Sunday, May 23, 2021

A Look at the Resurrections and Judgments

 The Rapture will involve both those who are in Christ who have died, and those who are alive. The raising of the dead for the Rapture is a resurrection. While looking at the resurrection we know as the Rapture, we will also take a look at the other resurrections the Bible teaches.

Two Resurrections

There are two resurrections. The "First Resurrection" has several parts, and is a resurrection to life. This resurrection happens over time, with each taking place "in turn" (1 Cor 15:22).

1 Cor 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (23) But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

Rev 20:4-5 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

The "Second Resurrection" has one part, and is a resurrection to death, or the "Second Death".

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Rather than thinking of the two resurrections as two sequential events, it is better to think of the two resurrections in terms of the two parties that are affected. The first resurrection means the resurrection of the saints to life, and the second resurrection means the resurrection of the wicked to death.

The Parts of the First Resurrection

1 - The Resurrection of Jesus

There have already been some resurrections to have taken place. The very first resurrection was that of Jesus.

1 Cor 15:20-23 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (21) For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. (22) For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (23) But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

Reference to Jesus as a First Fruit of all of us is seen in these passages:

1 Cor 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

2 -The First Fruits - At the Time Of Jesus' Resurrection

Along with Jesus, there were many people who had previously died that came up out of their graves and were seen by many people. Scripture does not teach what happened to these people, but presumably, they died again eventually. This event shows the great power of Christ and His resurrection.

Mat 27:50-53 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (51) At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split (52) and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. (53) They came out of the tombs after Jesus' resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

3 - The Rapture - At Any Time

Another part of the first resurrection is that which we have been discussing, the Rapture.

1 Th 4:14-17 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (15) According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Cor 15:51-53 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- (52) in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (53) For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

*** Bema Judgment

The Rapture of believers brings them to the Bema Judgment. This judgment will be taking place while the Tribulation is taking place on earth. This is a judgement of rewards for believers.

1 Cor 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, (13) their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. (14) If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. (15) If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames.

2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

1 Cor 9:25-27 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (26) Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. (27) No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Tim 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

1 Tim 6:18-19 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (19) In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

See also: 1 Cor 9:25; Php 4:1; 1 Th 2:19; 2 Tim 4:8; Jam 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4; Rev 2:10; Rev 3:11).

It is perfectly proper to serve Jesus Christ to gain a reward if our motives are correct (Mat 6:19-21).

4 - The Rapture of the Two Witnesses - Mid Tribulation

The Revelation reveals that the Two Witnesses will also be resurrected.

Rev 11:7-12 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. (8) Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city--which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt--where also their Lord was crucified. (9) For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. (10) The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. (11) But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. (12) Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

5 - The Resurrection of OT and Tribulation Saints - Between Tribulation and Millennium

As regards the Old Testament saints, Daniel reveals that their resurrection will occur at the end of the Tribulation, and before the Millennial Kingdom.

Dan 12:1-2 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. (2) Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Dan 12:11-13 "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (12) Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. (13) "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

In addition to the Old Testament Saints rising at the conclusion of the Tribulation and before the start of the Millennium, the saved people that died during the Tribulation also arise at this time.

Rev 20:4-6 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

*** Sheep and Goat Judgment

At the time of this resurrection at the end of the Tribulation, there is a judgment to determine who will enter the Millennial Kingdom. The parties to this judgment are those OT and Tribulation Saints who were just resurrected, as well as those who are still alive at the end of the Tribulation. Ezekiel speaks of this judgment as relates to Israel.

Eze 20:33-38 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will reign over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. (34) I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered--with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. (35) I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. (36) As I judged your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign LORD. (37) I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. (38) I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Eze 22:19-22 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because you have all become dross, I will gather you into Jerusalem. (20) As silver, copper, iron, lead and tin are gathered into a furnace to be melted with a fiery blast, so will I gather you in my anger and my wrath and put you inside the city and melt you. (21) I will gather you and I will blow on you with my fiery wrath, and you will be melted inside her. (22) As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted inside her, and you will know that I the LORD have poured out my wrath on you.'"

Joel speaks of this time as a time of decision. The reference to the sun and moon being darkened ties this to the end of the Tribulation period as spoken by Mat 24:29.

Joel 3:14-16 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. (15) The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. (16) The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

Matthew adds clarity to this judgment. It will not only encompass resurrected Jews and Gentiles, but the Gentiles as well.

Mat 25:31-34 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (33) He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (34) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

Mat 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

The context of Matthew 24 is the end of the Tribulation.

Mat 24:29-31 "Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' (30) "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (31) And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Matthew was quoting Isaiah, showing that this gathering is in reference to the Jewish people.

Isa 27:12-13 In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. (13) And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

Matthew spoke about this event earlier:

Mat 13:41-43 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (42) They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Mat 24:40-41 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (41) Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Paul also spoke of this event:

2 Th 1:5-10 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (6) God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you (7) and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. (8) He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (10) on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

6 - A Resurrection at the End of the Millennium?

Scripture is silent on the subject of what happens to those who are believers and are still alive at the end of the Millennium. These are believers who had never been resurrected, but survived the Tribulation and came into the Millennium alive. They are their descendants are likely to at least receive a resurrection body suitable for life in the Eternal State, which follows the Millennium.

Rev 21:1-4 Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (2) I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (4) 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

The Second Resurrection - End of the Millennium

Note that so far, the only people who have been resurrected in the various parts of the first resurrection have been saved people. The unsaved who rejected Jesus remain in their graves until the Second Resurrection.

The Second Resurrection - End of the Millennium

The Second Resurrection is that of the unjust at the conclusion of the Millennium. It begins with the judgment of Satan and his fallen angels.

*** - Judgement of Satan and the Fallen Angels - End of the Millennium

At the end of the Millennium, Satan and his angels will be judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire. People who are alive and those resurrected at this time will go into the Eternal State without the evil influence of Satan and his demons.

1 Cor 15:24-26 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. (25) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Jud 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

Rev 20:7-10 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison (8) and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. (9) They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (10) And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

*** - The Great White Throne Judgement - End of the Millennium

This resurrection is to the Great White Throne Judgment, the final judgment for all the unbelievers who had never taken any part in the First Resurrection. No one is saved during this judgment, all are cast into the Lake of Fire.

Rev 20:5-6 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Rev 20:11-14 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Resurrection / Judgment Summary

First Resurrection

  1. Resurrection - of Jesus

  2. Resurrection - of First Fruits Along with Jesus

  1. Pre Tribulation
    Resurrection - the Rapture of the Church
    Judgment - Bema Judgment for Rewards

  1. Mid Tribulation
    Resurrection - of the Two Witnesses

  1. Post Tribulation / Pre Millennium
    Resurrection - of OT and Tribulation Saints
    Judgment - (Sheep and Goat) of OT and Tribulation Saints, and Those Alive

  1. Post Millennium
    Resurrection - Possible to Glorified Bodies

Second Resurrection

  1. Post Millennium
    Judgment - Satan and Fallen Angel's

  1. Post Millennium
    Resurrection - of Unrighteous Dead
    Judgment - Great White Throne Judgment of Wicked


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