is reserved by St. John for his final document. He speaks of the Lord's manifestation to take away our sins,1 efaneroothee; he speaks of only one other manifestation: when He shall appear,2 ean faneroothee. Here is the clear and sufficient final testimony of the Bible. Again, the testimony of Jesus declares that the coining of the Lord will bring deliverance to the laboring Church: lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.3 This is inconsistent with such a Millennium as modern theories paint; in it the earth is transformed as the scene of a reign in which only an election of the saints are concerned; in which, moreover, the redemption from sin and from sorrow has not taken place: not till afterwards there shall be no more death, neither sorrow.4 And the notion of such a personal reign after His glorious coming is encumbered with hopeless difficulties. A church, made perfect in spirit and body, glorified with the Glorified Christ, in the midst of a world still in sin and death, cannot be reconciled with sober interpretation of Scripture. A rebellion of the world against such a rule would be a thing incredible: the lapse of such a Christendom would be death from life, a second and profounder FALL OF MAN. But yet such a lapse must be assumed on this theory. Again, where would be place for the judgment, awaiting all alike? There must be another resurrection of those, who, during the Millennium, had been converted, and a second coming of the Lord to raise them, and to conduct the more general judgment. Finally, the intercession of Christ is represented as continuing ever, even as His spiritual presence in His missionary Church endures to the end of the world; but both of these are inconsistent with the Millennial hypothesis in any form which subtlety may give it

11John 3:5; 21 John 2:28; 3Luke 21:28; 4Rev. 21:4

4. It cannot be denied that there are many difficulties in any view of the subject, and in ours. There are wide differences of opinion among expositors who hold fast the general principle that there is only one Second Coming answering to the First. Some suppose, with Hengstenberg, that the Millennium dates from the establishment of the Germanic Empire, about 800 A.D., and that it is now behind us, with the end close approaching

Others, and they are the majority, assume that the thousand years indefinitely describe a future triumphant state of the Church that will be followed by a temporary lapse, after which the Lord will suddenly appear for the destruction of the yet unrevealed leader of the final opposition. Others fall back upon the interpretation which may be called the catholic one, since it ruled the mind of the Church from the time of Augustine. It is content to understand figuratively the glowing representations of the ancient prophecies as applying to the present Christian Church. It takes the Apocalypse as a book of symbols, which does not give consecutive history, but continually reverts to the beginning, and exhibits in varying visions the same one great final truth. Satan was bound or cast out,1 when the Savior ascended: he has never since been the god and seducer of the nations as he was before, and as he will for a season be permitted to be again. The saints, martyrs, and others—the martyrs pre-eminently—now rule with Christ: and hath made us a kingdom!2 they themselves sing; and they reign upon earth.3 The Apostles, and all saints, have part in the first resurrection,4 and in the present Regeneration reign with Jesus, though the future Regeneration shall be yet more abundant The unanimous strain of prophecy concerning the glory of the Messiah's kingdom is to be interpreted as partly fulfilled in the spiritual reign of Christ in this world which is not yet fully manifested as it will be; and partly as the earthly figure of a heavenly reality hereafter

There can be little doubt that the principle is correct which makes this great vision a recapitulation of the whole contest of our Lord with Satan: the strong man5 who was bound6 by the Stronger than he. The Angel is He Who was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil,7 and Who gave His people the pledge of victory over all the power of the enemy.8

1John 12:31; 2Rev.1:6; 3Rev.5:10; 4Rev.20:6; 5Luke 11:21,22; 6Mat.12:29; 71 John 3:8; 8Luke 10:19


The resurrection of the dead, as the immediate effect of our Lord's coming, will be the first or preliminary act of the consummation of His redeeming work. It will be to the entire family of Adam the restoration of their bodies to the spirits from which death had severed them; but it is the specific rising again of the saints in union with their Head of which the New Testament especially speaks. The prominent notion given us is that man recovers his entireness; his flesh being adapted to a new sphere, and resumed in order to its final glorification


In its relation to the Redeemer the resurrection is of essential, fundamental, and universal importance. It gives Him one of His pre-eminent names: I AM THE RESURRECTION.1 And there is no function of His Messianic office which is more habitually and more exclusively referred to Himself! As the Prophet He first revealed it fully, not as a new doctrine bat as one that had been in obscurity; as the Priest He procured it by His atonement, which was the ransom of the whole nature of man; and the word of His authority as King will effect it. Without following this specific arrangement we may with advantage trace through the New Testament the connection between the Saviour’s work and the resurrection of all men

1John 11:25

I. Our Lord has confirmed and perfected the imperfect revelation of the Old Testament: this was part of that life and immortality on which He shed His light

1. He expressly declares that the resurrection was everywhere in the old economy presupposed. The rebuke of the Sadducees was very explicit. But that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the Bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.1 As the children of God, so called in the Saviour's new terminology, are the children of the resurrection, so the ancient fathers were, and are, and will ever be His in their integrity: His now in their spirit, hereafter in spirit and body. The key thus put into our hands by the Master His Apostles have instructed us to use freely. Concerning Abraham we hear again that he offered up Isaac, accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure:2 this FIGURE of the future resurrection of Jesus and of the general resurrection in other forms runs through the Old Testament. It was with this confidence that the patriarchs desired a better country, that is, an heavenly,3 not without allusion to which Joseph gave commandment concerning his bones.4 The Psalms often rise to the hope of a redemption from Hades, generally, and in such language as implies a restoration of all that death shall consume in the grave: but God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,5 the object of the redemption being the psychical soul, animating a body, as well as the spiritual soul kept in prison. And to that hope God responds in Hosea: I will ransom them from the power of the grave,6 where there is the remarkable addition that a figurative is based upon a literal truth. The same may be said of many passages which refer in the like figurative way to the resurrection; such as the wonderful prophecy, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise,7 and the vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel The translation of Enoch and Elijah shed more or less brightness on all the conceptions of subsequent ages. It may be said generally that the literal restoration of the body was but dimly alluded to, and that with special reference to the saints. In Daniel, however, the literal resurrection is proclaimed, strictly as universal, and as linked with judgment: And many of them that deep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.8 In this, as in some other points of revelation, the prophecy of Daniel seems to take a large step towards the New Testament: this is specially observable in the combination of resurrection and judgment

1Luke 20:37,36; 2Heb. 11:19; 3Heb. 11:16; 4Heb. 11:22; 5Psa. 49:14,15; 6Hos.13:14; 7Isa. 26:19; 8Dan. 12:2

2. But St. Paul speaks of the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.1 Though the distinction between Pharisees and Sadducees proves that the resurrection was accepted and believed by many, and our Lord appeals to Martha's latent faith in it, yet He always speaks, as His disciples do, of the resurrection as a truth which only in the Gospel is fully announced and confirmed. The proclamation of the glad tidings counteracts death in all its manifestations. Taking up that last prediction of Daniel the lifegiving Redeemer sums up His great gift as consummated in two stages. After having said that the believer is passed from death unto life He speaks of the hour that cometh, and NOW is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live; and then He speaks of the hour that is coming— and not now is—in the which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment.2 The fuller revelation of immortality and eternal life includes, therefore, the foreannouncement of a resurrection of the whole man, and of the whole race of man, to an endless existence

When, accordingly, we hear the Savior uniting the life of His own people with their resurrection—that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day3we must remember that this limitation, like that of St. Paul and St. John afterwards, presupposes the background of that earlier passage

12 Tim. 1:10; 2John 5:24-29; 3John 6:40

II. As to the relation of the Redeemer's person and work to this event, the testimony of the New Testament is fall and explicit: the Lord's own words here leading the way

1. He calls Himself and is called generally the Life;1 and this largest name is on one solemn occasion limited to the bodily resurrection, with the sublime Egoo eimi appended: I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.2 The Redeemer's testimony here is the grandest and most comprehensive we have on the subject: the I AM includes a source of life and power deeper than the mediatorial: For, as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.3 But the order of the words indicates that life, as it concerns us, is bound up with the resurrection. Man is appointed to pass through a rising again, in order to final and unchangeable life: he must know the power of a first resurrection for the soul, and a second for the body. Both these are described in the words that follow, presenting the Lord's relation to us. Here, however, we have to do with the body. And the importance of its resurrection the Savior exhibits by the fact of His progressive miracles in the three acts of recalling life: to show that the Son of Man had power on earth, as to forgive sins, so also to raise the dead, He restored the spirit of the daughter of Jairus, which had scarcely left the body; He arrested Death on the way to the sepulcher with his prey, in the miracle at Nain: and He made him give up Lazarus after some days in the grave

1John 14:6; 2John 11:25,26; 3John 5:26

2. But it is difficult here to separate the Person from the work The universal resurrection is, like everything in the process of human development, the fruit of the Atonement; though this is not clearly stated, save in connection with the universal judgment, it necessarily flows from the mediation of the God-man. Because He is the Son of Man1 He hath authority both to raise and to judge all men. This will be the last function of the mediatorial lordship: requiring Divine power in the hands of a Man. I; will be like the Lord's own resurrection, the sum and consummation of all miracle: rather as it were a second creation, the formation of ALL human bodies out of the dust as at first Adam was formed, but in a resurrection which shall preserve their identity for ever. The new creation shall be a reconstruction also

1John 5:27

III. With special reference to His people, the risen Lord is the Pledge and the Pattern and the Source of their resurrection life

1. He is Himself, as the PLEDGE, called the Firstfruits of them that slept,1 and the Firstbegotten of the dead:2 in this sense also the Prototokos besides being such as the Son before every creature,3 and as the Incarnate brought into the world.4 In no relation more emphatically than in this He and His saved people are one: the resurrection is of the righteous and unto life; it is efanastasis. When St. Paul uses this term, he indicates that those who rise not to eternal glory remain, as it were, dead, or rise only to die again

Their resurrection is only to the second death.5 As there is a better resurrection,6 in comparison of the resurrection back to the present life, so there is also a better or a true resurrection in comparison of the resurrection of judgment.7 And of that specific rising from the dead Christ is the pledge

11 Cor. 15:20; 2Rev. 1:5; 3Col. 1:15; 4Heb. 1:6; 5Rev. 20:6,14; 6Heb. 11:35; 7John 5:29

2. The glorified body of the Redeemer is the PATTERN after which the bodies of His saints will be raised. Speaking of our spiritual conversation in heaven, with which, therefore, the body has nothing to do, the Apostle says: From whence also we look for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall fashion anew the body of our lowliness, conformed to the body of His glory.1 There are two words here of great importance: the summorfon suggests the same idea as that above in conformable unto His death:2 the body is to be subject to the blessed law of our predestination to be conformed to the image of His Son.3 This word CHANGE is not the same as in the Corinthian chapter; here it is metascheematísei, which refers only to the new fashion of the risen body; there it is allageesometha we shall all be changed,4 which refers to the entire transformation of the already existing bodies. Now it is of this latter only that our Savior was the pattern. He saw no corruption;5 and consequently could not be a perfect example at all points of our restoration from death, any more than He is the pattern at all points of our redemption from the final penalty of sin. There is an analogy here with His example of holiness: He leads not the way in the process of attainment; but is the consummate exemplar only of what we are to attain. We shall live in glorified bodies like His; but in our redemption from the dust He has no part with us

1Phil. 3:23,24; 2Phil. 3:10; 3Rom.8:29; 41 Cor. 15:51; 5Acts 13:37

3. And the risen Jesus is the SOURCE of that life, as the common life of man in body and soul. Union with Him is the ground and condition and secret of the resurrection of believers. It may not be possible to establish that here lies the secret of the emphasis kid upon the efanastasis, the resurrection within the resurrection. But it is certain that the passages which dwell most copiously upon this event refer only to the rising of the saints

If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by (rather, on account of) His Spirit that dwelleth in you.1 Hence, the great resurrection-chapter is, as it were, an expansion of the Lord's own word, Because I live, ye shall live also.2

1Rom. 8:10,11; 2John 14:19


The Object of the resurrection, as the active exertion of the Divine-human power, is the Body. But this formula must be understood in a wide latitude of meaning. It must include the perfect or undivided integrity of the Man raised up; the actual sameness or unity of the body as the organ of the spirit; and the change that adapts it to its new state when raised. Hence three terms are the watchwords of our doctrine: the Integrity, the Identity, the Glorification of the flesh raised in the last day

I. The main, or at least the most important, teaching of Scripture is that of the return of the whole man to existence: to existence, that is, in the integrity of the nature which in the idea of the Creator was that of a spiritual being using a bodily organization. Man suffers in death the penalty of a dissolution which will then be repaired. He is perfect only as spirit, soul and body. Of physical death it is said, then shall the dust return to the earth as it was;1 the psychical soul, the spirit as using material organization, in that sense of necessity vanishes with it. The spirit shall return unto God who gave it: not into His essence, but into His keeping; for final issues which it was not given the ancient Preacher to know. Behold, all souls are Mine,2 Jehovah said once, in vindication of His righteousness as determining the destiny of every individual of the race involved in hereditary guilt: and we hear, again and again, the same vindication with reference to their bodies. The man in his entireness is the man before his Maker, both now and hereafter. Hence the resurrection is the goal of all redeeming acts. We have, says the Apostle, the firstfruits of the Spirit;3 but that is not the realization of all our hope; we still groan within ourselves. The resurrection is the finished redemption of the man; waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.4 We now groan, being burdened, for rest: we shall after death groan, being unclothed, to be clothed upon.5 Everywhere throughout Scripture it is the person who is said to rise again. No criticism can rob us of Job's ancient testimony: Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.6 The fathers died and were gathered each to his people. Though all live unto Him,7 God waits for their resurrection that He may fully appear to be the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.8 As He is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city,9 so will He not be ashamed of them as its inhabitants. Speaking of that city in which we have our politeuma, our citizenship, St

Paul says, He shall change our lowly body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.10 We are enrolled in our present integrity, and in that shall we take possession. This general view of the resurrection is of great importance

1Ecc.12:7; 2Eze.18:4; 3Rom.8:23; 4Rom.8:23; 52 Cor. 5:2-4; 6Job 19:26; 7Luke 20:38; 8Gen. 25:8; 9Heb.11:16; 10Phil.3:16

II. The specific resurrection is of the flesh; and the express revelation of Scripture is, that the same bodies shall rise from the graves. But the identity of the body is not the identity of the man: nor is the identity of the body dependent upon the continuation of the particles in their union which were deposited in the grave. A brief reference to Scripture examples and testimonies is sufficient to obviate misconception on this subject

1. If appeal is made to our Lord's resurrection body, it must be remembered that there is no analogy. We have seen that death never finished its work of dissolution on Him: His bodily organization was inviolate. The only permissible argument is that, as His glorification took place upon a physical frame, so also will ours. But it is not said that we shall be raised as He was, in order to be afterwards glorified: it is raised a spiritual body;1 raised immediately as such. Nor have other instances of resurrection to which allusion is sometimes made any bearing on the question of identity. Some few were restored to earthly life by our Savior Himself, which, however, are not spoken of as patterns or illustrations of the general resurrection; nor do we know even that Lazarus— save in Martha's supposition—was permitted to decay. The same Lazarus was certainly restored

11 Cor. 15:44

2. The only express reference to the subject is in St. Paul's resurrection chapter. The Apostle rebukes the folly of the doubter; and uses the argument of analogy, not to solve what he leaves a mystery, but to obviate objection. The present world furnishes abundant analogies but no resemblances of the future resurrection. Nothing in the buried flesh germinates as the life in a seedcorn: the new life is a direct creation. God giveth it a body even as it pleased Him.1 He does not mean that the disembodied spirit will form for itself a new vehicle; but that in the resurrection the spirit will have a spiritual-psychical organism given to it, which, in the wonder of Divine power, will be to it the same organ it had in time. The literal return of the dissolved body he never affirms

11 Cor. 15:38

III. The change wrought will fit the body for new conditions of spiritual and psychical existence

1. There will be new heavens and a new earth,1 to which the new inhabitants will be fitted. The children of the resurrection2 will be isángeloi, they neither marry nor are given in marriage;3 and, as reproduction will cease, so also nutrition, God shall destroy both it and them:4 hee koilía toís broómasin. Though the relations of sex will not be entirely destroyed—for that would destroy individuality —they will be glorified. The soul will be so renewed as to be a new creation, and the body will be more than a mere restoration: a new creation also. A strictly, carnal resurrection was part of a system of Judaizing error which affected expectations connected with the second coming of Christ, even as it had perverted the doctrine of His first coming and His relation to the law. St

Paul contends against that. But a still higher view is given by him when he is not opposing heresy: Who shall change our vile body5the body of our humiliation—that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.6 What that glorious body is to be, the last revelation of Jesus to St. John in Patmos tells us: but that only dazzles our imagination while it enkindles our hope. Those who never see physical death will be changed.7 This is a very strong word, and illustrates that glowing series of counterparts which St. Paul dilates upon: corruption and incorruption; dishonor and glory; weakness and power; a natural body and a spiritual body, all consummated in this mortal, having put on immortality.8

1Rev. 21:1; 2Luke 20:36; 3Mat.22:30; 41 Cor.6:13; 5Phil.3:21; 6Rev.1:13-16; 71 Cor. 15:51; 81 Cor.15:42,44,53

2. There is one express prophetic passage, which a few incidental allusions are thought to confirm, seeming to predict a first resurrection of martyrs and saints before the Millennial appearance and reign of the Lord. The prophet being supposed to signify a literal resurrection, St. Paul is further supposed to have referred to this when he said: Christ the Firstfruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming; then cometh the end.1 But everything is here kept out of view save the order of relation between the resurrection of the Head and that of His members. There is no distinction or interval hinted at between their rising and the rising of all men. Again, St. Paul is thought to have alluded to this when he spoke of his hoping to attain unto the resurrection of the dead,2 teén exanástasin teén ek nekroón. Even if teen ek is admitted into the reading, this is no argument that the Apostle aspired to the distinction of sharing in a first resurrection before the rest of the dead.3 Exanastasis and anastasis are, as may be seen, used interchangeably. And the sequel of the chapter already quoted proves that St. Paul, like the other writers of the New Testament, knows no resurrection which is into the physical conditions of this life. There is no passage that can be made without pressure to serve the theory of a twofold resurrection: that in the symbolical vision of the Apocalypse being excepted. As to this doubtful text more is said on the doctrine of the Millennium.4 It is enough now to affirm that such a principle of interpretation must be applied as shall bring it into conformity with the universal strain of the New Testament, which speaks of one common resurrection to one common judgment. And that principle is a spiritual sense put upon the first resurrection in that passage

11 Cor. 15:23,24; 2Phil. 3:11; 31 Cor. 15:44; 4Rev. 20:5


1. The resurrection is pre-eminently a doctrine of Christianity. The germs of it, as of all other truths, are found in the Old Testament; but its full development, as one branch of the life and immortality brought to light by Jesus Christ, was reserved for the final Revealer. In the New Testament its development begins afresh. Before His own resurrection our Lord announced it generally as a truth, partly in connection with His ultimate judicial office, and partly as a protest against error; but the Apostles, and especially St. Paul, have given us the full positive basis of our expectation. And, in the form stamped upon it by them, it is a doctrine new to the world, of which ancient Hindu

Zoroastrian, Egyptian, and other speculations scarcely gave a hint. It is as a doctrine, whether of Anthropology or of Eschatology, a new and distinctive Christian revelation

2. Every recension of the Apostles' Creed contained this article: chiefly eis sarkos anastasin, sometimes anastasin nekron. The early Fathers discussed the subject with great fullness, either in pure exposition or in opposition to the Greeks, who denied, and the Gnostics, who refined away, this truth. The Gnostic sects, in their abhorrence of matter, and misinterpreting the first spiritual resurrection, affirmed that the resurrection is past already.1 The Alexandrian school, with Origen at their head, laid stress on the spiritual body2 of St. Paul; and upon the difference between nekron and sarkos as connected with anastasis: their Christian philosophy was infected by Platonism, which in some cases, though not in this, elevated their conceptions. But they were opposed by a very literal theory, which went to the opposite extreme: Irenaeus and Tertullian accepted a first resurrection, after the analogy of the Lord's body during the Forty Days, to be followed by a final and fuller spiritualization. These two opposite views—the spiritual and the carnal—alternated, until Augustine struck out a middle course: Erit spiritui subdita caro spiritualis, sed tamen caro, non spiritus; sicut carni subditus fuit spiritus ipse carnalis, sed tamen spiritus, non caro. He, moreover, thought that all would rise at the age of thirty years, the standard of perfection which Christ made the normal one. The Mediaeval Schoolmen took the two opposite sides, but mostly adhered to Augustine

Those who went to the extremes were exceedingly fanciful: some of them taught that the same bodies would rise again; the same, even to the hair and nails, and every character of the body committed to the grave

12 Tim. 2:18; 21 Cor. 15:44

3. The Protestant doctrine was generally faithful to the ancient Creeds: the Apostles' Credo carnis resurrectionem; the Nicene, Exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum; and the Athanasian, Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis

Subsequent Confessions conform to these with a remarkable unanimity. The Lutheran divines very copiously dilated on this topic. They taught that the new body would be the same substance, but clothed with new qualities: differunt non ratione sub-stantiae, sed quoad qualitates et dona (corpora gloriosa, potentia, spiritualia, coelestia). Impiorum corpora sunt vasa ad ignominiam et contumeliam. Their high sacramental doctrine was thus expressed: " Our bodies were framed in Adam for immortality; by the incarnation of the Son of God they were taken into affinity with Him; in His resurrection they began to be glorified; they were washed from sin in the laver of regeneration; by faith they became members of Christ in His mystical body, the temples of the Spirit; and fed and sanctified by the body and blood of Christ unto eternal life." 4. Modern speculations are too various to be examined at length: they are, for the most part, modifications of errors held in early times. There are a few which should be mentioned, as a sound theology must oppose them. Some literalists would restore the earthly body absolutely; while others, erring on the opposite side, teach that a new spiritual body will be created without any point of union with the old, or supposing that in the restitution the human form or eidos will be retained without the human substance

Not a few think that there is a germ of a higher corporeity which remains in the body dissolved, and will form for itself in some inexplicable manner a new frame: thus in fact making the BODY the principle of resurrection. While others, like the ancient Greek fathers, teach that anima corpus suum creat, and that the SOUL will, by the miraculous power of God, form its own vehicle out of the transfigured matter around it There is a well-known hypothesis, that the Holy Spirit invests the disembodied with an ethereal vehicle which will be the nucleus of the resurrection body. But in this matter we must be content to wait: it doth not yet appear what we shall be.1 The new creation at the end will after all have some analogy with that at the first, when God created the body. Behold, I make all things new:2 a second time Let us make man.3 11 John 3:2; 2Rev. 21:5; 3Gen. 1:26


The judgment is emphatically the final revelation of the Judge: as such the Consummation of a judicial work that has ever been going on in the world. It will be executed by Christ as God-man, in strict connection with His coming to raise the dead; and its range will be universal and individual. The principles of the judgment will be the application of sundry and just tests, which will reveal the characters of all, to be followed by a final and eternal distinction or severance. In the case of the ungodly this judgment will be condemnation in various degrees but eternal; and in the case of the godly their everlasting confirmation in glory and the rewards of heaven


The JUDGE is our Lord Jesus Christ in His indivisible Person as the God-man; but His Person may be regarded both as Divine and as human. The office requires both, and each, and together

1. Assuredly God is the Judge of all,1 even in the Christian dispensation. And Christ is God. None but the Creator can appoint the destiny of His creatures, and bring to His bar all subjects of His dominion; but our Lord Jesus hath power to subdue all things unto Himself.2 The Judge must of necessity be the Searcher of all hearts: in Whose hands thy breath is, and Whose are all thy ways.3 The Savior is appealed to as Thou, Lord, Which knowest the hearts of all men.4 There could be no delegation to the creature of universal judgment, even as there could be no delegation of universal and absolute miraculous power. Is there a God beside Me ?5 . . . I know not any! If the Redeemer were appointed Judge as simply man, according to the notions of some, His function would be only the visible accomplishment of the judgment and sentence of the invisible God; but that is not the style of Scripture. Our cause is altogether and only in His hands

1Heb. 12:23; 2Phil.3:21; 3Dan.5:23; 4Acts 1:24; 5Isa.49:8

2 Yet in the economy of redemption the Father hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.1 And He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He hath ordained.2 In relation to no part of His office is the manhood of Christ more necessary to our failing hearts, and of no office therefore is it more expressly declared. He is not of like passions with us, but He is of like flesh and blood; He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.3 His experience of temptation—notwithstanding His necessary sinlessness—makes Him a sympathizing High-priest and a merciful Judge, in whose Divine-human soul, now and ever, to the last extreme of what is consistent with immutable holiness and law, mercy rejoiceth against judgment.4

1John 5:27; 2Acts 17:31; 3Psa.103:14; 4Jas.2:13

3. Our Lord Himself declares that the Father judgeth no man, but Hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honor the Son.1 In other words the judgment, as the last mediatorial act, is committed by the most Holy Trinity to the Second Person as incarnate, because He is the Mediator of God and men, Jesus Christ, Man; and the exercise of that function must redound to His honor. Hence it will be the final vindication of His own dignity. He who, at His first coming, was meek and lowly of heart,2 never speaks of His second coming but in language of the most lofty self-assertion. Here only He is the King, on the throne of His glory.3 His Divine-human majesty will receive its rights in the judgment. In that day He will Himself be DISCERNED,4 or rightly judged of, and seen as He is: then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn5 because of the dishonor done to Him by the human race. Accordingly, it will be the overthrow of His enemies, then emphatically His own foes: those Mine enemies.6 Whether it be the one enemy, or those who hold with him, the vengeance of the Lord awaits them all alike. Sin will be reduced to its essence as unbelief in Jesus, and its punishment is decreed as the act of Christ's own vindication of Himself. And it will be the final display of His saving attributes towards His saints. The most profound secrets of the Saviour's gracious will to His people can never be known till then. Ye cannot bear them now:7 words which were as applicable to the blessings of the Christian covenant as they were to its mysteries. In this sense also that day will be the day of the revelation of Christ and, lastly, our Lord will then vindicate His moral government, exercised through all ages of His mediatorial history. He Himself was the most signal instance of the anomaly that perfect goodness should be encountered by perfect wrong. He will then vindicate Himself as the Administrator of moral government from the beginning. The deep, strong argument for a final judgment is the necessity for such a final rectification. He will prove that this instinct of human nature has not been implanted in vain

1John 5:22-27; 2Mat.11:29; 3Mat.25:31-34; 41 Cor.11:29; 5Mat. 24:30; 6Luke 19:27; 7John 16:12


The JUDGED are the Race of mankind, in all its generations, and specifically every individual member of the race

1. Throughout the whole economy of human things the unity of the race is maintained

Though all men will not literally undergo the penalty, it is appointed unto men once to die;1 and still more absolutely after this the judgment:2 other things, even death, are contingent; judgment like sin is certain. He cometh to judge the earth;3 which in Daniel is more fully set forth: The judgment was set, and the books were opened,4 when the Ancient of days did sit.5 In the New Testament the doctrine of eternal judgment6 has become one of the principles of the new faith. Before Him shall be gathered all nations:7 these words of the judicial Gospel are very explicit They are confirmed in the Acts, He will judge the world in righteousness;8 and in the passage which, taking it as a whole, gives perhaps the largest and most solemn, and at the same time most gracious, view of the, judgment: in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel.9 The vision presented of the vast congregation of the human race, the quick and the dead, is the most wonderful that the human mind has ever been required to conceive: no finite thought can do it justice. Among the last sayings of the Word of God on this subject there are two points to be specially noted: the congregation of the nations are the quick and the dead10 and small and great:11 many who never died shall be judged, and all our Saviour's little ones who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression12 in any sense. The judgment, therefore, must be conceived as part of a final administration generally, of which the inquisition of iniquity and its requital will be only a part

1Heb. 9:27; 2Psa. 96:13; 3Dan.7:9,10; 4Heb.6:1,2; 5Mat.25:32; 6Acts 17:31; 7Rom. 2:16; 82 Tim.4:1; 9Acts 10:42; 101 Pet.4:5; 11Rev.20:12; 12Rev. 20:14

2. The individuality of the judgment is implied in all the passages already adduced; and it is the most solemn secret of man's own instinct. It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this is judgment;1 even as He hath appointed a day2 and the Judge. The only thing absolutely both universal and individual is the judgment: not even sin and sorrow can compare with it in this. In the Old Testament, we read God will bring thee into judgment;3 and in the New, Who will render to every man according to his deeds.4 This obviates every false presumption as to judgment by class, whatever form the notion may take. A theory, never shaped into words, but which is sometimes called MULTITUDINISM, silently infects many speculations. It is hard to reconcile the infinite detail with Divine dignity; but not harder to receive a special judgment than a special providence. Moreover, there is no common conscience: the conscience of every living man is the sure pledge and earnest of an individual judgment. And it precludes the thought that believers will escape the final ordeal. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.5 Here there might be some doubt; as it is only said to receive the things. But in another passage the contrary must have been stated, if true: So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God;6 to the Lord Christ. God must be justified at the last day, as well as now, in absolving the sinner: now, by the Atonement; then, by the form and reality of judgment, as declaring the finished result of grace, and allotting to the saints their several rewards. However, it must be observed that there is a difference put between the judgment of the good and that of the evil. Judgment must begin at the house of God7 both now and hereafter: but it will not be true hereafter that the righteous is scarcely saved. The ordeal will not be then a doubtful one; its peculiar strictness and severity are confined to the present life

1Heb.9:27; 2Acts 17:31; 3Ecc.11:9; 4Rom.2:6; 52 Cor. 5:10; 6Rom.14:12; 71 Pet.4:17

3. The universality at once and the individuality of the judgment form one of the most powerful arguments that can be used in dealing with men. St. Paul's application in the case of Felix is an instance in relation to the unconverted: And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled.1 As to the believer he makes a most solemn use of it in another passage: Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.2 So, again, with special rebuke to the spirit of human judgment and censoriousness: But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.3 And here we may refer to the sublime descriptions of the scenery of the great day, which are found in both the Old Testament and the New: some literal, such as the ministry of all the holy angels,4 and especially the voice of the arch-angel and the trump of God;5 some figurative, such as the books were opened;6 but all being the translation into human language of the most tremendous realities that the mind of man can conceive. It may be said that without these adjuncts of dread the great day is scarcely ever mentioned

1Acts 24:25; 22 Cor. 5:11; 3Rom.14:10; 4Mat.25:31; 51 Thes.4:16; 6Rev.20:12


The principles of the Judgment may be exhibited and summed up in the following five watchwords: the Test applied according to various measures of probationary privilege; the Revelation of character; the Separation of classes; the Execution of the condemning sentence; and the Confirmation or ratification of the acceptance of the saved. All these will be combined in one result. The omniscient Lord will justly apply His unerring tests


1. The universality of the law of conscience is the first, and in one sense the most comprehensive test, as preceding or underlying all others. Faith or unbelief in Christ will be thus witnessed; though this standard is not generally referred to in that case. But the moral consciousness of all men who have not heard the Gospel will be appealed to: accusing or else excusing in the present life according to the standard of the work of the law written in their hearts; so, says St. Paul, it will be in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.1 Hence this test, that of the internal judge and deputy, will be the only one for a large number of mankind

Emphatically the Apostle speaks of the revelation of God, Who will render to every man, according to his deeds;2 and that with reference to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.3 How that test will be applied to individual men and vast nations that never heard or could hear the Gospel, we must leave to God the Judge of all.4 There is no word in the Bible, we may be sure, that proclaims the perdition of the Gentiles as such. How the Only Wise God our Savior5 will reconcile this righteous judgment with the truth that there is none other Name under heaven given among men, wherein we must be saved,6 than that of Jesus is a mystery; but not an unsearchable one

St. Peter perceived that, as St. Paul taught, God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation He that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him,7 and many have been bold to suppose that a like preparation for Christ will hereafter both be accepted of Him and accept Himself. But this is beyond the limits of dogmatic theology

1Rom. 2:15,16; 2Rom. 2:5,6; 3Rom. 2:10,11; 4Heb. 12:23; 5Jude 25; 6Acts 4:12; 7Acts 10:34,35

2. The measure of revealed truth granted will be another test or standard of judgment

With reference to this very subject our Lord said of the Jews, They have Moses and the prophets;1 and the Old Testament ends with its prediction of judgment thus: Remember ye the law of Moses.2 Our Lord's own words will be the standard, specifically, to His own generation: It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee!3 More generally, this will be the test for all who have heard the Gospel: The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.4 And the measure of religious knowledge of the Gospel imparted to peoples and individuals will, according to our Lord's own repeated exposition of the principle of judgment, constitute a subordinate test: To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.5 There are varieties of light and manifestation, within Christendom itself, almost as distinct as the line which divides the best heathenism from Christianity

1Luke 16:29; 2Mal. 4:4; 3Mat. 11:24; 4John 12:48; 5Luke 12:48

3. The several tests of Faith and Works, distinctly and combined, are represented as constituting the standard applied only to Christians; but to them both these will be applied

(1.) Now, in relation to the judgment and its final decision, faith and works are really one

The work of faith1 is the sum and substance of the whole life. Works will be the test and faith the test; but these will be one and the same: faith the principle and works the expression of a Christian life in Christ. We are justified now not by faith and by works; but by faith without the merit of works, and with the evidence of works. So will it be at the supreme vindication of the righteousness of faith

11 Thes. 1:3

(2.) That the works are, throughout the New Testament, made so prominent as the judicial test has many reasons. It is the standing and most solemn rebuke of all Antinomianism. It has also reference to that final and full manifestation of the Divine righteousness, against all who might impugn it, which is made so prominent everywhere

And, finally, as will be seen hereafter, the works will be the standard by which the allotment of the various degrees of reward will be determined. Gradations will be as manifold then as now: these will not be decided by faith but by works. My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be:1 this is our Lord's last testimony on the subject

1Rev. 22:12


Both in the Old Testament and in the New the day of judgment is represented as the final manifestation of all secrets: of all secrets, whether as such unknown fully to man, or as known only to himself, or as designedly kept hidden by him and known only to God. The depths, whether of the Satanic or of the human spirit, are penetrated only by the Searcher of hearts. But nothing is more constantly impressed than that all secrets shall then be made manifest. Only in two applications is the term SECRETS used: to the mysteries of God's Providence on earth, and the mysteries of the human heart and life. But as to both the true meaning of the word mystery is preserved: what is hidden in the present world will be made known in the world to come

1. Hence all the judged will be in a certain sense their own judges. Our Lord lays stress upon this in the parables of the Talents and the Pounds: Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant.1 The Holy Ghost is in this life the representative of Christ's judicial function; and He makes the sinner condemn himself in the conviction of sin which is the voluntary acceptance of the justice of the sentence. We may refer also to St. Paul's memorable words: If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.2 This principle, applied to the Lord's Supper, is of general application: we may have boldness in the day of judgment.3

1Luke 19:22; 21 Cor. 11:31; 31 John 4:17

2. The righteousness of the Judge will thus be vindicated: That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.1 The future Judge will, by the perfect correspondence between the books of His own unerring remembrance and the books of the human consciousness read in the light of that day by every man for himself, approve His own righteousness both in justice and in mercy. And the present Judge keeps this now in our remembrance: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin.2

1Rom.3:4; 2John 15:22

3. And thus the Redeemer will maintain His unshared glory. The last exercise of judgment will be the last exercise of mercy. Mercy glorieth against judgment.1 The revelation of the holiest saints to themselves will prove that only infinite mercy saved them: therefore the revelation of their own hearts to them also. But that revelation will not be suffered to produce shame in those who are judged: if a miracle is needed to efface this element from the memory of sin it will be wrought; for nothing may interrupt the continuity of paradise and heaven

1Jas. 2:13


The idea of Separation or discrimination inheres in the Greek term krisis, and in all the disclosures of the judgment

1. It will be the final separation or sifting of the world. Judgment is even now continually and indeed decisively proceeding. The Savior said: If any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not.1 This must be understood as meaning that His own preeminent work was salvation; and that final judgment was reserved for the last day

Elsewhere He said: For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.2 As our Lord in His own person for a season, so now by the preaching of the Gospel the Spirit evermore, executes the offices of Judge. But no judgment in the economy of grace, and within the bounds of temporal probation, is irreversible: there is a great gulf3 between characters, but it is not fixed; but the judgment to come will4 be final, absolute, and unchangeable. Hence it is the LAST or ETERNAL JUDGMENT.5

 1John12:47; 2John 9:39; 3Luke 16:26; 4Acts 24:25; 5Heb.6:2

2. This separation, again, will be in two senses twofold: a broad separation between two classes; and also a discrimination within those classes themselves. As to the former, the distinction will be between the sheep and the goats;1 the wicked and the just;2 the saints and those who obey not the Gospel.3 Everywhere this division into two vast masses is maintained: acceptance or rejection of Christ being the alternative. But within these great masses the same process of sifting discrimination and decision goes on. For every man there will be a distinct judgment, succeeding or included in the former, by which his position and degree either in salvation or perdition will be determined

1Mat. 25:33; 2Mat.13:49; 32 Thes. 1:8


There can be no doubt that the term judgment is most frequently connected with condemnation: this, in fact, is the more common meaning of krisis. Judgment determining the sentence, condemnation pronouncing it, and execution administering it, are almost synonymous terms with regard to the wicked: in Scripture, as in the common language of human justice. It is katakrisis

1. This requires the strictest meaning of the term punishment. It is not a Father's chastisement the testimony speaks of: that is expressed by paideia; as when we read, in three forms of this word, of the Lord Who scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.1 Of that discipline it is said, Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, AND LIVE? But this sentence is always unto death. There is not one hint throughout the Scriptures of a discipline to which the great day commits the rebellious that they may be purified and amended. Surely, if it had been so, no economy of reserve would have kept back the revelation

1Heb. 12:6,9

2. As to the nature of the condemnation it is, negatively, loss, or the poena damni or damnation: the quality and essence of sin being separation from God, and its direct penalty separation from the soul's life and centre and rest. Sin is no other than the severance of the will from the Divine will. Our merciful Lord never pronounced, nor ever will pronounce, a sentence more terrible than this: to be without God in eternity is Hell

Depart from Me, ye cursed:1 cursed supremely in that departure itself Here we have one instance of that series of correlatives running through all the revelations of this stern doctrine which no subtlety of exposition can soften away. Come, ye blessed of my Father!2 Depart from Me, ye cursed! Men in their integrity come; men in their integrity depart. But, positively also, the condemnation of judgment is to punishment internal and external: the departure is not only from Christ but into everlasting punishment, kolasin aioonion. The internal mourning because of Him3 is always connected in the figurative language of Scripture with external suffering, and that inflicted by the wrath of the Lamb.4 But what the dread figures mean it is not possible to define. We know that no material emblems can describe, certainly they cannot enhance, the blessedness of the vision of God; and we know also that no material emblems can describe the misery of the conscious eternal exclusion from that vision. And the penalty will be eternal. These shall go away into everlasting punishment.5 Here there is no room for a timeless abstraction in the interpretation of the term aionios. Whatever it means to the righteous it means also to the wicked, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.6 The word punishment implies the abiding continuance of him upon whom the wrath of God abideth.7

1Mat. 25:41; 2Mat. 25:34; 3Rev.1:7; 4Rev. 4:16; 5Mat. 25:46; 62 Thes. 1:9; 7John 3:36

3. The judgment on the lost is regarded in Scripture as condemnation to bear the fruit of his own doings. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.1 There is the sinner from whom the neglected talent is withdrawn, leaving the spirit officeless, unmoored, and shut out: take from him the pound.2 And there are the enemies of whom it is said: bring hither and slay them before Me. But always the dreadful burden is laid upon the sinner himself. He is viewed as the author of his own character, and as responsible for his own ruin. In the integrity of his body and soul he reaps the fruit of his own devices: part of his sin was the sensual misuse of the body; part of his sin was the turning away of his spirit from God; in the reunion of body and soul he suffers the result. And from this it follows that the final condemnation is that of a nature now fitted for it: the harvest is the character formed by the seedtime. There lies the most awful aspect of this awful subject. It is not that the Judge assigns eternal punishment for temporal sin; but that sin is taken confirmed into eternity. Non cessante peccato nequit cessare poena. It is not because man has sinned only, but because his nature is turned away from God, and he sins still: one of our Lord's most solemn words of threatening prediction was this, Ye shall die in your sins.3 1Gal. 6:7; 2Luke 19:24-27; 3John 8:24

4. That judgment will be accepted and submitted to by all throughout the universe. No profounder mystery is in the Apocalypse than the hallelujahs which are uttered over the demonstrations of the Divine wrath as they proceed from judgment to judgment in their direful procession. Our Lord gives hints, of some kind of remonstrance at the last. He interprets beforehand the thoughts of many hearts as they receive from Him recompense for deeds done, or not done, to Him in the persons of men, His representatives: as if, in His own absence as a revealed Savior, human faith working by love might find in His needy ones Himself in another form. But He says nothing of a thought remaining in any created spirit suspecting or censuring a miscarriage of justice. On this, however, we dare not dwell


It is part of the dignity of the saints that the judgment in their case will be only the ratification of a previous decree in their favor and already known to themselves

1. Though judged, in the more general sense of that administrative word, they shall not come into condemnation.1 Death was really the judgment to them; men have often personified it in their instinctive hope as the Great Revealer. Through it they pass into the presence of Christ Who receives them as a Judge and Divider. Moreover, some descriptions of the resurrection, and notably the great one of St. Paul, describe it as in its discrimination a preliminary decision. This may be harmonized with the fact of a judgment, even in their case a judgment to come.2 1John 5:24; 2Acts 24:25

2. Their Place and order in the State of salvation has yet to be determined. Shame and everlasting contempt1 are only for the ungodly; but Daniel himself must stand in his lot at the end of the days:2 in the degree purchased by a life of duty. And this suggests a wonderful paradox, that believers are in Christ even while standing before Him, and they hope, like St. Paul, to be found in Him.3 And still another passage finds here its solution Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?4 which is St. Paul's version of our Lord's Judging the twelve tribes of Israel.5 Every individual saint will be confirmed in the state and position for which his Christian character fitted him. He will have his own particular one among the many mansions; his own specific jurisdiction, whether over the ten or the five cities; his own degree of the Vision of God

1Dan.12:2; 2Dan.12:13; 3Phil.3:9; 41 Cor. 6:2; 5Mat.19:28

3. It may be said finally that the last Judgment will, in the case of believers, introduce a new economy of service in the universal kingdom of the Triune God, no longer the kingdom of the Mediator. The infinite variety of employments which the Savior always in His parables suggests to our expectation and hope will occupy the talents and individual gifts of the redeemed for ever. But in that new world they are not, nor can again be, in probation. Their state is confirmed, and will admit only of a necessary development of good. Hence there is not, nor can be, any Second Day of Judgment

4. The judgment on evil spirits is represented as in their case also the confirmation of a past sentence. Of them it is said that God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment:1 which judgment is further said to be the one last judgment of the great day.2 The angels who never fell will without any ordeal be established in their everlasting order; and, with saints already saved, witness the judgment of the rest and join with the Redeemer in the exercise of that judgment they joining as His attendant ministers, and the saints in virtue of their union with Him as their Head

12 Pet. 2:4; 2Jude 6


The final issues of our Lord's return may be said to be the consummation of all things

This, with reference to the Redeemer, will be the end of His mediatorial kingdom as such, while as it respects Man it will be the finished redemption of the race, and its restoration to the Divine ideal and primary purpose of the Creator. In regard to the scene of redemption, the world, it will bring in a renewal or transformation; and, as to the Church of Christ collectively and individually, it will seal its perfection in the eternal vision of God and blessedness of the heavenly state

Generally, there is a close of all things which is only a new beginning of all. The supreme telos is the point, the vanishing point, to which all the rays of revelation converge: Then cometh the end.1 With reference to this, as well as to all subordinate processes of His work, our Lord said: The things concerning Me have an end.2 As every part of the Bible, and the whole volume of the Book, is finished with its Amen, so the great and boundless scheme which it records waits for its close, when the entire universe shall respond with its own Amen. But with this there is always conjoined the idea of a new beginning

Behold, I make all things new.3 The re-established order will be so new that the old things shall hardly come to remembrance; but the relation between the new and the old is in many points a mystery reserved. Meanwhile, the combination of these is the only notion of CONSUMMATION, an end opening to a new beginning. The end of human development, combined of sin and redemption, is but a contribution from one little section of what is to us an unlimited universe presided over by a Being Whose infinite resources prepare our feeble minds for wonders which we cannot sketch, even in outline, to our imagination

Human science has taught us much of the amazing consummation which the physical universe has reached; the science of faith knows no limits to its hope. There is a third tetelestai of the Divine economy, the fullness of time in the fullest sense, which we expect. The first was when the world was finished as the scene of redemption: the second was when the Lord's cry declared the new creation finished. We must reverently look at the dim reflection of the third as it is thrown upon us only from the Word of God. The contemplation ought to be one of wonder and of joy. As Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ in the distance, so may all the children of faithful Abraham rejoice to see in the future the day for which all other days were made

11 Cor. 15:24; 2Luke 22:24; 3Rev. 21:5


There will be an end and beginning of the Redeemer's Kingdom, as it is a kingdom of grace translated into glory

1. The mediatorial economy will cease in its relation to the Triune God: the redemptional Trinity which introduced the economy of subordination in the Two Persons will be again the absolute Trinity. The Son Incarnate will cease to mediate; as Incarnate He will be for ever subordinate, but there will be nothing to declare His subordination: no mediatorial rule over enemies, no mediatorial service or worship of His people. The Triune God will be seen by all mankind in the face of Jesus Christ:1 and the mediation of grace will become the mediation of glory. The Intercessor will pray for us no more, but will reveal the Father openly for ever. A mediator is not a mediator of one;2 but the prayer of our Lord will then have been fulfilled: that they also may be one in Us.3 Man taken up into the US of the Triune God will need a mediator no longer

12 Cor. 4:6; 2Gal. 3:20; 3John 17:21

2. The kingdom will cease because its ends will have been attained. Then cometh the end when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father:1 to the Father as the Representative of the Trinity; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. The process of His victories is described in the Apocalypse: first and last, the Antichrist, which is a spirit of infidelity, anti, AGAINST CHRIST, having many forms, such as the Beast and the Man of Sin, and also a final personal manifestation; every description of heathenism to the ends of the earth; the corruptions of Christianity, exhibited in Babylon and the Second Beast and the Harlot; and finally Death, the last enemy that shall be destroyed. In all these conflicts the Church is the fellowship of companions in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience in Jesus Christ.2 We are one with our Lord, and He is one with us, in this progressive warfare and final victory. It is as Head over all things to the Church3 that the Redeemer exercises now and will then close His rule; nor is any other suppression of authority alluded to than that which opposed the designs of His mediatorial kingdom. Moreover, there is nothing said of the destruction, only of the putting down, of all hostile authority and power

11 Cor. 15:24; 2Rev. 1:9; 3Eph. 1:22

3. The kingdom will have a new beginning: new as the kingdom of the new heavens and a new earth1 made one. The Spirit of Christ will be the immanent bond between Him and us, between us and the Holy Trinity: He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.2 The Incarnate Person will be glorified then as never before: His personality as Divine will be no more veiled or obscured by any humiliation, nor will it be intermittently revealed. GOD shall BE ALL IN ALL:3 first in the Holy Trinity, and then through Christ in us

12 Pet. 3:13; 21 Cor. 6:17; 31 Cor. 15:28


On this subject some errors, chiefly ancient, may be noted

1. Amongst early struggles to reconcile the absolute unity of God with the economical Trinity, we find traces of the Noetian and Sabellian heresy that with the consummation of Christ's work the triune essence of Deity will be dissolved: the Holy Ghost ceasing to be the name of the operative manifestation of God, and the Son surrendering His office and sinking into the Deity, so that in this sense God shall be all in all. But the relation of the Son to the Father is distinctly personal at the close as throughout: the word which describes to us the very last agency of Him Who has done so much as the Mediator of God and men defines the last act of the Son in His very relation of Sonship; for the kingdom is delivered up to God, even the Father.1 The sanctified host of mankind is one with Christ; and thus the sanctifying work of the Spirit is ended. The Trinitarian economy has ceased; and God the Holy Trinity is all in all

11 Cor. 15:24

2. It has been thought that the Son, having accomplished the object for which He assumed our nature, would renounce that nature and give it up also to the Father. But neither can we give up our Head nor will the Head give up His members. His human nature is a vesture that He will not lay aside; indeed it is more than His vesture, it is part of His eternal Self. There is no independent human personality to be renounced

3. A subtle notion sometimes slumbering and sometimes waking in theology may now and then be detected, that another government will be finally set up, wider, deeper, more catholic and more effectual than the old; and that among the all things new will be new expedients correcting the deficiencies and anomalies of the superseded economy

Shrinking from the plain assertion that the failure of the Son incarnate will be repaired by some new and better dispensation, this nevertheless they perpetually hint at. In fact, every speculation that insists upon finding a basis for the hope of a universal restoration of all creatures to God really proceeds from such a thought


In the consummation Mankind as such and as a race will be saved. The Divine purpose in the creation of man in His own image will be accomplished: through the atoning mediation of Him Who came to destroy the works of the devil1 among men. The whole history of the race has been the carrying out of one design: one design in the attainment of which many others have been subsumed, and the attainment of which may open out many others. , Here it is important to remember that the purpose of our Lord's coming is always regarded as being accomplished. He came as the predestined and necessary Savior. The Old-Testament prophetic triumph was, He shall not fail nor be discouraged;2 the New-Testament response is, He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet;3 and the song of all the Scripture is that His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.4 The redeeming purpose of Christ as to the family of Adam must, be accomplished, and has been accomplished: not merely in the gathering of an elect residue from the generations, but in the salvation of humanity. But how can this be said to be the case? There are two answers: the race in its vast majority, the race as such, is actually saved; and as to the residue, it will be cast out not only from God but from mankind, and not accounted of

11 John 2:8; 2Isa. 42:4; 31 Cor. 15:25; 4Psa. 98:1

1. The majority of the objects of redemption are either already or certainly will be the Lord's for ever; He is not only Lord of the dead1 by prerogative, but also by actual possession. All infants whose development has been cut off on earth pass by prescriptive right to Him. And we may believe, without being able to state positively the grounds of our assurance, that many of the men of goodwill who never heard the angelic peace on earth will nevertheless sing glory to God in the highest.2 This we seem to hear in the proleptic description given by the King of those who will marvel at their deliverance and their Deliverer: When saw we Thee?3 Of the increase of His government4 apart from the direct preaching of His Gospel we know little, but we may hope much. And as that increase runs on into the best ages of the Millennium, the flow of the nations into the city will abound more and more. Although there will be a great falling away, and the Son of Man leaves with us His question Shall He find faith?5 that defection will be only for a short season

1Rom. 14:9; 2Luke 2:14; 3Mat. 25:37; 4Isa. 9:7; 5Luke 18:8

2. In the same sense that it is said, All Israel shall be saved,1 it may be said that Mankind is saved. The lost will not mar the unity of the race: disowned of God they are disavowed of men: What is the chaff to the wheat?2 They are supposed to leave the communion of humanity and go into the fellowship of the devil and his angels,3 into shame and everlasting contempt;4 and of them also we may say, They went out from us, but they were not of us.5 But our best argument and assurance is that He Who knows the price of His own life and death shall be satisfied.6

 1Rom. 11:26; 2Jer. 23:28; 3Mat. 25:41; 4Dan. 12:2; 51 John 2:19; 6Isa. 53:11


There are two opposite theories respecting the Redemption of the Race which differ from the one given in the Scripture: that of those who maintain the doctrine of a final restoration of all moral intelligences, and of men in particular; and that of those who think that the reprobate members of the race will be annihilated. Some intermediate speculations retain the doctrine of an eternal continuance of the lost, but endeavor in various ways to extenuate the idea of its punishment, or mitigate its horror


The belief or the hope that the consummation of all things will be the restoration of all intelligent beings to the image and favor of God has found advocates in every age. This hope has always sought its best support in what may be called a priori arguments; it claims also some passages of Scripture as maintaining its principle; but it has never been accepted by the Christian Church generally from the beginning, nor in any of its branches until its recent development, I. Its general principles, however plausible, admit in every case of a sufficient answer

1. If it is said that punishment is in the nature of things only remedial, that assertion cannot be maintained. Reformation is the design of chastisement; and the amendment of the offender is necessarily bound up with our notion of corrective discipline; but the idea of penalty that underlies all human thinking on this subject has in it no other element than that of retribution. If appeal is made from human jurisprudence to Divine, then we have only to say that the Scripture at least carefully distinguishes between pure chastisement, which aims to amend the offender and deter others from like offence, and the vindication of law. While prevention, reformation, and retribution co-exist in the judicial principles in human jurisprudence, —none can deny this, —they co-exist also in the Divine economy. As the last extreme in the former is the infliction of pure penalty, so it is in the latter: there is a sin unto death1 in the court of man's justice, and there is also in that of Divine. As an argument for necessary restoration this fails also when the test of experience is applied to it. There is no connection between suffering the penalty of transgression and amendment of life. If the latter follows the former, it is through the operation of something besides the penalty. Although we are not supposed to be yet on Scriptural ground, we cannot but point to the perpetual strain of its warning against neglect of the purposes of discipline, the issue of which is said to be a state of reprobation that cannot be amended. What the Bible describes we see in human life: that men, rebelling against chastisements and the Spirit of grace that inflicts them, go on to more and more ungodliness, hardened by their calamities. And if the penalty remains, without the grace of probation, what rational judgment can make the design of punishment an argument for necessary restoration to God 1 The natural religion of mankind has, with a true instinct, regulated its conceptions of the future by the principle of a final and strict retribution as such. And in the revealed religion of the Bible we find such a testimony as this: Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.2 Earlier in the same Epistle, St. Paul asks: Is God unrighteous Who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid, for then how shall God judge the world?3 If the two sentences are weighed, Emoi ekdikeesis and ho epiferoon teen orgeen, and the emphasis of the last, the wrath, observed, it will be impossible to doubt that there is a coming manifestation of the Divine indignation against sin with which the amendment of the sufferer has nothing to do. This is felt by all who regard the threatened death as an extinction of the condemned spirit, of whom we shall speak more hereafter

11 John 5:16; 2Rom.12:19; 3Rom. 3:5,6

2. The argument against a final condemnation of any intelligent creature is often urged on the general ground of the tendency of all the works of God towards perfection. It is assumed as a principle that, if a Supreme Controller of all development exists, He must make all His works issue well in the end. It is hard to resist this argument: it seems logically unanswerable. This is the strong plea of Optimism; what we call evil is made the necessary stage to ultimate good. An analogy is sometimes drawn with the phenomena of the physical universe; but this is an unfortunate analogy, for the perfect development sacrifices many individuals on the way. It would be only answering the argument according to its folly to say that the perfectibility of the race is consistent with the final loss of many individuals from it. But the fact is, that any such perfectibility, apart from the leaven of the Gospel, does not seem a reasonable theory. The progression of the race, intellectually, socially, and aesthetically, may be granted; on the whole it is advancing steadily. That progress is, on the one hand, much due to the Gospel; and, on the other, it is by no means synonymous with moral improvement. High culture and conformity to perfect law do not necessarily go together. As to the individual we often see a manifest progression in all that is evil down to the last, in unhappy connection with a steady progression in all that is intellectually good. Moreover, the argument, as a whole, proves too much: if it is insisted that all God's works must reach a standard of perfection, we are obliged to invert the application, and ask why they were imperfect at any stage

This and many other pleas of the Universalist must be reduced to silence by the plain fact that evil exists

II. The argument from Scripture is more strictly within the reach of our faculties; and this must to us be the final arbiter. Here we find the general representations of the Divine character appealed to, then the special design of the Atonement, and lastly express declarations of the New Testament as to the issue of the whole work of Christ

1. The strength of the first plea is simply this: that if the Divine Being is infinite in love, infinite in power, and infinite in wisdom, it is impossible that any creature of His hands should be shut out from His presence eternally. There is something in this plea that almost disarms resistance; until we call to mind that both the revelation of nature, which knows the terrors of the Lord and persuades men and that of revelation, conspire to exhibit to us a Being who contradicts the argument. The love of God as an attribute is always carefully qualified in such a way as to guard it from perversion. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins:1 it requires an hilasmon, provides it for the world, and mourns over its rejection by many. There are necessary limits to the exertion of the Divine power, if not to the power itself; and the relation of a Moral Governor to free intelligences gives one of those necessary limitations, at least in the doctrine of Scripture. And in Scripture it is literally the Wisdom of God that predicts its own failure: because I have called and ye refused!2 This style of argument leads to Atheism, or Manichaeism, as the case may be; but not legitimately to Universalism. Whatever force it has on this subject must issue to the advantage of the annihilationist principle. But the fact is, however strange the assertion may seem, that, with the Bible in our hands, we must make no appeal to the nature of God in the abstract. It would, if pressed to the utmost, render the great Atonement a superfluous exhibition of resources against evil; nay more, it would pursue the difficulty farther back, and ask why evil was permitted at all. Both the beginning and the continuance of sin are inscrutable; but the one not more than the other

11 John 4:10; 2Pro. 1:24

2. The argument from the design of the Atonement is still more easily answered. We must, of course, accept the statements of the New Testament on this subject, as there is no room here for abstract discussion of what we might conceive the Redemption should be. It is said that Christ came to put away sin,1 atheteesin which indeed is very strong, but does not involve the idea of universal abolition, as the context shows. Nor does the passage which says that Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil,2 lusee

There is not a single allusion to the Sacrifice which makes its object the annihilation of moral evil. The Atonement has provided for the effectual destruction of sin in those who receive it; and we maintain, with Scripture, that it availed for many who nevertheless perish, whatever that word may mean. St. Paul's words are urged, that He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth;3 with which must be connected: by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself.4 The context shows that these passages mainly refer to the redemption of mankind as the bringing back of the race to its unity with the other orders of the universe. We must remember here the fundamental canon of the analogy of Scripture. It is declared of the same Redeemer that He taketh not hold of angels;5 and, whatever the mysterious reconciliation between man and the other orders of intelligence may mean, it cannot signify that the Savior has reconciled the devil and his angels to God. He was made a little lower than the angels that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.6 This is a flexible text

The Predestinarian understands huper pantos of the whole mass of the actually redeemed: all for whom the Lord died are saved. The Universalist takes the word in its widest extension: he may follow Origen, who interpreted huper pantos not for every man, but for everything, and read not chariti de Theou, by the grace of God, but choris Theou, outside of God: thus bringing all sinners, from the greatest to the least, within the sphere of redemption. We maintain that the context limits it to man; and that the entire New Testament speaks of two designs in the Atonement: one extending to the whole race, and the other limited to its actual beneficiaries. Thus it is said that [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.7 But it speaks of God, the Savior of all men, as the Savior specially of those that believe.8

1Heb. 9:26; 21 John 3:8; 3Eph. 1:10; 4Col. 1:20; 5Heb. 2:16; 6Heb. 2:9; 7Rom. 5:18; 81 Tim. 4:10

3. It is said that a few allusions to the final consummation expressly foreannounce a restoration of all things to God. That they are few is no argument against them: the express assertions of everlasting penalty are also few. Nor is it a refutation that they seem to contradict others; for there are on many subjects seemingly antithetical statements, the reconciliation of which must be deferred to eternity. But the passages quoted in the Restoration service have no direct reference to the question: those which are quoted against it were spoken expressly on this subject and no other. St. Paul in the sayings of the resurrection chapter, so often pleaded, obviously refers only to the design of Christ's death as accomplished in His saints: the keynote of the whole is Christ the first-fruits;1 and then they that are Christ's at His coming. These are the ALL of whom it is said that, as they died in Adam, in Christ they shall be made alive: it will be true that the whole race of the dead will live again, but not in Christ. The Lord will put down all rule and all authority and power.2 Both of these and of death the verb katargein is used, which does not include the idea of literal destruction; and when it is added that God may be All in all,3 we must understand that GOD is all, as distinguished from the mediatorial and intermediate government through man's Representative, and God in all the saved, who alone are mentioned. To the enemies under His feet4 are elsewhere opposed the possession whom He hath redeemed and purified unto Himself:5 here are the opposite poles throughout eternity

11 Cor. 15:23; 2ver.24; 3ver. 28; 4ver. 27; 5Tit.2:14

III. There has been a steadfast protest against this dogma in the catholic Church of Christ from the beginning; although many influential individuals in early times held it, and some more modern sects have striven to bring it into vogue. Origen sometimes more boldly, sometimes more timorously, advocated the idea of a universal restitution: not Restoration as of man merely, but UNIVERSALISM, including Satan and his angels. Destrui novissimus inimicus ita intelligendus est, non ut substantia ejus, quae a Deo est, pereat sed ut voluntas inimica, quae non a Deo sed ab ipso processit, intereat. Destruetur ergo non ut non sit, sed ut inimicus non sit et mors. Nihil enim Omnipotent! impossible est, NEC INSANABILE EST aliquid Factori suo. . . . Quae quidem a nobis etiam cum magno metu et cautela dicuntur, discutientibus magis quam pro certo et definito statuentibus. Origen was written against and formally condemned. He had few followers, though Diodorus of Tarsus, Gregory of Nyssa, Theodore, and a few others followed hesitatingly in his track

The early Creeds note the progress of the catholic doctrine. The Apostles' and the Nicene speak only of the life everlasting. The Athanasian adds: Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis, et redituri sunt de factis propriis rationem, et qui bona egerunt ibunt in vitam aeternam, qui mala in ignem aeternum. In the Middle Ages the Pantheistic mystics favored alternately the extinction of evil and its transformation into good. Some of the sectaries that troubled the age of the Reformation revived the notion of universal restoration, and were specifically condemned by the Lutheran Confessions. In modern times a large number of sects have arisen, especially in America, who hold this doctrine; some of them deriving their name from it. But it has never been taught in any Confession of Christendom; however largely it may enter into the private speculations and hopes of individual thinkers


The end that Universalism reaches in one way is in another way reached by the hypothesis of ANNIHILATION, which saves the race as a whole at the expense of the very existence of the unsaved part of it. As in the alternative hypothesis, we have to consider some fundamental principles; then the direct testimonies of Scripture; and lastly its historical relations to the creed of the Church

I. The principles underlying this view may be regarded as opposite aspects of the one fundamental argument, that man has no immortality apart from the gift of Christ, and that this immortality is the one blessing of His redemption

1. The question of man's natural immortality is not allowed to be absolutely decisive; and perhaps more has been made to depend on this in the controversy than it will bear. Those who maintain that in the image of God, impressed upon man, there was a reflection in the creature of His eternity, and that this natural image was not destroyed by the Fall, are in possession of an argument which settles the subject at once. That is undoubtedly the view of Scripture, which nowhere asserts or proves the deathlessness of the human spirit any more than it asserts or proves the being of God. To us, therefore, the question is determined at the outset. But our conviction has no force against those who maintain that the gift of immortality was forfeited when man sinned

2. The question, therefore, must revert to the other aspect of it. Was the benefit of redemption the restoration of immortality, or a new gift of it, to the fellowship of those found in Christ? This is asserted by the advocates of Annihilation, whose manifold arguments may be met in manifold ways

(1.) First, there are two aspects of Christ's redeeming intervention, one absolutely universal and one particular. As to the former, in whatsoever sense the race of man died in Adam it lives again in Christ. The universal resurrection is the proof of this; and on the ground of it all men are dealt with, not as on probation for eternal existence, but as on probation for their destiny in that eternal existence. The reconciliation of God to man, or to the whole world, implies that all men are by their very birthright members of a race saved from extinction. This we believe, because we believe in universal redemption

Annihilationists do not believe it. They limit the benefit of our Lord's relation to the race to the offer of living for ever. They reach the end of Predestinarianism in a way of their own: Predestinarianism consigns the unredeemed to eternal reprobation, the annihilationist theory to eternal extinction. Both deny to the race as a race the reality of redemption in Christ; and make it matter of individual experience

(2.) A special and individual redemption there undoubtedly is; it does not, however, consist in the negative immortality, but in the positive life, which is in the Christian system never existence merely nor continuing to exist. On this the Lord's own words are decisive: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.1 Life is a gift that a man may have or not have now: he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.2 Surely ouk opsetai zooeen is not a phrase that could signify extinction: it is not that he shall see death but that he shall not see life. And St

John's Epistle makes this, if possible, more plain: he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.3 Life is in Christ; life is Christ; and Christ is a possession which a man may have or not have, either in time or to eternity. It has nothing whatever to do with continued existence as such. The only passage that even seems to hint at the contrary is in the same Epistle: he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.4 But there the contrast is with the world and its passing lusts, in comparison of which religion and its fruits are permanent; just as in another passage the life of regeneration is contrasted with the perishable things of time: being born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth [for ever] For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.5 In these passages there is no thought of extinction in any sense. The world does not perish save in its fashions. The phenomenal universe will in some form abide for ever. But pure and perfect existence, clothed with all the blessedness of the life of God, will be revealed only when the phenomena as such have disappeared

1John 10:10; 2John 3:36; 31 John 5:12; 41 John 2:17; 51 Pet. 1:23,24

3. The Annihilationist hypothesis meets the Universalist on common ground with respect to certain fundamental or a priori principles; while, on some others, they are singularly at variance

(1.) It is common to the two systems to dilate on the impossibility of reconciling the eternal misery of a punished soul with the attributes of God as He is depicted in Scripture. But there is no sound argument in this: at least what strength it has must lie on the Universalist side. That God should destroy a soul that He had created is as inconsistent with some of His attributes, His power for instance, taken alone, as the eternal punishment is inconsistent with His love, taken alone. In fact, this system of thought does not relieve the difficulty, save in appearance. How could the power of an omnipotent being suffer rebellion to begin? Having suffered it to begin, how could it be baffled finally, and for ever, in the attempt to save the sinner? The abiding continuance of sin and its necessary doom is, in some sense, a more conceivable, a more tolerable, idea than its origination. These improvements on the theology of Scripture do seem to unite in ridding the universe of every trace that sin has existed, in restoring God to His supremacy, and thus in delivering our minds from one of the heaviest burdens they can bear. But they cannot blot out the fact that evil has been permitted, and wrestled with, and severely punished for generations uncounted, both in this and other worlds. They reconstruct our God; but the God they give us needs still to be reconstructed if certain human notions of Him are to prevail. Certainly the Divine Being never thus vindicates Himself. He does not speak of it as a strange thing that the universe should pay everlasting tribute to His holy justice. But this is, after all, speaking foolishly. All theories alike are confounded before this awful subject

(2.) Another argument, common to the two, is that the punishment of offences committed in time must needs have a temporal limit. But the analogy of the temporal penalties themselves is strong against measuring the consequences of the sin by its seeming importance; persistent sin against God is beyond all finite reckoning; and, lastly, there is no eternal punishment but of eternal sinning: the eternal state of separation from God is both sin and its punishment. It may be added that annihilation is to all intents and purposes an eternal punishment of sin committed in time: the Universalist escapes this difficulty; yet only to plunge-into another, that of making the Supreme the Author of a threatening of eternal doom which shall prevent its own execution. But we vainly talk about the relations of time to eternity. And certain it is that the price set on the Atonement, and the penalty for rejecting it, are represented in the New Testament in a very different style from that adopted by this theory. The despised of the Cross hath no more sacrifice for sins:1 his sin remains without a covering, and me wrath of God abideth on him.2 Sinners rise again in a resurrection of condemnation:3 they are condemned already,4 but then their condemnation will be to everlasting punishment.5 Does the Scripture tell us that they are called up into their perfect existence in spirit and soul and body—created as it were anew—to perish as finding their misery in the consciousness of their loss? Then the fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation6 has no meaning; for whatever the penalty of Hades may be, annihilation must be in comparison a blessing and only a blessing. Moreover the second death is not annihilation. Of the beast and the false prophet it is said that these both were cast alive into a lake of fire.7 Of the devil it is said that he was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever . . . 8 THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH: corresponding to the second and better life in life: that which is more abundantly given.9 1Heb. 10:26; 2John 3:36; 3John 5:29; 4John 3:18; 5Mat.25:46; 6Heb. 10:27; 7Rev. 19;20; 8Rev. 20:10-14. 9John 10:10

II. The argument in support of the final annihilation of the unsaved portion of mankind lays much stress on the terms of the Biblical vocabulary concerning life and death, and the meaning of everlasting as the predicate of both. Life is held synonymous with existence, and death with ceasing to exist; and everlasting is a term which is made to suit the theory of each respectively: applied to life it has its full significance of unending duration, applied to death its significance is reduced to absolute or perfect. Appeal is made to the sense in which these words, with their various correlatives of destruction, perishing, and so forth, are used in classical Greek

1. With regard to this last argument it is enough to say that the whole phraseology of revelation, especially New-Testament revelation, has undergone a great and momentous change. Scarcely one of the religious and ethical terms of classical Greek but has been raised to a higher meaning. No writer would have protested more earnestly than Plato against his terms for destruction being applied to the final destiny of what he thought the immortal spirit of man. It may be said, further, that the New Testament did not take these words directly from classical Greek, but from the Septuagint. The Septuagint will speak for itself. Very many passages might be cited in which the strongest terms that express destruction are used without involving anything like the idea of extinction. Let us take one passage, for instance, which singularly unites some of the strongest of all: it must be cited in full. Poimenes polloi diefqeiran ton ampelwna mou emolunan thn merida mou edwkan merida epiqumhthn mou eis erhmon abaton. eteqh eis afanismon apwleias di' eme afanismw hfanisqh pasa h gh oti ouk estin anhr tiqemenos en kardia.1 Here is a constellation of the entire terminology. But was the pleasant land of Jehovah abolished, or annihilated? The answer is given by Jehovah Himself. In the sublime words that follow we read: They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns; they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit; and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the Lord.2 The application of these words to our present subject is obvious: no flesh shall have peace,3 and that because no man layeth it to heart.4 But they are quoted to show how little truth there is in the sweeping assertions that the inspired terminology of destruction is the terminology of annihilation. The student will do well in this matter, and in the interpretation of the New Testament generally, to track every word through the Concordance of Trommius

1Jer.12:10-12; 2Jer. 12:13; 3ver.12; 4ver. 11

2. A careful examination of the leading terms Life and Death as used in the New Testament will show that, as they are applied to the spirit of man, they mean something superadded to mere existence, either as a blessing or as the opposite of blessing. Life is evermore the communication of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus;1 it is the correlative of salvation, blessedness and union with God. It is the opposite of condemnation, of misery, of the Divine displeasure; never the antithesis of annihilation, not even in relation to the bodily existence, and much less in relation to the existence of the spirit. Death is the correlative of the sentence of condemnation, of the withdrawal of the Spirit, and of a state of alienation from God: those who have not passed from death unto life1 are said to be dead in trespasses and sins;3 and we may enlarge the application of St. Paul's word concerning one dead while she liveth.4 Anyone who traces it through the New Testament must come to the conclusion that it expresses the exact opposite of the new life, the life eternal, which is imparted by Christ. Hence the advocates of the opinion we now consider are obliged to resort to a proleptic sense: sinners are counted dead by anticipation. But it might as well be said that the saints have not, but only shall have, everlasting life

Similarly, the synonyms which vary the idea of death, or rather which describe the way in which it is inflicted, do not carry the notion of absolute suppression of existence. The strongest term that is ever used is applied by our Lord to the state from which the prodigal was rescued: he was lost or was destroyed, apolooloos een, and is found.5 By that one word Jesus for ever rescued this verb from the misapplication forced upon it: the loss of the soul is a state the opposite of its being found again. The prodigal lost in the far country came to himself first, and then came to his father; but he had been destroyed, or had destroyed himself. If the Restorationists, using this passage against that doctrine of annihilation which none more forcibly argue against than they, appeal to it as confirming the hope that those who are lost in the other world will be found again, they are met by another most peremptory word of Christ, Good were it for that man if he had not been born:6 for that man who was the son of perdition,7 the huios tees apooleias, a prodigal who was not found; for, had there been a certainty of his coming back from his far country, eternal life would have made his birth a blessing notwithstanding all intermediate woes. A member of the same family of terms is used by St. Paul when he says that at the appearing of Christ those who are found not having obeyed the Gospel suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord,8 olethron. The construction of this passage is such, at all points, as to be a warning to theorists on this solemn subject. The addition of aioonion would be needless if the olethron meant what they suppose it to mean: absolute extinction of being. As eternal life is the confirmation for ever of a life that now is in Christ, so eternity is added to the word which St. Paul elsewhere uses to express a present penalty of hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition:9 men empiptousin eis, temptation and a snare; these also buthizousin eis, destruction. This everlasting destruction is to take place when He shall come:10 it is not therefore before the judgment, nor is it after the judgment. It is from the presence of the Lord, apó prosoópou toú Kuríou, for the meaning of which let the Septuagint vouch, which so translates in Genesis: They hid themselves from the presence of the Lord11 as the first effect of sin, and Cain went out from the presence of the Lord12 as the second and still worse effect, our text being the third and worst of all. Finally, as to the aionion, Daniel's eis aischuneen aionion is quite sufficient: what is everlasting contempt?13 But St. Paul himself gives the law for his use of this word in this relation when he says, the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal:14 phenomenal or passing things, and abiding or eternal things, are the only correlatives

1Rom. 8:2; 2John 5:24; 3Eph. 2:1; 41 Tim. 5:6; 5Luke 15:32; 6Mark 14:21; 7John 17:12; 82 Thes. 1:9; 91 Tim.6:9; 102 Thes.1:10; 11Gen.3:8; 12Gen.4:16; 13Dan.12:2; 142 Cor. 4:18

III. The history of this phase of Christian speculation lends it no substantial help

1. Most of the earliest Fathers believed in the absolute eternity of the punishment of the reprobate. The first testimony after inspiration ceased is that of Clemens Romanus: meta gar to eselthein hamas ek tou kosmos ouk eti dunametha ekei esomologeesasthai ho metanoein. Justin Martyr asserts this, in opposition to Plato's teaching that they would last a thousand years; but some passages in his writings are thought to hesitate: for instance, when he says to Trypho, est an autas kai einai kai kolaxesthai o theos thelee, which, however, is a truth that all must admit. Sentences may be gleaned from the ante- Nicene writers which lean in almost every direction; but the idea of a total cessation of being, or of its gradual extinction, cannot be traced save perhaps in a few isolated passages of Hernias, Irenseus, and the Alexandrian Clement. The question, however, of these sporadic opinions is of very little importance; save as showing that the seeds of almost every subsequent speculation were early sown

2. Arnobius, at a later time, gave expression to the idea of a gradual cessation of sufferings, ending in the annihilation of the individual: "A corporalibus vinculis exsolutos expectat mors saeva, non repentinam adferens extinctionem, sed per tractum temporis cruciabilis poenae acerbitate consumens." This strange inversion of the dogma of purgatory was maintained here and there by many of the Fathers. Didymus of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, perhaps Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Gregory of Nazianzum, inclined to this as philanthropoteron kai tou kolazontos epaxios, more charitable and more worthy of the Divine Punisher. But it is admitted that the strong, full, and scarcely checked stream of doctrine after Arnobius set the other way: neither turning aside to the Restitution of Origen nor to the Annihilation of Arnobius. During the Middle Ages a Pantheistic view of the absorption of all good and all evil too in God molded much thought, but it generally, though not always, took the form of the Apocatastasis

3. In modern times the tenet of an eventual annihilation of the perishing soul has been argued out with great ability by individual men, who have offered it to their fellow- Christians as a refuge from the dread doctrine which the Church of God in every age has found in the Bible. The notion has been elaborated with many diversities of hypothesis; and with an enthusiastic determination to make all things bend to it. It is not possible, nor is it necessary, to systematize the shapes which the central idea is in process of assuming: the witnesses to it do not agree, and we must wait till there is at least more semblance of agreement. Meanwhile, a few closing remarks may be made

(1.) It must be admitted that the theologians of this new school have steadfastly asserted some fundamental principles. They hold fast the doctrine of the eternal punishment of sin; and that of the absolute and inherent claims of the Divine righteousness. They do justice, in their manner, to the terrors of the Lord, and vindicate the reality of heavenly wrath against unrepenting and obdurate transgressors. They are among the most determined opponents of the Restitution theory in all its forms: regarding it as their most formidable rival for the suffrages of human mercy and hope. Both these hypotheses set out with the foregone conclusion that every trace of evil must be swept out of the universe: each waiving the consideration that it has existed, and that the same supreme Will which permitted it to be, may, in His eternal wisdom, suffer it to continue under new conditions. But they are mutually intolerant: each on its own side of the cross of redemption thinks the other a despiser of that cross. The two hypotheses of Extinction and Universalism meet with no such thorough refutation as in the writings of their advocates respectively. The Annihilationists, however, pay a tribute to the Divine holiness, and the freedom of the human will, and the essential evil of sin, which their opponents at the other extreme fail to pay

(2.) But this is all that can be said. Their dogma is inconsistent with the Spirit's testimony concerning sin and righteousness and judgment, as these three are illustrated by the gift of Christ to the race. Sin is estimated in the New Testament by the price of its expiation; it is the act of man, generic and individual, possessed of a nature capable of offending an infinite Being. Before it was committed, that same nature was in the eternal counsel assumed by the Son of God to retrieve its consequences on behalf of the whole race: whatever objection may be urged against this high and catholic view, it must be maintained that the infinite value of the offering implied an infinite offence. According to this new view, man at the time of his transgression was only a living soul, not having yet the quickening Spirit, and therefore utterly incapable of such an offence. Christ comes not to save an immortal sinner; but to give a mortal sinner, who had sinned, the offer of immortality. Such a sin of such an Adam as this doctrine has invented is not matter for such an intervention. Nor does this doctrine comport with the Redeemer's finished and accepted righteousness. That was wrought out for the race; and restored as a free gift all that sin had forfeited. Now man, we repeat, did not forfeit the possibility of living for ever; he forfeited that life itself. If death were annihilation, that was reversed for the nature of man by Him who assumed it; if death were the forfeiture of eternal life in God, that was given back to all who should believe. [The free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.1 Hence the judgment, with all its preliminaries, accessories, and results, is equally misapprehended. The resurrection belongs to all men as the fruit of the Atonement, because all men are by the Incarnation vivified by a Head common to all

The mystery of the union between Christ and His Church is based upon a yet deeper, although not a more blessed, mystery, that of His union with mankind. It is the Son of man Who comes in His glory,2 not the Head of the Church; and in the final separation those who are not His He has LOST. The judgment will make the eternal distinction. Here our new dogma is uncertain and faltering. Some of its advocates, holding that death is the dissolution of an integer which does not exist, save as an integer, make the sinner a nonentity until he is recreated to be marred for ever. Others, maintaining the survival of part of the man, make that part of him pay the full penalty of retribution before the resurrection: on the one hand, denying that in the body the deeds done in the body are punished, while, on the other, they think they pay honor to the instant execution of judgment by making the resurrection the crisis of the despatching stroke, justice being at length satisfied. Some, however, protract the ages of suffering indefinitely, until, by some process of disintegration, of which neither Scripture nor philosophy knows anything, their sin has brought forth in eternity the death which it conceived in time. Meanwhile, the dreadful harmony, though not alas the melody, of Scripture, is set to the note that there will be a division of the one race of Adam: the innumerable company of the saved entering into the city brought down to the renewed earth, and the lost, with no mention of their number, WITHOUT the walls, with the devil and his angels.3 1Rom. 5:18; 2Mat. 25:31; 3Rev. 22:15

(3.) Many other objections to this hypothesis of annihilation might be mentioned, which do not affect theology so much as isolated interpretations of Scripture, and the psychological or physiological theories of human nature which it forces or tempts those who accept it to adopt. The student must be constantly on his guard as to both these points; otherwise he will be bewildered by the variety of plausible arguments with which both the heavier and the lighter literature on this subject abound. But, after all, it cannot be too habitually remembered that this solemn question does not depend upon isolated texts, nor upon speculations as to the nature of personality and consciousness. It is connected with the great principles and steadfast tendency of all the teaching of revelation, which everywhere speaks to man as an immortal being, having an eternal destiny, the issues of which are bound up with his use of the means provided of God for his salvation in this probationary state


There always have been, and still are, certain opinions held on this subject which can hardly be called intermediate, since they deny both the views already discussed, but which nevertheless aim to abate the extreme rigor of the Scriptural doctrine of eternal separation from God, They refuse to allow that any moral agent will ever perish out of existence; or that evil will be banished as such from the universe; but they introduce certain mitigations which must stand or fall on their own merits

1. It has been held by some that while the state of the lost is one of hopeless separation from the vision of the Blessed One, it will be also one of absolute submission to and even adoring contemplation of Divine justice. In other words, the final penalty of sin will be an everlasting poena damni, or sense of irreparable loss unrelieved by hope and accepted in despair. Certain indications of that feeling in the description of Dives and Lazarus are continued beyond Hades into the state beyond; and emotions made eternal which prove that the active rebellion of the sinning will is for ever over. This theory does justice to the undeniable truth that the empire of sin will be subverted and every created will brought into subjection. To suppose that lawless rebellion and defiance may continue eternally offends as much against the kingly authority of Christ as universal restoration offends against His priestly work. But it is hard to distinguish between the sentiment of submission to the Divine authority and the germ of holiness: as it has been sometimes described it is utterly inconsistent with eternal punishment. One of the most solemn words towards the close of Scripture says that fear hath torment,1 ho fobos kolasin echi

Fear is not torment in itself, but it hath torment; hath it in the germ, and what the full development is our Savior tells us: these shall go away into eternal punishment2 or kolasin aionion

11 John 4:18; 2Mat. 25:25

2. But, apart from this, the sentiments ascribed to the rich man by our Lord, and the word of Abraham to him, Son, remember! have been fondly dwelt upon, as implying a possible benefit of reflection which must be taken into account so far as Hades, or the Intermediate State, is concerned. A generous interpretation of our Lord's words has been suggested by many most eminent divines, who connect them with those other words concerning a possible forgiveness of all sins save one in the other world. They put the whole strength of a possible repentance in the Remember; and suppose that the rich man's regard for his brethren shows the first stage of it. The step from this is an easy one to converting processes that shall finally reduce the number of the irreparably lost. Others limit much of the severer language of punishment to that intermediate state, leaving for the eternal condition a penalty adapted to a degraded, lowered, and comparatively unconscious existence. This singularly inverts the order of Scripture: assigning the sensuous woe to the state in which the body has no part, and forgetting the express reference to the punishment in the body of deeds done in the body

3. In ancient and in modern times much stress has been laid upon the infinite diversity in punishment and reward, as constituting an important element in our judgment on this solemn subject. It is observed that our Lord Himself, Who has uttered the most clear words of Scripture as to the eternal separation of two classes, has again and again referred to gradations in this eternal estate. There is no more definite prophetic teaching than that which speaks of the few stripes and the many stripes.1 And the charity of the Christian heart is perfectly justified in deducing from them the utmost possible legitimate inferences. But they must be legitimate: the words give no sanction to the idea that heaven and hell will shade off into each other by imperceptible degrees, or that the few stripes are disciplinary for salvation in opposition to the many stripes which are eternally punitive. Had this meaning been in our Lord's thoughts He might most easily have made that meaning clear. Collating such words, however, with others, we are bound to assume that, though the great gulf is fixed now in Hades, the judgment day will prove that the lost estate of some of the lost is more tolerable2 than that of others

1Luke 12:48,47; 2Mat. 10:15

4. But all palliative hypotheses and reasoning have, by a natural necessity, revolved back to the power and goodness of the Redeemer Himself, the last only hope of mortal distress: what reserves of infinite resource may be in Him! In the mystical contemplations of Augustine and other Fathers, and of multitudes since, may be heard occasionally the sublime but very bold idea of an Intercession that may avail to bring back the prodigals whose lost estate is described as apolesthai, even as the prodigal in time was lost and was found.1 How easy is it to form the conception of an effort put forth by the Great Restorer, urged by His own mercy, by the memory of His passion, and the compassionate appeals of His saints glorified, to create at least a place and a state, neither heaven nor hell, for the spoil of eternal justice! But He Who is the Sole Intercessor for man leaves no assurance of such an intercession: indeed He has done all that in Him lay to preclude the thought of any such possible intervention when the mystery of His kingdom is finished

1Luke 15:24


Not only in psalm and figurative prophecy, but in plain teaching also, the new beginning and consummation of man's universe, of an actual heaven and earth, is taught in Scripture

1. Generally, there will be a regeneration of all things, as if there were a certain analogy with the salvation of the individual man: the earth, being justified or released from its condemnation, renewed and regenerate, and sanctified to God and man for ever. The original sentence will be repealed, and there shall be no more curse.1 The earth will be in the fullest sense sanctified; and then it will be said pre-eminently: every creature of God is good.2 So our Lord speaks of the general palingenesía, or new birth, in a designedly indeterminate way: in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory.3 That is first in the present time: He now sits on that throne, and the Apostles now judge the twelve tribes of Israel. But it is also in the future. The same may be said of the times of restoration of all things.4 As man is to rise again, so in a certain sense will the scene of his history. When the heavens and earth are said to pass away and there was found no place for them,5 this must not only be harmonized with other words, as a vesture shall Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed,6 but also with the Apocalyptic scenes that follow, which expressly declare: and I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.6 This is evidently the new Genesis, with express reference to the former, no longer, as the prophet Isaiah predicted, to be remembered, nor come into mind.7

 1Rev. 22:3; 21 Tim.4:4; 3Mat.19:28; 4Acts 3:21; 5Rev. 20:11; 6Heb. 1:12; 7Isa. 65:17

2. Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. If this prediction refers to the physical world, the glowing descriptions that follow must also depict in earthly strains the consummate transformations of the final kingdom. St. Peter says: We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.1 In the Apocalypse heaven and earth are made one: I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.2 Hence what the present heaven and earth are to our probationary estate the future will be to our eternal and fixed state: not heaven to be ascended to from earth; but the Lord will make BOTH ONE. The highest heaven, like eternity, will be for ever unknown to man. God alone inhabiteth both. Our heaven will be our earth, and our earth heaven: the tabernacle of God is with men,3 the Incarnate Son dwelling in redeemed mankind as a temple, and redeemed mankind dwelling in Him; but both on a transfigured earth

12 Pet.3:13; 2Rev. 21:2; 3Rev. 21:3

3. This is all that we learn from the Bible. It is supposed by many that St. Paul introduces into the heart of his most theological Epistle, into one of the most didactic portions of the New Testament, a poetical reference to the entire ktisis as longing for and finally sharing in the glorious liberty of the children of God1 at the Adoption. And this would seem to imply, what the Scripture never asserts, that the irrational creature was subjected through man's sin to death, and will share in his redemption. But, unless it can be proved that the ktisis here is not groaning man as a creature, or heathenism subjected to vanity, this passage has no dogmatic force. Nor is such an extension of the great expectation necessary. When the Apocalypse says that there was no move sea,2 and that for the present phenomenal heaven and earth there was found no place,3 it teaches us to interpret the whole as meaning no more than that the scene and sphere of human development will undergo a corresponding change. As man's body will be fashioned after our Lord's glorious body, so the earth will be fashioned after the similitude of heaven. Men will not therefore be in every sense isaggeloi

1Rom. 8:21; 2Rev. 21:1; 3Rev. 20:11

4. All this will take place through the power of Christ, by the agency of fire. But whatever agency the material fire may exert, the change upon our earth will not be effected by material fire alone. The result will be as utterly beyond any conception we now have as the spiritual body of Christ exalted in heaven. Withal it must be remembered that it is only the earth as the scene of redemption that will undergo this change. It is the earth that being overflowed with water perished1 which is reserved unto fire. In the vast greatness of the realms of God and His Christ we and our whole economy are but as the mote in the sunbeam; and it is an error to involve the entire universe in this consummation. Science may trace a connection between every atom of matter and the whole compass of material nature, and refuse to admit the possibility of the abstraction of our world from the sum of things. But we are now in a region in which physical knowledge is inarticulate or without authority; and, moreover, its own theories have nothing to say against the possible extinction of worlds. However, as the declaration, He made the stars also,2 at the beginning, refers only to the phenomenal relation of the universe to our earth, so, at the close, there was found no place for them3 refers only to the sphere of human redemption

12 Pet. 3:12; 2Gen. 1:16; 3Rev.20:11

5. As to the renovation of the earth two opposite errors are to be observed, with many variations on them. One is that of a too spiritual view, which makes the material universe, like the idols, nothing in the world, and man's ethereal vehicle literally a spiritual body

But we have no reason to think that anything made by God is destroyed: in this sense also The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.1 Worlds are known to be undergoing changes which to us are equivalent to disappearance; and creation and glorification may be henceforward an everlasting law. But the opposite is that of a too literal restoration. This way tends much Lutheran speculation, that makes corporeity the law and end of existence: the Gospel is supposed literally to be preached to every creature;2 the Eucharist to be the sustentation of both body and soul; the Holy Ghost as much the physical as the spiritual Lifegiver; and the redemption of Christ a restoration of all created nature, here the exact opposite of ancient Gnosticism. From this the transition is easy to a literal resurrection of all animated existence. Modern, like ancient, Millenarianism adopts this theory, so far as concerns the intermediate kingdom of Christ; and this is one of its many extreme difficulties

1Rom. 9:29; 2Mark 16:15


The consummation of all consummations as it respects the human race is the entrance of the redeemed into eternal life. Viewed as to God this is the realization of His purpose with regard to mankind in the Incarnate Son. As to Christ it is His presentation of Himself, one with His own, to the eternal Father. Regarded with reference to the heavenly world it is the reconciliation of all the inhabitants of heaven and the race of man: the fellowship being now eternal and complete. As to the whole Church it is the sealing ratification of its oneness with its Head, for His possession and His service. As to the individuals of that Church it is the perfection of their own nature in itself and in that union with the Triune God which is eternal blessedness

I. What in human terms we call the Divine idea of humanity we must also in human terms speak of as not having been realized; precisely in the same sense, and in no other, as that in which it is said: It repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth.1 But the idea not fulfilled in the first Adam has been realized in the Second Adam. He, therefore, the spiritual Father and Head of the new humanity, will represent the new creation unto God, and present this new and better mankind faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.2 The Adam of Paradise will not be the father of this race, but only the first among many brethren, sons of God through Christ. The human family will be added to the vast multitude of other aggregate families: with the distinction of a relation to God— of Whom every family in heaven and earth is named3in the Eternal Son unshared by any other

1Gen. 6:6; 2Jude 24; 3Eph. 3:15

II. Hence, there are some indications that the end of human history will be the restoration of harmony to the universe; as if man will then at length, perfectly redeemed, join with the other orders of intelligent creatures in the worshipping service of the eternal temple: their harmony, without human voices, not being counted perfect. But this does not sanction the speculative notion that the number of the saved from the earth will precisely fill up the vacancy caused by the fall of those who kept not their first estate. This speculation of the Middle Ages introduces a Predestinarian element into the final consummation which the Scripture-does not warrant. Nor does the testimony of Jesus by the Spirit of prophecy sanction the thought that the consummation will unite all spirits with all men in the blessedness of union in God. Discord will be suppressed, but not in that way. The reconciliation of which St. Paul speaks is of heaven and earth: it does not couple hell. And the union is effected as the result of the Atonement by the sacrifice of Jesus, which was offered in human nature and in human nature alone

III. The consummation will be the perfection of the mystical body, the company of the Preserved in Jesus Christ. This Church of the redeemed will be, in eternal union with Christ, one with the Holy Trinity. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with mm, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. But what is this tabernacle? I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.1 Reserving this last symbol, we must fix our thought upon the former; the glorified Church is the Tabernacle or Temple of God: the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.2 But it will be specially one with Immanuel, God with us. The last words concerning it drop the name church, inasmuch as that carries with it a suggestion of a larger mass out of which it is called. When the process is over, the Church, or ekkleesia, shall lose its name. It will be the Bride of Christ: a term often prepared for in earlier Scripture, but reserved for the last revelation, to intimate the unity of the corporate body of the elect, its everlasting and most intimate union with Christ, and the perfect love which He will bestow on it for ever. It will be His Kingdom also: we shall reign for ever and ever.3 This intimates, not that the Savior will rule over His Church, or through His Church rule over the universe of other worlds, but that the fellowship of the redeemed and glorified will be His servants to serve Him for ever. That holy company will be a priesthood also: to present eternal worship, not through Christ, but in Him and with Him

Priests eternally as worshippers, they will be kings for ever as servants. Their service will be no longer limited and partial. It will have the universe as its sphere; and in its eternal activity, and infinite variety, will surpass every conception that can be formed of it here

Without the tribulation, and without the patience, of the kingdom in Jesus4save peradventure in sympathy with other worlds where patience may still share with love the honor of being the royal law—they will be for ever its ministering servants

1Rev. 21:2,3; 2Eph. 1:23; 3Rev. 22:5; 4Rev. 1:9

IV. The consummation will not, however, merge the individual in the body corporate, any more than the body corporate will be merged in God. Eternal blessedness will be the portion of every soul in the innumerable company of the redeemed: that individual blessedness will be the perfection of the created nature of man, which, implying its deliverance from all evil, rests not short of its union with God, the Beatific Vision, and the fullness of the spirit's satisfaction in the creaturely reflection of the Divine image

1. Negatively, eternal life will be in its final issues the absolute and perfect removal of every evil: that is to say, of the results of sin and the possibility of sinning. Every trace of this sojourner for a night will be effaced from body and soul and spirit: a consummation reserved for the heavenly state. And this negative fruition of rest and deliverance is itself the positive perfection of man according to the primitive constitution of human nature

From the moment when the dust of the earth yielded to the Finger of God the material for the creation of its most perfect product, the human personality has never yet, save in Jesus, seen its highest estate: nor in Jesus upon earth. It will remain for heaven to blot out the last remembrances of the Fall. On the earth the sanctified carry with them the results of past transgressions to the grave; in the intermediate world, though they see the King in His beauty1 with the eyes of the disembodied spirit, their bodily eyes see corruption.2 Only on admission into heaven will the Redeemer save the whole man: at His second coming shall He appear the second time without sin. UNTO SALVATION:3 unto that residuary salvation which will change the firstfruits of the Spirit4 into full redemption

The temporal state with all its restrictions and infirmities will give place to an eternal from which these shall have vanished for ever. But salvation at the best is a negative term. We are lost, and it is our dignity to be capable of being conscious that we are lost, in the thought of our entering into an eternal state. The finite will be received into the bosom of infinity; time will be taken up into the bosom of eternity. The most blessed negative result of this will be that change or progression will be only and absolutely upward and forward. Development will continue, but without the possibility of lapse into evil: separation from God, which is sin, will be impossible for ever

1Isa. 33:17; 2Psa. 49:9; 3Heb. 9:28; 4Rom. 8:23

2. But all this is only negative. There are some positive terms by which, hope is taught to define without definition its conception of eternal life. They rise in a sacred gradation from the vision of God to union with Him and the perfect reflection of His image in Christ Jesus for ever. This gradation marks the stages of the religious life on earth; but it will be perfected in the eternal state

(1.) The glorified saint will be admitted to the direct, intuitive VISION OF GOD, of the Triune God as revealed in Christ, the eternal Mediator of that vision. In this life we have the same vision, but yet We walk by faith, not by sight:1 these words describe the present estate of Christians, as opposed to that in which we shall be present with the Lord.2 St

John also tells us, when despairing of any other thing to say, that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.3 What the glorified Redeemer is now we know not: for in this world we see through a glass darkly.4 St.. Paul makes himself a representative of every saint in probation, even the most privileged, when he says: Now I know in part: but then shall I know even as also I am known.5 The vision of Christ is vouchsafed to faith now; but faith sees Him only as in- a mirror: receiving as in a glass the glory of the Lord.6 With His own face unveiled, and to the direct intuition of our unveiled faces, He cannot reveal Himself: that will be the prerogative of heaven. He is pleased indeed to use the same word to express our vision of Him here, emfanisoo autoo emauton, and the vision of Him in heaven emfanistheénai toó prosoópoo toú Theoú but the same vision will be seen by very different eyes. Whatever meaning the promise has for the present, its fullest meaning is for the future: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.7 This is the BEATIFIC VISION of the Father in the Son of God in Christ, which the contemplation of faith now prepares for and longs for: no other than, the fulfillment of the Saviour's request: that they may behold My glory.8

 12 Cor. 5:7,8; 21 John 3:2; 31 Cor. 13:12; 42 Cor. 3:18; 5John 19:21; 6Heb. 9:24; 7Mat. 5:8; 8John 17:24

(2.) This vision implies a distinct personality, which will never be lost in God. But in a certain sense it must be lost in God, for the Saviour's last prayer, which was really His last promise, was that they all may be one; as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.1 Not content with this, He proceeded and said: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in One. This union with God is, as we read, begun on earth: that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.2 Of such union as this there is no analogy on earth, nor among created things: it has its type in the Holy Trinity itself

1John 17:21; 2John 17:23

(3.) This is Eternal BLESSEDNESS: the term which Christian theology uses to express the utmost bliss of which the created spirit is capable in the vision and enjoyment of God, and in the pure, undimmed reflection of His image. Perfectly reflecting the image of the Eternal Image of the Father, we shall have reached our truest and fullest personal consummation: eita to telos, the spirit of man finds its rest in Him who is the principle and beginning of its life, being now the glorified realization of what Adam was in Paradise, with such a superadded union with the Son of God as Adam had not. Here is the final issue of the Redeemer's work of God in the soul of man: His own purity, the vision of God in Him, and perfect blessedness. Once more, this is but the consummation of what is begun on earth. In the spiritual vision of Himself, He enables us to purify our souls, even as He is pure,1 for we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.2 And all who are thus transformed by grace shall be translated into the glory beyond. In our glorified bodies our glorified spirits will see God, and in that vision enjoy the eternal benediction of the pure in heart: we shall know that absolute blessedness to bestow which was the final end of the whole work of the Redeemer on earth: God, having raised up His Servant, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.3

11 John 3:3; 22 Cor. 2:18; 3Acts 3:26


1Rom. 16:27