Place And Condition Of The Departed -- By: N. H. Griffin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 013:49 (Jan 1856)
Article: Place And Condition Of The Departed
Author: N. H. Griffin

Place And Condition Of The Departed

N. H. Griffin

“To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). What are we to understand by this language? What does it teach respecting the dead? It will be our object to answer, as we are able, these questions.

We remark, then, that the grammatical construction of this text does not admit of doubt. That pointing which makes the verse read: “I say unto thee this day, that thou shalt be with me in Paradise,” in the first place, is contrary to all the textual readings; secondly, it gives to the Greek adverb an unusual position; and, thirdly, destroys the special point and pertinence of the reply. The prayer of the penitent thief had been: “Lord, remember me when thou comest, in thy kingdom,” not, as it is translated,” into thy kingdom.” It is the preposition ἐν, not εἰς, and does not signify motion towards, but manner, “when thou comest, in thy kingdom,” that is, with power and great glory, as he had said he should one day come. As though the thief had said: “Now thou art in humiliation, and this is the hour of the powers of darkness, yet I know thou wilt, in the end, triumph over them all, and establish a glorious kingdom; oh, then remember me.” To which the Saviour replies: “Thou needest not wait till some distant time for help; even now, in all my apparent humiliation, am I mighty to save; today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” So that whatever of good there was here promised by the Saviour, was, beyond a question, to be entered upon that day. We have, therefore, only to ascertain what was meant by the term Paradise, in order to know what was to be the immediate condition of the dying thief after his dissolution, and, by consequence, the condition of all the righteous after death.

What, then, is Paradise? Here, be it observed, the question is in regard to place, rather than state. It is not, whether there be an intermediate state, meaning by that a state of separation between soul and body, in which the degree of happiness or misery, though in each case entire and unalloyed, is yet less than after their re-union. Such a state we grant. Few deny it, save those who believe either in the destruction of the human soul, or the entire suspension of its powers. Those who speak of “the state of the dead,” must mean, by this phrase, one of two things: either the state of being dead, a state of death; or they must include in it the place of the dead. It is this latter idea, of a common place of

the dead, tha...

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