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when the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, as the glorified bodies in the transfiguration, it was said (chap. xii. 4, 9, 10), “Shut up the words, and seal the book," till “the knowledge of it shall be increased:” the words are closed and sealed up till the time of the end, when “the wise shall understand.”
Whether the glorious epiphany be not also declared by Daniel, though he understood it not; and whether this appearance be not also conjoined immediately with the kingdom of God, then to be established on earth; shall now be considered, by reference to the passages.
It appears that a comprehensive vision was vouchsafed to him of all the kingdoms of the world, from the first king of kings to the last. (Comp. Dan. ii. 36, and Rev. xix. 16.) Every revolution of universal empire was set before him, from the kingdom of Babylon to the kingdom of God. The whole body politic was represented by the parts of a body, natural in figure, but composed of various materials. After so much discussion, and so general a consent upon the point, it is needless to shew in detail the application of the several parts. We are concerned at present only with the feet and toes of the image, composed of iron and clay; and these will be allowed to represent the Roman Empire in its last divided state, partly strong as iron, partly weak as clay, but divided into ten kingdoms at least. "In the days of these kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, it shall break in pieces, and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel ii. 44.)
The means by which this universal revolution is produced, are supernatural. “A stone was cut out without hunds, which smote the image upon the feet of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Verses 34, 35.)
Without hands, is a Scriptural expression for that which is spiritual; as, the "circumcision not made with hands," or the “building of God, an house not made with hands."
The stone smites the image on the feet, or last divided state of the Roman Empire, and breaks the rest of the image in pieces. It may be doubted, whether this figure can properly represent the first advent of our Lord, as the Empire was not then in its divided state; but it seems to be referred by Christ himself to the judgments attending or preceding his second appearance. “The stone which the builders rejected, is become the head of the corner. Whosoever shall fall upon that stone
shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. (Luke xx. 17, 18.)
In the corresponding passage (Matt. xxi. 43), the transfer of the kingdom of God from the Jews to the Gentiles is introduced: and thus it should seem, that when the Gentile kingdoms are to end, the stone will fall upon them, and become itself the universal kingdom, the kingdom of the mountain filling the whole earth. In the discourse on Mount Olivet, our Lord tells his disciples, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," and “then (after other signs) shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory.” (Luke xxi. . 27.) “When ye see these things begin to come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” This, then, is the “glorious appearance and kingdom" yet to come; for the times of the Gentiles continue, and the ten kingdoms of the image yet exist.
Nor is this all: in the viith chapter of Daniel the “appearance and kingdom” still more distinctly point to the second glorious epiphany. The Roman Empire is there designated by a beast with ten horns, in the midst of which a little horn arises, speaking great words. The beast is slain; his body destroyed and given to the flame; and then follows, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven.” St. Paul says, "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven,” (1 Thess. iv. 16); but not till svthat Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (2 Thess. ii. 8.)
St. John says, when the “Word of God” is revealed under the title of "King of kings,” the beast and the false prophet are both cast alive into a lake of fire. Let the devout inquire into what is noted in the Scripture of truth-let them compare the description of the Ancient of Days, in Daniel vii. 9, 10, 13, 14, with that of the Son of Man, in Rev. i. 13-15, and see if they can arrive at any other conclusion, than that the same glorious epiphany is represented in both; in which the Son of Man is revealed in the glory of his Father, as a priest on a throne; when the God of heaven sets up the kingdom which is given to the Son of Man.
If any further confirmation be wanting, the Scriptures afford it. It is not, perhaps, too much to suppose, that our Lord (who gives so decided a testimony to Daniel) referred to this prophecy, in answer to Caiaphas: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matt. xxvi. 64.) When he was trans
figured, a cloud overshadowed him; when he ascended, “a cloud received him:" to remove all doubt upon the subject, two special witnesses to the fact declared, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts i. 11.)
Therefore we, who know the living and true God, "looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearance,” will wait for his Son from heaven; remembering his own admonition, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke xxi.)
“Behold! He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
II. THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
The doctrine of the resurrection of the body seems to have been little understood till “the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” That holy men of old had some intimations of this glorious truth, is evident from the confidence of Job, whose expectation of seeing his Redeemer stand at the latter day upon the earth, after the destruction of his own body by worms, yet remains to be realized at the second advent. Many passages of the Psalms are referable to the subject; and our Lord's observations to the Sadducees, who said, “there is no resurrection," are sufficient to shew, that under the old dispensation some light was vouchsafed concerning it: “As touching the dead, that they rise,” &c. (Mark xii. 26, 27.)
The Pharisees appear to have had some apprehensions (beyond their suspicion of the disciples), from their caution to make sure the sepulchre: they had noticed and remembered, that “that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.” But the blindness and incredulity of the disciples themselves is remarkable. When Peter and John came to the sepulchre, “as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Thomas doubted the fact, and required the evidence of his' senses. The two disciples at Emmaus were "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken." When the women "returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the apostles, their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them
"He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart,
because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."
If so much doubt and unbelief prevailed among the disciples of our Lord concerning his own resurrection, it is not surprising that a similar spirit should have been manifested in the latter ages of the church with respect to the resurrection of the members of his spiritual body. Notwithstanding the additional light which the Epistles of St. Paul have cast on the general testimony of the sacred record; notwithstanding the clue of interpretation given in the Revelation of Jesus Christ," for the solution of corresponding passages in either Testament; the subject yet remains obscure and intricate to the majority of professed and even devout believers. The time, and nature, and order of this great event, are, for the most part, merged in generalities, or confounded with the popular idea of the Last Judgment; and it is possible that many things may be advanced on these heads, on good and solid foundation, which may still appear as idle tales to many who receive the Scriptures, and yet are slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Many, like Martha, would say of a departed brother, “I know that he shall rise again at the last day," who know not the hour and “power of that resurrection,” which is peculiar to those only who are quickened together with Christ, as “bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh," "very members incorporate in his mystical body."
A few in all ages have followed the beloved John from Calvary to Patmos, and by faith have seen the glory of God in that ulterior dispensation, most fully revealed to him who first believed in the resurrection of his Lord. They have meditated with delightful anticipation over the sepulchre of “the First Begotten from the dead;" and considering that the “graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went unto the holy city and appeared unto many,” they have not been backward to believe or to declare the counsel of God, as spoken by the prophets, concerning “the whole house of Israel.” It is enough for them that it is written, "Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you unto the land of Israel.” (Ézek. xxxvii. 12.) These words are too specific to admit of à merely figurative application, and the context abundantly proves their reference to a local and yet future dispensation.“The resurrection of the just” (Luke xiv. 14); «The resurrection of life” (John v. 29); “A better resurrection” (Heb. xi. 35); “The first resurrection” (Rev. xx. 5), appear to be terms declaratory of some remarkable distinctions to be put
between the evil and the good, not only as to their final sentence of condemnation or acquittal, but as to the time and circumstances of the resuscitation of their bodies.
“The children of God” are so named by our Lord, when speaking on the subject (Luke xx. 36), “being the children of the resurrection;" and if this were intended solely of the fact that their bodies shall be raised in common with the rest of the dead,” it would seem no such distinguishing title as it is made in that passage, with reference, moreover, to a period of time and an age of the world (as will be shewn afterwards) during which the rest of the dead are not restored to life at all. If there be no such distinction as implied above, what construction is to be put upon the earnest desire of St. Paul, “if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead?” (Phil. iii. 11.) The spiritual resurrection of the soul by faith, he had already attained to; he was in this sense "risen with Christ:” and no peculiar means were requisite to certify the resurrection of his own body, for he knew, from his Master's assurance, that “ALL who are in their graves should come forth.” He who of old "was called in question touching the resurrection of the dead,” well knew that "in Christ all shall be made alive;" but he was taught to give to each a gradation and priority of rank and succession: “Christ the first-fruits" (he should be the first that should rise from the dead, Acts xxvi. 23); "afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Cor. xv. 23). He was willing to be "planted in the likeness of his death, that he might be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom. vi. 5.) He desired to "suffer with Christ, that he might be glorified together with him” (Rom. viii. 17); to be made “conformable to his death, that he might attain to a resurrection,” which he seems to distinguish from any other by a word never applied to the general resurrection, or to that of the unjust-it seems to express a rising up out of the mass of the dead. The word is sarasati, while the usual word,
in the passage referred to (Phil. iii. 10), is used of Christ's own resurrection. It is the only place where it occurs, and is rendered by Schleusner, "ut consequar aliquando beatem é mortuis resurrectionem.” Thus it appears that the first resurrection is that of the Martyrs, who have suffered for the truth, or otherwise borne a faithful testimony. (Rev. xx. 4, and xi. 18.) It is coincident with the coming and kingdom of Christ, when the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints." (Zech. xiv.) At the opening of the fourth seal, power is given to death and hell, “to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with the beasts of the earth." Under the fifth seal, they "that were slain for the word of God, and for the