AT THE APPEARING OF CHRIST.
for the account they will give of themselves will be truthful then, if they eschewed the truth before; and this will overwhelm them in shame and condemnation. They will be "wheat turned to cheat," to which is never given the wheat-body bearing seed. The divine sentence will be against them; so that an incorruptible and living house from heaven will be withheld; and they will perish in the corruption of the sprout-body in returning to the dust from whence it came.
Tertullian, who became a Christian about eighty-five years after the reception of the Apocalypse by the apostle John, that is, about a.d. 185, in writing upon the resurrection, says: "He who raises the dead to life will raise the body in its perfect integrity. This is part of the change which the body will undergo at the resurrection; for though the dead will be raised in the flesh, yet they who attain to the resurrection of happiness will pass into the angelic state and put on the vesture of immortality, according to the declaration of the apostle Paul, that 'this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality;' and again, that 'our vile bodies will be changed that they may be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ.'"
In this testimony, Tertullian teaches, first, the resurrection of the same kind of flesh as that deposited in the grave; and, second, that those of them thus restored to life, who may be appointed to happiness do not remain in the same state, and of the same nature; but pass out of it in passing into the angelic state, and so putting on the vesture of immortality; in which, as Jesus expresses it, "they can die no more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of the Deity, being the children of the resurrection" (Luke xx. 36). [This is for the consideration of those who style "mortal resurrection," as they term it, a new doctrine.—R.R.]
But some will say: Are all that ever breathed the breath of life to stand up in resurrection? Unquestionably not. I have already shown from Scripture that "multitudes sleep a perpetual sleep," but not all. What, then, it may be said, is the ground of difference? Why should some rise and others not? In the first place there is no necessity for resurrection where hope is excluded and condemnation is final. "All the world is guilty before the Deity, who has concluded all under sin" (Rom. iii. 9, 19; Gal. iii. 22). Now, respecting this guilty world, "walking in the vanity of its mind, having its understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of the Deity through its ignorance and blindness of heart" (Eph. iv. 17-18), respecting this, Jesus says, "it is condemned already"—it is condemned to "sleep a perpetual sleep."