T H E
By J O H N.B U N Y A N,
A Servant of the Lord's Christ.
Written from Bedford Prison.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED.
irst, then, it is evident, that the wicked shall rise, from the very terms and names that the raised shall then go under, which are the very same names that they did go under when they lived in this world. They are called the heathen, the nations, the world, the wicked, and those that do iniquity; they are called men, women, [of] Sodom, Sidon, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Tyre. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgment (Luke 10:12-14); the queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment (Matt 12:41,42); and it shall be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for other sinners that have resisted more light (Matt 11:21-24). "The heavens and the earth, which are now, - - are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7; Joel 3:12-14). Now these terms, or names, are not given to the spirits of the wicked only, but to them as consisting of body and soul. Further, Christ tells his adversaries, when they had apprehended him, and shamefully entreated him, that yet they should see him sit on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt 25:31,32; 26:64; Jude 14,15), as John also doth testify, saying, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Rev 1:7). Now none of these sayings are yet fulfilled, neither shall they, until his second coming; for though the Jews did many of them see him, when he did hang upon the cross, yet then he was not coming in the clouds of heaven, neither did then all kindreds of the earth wail because of him. No, this is reserved till he comes to judge the world; for then shall the ungodly be so put to it, that gladly they would creep into the most invincible rock or mountain under heaven, to hide themselves from his face, and the majesty of his heavenly presence (Rev 6:14-17). There shall therefore, that this may be brought to pass, be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. For though an opinion of no resurrection may now lull men asleep, in security and impiety, yet the Lord when he comes will rouse them, and cause them to awake; not only out of their security, but out of their graves, to their doom, that they may receive for their error, the recompense that is meet.
Second, The body of the ungodly must, at the last, arise out of the grave, because that body and their soul, while they lived in the world, were co-partners in their lusts and wickedness. "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed" (1 Sam 2:3). He will therefore bring every work into judgment, "with every secret thing" (Eccl 12:14). And as he will bring into judgment every work, so will he also the worker thereof, "even the dead, small and great" (Rev 20:12-14). It is not in God to lay the punishment where the fault is not, neither to punish a part of the damned for the whole. "With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity" (Psa 98:9). "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25). As therefore the body was co-partner with the soul in sinning, so shall every man receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done. Wherefore he saith in another place, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev 22:12). There shall therefore be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Third, The body of the wicked must rise again, because as the whole man of the just also that is the vessel of mercy and glory; so the whole man of the unjust is the vessel of wrath and destruction. There are, saith Paul, in a great house not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honour and some to dishonour. Now, as he sheweth us, these vessels to honour, they are good men, and the vessels to dishonour are the bad (2 Tim 2:20,21). Now as these vessels to dishonour, are called the vessels of wrath: so it is said, that God with much long-suffering, doth suffer them to be fitted to destruction (Rom 9:22). How they are thus fitted he also further sheweth, where he saith, They do "after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Rom 2:5), which treasures of wickedness, James saith, it is treasure up against the last days (which is the time of judgment), and observe it, he saith, that then it shall eat their flesh as it were fire (James 5:2,3). Now then, their bodies being the vessels of the wrath of God, and again, seeing with this wrath they must be possessed at the last day, that their flesh must with it be eaten, it is evident, that their body must rise again out of their graves, and before the judgment-seat appear; for it is from thence, that each of them must go with his full load to their long and eternal home, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:47,48).
Fourth, The severity of the hand of God towards his children, with his forbearance of his enemies, doth clearly bespeak a resurrection of the ungodly, that they may receive the reward for their wickedness which they have committed in this world. We know, that while the eyes of the wicked start out with fatness, the godly are plagued all the day long, and chastened every morning (Psa 73:3- 15), wherefore it is evident, that the place and time of the punishment of the ungodly, it is another world. If "judgment must begin at the house of God, - - what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17,18). Alas, poor creatures! they now plot against the righteous, and gnash upon them with their teeth; but "the Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming" (Psa 37:13); for as he saith, the wicked is reserved, or let alone in his wickedness, to the day of destruction, and shall then be brought forth to the day of wrath, though in the meantime, he may go to his grave in his banner, and rest within is tomb (Job 21:29-32). As Peter saith again, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2 Peter 2:9): And Jude saith, For them "is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 13). The punishment of the ungodly, it is reserved till the day of judgment, which will be the time of their resurrection. Observe,
1. The wicked must be punished.
2. The time of their punishment is not now, but at the day of judgment.
3. This day of judgment, must be the same with the resurrection of the dead, at the end of this world. "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt 13:40,41). There shall then be resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
4. The sovereignty of the Lord Jesus over all creatures, doth plainly foreshew a resurrection of the bad, as well as of the good. Indeed, the unjust shall not arise, by virtue of any relation they stand in to the Lord Jesus, as the saints shall; but yet, because all are delivered into his hand, and he made sovereign Lord over them; therefore by an act of his sovereign power, they that are ungodly, shall arise; this is Christ's own argument, "The Father judgeth no man," saith he, "but hath committed all judgment unto the Son"—that is, count him, and fall before him as their sovereign Lord, even as they honour the Father, and he hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. And then he adds, "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 5:22-29). From hence also Paul argueth, saying, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living," and then adds, "We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ" (Rom 14:9,10).
Pray mind these words, Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection, did not only purchase grace, and remission of sins, for his elect, with their eternal glory; but did thereby also obtain of the Father to be Lord, and head over all things, whether they be things in heaven, or things on earth, or things under the earth. "All power," saith he, "is given unto me, in heaven and in earth, and I have the keys of hell and of death" (Matt 28:18; Rev 1:18), So that all things, I say, whether they be visible, or invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by him, and for him (Col 1:16). This being thus, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, - - - and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:10,11). Now, that this may be done, He hath his resolutions upon a judgment-day, in which he, to shew himself his people, his way, and word in their glory, will have all his enemies raised out of their graves, and brought before him, where he will sit upon them in the throne of his glory, and will shew them then, "who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Matt 25:31,32; 1 Tim 6:14,15).
Behold, He comes, "with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 14,15).
Fifth, The great preparation that God hath made for the judgment of the wicked, doth clearly demonstrate their rising forth out of their graves. 1. He hath appointed the day of their rising. 2. He hath appointed their judge, to judge them. 3. He hath recorded all their acts and doings against that day. 4. He hath also already appointed the witnesses to come in against them. 5. The instruments of death and misery, are already prepared for them.
1. He hath appointed the day of their rising, which day John calleth the time of the dead, that they should be judged (Rev 11:18), which time, Paul saith, is a time fixed; "He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world," &c. (Acts 17:31). This time and day Christ brings down to an hour, saying, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth;" &c. (John 5:28,29).
2. As he hath appointed the day, so he hath appointed the judge, "He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). This man is Jesus Christ; for it is he that is "ordained of God to be the judge of quick an dead" (Acts 10:42).
3. All their deeds and works, to a word and thought, are every one already recorded and enrolled in the books of the laws of heaven against that day. "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: - - - upon the table of their heart" (Jer 17:1). And again saith God, "Write it - - in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come, even for ever and ever, that this is a rebellious people," &c. (Isa 30:8,9).
4. God hath prepared his witnesses against this day (James 5:1-3; Job 20:27; Matt 24:14; Rom 2:14,15; Mal 3:5).
5. The instruments of death, and eternal misery, are already prepared. "He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors" (Psa 7:13; 21:12). Hell is of old prepared, he hath made it deep and large, the fire, the everlasting fire, is also now of a long time prepared (Isa 30:33; Matt 25:41); the heavy weights of God's curse are also ready (Deu 29:20) and their "damnation now of a long time slumbereth not" (2 Peter 2:3). But now I say, how ridiculous a business would all this be, if these things should be all prepared of the only wise God, and there should be none to be judged; or if he that is ordained judge, should not, either through want of power or will, command these rebels, and force them before his judgment-seat. Glad indeed, would the sinners be, if these things might be true; glad I say, at very heart, if they might be in their secret places of darkness, and the grave for ever; but it must not be; the day of their rising is set; the judge is appointed; their deeds are written; the deep dungeon is with open mouth ever waiting for them; wherefore at the day appointed, neither earth, nor death, nor hell can hinder: There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Sixth and Lastly, Besides what hath been said, I cannot but believe, there shall be a resurrection of the wicked at the last day, because of the ungodly consequences, and errors that do most naturally follow the denial thereof. For,
1. He that taketh away the doctrine of the resurrection of the wicked; he taketh away one of the main arguments that God hath provided for to convince a sinner of the evil of his ways; for how shall a sinner be convinced of the evil of sin, if he be not convinced of the certainty of eternal judgment? and how shall he be convinced of eternal judgment, if you persuade him, that when he is dead, he shall not at all rise? especially seeing the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment must unavoidably be one the forerunner of the other (Heb 6:2). It was Paul's reasoning of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come that made Felix tremble (Acts 24:25). It is this also he calleth the argument of terror, wherewith he persuaded men (2 Cor 5:10,11). This was Solomon's argument (Eccl 11:9); and Christ's also, where he saith, "that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt 12:36).
2. They that deny the resurrection of the wicked, they do both allow and maintain the chief doctrine of the ranters, with most of the debauched persons in the world. For the ranters deny it both in principle and practice, and the other in practice at least. Now to me it is very strange, that these men above all other, should both know and live in the doctrines of the kingdom of God: especially seeing the denial hereof is an evident token of one appointed to wrath and destruction (2 Tim 2:18). But to be plain; there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: wherefore, whatever others may say or profess, being beguiled by Satan, and their own hearts, yet do thou fear him that can "destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt 10:28).
There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them" (Rev 20:13).