on 2-timothy 1 :10
But is now made manifest - This purpose of God to save the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and call them to the same state of salvation by Jesus Christ, was, previously to the manifestation of Christ, generally hidden; and what was revealed of it, was only through the means of types and ceremonies.
Who hath abolished death - Καταργησαντος μεν τον θανατον. Who has counterworked death; operated against his operations, destroyed his batteries, undersunk and destroyed his mines, and rendered all his instruments and principles of attack useless. By death here, we are not to understand merely natural death, but that corruption and decomposition which take place in consequence of it; and which would be naturally endless, but for the work and energy of Christ. By him alone, comes the resurrection of the body; and through him eternal life and glory are given to the souls of believers.
Brought life and immortality to light - The literal translation of the original is, He hath illustrated life and incorruption by the Gospel. Life eternal, or the doctrine of life eternal, even implying the resurrection of the body, was not unknown among the Jews. They expected this, for they found it in their prophets. It abounded among them long before the incarnation: and they certainly never borrowed any notion in it from the Christians; therefore the Gospel could not be stated as bringing to light what certainly was in the light before that time. But this doctrine was never illustrated and demonstrated before; it existed in promise, but had never been practically exhibited. Jesus Christ died, and lay under the empire of death; he arose again from the dead, and thus illustrated the doctrine of the resurrection: he took the same human body up into heaven, in the sight of his disciples; and ever appears in the presence of God for us; and thus, has illustrated the doctrine of incorruption. In his death, resurrection, and ascension, the doctrine of eternal life, and the resurrection of the human body, and its final incorruptibility, are fully illustrated by example, and established by fact.
on 2-timothy 1 :10
But is now made manifest - The purpose to save us was long concealed in the divine mind, but the Saviour came that he might make it known.
Who hath abolished death - That is, he has made it so certain that death will be abolished, that it may be spoken of as already done. It is remarkable how often, in this chapter, Paul speaks of what God intends to do as so certain, that it may be spoken of as a thing that is already done. In the meaning of the expression here, see the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:54; compare the notes at Hebrews 2:14. The meaning is, that, through the gospel, death will cease to reign, and over those who are saved there will be no such thing as we now understand by dying.
And hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel - This is one of the great and glorious achievements of the gospel, and one of the things by which it is distinguished from every other system. The word rendered "hath brought to light" - φωτίζω phōtizō - means to give light, to shine; then to give light to, to shine upon; and then to bring to light, to make known. Robinson, Lexicon. The sense is, that these things were before obscure or unknown, and that they have been disclosed to us by the gospel. It is, of course, not meant that there were no intimations of these truths before, or that nothing was known of them - for the Old Testament shed some light on them; but that they are fully disclosed to man in the gospel. It is there that all ambiguity and doubt are removed, and that the evidence is so clearly stated as to leave no doubt on the subject. The intimations of a future state, among the wisest of the pagan, were certainly very obscure, and their hopes very faint.
The hope of a future state is styled by Cicero, Futurorum quoddam augurium saeculorum - "a conjecture or surmise of future ages. Tusc. Q. 1. Seneca says it is "that which our wise men do promise, but they do not prove." Epis. 102. Socrates, even at his death, said, "I hope to go hence to good men, but of that I am not very confident; nor doth it become any wise man to be positive that so it will be. I must now die, and you shall live; but which of us is in the better state, the living or the dead, only God knows." Pliny says, "Neither soul nor body has any more sense after death, than before it was born." Cicero begins his discourse on the subject with a profession that he intended to deliver nothing as fixed and certain, but only as probable, and as having some likelihood of truth. And, having mentioned the different sentiments of philosophers, he concludes, - "Which of these opinions is true, some god must tell us; which is most like to truth, is a great question."
See Whitby, "in loc." Such doubts existed in regard to the immortality of the soul; but of the resurrection and future life of the body, they had no conception whatever; compare the notes at Acts 17:32. With what propriety, then, may it be said that these doctrines were brought to light through the gospel! Man would never have known them if it had not been for revelation. The word "life," here, refers undoubtedly to life in the future world. The question was, whether man would live at all; and that question has been determined by the gospel. The word "immortality" means, properly, "incorruption, incapacity of decay;" and may be applied either to the body or the soul. See it explained in the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:42. It is used in reference to the body, in 1 Corinthians 15:42, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54; in Romans 2:7, it is applied to the future state of rewards, without special reference to the body or soul. Here it seems to refer to the future state as that in which there will be no corruption or decay.
Many suppose that the phrase "life and immortality," here, is used by hendiadys (two things for one), as meaning immortal or incorruptible life. The gospel thus has truths not found in any other system, and contains what man never would have discovered of himself. As fair a trial had been made among the philosophers of Greece and Rome as could be made, to determine whether the unaided powers of the human mind could arrive at these great truths; and their most distinguished philosophers confessed that they could arrive at no certainty on the subject. In this state of things, the gospel comes and reveals truths worthy of all acceptation; sheds light where man had desired it; solves the great problems which had for ages perplexed the human mind, and discloses to man all that he could wish - that not only the soul will live for ever, but that the body will be raised from the grave, and that the entire man will become immortal. How strange it is that men will not embrace the gospel! Socrates and Cicero would have hailed its light, and welcomed its truths, as those which their whole nature panted to know.
on 2-timothy 1 :10
1:10 By the appearing of our Saviour - This implies his whole abode upon earth. Who hath abolished death - Taken away its sting, and turned it into a blessing. And hath brought life and immortality to light - Hath clearly revealed by the gospel that immortal life which he hath purchased for us.