The First Resurrection
First, we must look at where the “first resurrection” is
mentioned in scripture. It is actually only mentioned by this name once
in the whole Bible.
And I saw thrones,
and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw
the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for
the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his
image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their
hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 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.
The resurrection is that of the dead and there are two types, there’s
a resurrection of the just and of the unjust.
Belief in the resurrection from the dead is central to the Christian faith.
1 Corinthians 15:12-30
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; And
hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the
Son of man. 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.
And have hope toward
God, which they themselves also allow, that
there shall be a resurrection
of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Unjust - “second resurrection”
I’ll start with the unjust because we know the unjust resurrection
occurs only once, after the millennium. We know this because the rest of
the dead (the unjust) don’t live again at the first resurrection until
the second death. Revelation 20:5 That is at the great white throne judgment,
the time of the second resurrection. This takes place after the end of the
1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth. Revelation 20:4 And after this,
the elements are melted with a fervent heat, 2 Peter 3:9-13, and the new
heavens and new earth are brought forth.
And I saw
a great white throne, and him that 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, stand before God; and the books were opened:
and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead
were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according
to their works. And the sea gave up the dead, which were in it; and
death and hell delivered up the dead, which were in them: and they were
judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast
into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And
whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the
lake of fire.
So we see that the resurrection of the unjust doesn’t
happen before the end-times, nor does it occur when the just are raised,
but is held off until the great white throne judgment. They are specifically
said to remain dead until the end of this world.
Just - “first resurrection”
For the just, we know there are at least three resurrections (explained
below), but no specific number is attached to this first resurrection.
Who are the just?
1 Corinthians 15:22,23
in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every
man in his own order: 1.Christ
the firstfruits; 2.afterward
they that are Christ’s at his coming.
3.Then cometh the end, when he shall
have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall
have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign,
till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall
be destroyed is death.
Here we see that this first resurrection has three cases at least.
- Christ, the firstfruits.
- Those that are Christ’s at His coming. Christ
comes twice at the end
(1st for His bride, then to destroy the armies at Har Megiddo: “Armageddon”):
Christ Comes At Unknown time (aka: “day
of the Lord”) Matthew 25:1-13 for the bride of Christ,
(Christ comes to the clouds and leaves with His bride,
returning to earth and touching
His feet upon the mount of Olives as prophesied in Zechariah 14:4, but coming
in the clouds to call His bride to be with Him and then leaving again with
her to the marriage. Revelation 19:7-8) This is part of the resurrection
of the just. (first resurrection)
NOTE: The harpazo itself occurs after the resurrection.
The dead in Christ are resurrected first, THEN those who are alive are changed
and caught up to meet Christ in the clouds along with the dead in Christ
who were raised. The harpazo isn’t actually the resurrection, but
the resurrection occurs before and in conjunction with the harpazo. It is
simply the raising of the dead. Not all who go in the harpazo will have
to be resurrected. Not all will die before Christ returns. That is why death
is swallowed up in victory through Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:54-58
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
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
1 Corinthians 15:50-53
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 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. For this
corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins,
which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And
five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish
took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in
their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all
slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the
bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose,
and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us
of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying,
not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to
them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy,
the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the
marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins,
saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. Matthew 7:13-23 But he answered and
said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son
of man cometh.
People are living life like normal, not
expecting anything to change like it will:
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of
man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating
and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe
entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them
all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall
two be in the field; the one
taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill;
the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore:
for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this that if
the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come,
he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken
up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not
the Son of man cometh.
And as it was in the days of
Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank,
they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that
Noe entered into the ark, and the
flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days
of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted,
they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained
fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Even thus shall it be in the
day when the Son of man is revealed.
| Mark 13:14-16
In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff
in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is
in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s
wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and
whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you,
Corinthians 15:50-53 1 Thessalonians
4:13-18 Matthew 24:40-42
in that night, there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall
be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together;
the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the
field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered
and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, wheresoever the
body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
3) Christ Returns At Known time to
destroy the gathered armies and take the kingdom (We (We know it because
of Revelation 13:5. The Beast is given his power for 3 ½ years (42 months)
and the reason his power is taken away is that Christ returns and throws
him and the false prophet into the lake of fire. Revelation 19:20) That
means that he gets his power 3 ½ years prior to Christ’s return, the
abomination of desolation, when indwelt by Satan. Revelation 13:11-18
And I saw
heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was
called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make
war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns;
and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he
was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The
Word of God. And the armies
which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine
linen, white and clean. Revelation 19:7-8 And out of
his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress
of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture
and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And
I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice,
saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather
yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat
the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty
men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the
flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw
the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together
to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought
miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the
mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were
cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant
were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword
proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their
And I saw one
of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:
and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the
dragon, which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast,
saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
And there was given unto him
a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto
him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth
in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle,
and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war
with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over
all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
4) The The “first resurrection”
of Revelation 20:5 is after the second coming
Revelation 19 & 20 It is therefore after “the end” in
context of 1 Corinthians 15:22-23.
In review, we have 2 resurrections:
1) First resurrection: Resurrection of
the just (Acts 24:15) ~ Split into at least three instances through time.
- Christ the firstfruits [32
AD] (1 Corinthians
- They that are Christ’s at His coming [harpazo yet
future] (1 Corinthians 15:22-24)
- Last day resurrection of the just 2 Peter 3:8 [End
of the 70th week/Start of the millennium]
(Revelation 20:4-5) (After Christ returns with
in glory [Revelation 19:11])
2) Last resurrection: Resurrection of
the unjust ~ Known to be held to only one instance (Revelation 20:4-5) just
before the current heavens and earth are destroyed (2 Peter 3:9-13). At
this point, they will be the only ones who have not been resurrected yet.
- Last day resurrection of the unjust at the great
white throne judgment 2 Peter 3:8 [End of the millennium]
That means that all the resurrections are foretold. Just some were referred
to as the resurrection on the last day. In 1 Corinthians 15:22-24, the bride
of Christ is being told about the resurrection she will take part in.
In John 5, 6, 11, 12 it is being preached to the Jews. For the past almost
2,000 years they have been blinded and as a national body do not represent
the bride of Christ. (Luke 19:41,42 | Romans 11) Of course there are Old
Testament Jews who are the bride of Christ, but the nation as a whole was
blinded at the triumphal entry. So Israel represents a people who God has
made irrevocable promises to of salvation, yet they are not the bride of
Christ. God knows the heart and who are His. Many times in Christ’s
ministry, he spoke in parables to fulfill prophecy that hearing they would
not hear and seeing they would not see.
1 Corinthians 15:22-24 lays out the resurrections of the just that only
the bride of Christ and the Groom participate in. (Christ the firstfruits
and those that are His at His coming.) There are still just that will be
resurrected “in the last day,” they are just not the bride.
We see this verified in Revelation 19:7-8, where the marriage of the
Lamb occurs before Christ returns in glory in Revelation 19:11-14, so we
must have been taken before then in order to be at the wedding. That means
that we cannot be the resurrection in Revelation 20:4-5, which is clearly
after Christ has returned in glory with His wife.
This fits because the
day of the
Lord starts God’s wrath pouring out and we are not appointed to
His wrath. (1 Thessalonians 5:9) but salvation through Christ. That means
the harpazo would be before the “day of the Lord” which is 1,000
years. 1 Corinthians 15:22-24 doesn’t cover all “first resurrections,”
but only those for the bride of Christ, since that was who was being spoken
And what shall
I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak,
and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the
prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence
of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,
waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women
received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured,
not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover
of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins
and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world
was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in
dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report
through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better
thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
It seems evident from this passage that it won’t be until the harpazo
that all the just will be resurrected, including those who have died in
faith before. This means that Matthew 27:52-53 must not have been a resurrection
to the immortal bodies, but a resurrection from sleep in their mortal bodies.