30 Jan The Resurrections
By Gary D. Frazier, Ph.D.
Physical death does not end human existence. Jesus said, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). Without a doubt, one of the most comforting and reassuring, yet perhaps, confusing teachings of God’s word is found in the doctrine of the resurrection. The questions surrounding this great truth usually has to do with who will be resurrected and when will this take place.
The doctrine of The Resurrection is easily understood when one recognizes there is a series of such events that occur in Scripture. In each case it is quite clear who is being resurrected and when. Revelation 20:5 speaks of “the first resurrection” in relation to the faithful martyrs who gave their lives for the cause of Christ and the Gospel during The Tribulation. The context implies that the second resurrection will be for unbelievers at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth. Thus, we see that “the first resurrection” is a qualitative description referring to the resurrection of the saved whereas the “second resurrection” is likewise a qualitative description referring to the resurrection of the unsaved.
The first Resurrection, which is the resurrection of believers, will occur at various times throughout history. Let’s examine briefly the various episodes of this resurrection.
- THE SAVIOR: The resurrection of Jesus becomes the pattern and First fruits for the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:20, 23)
- THE SELECTED OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS: At the death of Christ, the tombs of selected OLD TESTAMENT believers were opened. These people appeared in the city to many people as a confirming sign that Jesus was in fact, The Messiah (Matthew 27:50-53).
- THE SAVED: The redeemed of the Lord who become a part of the Bride of Christ upon their commitment to Jesus and then “fall asleep “in Christ” (die), are resurrected in the event called the Rapture of the Church. Paul clearly states, “We shall not all sleep” (I Corinthians 15:51), meaning some will die and those who do are raised “in a flash”. Therefore we are told we are not to grieve for our saved loved ones who have gone on before us because we are confident they will be resurrected (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
- THE SERVANTS: Revelation 11 records how two servants of the Lord will be witnesses in Jerusalem during the first 3 ½ years of The Tribulation. These two will ultimately be killed and resurrected for the entire world to see after just 3 ½ days (Revelation 11:8).
- THE SLAIN: Revelation 20:4-6 identifies the martyred dead of The Tribulation as ones who will be resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ in order to reign with Him for The Millennium.
- THE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS: Daniel 12:1 makes it clear that these saints will be resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ as well in order to share in the Kingdom reign.
- THE UNSAVED: The final Resurrection occurs at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ at the event referred to in Revelation 20:11-15 as, The Great White Throne Judgment. The lost of all ages will stand before a Holy and Just God and the Book of Life will be opened. All these unbelievers who have rejected Christ as Savior will be judged according to their works and will be found wanting. The final sentencing will then take place and these will be cast into the Lake of Fire along with Satan himself for all of eternity.
The resurrections of Scripture are divided into two classes: the resurrection of the saved versus the resurrection of the unsaved. The promise of the resurrection for all believers is comforting and reassuring whereas for the unbeliever it is a promise of eternally separation and judgment. Each person gets to choose which one they will be a part of. Choose wisely my friends!