intermediate state

Alvah Hovey on the Intermediate State

Alvah Hovey was, at various times, both a Professor and President at the Newton Theological Institution for fifty-four years in the latter half of the 19th century. His systematic theology, entitled Manual of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, was published in 1877. In this excerpt, Hovey explains his understanding of the intermediate state.1

By this is meant the state of men between their bodily death and resurrection. That there is such a state must be assumed for the present; but we shall soon have occasion to exhibit the proof of it, by showing that there will be a simultaneous resurrection of the dead. Almost all Christians feel a particular solicitude about the condition of human souls immediately after death. The proximity of that state to this invests it with double interest. Friends accompany their friends to the very borders of it, and know that, when the latter close their eyes here, they open them at once there — know that in a moment their loved ones are in the state that lies between time and eternity —between existence in a natural body and existence in a spiritual body.

Besides, that is a profoundly mysterious life which connects the one before death with the one beyond the judgment, —a life of waiting for the Lord, with how much of blessed service on the part of the righteous, no one knows; for the teaching of Scripture concerning the middle state is neither full nor explicit, but it assures us of these facts :—

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