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.”

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