And have hope towards God,.... Of an interest in him, and of enjoying eternal life and happiness with him in a future state:
which they themselves also allow; that is, some of the Jews, not the Sadducees, for they denied what is afterwards asserted; but the Pharisees, who believed the immortality of the soul, and its existence in a future state:
and that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; agreeably to the doctrine of Christ in John 5:28. In this article the Pharisees of those times were sounder than the modern Jews; for though the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is one of their thirteen articles of faith, and is a fundamental one, which he that does not believe, cannot be said to be of the Jewish religion; yet they limit it entirely to the righteousF19Maimon. in Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1. Kimchi in Isa. xxvi 19. Aben Ezra & Saadiah Gaon in Dan. xii. 2. , and will not allow that the wicked shall rise again: and this notion obtained also very early; for in their TalmudF20T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 7. 1. it is reported, as the saying of R. Abhu, that
"the day of rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead; the resurrection of the dead is לצדיקים, for the righteous, but the rain is both for the righteous, and the wicked.'
Though AbarbinelF21Prefat. in Isa. fol. 3. 1. says, that the sense of this expression is not, that they that are not just shall have no part in the resurrection, but that hereby is declared the benefit and reward to be enjoyed at the resurrection; that that is not like rain, from whence both just and unjust equally receive advantage; whereas only the reward is for the righteous, but not for the ungodly: moreover, he observes, that this saying was not received and approved of by all the wise men, particularly that R. Joseph dissented, and others agreed with him; and as for himself, he openly declares, that that assertion, that the just among the Israelites only shall rise again, is foreign from truth, since the Scripture affirms, Daniel 12:2 "that many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake"; but if there should be no other than the righteous in the resurrection, they would without doubt be very few; besides it is said, "some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt"; and Isaiah says, Isaiah 66:24 "and they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me"; which shows, that the ungodly shall rise again, to receive their due punishment: and Manasseh ben IsraelF23De Resurrectione Mortuorum, l. 2. c. 8. , in the last century, argued for the resurrection of both the godly and ungodly, from the same passages of Scripture; and yet he was not of opinion, that the resurrection would be general and common to all men, only that some of all sorts, good, and bad, and middling, would rise again, and which he supposed was the sense of the ancients. It is certain the Jews are divided in their sentiments about this matter; some of them utterly deny that any other shall rise but the just; yea, they affirmF24Vid. Pocock, Not. Miscel. in port. Mosis, p. 183. , that only the just among the Israelites, and not any of the nations of the world shall rise; others say that all shall rise at the resurrection of the dead, excepting the generation of the floodF25Pirke Eliezer, c. 34. ; and othersF26Vid. Menassah ben Israel, ut supra. think, that only they that have been very bad, or very good, shall rise, but not those that are between both; but certain it is, as the apostle affirms, that all shall rise, both just and unjust: the just are they who are made so by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and who being created anew unto righteousness and true holiness, live soberly, righteously, and godly; the unjust are they who are destitute of righteousness, and are filled with all unrighteousness; and these latter, as well as the former, will rise again from the dead; which is clear, not only from the words of Christ, and the writings of the apostles, but from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, particularly Daniel 12:2 and also from the justice of God, which requires that they who have sinned in the body, should be punished in the body; wherefore it is necessary on this account, that the bodies of the wicked should be raised, that they with their souls may receive the full and just recompense of reward; and likewise from the general judgment, which will include the righteous and the wicked, and who must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive for the deeds done in the body, whether good or evil; in order to which there must be a resurrection of them; to which add, the account the Scripture gives of the punishment of the wicked in hell, which supposes the resurrection of the body, and in which the body and soul will be both destroyed. Indeed there will be a difference between the resurrection of the just and of the unjust, both in the time of their rising, the dead in Christ will rise first at the beginning of the thousand years, the wicked not until they are ended; and in the means and manner of their rising; they will be both raised by Christ, but the one by virtue of union to him, the other merely by his power; the just will rise in bodies not only immortal, and incorruptible, but powerful, spiritual, and glorious, even like to the glorious body of Christ; the wicked will rise with bodies immortal, but not free from sin, nor glorious: yea, their resurrection will differ in the end of it; the one will rise to everlasting life and glory, the other to everlasting shame and damnation.