Considering the Resurrection – Part 2 – The First and Second Resurrection (Section 3)

In the previous article, we looked at scripture from John 5 and Matthew 25 to get some insight into the judgment of God as it pertains to the first and second resurrection. This article is the last section of Part 2 (Sorry, the part numbers and section numbers can be confusing. This seemed like the best way to break it up at the time).

In this section we are going to look at scriptures pertaining to the first resurrection, and by implication, the second resurrection. Afterwards, I will attempt to write a summary that condenses what we have discussed in within all 3 sections of Part 2: The First and Second Resurrection.

 Revelation 20

The scene in Revelation 20 comes after a scene in Revelation 19 when Jesus returns triumphantly to overthrow the great whore, the beast, and the false prophet. Here in Chapter 20, we see Satan is bound for one thousand years. We see that those who did not worship the beast, or his image, or take the mark of the beast will live with Jesus Christ during that thousand-year time. These are those who partake in the first resurrection.

After that thousand-year time is up, Satan is loosed and again deceives the nations. Satan and his followers are again overthrown, and this time they are prepared for everlasting destruction in the lake of fire. At this time, the second resurrection occurs in which those who are dead, but not in Jesus Christ (those who partook in the first resurrection), are raised and judged according to their works. Those who are not found written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.

This seems to paint a clear picture of a first and second resurrection as mentioned in John 5 and Daniel 12.  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 (John 5:29-30).

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

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.

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and *fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them*.

10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

11 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.

12 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.

13 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.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

In Conclusion

There are two resurrections. The first resurrection is the hope of the faithful Christian. If we believe in the Son of God, we will honor the Son as the Father and we will seek after the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we are sincere in our faith, we will grow in the truth of Jesus that makes us as “wise virgins” who invest their talent(s) as “faithful servants.” In so doing, we are separated as “sheep” because we served the brethren faithfully according to what we were given of God.

(Notice the emphasis on served the brethren. Many claim to be men/women of God, but they are less about serving and more about exalting themselves as lords over others. Beware of these).

Those who partake in the first resurrection live with Jesus Christ for one thousand years before the second resurrection of judgement takes place.

The second resurrection, which is the resurrection of judgment, is for those who are not faithful to Jesus Christ. This includes unbelievers, even those who claim Jesus in a superficial way and are not fruitful in the things of salvation as promised within the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. There are many who will claim to have been “saved” who find themselves judged according to their works and not grace. Why?

These are those who claim faith in Jesus but did not respect the sacrifice of the Son of God (parable of the wedding guest). These are those who use grace as a loophole for living sinfully and do not grow in knowledge of the kingdom of heaven (parable of the wise and foolish virgins). These are those who did not take up the cross and die to self and grow in service to the brethren (parable of the sheep and the goats). These are also those who make themselves as leaders over men, but do not strive to possess their own vessel in sanctification (wolves in sheep clothing). More on the latter in an article entitled, “Profane Pastors and Prophets.” (work in progress as of 2/5/19)

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Revelation 21:7-8).

I know this is redundant, but it is worth repeating. There are teachings that can be very damaging to Christians today. Any teaching that claims that a person can recite a prayer and claim salvation without any stipulation from that point on is dangerous. Any teaching that uses grace and the forgiveness of God as a loophole for sin without judgment is dangerous. Any version of the gospel that promotes worldly prosperity instead of taking up the cross and suffering for Jesus’ sake is dangerous. Any version of the gospel that neglects the righteousness of God and the commandments of Jesus is dangerous. Any version of the gospel that denies the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is dangerous.

On a Positive Note

There are many works associated with someone who is truly being saved by Jesus. However, we should take comfort in knowing that if we really love Jesus and have faith that is given of God, then all things pertaining to our salvation are given as an act of grace. The works we do are the working of Jesus within us, changing us as one who is “bringing forth the man-child.” With the King of Kings reining over us, we are no longer slaves to sin and the prince of this world. We are made “free indeed” within the kingdom of heaven–even now–and the eternal kingdom is our inheritance. Through our God-given faith, we can see much growth in things that make us “fruitful” for the kingdom, and we will meet Jesus during the first resurrection!

Side Note

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them (Revelation 20:7-9).

I think we should make note of something said about the false prophet in Revelation 13.

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men (Revelation 13:13).

It seems reasonable that the false prophet will come as a deceptive Christ figure, therefore he will do things to make people think he is fulfilling scriptures that pertain to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. When I read this passage noted in Revelation 20, I thought about this wonder the antichrist will do, and I think it is worth noting.

With the understanding of the judgment of God and how His judgment is manifested in a first resurrection of life and a second resurrection of judgment, we should have some questions about other common Christian beliefs. Questions like, “what happens when a Christian dies” and questions pertaining to the rapture doctrine will be discussed in Part 3 of this series: The Timing of the Resurrection.

This article is part of a series, Considering the Resurrection. Visit the link to access other articles within this series. Questions or comments are welcome; leave a reply or send an email to If this article is helpful for you, please consider sharing with others.

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Posted in Christian Doctrine, Christian Faith, Last Days / Prophesy, Salvation

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These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things I hate, saith the Lord.  — Zechariah 8:16-17


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