The Reality of the Resurrection
What Kind of Body will be Resurrected?
What types of Resurrection are there?
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is perhaps the most powerful event in all of history. In truth, Jesus is the most powerful figure to cross the bounds of the stage of world history, and every thing about him, his work, his life, his death, and above all his resurrection resonates with more power than all the billions of Adam and Eve’s descendants combined. Prior to that wonderful Sabbath morning 2000 years ago when the stone rolled away from the entryway into the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, death and the grave had proven to be totally invincible.
The death and resurrection of Christ are not only powerful events solidly etched in world history but have their essence rooted in prophetic design. Christ’s death and resurrection conveys that God’s eternal purposes depend solely on Christ’s victorious redemptive work. The death of no other man was predicted in so much detail as was the death of Christ, and so it was also with his resurrection.
Hebrews 11:17 conveys an intimate account of Abraham’s willingness to offer up his son Isaac in death even though the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant required Isaac’s life. This passage testifies that Abraham’s faith in God was such that he believed that even in offering up his son in death, and burning his body to ashes on the altar, God would somehow raise him back up to fulfill his prophesied role. The most specific prophecy of Christ’s resurrection is found in Psalms 16:8-10; (I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.)
What faith, this faith of Abraham! To believe and trust in God so much that he could believe in the concept of resurrection even though there was no known precedent for such a thing. Surely Abraham, who could look back on two thousand years of human history since the Garden of Eden was well aware that death and the grave had proven to be invincible.
The writer of the book of Job expressed the inevitable trap of death and the grave with these words:Job 14:1-5 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou (God) hast appointed his bounds that he (man) cannot pass; Thus because of sin, mankind has a boundary set by God that he cannot pass without confronting and going through the gate of death. Solomon expressed the mortality of man with these words; (Psalms 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.) Death Was Introduced Into the World Through Adam’s Sin
After completing a perfect environment of life for mankind, God pronounced that the liability of death hung in the balance for Adam if he chose to disobey God. This announcement was made to Adam before Eve even existed. Surely though, Adam conveyed the seriousness of disobeying God’s commandment to Eve, and although they had no experience with death beforehand, they surely knew it was a stark enemy. (Genesis 2:16-18 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.)Albeit, death as it is described in the Bible does not mean that we simply cease to exist after we have lived on this earth. God has had a plan for every human being that has ever lived in this world, and our appointment with death highlights the fact that we all will eventually have a date of accountability before our Creator. It has been famously stated that: “we come into this life with nothing and we all live with nothing. But in truth, we all leave this life with a destination, and our choice in this life concerning God’s gracious offer of restitution (sacrifice of His Son) will determine our eternal destiny. The curse of sin that all human beings inherited from the Fall of Adam transposed a violation of God's intention for humanity upon all mankind. That is why we need redemption. Sin is a destructive force that wrecks and ruins the full glory and beauty of humanity as God intended it to be, and it is the sole reason that our world continues to be such a troublesome place to live.
Alas, from the day when Adam and Eve first capitulated to the scintillating enticements of Lucifer and partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, death has loomed over, and ultimately won out in the lives of all of humanity except for two people. Enoch and Elijah were each caught up from the earth and into Heaven without ever having to pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Except for these two individuals, death has been, and continues to be an absolute 100% victor in every single generation since the dawn of creation.
Enoch is revered in scripture because he walked with God, and was simply translated, and has forever become typecast in eschatology as the bodily prefiguring of the rapture of the Church. (Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.)
Elijah also bypassed the valley of death when he was personally escorted into Heaven by a chariot of fire drawn by the whirlwind of God. Elijah met the Lord on the Mount of transfiguration, and will likely be one of the two witnesses to Israel during the time of Jacob’s trouble. II Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Therefore, because of the failure of the first Adam, the only hope of mankind to live again after death required a second Adam, one that could erase the power of death through His victory over the grave. (I Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.)I Corinthians15:35-47 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. No normal rational thinking man can face the prospect of dying without some measure of uneasy apprehension. The fear of death is a natural, though often hidden instinct for mortal man, and many people live their whole lives in one big grand effort to not to think about it, and to pretend that it will never affect them. But wherein lies the fear of death? Partly it comes from the fear of the unknown. But still more it comes from way down deep within the soul of man, where the human conscious sends out, albeit too often a repulsed signal about the sense of sin. Whence comes that sense of sin? For most people it comes from a sense of knowing they have broken some law of goodness. But so long as a man sees in God only the law of righteousness he must forever be in the position of a criminal before the bar of God with no hope of acquittal and with the certainty of condemnation. But it is precisely that situation that Jesus came to abolish. Jesus came to tell us that God is not law, but love; that the center of God's being is not legalism but grace; that we go out, not to a judge, but to a Father who awaits His children coming home. Only upon accepting Jesus Christ who gave us the victory over death, can the fear of death be banished through the wondrous love of God. Jesus said; “think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf, laws that we could not possibly keep, and now he has availed to us His pardon.
There is a story about an elderly grandfather having a last talk with his teenage grandson. The grandfather, knowing that he had but a few days to live, decided to impart some wisdom to his offspring. He sat the young man down and asked him about his plans for life. The lad conveyed to his grandfather that he planned to graduate from High School and get a job. The grandfather asked, “What then?” Well, the young man said, I guess I’ll look around and find a girl to marry. The grandfather asked again, “What then?” The boy responded, well, I guess we will have some kids and raise a family. Again, the grandfather asked, “What then?” The young boy by now was a little annoyed with grandfather’s repetitious question, but wanting to please he responded that he guess he’d someday retire and see his kids start their families also. Grandfather smiled and calmly asked again, “What then?” By now the young man was running out of things that he imagined that he’d do in life, and just said, Well, I guess I‘ll die.
Then Grandfather asked the young man, “Will you be ready to die?”
Jesus Christ is The Resurrecting Power
The word resurrection is mentioned forty one times in the Bible, with all of them being in the New Testament. The word resurrection comes from the Greek word anastasis, and means to recover from the dead, or to stand up again. Many people think of resurrection as merely a New Testament teaching, however, the idea of resurrection is firmly rooted in the Old Testament. The Gospel of John reveals that Martha (being a first century Jew) held a firm concept of the resurrection, and referred to it in the encounter when Jesus came to Bethany to visit her dead brother, Lazarus.John 11:21-25 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:) Martha’s statement to Jesus reveals that she had been taught of the scriptures that the righteous would be raised from the grave in the “last day.” Jesus response to Martha was staggering. Here in this setting, Jesus plainly says, “I am the resurrection.”
Later, speaking to his disciples, Jesus conveyed that he was sent into the world by his Father not only to offer salvation, but also to afford resurrection to those that had believed on him. John, like Martha referred to the rising of the dead at the last day.
John 6:38-40 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Old Testament References Teaching of A Resurrection Day
Psalms 17:14-15 From men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. (see also I John 3:2)
Psalms 49:14-15 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
Psalms 50:4-5 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Daniel 12:1-2 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel’s prophecy conveys that the resurrection of the last day is set in time about the era of Jacob’s Trouble. (tribulation era) Daniel also reveals that there are two resurrections, one for those that are raised unto eternal life, and one for those that are raised unto condemnation.Christ’s Resurrection Is Central to the Gospel
There is simply no way to overemphasize the importance of the Resurrection to the Christian faith, for the resurrection of Jesus is the very foundation of the Christian faith. Christianity stands or falls on the validity and the historical reality, of the Resurrection. The apostle Paul says in ICorinthians 15:17 that "if Christ be not raised from the dead, your faith is in vain." Peter makes a similar statement in I Peter 1:3 where he states that our lively hope is based on "the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Paul included many references to Christ’s resurrection and in his letter to the Romans, began by referring to Jesus with this qualification, “he was declared to be the Son of God with power and holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” By Him and his resurrection we have received grace, and may know the power of his resurrection. (Phil. 3:9)
In Romans 4:23-25 the death and resurrection of Christ are declared to be essential to our justification. The words, “it was credited to him” were written not for Christ alone, but also for us who believe and are credited the righteousness of God. Jesus was in fact delivered over to death for the payment of our sins, and He was raised to life by God for our justification. Wow, when I consider the awe-someness of that fact, I am stirred deep down within my soul! Do you realize that if Jesus had died for our sins, but had not risen from the dead that there would still be no basis for our justification, and therefore no hope of our resurrection?
The Resurrection was the theme of the apostles' preaching. Acts 4:33 conveys that "with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. "On the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached the first gospel sermon, the focal point of his message was the Resurrection. Peter, who had only weeks earlier denied Jesus, staunchly stood before the crowds and pointedly spoke openly that Jesus had been taken by the determinate counsel of Jerusalem, and that they killed the prince of life, but that God raised him from the dead, and there were no creditable accounts to dispute that fact. In fact, there were innumerable witnesses to the fact that Jesus had been seen of many men after his resurrection. In fact, many saints arose out of their graves after Jesus resurrection and paraded around Jerusalem. (Matthew 27:52-53 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.) Before Christ’s resurrection, the souls and spirits of Old Testament believers upon death went to a place known as Abraham’s bosom.
The Hebrew word for Hell is Sheol, and the Greek Hades, and they do not merely refer to the grave, but were in fact the place where the unrighteous departed spirits went. Christ, upon his death descended into the place of Abraham’s bosom, as did the repentant thief, but once there, Jesus by virtue of his victory over Hell assumed the keys of death and took all of Abraham’s righteous with him up to Paradise. The beggar of Luke 16, (parable of Lazarus) one of the Old Testament saints, was carried by the angels into the place called Abraham’s bosom, but after Jesus resurrection, the beggar too likely joined Christ in Paradise. (There is a section on the Resurrection order at the end of this article)
Paul too made it crystal clear that the heart of the gospel message was the Resurrection. He defined the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 in the following terms: "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day, again according to Holy Scriptures." Paul’s writings in the Corinthian letters are replete with the theme that the Gospel rests on the foundation that is Christ’s resurrection, and that without the resurrection, there simply is no gospel.
In short, the Resurrection is the great validator of Jesus as Savior and Lord. Peter echoes this sentiment in 1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Jesus Himself emphasized the significance of His resurrection when He appeared to John on the island of Patmos 65 years after His ascension to Heaven. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I (Jesus) have the keys of death and of Hades"
The Significance of the Resurrection
The most overwhelming significance of the Resurrection is to be seen in the fact that it sets Christianity apart from all other world religions. The Resurrection is the unique stamp of Christianity, for only Christianity claims an empty tomb for its founder, and only Jesus Christ has made so bold a claim as to promise his followers that he would return to the world. Thus the reason for all the exuberance in studying the signs of the times that He himself divulged to us pertaining to his Second Coming!
The reality of the resurrection of Jesus is important because it dismisses any questions as to whether Jesus was who he claimed to be, namely the Son of God, who had the power to lay down his life freely, and the power to take it up again. (John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.)
Pilate railed against Jesus for his silence when he was brought before him for questioning. Pilate remarked. “knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?” But Jesus responded as one who had confidence in His Father for ultimate victory, even victory over death. Jesus replied, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” Only a short while earlier in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus demonstrated his power with the Father when he rebuked Peter for resisting the High Priest’s guards. He replied, “knowest thou not that I could pray my Father and he shall presently give me more than twelve legion of angels.” At the crucifixion, Jesus was confronted by mockers who challenged his claimed status as the Son of God when they sarcastically tempted him to demonstrate his power by coming down from the cross. (Matthew 27:39-43 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.)
Yet Jesus did not come down from the cross, but rather he chose to stay on the cross and to endure the sting of death because his whole mission to this world was to submit himself to that ignominious death, and by the power of his resurrection wrest away the keys of death from Hell.
In Christ, a new order was begun with Jesus receiving a body that will last for all of eternity. His resurrected body retained the nail-prints and scars that were inflicted upon him by mankind, but by his stripes, we may know the power of His resurrection, and likewise receive new bodies at the resurrection day.
What Kind of Resurrection Body Will We Have?
Charles Strong of the BibleOne Ministry, a ministry that I strongly recommend to the readers of Focus on Jerusalem (www.Bibleone.net) writes; “Man is a tripartite (three-part) creature, consisting of body, soul and spirit as is seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:23; although, many theologians hold that the “soul” and “spirit” are one and therefore interpret man as a bipartite (two-part) creature. In either case, there is a physical and spiritual division within each human being. For the Christian, upon physical death, the spirit/soul goes immediately to be with Christ in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23). And the Bible teaches that the body, at the resurrection will be reconstituted to be joined with the person’s spirit/soul to evermore be with God; therefore, the resurrection is concerned only with the body and not the spirit/soul of man. The Christian’s resurrected body will be like that of Jesus Christ’s resurrected body.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
(Philippians 3:20, 21)
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)
The resurrected body of Christ was both tangible and identifiable (recognizable) by those who knew Him in His prior physical body. This does not necessarily mean that it was reconstituted from the same atoms. Even in this life the materials of the body change constantly. They are entirely replaced in a progressive manner within the span of a few years. But apparently Christ’s and the believer’s resurrected body will be a “glorious body” prepared from the DNA formula that is unique to every individual and certainly known by God. Jesus walked and ate in his resurrected body. His body was also able to pass through stone and wooden walls. His body was able to rise through the earth’s atmosphere, and to ascend into Heaven without being subject to the laws of earth’s physical forces. Indeed, he was able to bodily escape the ionosphere without being burned by the shear forces of the planet’s force field. Modern astronauts require a heat shield for their vehicles upon exit and reentry through the earth’s atmosphere, but not the resurrected Lord!
Jesus own resurrection body provides us the best evidence of the type body that we will have when we are resurrected in full. Jesus had a tangible resurrection body which could be touched and handled. He was able to eat food. His body carried upon it the nail wounds in his hands, feet and sides that remained as physical evidence of his crucifixion. He carries those same scars today. He was not a ghost, nor a spirit. He had been dead, but was now alive again, and seen by many. And yet, Jesus, after His resurrection, was able to conceal his identity from friends, as for example when he talked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus on that first Easter afternoon. He was also able to enter and leave rooms through closed doors, and apparently could travel a hundred miles to Galilee instantly with ease. At the time of His Ascension, he disappeared through a cloud-gate, which was really a space-time gate taking him out of our physical world into the invisible world of the spirit, which surrounds us on all sides.Physicist and Bible scholar Lambert Dolphin (http:www.ldolphin.org) suggests the following details about some of the capabilities of our resurrection bodies:
1. We will be able to recognize Jesus as He is now and has been for the past 2000 years. "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2)
2. We will be able recognize our friends and loved ones.
3. We can eat food, we can be touched and we will have all of our usual senses of sight, smell, taste, touching, etc.
4. We can, apparently enter and leave the physical world from the invisible realm of the heavenly places.
5. Our new bodies do not wear out and are imperishable. We are no longer subject to sickness, pain or grief.
6. We will be incapable of sin by our new nature. Thus the quality of all relationships with our fellow saints will be immensely improved.
7. Marriage will have ceased as an institution for us. (Matthew 22:30) We will not be sexless, nor will the differences between the sexes be eliminated, rather they will be amplified and extended to incorporate their completeness. We will probably lack reproductive organs. However, our participation in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb implies an intimate unity not only with our Lord Jesus, but also with all the rest of God's people.
8. Because of the absence of sin, pleasure and enjoyment without fear of failure, inhibition or restriction will be greatly expanded. Any two believers can enjoy intimate fellowship of the highest quality.
9. Our resurrection bodies will be equipped to be in tune with the spiritual world, the heavenly places, therefore time and space travel is a likely capability of these marvelous new bodies.
10. Based on our walk with God in this present life believers will possess varying capacity to contain God in heaven. The quality of time, and the quality of eternal life which each of us experiences will be greater for those whose lives have been lived out on earth is a closer walk with the Lord and obeyed Him most faithfully.
11. Our Resurrection bodies are not the same identical bodies which were laid in the grave which were then reconstituted. The new body is related to the former body, yet completely different.
Paul used the analogy of planting seed to describe the new bodies that resurrected saints will receive on resurrection day. The resurrection body is much like unto a seed that is planted in the ground and produces life, but the seed itself eventually perishes and returns unto dust. And so it is with our physical bodies, (terrestrial) and yet our resurrected bodies will retain a resemblance to its present appearance, while our resurrected body will also assume qualities that are celestial in their capabilities. The word “celestial” is taken from the Greek word “epouranios” and refers to being heavenly, or capable of being above the sky. Our present bodies are terrestrial, or “epigeios” which simply means to be earthly in their physical makeup and in their capabilities.
Unquestionably our resurrected bodies will be untouchable by things like pain, aches, illness, disease, physical/mental limitations, and by the curse of sin and death. The new body of the saints will be imperishable, incorruptible, and contain none of the elements that are of flesh and blood. (I Corinthians 15:49-50 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.)
When Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples encountered Jesus after His resurrection, he cried out, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus replied, "because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed." (John 20:28-29). FOJ challenges you to believe in the risen Lord (and in the returning Lord) "that believing you may have life in His name," and confidently look forward to his promise of resurrection. (John 20:31). Thomas became forever typecast as “Doubting Thomas” because he refused to believe the Disciples report that Jesus had risen from the dead. He ranted at them for their assertions that Jesus was alive by saying to them, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Later after eight more days, Jesus disciples were inside a closed building, and Thomas was among them, then all of a sudden came Jesus, the doors being locked, and stood in their midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Jesus words; peace be unto you” should be words of comfort to every believer of every age, for to be absent (die) from this earthly physical shell is to become immediately vested with a heavenly clothing, (spiritual body) and to be instantaneously present in the Lord’s house. While in this world we continue to groan and endure physical decay and burdens. But on those wonderful and all too rare occasions when the Holy Spirit overwhelms us, and quickens our spiritual sensitivities, it causes us to sense the blessed completeness that will be ours when we are joined in the resurrection/rapture with our heavenly house. The Bible teaches that the body at the resurrection will be reconstituted, or changed (allasso) to be joined with the person’s spirit/soul to evermore be with God; therefore, the resurrection is concerned only with the body and not with the spirit or soul of man.
II Corinthians 5:1-6 For we know that if our earthly house (physical body) of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, (spiritual body to be cojoined to a resurrection body on resurrection day) eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilstwe are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
The apostle Paul likens our present bodies to tents (skenos) used for camping purposes. They are fragile and easily torn. They are subject to mildew. The wind blows easily through our present house. Even the best of our earthly tents are subject to decay and disease. They are for temporary use, not intended as permanent dwellings! Paul tells us in the above passage that our new spiritual (resurrection) bodies (solid, substantial oikos) are already in existence, up in Heaven! These bodies are waiting to be put on as a man would put on a new suit of clothes. Using the different Greek word oikos he tells us that the new body is solid, substantial and permanent, unlike an earthly camping tent.
To assure us that no intermediate state (such as soul-sleep) awaits us when we die, he alludes to the fact that we are usually uncomfortable when we are naked. We would likewise be uncomfortable if we stepped out of our present bodies and walked around as mere naked spirits. Instead, Paul informs is further that we are immediately "clothed" upon by our new resurrection bodies. We will not be found naked at death, we will step immediately out of time into eternity and immediately put on our "space suits," those marvelous resurrection bodies which will never wear out nor grow old! John the Revelator alluded to this fact also. (Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.)
When we die we step out of time and enter eternity, "to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord," and that fact is very clear. Our immediate experience is to arrive at point in the heavenly dimension where eternity invades earthly time, an event we call the resurrection of the righteous dead.
The Resurrection Taught as Doctrine
The certainty and glory of the Resurrection, and the hope provided by it, is the central focus of most of the sermons recorded in the book of Acts, Romans, and I & II Corinthians, and throughout the entire New Testament. Thirty six times the writers of those books referred to the resurrection of Christ. In Peter's second sermon delivered on the Temple Mount, where the Sanhedrin held authority, accused the religious leaders of Israel of conspiring together to put the prince of life to death, and that they were in contempt because of the fact that God raised him back to life. The Sadducees, knowing full well that Jesus had been resurrected sought to silence Peter and John’s teaching of Christ’s resurrection by threatening them, but because of popular pressure, they were forced to relent. This retreat by the chief priests of Israel only served notice that they could not deal with the overwhelming public evidence that God had indeed raised Jesus from the dead. Much of the populace of Jerusalem, not only witnessed the miracles of Christ’s resurrection, but had seen those that were raised up with him, and observed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit upon the teaching of the Apostles. (Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.) (Acts 10:39-40 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;)
Matthew 27:50-54 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Jesus Christ Was Resurrected to be King of the Jews
Paul didn’t just only teach that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by God to provide mankind the means to be restored into justification with God, and to receive of the fruit of Christ’s resurrection. He also taught that Jesus Christ was raised to life in order that he could return unto Israel to be their King.
Herod the Great was the son of Herod Antipater, who was a Hasmonean of Idumean stock. As such he and his sons were likely a direct descendant of Esau. Herod became known as “The Great” because he expanded Rome’s domination of the region and befriended and acquired the favor of Caesar, and in return assumed the title “King of the Jews.” When Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great and the wise men from the east came asking, "where is he that is born King of the Jews," Herod's jealous spirit via his covert relationship with Rome caused him to attempt to eradicate the baby Jesus. And of course, Jesus was condemned to death by Pilate for the state offense of claiming that he was the King of the Jews.
Acts 13:16-23 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus:
Jesus Christ Was the Firstfruits of The Resurrection
The First resurrection is actually ongoing, (in part, and in stages) and it will continue right on through the progression of time. Jesus Christ himself was the “first-fruits” of the general resurrection, and all those who have accepted Christ as their Savior follow him literally in that resurrection in their own individual order. Therefore, the entire body of the Church (not a portion) follows Jesus in the resurrection. The “first resurrection” is best understood as being a type of resurrection, and not as a number in a sequence.
I Corinthians 15:20-23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
Only those members of the Church that remain alive at his Second Coming need not experience the resurrection, and that is simply because they will never taste of death. In the last days, as Jesus returns, they will be gathered up at the sounding of the last trump of God to join up with all those that have already been made alive in the resurrection. This teaching is clear in Paul’s exposition to the Churches at Thessalonica and Corinth.
Although the Bible speaks of two resurrections, in reality it depicts a series of them, or in essence two types of resurrections, all of which were set in motion by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. The term “first resurrection” is actually found in Revelation 20:5-6.
Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Many theologians attempt to place all the resurrections together under one big umbrella at the end of this present age. They usually utilize the terminology of the ” first resurrection” to deduce that there are no previous resurrections, and also therefore no further resurrections other than the resurrection unto damnation that occurs at the end of the one thousand year of Christ. However, this is a false premise. Though there are numerous “restorations” unto life in both the Old and New Testaments, resurrection in the sense of being given a tangible resurrected body co-joined together with that of the Heavenly clothing that all righteous shall put on and keep forever did not occur until Jesus Christ was literally raised from the dead and ascended to his Father. In John chapter 20:17, Jesus tells Mary not to touch him because he had not yet ascended to his Father. In spite of this, Jesus was quickly able to ascend into Heaven and return back to the earth to permit Thomas and others to feel him, after obtaining the completed resurrection.
My good friend, Charles Strong of the Bibleone Ministry website (
1. The body of Jesus Christ, the “first-fruits,” was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-7; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18). That the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:23)
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)
And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.(Revelation 1:5)
2. A number of the bodies of Old Testament saints were raised from the dead after the resurrection of Jesus Christ but prior to His ascension into heaven. And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:50-53)
3. At the Rapture of the Church, when Christ comes in the atmosphere with a shout and the sound of the trumpet to snatch away all who have received the grace-gift of eternal life (since the birth of Christ) by faith alone in Christ alone, the bodies of all such believers will be resurrected.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
(1 Corinthians 15:51-54)
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air [the only exception to being resurrected]. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
4. The bodies of the two witnesses of the Tribulation Period who are killed because of their testimony will be resurrected. When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and -a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. (Revelation 11:7-12)
5. The bodies of the martyred dead saints of the Tribulation Period are raised to reign with Jesus Christ during His Millennial Kingdom (1,000 years) on earth. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
6. Additionally, it is believed by some that the bodies of Old Testament saints will be resurrected at this time (Daniel 11:36-45; 12:2; Isaiah 26:19). It should be noted that the spirits/souls of the Old Testament saints, which until the resurrection of Christ were contained in Paradise (a section of sheol/hades in the lower part or “center” of earth, Ephesians 4:9), are now with Christ. At His resurrection, Christ transferred Paradise from hades up to the third heaven (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4), the abode of God.
Paradise is no longer in the abode of the dead below, as it has not been since the resurrection of Christ. (Eph. 4:8-10), Paradise has been removed from Hades and relocated where Christ now sits enthroned, (II Corinthians 12:4) in the realm of the third heaven. (For the present abode of the spirits of departed believers, see 2 Corinthians 5:8 and Philippians 1:23. For the present abode of the bodies of departed believers, see Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:35-57; Philippians 3:20-21. Sheol as declared in the Old Testament speech and Hades as in New Testament represents the abode of the departed spirits of unregenerate mankind.
The final, or “second resurrection” (second type) will take place after Christ’s Millennial reign upon earth. It is a resurrection for all the wicked who have been contained in Hades since the dawn of time. They will then stand before Christ at the event The Revelator describes the Great White Throne judgment. They will all be condemned and cast into the Lake of Fire because (1) their good works are insufficient to satisfy God’s wrath against their sins and (2) they refused to accept Christ alone by faith alone, the only non-meritorious action that will secure their names remaining written in the Book of Life. Their names will be the names that are blotted out, because they have rejected Christ, the giver of eternal life.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
So how can the fact of two resurrections be reconciled with several resurrections as described in the Bible? The answer lies first in the etymological meaning of the Greek word protos, and second in the concept of phasing, as seen in the Jewish harvest, a process that is specifically used in the Bible to be analogous to the first resurrection.
·The Greek word protos, which is translated first in Revelation 20:5 (“This is the first resurrection”) not only may mean first in number, but also may mean first in superlative, as “in kind” or “foremost.” Both applications are present in this verse. It is first or before the final resurrection, the resurrection of the wicked; but it is not first in the sense of being number one or prior to all resurrections, as is clearly evident in Scripture. And it is the most excellent resurrection, since it deals with the righteous, and not the wicked. John F. Walvoord in his book, Major Bible Prophecies (Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), says this about the verse:
To use the term “first resurrection” to refer to the new birth, as amillenarians do in evading the teaching of this passage on the millennial kingdom, or to refer to it as the Rapture, as posttribulationists do, based on the idea that there could not be a resurrection before this, are both inadequate explanations of the expression. The doctrine of resurrection falls into place when one recognizes that there is a series of resurrections in Scripture, beginning with the resurrection of Christ and ending with the resurrection of the wicked. In this series the resurrection of the martyred dead of the Great Tribulation is resurrection number five and is probably followed by the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. The resurrection of the wicked is the last resurrection.
·The first (greatest) resurrection will take place in phases, similar to a Jewish harvest, which is the analogy that is used at times in the Bible to depict this resurrection, e.g., note that Christ is the firstfruits of the first resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). Both in the Old Testament and New Testament the harvest figure is used to teach spiritual truths. The gathering of crops was the most important season on Israel’s calendar. The harvest to the Jew meant life, therefore events were dated from harvests (Genesis 30:14; Joshua 3:15; Judges 15:1; Ruth 1:22; 2:23; 1 Samuel 6:13; 2 Samuel 21:9; 23:13) and the three principal feasts of the Jews corresponded to their main harvest season (Exodus 23:14-17; 34:18, 22, 23)—the Feast of Passover, April-May, early in the barley harvest; the Feast of Pentecost, seven weeks later, May-June, after the wheat harvest; and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths) during the fruit harvest, September-October.
Just as the harvest meant life to the Jew and was conducted in stages, so does the first resurrection mean eternal life in a glorified body to the Christian; and this resurrection also comes in stages, starting with Christ and ending with the last of those who by faith alone in Christ alone become children of God. Dr. David R. Reagan, author of Revelation Revealed, and who is the senior evangelist for “Lamb and Lion Ministries,” puts it this way:
The resurrection of the just will occur in stages, and the stages will correspond with the three stages of a Jewish harvest: the first fruits, followed by the general harvest, and concluded with the gleanings. Jesus was the "first fruits" (1 Corinthians 15:23). The general harvest will occur at the Rapture when the Church Age saints will be resurrected and the living saints will be translated. The gleanings will occur at the end of the Tribulation at the Second Coming of Jesus. That is when the Old Testament saints and Tribulation martyrs will be resurrected.Jesus is not only The Resurrection, He is “The Life”
Earlier, we read the response of Jesus to Martha at the tomb of Lazarus. Remember it? (John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:) Not only is Jesus Christ the resurrection, and the first-fruits of the First resurrection type, but he is also what he told Martha at the end of that verse. I AM THE LIFE. Whether we realize it or not we are born in trespasses and sin. We are in all practicality, dead in sin, spiritually speaking, and walking about in this present world unconscious of the reality of the abundance of life. Jesus said, I have come that ye might have life, and have it more abundantly. In reality, we have not yet begun to live. At the moment that we are born into this world, we literally begin the process of dying, and without being reborn of the spirit, there is no hope of ever knowing the joy of The Life that God designed for us to all enjoy.Ephesians 2:1-10 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Quite a number of supernatural events take place when a man or woman, boy or girl, opens his or her heart to Jesus the Lord. The dormant spirit of that person, out of touch with God until now, is now connected to the Holy Spirit of God. The individual is then the immediate possessor of eternal life and can never die. The new believer in Jesus is taken by God out of from under the evil government of this present world system and placed under the direct government of Christ, while still bodily remaining in the world. God also blots out all our sins, cut us off on the inside from the fallen life of Adam by the circumcision of our heart. We are immersed by the Holy Spirit (baptized) into Christ so that we are once for all identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, We are already made into totally new persons (II Corinthians 5:17). For the rest of our lives on this present earth we will experience the realization of this newness of life. Our bodies and spirits are made new and our physical bodies, though not yet redeemed, experience resurrection life and renewing from God.It is through the sense organs of our physical body that we are aware of the physical world in which we now live. The bodies we now have are mortal bodies, but the Bible calls them "natural bodies." If in fact we could now (as Christians) possess our new spiritual bodies which will be given to us at the coming first resurrection, we would see that we are already in the midst of Heaven, but desensitized to its reality by our present environment. We are presently aliens in this world.
While confined to this earthly shell, and to the dynamics of nature and of time and eternity, we remain physically connected to the old creation and the present fallen world system. Our eyes, ears, touch, taste, smell and contact with planet earth and people around us, keeps us ever embattled with our old sinful, unredeemed bodies and the temptations and decay they hold. We are also prisoners in a one-dimensional time frame. Our present natural or mortal bodies, (because of the Fall) allow us to experience a flow of time from the future through the present and into the past, only. This kind of time is known as "linear time" and we can not escape this imprisonment in time as long as we still inhabit our fallen present bodies.
It is true that in spirit and soul, people that are reborn have already reached across the veil between earth and Heaven and come in touch with eternity. We already possess eternal life and we are often aware of the qualities of time in the heavenly places they we were not aware of before coming to know God. Its like, we can feel him, and yet we still have a distance between us.
When Is The Resurrection
Though the normal order for all men is to live, die, and then be subject to resurrection, there will be one grand exception at the end of the present Church Age. As Enoch exemplified the symbolism of one that walked with God and was not, for God took him, so also does the catching away of those that walk with God in the Last Days. At the rapture of the Church, a whole generation of believers will be caught up into the clouds to meet the risen Lord without ever passing through the valley of death. This great mystery was made clear by Paul in the following scriptural dissertations.
I Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.Clearly, Paul is alluding to the notion that there will be some remaining on the earth that shall never sleep. This “remaining alive” concept was also taught by Jesus, and apparently Jesus conveyed more on this subject to Paul before He went up into Heaven. (Matthew 16:27-28 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.) The only conclusion that can be gleaned from this teaching is that the generation that lives at the time of Jesus Second Coming will simply be “changed” in the twinkling of an eye upon that wondrous occasion when the angel sounds the trumpet for “all the saints” to be gathered together.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Resurrection Day dawns with the trumpet sound! Resurrection Day commences with the Day of the Lord, and with the rapture of the saints that remain alive on the earth. All who have participated in the Psalms covenant with God will be bodily resurrected at the sounding of that trumpet. (Psalms 50:4-5 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.)
There are two theories about the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. As clearly noted by many scripture references already presented, the Saints of all the ages will be with Christ when he returns to Israel. Unfortunately, the timing sequence for the resurrection of Old Testament Saints remains somewhat clouded, but that is only because the Old Testament prophets couldn’t see over the prophetic hill of the Church Age into the valley of Christ’s second coming and foresee the two-stage event of his coming. The OT prophets accurately portrayed the resurrection of OT saints at Christ’s coming, but they could not envision the rapture, as it was an event still clouded in mystery. But, regardless of their order in the first resurrection type, they will return, with ALL the other of Christ’s saints when he comes to Jerusalem!
Ephesians1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Clarence Larkin’s Resurrection Chart
That Great Getting Up Morning
The great illustrator and author Clarence Larkin depicted the resurrections in his famous chart of the resurrections and judgments. He vividly displayed the idea that the first resurrection commences on the morning of the Day of the Lord, with the second, or last resurrection occurring late in the evening on Resurrection Day. No wonder my soul likes to sing of that great getting up morning!
There are two general resurrections, and they are simply types of resurrections. One is a resurrection unto life (eternal) and the second resurrection is a resurrection unto judgment and death. (John 5:24-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.)
God is a god of the living, not a god of the dead. For a believer, to be absent from this corrupted earthly body is to acquire a heavenly body, a body not manufactured by the flesh of man and woman, but a clothing (spiritual body) provided by God. Jesus remarked to the women gathered at his tomb 2000 years ago; “why seek ye the living among the dead?” His point was simply this; He is the resurrection!
Luke 20:34-38 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
John 5:24-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Zechariah 14:4-5 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Matthew 24:30-31 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
I Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
The resurrection of the unjust (a type) will occur all at one time at the end of the Millennium.
The resurrection of the just will occur in stages, and the stages will correspond with the three stages of a Jewish harvest: the first fruits, followed by the general harvest, and concluded with the gleanings. Jesus was the "first fruits!" The general harvest will occur at the Rapture (the last trumpet—and the dawn of resurrection morning) when the Church Age saints will be resurrected and the living saints will be translated. The gleanings will occur at the end of the Tribulation at the Second Coming of Jesus.
What Type Resurrection is the First Resurrection?
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.
With the words of Revelation 20:5-6, the apostle John introduces a new concept called the first resurrection. A natural implication in the mind of some is the notion that if there is a "first resurrection," there must be at least a "second resurrection." Scholars are divided over what constitutes the resurrection. In other words, is there one general resurrection or is there a multi-phased resurrection of the righteous separated by a thousand years from a final resurrection of the wicked? Revelation 20:5-6 clearly indicates a separation between those raised at the beginning of the 1000-year period and those raised at the end of it. What, then, is the first resurrection? The New Testament does not have a single term for the resurrection. John 5:28-29 indicates that there will be a resurrection to life and a resurrection to judgment. However, no indication is given that these two events will not happen at the same time. It is the apostle Paul who delineates stages or groups of the resurrection. He writes, "by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end…(I Corinthians 15:21-24)."
It is clear that Paul saw the resurrection of Christ and "those who are Christ’s at His coming" as two distinct aspects of the resurrection. Paul designates the Lord’s resurrection as "first fruits." This is important. The term fruits in the Greek is a singular term, but represents a plural number (what is called a collective noun). The concept of a "first portion" or "first fruit" is a familiar one. In the natural order, the first fruit of any crop would involve more than one, thus the translation first fruits.
The essential point that we can deduce from I Corinthians 15 is that the separation of one phase of the resurrection from another does not nullify the designation the general resurrection. Therefore, the indication in Revelation 20 that a resurrection will occur in close proximity to the beginning of the millennium is consistent with the teachings of the apostle Paul. John limits this particular resurrection to those beheaded for refusing to actively participate in the worship of the Antichrist. Killed for their faithfulness to Christ, the beheaded faithful are blessed because they have "a part in the first resurrection." Only by spiritualizing this passage and ignoring the textual details can this group be made to represent all believers of all the ages. John clearly intends a smaller group, every single one of them, beheaded.
Consequently, we are able to deduce that John’s resurrection to life and his first resurrection both refer to a general multi-phased resurrection of the righteous. It stretches from the resurrection of Christ and those raised with Him (Matthew 24:52-53), to those raised at the Rapture/Parousia (I Corinthians. 15:23), to those beheaded martyrs raised in close proximity to the beginning of the millennium (Revelation 20:4-5). This is the first resurrection!
John does not designate the resurrection that will follow the millennium as the "second resurrection." Probably the reason John does give it a number is that the resurrection after the millennium will be distinctively different from the first, in its type. In Revelation 20:5, John records that; "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed." This by definition must involve the wicked that have not been raised to this point in biblical chronology.
Revelation 20:11-15 describes the resurrection unto judgment, which John alluded to in John 5:38-39. This judgment is generally called the white throne judgment. John states that for anyone’s whose name is not found in the book of life, such a one will be thrown into the lake of fire, the second death. This type death will never affect the righteous! Is it any wonder that Jesus stated the following; Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
That the book of life would be consulted at this point highlights the fact that both believers and unbelievers will be present at this judgment. Isaiah 65:17-25 supports this conclusion. There, Isaiah indicates that those who enter the Millennial kingdom in physical bodies will live long lives during the temporal kingdom on earth. However, he also indicates that these people will die. The last enemy that is destroyed is death, and it is not destroyed until after the Millennium.
While the resurrected saints (participants in the first resurrection) will never die again, those Jews and Gentiles who survive the sheep and goat judgment of Matthew 25:31 and the Tribulation holocaust will enter the kingdom, but they will not live the entire 1,000 years. Thus "the white throne judgment" will involve all the wicked dead of all the ages, all condemned to the lake of fire, where the Devil, his Antichrist and False prophet will also be.
Revelation 1:18 I am (JESUS) he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that His life is stronger than death. If Jesus had died, never to rise again, Satan would remain in possession of the keys of hell and Death! Therefore, when we read of the Revelation of Christ, we are shown a scene of the Firstborn offering the water of life, freely to all who will drink of it.
Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Corinthians 15:26 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
It is my desire at Focus on Jerusalem that you will come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and live with the absolute assurance that he will never leave you nor forsake you, and that you too can look forward to that “great getting up morning,” when all the dead in Christ shall rise!
Troubles will soon be o'er, happy forever more,
Jesus is coming soon, morning or night, or noon,
Then you'll see the Christians rising', Fare you well, fare
I Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Focus On Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry