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[from the dead.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
(R) Ver. 1-19. Christ's resurrection, the ground and pledge of ours.-The resurrection of the body, however ridiculed by ancient or modern philosophers, is a fundamental truth of Christianity, constantly insisted upon in the public preaching of the apostles (as we find in the Book of Acts), as well as in the apostolical epistles. But the general resurrection arises out of Christ's resurrection, as we shall presently see; it was necessary, therefore, to establish that fact, as the foundation of this doctrine. Now, as a fact can only be established by testimony, St. Paul here refers to the various witnesses by whose testimony it may be established. After his resurrection, our Lord was "seen of Cephas (or Peter), of the twelve," or body of the apostles, and afterwards of "five hundred brethren at once," of whom, says the apostle," the greater part remain (alive) unto this present (time)." The other appearances are mentioned by the Evangelists; but this is not, though it is thought to be referred to in Matt. xxviii. 10.
The modest manner in which St. Paul speaks of himself, as one of these witnesses, is very remarkable. He calls himself an abortive-" one born out of due time," and too insignificant to deserve notice because, though an apostle, and especially so to the Corinthians (chap. ix. 2), he had been a persecutor of the Church of God: yet since he had been born again, aud become a child of God, and a servant of Christ, he had been indefatigable in serving the great cause in which he was now engaged. This he mentions, however, not to praise himself, but to honour his divine Master. "It was not I (says he), but the grace of God, which was with me;" and to that grace he gives all the glory.
After this exordium, he adverts to the
subject already named, and which was now evidently in full view of his mind-the general resurrection, as arising out of the fact of Christ's resurrection. To this fact he, as an apostle, and as one who had himself seen Christ after his resurrection, bore unequivocal evidence: and upou it founding the resurrection of all believers, he thus reasons-" If there be no resurrection, then Christ is not risen; then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain. We are found false witnesses concerning God, in saying that he raised his Son, Jesus, from the dead" (Acts ii. 24, &c.), and you also are left to perish "in your sins;" the atouement of Christ being of no avail if it be not accepted of God, and the evidence of acceptance resting on his resurrection. (Acts v. 31; xiii. 30; Rom. iv. 25.) So important is this doctrine, that on it depends our hopes of another life, and "if in this life only we have hope," that is, if our hope extends not beyond the grave, "then are we of all men most miserable," and to be pitied. As if he had said, our Christiau profession exposes us to all the miseries of the present life, and even death itself; where, then, can we look for consolation or reward, but to "another and a better world?"
It may be said, this might be sought for ia the intermediate state, and this state we do not deny; but it must necessarily be both temporary and imperfect, since it extends only to the mind, and will terminate with the day of judgment. Indeed, this state, though repeatedly referred to in the New Testament as a state of rest, and peace, and happiness, is never mentioned as the final hope and reward of Christians, which is always placed beyond the day of judgment, as in Matt. xxv. 34. "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom," &c.
NOTES-Chap. XV. Con.
Ver. 18. Are perished.-This verse implies, that all who had been saved, were saved through Christ's death and resurrection.
Ver. 19. Most miserable.-Doddr. "Pitiable." Ver. 20. Become the first-fruits.-This is said in allusion to the law, Levit. xxiii, 10, 11.
Ver. 23. Afterward they that are Christ's-This plainly shows that the resurrection of believers will be distinct, and precede that of the wicked. Ibid. At his coming-i. e. at his second coming to raise the dead, and judge the world.
Christ presents the]
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
29 Else what shall they do which
[kingdom to his Father.
are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (S)
35 ¶ But some man will say, How
(S) Ver. 20-34. The doctrine of the resurrection farther considered, in relation to Christ's mediatorial character and kingdom. The conclusion from the preceding reasoning is, not only that Christ is risen, but also that he is risen as a public cha racter-risen as an earnest and security to his people, that they also shall be raisedhe is the first fruits of the great harvest of the general resurrection of the just; for it is to them, and to them only, we think, with Doddridge, St. Paul refers throughout this chapter. It may be well here to turn back to the Epistle to the Romans, chap. v., in which we have seen Adam and Christ described as respectively the representatives of those connected with them: Adam as the head of all mankind, proceeding from him by ordinary generation; and Christ as the head of all his chosen and regenerated people. As in virtue of the former relation all mankind were involved in sin and death through the first Adam, so, through their relation to the second Adam (Christ), all believers become intitled to the high privilege of a resurrection to eternal life.
We now come to contemplate the mediatorial kingdom of the Lord Jesus, its completion, and the surrender here spoken of: "Then cometh the end," &c.-"The end of which Paul speaks (says Mr. And. Fuller) does not mean the end of Christ's kingdom, but of the world, and the things. thereof. The delivering up the kingdom to the Father will not put an end to it, but eternally establish it in a new and more glorious form. Christ shall not cease to reign, though the mode of his administration be different. As a divine person, he will always be one with the Father; and though his mediatorial kingdom shall cease, yet the effects of it will remain for ever. There will never be a period in duration in which the redeemer of sinners will be thrown into the shade, or become of less account than he now is; or in which "honour, and glory, and blessing," will cease to be ascribed to him by the whole creation. Rev. v. 12-14. (Harm. of Scrip. p. 35.)
Upou the same passage the learned Bp. Pearson remarks-"When all the enemies of Christ shall be subdued, when all the
Ver. 27. He is excepted-i. e. God the Father. Ver. 29. Baptized for the dead.-Nearly twenty different explications have been given of this text, the far greater part of which are not worth enumerating. We have alluded to the two which we consider most probable. Doddr. (who follows Sir Rd. Ellys) translates the text, " Baptized in the room of the dead;" but Macknight considers the passage as
elliptical, and reads it, "Baptized for [the resurrection of] the dead."
Ver. 31. I protest by your rejoicing.-Macknight, "By the boasting (which I have) on account of Christ Jesus," &c.
Ver. 32. If.... I have fought, &c. - Dr. Lardner understands this hypothetically-and not that he literally did so.
are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
[compared to a harvest.
37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
EXPOSITION-Chap. XV. Continued.
chosen of God shall be actually brought into his kingdom, when those which refused him to reign over them shall be slain; that is, when the whole office of the mediator shall be completed and fulfilled, then every branch of the execution shall cease. As, therefore, there shall no longer continue any act of the prophetical part to instruct us, nor any act of the priestly part to intercede for us, so there shall be no further act of this regal power of the mediator necessary, to defend and preserve us. The beatifical vision shall succeed our information and instruction, a present fruition will prevent oblation and intercession, and perfect security will need no actual defence and protection. As, therefore, the general notion of a mediator ceaseth when all are made one, because 'a mediator is not a mediator of one' (Gal. iii. 20); so every part or branch of that mediatorship, as such, must also cease, because that unity is in all parts complete. "Then cometh the end,' &c.
"Now, though the mediatorship of Christ be then resigned, because the end thereof will then be performed; though the regal office, as part of that mediatorship, he also resigned with the whole; yet we must not think that Christ shall cease to be a king, or lose any of the power and honour which before he had. The dominion which he hath [as mediator] was given him as a reward for what he suffered : and certainly the reward shall not cease when the work is done. He hath promised to make us kings and priests, which however we expect in heaven, believing we shall reign with him for ever, and therefore for ever must believe him king." (On the Apostles' Creed, Art. vi.)
By the resignation of the kingdom to the Father, we do not understand the giving up rank, authority, or power; but rather a submitting of all his mediatorial government to the Father's public approbation, and presenting the subjects of his kingdom before the throne. So St. Paul (Heb. ii. 13) represents Messiah as saying, "Behold I, and the children which God hath given me:" as if he had said, 'Here
am I, and these are the children thou didst give me to redeem and save.' "Thine they were, and thou gavedst them to me, and none is lost save the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." Thus said the Saviour when he had finished his work on earth. (See Johu xvii. throughout.) And something like this may be his language when all bis mediatorial office is fulfilled in heaven. Then "God shall be all in all :"-that is, the universe shall be governed as before the mediatorial system was introduced. No more sacrifice for sin being needed, no more intercession for sinners will then be offered, nor will there remain any enemies to be subdued. Peace and harmony will be restored to our creation, and GoD alone will reign (as Macknight renders it) "over all things, in all places" of his dominion. We are not to suppose, however, that their obligation to the Saviour will ever be obliterated from the hearts of the redeemed, or that he will ever forget or neglect the purchase of his blood.
If this were not the case, says the apos tle, "What shall they do who are baptized for [in hope of] the resurrection of the dead? and to fill up the ranks in the Christian army which are broken by death and martyrdom?" Or why do we stand continually exposed to the same dangers? -in jeopardy every hour, and daily living in the expectation of being called to die? If, speaking after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, "when I was assaulted by the savage fury of Demetrius and his mob" (Acts xix. 24)-or if I even had encountered wild beasts in the theatre-whether I had escaped, or been destroyed, what reward would there remain for me, if the dead rise not?
In concluding this part of his subject, the apostle seems to iutimate that the Corinthians had suffered, both in principle and practice, from their connexion with Epicurean philosophers and their disci, les; this he insinuates in quoting a saying from a Greek poet, which had probably become a proverbial saying with them, as the translation has long been with us-"Evil
NOTES-Chap. XV. Con.
Ver. 36. Thon fool.-Doddr. "Thoughtless creature." Except it die.-Mackn. "rot." Doddr. "(appear to) die." The fact is, that the outer coat
of the seed rots, and becomes food to the surviving germ.
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh : but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption :
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a
communications corrupt good manners :" by which he evidently means, that associating with persons of infidel principles and corrupt imorals, has a great tendency to corrupt the mind and manners. The apostle, therefore, attempts to rouse them from their delusion-that is, such of them as had been drawn into such connexions : "Awake to righteousness, and sin not!" "O, God! awake our souls to righteousness, "And on our hearts eternal things impress!'!
(T) Ver. 35-50. The resurrection of the dead.-The apostle now comes to explain, so far as the mysterious subject can be rendered intelligible to our present faculties, the nature of this resurrection; and this he does by analogy, comparing the death and resurrection of our bodies to the process of vegetation in the production of corn. It is true the subject might have been illustrated from other analogies, particularly from the natural history of
Ver. 38. His own body.-Mackn. " its proper body." (Gr. idion) i. e. "the body proper to its own kind." So Doddr. Not the body which it had before: so this will not prove the identity of the resurrection body; but only, as Mackn. expresses it, "The raised body of the saints will resemble their body which was laid in the grave, so far as their new state will admit." In one respect we know that they will materially differ. See Luke xx. 35. It is the general opinion, however, and is largely argued by Mr. Drew, in his ingenious Essay "On the Resurrection of the Body," chap. vi., that there is a principle of identity (some germ or stamen) which will be preserved till the resurrection; though what this is, it seems utterly in vain to jecture.
Ver. 41. One star differeth from another star in glory. This, it is probable, is literally true: wa know of no two bodies in nature perfectly alike, nor any two bodies which have uniformly the same motion. This applies particularly to the heavenly bodies; and if we are to consider this (as many do) as referring metaphorically to the saints, it may be
equally true that spiritual bodies have the same diversity, though all glorious. Though the earth is now supposed to have 800 millions of inhabitants, or more, it is probable that" the human face divine," in every instance, varies in some of its features.
Ver. 44. A spiritual body-Is a body refined from all the corruption and defilement attached to matter in the present state.
Ver. 47. The Lord from heaven.-The word LORD is wanting in some ancient MSS., and Tertullian says, was inserted by Marcion; yet both Doddridge and Macknight retain it. The Vulgate reads, "The second man from heaven is heavenly." Dr. Pye Smith remarks, that in the ancient book Zohar, Messiah is called "The Adam on high," and so distinguished from the first man, who is called the "Adam below." Mess. vol. 1. 185.
Ver. 50. Flesh and blood-i. e. in its present corrupt state; or, as in the next member of the sentance, corruption. "Our bodies, after they are raised from the dead (says Mr. Fuller), may be flesh and blood, and yet not what they now are." Essay on Rewards, p. 45.
The mystery of]
51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling
[the last day.
of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
insects; and the changes which human
body, but from the residence of the same intellect, and the consciousness of the individual world. But as God, in the propa gation of his creatures, gives to every kind its proper flesh (whether beast, or bird, or fish), and to every vegetable its proper form, &c., so will he associate to every human mind its proper body, though, whether composed of any or how many of the same particles, it may not be possible for us to ascertain.
"The single grain of wheat which is sown (says Mr. Fuller), does not reproduce itself, but produces another like itself; for to every seed is given its own body that is, a body of its own nature of kind. So also is the resurrection of the dead. If the body do not retain the sameness of identity, it will produce the sameness of nature or kind. God giveth it a body as it pleaseth him, and to every seed its own body." (Fuller's Essay on Rewards, p. 44.)
But the introduction of celestial bodies in this place-sun, moon, and stars, with birds, beasts, and fishes, seems to us mysterious and perplexing; unless, indeed, it be designed to intimate that the glorified bodies of the redeemed, at the resurrection, will as much exceed their present forms as the celestial orbs exceed those terrestrial bodies. So the prophet Daniel tells us (ch. xii. 3), that then the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
In this life, indeed, we all bear the image of the first Adam, "of the earth, earthy ;" and at death this is sown a "natural body:" but in the last day it shall be raised a spiritual body, like that of "the second Adam, the Lord from heaven.' The former was made "a living soul;" the latter Adam is "a quickening (a lifegiving) spirit." And as we have borne the image of the earthy, so must we "bear the image of the heavenly;" or, as the same apostle elsewhere expresses it"The Lord Jesus shall change our vile bodies, to be transformed like unto his
NOTES-Chap. XV. Con.
Ver. 51. We shall all be changed-i, e. We believers-Mackn. Nothing like this is sail of the wicked. Compare Phil. iii. 21.
Ver. 52. The trumpet shall sound.-The awful
sound of this trumpet is generally illustrated by a reference to the thunders of Sinai, which seem to have been attended with volcanic phenomena. See Heb. xii, 19. Bishop Berkeley, who heard an