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Interpreting the Scriptures-Eschatology PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sylvester Hassell   


The Gospel Messenger—October, 1894
 
I examine, in this article, the perversions that have gained currency, among a few Primitive Baptists, during the last fifty years, in regard to the prophecies of the close of the present dispensation--denying THE SECOND PERSONAL COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO THIS WORLD, THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODIES OF ALL THE DEAD, THE GENERAL JUDGMENT, THE CONFLAGRATION AND RENOVATION OF THE WORLD, THE EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED IN HELL, AND THE EVERLASTING BLESSEDNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS IN HEAVEN. It would require a volume to do this vast and interesting subject anything like justice; but I will try to condense, in a single article, what I think most necessary to say about it.

The heathens, of course, believe in neither the First nor the Second Coming of Christ; all the heathens but the Egyptians denied the Resurrection of the Bodies of the Dead; only Zoroaster (1000 B. C.), among the heathens, taught that there would be a General Judgment, which he thought would be 3,000 years after his time (that is, 2000 A. D.); the most of the heathens seem to have had traditions that the world had once been destroyed by water, and would at last be destroyed by fire, and the Greek Stoics held that, after this destruction, the world would be made new and beautiful; the heathens almost universally believed that, after death, the good would be rewarded, and the bad would be punished, according to their deserts. Among the ancient Jews, the Sadducees denied the Resurrection, and indeed the very existence of angels or spirits (Acts xxiii. 8). In the apostolic church, Hymeneus and Philetus said that the Resurrection was past already, making it spiritual only, and not literal, thus really denying the Resurrection of the body, and overthrowing the faith of some (2 Tim. ii. 16-18). And so the ancient Gnostics, and Manichaeans, and Alexandrian philosophers, and Schoolmen, and Mystics, and modern Socinians, Quakers, Swedenborgians, Shakers, Unitarians, Universalists, and Rationalists allegorize or spiritualize away the most of the plain Scripture prophecies of the tremendous events that are to accompany the Second Personal Coming of Christ, making these prophecies simply figurative of present Christian experience, belittling and belying the word of God, and enveloping all the future in an impenetrable cloud. This was the cunning and successful method of Satan with our first parents in the Garden of Eden (Gen. iii); and against this vain, deceitful, and ruinous philosophy, which, under the pretense of glorifying, really fabulized the Scriptures, we are solemnly warned by the Apostle Paul (2 Cor. xi. 3, 13-15; Colos. ii. 8). These excessive and false spiritualizations of the Scriptures, DENYING THEIR LITERAL TRUTH, have in the past led the way to open infidelity, and so will they continue to do--for "that which hath been is that which shall be" (Eccles. i. 9). Consistent Parkerites, or Two-Seed Baptists, deny the Second Personal Coming of Christ to the world, the Resurrection of the Body, the General Judgment, and the Conflagration and Renovation of the world; and some Primitive Baptists (I think less than a thousand) seem to follow them in one or more of these errors, and--what is even far more serious--two or three of our writers seem to deny all Bible proof of any Hell after death, and almost all Bible proof of any Heaven after death, applying such Scriptures as Psalms ix. 17, Mal. iv. 1, Matt. x. 28, xxv. 41, 46, Mark ix. 42-48, Luke xvi. 22, 23, Rev. xiv. 10, 11, and John xiv 2, 3, xvii, 24, 2 Cor. v. 1, Rev. xxi., xxii., to the experience of the people of God in the present life, and either flatly denying or ignoring their reference to any thing beyond the grave!!! The future eternity is thus evaporated out of the Scriptures; the threatenings and promises of God are equally falsified; and the fears and the hopes of the human race in regard to the Everlasting Hereafter are dissipated in idle dreams!!! A Hell after death is thus utterly done away with; our salvation from its horrors by the Son and Spirit of God amounts to nothing; and only about two verses in the Bible (Psalm xvii. 15 and 1 John iii. 2) are left to prove a Heaven after death, and the very same system of philosophizing, misnamed spiritualizing, denying, as it does, the Second Personal Coming of Christ, can equally eviscerate these two Scriptures of all their eternal meaning! Behold the methods and results of German Rationalism imparted into Primitive Baptist theology! Passages of God's word that have been used by the Holy Ghost hundreds and almost thousands of years to alarm quickened sinners with the fear of everlasting punishment, and to comfort afflicted Saints with the hope of everlasting blessedness, have, in the last few years, been discovered by these wise brethren to have no reference to eternal things! To my mind, this discovery makes a new Bible and a new Religion; and though every other human being on earth should receive such a falsification of eternal truth, I hope to be kept by Divine grace from so doing. These momentous passages of God's word were not meant to deceive us; "let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom. iii. 4).

I now repeat, with the strongest emphasis, quotations that I have already made, in these papers, from three of the most able, gracious, and useful servants of God in modern times, who, whatever other errors they fell into, were certainly not mistaken in these declarations. Martin Luther says: "When I was a monk, I allegorized everything; but now I have given up all allegorizing, and my first and best art is to explain the Scriptures according to the simple sense; for it is in the literal sense that power, doctrine, and art reside." John Calvin says: "The true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning, by which we ought resolutely to abide; the licentious system of the allegorists is undoubtedly a contrivance of Satan to undermine the authority of Scripture, and to take away from the reading of it the true advantage." And C. H. Spurgeon says: "The Bible is not a compilation of cleaver allegories or instructive poetical traditions; it teaches literal facts, and reveals tremendous realities. It will be an ill day for the church if the pulpit should ever appear to indorse the skeptical hypothesis that Holy Scripture is but the record of a refined mythology, in which globules of truth are dissolved in seas of poetic and imaginary detail." And he adds: "Even in the days of the Apostles there was a tendency to adulterate, spiritualize, and philosophize the simple, old-fashioned gospel, to regard facts as mysteries or parables, and to labor to find a spiritual meaning in them till they went so far as to deny them as actual facts. Seeking a recondite meaning, they overlooked the fact itself, losing the substance in a foolish preference for the shadow. While God set before them glorious events which fill Heaven with amazement, they showed their foolish wisdom by accepting the plain historical facts as myths to be interpreted or riddles to be solved. He who believed as a little child was pushed aside as a fool, that the disputer and the scribe might come in to mystify simplicity, and hide the light of truth. They spirited away the incarnation and the resurrection, making them mean something very deep and mystical, and in the process they took away the actual facts altogether. Among men there is still a craving after new meanings, refinements upon old doctrines, and spiritualizations of literal facts. They tear out the bowels of the truth, and seek to palm off upon us in its stead the dead carcass stuffed with theories and speculations." Two-Seed Baptists, and the few Primitive Baptists who but follow them in these respects, ruinously apply this method of false allegorizing or spiritualizing, not only to the incarnation and resurrection of Christ, but to His Second Personal Coming with all its tremendous and eternal concomitants. The pretended and pretentious system of interpreting the Scriptures that limits unfulfilled prophecy to the present life, undermines the very foundation of the Christian Religion.

As I have shown in a former article, the prophecies of Scripture have the following fulfillments: those given before the birth of Christ, that is, in the Old Testament: 1. A primary literal or historical fulfillment (type); 2. A secondary literal or historical fulfillment at the First Personal Coming of Christ (preliminary temporal antitype); 3. A tertiary literal or historical fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, pre-eminently the Day of Judgment (final eternal antitype); 4. A manifold providential or spiritual application in Christ's visitation, during the present life, of judgment or mercy upon individuals. Those given after the birth of Christ, that is, in the New Testament: 1. A primary literal or historical fulfillment (type); 2. A secondary literal or historical fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, preeminently the Day of Judgment (final eternal antitype); 3. A manifold providential or spiritual application in Christ's visitation, during the present life, of judgment or mercy upon individuals. By far the most important of these fulfillments is that mentioned 3d for the Old Testament and 2d for the New Testament prophecies--the literal or historical fulfillment, which is the true, fullest, highest, eternal spiritual fulfillment, at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, pre-eminently the Day of Judgment (the final eternal antitype). All the other fulfillments are but fleeting shadows of time, while this is the enduring reality of eternity! And this is the fulfillment which, above all others, rationalistic philosophy, in ancient and modern times, outside and inside the Primitive Baptist Church, presumes to deny or ignore! But the Holy Ghost repeats to-day in the hearts of the people of God the impassioned exclamation of the Apostle Paul: "IF IN THIS LIFE ONLY WE HAVE HOPE IN CHRIST, WE ARE OF ALL MEN MOST MISERABLE!"--1 Cor. xv. 19. And the Apostle declares that the essence of the Christian hope is in the Second Coming of Christ to raise us from the dead, and to make us like Him in soul and body, and then for us to be with him forever (1 Cor. xv. 22, 23, 42-57; 1 Thess. iv. 13-18; Heb. ix. 27, 28.

Just as the hundred Old Testament prophecies of the first advent of Christ were literally fulfilled at His First Personal (Priestly) Coming, so shall the hundred Old and New Testament prophecies of the second advent of Christ be literally fulfilled at His Second Personal (Kingly) Coming. To warn and restrain the wicked, and to comfort and encourage the afflicted people of God, the Holy Ghost, all through the New Testament, pointed the minds of men, in the first century of the Christian Era, to that most solemn and momentous of all events after the earthly mediation of Christ--His Second and Final Personal Coming to this world (Matt. vi. 10, 19-21; vii. 21-27; xi. 20-24; xxiv. 42, 44; xxv.; Mark xiii. 32-37; Luke vi. 46-49; ix. 25, 26; x. 13, 14; xii. 8, 9, 32-40; xxi. 28, 34-36; John v. 28, 29; xiv. 1-3; xvi. 8; xvii. 24; Acts ii. 19, 20; iii. 20, 21; xvii. 30, 31; xxiv. 25; Rom. ii. 5-16; xiii. 11-14; 1 Cor. xv. 19-58; 2 Cor. iv. 16-18; v. 1-11; Gal. vi. 7-10; Eph. i. 10-14; ii. 7; iv. 30; Philip. iii. 14, 20, 21; Colos. i. 5, 27-29; iii. 1-25; 1 Thess. iv. 13-18; v. 1-11; 2 Thess. i. 4-10; iii. 5; 1 Tim. vi. 13-19; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8; Tit. ii. 11-15; Heb. i. 10, 12; iv. 11; vi. 2, 11, 17-20; ix. 27, 28; x. 23-25; xi. 10, 13-16; xiii. 14; Jas. i. 12; ii. 5; v. 7-11; 1 Pet. i. 3-9, 17; iv. 1-13; v. 1-11; ii. 5-12; 2 Pet. iii. 3-18; 1 John iii. 2; iv. 17; Jude 14, 15-24; Rev. i. 7; vi. 12-17; vii; xi. 18; xvi. 15; xix. 7-9, 20; xx. 10-15; xxi.; xxii.; the two ordinances of the Church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, point back to His First, and forward to His Second Coming, Rom. vi. 3-6; 1 Cor. xi. 26); and now, when we are 1,800 years nearer to that stupendous event, and when, as at Christ's First Personal Coming, the most intelligent and devout minds on earth are looking for His speedy Second Personal Coming, it is certainly not His Spirit, but an opposite and evil spirit, a spirit of darkness and slumber, that wilfully beclouds and denies these clear prophecies of the Second Personal Bodily Appearing of Christ on earth, to raise the dead, and judge the world, and assign all the children of Adam their everlasting award (2 Pet. iii. 3-7; Matt. xxv. 5, 31-46; 1 Thess. v. 4). His righteous and awful judgments in the flood of waters upon the wicked antediluvian world, and in the rain of fire and brimstone upon the corrupt cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the horrors of war, famine, pestilence, and fire visited upon the ungodly Jews during the siege and at the destruction of Jerusalem, were but feeble types of the inconceivable terrors of the final judgment and destruction of this sin-polluted world, at His Second Personal Coming. Two words are used in the New Testament to denote the Second Coming of Christ to the world--Epiphaneia (epiphany), meaning His visible appearance; and Parousia, meaning His personal presence. Neither of these words is ever used by the Holy Ghost to denote His spiritual appearance, but both are always used to denote His literal bodily appearance or presence. Epiphaneia occurs six times, with this meaning: 1 Tim. vi. 14; 2 Tim. i. 10; iv. 1, 8; Tit. ii. 13; 2 Thess. ii. 3; in 2 Tim. i. 10, the reference is to Christ's First Bodily Appearance in the world, which we know was literal and personal; and in the five other passages the reference is to His Second Bodily Appearance in the world, which we may thus know will be just as literal and Personal. Parousia occurs twenty-four times, and is used seven times of the bodily presence of human beings (1 Cor. xvi. 17; 2 Cor. vii. 6, 7; x. 10; Philip. i. 26; ii. 12; 2 Thess ii. 9), and it is used seventeen times of the Second Literal Personal Bodily Coming of Christ to the world (Matt. xxiv. 3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor. xv. 23; 1 Thess ii. 9; iii. 13; iv. 15; v. 23; 2 Thess ii. 1, 8; Jas. v. 7, 8; 2 Pet. i. 16; iii. 4, 12; 1 John ii. 28). That the Second Personal Coming of Christ to this world will be audible and visible to every human being is perfectly certain from the following Scriptures: John v. 28; 1 Thess. iv. 16; Matt. xxv. 31-46; xxvi. 64; Acts i. 11; 2 Thess. i. 7-10; ii. 8; Rev. 1. 7; vi. 15-17.
After the preaching of the gospel among all nations, and the conversion perhaps of most of the Jews and many of the Gentiles, with a great increase of false religious professions, evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, followed by great tribulations and afflictions, and the rise of many false Christs and false prophets, a great personal Anti-christ, called the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, the Second Beast, the False Prophet, and Mystical Babylon, identified with Rome, will be developed, working lying miracles, deceiving all but the elect, getting universal political and ecclesiastical power, deifying himself, and killing those who refuse to worship him or his idol, and prohibiting all who refuse to receive his mark from buying or selling, and producing almost universal apostasy or a falling away from the profession of Christ; and then perhaps Enoch and Elijah will re-appear as God's witnesses on earth, and prophesy the imminence of the last judgment, and will work miracles of Divine wrath upon the wicked, and will suffer martyrdom, and rise from the dead, and ascend, in the sight of the human race, to Heaven; and then there will be, over the whole world, a supernatural darkening and agitation of the sun and moon, and a falling of the stars (perhaps either meteors or planets or asteroids), and convulsion of the earth, and a roaring of the ocean, and distress and perplexity of nations; and then, flashing like lightning out of the east, around the world, the Sign of the Son of man, probably the dazzling Shekinah of the Divine Presence, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge of quick and dead, as He comes to vindicate the Divine righteousness in the everlasting destiny of every human being, will descend from heaven in awful majesty, amid clouds charged with flaming fire, with all His holy angels, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God, and He will change the living and raise the dead, and separate the elect from the non-elect, the righteous from the wicked, and, penetrating with His omniscient gaze the secrets of every heart and life, and manifesting them to every other intelligent creature, He will welcome His humble and loving people, in their glorified bodies and spirits, to the heavenly inheritance prepared for them by His Father before the foundation of he world, and He will consign His proud and unloving enemies, in their reunited bodies and souls, to the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels (Eccles. xii. 14; Dan. vii.; viii.; xii.; Zech. xiv.; Mal. iii. 16-18; iv.; Matt. v. 15-27; x. 26; xi. 22, 24; xxiv.; xxv.; Mark xiii.; Luke xxi.; Acts xvii. 31; Rom. ii. 16; xi.; xiv. 9-12; 2 Cor. v. 10; Gal. v. 19-24; 1 Thess. i. 3, 4; iv. 13-18; 2 Thess. i.; ii.; 2 Tim. iii.; iv.; Heb. vi. 2; ix. 27, 28; Rev. i. 7; vi.; vii.; xi.-xxii).

The exact day and hour, or even year, of the Second Personal Coming of Christ are known only to the Father; but the Scriptures, illuminated by the Spirit and providence of God, give the thoughtful believer some idea of the general period (Mark xxiii. 32; Dan. ix. 2; xii. 4, 9, 19; Matt. xxiv. 14; Rev. xiv. 6, 7), just as His First Personal Coming was generally expected in the first century of the Christian Era (Dan. ix.; Luke ii. 25-38; Tacitus' History, v. 13; Snetonius' Vespasian iv). As God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day, and as with him a thousand years are as one day (Gen. i.; ii.; Psalm xc. 4; 2 Pet. iii. 8), and as a period of a thousand years is mentioned six times in Rev. xx., it is thought by many that there will be six thousand years from the creation of Adam to the Second Personal Coming of Christ, and that, during Satan's confinement in the bottomless pit a thousand years (the Millennium) Christ will reign here with His Saints in a Sabbatic period of that length, after which Satan will be loosed a short time, and deceive the nations again, and then will follow the general and final judgment (Rev. xx.). If this were true, and there were just 4,000 years from Adam to Christ's First Advent, the Millennium, or the Thousand Years of Christ's Reign on Earth, would begin about 2000 A. D.; but there are 200 different opinions of the exact interval between the creation of Adam and the birth of Christ, varying from 3483 to 6984 years; and whether Christ will appear either before or after, or both before and after, the Millennium of Rev. xx., does not seem clear from the Scriptures, and cannot be certainly known, without a new revelation, before the event. That the Second Personal Coming of Christ will be before the Millennium (Pre-Millennialism) was believed by the most of professing Christians in the second century, and by the ablest Baptists and Protestants of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and is now believed by an increasing number of the most intelligent and devout Baptists and Protestants on earth; and the principal opponents of this belief are the Greek and Roman Catholics, and Daniel Whitly, of England (1638-1726), a leading modern Arminian writer, and his followers. Though differing on minor points and as to the exact order of the events, Pre-Millennialists believe that the object of the Lord, in the present dispensation, is not to convert the world, but to have His Gospel preached as a witness to all nations and to take out of the Gentiles a people for his name, to gather His elect bride from the world, which will become worse and worse, darker and darker, until Christ shall come on earth in person again, when he will raise His dead and change His living Saints, who will first be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and will be rewarded in His Millennial Kingdom according to their works (this being their virtual judgment) and whose occupations and pleasures will then be entirely spiritual; that great opposition will be manifested by the ungodly and great plagues will be visited upon them, and the hosts of Antichrist will be overthrown, and Satan will be bound; and that the Spirit of God will be poured out as never before upon the nations, and the Jews will be restored to Jerusalem and converted to Christ, and, though sin will remain on earth in the unregenerate, it will everywhere be in subordination to prevailing righteousness, and peace and plenty and health and happiness will abound; and that, at the end of a thousand years, Satan will be loosed again, and will make a last attempts to regain his lost dominion, but in vain, and he and his angels and all the ungodly raised from the dead will then be judged according to their works, and cast into the lake of fire; and that the earth, renewed by fire, and delivered forever from sin and the curse, will become the everlasting home of a holy humanity, over whom the Son of Man, subject to the Father, will rule forever as the Head of His redeemed people (Matt. xxiv. 13, 31; Acts xv. 14; 2 Tim. iii. 1-13; iv. 3, 4; 1 Thess iv. 13-17; 2 Cor. v. 10; Matt. xxv. 14, 30; Psalm ii. 9; Joel ii. 28, 32; Acts ii. 16-21; iii. 19-21; Zech xii.-xiv; Isa. ii. 2-5; xi.; Rom. xi.; 1 Cor. xv. 22-28; 2 Cor. iii. 15, 16; Rev. xix.-xxii). The doctrine of two resurrections, first of the righteous, and then, after a thousand years, of the wicked, which is one of the main features of Pre-Millennialism, is argued from Rev xx.; from the use of the phrase, "resurrection from the dead," fifty times in the New Testament, and always referring to the righteous--the phrase, "resurrection of the dead," referring either to all the dead, or to the wicked only (this distinction is often omitted in the English translations); from the longing of the Apostle Paul to attain the first resurrection, the resurrection from the dead (exanistesis, Philip. iii. 11), which not all are accounted worthy to obtain (Luke xx. 35, 36); and from the language in 1 Cor. xv. 23. The Post-Millennialists (who believe that the Second Personal Coming of Christ will be after the Millennium), explain the first resurrection in Rev. xx. 5, 6, as only figurative and not at all literal, and think, as indicated by the 4th verse, that John simply means that before Christ's Second Advent, there will be a revival of the martyr-spirits in the church, and that by "the rest of the dead" is meant the party of Satan, which will not flourish again till the thousand years are ended, when it shall prevail again a short time. Augustine (A. D. 353-430) held that the Millennium began with the First Advent of Christ; Grotius (1583-1645) thought that it began with Constantine's toleration of Christianity in 312, and ended with the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453; the most of professing Christians think that the Millennium is still future. As the book of Revelation was certainly written after the ascension of Christ, the 9th verse of the 12th chapter ("Satan which deceiveth the whole world") proves that Satan was not then bound and prevented from deceiving the nations (Rev. xx. 3); nor is there any proof that he has ever yet been cast into the bottomless pit and prevented from deceiving the nations; he is "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. v. 8), and transforming himself into an angel of light in order to deceive (2 Cor. xi. 3, 13-15); the world to-day is full of his work; and it should not be forgotten that the Millennium in Rev. xx. is not to take place till after the destruction of the Beast and False Prophets in Rev. xix. 20. Some very careful students of the Scriptures think that, as in the earlier Old Testament prophecies only one Advent of Christ seems predicted, but in the later Old Testament prophecies there was a prediction of two such advents, separated, as we now know, by millennia (Dan. ix. 25, 26; vii. 13, 14; Isa. liii.; xi.; Zech. xii.; xiv.; Mal. iii; iv.), so, while in the earlier portions of the New Testament only one future advent of Christ seems predicted, in the later portions (Rev. xix. 11-16; xx. 11-15) there are indication of two--one to establish a universal kingdom of righteousness on earth, and the other to terminate the present order of things in a general judgment. But nearly all Bible scholars have always thought that, according to the Scriptures, Christ comes but twice to this world, first to atone, and last to judge (Heb. ix. 27, 28), and that the obscure language in Rev. xx. must be understood according to the clearer language of other potions of the Scriptures, and that the first resurrection is the Millennium itself, a long period of the blessed revival of the martyr-spirit on earth (as the spirit and power of Elias lived again in John the Baptist, Mal. iv. 5; Matt. xvii. 10-13; Luke i. 17). John Gill (1697-1771), the most learned, able and sound Baptist since the days of the Apostles, believed that Christ would come before the Millennium, and at His coming would raise His dead and change His living saints, and catch them up to meet Him in the air, would burn the world and the bodies of the wicked (Mal. iv. 1-3), and would make the airy heavens and earth new, clearing them of all evil spirits and evil influences, and that--the Day of Judgment lasting a thousand years--in the morning of it the righteous would be joyfully judged and acquitted, and in the evening of it the wicked would be raised from the dead, make their last desperate rebellion against God in His saints, and be justly judged according to their works and condemned to suffer forever as each one deserves (2 Pet. iii. 3-14; Rev. xx.; xxii. 12; Matt. xi. 22, 24; xxv. 14-46; John xix. 11). Gill's views involve only two Personal Comings of Christ to the world.

Philosophy, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, has always denied, and the humble faith of God's elect has always believed, that future resurrection of the bodies of all the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. It is a vital, cardinal doctrine of Christianity, a denial of which undermines the entire Scriptures. If the dead rise not, Christ is not risen, and all preaching and faith are vain (1 Cor. xv. 13-23). The following Scriptures demonstrate the doctrine of the resurrection to every reverent mind: Gen. v. 24 (Heb. xi. 5); 2 Kings ii. 11; Job. xix. 25-27; Isa. xxvi. 19; Dan. xii. 1-3; Matt. v. 29; x. 28; xxii. 29-32; xxvii. 52, 53; John v. 28, 29; vi. 39; xi. 24; Acts ii. 25-34; xiii. 34; xxiv. 15; Rom. viii. 11, 22, 23; Philip. iii. 20, 21; 1 Thess iv. 13-17; 1 Cor. xv.; 2 Tim. ii. 8, 16-19; Heb. vi. 2; Rev. xx. 12, 13. The very word resurrection means the rising again, that is, of that which has fallen in death--the body. If the same body that died is not raised again, it will not be a resurrection, and yet the body will be wonderfully changed. The bodies of the saints will be raised (like the glorified body of Christ) incorruptible, glorious, powerful, immortal, and spiritual, adapted to their purified spirits and to the heavenly world, no more subject to fleshly passions, pain, disease, weakness, age, or death; and the bodies of the wicked will be raised with a capacity to endure everlasting sufferings. To say that the resurrection is not a change of place, not a lifting of the body from the grave, and that the spirits of the Saints in Heaven do not wait for anything, seems to simple minds a plain denial of the resurrection; and I rejoice that such unscriptural expressions are not now used among us. No person who denies the resurrection of the body should be received or retained in a Church of Christ.

It cannot be doubted that there is a private, particular judgment upon each soul as soon as it leaves the body (Eccles. xii. 7, 14; Heb. ix 27; Luke xvi. 19-31; Matt. xxiii. 43; 2 Cor. v. 8; Philip. i. 23); but the people of God have believed, from the Scriptures, for thousands of years, that, after the resurrection of the body, there will also be a public, general judgment; that men will be raised from the dead in order to be judged, before the assembled universe, according to the deeds done in the body. It seems to me that, if a person does not believe that the following texts, taken together, prove a great, solemn, final day of General Judgment at the end of the present dispensation, as taught in the London Baptist Confession of Faith (Chapters xxxi. and xxxii.) and in almost all Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith, then he would not be convinced of that fact if one should rise from the dead: Gen. xviii. 25; Psalm l. 3-6; xcvi 10, 13; xcviii. 9; Eccles. iii. 16, 17; xii. 7, 14; Joel ii. 30, 31; Deu. vii. 9, 10; xii. 2; Mal. iv.; Matt. vii. 21-27; xi. 22, 24; xii. 36, 37; xiii. 37-43; xvi. 27; xxv. 31-46; Luke x. 12, 14; John v. 27-29; xii. 48; Acts ii. 19, 20; xvii. 31; xxiv. 25; Rom. ii. 16; iii. 6, 19; xiv. 10; 2 Cor. v. 10; 2 Thess. i. 6-10; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8; Heb. vi. 2; ix. 27, 28; Jas. v. 8, 9; 1 Pet. iv. 5; v. 4; 2 Pet. ii. 9; iii. 7-14; 1 John iv. 17; Jude 14, 15; Rev. xi. 18; xx. 11-15). I cannot understand how a devout mind can read these passages of God's word, and pronounce that belief in a General Judgment Arminian, Roman Catholic, and unscriptural. The object of the General Judgment is, not to institute a court of investigation or errors, to satisfy the mind of Christ, the Omniscient Judge, as to the character and proper destiny of men, but to reveal the character of each human being, in the fullest and clearest light, to each and to all, out of the books of God's law and providence, and man's memory and conscience, to the perfect and everlasting vindication of God's righteousness and mercy in His dealings with all His intelligent creatures. Each one will be judged by God's law of love, according to his feelings and acts in reference to Christ (Matt. xxv. 31-46). The sins of God's people go beforehand to judgment (1 Tim. v. 24; John xvi. 8; Acts ii. 37, 38; v. 31); and He has promised not only to forgive them, but to remember them no more (Jer. xxxi. 31-37); if they are mentioned in the Last Day, it will be only to enhance the glory of the Saviour's mercy and the comfort of the saved, who will themselves confess their own unworthiness (Matt. xxv. 37-39)--true contrition for sin is the sweetest spiritual joy. Possessed of a living faith that works by love, the Saints, whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will be accepted in the Beloved, justified freely by God's grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus (Gal. v. 6; Rev. xx. 15; xxi. 27; Eph. i. 1-14; Rom. iii. 20-31); while the wicked, seeking to justify themselves, will be justly condemned by the holy law of God and by their own conscience (Rom. ii. 12-16; iii. 19; Gal. iii. 10). Under the influence of the half-pagan philosopher, F. D. E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834), modern German Rationalism, deciding that there is no need of a future General Judgment, denies the future eternal meaning of all the forty plain texts given above, and limits their application to the momentary experiences of the present life; and a Primitive Baptist tradition, only fifty-three years old, follows German Rationalism in this ruinous method of explaining away these clearest declarations of God's word; but the published admission made by the author and the advocates of this system, among us (as I could easily show if I had the space), I am glad to say, virtually amounts to its surrender. The three arguments urged by our brethren, from the Scriptures, in defense of this system, are very feeble. 1. In spiritualizing Joshua iii. 9-17, they say Jordan means judgment; but it does not; it is the Hebrew word Yarden, from jared, meaning to descend, and Jordan means the descender. 2. In Heb. ix. 27, it is maintained that the Greek word krisis translated judgment means simply the probating and executing the last will and testament of a person after he is dead; but the Greek word diatheke, rendered testament six times in the King James Version of Heb. ix, is the translation of the Hebrew word Berith, which is always (263 times) rendered covenant in the Old Testament, and, out of 33 times that it occurs in the New Testament, it is rendered, in the Revised Version, covenant 31 times--in every place except Heb. ix. 16, 17, and in these two places it is also rendered covenant by the American Revisers, as it probably should be; for the customs of Roman testaments were unknown among the ancient Hebrews (the word testament not once occurring in the Hebrew Bible); while death is not necessary to a covenant between man and man, it is necessary to such a covenant as the Apostle is speaking of--a covenant between a holy God and sinful man, who can obtain the blessings of the covenant, forgiveness and purification, only by the death of Christ, his Representative and Surety, the Mediator of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Redemption; the word translated "testator" in verses 16 and 17 should be rendered "the one that made the covenant;" and "after men are dead," reads literally "over the dead," referring to the ancient custom of ratifying covenants by slaying and sacrificing animals; the eternal God did not die and remain dead to make his last will and testament effective--it was as a man that Christ died, and, in the relation in which He died, He was not the testator, but he Head and Representative of His people; the erroneous translation "testament," comes from the Roman Catholic Vulgate Version of A. D. 383 to 404; it is only in the 16th and 17th verses of Heb. ix, and not all before or after those verses that the oldest (the Syriac) or the latest Revised Versions think that the Apostle makes any allusion at all, even if then, to a testament, as they translated diatheke covenant always before and after these two verses. 3. In John v. 24 it is said that krisis rendered "condemnation" should be rendered judgment, as it is generally rendered in the English New Testament; but this word certainly means condemnation in John iii. 19; v. 29; xii. 31; xvi. 8, 11; Rev. xiv. 7; xviii. 10; Matt. xviii. 33; Mark iii. 29, as its primitive, krinein, means to condemn in Matt. vii. 12; John xvi. 11; Acts vii. 8; Heb. xiii. 4; Rev. xvii. 1; and this word, krisis, is used by John as the opposite of salvation (in John iii. 17-19) and the opposite of life (in John v. 24, 29), and therefore he means by it damnation and death; John v. 24 is evidently equivalent to John iii. 18 and Rom. viii. 1, and cannot contradict Matt. xxv. 31-46, Rom. xiv. 10, 2 Cor. v. 10, 2 Tim. iv. 8, Heb. vi. 2, ix. 27, 2 Pet. iii. 14, 1 John iv. 17, and Rev. xx. 11-15; John xii. 31 should be rendered "now is a judgment of this world"--there is no "the" in the Greek. The inseparability between the resurrection and the judgment after it may be seen from John v. 28, 29; Acts xvii. 31; Heb. vi. 2; ix. 27, 28; Rev. xi. 18; xx. 11-15.

Either before or after the Last Judgment, the present heavens and earth are to be, not annihilated, but subjected to intense heat and radically changed into a new heavens and earth, adapted to the glorified spirits and bodies of the Saints, in which regenerated world and in perhaps other Mansions (or Abiding Houses) of His Father's House, Christ will dwell forever with His saved people (Num. xiv. 21; Psa. cii. 26, 27; Isa. xi. 6, 9; li. 6; lxv. 17; lxvi. 22; Mal. iv. 1-3; Matt. v. 5; vi. 10; xix. 28; Luke xi. 2; Acts iii. 19-21; Rom. viii. 19-23; 1 Cor. xv. 44; Eph. i. 14; 2 Thess. i. 5-10; Heb. i. 11, 12; xii. 26, 27; 2 Pet. iii. 10-13; Rev. v. 9, 10; xi. 15; xx.; xxi.; xxii.). "The abrogation of the ceremonial law is expressed by the fleeing away of shadows, the breaking down the middle wall of partition, the rending of the vail between the Holy and the Most Holy Place, the abolishing the law of commandments, but never by burning, melting, and dissolving." In Matt. vi. 10 and Luke xi. 2, "in earth" should be "on earth," as in the Revised Version; Christ each time in the prayer uses different prepositions before "earth" and "heaven"--epi, nearly always meaning "on" before "earth," and "en," nearly always meaning "in" before "heaven;" and I do not doubt that He understood what he was saying better than the King James translators did.

The Hebrew word Sheol (literally meaning a hollow place under ground, and used to denote the Spirit World) occurs 65 times in the Old Testament; the King James Version renders it grave 31 times, Hell 31 times, and pit 3 times; the Revised Version renders it grave 15 times, Hell 15 times, pit 5 times, and leaves it Sheol 30 times. The Greek word Hades (literally meaning the unseen, and used, exactly like Sheol, to denote the Spirit World) occurs 11 times in the New Testament (Matt. xi. 23; xvi. 18; Luke x. 15; xvi. 23; Acts ii. 27, 31; 1 Cor. xv. 55; Rev. i. 18; vi. 8; xx. 13, 14); The King James Version renders it Hell in every place except 1 Cor. xv. 55, where it renders it grave (the English or Anglo-Saxon word hell means literally the hidden or unseen place under ground, and it was first used, exactly like Sheol and Hades, to denote the Spirit World; it was afterwards used to denote the place of punishment of the wicked after death); the Revised version leaves it Hades in every place except 1 Cor. xv. 55, where the original word in the oldest manuscripts is thanatos, death, which is the word used here in the Revised Version. The Hebrew word Gehenna (literally meaning valley of Hinnom, a deep, narrow gorge south of Jerusalem, where, after the introduction of the worship of the fire-gods, Moloch and Baal, by King Ahaz, idolatrous Jews burned their children as sacrifices, which King Josiah stopped by polluting the valley, making it a common receptacle of the dead bodies of criminals and animals, and all kinds of filth, preyed upon by worms, and consumed, it is said, by perpetual fires--this word being used by the Jews after their return from the Babylonian captivity, to denote one part of Sheol, the place of the punishment of the wicked after death, while they used Paradise, or Abraham's Bosom, to denote that part of Sheol where the souls of the righteous dwelt after death) occurs 12 times in the New Testament (Matt. v. 22, 29, 30; x. 28; xviii. 9; xxiii. 15, 33; Mark ix. 43, 45, 47; Luke xii. 5; Jas. iii. 6), and is always rendered Hell by both the King James and the Revised Versions. Tophet (tobret-grove) was a place in the valley of Hinnom, and occurs 10 times in 2 Kings, Isa., and Jer. The Greek word Abussoi (literally meaning bottomless) occurs nine times in the New Testament (Luke viii. 31; Rom. x. 7; Rev. ix. 1, 2, 11; xi. 7; xviii. 8; xx. 1, 3); the King James Version renders it the deep in Luke viii. 31 and Rom. x. 7, and bottomless pit in the other places; the Revised Version always renders it abyss. Tartarus, the heathen Greek term for the place of the imprisonment of the Titans, rebels against God, occurs in 2 Pet. ii. 4, to denote the present abode of the fallen angels. Mr. E. R. Craven, of Newark, N. J., the American Editor of Lange's Commentary on Revelation, in the most exhaustive discussion that I have ever seen of the scriptural uses of the terms Sheol and Hades, finds clear proof that they denote, not a mere state, but a place, distinct from the grave and from Heaven and from Hell--a place, he thinks, in the heart or centre of the earth (Ezek. xxx.; xxxii.; Matt. xii. 40; Eph. iv. 8), to which were consigned the souls of all the dead before the death of Christ, the righteous in one part of it in comfort, and the wicked in another part of it in misery, but from which the souls of the righteous were delivered at His resurrection (Eph. iv. 8-10; 1 Pet. iii. 18-22); since His resurrection the souls of believers, at death, passing at once into glory (John xiv. 1-3; xvii. 24; 2 Cor. v. 8; Philip. 1. 23).

The Scriptures already quoted, as also the following, prove that Heaven and Hell are not only conditions but also places: Isa. xxxiii. 17; Luke xvi. 28; xxiii. 43; Acts i. 25; Philip. iii. 20; Heb. xi. 10, 16; 1 Pet. i. 4; Rev. ii. 7; xxi.; xxii. The strong double phrase, for ever and ever, occurs in the Greek of the New Testament 22 times--18 times of God, once of Him and His people together (Eph. iii. 21), twice of the punishment of the wicked human beings (Rev. xiv. 11 and xix. 3), and once of the punishment of Satan (Rev. xx. 10). Thus, as long as God shall live, and His people in glory praise Him, just so long will Satan and wicked human beings be punished, that is, everlastingly, as is shown also by Matt. xxv. 41, 46; Mark ix. 43-48; Luke xvi. 26; John iii. 36; 1 Thess. i. 8, 9; Rev. xxi. 8; xxii. 11. Those who deny the endless punishment of the wicked find themselves compelled also to deny the full, verbal inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures--so plainly do the Scriptures, especially the words of Christ, teach that awful truth. The denial of the endless punishment of the wicked is most prevalent in the most corrupt times, being both a sign and a cause of the corruption. That Heaven is at present a place above (or away from) the earth is proved by Gen. xxviii. 13; 2 Kings ii. 1, 11; Mark xvi. 19; Luke xxiv. 51; John i. 33; iii. 13; vi. 33; Acts i. 9; 2 Cor. xii. 2; 1 Thess. iv. 16; Rev. iv. 1; xxi. 2. And that it will, after the last change of this world, be in part at least on the renovated earth, is proved by Num. xiv. 21; Isa. xi. 6-9, lx. 21; lxv. 17, lxvi. 22; Matt. v. 5; vi. 10; Luke xi. 2; Acts iii. 19-21; Rom. viii. 19-23; 2 Pet. iii. 10-13; Rev. v. 9, 10; xi. 15; xxi.; xxii. Few things can be more plain and certain, both from the language and the context, as the Saints have joyfully believed for 1800 years, that the reference in John xiv. 1-3 and 2 Cor. v. 1 is to the special place of the immediate, glorious, and eternal residence of God. It seems strangely forgotten or ignored by some of our brethren, who apply Rev. xxi. and xxii. to the present experience of believers, that these last two chapters of the Bible follow the destruction of the Beast and False Prophets of Rev. xix., and the Millennium, Resurrection, Final Judgment, and the casting of the wicked into the lake of fire, the second death, of Rev. xx.--the Allegorical Fury, however, can easily sweep away the literal truth of these and all other Scriptures. All types, being earthly shadows, are imperfect symbols of eternal realities; and Canaan, the goodliest land of earth (see Church History, pages 108-110), the entirely gracious inheritance of a beloved, chosen, covenant people, was an imperfect type, not only of the present gospel rest of faith, but also of the better, heavenly country, the gracious and everlasting inheritance of all the children of God, just as the people of God have been comforted in believing for thousands of years (Gen. xv. 18-21; xvii. 7, 8; Deut. iv. 37, 38; viii. 1-10; Josh. xxiv. 13; Zech. iv. 6; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5; Psalm xliv. 30; Isa. lv. 3; Jer. xxxi. 31-37; xxxii. 36-44; Matt. xxv. 34; Acts xx. 32; Gal. iii.; Eph. i. 13, 14; Heb. iii.; iv.; xi. 8-16; xiii. 20, 21). The everlasting holiness and happiness of all the people of God are proved by 2 Sam. xxiii. 5; Isa. xlv. 17; lv. 13; lx. 18-31; Matt. xxv. 46; John v. 24; vi. 47; x. 28; xi. 26; xvii. 2, 3, 24; Acts xiii. 48; Rom. vi. 23; viii.; 2 Cor. iv. 15-18; v. 1; Heb. v. 9; ix. 12; vii. 28; xiii. 20, 21; 1 Pet. i. 1-5; 1 John ii. 27; iii. 2; v. 11; Jude 24; Rev. i. 5, 6; vii. 14-17; xxi.; xxii.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.