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convict the Sadducees of their error; and as fully proving the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead This appears from the Talmud, where stating the question from the tradition of Rabbi Simei, it asks “ In what place does the law assert the resurrection of the dead? Answer-In that where it is said, I will establish my covenant with them (that is, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) to give them the land of Canaan. It is not said to you, but to them."
Again,“ the Sadducees ask Rabbi Gamaliel (the teacher of St. Paul) from whence do you prove that God will raise the dead?”—They were not satisfied till he produced to them, the 21st verse of the 11th chapter of Deut. in which it is said, “ in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them -Hence it appears that the law proves
the resurrection of the dead."
These extracts from the writings of the Jews, cast much light on the argument of our Saviour himself, who proves the doctrine of the resurrection of the body in like manner, against the Sadducees, in Matth. xxii. chapt. Mark xii. and Luke xx.--The argument he uses with them, is narrated in a very concise
manner, and must be much more expressive in the original than in our translation—66 but as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read, that which was spoken unto you by God saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." -The multitude, who fully
comprehended the force of bis argument, were as. tonished at his doctrine; and even the Sadducees, feeling its convictive power, were put to silence Now the conclusive nature of this reasoning, which had such an effect upon the hearers, does not appear to us, under the common acceptation of it-The conclusion does not seem necessarily to follow, because God made this declaration while the Patriarchs were living, and he might also be the God of their spirits living in heaven, separated from the body.--Hence the Socinians, not entering into the true meaning of the argument, say that the spirits of the just, lie in the sleep of death till the resurrection*-But the Sadducees might have answered, that God was their God, when the promise was made, while they were living in this world, and continued so to their seed after them—so that the meaning of the declaration might be, what he had been to them, and not what he should thereafter be. However this was not what they understood to be the design of the divine declaration–The force of our Saviour's observation lay here, and so the Sadducees and the multitude un. derstood it, as if he had said, “ you all profess to
About this time (anno 264) there sprang up in Arabia introducers of another opinion alienating from the truth These affirmed that men's souls, even in the presnt life, expired together with their bodies, and were turned to corruption with them, but that they should again revive with the body at the resurrection-No small synod being called, Origen again convinced those, who had fallen into these errors.
Euseb. Ecc. Hist. 408.
believe in the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that he would give them the land of Canaan, as a promised inheritance at the time when he declared himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, now you must acknowledge, that neither of them, ever received the fulfilment of this promise during their lives; therefore unless you deny the promise, or the faithfulness of God to fulfil it, you must agree, tbat Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must be raised from the dead to inherit that land; whereby God in the fulfilment of his word to them, will be their God living, in the enjoyment of that, which was the subject of the promise made to themThis was a conclusion that could not be denied, and they submitted to its force.*
* This seems to be the view, that St. Stephen had of this covenant and promise of God with and to Abraham; for he says, in his account of God's appearance unto Abraham in the viith chap. of the Acts of the Apostles," and God gave Abra. ham none inheritance in it, (the land of Canaan) no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession."-And St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews pursues the same idea; where after mentioning the same fact, connected with Abraham's offering up Isaac, although he had received the promise, “that in him all the nationsof the earth should be blessed, accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure” (of the first resurrection) he says, 6 and these (Abraham and several others mentioned before) all having obtained a good report, through faith received not the promises; (though actually made to them) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be
The prophet Ezekiel holds up this doctrine in his xxxviith chap. from the 12th ver. “therefore prophecy and say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, behold 0 my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel ; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up, out of your graves; and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall
made perfect”-that is, that they should wait in a state of death, as to the body, till the church of Christ should be com. pleted and we should all be perfected together, at the first resurrection at the second advent of the glorified Saviour, when these promises should be literally fulfilled.
All the patriarchs seem to have considered the promise in this sense. Isaac and Jacob on several occasions acknowledged themselves strangers and pilgrims on earth-They wandered to and fro without a settled place of abode-The Israelites, even after they had got possession of Canaan, were always in a state of warfare and confusion_This David frequently acknowl. edges in the Psalms, “ Thou hast cast us off and put us to shame, and goest not forth with our armies. Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat, and hast scattered us among the heathen-O God the Heathen are come into thine inheritance, thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps—I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner as all my fathers were”-and yet in this distressing situation, David with joy was mindful of the covenant God had made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac, and which he had confirmed to Jacob as a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying “ unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.”
place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it and performed it, saith the Lord."
These were undoubtedly the sentiments of the ancient Jews, as will further appear from the language of Baruch, v. 3. to 6. though an apocryphal book, " for God will show thy brightness (meaning Jerusalem's) unto every country under heaven; for thy name shall be called of God forever, the peace of righteousness and the glory of God's worship. Arise 0 Jerusalem and stand on high : look about towards the east and behold thy children gathered from the west unto the east, by the word of the holy one, rejoicing in the remembrance of God.” But more particularly in the conduct of Judas Maccabeus, in the xiith chap. of the 2d book of Maccabees—He went out to fight with Georgias, the Governor of Idumea, and in the battle a number of the Jews were slain, though Judas finally prevailed; and when he came to bury their dead brethren according to his custom, they found under the coats of every one of the slain, things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which was forbidden by their law --Judas and his company immediately betook themselves to prayer, that the sin might be wholly put out of God's remembrance, and he improved the opportunity, by warning his com pany from this example, to keep themselves from sin, which had produced the loss of their companions; “' and when he had made a gathering throughout the company, he sent it to Jerusalem, to