What is the first and second resurrection? Not all people realize that there are two resurrections. What is the difference between these? What occurs at the first resurrection? What about the second resurrection? Answering this leads to better understanding about the judgment of God.
The above statement was presented within the prologue article to this series, Considering the Resurrection. In Part 1 Sections 1 and 2 we looked at what the resurrection means for us. In Part 2, we are going to look at scriptures that address the points made above. I found that we gain the most insight into this matter from: Daniel 12, John 5, Matthew 25, Revelation 20, and Revelation 12.
Once I started writing this article, I came to realize an interesting correlation between Daniel 12 and Revelation 12, John 5, Matthew 25, and Revelation 20. I decided to break Part 2 up into several Sections (the number to be determined as I go). In Section 1, we are going to look at Daniel 12 and briefly touch on some of the insight we might gain from the other chapters noted above. Next, I will look at each chapter individually and eventually attempt to tie this all together into something easier to digest. It is a lot to take in for me, and I will do my best to make this succinct. I’m learning as I go, so please bear with me.
1 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.
Revelation 12 immediately comes to mind when reading this passage from Daniel. If you turn to Revelation 12 you will see a scenario in which Michael is fighting the “great red dragon.” The dragon is cast to the earth. Once the dragon is cast out (that old serpent, called the devil and Satan), he has “great wrath because he knows that he has a short time.” That is the time of trouble mentioned here in Daniel 12. This is the time of the tribulation.
For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be (Mark 13:19).
and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
This makes me think of the scene at the beginning of Revelation 12, specifically the woman who is “travailing in birth and pained to be delivered.” What is the deliverance? Later in Revelation 12 we see that the deliverance is the bringing forth of the “man child” who will “rule all nations with a rod of iron.” It seems reasonable to think that the man child is Jesus Christ.
I take the woman in Revelation 12 to be the counterpart to the Great Whore in Revelation 17. I take the Revelation 12 woman to be both the true church and every individual within the church. Those who keep the testimony of Jesus will “bring forth the man child.” When we bring Him forth, we are bringing forth the One who brings deliverance from sin. When we are delivered from sin, we are written in the book of life. How do we bring him forth? We will get into that later in this article.
2 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.
Here we have a picture of the resurrection. The dead in Jesus Christ awaken at the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ. These are given eternal life. The rest awaken to judgment and everlasting contempt. We see the same scenario given in John 5 and a similar scenario in Matthew 25. We will look at these in greater detail within upcoming articles.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
When I read this, my mind goes to the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25). Jesus teaches that the there were five wise and five foolish. The wise had oil in their lamps. They are shining bright and ready to meet the Lord, Jesus when he comes. What makes these five virgins wise? The oil in their lamp is the “testimony of Jesus” which leads one to a life that “brings forth the main child.” This is a life of righteousness as those who “perfect holiness in fear of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 7:1) according to the promises set forth in the gospel.
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This makes me think of all the vain pursuits of man, especially this current age of “knowledge.” For all our science and worldly wisdom, many have nearly lost the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is good knowledge though, and those who seek Jesus in sincerity will increase in the knowledge of the Lord. “The meek will increase in the knowledge of the Lord.”
5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
Who is the man clothed in linen? At first, I thought it might be Jesus but, we see that this figure “swares by him that liveth forever and ever.” This scenario makes me think of the angel in Revelation 10.
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (Revelation 10:4-7).
The seven thunders makes me think of the seven seals mentioned in Revelation 5-8. Whatever those seven seals—and maybe thunders—represent, when they are revealed the mystery of God is also revealed. I believe this mystery to be tied to the “little book” written by the “angel that stands upon the sea and upon the earth” in Revelation 10. I believe whatever is written in this book is relevant to the testimony of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. These two witnesses tie to the two remaining candlesticks that were not rebuked in Revelation 2-3. These are “wise virgins” that are separated as “sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25). These are those who “bring forth the man child” because they “keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12). These will partake of the first resurrection (John 5, Revelation 20).
8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Again, this hearkens back to the separation of the foolish from the wise, the sheep from the goats, and so on. When the dragon is cast out and the time of great tribulation comes, the wise will be prepared because they have the “oil” of those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). This time of trouble will purify some and destroy others. The righteous will shine forth as the son, and the wicked will do wickedly. The wicked who deny the gospel will continue in blind darkness — and into everlasting darkness they will go. Those who retain the gospel and “love not their life unto death” (Revelation 12:11) are raised at the first resurrection.
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 (Revelation 20:4-6)
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
When was the daily sacrifice taken away? Many think that this passage refers to the death of Jesus on the cross. When Jesus died, there was no more sacrifice for sin needed. This is true. Therefore, from the time of the crucifixion of Jesus until the coming of the abomination that makes desolate (antichrist) will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Make note that this amount of time is also given in Revelation 11 and 12. If we consider those days as years, then it would be one thousand two hundred and ninety years following the death of Jesus. That time is passed, so what then? Is the abomination that makes desolate here already, or is there something else to be interpreted here?
There might be something here, however, there is another interpretation — and I think this interpretation fits in with what we are seeing so far.
What if the sacrifice of Christians is the daily sacrifice mentioned here in Daniel? Paul the apostle writes that he “dies daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). As Christians, we are supposed to be dying to self as those who “take up the cross daily” (Matthew 10: 38, Luke 9:23 and more). As we die to sin, we experience a present-day resurrection. This relates to what you will read about in Part 1 of this article series.
When Christians cease from making this sacrifice, the earth is ripe for the coming of antichrist. Why? As Jesus stated, “the salt has lost it’s savor” and it will be “trodden down.”
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men (Matthew 5:13)
When the light of the Christian world is taken over by the things of this world, then the time of desolation is nearing. Yet, as mentioned in Revelation 12, Matthew 25, and John 5, and Revelation 20, there are those who will remain, who will keep the testimony of Jesus, and who will partake of the resurrection of life at the coming of the Lord. These are retained by the Lord so they can testify to the nations for 1290 days. After this, they are killed by the beast and raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 11). This coming of the Lord Jesus IS the first resurrection.
This might have you asking, What Happens When a Christian Dies?
This is enough to take in for now. I will get into the teaching of the first and second resurrection in more detail as we explore Matthew 25, John 5, and lastly Revelation 20.
If you have questions or comments, you are welcome to leave a reply below this article or send an email to email@example.com. I recommend taking a look at all of the articles within this series. Visit the prologue page, Considering the Resurrection for links to each article within this series (updated as they are completed). If this series is helpful for you, please share.