The Sleeping Saints
“Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isaiah 26:19
The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place…
Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: “Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!” Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: “O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I Corinthians 15:55. And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.
All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb… But all arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth… The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave…
The living righteous are changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels “gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
As the little infants come forth immortal from their dusty beds, they immediately wing their way to their mothers’ arms.
Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.
E. G. White, Maranatha (The Lord Is Coming) p. 299
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29
The life-giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, when the last trump shall sound and the vast army shall come forth to eternal victory, every sleeping saint will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name. By the power of the Saviour that dwelt in them while living and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the dead.
“The hour is coming,” Christ said, “in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” That voice is to resound through all the habitations of the dead; and every saint who sleeps in Jesus will awake and leave his prison-house. Then the virtue of character we have received from Christ’s righteousness will ally us to true greatness of the highest order.
The victory of the sleeping saints will be glorious on the morning of the resurrection… The life-giver will crown with immortality all who come forth from the grave.
There stands the risen host. The last thought was of death and its pangs. The last thoughts they had were of the grave and the tomb, but now they proclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” …Here they stand and the finishing touch of immortality is put upon them and they go up to meet their Lord in the air… There are the columns of angels on either side; …then the angelic choir strike the note of victory and the angels in the two columns take up the song and the redeemed host join as though they had been singing the song on the earth, and they have been. Oh, what music! There is not an inharmonious note. Every voice proclaims, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” He sees the travail of His soul, and is satisfied.
E. G. White, Maranatha (The Lord Is Coming) p. 300
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27
Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.
Paul illustrates this subject by the kernel of grain sown in the field. The planted kernel decays, but there comes forth a new kernel. The natural substance in the grain that decays is never raised as before, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him. A much finer material will compose the human body, for it is a new creation, a new birth. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
He (the believer) may die, as Christ died, but the life of the Saviour is in him. His life is hid with Christ in God. “I am come that they might have life,” Jesus said, “and that they might have it more abundantly.” He carries on the great process by which believers are made one with Him in this present life, to be one with Him throughout all eternity…
At the last day He will raise them as a part of Himself… Christ became one with us in order that we might become one with Him in divinity.
E. G. White, Maranatha (The Lord Is Coming) p. 301
This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” I John 5:11
The resurrection of Jesus was a sample of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him.
He (the Christian) may die; but the life of Christ is in him, and at the resurrection of the just he will rise to newness of life.
“In him (Christ) was life; and the life was the light of men.” It is not physical life that is here specified, but immortality, the life which is exclusively the property of God. The Word, who was with God, and who was God, had this life. Physical life is something which each individual receives. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life. But the life of Christ was unborrowed. No one can take this life from Him. “I lay it down of myself,” He said. In Him was life, original unborrowed, underived. This life is not inherent in man. He can possess it only through Christ.
While bearing human nature, He (Christ) was dependent upon the Omnipotent for His life. In His humanity, He laid hold of the divinity of God; and this every member of the human family has the privilege of doing…
If we repent of our transgressions, and receive Christ as the life-giver,… we become one with Him, and our will is brought into harmony with the divine will. We become partakers of the life of Christ, which is eternal. We derive immortality from God by receiving the life of Christ, for in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This life is the mystical union and cooperation of the divine with the human.
Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave–not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.
E. G. White, Maranatha (The Lord Is Coming) p. 302
“Then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12
We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured, in this mortal life, and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved… In the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, we shall recognize the lineaments of those we love.
The redeemed will meet and recognize those whose attention they have directed to the uplifted Saviour. What blessed converse they have with these souls! “I was a sinner,” it will be said, “without God and without hope in the world, and you came to me and drew my attention to the precious Saviour as my only hope…” Others will say, “I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable home and came to teach me how to find Jesus and believe in Him as the only true God. I demolished my idols and worshiped God, and now I see Him face to face. I am saved, eternally saved, ever to behold Him whom I love…”
Others will express their gratitude to those who fed the hungry and clothed the naked. “When despair bound my soul in unbelief, the Lord sent you to me,” they say, “to speak words of hope and comfort. You brought me food for my physical necessities, and you opened to me the Word of God, awakening me to my spiritual needs. You treated me as a brother. You sympathized with me in my sorrows, and restored my bruised and wounded soul, so that I could grasp the hand of Christ that was reached out to save me. In my ignorance you taught me patiently that I had a Father in heaven who cared for me. You read to me the precious promises of God’s Word. You inspired in me the faith that He would save me. My heart was softened, subdued, broken, as I contemplated the sacrifice which Christ had made for me… I am here, saved, eternally saved, ever to live in His presence and to praise Him who gave His life for me.”
What rejoicing there will be as these redeemed ones meet and greet those who have had a burden in their behalf! And those who have lived, not to please themselves, but to be a blessing to the unfortunate who have so few blessings–how their hearts will thrill with satisfaction!
E. G. White, Maranatha (The Lord Is Coming) p. 303