“‘This here’s an unlucky ship, this Hispaniola, Jim,’ he went on, blinking. ‘There’s a power of men been killed in this Hispaniola–a sight o’ poor seamen dead and gone since you and me took ship to Bristol. I never seen such dirty luck, not I. There was this here O’Brien now–he’s dead, ain’t he? Well now, I’m no scholar, and you’re a lad as can read and figure, and to put it straight, do you take it as a dead man is dead for good, or do he come alive again?'”
The mutineer Israel Hands was in his final minutes as he spoke these words, but it is the best question of the book. Jim’s answer is not so good, unfortunately.
“‘You can kill the body, Mr. Hands, but not the spirit; you must know that already,’ I replied. ‘O’Brien there is in another world, and may be watching us.'”
Jim isn’t necessarily wrong according to Christian theology, but he doesn’t answer the question. Hands dismisses this mention of “sperrits” and changes the subject, eventually trying to kill the boy.
A better answer from Jim would have been, “All men will come alive again on Judgement Day, Mr. Hands. You must know that already.”
All will be resurrected, even those not in Christ. These, though, will rise to judgement, and not to eternal life.
This is a startling thought. The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah will rise. The Philistines killed by David will rise. The Egyptian pharaohs, entombed so long in stone vaults, will rise. Hitler, Stalin, and Alexander the Great will rise.
Paul says, in Acts 24:15, that a resurrection of both the righteous and the main hope his faith, and of the faith practiced by the people of God since Abraham. The righteous will live with Christ forever, and he himself will confront the wicked. Death will not be their escape. They will face the Lord they have spurned, and will be personally condemned.
Including pirates, who, contrary to my favorite movie franchise, were terrible people. But my favorite book makes no bones about this, and that is why we will be looking at Treasure Island today and Wednesday.
Is it hard to imagine all of the people, righteous and wicked, that will rise when Christ returns. What historical figures do you find it hard to imagine rising from the dead? Let me know in the comments section!