Monday, June 11, 2007

Comfort one another with these words is comfort which we may each one safely take, namely, that when Jesus comes the dead shall live. The Revised Version has it, “He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live.” We do not know when our Lord will descend from heaven, but we do know the message of the angel, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” The Lord will come; we may not question the certainty of His appearing. When He cometh, all His redeemed shall live with Him. The trump of the archangel shall startle the happy sleepers, and they shall wake to put on their beauteous array; the body transformed and made like unto Christ’s glorious body shall be once more wrapt about them as the vesture of their perfected and emancipated spirits. Then our brother shall rise again, and all our dear ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus the Lord will bring with Him. This is the glorious hope of the church, wherein we see the death of death, and the destruction of the grave. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Then we are also told that when Jesus comes, living believers shall not die. After the coming of Christ there shall be no more death for His people. What does Paul say? “Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed.” Did I see a little school-girl put up her finger? Did I hear her say, “Please, sir, you made a mistake.” So I did; I made it on purpose. Paul did not say, “We shall not all die,” for the Lord had already said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”; Paul would not say that any of us should die, but he used his Master’s own term, and said, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” When the Lord comes there will be no more death; we who are alive and remain (as some of us may be—we cannot tell) will undergo a sudden transformation—for flesh and blood, as they are, cannot inherit the kingdom of God—and by that transformation our bodies shall be made meet to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” There shall be no more death then. Here, then, we have two sacred handkerchiefs with which to wipe the eyes of mourners: when Christ cometh the dead shall live; when Christ cometh those that live shall never die. Like Enoch, or Elias, we shall pass into the glory state without wading through the black stream, while those who have already forded it shall prove to have been no losers thereby. All this is in connection with Jesus. Resurrection with Jesus is resurrection indeed. Life in Jesus is life indeed. It endears to us resurrection, glory, eternal life, and ultimate perfection, when we see them all coming to us in Jesus. He is the golden pot which hath this manna, the rod which beareth these almonds, the life whereby we live.

From a sermon entitled "Though He Were Dead," September 14, 1884.

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