On The Resurrection Of The Flesh by Tertullian
Chapter XXXI.--Other Passages Out of the Prophets Applied to the Resurrection of the Flesh.
Unquestionably, if the people were indulging in figurative murmurs that their bones were become dry, and that their hope had perished -- plaintive at the consequences of their dispersion -- then God might fairly enough seem to have consoled their figurative despair with a figurative promise. Since, however, no injury had as yet alighted on the people from their dispersion, although the hope of the resurrection had very frequently failed amongst them, it is manifest that it was owing to the perishing condition of their bodies that their faith in the resurrection was shaken. God, therefore, was rebuilding the faith which the people were pulling down. But even if it were true that Israel was then depressed at some shock in their existing circumstances, we must not on that account suppose that the purpose of revelation could have rested in a parable: its aim must have been to testify a resurrection, in order to raise the nation's hope to even an eternal salvation and an indispensable restoration, and thereby turn off their minds from brooding over their present affairs. This indeed is the aim of other prophets likewise. |Ye shall go forth,| (says Malachi), |from your sepulchres, as young calves let loose from their bonds, and ye shall tread down your enemies.| And again, (Isaiah says): |Your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall spring up like the grass,| because the grass also is renewed by the dissolution and corruption of the seed. In a word, if it is contended that the figure of the rising bones refers properly to the state of Israel, why is the same hope announced to all nations, instead of being limited to Israel only, of reinvesting those osseous remains with bodily substance and vital breath, and of raising up their dead out of the grave? For the language is universal: |The dead shall arise, and come forth from their graves; for the dew which cometh from Thee is medicine to their bones.| In another passage it is written: |All flesh shall come to worship before me, saith the Lord.| When? When the fashion of this world shall begin to pass away. For He said before: |As the new heaven and the new earth, which I make, remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed remain.| Then also shall be fulfilled what is written afterwards: |And they shall go forth| (namely, from their graves), |and shall see the carcases of those who have transgressed: for their worm shall never die, nor shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be a spectacle to all flesh| even to that which, being raised again from the dead and brought out from the grave, shall adore the Lord for this great grace.