The Relation of the Souls of the Righteous to the Corporeity of Christ


Sec. VI.

"The olKia axetpoiroirp-o<;," says v. Hofmann, adopting another course to attain to the interpretation of 2 Cor. v. I,2 " is neither a provisional dwelling appropriate to the dead nor their own for ever glorious body. The former would give a romantic conception absolutely foreign to Scripture (an assertion by which our

1 See Giider, Lehre von der Erscheinung Jesu Christi unter den Todten, 1853, p. 336.

* Weissagung und ErfUllung, ii. 190.

idea discussed in Sec. V. is not affected); the latter would contradict either the doctrine elsewhere maintained by the apostle, if the clothing with this body were to happen immediately after death, or could not be reconciled with the present e^pfiev if it were not to take place until the resurrection of the righteous (but e^ofiev with transposition into the time of the death following, or of the parousia, is not at all a surprising expression of that which is certain to happen afterwards, or then). Of the glorified corporeity of Christ, it may, on the other hand, perhaps be said that we have in it, even now, an olKia alaivm for our souls, and therefore also even when our eirlr/eio< ; oUta is dissolved. Of it we might, while living in this our mortal body, receive, and thereby be changed into, the fellowship of its glory without death. Elye Kcu eVoWa/Aewu ov yvfivol evpedrja6fieda, adds Paul by way of reminder; which words, as it appears to me, have therefore been so manifoldly and so terribly misunderstood, because ov yvfivol has not been regarded as in apposition with ivSvadfievoi, and the latter not as a characterization of a conduct, and indeed of such a conduct as must have been pursued by us before the appearance of Christ, if this manifestation be to tend to our glorification. Only upon the supposition that we are already clothed with Christ, and are not found naked, have we to expect that if we are alive at the day of the manifestation of Christ, and are in the flesh, we shall also see our awfia T?}? capiio? clothed upon with the awfia Ttj? 8o£?7? of Christ, and thus shall see To dmyrbv swallowed up inrb T?J? fwj7?." Elsewhere,1 v. Hofmann recapitulates the declaration of the apostle in the following manner: "The Christian, when dying he puts off his earthly body, will exchange the earthly dwelling-place which he possessed therein for a heavenly one: he will be taken up bodilessly in Christ the glorified, or, which is the same thing, he will be taken up into the heavenly house of God. Even without a body he will be included in Christ, in whose glorified nature the entire fulness of the divine essence has its bodily dwelling-place." We willingly concede that against this view of the third

1 Schrifibeweis, 2, ii. 477. I have again tested my view of 1 Cor. v. 1-4 by the criticism to 'which it is there—466-474—subjected; but I find myself corrected only in one essential point—the reference of the it roirr? to the Tow Hxyvw;.

verse1 nothing is to be objected in terms: the reading etye accommodates itself to it as well as etirep; moreover, it gives to the ivSvadfievoi a meaning which elsewhere (comp. Gal. iii. 27; Eph. iv. 24; Col. iii. 10) in Paul it actually has, although never without a corresponding definition of the object. But we must not set aside the consideration, that it estranges the evSvadfievoi (with which 1 Cor. xv. 53 is rather to be compared) from the eschatological connection of the range of conception, iKSvaaadai (death), iirevSvaaadai (a change in the bodily life), and ipSvaaadai (resurrection). Let it be as it will with the meaning of the third verse, in any case we insist upon this, that the apostle, by the heavenly habitation, understands the resurrection body,2 not an intermediate corporeity, and still less the glorified corporeity of Christ; for this yields a view neither declared by any appendix, nor otherwise to be authenticated in the apostolic form of doctrine. The apostle teaches that the word and sacrament make us members of the church, which is the body of Christ. He teaches that our mortal bodies are one day, whether by changing or by raising again, to become conformed to the glorified body of Christ (see 2 Cor. iv.); but he nowhere teaches, that in the intermediate state Christ's glorified body will be to the hope of the resurrection our habitation, and so to speak, the universal body, which embraces the souls of all believers.

The case would indeed be somewhat otherwise, if in the

1 It has precursors in Jerome, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, Calixtus, Calovius, Baldwin, Vitringa, Olshausen, Usteri; moreover, it occurs in the Greek fathers, and in other teachers of the time of the Reformation. Macarius, for instance, is worthy of consideration (Horn. v. 6-8), who understands by the heavenly habitation of ver. 1 the house of the spirit which remains to the soul that is at home there at the breaking up of the body, and by the power of the spirit maintains its final development in the spiritual corporeity (Rom. viii. 11). This house of the spirit is to him the immaterial corporeity of the intermediate state : for the soul appears to him in itself as bodily (iv. 9, vii. 7), and God Himself has embodied Himself (ioufixroiroUtrtu fxvron, iv. 9) in order to be able to become soul like to soul. "Let us strive," says he (ver. 8), "to attain to this clothing by faith and by a divinely blessed walk, whereby we shall not be found naked when we must put off the body, and have nothing which may make our flesh predominant in that day."

2 Thus also the latest interpreters of the Epistle to the Corinthians, Osiander and Burger, although (the former reading Uivadfiwoi, the latter

Epistle to the Hebrews, which in any case is in some sort Pauline, viii. 2, ix. 11, and elsewhere, were to be understood by the heavenly archetypal and antitypal aKrjvrj, as Hofmann explains it, the glorified body of Christ.1 This view, which is maintained also by J. Gerhard, Eg. Hunnius, Bengel, is certainly nearly touched, when John ii. 21, where the body of Christ is called a temple, is placed side by side with Eph. ii. 19-22, according to which Christ and the church together form a holy temple. Moreover, the Epistle to the Hebrews itself appears in x. 20 to suggest this view; for if the flesh.of the crucified One is the veil which must be rent, the glorification of the corporeity of Christ is the uncovering of that which was hidden by this veil. But I consider that, in this decisive passage (Heb. ix. 11), where Hofmann associates ap^iepevs T&v fie\X6vto3v aiyaOaiv Sia Tt?? fiel£ovos Kal reXewrepav aiCrjvrjs (an higli priest of good things to come by means of His glorified human nature as the tabernacle where now God dwells in humanity), the association of Sia T^? /teifovo? Kal reXeiorepas cncrjinjs with elarjXOev <t? ra ar/ia is the most obvious;2 that, according to viii. 3-6, the original Mosaic tabernacle was the copy of a heavenly model, and accordingly the image and adumbration of heavenly archetypes (r<Sv iirovpaviwv) ;a that, according to the universal testimony of Old Testament Scripture, there is a heavenly temple-palace, where God is enthroned in the midst of blessed spirits; that even the consciousness of the faith of the synagogue is aware of a parallel heavenly sanctuary antitypical of the earthly sanctuary, which is neither the Shechina

i»ivaeifit»oi) they understand ver. 3 of the necessity of a precedent covering of our nakedness with the righteousness of Christ.

1 Hofmann, Weissagung und ErJUllung, ii. 190; Schriftbeweis, 2, i. 411. "The name a*y»q designates the house of God's dwelling in humanity as the copy in the history of redemption of the habitation of God established by Moses ; whereby alone every other interpretation appears excluded but that which harmonizes with Col. ii. 9,—that the divine fellowship of the glorified Son of man must be thought of, whose bodily nature is the dwellingplace of all the fulness of the Divine Being.

8 Bengel indeed thinks, even in this obvious association, that he must understand nx'wii of the body of Christ: Tabernaculo opponitur corpus, »( sanguis sanguini. But as the ffxonj is designated as belonging to the future world, this is impossible. Christ may be said to have passed through His <r«p!, but not through His vufcu. Tj)? So'£ji?.

3 See my Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 337.

(i.e. the manifestation of the Godhead dwelling among men) nor the church, but the everlasting place of worship of the latter;1 that even the seer of the Apocalypse gains a sight of this vao? T»7? aii>jvrj<; Tov fiaprvplov (xv. 5), and thoroughly describes it in his book, even to the detail, without there being given to us in xxi. 22 (where the new Jerusalem, as that which is absolutely filled with the presence of God and of the Lamb, is contrasted with the lower Jerusalem, in which city and temple are distinct) a right to a spiritualistic interpretation of these manifold and certainly pneumatistic realities. Therefore I could not appropriate to myself the view of Hofmann, that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews means by the Itki^vi) aXrjdivrj the glorified human nature of Christ. But where, then, would be that archetypal and antitypal place of worship? It is said in Heb. ix. 11, that "Christ being come as a high priest of good things to come, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, one not made with hands, that is, not belonging to this creation; moreover, not by blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once for ever into the Holy of holies, effecting an eternal redemption." It is through the tabernacle—a tabernacle of the other world, belonging to the world of glorification—that entrance is made into the holy place, i.e. as everywhere where fj aiiqvr j and ra &yia are distinguished, the holiest of all. The two, moreover, are distinguished in the future world, although separated by no dividing wall. The holiest of all—To, ayia—is the place of God absolutely elevated above place and time. This place of God is not anywhere in the region of the created. It is heaven beyond all heaven, filling everything, without being limited by anything whatever; it is the uncreated heaven of God, His eternal doxa. But God the Eternal is He who constitutes space and time. He reveals Himself to His creatures in a manner that is appreciable according to laws of space and time. He reveals Himself thus also to them who have entered into the repose of eternity. Their life is rooted in eternity; but it is lived there, not outside of those forms which are inseparable from all created existence. Accordingly there is a heaven of glory which does not belong to the portions of the world-system which were created once for all, and yet is somewhere,—to wit, continually 1 Schottgen, Horse Hebraics e et Tulmudicse, p. 1212.

produced and brought forth by God's will there, and throughout there, and only there, where God will reveal Himself in His bodily glory to angels and men. There also is that a/ojvrj, or rather, this heaven of glory is that aKrjvrj, through which Christ entered into the doxa (John xvii. 5), or the nature of the Godhead, self-revealed to Himself. "Against this distinction," observes Hofmann,1 "the remembrance appears to me to be sufficient, that thereby both designations are applied concerning its condition, to the Old Testament sanctuary." But this condition is there indeed fully justified. The tabernacle is, in the form of expression adopted by Isaiah, the place of the heavenly altar of incense (Isa. vi. 6), and the holiest of all is the throne of the Lord: these two are not separated, for the borders of His robe fill the temple; but in order to attain to the throne, which is its infinite background, the place of the altar of incense must be passed through. On this throne Christ is seated at the right hand of the Majesty, having passed through the outer tabernacle, or, as it is called in Isaiah, the Hechal. Subsequently this is the place of the angels; now, moreover, a place of blessed men. And the sanctum sanctorum, where now the God-man is enthroned with God, by the power of Christ's atonement once for all accomplished, is not now, as it was here below, veiled, obstructed, and unapproachable, but manifest and open to the blissful inhabitants of the aierpn\ by the power of our High Priest enthroned there, and ruling in the cricnvrj.

Psychology is not called upon to say more upon these things; but to the inquiry, whether souls transplanted into the invisible world have from that time an existence bearing no relation to the world, to space, and to time, it may perhaps propose this question in order to answer it in the negative on scriptural ground. That which we call, in a metaphysical sense, eternity, Scripture calls the absolute life of God.8 He who has God, through Christ, dwelling in him, has God's absolute life for

1 Schrifibeweis, 2, i. 412.

2 Boethius, de consolatione philosophies, v. 6, defines thoroughly, according to Scripture, seternitas est interminabilis viiie tota simul el perftcta possessio, remarking by way of explanation: Quod interminabilis vits plenitudinem totam pariter comprehendit ac possidet, cui neque futuri quidquam absit, nec prseteriti fluxerit, id seternam esse jure perhibetur.

his own living foundation, and is therefore rooted in eternity. It is thus even here below, and in the other world it becomes manifest. That which the God-blessed man only perceives here below, when he is withdrawn to the innermost ground of his spiritual life, becomes in the other state manifest even in his outer life. When the eternal life that is latent in us shall be emancipated from the conditionality of time and space, which has become by sin a painful restraint, then we shall become, as internally, so also externally, exalted above time and space. Just as for God a thousand years are as one day (Ps. xc. 4), and one day as a thousand years (2 Pet. iii. 8),—i.e. as a thousand years are for Him, who pervades them all, like a vanishing point—and, moreover, the most minute time is not so minute that He could not in it perfect the greatest matter, the work of a millennium,—so then will no time seem to us too long or too short, no space too wide or too narrow. We shall still be living in time and space, but in such a way that in the midst of the course of aeons, and in the midst of our movement from one divine dwelling-place to another, nevertheless our existence floats in the limitless freedom of eternity, and is founded in the still sabbath of eternity. It is the principle of everlasting love which in heaven pervades the forms of time and of space, and makes them the most appropriate perquisites of the free and blissful personal self-power of the creatures that dwell there; whereas in Hades or in hell the principle of eternal wrath pervades the forms of time and space, and changes them into those which in this world have emptied their being of all their eternal and divine substance, in endlessly afflicting and tormenting fetters.

As, therefore, eternity and infinity are in such a way immanent in time and space, that these forms of existence continue to subsist for the creature, unabrogated even in the future world, therefore the blessed souls—which are within the range of eternity and infinity, so far as on the one hand the foundation of their life is there, but on the other hand, are within the range of time and space wherein they manifest themselves and their life—find themselves absolutely penetrated by eternity and infinity, and therefore there are no limits prejudicial to their blessedness. Their ground of life is the Godhead, into which the Redeemer has gone back as the God-man. They are with Christ (Phil. i. 23). Even in this life they were, in respect of their inmost personal life, in Him ; but now they have departed out of the body of sin and death, and they are at home with Him (2 Cor. v. 6-8). They are naked (2 Cor. v. 3), for they have put off the mortal body, and have not yet received it back glorified. Yet, moreover, they are not naked: for because they have put on Christ here below, and have been nourished with His flesh and blood, their true nature, now released from the body of sin and death, comes to a manifestation all the more serene and undisturbed; and already this manifestation is a clothing for their nakedness. But not only this : the grace of God in Christ, which even here below had put on them the garments of salvation, adorns them also in that future world with garments of glory. The white robes promised by Christ to those that overcome, temporarily supply the place to them of the glorification of their bodies; and the assurance that they may await this glorification, and all that they will have in it with certainty, is given to them and pledged to them by the contemplation of their Saviour risen again and glorified, and by the close unchecked intercourse with Him from which Mary Magdalene was repelled when He cried to her, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended unto my Father." Now He is ascended; and nothing further separates Him and the loving souls who have ascended after Him, whom even here below He has fed with His body, and has given to drink of His blood.