Reply to J. N. Hutchison.
Huntington, Mo., August 18, 1880
BROTHER BEEBE: – As I have been a close reader of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES for the past twenty-five years, I shall be much obliged, as well as better informed as to your views, if you will answer me through the SIGNS a few questions in relation to what you said in an editorial of a late issue. In volume 48, number 15, August 1st, 1880, in your editorial to brother Weeks for your views on 1 Corinthians xv. 22, among other things on page 177, near the middle of the first column, you quote Romans v. 18, which reads, “Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Now I wish your views as to the extent of the judgment and consequent condemnation, and the extent of the free gift and the consequent justification; I mean the extent in both instances relative to the Adamic or fleshly family. In other words, to be plainly understood, is the “all men” that were condemned coextensive with or equal to the “all men” that were justified? If not, will you be full and plain as to what word or words in the passage quoted show the distinction as to extent?
Secondly. Near the middle of the second column, same page, you refer to the language found in Luke xx. 35, 36, which reads thus, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Now in reference to this quotation I would ask, first, do the scriptures teach a resurrection from the grave of the entire race of Adam, or only of the redeemed of that race? Second. Does resurrection from the grave constitute any of Adam’s race a child of God? Third. In the scriptures, what agency is said to effect the resurrection of the Adamic body? Fourth. If the Adamic bodies of the unredeemed are to be resurrected, will it be effected by the same agency and in the same way as those of the redeemed?
I hope you will be full and definite in reply, as my questions relate to a subject I feel a deep interest in.
Yours in gospel bonds,
J. N. HUTCHISON.
REPLY: – While we cheerfully recognize and admit that our brethren and the readers of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES have a just claim on us, and that it is our duty to labor to the extent of our ability for the instruction and edification of all who love and desire to know the truth as it is in Jesus, we are deeply conscious that our ability to instruct and edify them is very limited. Only such light as God by his spirit is pleased to bestow on us for that purpose can be available or profitable in our attempts to elucidate or expound the deep things of God. We cannot give ears to hear, nor capacity to understand even what may seem very clear to us. Even the inspired apostles, who could plant and water, were dependent on God to make their labors profitable by giving the desired increase. We have had some views on the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead which to our feeble mind have seemed sublime and glorious; but still there are mysteries lying far beyond what we can comprehend, which we do not expect to comprehend until we shall apprehend that for which we hope that we are apprehended of Christ Jesus. – Philippians iii. 10-14. For although “Now are we [the saints] the sons of God, it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him.” – 1 John iii. 2. Yet, although there are mysteries involved in the doctrine of the resurrection which do not yet appear, – are not yet made clear to our perception, there are many plain and positive declarations recorded in the scriptures, affirming that there will be a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust, which we are bound to believe, because God has declared it in his word.
In replying to the interrogative of our brother Hutchison, we very much doubt our ability to make our views more plain than we have expressed them in the article to which he has referred. We thought we had anticipated all, or at least the greater part, of his inquiries; and we still think, if he will carefully re-examine that article, he will discover what are our views on nearly every point on which he asks to be more fully and definitely informed. We will, however, respond to the several inquiries in as brief and yet explicit a way as we can, and hope that God may give us all that light and understanding on the subject which may be for our good and his glory.
Question 1. In the passage, Rom. v. 18, was the extent of the judgment and condemnation, and the extent of the free gift and justification, in both instances relative to the Adamic or fleshly family?
Answer. All that the judgment came upon to condemnation, and all on whom the free gift came to justification of life, were and are in their earthly nature the children of Adam, children of the flesh, brought forth in their fleshly nature by natural generation, and are therefore in that nature Adam multiplied, and the Lord God “called their name Adam in the day when they were created.” – Gen. v. 2. Judgment came upon them to condemnation, and death passed upon them, when they were all but one man, and before Adam was multiplied by the birth or development of his numerous posterity.
Q. 2. “Is the ‘all men’ that were condemned coextensive with or equal to the ‘all men’ that were justified?”
Ans. All the posterity of Adam were condemned in him alike, and on only a portion of them, called “a very small remnant according to the election of grace,” came the free gift. – Rom. ix. 27-29; xi. 5.
Q. 3. “If not, will you be full and plain as to what word or words in the passage quoted show the distinction as to extent?
Ans. The passage quoted (Rom. v. 18) is but a part of the argument and illustration of the vital union and identity of the two distinct Adams; the one a living soul, embodying a natural, fleshly posterity, and the other Adam, which is the Lord from heaven, in whom and by whom the free gift came upon all his spiritual posterity unto justification of life. In the parenthesis immediately preceding this eighteenth verse, and including this eighteenth verse, and including verses thirteen to seventeen, the apostle informs us that the earthly Adam is the figure of him that was to come; and in 1 Corinthians xv. 45-51 the same apostle, by the same inspiration of the Holy Ghost, testifies, “As it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we [the brethren or see of the second Adam] SHALL ALL BE CHANGED.” The whole argument in the fifth of Romans is to be taken together. If the eighteenth verse had comprised the whole argument, all the other verses would have been superfluous. The eighteenth verse shows the analogy of the figure wherein Adam is the figure of Christ. As by the offense which was committed when all the human or earthy race were but one man, embodying the entire posterity of mankind, judgment came unto condemnation, and death passed upon all mankind before any of them were born, even so (after this similitude of Adam’s transgression) the free gift, by the righteousness of the Son of God, the Mediatorial Head of the church, which is his body, and who is the second or antitypical Adam, and the Lord from heaven, came upon all the children of God, whose spiritual, eternal life was with the Father, (1 John i. 2,) and which was given them in the Son, who is the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, which eternal life is hid with Christ in God. – 1 John v. 11; 1 Cor. xv. 45; Col. iii. 3. “The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Rom. vi. 23. This gift of eternal life is the free gift which has come upon all the members of Christ unto justification of life. Just as in the similitude our earthy life in the first Adam was polluted by sin and condemned to die in him, so, after the same similitude of unity and identity of the chosen generation of the second Adam, in him this seed which were ordained of God to serve him, and to be counted to the Lord for a generation (Psa. xxii. 30), were chosen in him before the foundation of the world (Eph. i. 4), and this free gift, with all other spiritual blessings, came upon them unto justification of life. Our life is the first Adam, being of corruptible seed, depraved and unholy, was not, could not be justified. Judgment passed upon it to condemnation, consigning it to death. But the life which God by the free gift has treasured up in Christ, and which he gave us in his Son, has stood the scrutiny and fiery ordeal of his holy law, and being pure, holy, incorruptible, immortal and eternal, secures to all the chosen seed of Christ the justification of life; by virtue of which free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, all who are redeemed from the death which passed on them in the first Adam are in God’s appointed time born of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. And this incorruptible life, which is born of God, being incorruptible, cannot sin, because it is born of God; it is not earthy nor carnal nor depraved, like that which we have in the first Adam. It is not like that life which is Adam in us, but it is Christ in you the hope of glory.
The apostle goes on further to illustrate, thus, “For if by one man’s disobedience many [including all that were in him at the time of the disobedience, which involves his whole posterity] were made sinners; so [or after the same similitude] by the obedience of one [Christ, the second Adam] shall many be made righteous.” As the disobedience of the first Adam plunged all his unborn posterity in sin and death; so by the obedience and perfect righteousness of that spiritual progenitor, who is the Lord from heaven, shall all his spiritual posterity be made righteous in and by him, and freely justified through the redemption of him who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
Q. 4. “Do the scriptures teach a resurrection from the grave of the entire race of Adam, or only of the redeemed of that race?”
Ans. The scriptures teach “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust.” – Acts xxiv. 15. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his [the Son of man’s] 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 damnation.” – John v. 28, 29. These two passages, being directly to the point, we consider amply sufficient in reply to the fourth question.
Q. 5. Does the resurrection from the grave constitute any of Adam’s race a child of God?
Ans. Those of Adam’s race who are redeemed from death by the precious blood of Christ, receive in their new birth a life which was given them in Christ according as they were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, and this life from God is Christ in them the hope of glory; it is the first fruits of the Spirit, and by it their persons are sealed until the redemption or resurrection of the purchased possession. But they who have received this first fruit of the Spirit, and thereby cry Abba, Father, even they themselves do groan within themselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of their body. – Col. i. 27; Rom. viii. 23. “As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God;” that is, as we understand it, in the new man, that is after God created in righteousness and true holiness, while in their flesh and carnal elements they are children of the flesh. “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.” – Romans viii. 10. John says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John iii. 2. We do not understand that the spirit within the saints which is born of God will be changed, for it is the earnest of our inheritance in heaven; but these vile bodies of the saints shall be changed, and made like the glorious body of their risen Lord. This will be when these mortals shall put on immortality at their resurrection. The irrevocably sentence passed on our earthly bodies must be executed before our mortality can be swallowed up of life. The dust which we are in the first Adam must, by the unchanging decree of God, return to dust, and our relation to the elements of this world must be dissolved; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. But the apostle assures us that “If the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in us.” The spirit that dwells in the saints who are born of the Spirit is the same that quickened and raised Jesus from the dead. Paul says, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” – Eph. i. 18-20. Jesus our Lord arose from the dead as the first fruits of them whom he has redeemed from death and the grave; consequently all who now have the spirit which raised him from the dead dwelling in them shall also, in like manner, be raised up at the last day. The resurrection of the crucified body of Jesus is called a birth; and although he was, in being born of a virgin, made a little lower than the angels for the sufferings of death, having been put to death in the flesh, he is quickened by the Spirit. “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” – Acts ii. 32-36. That sacred body which was made a little lower than the angels in the flesh, is now made higher than the heavens in the Spirit; and though we have known him in the flesh, yet henceforth know we him no more. – 2 Cor. v. 16. His resurrection from the dead is called a birth. “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made to the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again, as it is written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee.” – Acts xiii. 32, 33. The resurrection of the body of Jesus is called a birth, and in it he is the first begotten from the dead; and he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. – Col. i. 15, 18. This spirit of life and immortality which raised him from the dead is forcibly set forth in the one hundred and thirty-third Psalm, by the precious ointment which was poured upon the priestly head of Aaron, which ran down his beard, and descended to the skirts of his garments. Thus showing that the spirit of life and immortality poured upon the head of our great High Priest is an unction from the Holy One; and showing that because he lives as the head and life of his body, the church, including all that body and its members, shall live also. As he was begotten and born from the dead by the spirit and glory of the Father, and arose as the first fruits of them that slept, so in his resurrection God has begotten us again to a lively (vital) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter i. 3-5. As the resurrection of the body of Christ was a birth from the dead, to which he was the first begotten and the first-born among many brethren (Rom. viii. 29), even so god has predestinated those whom he foreknew to be conformed to his image; and therefore when, in our resurrection, we shall see him as he is, we shall be like him. – 1 John iii. 2; Col. iii. 4. As he was begotten from the dead as the first fruits of all his redeemed members, so in the order of the resurrection of his saints they are begotten to a resurrection of their bodies in like manner by his resurrection; and as their resurrection is one to which God has begotten them by the resurrection of his Son, and to be effected by the same Spirit by which he was raised, their resurrection will also be a birth. Therefore the resurrection of the bodies of the saints by the Spirit which raised Christ from the dead, and which from the time they received the first fruits of it in their new birth dwells in them as the earnest of the inheritance to which they are begotten by the resurrection of Christ from the dead; hence, to be the children of the resurrection is to be the children of God in their resurrected bodies, even as they are, from the time of their new birth, in the spirit which is born of the Spirit, the children of God, who is the Father of spirits. This spirit that now, by the new birth, dwells in all who are born of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God, which is immortal, is the spirit of life, by which God will resurrect the bodies of all in whom it dwells, and change them from natural to spiritual, from earthy to heavenly, from mortal to immortal bodies, in the resurrection. Then shall al the saints in body, as they are now in spirit, be conformed to the image of their risen Lord, and bear his image as perfectly as now in our mortal bodies we bear the image of the earthy Adam.
Q. 6. “In the scriptures, what agency is said to effect the resurrection of the Adamic body?”
Ans. “In Adam we all die.” The relation of the mortal bodies of the saints ends in death; the resurrection of the bodies of the saints is not a resuscitation or bringing back to the natural or mortal life, nor is it a return to an Adamic state. Our relation to this world and to Adam terminates in death, and it is not in him, but in the second Adam, that the saints shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. There is therefore no agency mentioned in the scriptures by which our bodies are to be raised Adamic. It is sown a natural or Adamic body, but it is raised a spiritual, glorified and heavenly body, no more to be known in the flesh, but born from the dead by the Spirit which raised up Jesus from the dead; a child not of the flesh, but of the spirit; a child not of Adam, but of God; not of the earth, but of heaven. If by the word agency our brother means power, we reply, it will be effected, so far as relates to the saints, by the power of Christ’s resurrection, and it fellowship of his sufferings, and in conformity unto his death, if by any means we attain unto the resurrection of the dead. – Phil iii. 10, 11. By the power by which we now believe, according to God’s mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead. – Eph. i. 19, 20.
Q. 7. “If the Adamic bodies of the unredeemed are to be resurrected, will it be effected by the same agency and in the same way as those of the redeemed?”
Ans. There can be no resurrection effected by any other power than that of God. But the scriptures make a wide difference in regard to the resurrection of the redeemed and the unredeemed: the former shall be raised by the Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead unto the resurrection of life; while the unredeemed shall come forth from the graves unto the resurrection of damnation, which instead of being unto life, in the same sense of the word, will be to what the scriptures denominate the second death. – John v. 28, 29; Rev. xx. 14. God’s power is as absolute in the destruction and perdition of the ungodly, as in the salvation and ultimate glory of his redeemed vessels of mercy. As the saints will be raised by the Spirit that now dwells in them, so we suppose the ungodly will be raised in the same spirit that rankles in them while here in this world. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power.” – Rev. xx. 6.
We have, to the extent of our limited ability, given such views as we have in reply to the several questions submitted by brother Hutchison, and in conclusion we would caution our brethren to avoid all vain speculations on the sacred scriptures. Remember they are a revelation to our faith, not to our carnal reason; and as they are given us by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they must be opened to our faith by the same Spirit, or they will remain a sealed book to us. In the primitive days of the apostles the faith of some of the saints was overturned by the “profane and vain babblings,” which tend unto more ungodliness; “and their word will east as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenæus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already.” – 2 Tim. ii. 16-18. This assertion the apostle by inspiration denounces as an error, subversive of the faith of the saints, and exhorts Timothy to shun such unprofitable babblings. We believe there will be a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust, because the bible so declares; that the bodies of all the saints will be raised incorruptible, and that those who die in their sins will come forth from their graves with all their corruptions upon them. We would not discourage a close and prayerful study of the scriptures, for it is a profitable and blessed employment; but we should always remember they are too sacred to be trifled with. It is not to us a thing incredible that God will raise the dead, but there are many things involved in the subject which do not yet appear; but all that is important for us to know and fully understand concerning this or any other subject will be revealed in due time.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Signs of the Times
Volume 48, No. 21
November 1, 1880