And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth
Which is not to be understood in a figurative and metaphorical, sense, as by R. Jeshuah the Jew, Porphyry the Heathen, and by some Christian writers; neither of the deliverance of the Jews from the troubles of Antiochus, or their present captivity; nor of the spiritual resurrection of them, or others, from their state of infidelity to a profession of the Gospel, which in some is real, in others only hypocritical; but, in a literal sense, of the resurrection of the dead at the last day, which, with respect to the righteous, will take place upon the personal appearance of Christ at first, ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ) , for, as death is oftentimes compared to "sleep", in which the senses are bound up, and the body is in a state of inactivity; see ( John 11:11 ) ( 1 Corinthians 15:20 ) ( 1 Thessalonians 4:14 ) , so the resurrection from the dead is expressed by awaking out of sleep, when the body shall rise fresh and vigorous, in full health and strength, as a man out of a comfortable sleep; see ( Psalms 17:15 ) ( Isaiah 26:19 ) . The word "many" is used, either because, as all will not sleep, so all will not be awaked; there will be some that will be alive and awake at Christ's coming, ( 1 Corinthians 15:51 ) ( 1 Thessalonians 4:17 ) , or, as it signifies, a multitude, ( Psalms 97:1 ) and so here the innumerable multitude of the dead, who are afterwards distributively considered; and indeed the word is sometimes used for "all"; see ( Romans 5:15 Romans 5:19 ) : some to everlasting life;
to the enjoyment of everlasting life and happiness with Christ in the world to come; a phrase often used in the New Testament, though never before in the Old; expressive of that felicity and bliss which the saints enjoy in heaven after this life is over, first in the separate state of the soul, and then, at the resurrection, in soul and body, and of the everlasting continuance of it; they that shall enjoy this are those that are written in the Lamb's book of life, or are ordained unto eternal life; who are redeemed by the blood of Christ, regenerated by his Spirit and grace, justified by his righteousness, adopted into the family of God, are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; these are the dead in Christ, which rise first: and some to shame and everlasting contempt;
wicked men, who lived in a course of sin in this world, without any remorse or shame; but, when they shall rise from the dead, they will rise with all their sins upon them, and with a full conviction of them in their consciences; and will be ashamed of them, and to appear before God the Judge of all; and will be had in contempt by the Lord, by elect angels, and all good men; and this reproach shall never be wiped off; see ( Isaiah 66:24 ) . Our Lord seems manifestly to have respect to this passage, when he speaks of men coming out of their graves at the last day, "some unto the resurrection of life, and others unto the resurrection of damnation", ( John 5:28 John 5:29 ) and upon these words it may well be thought the Apostle Paul grounded his faith of the resurrection of the dead, both just and unjust, ( Acts 24:15 ) , and though the resurrection of both is spoken of here and elsewhere together, yet it will be at distinct periods of time; the resurrection of the just at the beginning of the thousand years, and that of the wicked at the end of them, ( Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:6 ) , between which will be the intermediate state of the saints dwelling with Christ on earth; where they will be favoured with his presence, and the rewards of his grace, to which the following verse has respect.