“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
We have understood this passage to express a glorious promise given in prophecy, to the church of God, assuring her that her dead men should be quickened simultaneously with the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of our brethren however, have taken a different view of the subject. We do not claim to be wiser, or more infallible than they, but whether this text be applicable to the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the life of his church in him or not, the apostles by inspiration have established the certainty that the church are risen with Christ, and that God who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he hath loved us, hath quickened us together with Christ, and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. We do not, however, understand that this, or any other passage, implies that the resurrection of the bodies of the saints should be simultaneous with the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, for the inspired apostles have, since the resurrection of Christ from the dead, assured us of a resurrection at the last day, when these mortals shall put on immortality, and these corruptibles, incorruption, and the saying shall be brought to pass, That death is swallowed up in victory. Then shall the last enemy be destroyed, which is death, and the kingdom of Christ, in all its fullness and glory, shall be delivered to God, even the Father. But in the subject which we understand to be contemplated in our text, and in parallel texts, the Mediatorial union of Christ and his church is strongly implied. As Christ has carried and borne his members all the days of old, so he carried and bore them when he poured out his soul unto death, when his body slumbered in the grave, and when he burst the bars of death and triumphed over the grave. It was our death which he died, as it is his life which we live. Zion’s dead men were quickened together with Christ, and they were raised up together, and sit together in heavenly places.
Omitting the italicised words used in this text, by the translators, it will read, “Thy dead men shall live, my dead body shall they arise,” &c. If this be the correct rendering of the text, the promise which it contains would seem to us to apply either to the regeneration and ingathering of the saints as the members of his mystical body, and the bringing them into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man; to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, or to the final resurrection of the bodies of his redeemed people. Which of the three applications is correct, if any, we leave to our readers generally to judge, as in any or all of them the doctrine is established by the plain Scriptures. Therefore, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.” God’s people while here in the flesh, dwell in the dust, for their mortal bodies are of the earth, earthy, even as the Lord said to Adam, “For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” And Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh [or the dust], I live by the faith of the Son of God,” &c. In this sense God’s quickened children, while in the house of their pilgrimage, dwell in the dust, and are called on to awake and sing. But there is another sense in which the words are sometimes, and perhaps more generally used in the Scriptures, as signifying a low condition, captivity and worldly afflictions, and this seems to harmonize with the state of the church as set forth in the chapter of which our text is a part. All their own efforts for deliverance had proved abortive, and they are represented as discouraged, but the word of the Lord comes to them in their lowly condition with consolation, turning their mourning into joy, saying, Awake and sing, thou that dwellest in the dust. As in Isaiah lii. 1, 2, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion: put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: * * * shake thyself from the dust; arise and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” As her day of joy and gladness dawns upon her, she is called upon to arise and sing. Let her tears be dried, and let the bands of her captivity be removed from her neck, let her put on her beautiful apparel, and be clothed with her strength. “For thy dew is as the dew of herbs.” The doctrine of God our Savior is compared to dew. Deut. xxxii. 2, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew.” The doctrine expressed in the speech of our Lord, has the reviving effect on the disconsolate saints, that rain has upon grass, and dew upon the tender herb. It revives, quickens, invigorates the saints, as the rain and dew causes the earth to develop its vegetation. When the precious seed is buried in the earth, it remains there concealed, until the earth is moistened by the showers of rain, or refreshed by the genial dew. Under the influence of the heaven inspired doctrine of Christ, the saints arise from the dust, they awake and sing, they arise and shine, the lame man leaps like the hart, the tongue of the stammerer speaks plainly, and the dumb shout for joy. “And the earth shall cast out the dead.” As the parched ground which contains the precious seed, when cheered by the dew, casts out the tender blade, and finally the full corn in the ear, so shall the earth cast out, make manifest and fully develop the sons of Zion, when the seasons of refreshing came from the presence of our God. And so the fruits of the Spirit are made to appear in the saints who dwell in the dust, when the doctrine of our God descends on them, and their fruit is unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Dec. 1, 1855.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 3
Pages 271 - 273