On The Resurrection Of The Flesh by Tertullian
Chapter XXIV.--Other Passages Quoted from St. Paul, Which Categorically Assert the Resurrection of the Flesh at the Final Judgment.
The character of these times learn, along with the Thessalonians. For we read: |How ye turned from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus.| And again: |For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord God, Jesus Christ, at His coming?| Likewise: |Before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the whole company of His saints.| He teaches them that they must |not sorrow concerning them that are asleep,| and at the same time explains to them the times of the resurrection, saying, |For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of our Lord, shall not prevent them that are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.| What archangel's voice, (I wonder), what trump of God is now heard, except it be, forsooth, in the entertainments of the heretics? For, allowing that the word of the gospel may be called |the trump of God,| since it was still calling men, yet they must at that time either be dead as to the body, that they may be able to rise again; and then how are they alive? Or else caught up into the clouds; and how then are they here? |Most miserable,| no doubt, as the apostle declared them, are they |who in this life only| shall be found to have hope: they will have to be excluded while they are with premature haste seizing that which is promised after this life; erring concerning the truth, no less than Phygellus and Hermogenes. Hence it is that the Holy Ghost, in His greatness, foreseeing clearly all such interpretations as these, suggests (to the apostle), in this very epistle of his to the Thessalonians, as follows: |But of the times and the seasons, brethren, there is no necessity for my writing unto you. For ye yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace,' and All things are safe,' then sudden destruction shall come upon them.| Again, in the second epistle he addresses them with even greater earnestness: |Now I beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor be troubled, either by spirit, or by word,| that is, the word of false prophets, |or by letter,| that is, the letter of false apostles, |as if from us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means. For that day shall not come, unless indeed there first come a falling away,| he means indeed of this present empire, |and that man of sin be revealed,| that is to say, Antichrist, |the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or religion; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, affirming that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was with you, I used to tell you these things? And now ye know what detaineth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now hinders must hinder, until he be taken out of the way.| What obstacle is there but the Roman state, the falling away of which, by being scattered into ten kingdoms, shall introduce Antichrist upon (its own ruins)? |And then shall be revealed the wicked one, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.|