Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. — Daniel 12:2
There are those who hold to that the soul or spirit is inherently immortal who point to this scripture as proof of such, although in reality, this says nothing at all about an alleged inherent immortality in this verse. Actually, the verse is speaking of the resurrection of the dead soul. Of course, those who support the inherent immortality doctrine often claim that there could be no resurrection is the soul or spirit is not immortal, but no such thing is ever stated in the Bible. As we have shown elsewhere, it is the soul that sins, it is the soul that dies, and it is the dead soul, not the dead body, that is to be raised in the day of judgment.
The resurrection spoken of agrees with what Jesus said, that there will a resurrection of those who did “good” to life, and that there will be a resurrection of those who did bad to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28,29) And Paul also said that he believed that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15) Both of these classes in the resurrection come as a result of the salvation through Jesus, as Jesus said he came to save to world, which would give to the world the new judgment day in the “last day.” — John 12:47,48.
One class is awakened to life in its full, complete sense — lasting life; the other class, not having been justified in the present life is awakened to life as Adam had it before he sinned, but not in the fullest sense of everlasting life. This can refer to their awakening from from two different standpoints: (1) Their standing when they are first raised from death, (2) Their standing as a result of the judgment day in the ‘last day.’ (John 12:47,48) Of course, those who “overcome” in this age will have already proven themselves incorruptible and therefore cannot be harmed by death, so they will have incorruptible life immediately when they are raised. — Revelation 2:11.
Adam had life, but he was still corruptible, it that it was still possible for him to disobey. However, before he sinned, Adam had no character shaped by sin, but when the word in general is awakened, they, although having the ransom sacrifice applied to them so as to awaken them from the sleep of death, will still not be vitally connected with the Son or with God because they will still have the sinful mental character that they had developed in this present age. The world in general, then, “come forth” that they may be brought to the knowledge of the fact that life and that day of restoration have been provided by God’s grace through the great atonement sacrifice; that the Life-giver has taken his great power and glory, as Prophet, Priest and King, and that by coming to him they may gradually, step by step, attain to life rather than the everlasting punishment of the second death. — Matthew 25:46,47.
We need to remember that the resurrection often refers to more than just being raised back to life, for in its fullest sense it means re-standing erect. Such standing Adam had before he sinned, but his standing was in righteousness, straight, upright, until he sinned. But his standing had never been made solid, for if it had, he would not have sinned. In other words, Adam was being judged to see whether Adam would use his standing to solidify his obedience, or if he would prove to be disobedient. Since Adam proved to disobedient, we therefore read: “The judgment was by one to condemnation.” (Romans 5:17) And: “by the offence of one judgment came.” (Romans 5:18) This offers us reason to believe that if Adam had proven his loyalty, proven himself incorruptible, the judgment would have been to life, and Adam would have had incorruptible life to all eternity, and would be still alive on earth today.
The resurrection of judgment, having been part of the salvation provided through Jesus’ sacrifice (John 12:47,48), therefore places man, when first awakened from death, to that same kind of judgment that Adam was faced with with before Adam sinned. It is this condition of judgment that those who are unjustified in this age will be raised in the coming day of judgment.
Nevertheless, the prophet’s statement respecting this second class — that they come forth to shame and on-going contempt — is significant. If they came forth perfected in mind they would not be in a shameful and contemptible condition, for perfection is always admirable. These words, therefore, attest that they come forth with imperfect mental attitudes, attitudes that had been developed in their former life under the fall through Adam, and our Lord’s added explanation assures us that when they come forth in their imperfection, that they will be judged at that time, bringing to mind the original judgment of Adam. However, their mind will not be as Adam’s since their mind will still be clogged with their former sinful habits and inclinations. Thus, such habits and thoughts will have to purged through chastising and disciplining in that judgment day if they are to maintain and attain life in its fullest incorruptible sense.
One of the most despicable persons we can think of was Adolph Hitler. We might use Hitler as an illustration, as he will be one of those who will come forth to in the resurrection of judgment. When we remember that the awakening of the sleeping world will not begin until the present generation of the world shall have been brought under the Kingdom power, to a considerable measure of righteousness and intelligence, we will readily perceive that Hitler, on coming forth, will find himself in the midst of very different social conditions from those prevailing when he died. He will find vices such as he practiced and cultivated very much discredited, and the virtues and even the people which he shunned and persecuted he will find installed in power and in general favor. He will be utterly out of accord with all of his surroundings, much more so than others less willful, less profligate, less vicious, less contemptible. He will find himself well known through the pages of history, and in general contempt because of his abuse of his powers and opportunities — not only as the murderer of thousands of Jewish people, but also as the persecutor and torturer of Yahweh’s faithful ones.
Every good and virtuously disposed person is bound to hold such a character as his in “contempt,” and under such circumstances he will be bound to suffer great “shame.” However, he comes forth in the resurrection of judgment — for the purpose of being accorded an opportunity of rising up out of his shameful and contemptible condition to the full and solid perfection of human life; and to what extent he will attain that incorruptible life, to what extent he will attain in that resurrection to solidly stand up straight with an incorruptible character, will depend entirely upon himself. First of all, he must know the truth; he must see himself in his true colors; he must see in contrast the perfect man — as may at that time be represented in the faithful of old, or others who may have at that time already have perfected their character to an incorruptible condition. He will certainly learn about Jesus’ faithful character as a human, by which Jesus brought life and incorruption to light. He must see in operation the laws of righteousness in contrast with his previous knowledge of the operation of the reign of sin and death. If, then, he determinedly maintains an evil influence and hardens his heart and refuses obedience, he must die the second death — after having enjoyed and rejected the privileges and opportunities which Yahweh has provided for him and all mankind. Indeed, if this should prove to be the result of his being awakened out of sleep, his awakening will have proved to be one to everlasting contempt, and his example of disobedience will be marked to be held in shame and contempt forever.
But if, on the contrary, he will humble himself, acknowledge his sin, and become obedient to the laws of the Kingdom, he will thus at once begin his upward course toward incorruptible life — his resurrection, or rising up, toward complete recovery from the corrupted condition of mind that he had developed under the fall through Adam. If he will thus “go up” on the highway of holiness, he will at the same time be purging himself from the “contempt” of his fellows, and correspondingly relieving himself of “shame.” For we cannot doubt that if there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, there will be joy on earth amongst all right-minded people as they from time to time shall see sinners turning from the errors of their ways to obedience to Yahweh; and the laudable contempt of the former for sin and its meanness must gradually give place to sympathetic appreciation of the efforts being put forth in the direction of righteousness. So that should Hitle ever become fully obedient to Yahweh, and attain incorruptible life in the “resurrection by judgment,” he will be highly respected and his past will be fully forgotten — just as now, when thinking of the Apostle Paul, we remember his noble self-sacrifices and faithfulness to Yahweh, disassociating him from Saul, the persecutor whom he denominated “the chief of sinners.”
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