Ephesians 5:14: How Does the Old Testament Citation Serve Paul’s Purposes?

Finally, it remains to respond in a few words to the seventh Question mentioned in § 1, How does the Apostle, in citing this prophecy, reach the goal that he intends? tying verse 14 with what precedes by the logical conjunction διό/wherefore.  In context, Paul addresses believing Ephesians, who were sometimes darkness, but now were made Light in the Lord, verse 8.  He had instruct these, in verse 11, καὶ μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them:  and this admonition he had confirmed in verses 12, 13, with arguments sought from nature of the matter.  But now in verse 14 the Apostle cites to them a formula taken from the Prophetic word, whereby they might be able to refute those that were going on to indulge and to serve the unfruitful works of darkness, and to rouse them to better fruit.  Likewise, in verse 8 he had admonished the believing Ephesians, who were made Light in the Lord, that by abstaining from fellowship with works of darkness they should contrariwise walk as children of light, ὡς τέκνα φωτὸς περιπατεῖτε: and in verses 9 and 10 he had taught them the way in which they might fulfill this.  But he also urges this admonition in verse 14 in the words of Isaiah, which for those conducting themselves worthily of their state and calling were at the same time creating the hope of an ample and most joyous recompense, of greater Illumination to be expected daily from Christ; which ought to make each one especially active in painstakingly fulfilling the dutche that the text prescribes, in comparison with Psalm 89:15-18; Isaiah 58:8; Ephesians 1:15-18.  But that in this matter the Apostle appeals very suitably to the prophecy of Isaiah, Isaiah 60:1-3, appears from those things that were discussed in § 11-15; where it was seen that this prophetic pericope also has complete regard to the beginnings of the New Testament, and that in that very place to the Gentiles, hitherto removed from the communion of God and salvation, a portion is particularly and expressly assigned, which at this juncture of time would arise to the Church, to which therefore these Nations were also held to join themselves conformably.  Such that another prophecy more suited to his scope, whereby he might urge the preceding admonitions, the Apostle was hardly able to city.  Καὶ ταῦτα μὲν δὴ ταῦτα, and this indeed is thus.


On February 11, March 11, and April 5, 1758, in the public defense of this disputation they exercised themselves:

ABRAHAMUS RUYSCH, Son of Joh. Wilh., Vlardinga-Batavus, now Pastor of the Church of Auxelles.

ADRIANUS VAN ASSENDELFT, Harlemo-Batavus, now Pastor of the Church that is gathered to Christ in country district of Nieuwenhoorn.

ARNOLDUS DUIRCANT, Dordracenus, now by the Will of the Great God in the country district of Ysselmuyden.

Ephesians 5:14: Is Supernatural Grace Dependent upon the Right Use of Natural Gifts?

But now, when the text applies this promise to those awaking from sleep and rising from the dead, from this it is not gathered that supernatural Grace is only going to follow upon the right use of natural gifts and strength; as if by virture of these natural man could be awakened from spiritual torpor and arise from the death of sin.  The contrary is taught by the whole Scripture; our National Synod of Dort, closely following the Scripture in this matter, is to be revered in the determination of Articles III and IV controverted between us and the Remonstrants.  But, as it is not advantageous to one sleeping, even if the night be past and the day come; and it is at the same time unbecoming, after the sun has a short time ago risen and shining widely in all directions, by snoring to lose the time, and willingly to neglect the immense advantages, which from the shining rays of the sun are otherwise able to return to us:  so the Apostle recalls into the memory of the Ephesians the day of grace, which had also begun to dawn upon the Gentiles through Christ, the Light of the world, incarnate in the fullness of time and perfected in sufferings, according to the promises of the Father formerly made to Him; he sets forth to them a duty most becoming, being incumbent upon those called through the Gospel; and he renders the same more certain of the bond of the fulfillment of this duty with a gracious reward, especially fitting and most excellent, of which reward, on the other hand, they would be destitute, unless they should act diligently in fulfilling the preceding admonition.  But by no means in this manner is it signified, that the promised Illumination following the ἔγερσιν/waking from sleep and resurrection from the dead would be the first gift of grace to be granted to man by the power of the merits of Christ; and in no way is prevenient grace thus excluded, through which those called might fulfill this admonition:  while everywhere in Sacred Scripture the beginning of all good in natural man, who is declared to be altogether inept for the fulfillment of it, is traced back to divine grace; the omnipotent, efficacious, insuperable power of which is everywhere declared as preceding in order all cooperation of man in the elect man’s regeneration, new creation, vivification, and resurrection from the sleep and death of sin:  to which supernatural and divine operation the moral method of operating, occurring in our text in a manner altogether suited to God’s independence and man’s dependence, as I already advised above, ought to be subjoined.  Compare similar propositions found in the Sacred Codex, Proverbs 8:17; Ezekiel 33:11; Malachi 4:2; James 4:8; Revelation 3:20:  and in what manner generally these come to be taken in accordance with sounder Theology, in such a way Pelagianism might gain nothing from them, you will learn from the passages already cited in § XVIII:  see, if you please, MARCKIUS’ Compendium Theologiæ, chapter XV, § 26, chapter XXIII, § 7, 9.  PAREUS on this passage:  “It appears that the Apostle makes illumination our work:  as if we might at last be illuminated, after we have risen by our own strength from our sins.  Such is the Syllogism:  To whom now awakened from the sleep of sin Christ at last gives light, those go before grace:  But the Apostle attributes that to us:  Therefore, the beginning of conversion is of us.  RESPONSE:  The minor is denied:  The Apostle does not give notice about the effect, so that we might reflect upon the cause:  as it often happens, that the cause, prior in nature, only becomes known after the effect.  Thus illumination by the Holy Spirit is the cause of our conversion, preceding our conversion in nature:  but we only learn that we have been illuminated after we have been converted to Christ and have risen from sins.  Therefore, the Apostle exhorts that we arise, so that we micht see that we are illuminated by Christ. Second, even with the minor conceded, it does not follow:  The Apostle orders us to arise:  Therefore, we are able to arise by our own strength. Third, it is not a promise of the beginning of conversion, but of its increase, which does not take away the promise of its beginning, to which Scripture testifies that it is from God alone: Lord, turn thou me, and I shall be turned.[1] Without me my can do nothing, John 15:5. No man cometh to me, except the Father draw him, John 6:44.  Therefore, the sense is:  Rise, and Christ shall give thee light:  that is, more and more, so that thou mightest make progress in true repentance, according to the promise, Whosover hath, to him shall be given, etc.[2]

[1] Jeremiah 31:18.

[2] Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18; 19:26.

Ephesians 5:14: The Meaning of the Promise

We proceed to the sixth Question moved in § 1, What is the meaning of the promise subjoined to the admonition, and Christ shall dawn upon thee? And whether supernatural grace is only going to follow upon the right use of natural gifts? With respect to the first member of the Question, we do not entertain here one and another variant reading, less suitable, or even inept, which already of old CHRYSOSTOM rejected and JEROME exploded, and concerning which Interpreters everywhere treat.  When the Apostle writes, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, and Christ shall give thee light, the sense of this promise is able to be fixed with sufficient confidence from those things that were observed in § 11 on the text of Isaiah 60:1-3, with those things compared that had been prefaced in § 10 for the illustration of the prophecy of the same Prophet, Isaiah 9:1, 2.  That is, as the grace and salvation to be brought by Christ alone as the Redeemer and Savior of the world is wont not only to be magnified most brilliantly in the Sacred Scripture in proper words, but also to be commended under various emblems borrow from whatever matters eminent in excellence, pleasantness, and usefulness:  so all saving benefits to be merited by Christ and to be conferred upon the redeemed elect occur here under the emblem of Illumination, proceeding from Christ, as the Dayspring from on high, ἀνατολῇ ἐξ ὕψους, Luke 1:78; the Sun of Righteousness, under whose wings are spiritual healing and enlargement, Malachi 4:2; the true Light that, coming into the world, illuminates whatever man; the Word in whom was life, which life was the Light of men, shining in the darkness, John 1:9, 4, 5.  This Sun of Righteousness in his rising would bring a gladsome day of grace, whereby the former darkness of ignorance, impurity, shame, and terror would be dissipated; and the agreeable light of saving wisdom, spiritual healing, divine favor, true holiness, continued enlargement of the new life, the very safest guidance, solid glory, and heavenly joy, would succeed according to the effects and adjuncts proper to Light, especially Solar Light.  In the collation of which benefits Christ the Mediator would show the efficacy of His Sacerdotal merits, would extend His Prophetic instruction, and at the same time His Royal guidance, government, and liberality; which prerogatives the elect in Israel had already of old enjoyed, by the retroactive power of the satisfaction and obedience of the promised and coming Mediator:  but who, coming into the world through incarnation in a time of the thickest gloom, would in actuality merit these benefits, the distribution of which, extended even to the Gentiles, to whom previously communion in the same had been denied, and bring light out of darkness, a most welcome day dawning after a terrible night.  And from none other than Christ, the sole Mediator between God and men, 1 Timothy 2:5; the way, the truth, and the life, without whom no no comes to the Father, John 14:6; was this Illumination able to be expected and to proceed, who is uniquely qualified as the Sun of Righteousness and at the same time is alone sufficient to bless fully the entire world of the elect; just as also the Sun alone is given in nature, illuminating the entire world, warming, vivifying, and benignly nourishing and cherishing all things by its rays.

Ephesians 5:14: Do Those spiritually Dead Have the Ability to Arise?

Thus briefly we consider this forth difficulty to have been loosed. But from the response to the same just now given a fifth Question spontaneously arises, which I enumerated in § 1 as worthy of careful consideration, namely, In what manner the spiritually dead are able to be made mindful to awake and arise? I respond, 1.  the divine commandments and admonitions are not the measure of our strength, but they show us our appropriate duty, even if we have lost the strength to fulfill it in Adam.  2.  In the resurrection of the dead to natural life we find that the Lord everywhere also makes use of His resounding voice, Mark 5:41; Luke 7:14; John 11:43, while nevertheless these dead men, as long as they be such, were in no way able to hear or understand that voice.  It is not so strange that the Spirit commands those that were asleep and dead in sins to awake and arise:  since these, however they might be without spiritual life and sense, nevertheless enjoy the natural faculty of hearing and understanding.  3.  We saw in § 17 by these words not only were the unregenerate made mindful of their duty, but those truly believing also; but the latter were provided with life and spiritual strength in Christ through the Spirit of life, and hence they as second causes are actually able to comply with this divine admonition.  4.  Moreover, the unregenerate are either reprobate or chosen unto salvation.  With respect to the former, who while this life lasts are ignorant of that, their most miserable state, perhaps with those that have sinned against the Holy Spirit excepted; admonitions of this sort make for their conviction and greater ἀναπολογησίαν/inexcusability:[1]  while the fault of their impotence does not rest on God; and on the other hand, although they are wont inanely to presume much concerning their own strength, they refuse to yield to divine admonitions, in which manner they aggravate their guilt.  Now, with respect to the yet unregenerate elect of God, admonitions of this sort to awake from sleep, to arise from spiritual death, are moral means subservient to the omnipotent grace of God, the Changer of hearts; such that, while God supernaturally and internally, in a completely divine manner of operating, in predetermined moments grants life and spiritual strength, in comparison with 2 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 1:19, 20, He at the same time externally, in a moral manner accommodated to the nature of a rational creature, sets forth to man his duty, displays the comeliness of it, urges it with threats and promises:  so that man might know what he must do, and, knowing his natural impotence, might in earnest prayers entreat form God repentance unto life and strength[2] for yielding to all His commandments, and then might make use of the granted strength to submit most willingly to the call of God, and to work out his own salvation, while God is at work in Him both to will and to work for His own good pleasure.[3]  See the Heidelburg Catechism IX;[4] MARCKIUS’ Compendium Theologiæ, chapter XV, § 26, chapter XXIII, § 7-9, 11, 12; and the Præfationem which I set down before my Dutch Commentary on 2 Peter, chapter I.  PAREUS on this passage:  “Why does He then command, if it is not in our power?  Response:  So that by commanding He might excite us, and move us to do that which He wills to do in us:  and because He wills to bless those obeying the command.”  CALOVIUS on this passage:  “For the rest, the things that are commanded are not therefore able to be done by us and our own strength, simply because they are commanded by God:  we certainly gather our obligation from the divine precept; but we are not able certainly to conclude our ability to fulfill it.”  The observation is quite appropriate, that the divine admonition in the text, turning into ardent prayers, which are in Novo Testamento Gallico cum Observationibus moralibus, which are owed to QUESNEL, is subjoined to our text in these words:  But, Lord, does it not belong to thy light to go and seek the idle, who turns away to avoid seeing; to awaken the one that sleep through the forgetfulness of God and His salvation, and to open his eyes; to resurrect the dead and hardened heart that hates the light; to give him eyes to see it and a willingness to love it? It is unquestionably thine own light that goes before, and prepares the heart in which it intends to dwell.  Let this divine light of thine shine in our hearts, that it might work there, and dispel our darkness!  Which prayer depends upon those things that have been asserted in the observations immediately preceding concerning the natural misery and impotence of man, and which the Bull of Clement XI, wont to be called Unigenitus, condemned without good cause,[5] thesis XLVIII.

[1] See Romans 1:20; 2:1.

[2] See Acts 11:18; 2 Corinthians 7:10.

[3] See Philippians 2:12, 13.

[4] Heidelburg Catechism 9: Doth not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in His law, that which he cannot perform? Not at all; for God made man capable of performing it; but man, by the instigation of the devil, and his own wilful disobedience, deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.

[5] Pope Clement XI, born Giovanni Francesco Albani (1649-1721), reigned as Pope from 1700 to 1721.  He was a patron of learning and the arts.  He issued the Bull Unigenitus in 1713 against Jansenists.

Ephesians 5:14: To Whom Is the Exhortation Addressed?

The fourth ζήτημα/question that I proposed in § 1 is, Whether the speech here is directed to the regenerate and believing alone; or to the unregenerate, who, in a natural state after the fall, yet lie insensible in their errors and sins in the sleep of spiritual death? An answer to this question is almost able to be returned from those things that have already been set forth in § 11 for the illustration of the oracle of Isaiah, Isaiah 60:1-3.  That the twofold or repeated admonition of Paul is to be referred to the same class of men, by whom it was to be turned into practice, I think to be sufficiently evident, because the address is made under only one name, ὁ καθεύδων, thou that sleepest, to which καθεύδοντι/sleeper it is commanded, ἔγειρε καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, awake and arise from the dead.  Moreover, one may observe that a twofold metaphorical expression occurs here, whereby, if we wish to speak properly, the Apostle will exhort to conversion and repentance:  it is well-known that grand duty of the sinner eager for salvation is wont to be set forth in diverse metaphorical expression, borrowed from natural matters quite diverse.  But, that Repentance and Conversion are either first, or second and daily:  that hence this same duty in the same words is wont to be imposed both on natural men, hitherto destitute of all spiritual life, faith, and practice of good works, who require a change of their entire state and life; and on regenerate believers, but either fallen again into a great sin, or, because of the indwelling remnants of native corruption and the flesh, still often, indeed daily, stumbling and tottering, who hence always have a need to put off and cast away the relics of the old man:  novices have learned from the first principles of theological training.  Thus in particular both sleep and death are common emblems in the Sacred Books, both of the natural state of misery after the fall, comparing Romans 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; Matthew 8:22; Ephesians 2:1; and of spiritual torpor and carnal security in the regenerate, through which these are yet made like unto ψυχικοῖς/sensual men externally, comparing Song of Solomon 5:2; Matthew 25:5; Revelation 3:1:  just as sleep elsewhere comes figuratively for the natural death of the body, comparing John 11:11, 13; 1 Corinthians 11:30, and is able to be used metaphorically in various respects, either for the cessation of natural life simply (see ÆLIAN’S[1] Variam Historiam, book II, chapter XXXV, Ὁ Γοργίας ἔφη· Ἤδη με ὁ ὕπνος ἄρχεται παρακατατίθεσθαι τῷ ἀδελφῷ, Gorgias[2] said, Just now sleep is going to deliver me up to his brother, SCHEFFER[3] everywhere), or for the welcome peace and refreshment that believers enjoy in death, or for the want of spiritual life and motion and the errors arising thereupon:  and both sleep and death are able to be taken in a spiritual sense more or less intensively, either of a total lack of life and activity, or of the remainders of native corruption and of the very tenuous indications of spiritual life, but through which one, himself ἡμιθανὴς/half-dead and quite similar to the dead, escapes.  Moreover, in the same manner the situation holds with the duties that will be prescribed to the sleeping and the dead of this sort, Awake and rise from the dead; in which words the Apostle summarily requires that sleepers, with torpor shaken off, show themselves living and eager in fulfilling every good work in a manner agreeable to the welcome day that had begun to dawn upon them; an admonition of which sort again is able to be directed both to natural men and to regenerate and believing men according to the style of Sacred Scripture, each of whom according to that is bound to comport himself in a manner in keeping with his spiritual state, comparing 2 Timothy 2:26; John 5:25 in comparison with John 11:43; Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Romans 6:13; Revelation 3:2.  But I think that now the Apostolic use of this prophetic admonition in our text, which appeared to have been established skillfully and in a manner agreeable to the argument of the Isaianic prophecy in § 11, implies of itself that men, hitherto altogether destitute of spiritual life and devoid of faith and every truly good work, understand the same thing to be said to them in the fullest sense and with the utmost emphasis; but that at the same time true believers, spiritual men, hence learn to walk worthily of their state and vocation, and gather just how disgraceful it is for them to return to their former state of spiritual sleep and death; and so they shake off all torpor and sloth, watch against the weakness and slowness of the flesh, and proceed in subjugating the remnants of native corruption, and in exercising whatever spiritual operations pleasing to God with the greatest alacrity.  Neither on that account does any inane tautology, unworthy of the sacred Writer, obtain here, although the twofold admonition be referred to the same subjects, each in their own way, and exhort to one great duty in the totality of the matter.  But the Apostle thus makes use of synonymy or exergasia, a figure well-known to Rhetoricians, and common and a favorite to all the best writers; so that this admonition might sound so much more gravely and eloquently, and under a twofold, diverse metaphor there might depict more elegantly and vividly their miserable native and former state, from which he wishes to turn each one, and their holy and fitting duty, which he is eager to inculcate concerning the same.  That to this matter the force of the words קוּם/arise and ἐγείρεσθαι/arise furnished amply opportunity, which are used of the rousing and aring from sleep and death equally, has already been treated in § 11.  And that by the emblem of sleep conjoined with the state of death there is no lessening of the magnitude of native corruption, of the impotence of man in the state of the fall to accomplish spiritual good, and of the divine power requisite for the conversion of man, TRIGLAND warns against the Remonstrants, Antapologia, chapter XXXI, page 432a; but, as these things are signified by the emblem of death and of resurrection and vivification from that by the Spirit; so he observes that the emblem of sleep especially makes for the detestable idleness of man to be converted.  CHRYSOSTOM, in Epistolam ad Ephesios, homily XVIII, page 128, tome II, the edition of Montfaucon:  Διὸ λέγει, ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός· καθεύδοντα καὶ νεκρὸν, τὸν ἐν ἁμαρτίαις φησί· καὶ γὰρ δυσωδίας πνεῖ, ὡς ὁ νεκρὸς, καὶ ἀνενεργητός ἐστιν, ὡς ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ οὐδὲν ὁρᾷ, ὡς ἐκεῖνος, ἀλλ᾽ ὀνειρώττει καὶ φαντάζεται. Ἀλλ᾽ οὐ περὶ τῶν ἀπίστων τοῦτο μόνον φασί· πολλοὶ γὰρ τῶν πιστῶν, οὐδὲν ἧττον τῶν ἀπίστων τῆς κακίας ἔχονται· εἰσὶ δὲ, οἱ καὶ πολλῷ μᾶλλον. διὸ καὶ πρὸς τούτους ἀναγκαῖον εἰπεῖν, ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light: By the sleeper and the dead, he means the man that is in sin; for he both exhales foul odors like the dead, and is inactive like one that is asleep, and like him he sees nothing, but is dreaming and forming illusions.  But he is not saying this of unbelievers only, for many believers, no less than unbelievers, are held fast by wickedness; indeed, some far more. Therefore, to these also it is necessary to exclaim, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

[1] Claudius Ælianus (c. 175-c. 235) was a Roman rhetorician and teacher.

[2] Gorgias (c. 485-c. 380 BC) was a Greek Sophist of Leontini, Sicily.

[3] Johannes Schefferus (1621-1679) was a Swedish humanist.  Schefferus produced notes on some portions of Ælian’s Variæ Historiæ.

Rutherford Reading Group: Lex Rex

Interested in working your way through Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex?  Let’s do it together!

Given the current political context, climate, and crisis, it has never been more important for Christians to come to sound, Biblical notions concerning public and political matters.  We have endeavored to master some of the basics together.

In order to develop and mature in this regard, to go beyond the basics, some serious study of the best literature on the subject is going to be necessary.  And certainly Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex is among the best and most advanced works on Christian Political Theory.

However, Lex Rex is also famously difficult; so, I am proposing that we form a reading group, so that we might work our way through it together, as a community of disciples, with all of the mutual help and enrichment of thought that community-life affords.

Basic structure of the Reading Group:  Lex Rex is divided in forty-four questions.  If we handle a question roughly a question per week, we should finish in about a year.  I will set up and moderate a discussion board, so that we can discuss in writing the ideas presented; but we can also schedule live discussion time (through gotomeeting.com) to work on the more difficult chapters (which will be most of them) together.  Let’s set a start date of January 8, 2018.

Currently, I am trying to gauge the interest in the reading group, so, if you are interested, please let me know right away (visit the page, and drop me an email at dildaysc@aol.com).

Ephesians 5:14: Are “the Sleepers” and “the Dead” One and the Same?

I advised in § 1 that it is able to be asked in the third place, Whether in our text by the words ὁ καθεύδων, thou that sleepest, and νεκρῶν, the dead, two different sorts of men are set forth to us?  NICHOLAS DE LYRA does not appear to think so, giving this paraphrase of the text:  “Awake thou that sleepest, in the languor brought on by sin. And arise from the dead, in separating thyself from unbelievers, who are called dead men, Matthew 8, Send ye the dead to bury their dead.”  But in this opinion others are better versed, who assert that the speech in this admonition is uniquely directed to regenerate men, believers, those already made partakers of spiritual life; but who were made drowsy and seized with spiritual lukewarmness and torpor, especially because of their too familiar relations with the dead, with ψυχικοῖς, Πνεῦμα μὴ ἔχουσι, sensual men, not having the Spirit,[1] to whom they were also rendered very similar:  which sort are indeed living, but as sleepers shall be roused in the text so that they might awake, and, by arising from the midst of the dead, separate themselves from their communion.  But I do not believe that in the Sacred Books this is the sense of this common enough expression, arising, resurrection or resuscitation ἐκ or ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, from the dead.  It may indeed be allowed thus to interpret this expression concerning the resuscitation and resurrection from the midst of the dead, when it is used of individual men, who are restored to life by divine power through miracle; and especially concerning Christ the Lord Himself (of whom this phraseology is frequently used, see MARCKIUS’ Historiam Exaltationis Jesu Christi, book I, chapter I, § 5, 6), who both after the fulfillment of His suretyship was loosed from the chains of death by His Father acting as Judge, and, having tasted death, arose to life by His own ἐξουσίᾳ/authority and δυνάμει/power; while the rest, having died, remained asleep under the power of death.  But the same manner of speech presents itself in the Sacred Books concerning the absolutely universal Resuscitation and Resurrection of the dead at the consummation of the ages, Mark 12:25, ὅταν γὰρ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῶσιν, οὔτε γαμοῦσιν, οὔτε γαμίσκονται, etc., for when they shall arise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, etc.; Luke 20:35, οἱ δὲ καταξιωθέντες τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐκείνου τυχεῖν καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε ἐκγαμίσκονται, but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; Acts 4:2, καταγγέλλειν ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ τὴν ἀνάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν, that they preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead.  But, since in the last Resurrection on that day absolutely no dead will remain in graves and dust, but all at the same time, the impious and the just, will revive, the ἀνάστασις ἀπὸ or ἐκ νεκρῶν, resurrection from the dead, in this case is not able to be explained of the Resurrection from the midst of dead men that continue to be such:  but it is to be said, either that in this expression a concrete has been posited in the place of an abstraction, νεκροὺς, dead men, in the place of θανάτῳ/death; or that the expression is elliptical, so that from the dead is the same as from the state or condition of the dead.  Moreover, that this same expression repeated so many times in the New Testament concerning the bodily Resurrection, whether the speech be made of individual persons, or the universal Resurrection, is to be taken everywhere in the same manner, rather than in diverse manners, since it is able to be done agreeably, everyone will readily agree, I suppose:  but it will be done, where ἀνάστασις ἀπὸ or ἐκ νεκρῶν, resurrection from the dead, is always explained, not of a Resurrection from the midst of the dead, but from the dead, or from the state and condition of the dead.  Thus by that added ἀπὸ or ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, from the dead, the sort of Resurrection, which is able to be various, and both of the living and of the dead, shall be better determined; to which we are emphatically led by the article repeated in this expression in the passaged cited above, Luke 20:35; Acts 4:2, ἡ ἀνάστασις ἡ ἐκ νεκρῶν, the resurrection that is from the dead.  Thus everyone arising ἀπὸ or ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, from the dead, all the way to the moment of this Resurrection shall be indicated, not only to have dwelt in the fellowship of the dead, but also to have been liable to death, and devoid of that life to which he is returned through the Resurrection; such that concerning all that will rise ἀπὸ or ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, from the dead, it is able to be said that νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται, the dead are raised up, Matthew 11:5; Luke 20:37.  With marked emphasis Paul thus urges the sort of Christ’s Resurrection, which was a Resurrection from death, so that he might place the possibility of a Resurrection of the dead beyond all controversy, 1 Corinthians 15:12, εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς κηρύσσεται ὅτι ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγήγερται, πῶς λέγουσί τινες ἐν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔστιν, Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?; Similarly the sort of the Rousing of a son not from the σώματι καὶ μήτρᾳ νενεκρωμένῃ, dead body and womb, of parents, in comparison with Romans 4:19, but from death itself, which Abraham did not at all believe exceeded the Divine Power, the Apostle points out in Hebrews 11:19, relating concerning the father of the faithful that λογισάμενος ὅτι καὶ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγείρειν δυνατὸς ὁ Θεός, he reckoned that God was able to raise him from the dead.  But it is fair to believe now that this phrase, while it is transferred from its proper signification to another on account of similitude, as it happens in our text, preserves and imitates the character of the expression taken more in the proper and corporal sense:  hence ἀνάστασις ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, resurrection from the dead, in this place is also to be explained, not of Resurrection from the midst of the dead, but of Rising from death, or from the state or condition of the dead.  And so by καθεύδοντα, one sleeping, not another sort of man, indeed one of a far better condition, shall be indicated to us than by νεκροὺς, the dead:  but, when ὁ καθεύδων, the one sleeping, is commanded ἀναστῆναι ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, to arise from the dead, he is to be contemplated as one that hitherto is dwelling in death or the condition of the dead.  In this sense you will best interpret the similar metaphorical expression in Roman 6:13, παραστήσατε ἑαυτοὺς τῷ Θεῷ ὡς ἐκ νεκρῶν ζῶντας, yield yourselves unto God, as thouse alive from the dead; in Romans 11:15, εἰ γὰρ ἡ ἀποβολὴ αὐτῶν καταλλαγὴ κόσμου, τίς ἡ πρόσληψις, εἰ μὴ ζωὴ ἐκ νεκρῶν, For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?; in which passages the present life is opposed to the preceding condition of death, which in the same subjects now living had previously obtained; rather than that by νεκροὺς, the dead, the past fellowship of these living men might be nakedly indicated.  The Most Illustrious MARCKIUS went before us in this observation, Exercitationibus Miscellaneis, Disputation VII, text IX, page 300, where you may read:  “Nothing is more evident than that the concrete name of the dead is commonly put in the place of the abstraction death, where resurrection is treated, when it is everywhere read of rising or resurrection from the dead, ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἐκ νεκρῶν, Matthew 14:2;[2] 17:9;[3] 27:64;[4] 28:7;[5] etc.  So that you might not object to these and similar passages that, not the state of the dead, but other dead men are signified, from whom by rising one is removed or separated, behold another, when the universal resurrection of all, in which none shall be left in their tomb, is set forth by the same phrase, Marke 12:25, compared with Luke 20:35, and likewise Acts 4:2.  Nothing is clearer than that the state of death is indicated in Romans 6:13; 11:15; Ephesians 5:14, Arise from the dead.  Neither is that express harsh, since men raised from the dead are made alive, and by change of state cease to be dead.  Unless you would rather that the expression be elliptical, with the substantive of state or condition to be understood.”

[1] Jude 19.

[2] Matthew 14:2:  “And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead (αὐτὸς ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν); and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.”

[3] Matthew 17:9:  “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead (ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ).”

[4] Matthew 27:64:  “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead (ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν):  so the last error shall be worse than the first.”

[5] Matthew 28:7:  “And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead (ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν); and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him:  lo, I have told you.”

Whence the Words of Ephesians 5:14? Part 10

c.  Finally, with respect to the promise occurring in Isaiah 59:20, וּבָ֤א לְצִיּוֹן֙ גּוֹאֵ֔ל וּלְשָׁבֵ֥י פֶ֖שַׁע בְּיַֽעֲקֹ֑ב נְאֻ֖ם יְהוָֽה׃, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith Jehovah, to which the Apostle appeals in Romans 11:26, καὶ οὕτω πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται, καθὼς γέγραπται· Ἥξει ἐκ Σιὼν ὁ ῥυόμενος, καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβ, and so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; not even does this evince that the argument of the following chapter, Isaiah 60, is to be referred only to the last times of the New Testament. Indeed, by some a two-part prophecy is not unskillfully observed here; the former concerning the Advent of the Goel to Zion, for Zion’s sake, for the good of Zion, which the expound of the Advent of Messiah in the flesh to procure Redemption: the other, subjoined to the former by the connective and progressive ו/and, concerning the bodily Advent of Messiah to apply the procured Redemption especially to those to be converted by His grace among the posterity of Jacob at the end of days:  to which latter promise of these words the citation made by Paul is especially to be referred; whence perhaps in the place of לְצִיּוֹן, to Zion, which the Septuagint rendered ἕνεκεν Σιὼν, for Zion’s sake, in the Apostle it is ἐκ Σιὼν, from Zion, upon which see FRANCIS JUNIUS’ Parallela:  unless this come to be attributed to a joining together of more than one prophetic oracle in the Pauline text, as the Most Illustrious VITRINGA supposes in his Commentario on this passage.  But it is also rightly said concerning the sense of this passage, just as we also advised concerning the argument of chapter 60 in § 14, that the promise occurs here in the greatest fullness, which sends forth a most abundant sense, and which began to be fulfilled in the Advent of the Messiah to the Church through the Incarnation, the purchase of Redemption, and the beginning of the erection of the kingdom promised to the Θεανθρώπῳ/God-man, through which He lured to His saving communion from Israel λεῖμμα κατ᾽ ἐκλογὴν χάριτος, a remnant according to the election of grace, which, says the Apostle, γέγονε καὶ ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, is also at this present time, Romans 11:5, and which will be able to reckoned finally complete ἐν τελειώσει, in fulfillment, and perfectly, when at the end of days πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται, all Israel shall be saved, which Paul by his divine wisdom taught us to expect from this prophecy taken in the full extent of its sense.  This exegesis is confirmed from a comparison of the verse immediately following in Paul, Romans 11:27, καὶ αὕτη αὐτοῖς ἡ παρ᾽ ἐμοῦ διαθήκη, ὅταν ἀφέλωμαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν, for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins, in which perhaps the Apostle has regard to several other pericopes of the prophetic Word, but most probably also to Jeremiah 31:33, 34, which promise the Apostle in Hebrews 8:6-13 referred to the renovation of the economy of the Covenant of Grace with the first, personal Advent of Messiah:  but he will indicate a further fulfillment of the same at a later time in the yet expected conversion of the Jews, Romans 11:27.  Thus WITSIUS, in Meletematis Leudensiis, Dissertation IX, § 8, “One and the same prophecy finds its fulfillment in a remarkable variety of times.  Thus, what was predicted in Isaiah 59:20, The Redeemer shall come to Zion and to those converted from defection in Jacob, began to be fulfilled when Christ, coming in the flesh, brought everlasting righteousness;[1] but it will also be fulfilled in the future, universal conversion of the Jews to Christ, Romans 11:26.  So also in Isaiah 65:17, Behold, I am going to create new heavens and a new earth, was fulfilled in the renovation of the Church through the preaching of the Gospel and the effusion of the Holy Spirit; but it is also going to be fulfilled on the last day, 2 Peter 3:12, 13.  And in Jeremiah 31:31, Behold, the days are going to come, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, began to be fulfilled when with the Old Testament abrogated the New Testament was substituted, Hebrews 8:13; but it shall fulfilled at a distance, when the house of Israel and the house of Judah conjointly will possess the goods of that covenant, never again to be defrauded of them.  And the parable of the gathering of the dispersed bones, and vivification of the dry bones, Ezekiel 37, began to be fulfilled through the leading of the people out of Babylonian captivity; but the consummation of the fulfillment in both advents of Christ:”  compare FRANCIS JUNIUS’ Parallela; SCHMIDT on Isaiah; CALOVIUS’ Biblia illustrate on Romans 11:26, 27; RIDDER’S Schriftuurlyk Licht; HELLENBROEK on Jesaiam, part IV, pages 941-944, 963; DAVID MARTIN on Romans 11:26, 27; DINANT on Ephesians 5:14, page m. 146, 147.  It is not agreeable to add more things in response to the Question, Whence the words that occur in Ephesians 5:14 might be borrowed.

[1] See Daniel 9:24.

Whence the Words of Ephesians 5:14? Part 9

b.  We refer Revelation 21 and 22, not to some glorious state of the militant Church yet to be expected on earth, but in these chapters we believe a vivid delineation of the Church gloriously triumphing in heaven is represented; after the holding of the final, universal Judgment, and through that the delivery of the enemies of the Church to eternal destruction, which from the very vision exhibited in chapter 20 John has most clearly described. But if in depicting these things the Apostle John borrowed some phrases from Isaiah, and he is here to be designated as an Interpreter of Isaiah; one may retort that John thus attended to the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, not begun in this world sooner or later, but final, perfect, and consummate in heaven: as thus many prophecies of the Prophets are fulfilled by parts, in a prior and latter time, partly on earth and partly in heaven, which the Most Illustrious VITRINGA also teaches, when he dwells upon the reconciliation of the text of 2 Peter 3:13 with Isaiah 65:17; 66:22.  Let us hear that Most Illustrious Man speaking in his Commentario on Isaiah 65:17:  “Certainly (says he) I do not deny that Peter among other places had this, our passage also before his eyes:  but I definitely think that Peter did not take the passage according to the primary Prophetic sense, upon which we are chiefly intent, but according to every sense and emphasis that it is able to be thought to lie hidden in the words of Isaiah (as the Writers of the New Testament also model repeated elsewhere):  when truly, and I do not deny it, that which he teaches concerning the physical obliteration of the heavens and the earth is involved in the Isaianic sentence.”  Unto the same purpose the same Illustrious VITRINGA wrote, in his Observationum Sacrarum, book IV, chapter XVI, § 23:  “I do not deny that those passages of Isaiah, first of all, are to be understood of some Economy or condition of the Church in this world, to be changed into another, better Economy or condition….  But this is to be observed, that Peter, according to the custom received by the Writers of the New Testament, considers the Blessedness of the Church, promised in these passages, in its τελειώσει/fulfillment, without which τελειώσει/ fulfillment that blessedness could not consist, and without respect to which that could not have been promised to the Church in that fullness and abundance of predictions that occur in Isaiah.  Evidently all the benefits that God furnishes for the Church in this world to perfect and bring to completion its state will receive their ἀποτέλεσμα/fulfillment in that most perfect and consummate state of the Church, which is to be revealed in the last time.  Therefore, whatever is promised to the Church in this world with great fullness and majesty of expression, truly it is promised to it with respect to that state of τελειώσεως/fulfillment:  and in short it appears thus to us, that the Holy Spirit was not going to make use of such full and emphatic expressions in describing those benefits, as He has done in these Chapters, as well as in Isaiah 32; 35; 49; 60; 61, and in many other passages of Prophecies both of the Old and of the New Testaments, unless the Spirit had had regard to this τελείωσιν/fulfillment.  While Peter certainly saw it much more clearly than we now understand that:  it is not to be marveled at that he relates this prophetcy to the ἀποτέλεσμα/ fulfillment of that state, to the beginning of which this prophecy is properly to be referred according to the mind of Isaiah.”  Thus the Most Illustrious VITRINGA supplies for us what things are able to be given in response to him, when elsewhere in reconciling Isaiah 60 with Revelation 21 and 22, expounded according to our opinion, he hesitates; and at the same time what things are conducive to commend our thoughts just now proposed concerning the sense of Isaiah 60, consult the Most Illustrious MARCKIUS’ Commentarium in Apocalypsin, and the Most Illustrious WESSELIUS’ Præfationem ante Analysin Belgicam Apocalypseos ex Marckii Commentario concinnatam a Reverendo Cornelius van Santvoort, **** 1-3.

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