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CORRESPONDENCE

Helena, Okla., Oct. 21, 1908.

Dear Brethren: – Very much has been written since the beginning of the gospel day upon the subject of the resurrection of the dead. It must be conceded by Bible readers that the apostles were inspired of God, hence their testimony cannot be doubted. As to how it shall be accomplished, will always be a mystery to mortals, yea, even to angels. The literal meaning of the word “resurrection,” is a rising again from the dead, resumption of life by the dead. According to this meaning of the word there can be no resurrection of anything only of that which has died. To comprehend how the bodies of the saints shall be brought forth from death and the grave is an impossibility by mortals, but it is ours to believe that they shall come forth to a state of glory into the fullness of immortality. I feel satisfied that it is the Adamic man, the man born of the flesh, the man born of a woman, that dies and that is laid in the grave. To him death has a sting, because he has sinned; over him the grave has its victory. But the hope of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is that the sting is taken away from death, and that the victory of the grave is not everlasting. It is certain that all who possess this hope shall be conquerors through the Redeemer of sinners, and they shall be able to sing the song of victory that was written in olden time: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory!” This is certain to come to pass, because the Lord says by the prophet Hosea: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” This man who rises a conqueror over death and the grave is the man who was of the earth, earthy. He is the man who sinned against his Maker, but was redeemed by his Maker. He is the man who received the sentence of death for sinning. He is the man upon whom the sentence was executed; he dies and he is put in the grave. This man in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and he shall come forth. If there be any other man or being that sins and is sent to the grave besides the Adamic man we cannot find him by reading the Scriptures. This man is operated upon by the Holy Spirit, and he is the character, or person, pointed out by holy writ who was “once enlightened,” and “tasted of the heavenly gift,” and made partaker of the Holy Ghost, and “tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” Though he be a sinner, and vile before God, yet the Lord is merciful to him, and more than kind in giving him a foretaste of the powers of the world to come. He is not forgotten by the Lord, nor forsaken by the Most High. The manifestations to this man who sinned are not the man, but holy principles imparted to him for his instruction, comfort and sealing to that great day of redemption, which is still in the future. These manifestations are called by different names throughout the Scriptures. These names indicate the great latitude of the Spirit’s teaching. I shall take notice here of some of the most important names in connection with this subject: “The new man.” – Eph. iv. 24; Col. iii. 10. “Inner man.” – Eph. iii. 16. “The inward man.” – Rom. vii. 22; 2 Cor. iv. 16. “The hidden man of the heart.” – 1 Pet. iii. 4. “New creature.” – 2 Cor. v. 17; Gal. vi. 15. “An unction from the Holy One.” – 1 John ii. 20. “Treasure in earthen vessel.” – 2 Cor. iv. 7. “The firstfruits of the Spirit.” – Rom. viii. 23. “The earnest of the Spirit.” – 2 Cor. i. 22; v. 5; Eph. i. 14. Called a “seal.” – 2 Cor. i. 22; Eph. i. 13; iv. 30; 2 Tim. ii. 19; Rev. ii. 17. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” – Col. i. 27. “Mystery of God.” – Rom. xvi. 25; Eph. i. 9; iii. 3-5; Col. i. 26, 27; ii. 2; iv. 3; 1 Cor. ii. 7. “Secret of the Lord.” – Psa. xxv. 14; Prov. iii. 32. “Circumcision.” – Rom. ii. 29; Phil. iii. 3; Col. ii. 11; 2 Cor. iii. 3. “New covenant, or law in the heart.” – Psa xl. 8; Jer. xxxi. 33; Ezek. xi. 19; xxxvi. 26; 2 Cor. iii. 3; Heb. viii. 10. “Spirit.” – Num. xxvii. 18; Psa. xxxii. 2; Isa. lvii. 15; Eccles. xii. 7; Matt. xxvi. 41; Mark xiv. 38. All these names, and some others given in the Scriptures, are identical in meaning; they are names given to the holy principle imparted to man in the second birth, or birth of the Spirit, or the birth from above. According to the mention of this work recorded in John iii. 6; Heb. xii. 9; 1 John iii. 9; v. 1, 4, it is the product of the Spirit of God, a begetting from on high. This holy gift unto man never needed redemption; it never was subject to death, neither can it ever be. It is eternal life, or eternal life principle, which shall blossom on until the ripe fruit of immortality shall appear in perfect order. The resurrection of the dead is so very important in the doctrine and in the arguments of the apostle Paul that without it the hope of the saints is vain; without it all the preaching of the apostles and preachers of the gospel is also vain. He sets it forth as the crowning work of redemption. His arguments lead to this conclusion: If the dead rise not, then there has been no atonement for sin. If the dead rise not, then the sins of the saints remain. “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.” – 1 Cor. xv. 16. “If Christ be not raised, * * * then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” – Verses 17,18. Just so sure as Christ was raised from the dead, so sure it is that the dead will be raised; and that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead there can be no doubt in the minds of those who have living faith in the Lord and in his testimony. Peter testified on the day of Pentecost before a great multitude: “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” Peter, referring to King David, speaks of the psalmist’s knowledge of this important event: “He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” When Peter says, “we all are witnesses,” it must embrace the testimony of the prophets as well as that of the apostles. Paul also refers to the Psalms for proof of the resurrection of Christ. We suppose that Paul was not an eyewitness of the resurrection of Christ, but he bears testimony as though he were a witness of that great event, for on every occasion where it is needful for him to speak of it he uses the strongest language to establish the fact. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” – 1 Cor. xv. 20. Because that, “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” God’s way of doing his will is all of perfect order. So in the resurrection of the dead there is order, “Every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s, at his coming.” There is a firstfruits from the dead; this firstfruits secures all the crop of its kind from the dead. There can be no doubt about this as being established by Scripture teaching. It was ordained before the world was that the Head of the church should be the first begotten of the dead, that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, that he should be, The firstborn from the dead. (Acts xxvi. 23; Col. i. 18; Rev. i. 5.) Viewing Christ as the first that should rise from the dead, bringing immortality to light, inspiration could say this: He is “the firstborn of every creature.” – Col. i. 15. It can be truly said in the sense that he is absolutely the first to rise from the dead, that he is the firstborn, the Elder Brother, in the new Jerusalem. There is no doubt of many persons coming back to natural life who had died previous to the coming of the Holy One, but it was reserved for Jesus, the Elder Brother, to be the first that should pass through death and come up victorious on the other side of the grave, thus bearing the palm: “firstborn from the dead.” Being the first one to enter his kingdom of glory, he is really “the firstborn of every creature.” The experience of the saints cannot be complete until they shall experience that change in their bodies that brings them to glory. It is through the resurrection that perfection comes to the saints. Now we see as through a glass darkly, now we know in part only. We prophesy in part only; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. Now we have the Spirit of adoption, but in the resurrection we shall have the full adoption, the last and crowning work of redemption, to wit, the redemption of our body. There is nothing too good for those for whom the Savior died, because they are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. But they must suffer with their Lord and Savior on earth before they enter into their inheritance, which cannot be corrupted nor defiled, neither can it fade away, because it is secured by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He is the firstfruits of that incorruptible kingdom. The firstfruits secures all that shall ever enter the clime of immortality. (See 1 Peter i. 3; iii. 21.) Basing all our information upon the testimony of the word of God, we fail to find that angels, or any beings, can aspire to the great height of immortality, ‘except sinners who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. The redeeming power of that blood is beyoud the conception of mortals. These things angels have desired to look into. That blood of the everlasting covenant, the blood of the Lord Jesus, is holy. There never was and never can be any like it; it came from the body of the first begotten of the Father. This first begotten is called the Word. In the beginning was the Word; the Word was God; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. His blood which was shed for the cleansing and the redemption of his people was the blood of the Word, the blood of the Son of God. How sacred and solemn to contemplate the mighty power of redemption through the blood of the Lamb. The redeemed of the Lord, only, shall reach the exalted height of immortality, which is the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself. This adoption is the redemption of our body. The saints are sealed by the Holy Spirit “unto the day of redemption.” One place the seal is called “that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.” In these two passages let it be noticed that the sealing, or preservation, is “unto” and “until,” the future redemption. I have always thought that Job had a view of that final redemption where he asks the question: “If a man die, shall he live again?” Though he does not answer this question directly, he continues his discourse as though an affirmative answer was well understood; for without answering, or without any apology, he continues, as it were, in the same breath, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” – Job xiv. 14, 15. In another place Job speaks freely upon the same subject; his language is simple and plain, so that there ought not be any doubt in the mind of the believer in the Lord Jesus as to the truth of the quickening of the bodies of the saints in the great day of the resurrection, which shall manifest “who are Christ’s, at his coming.” Job is in great anguish of soul, as well as in bodily affliction; hear him cry: “O that my words were now written! O that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! for [because] I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” – Job xix. 23-27. In the above, where he says, “Though after my skin, worms destroy this body,” &c., the margin reads: “After I shalt awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh shall I see God.” If his body be destroyed, how could he see through his body unless it be quickened or revived! “Mine eyes shall behold, and not another,” or, as in the margin, not a stranger’s eyes. He was certain that he should be able to reach the height of immortality through his living Redeemer. Some object to accepting Job’s language here as having reference to the resurrection, where he speaks of seeing God: “Yet in my flesh shall I see God.” As I have quoted from the text and the margin, both set forth the fact that the body is first destroyed before he has the power to see God through his resurrected body. I will give my opinion why he uses the word “flesh” in connection with his sight of the Redeemer. Because he uses the word flesh does not signify that in the resurrection morning he shall be flesh, as he was at the time he uttered these words; but to establish the fact of his individuality, or identity, or that not another man should be able to see for him the wonders of the crowning work of redemption, but that he (Job), the afflicted, should stand in his lot in that day. David says: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” – Psalms xvii. 15. Death and the resurrection of God’s people are set forth in the Scriptures as falling asleep in the Lord our Savior, and awaking to life from the dead in Him, even in him. Daniel had a view of the final, wonderful work of redemption. He is firmly assured of the safety of the Lord’s people “at that time,” or “at that day.” For, “at that time,” the great Prince shall stand up for the delivery of the Lord’s people. There is still another reason of the safety of these “little ones,” and that is because their names are written in heaven, or as stated by Daniel: “And at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book.” Is not the writing of their names in “the book” a seal from on high? Surely they are sealed “with that holy Spirit of promise” until the day of final redemption, or deliverance. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” – Dan. xii. 2. It appears from the above that the prophet had a view of the resurrection of the “just and the unjust.” I do not understand that the rising from the tomb in any way separates, or prepares to separate, the righteous from the wicked, but that the separation is made before tins appointed day. Election secures the vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory. The others of mankind are blinded by the god of this world. Jesus says the sheep are placed on the right, but the goats on the left; this is all done before the King calls his sheep to their final inheritance: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The righteous shall go away into life eternal; the goats shall go away into everlasting punishment. There is proof in the Scriptures that the unjust, or the wicked, are resurrected, but this cannot affect in any way the title of the righteous to their kingdom of glory. Neither have they the right to ask their Lord and Savior why the goats are resurrected unto damnation. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his 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. The testimony of Paul before Felix, the governor, on the resurrection, agrees with the above: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets; and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” – Acts xxiv. 14, 15. This great apostle understood that the law and prophets taught the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. We must accept the truth. I feel safe in saying that the sheep shall be glorified before the goats have their final sentence pronounced against them. How long a space between, as we count time, I know not; I have noticed, however, that where the righteous and wicked are spoken of in regard to the future, that the righteous go first in the order of language. The most elaborate instruction on the resurrection is contained in 1 Cor. xv.; I think the apostle here speaks wholly in regard to the resurrection of the saints. It is all important for them to know what is revealed in regard to their future blessedness. It is not so important for them to know much about the future of those who know not the Lord Jesus. The wrath of God abideth upon all workers of iniquity; God alone can mitigate or increase his displeasure as he sees fit. The resurrection of the saints is in view where Paul uses the language: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” – 1 Cor. xv. 19. But his teaching leads us to have hope in that resurrection life which is to be manifested “at that day” to all them that love His appearing. The precious hope in the Redeemer of sinners will not be consummated until the resurrection life is experienced. If our hope falls short of that life, then we are of all men most miserable, because the resurrection life is the acme of our hope which we have while here in the flesh. As the saints fall asleep in Jesus their “flesh shall rest in hope “of the resurrection. As we count time, with some it may be for ten thousand years, with others it may be for a thousand years, and with some a hundred years, or less; but that holy sleep in the Lord shall be a peaceful rest to every one who has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Ten thousand years shall not be more to some than one night to others. That there is a set time, or great day, the day of the Lord, is plainly taught throughout the Scriptures. It is not given unto the saints “to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Jesus says: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” – Matt. xxiv. 36. Paul in 1 Thess. v. 2: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” From this it seems that the early saints knew perfectly, or that it was well understood by them, that the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night, unannounced. This agrees with the testimony of Peter. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” – 2 Peter iii. 10. We who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep from rising in the power of the Lord. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” – 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17. To me this is positive proof that mortals shall put on immortality. Again: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” – Rom. viii. 11. This mortal must put on immortality, this corruptible must put on incorruption; mortality shall be swallowed up of life. We are exhorted to comfort one another with the precious promises of deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. It seems evident from several places in the Scriptures that there shall be a time for the gathering together of the saints from all parts of the earth and heaven. Is this to be the great congregations spoken of by inspiration! (See Psalms xxii. 25; xxxv. 18; xli. 9, 10.) “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” – Eph. i. 10. “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” And, “Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” And, “The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with, thee.” And, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him.” (See Deut. xxxiii. 2; Dan. vii. 10; Zech. xiv. 5; Matt. xxv. 31; Jude 14.) I appeal “to the law and to the testimony.” It is from this source I have tried to set forth the power of Christ in the resurrection of the dead. That power was declared by the apostles, so that the Sadducees were “grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Paul said: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Closely following the above language Paul declares that the Lord Jesus Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” – Phil. iii. 21. The power of our Savior is such that he is able to subdue all things unto himself. There will be no power lacking in the resurrection. When our Life shall appear then shall we also appear with him in glory. As wise as the apostles were by the personal knowledge received from Jesus, and by inspiration, yet they could not tell us what we shall be; they could not enter into any details of the future life, they could only point us to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Perfect. That all saints shall be perfect in him is the assurance of the prophets and apostles. John tells us, “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.” Dear brethren, may we all be satisfied in the precious promises of a better life. In hope of immortality,

J. F. BEEMAN.

Signs Of The Times
Volume 76., No. 24.
DECEMBER 15, 1908.