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state, as being attended by angels. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; * ** verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Matt. xvi. 27, 28; Mark viii. 38, and ix. 1; Luke ix. 26, 27. Here the coming of Christ, with his angels, is confined to that generation. On another occasion, Jesus said, "they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory; and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet;" to which he immediately adds, "this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Matt. xxiv. 30, 31, 34. See also Matt. xxv. 31, and 2 Thess. i. 7. It is a circumstance which confirms our application of the passage, that the Son of man sends forth his angels to destroy his enemies, for this language is invariably applied in the New Testament, to the destruction of Jerusalem, whenever that event is described. In the passage before us, the angels, or messengers were to be the agents of destruction to the enemies of Christ; and by comparing this fact with what is stated Matt. xxii. 7, we ascertain who the messengers of destruction were. “But when the king heard thereof he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city." Here it is certainly meant that the Roman armies were the messengers which God sent to destroy his rebellious people, the Jews.
We come now to consider another important question, viz. what did Jesus signify by the "furnace of fire," into which the wicked were cast by the angels of destruction, to whom God had given them up? We know it has been the usual opinion, that this furnace of fire is a place of torment in the future world. But are there any who have yet to learn, that this figure was employed by the sacred writers to represent temporal destruction? The bondage Israel suffered under Pharaoh was described as a furnace. "But the Lord
hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt." Deut. iv. 20. See also, 1 Kings viii. 51; Isa. xlviii. 10; Jer. xi. 4. So the tremendous calamities, the "great tribulation" suffered by the Jews at the destruction of their favorite city,compared with which the afflictions suffered in Egypt were less than nothing,--are represented by a "furnace of fire"; and the application of the figure to the city of Jerusalem is made so directly and indisputably, that the most obtuse sense must perceive it. "The Lord's fire is in Zion, and his FURNACE in Jerusalem." Isa. xxxi. 9. A passage still more full, and more pointed, remains to be quoted. "And the word of the Lord camne unto me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross; all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem, as they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it, so will I gather you in mine anger, and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you." Ezek. xxii. 17-22. There cannot remain a lingering doubt, that the "furnace of fire" was the city of Jerusalem, into which God gathered the Jewish nation, and there melted them in the fire of his wrath.
To those who wish to examine this passage more fully, we commend Paige's "Selections," pp. 94-97. See also Balfour's "Second Inquiry," pp. 275–281. And I do direct the reader's attention very particularly to a Dissertation on the Phrases, End of the World, Last Days, Last Time, &c. as used in the
New Testament, published in the "Universalist Expositor," Vol. I. " Vol. I. pp. 95-113. And those who desire to see the opinion of the very learned Dr. Lightfoot on this subject, and others of a kindred nature, are referred to my "Notes and Illustrations of the Parables," pp. 316-318, note. The quotations from Lightfoot there given, are invaluable.
XVII. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matt. xiii. 47-50.
This passage is explained on precisely the same principles as the last we considered. The time of fulfilment is the same in both cases, and the same subject is illustrated in both. Let the reader study carefully what we have offered on the preceding passage, viz. Matt. xiii. 37-43, and he will fully comprehend the passage now before us. The end of the world," signifies the same in both cases, as does also the "furnace of fire." The phrases are the same in the Greek, and in the English. Balfour says, on Matt. xiii. 47 – 50, "The same Greek phrase, as in Matt. xiii. 37 – 43, occurs here, and is rendered in the same way. As our Lord is only illustrating the same things, and uses the very same figure of a furnace of fire, we forbear either transcribing it or remarking on it. The remarks made on the last passage are sufficient here." "Second Inquiry," p. 281.
XVIII. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt. xvi. 25, 26.
The parallel passages are Mark viii. 35-37, and Luke ix. 24, 25. See also Matt. x. 39.
The above passage is one of the principal proof
texts of the doctrine of endless misery. We are very gravely told, that Jesus spoke of the sinner losing his soul. "For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own SOUL? or what shall a man give in exchange for his SOUL?" This is sufficient proof, we are told, that THE SOUL may be lost. But all this imaginary proof will vanish, if it be considered, that the Greek word rendered soul here, is the same word which in the preceding verse is rendered life; and the two verses should have been translated thus: "For whosoever will save his life (quz) shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life (yzn) for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own life (uz)? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life (yuzh) ?" Thus we see that no reference at all is made to the spirit of man, but to his natural life only; the spirit returns to God at death. "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was ; and the spirit (πrεчμα in the LXX,) to God who gave it." Here we might safely leave this passage; but as we have at hand some very profitable criticisms from the pen of Rev. L. R. Paige, we shall lay them before the reader.
It may be said that Jesus speaks concerning the loss of the soul; but the soul is very different from the life; and therefore the loss of life cannot be regarded as the great calamity against which he cautions his disciples. I shall not go into a long examination of the meaning of the word yuz, here rendered soul. I shall merely state a few facts which may assist the inquirer in rightly determining its import in this place.
This word frequently occurs in the LXX, or the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It is there used twice, and twice only, as the translation of Ruah, which word the Hebrews employed to denote the "Spirit, or an incorporeal substance, as opposed to flesh, or a corporeal one." But it is used six hundred and twenty-three times as the translation of Nephish, concerning which Hebrew word, Parkhurst, an Orthodox lexicographer, writes thus :-it "hath been s
posed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul; I must, for myself, confess, that I can find no passage where it hath undoubtedly this meaning." We shall do well to consider, 1. whether the learned men who translated the Old Testament into the Greek language, understood the meaning of the word yuz; and 2. whether, if they judged it the most proper word to indicate the spiritual part of man, they would probably use it only twice as the translation of a word which has this meaning, and six hundred and twenty-three times as the translation of a word which Parkhurst confesses never has this meaning; or at least, he had never been able to find a satisfactory instance of the kind.
In the New Testament, the usage of this word is somewhat different. It is sometimes translated soul, sometimes life, mind, heart, heartily, Ghost. It is used in all one hundred and four times; and setting aside twelve cases, in which its meaning is disputed, it signifies the whole person in eleven instances; the intellect in thirty; the natural life in forty-eight; and is expressly opposed to the spirit in three. If we include its use in a verbal or participial form, it is used in all, for the whole person, eleven times; for the intellect, thirty-one; for the natural life, fifty-two; and is opposed to the spirit nine times.*
Hence there can be no necessity to understand this word to mean the spiritual part of man, in the passage under consideration, merely from its own force; for in more than half the instances where it occurs in the New Testament, and almost invariably in the Old Testament, it will not admit such a signification. It certainly indicates the natural life in the preceding verse, and is so translated :- "Whosoever will save his life, shall lose
*In the places to which I refer, where something opposed to spirit is signified, the word is translated soul, 1 Cor. xv. 45. 1 Thes. v. 28. Heb. iv. 12; natural, 1 Cor. ii. 14. xv. 44, (twice,) 46; sensual, James iii. 15. Jude 19. In the first three instances, the original word is uy; in the other six, it is vizos formed from yuz, and of similar signification; and it may be observed, that the last-named word occurs nowhere else in the Bible.