Considering the Resurrection – Complete Series

Here are all 7 articles of the “Considering the Resurrection” series for the convenience of those who prefer all articles located in one place. Also, there could be slight revisions or additions that might not show up in email copies of these articles.

Part 1 – Defining the Resurrection (Section 1)

What is the resurrection? What does the promise of the resurrection from the dead mean for us? Is this a future event only, or does it have some application to our lives now? This affects how we view the gospel of the kingdom of heaven in general.

The above is an excerpt from the prologue article of this series, Considering the Resurrection. To answer the questions above, I have put together an extensive list of scripture that will hopefully lead to comprehensive understanding. This will be broken up into two or three separate articles and “sections.”

What is the Resurrection?

It is safe to assume that most people have some concept of the resurrection, especially among Christians. However, I wonder if we consider this idea as fully as we should. Let’s take a look at some of the scriptures that tell us what the resurrection is. We will start with this:

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40).

God sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). We’ve all heard that one. The above scripture says the same thing. God sent Jesus, His Son, to testify to the truth—and in the truth, we are made free (John 8:36).

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice (John 18:37).

What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Those who belong to God will hear the testimony of Jesus, and in his testimony we have the key to eternal life. Why? The testimony of Jesus is truth. It is the true way to live that frees us from the destruction of Satan and his lies. It is the truth that leads to everlasting life.

To believe in Jesus means to believe in what he taught and stands for as the bringer of the New Testament laws. Jesus forgive sins, but he does more. He lays out commandments that we are to follow (Matthew 5-7 for a good stating point). Those that love Jesus will keep his commandments (John 14:15-31). Why? Because his commandments are truth. Those who love Jesus will love the truth also, and in so doing, we naturally want to live righteously.

However, we mess up. We need his blood to wash away our sins as we strive in the commandments of Christ. We need the intercession of the Son of God. Without that, we are all condemned because we have all sinned.

Jesus is the author and administrator of the New Covenant. Within this, we have the perfect sacrifice for sin – the spotless Lamb of God who was slain on the cross – raised up like the serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness for the forgiveness of sins long ago (John 3:14, Numbers 21).

It is fundamental that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God in the flesh who was crucified for our sins. However, if we deny what Jesus taught, then we are not fully believing in him. We are not thriving in his truth.

Though we have all sinned, we are not bound to continue in sin. Sin is death. The commandments of Jesus are life. If we arrange our life according to the teaching of Jesus, then we will live an abundant life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance – which are the fruits of the Spirit. It is by the Holy Spirit that we are able to learn and keep the commandments of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was sent after Jesus died and rose. He spoke of this.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:7-13) For further information about the Holy Spirit, read John Chapters 14-17.

The faith in Jesus that leads to eternal life is not something that occurs in a single moment. We can convert in a single moment, yet, we are supposed to continue in the faith. We are supposed to go from faith to faith, from righteousness to righteousness (Romans 1:17, 2 Peter 1).

If we really hear Jesus in truth and if we really love him, the Lord will lead us on a path of healing and transformation of heart (2 Corinthians 1:14, Ephesians 3:6, Colossians 3:10, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

As Christians, we are made into vessels of life that bring light and good things into this world as those who mimic the very behavior of Jesus. If we are not pursuing this, if our faith is not fruitful (showing fruits of the Spirit), then our faith is dead. We do not really believe, and we are not being passed from death to life (James 2).

In Conclusion

What is the resurrection? It is a promise that if we believe in Jesus, then we will be raised from the dead. If we believe in Jesus, then we also believe in the truth, because Jesus himself came to testify to the truth. If we believe in the truth, then we will believe the commandments of Jesus and seek to keep them. If we seek to keep them, Jesus will send the Holy Spirit who will live within us, heal us, and direct us in the righteous ways as the kingdom of heaven lives within us. Only then are we made fit to be raised from the dead and enter into the everlasting kingdom of heaven.

Believing in Jesus does not stop at forgiveness. Forgiveness is the beginning and the means by which we approach the kingdom of heaven presently and eternally. We must hold fast to all that Jesus stands for, otherwise we are as the foolish virgins with no oil for their lamps, the guest without the wedding garment, the house built upon the sand, and so on.

Here are more scriptures that define the resurrection.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:54).

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26).

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11).

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:34).

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Part 1 – Defining the Resurrection (Section 2)

In the Considering the Resurrection – Part 1 – Defining the Resurrection (Section 1), we considered some scripture that defines the resurrection with a focus on what it means to believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The promise of the resurrection hinges on our faith in Jesus. What the faith means is important. We discussed that if we believe in Jesus, then we will want to know who he is, what he taught, how he wants us to order our life, and the promises he provides. This faith leads to something, the ultimate end being our resurrection from the dead and entrance into life eternal.

In this article, I want to challenge the way some think of the resurrection—at least in part—and thereby encourage a better understanding of the gospel.

We know that those who believe in Jesus are raised from the dead. The common belief is that the moment a Christian dies, they join Jesus in heaven. This idea of resurrection will be considered in detail in up-coming “Parts.” The meaning of the resurrection I want to consider presently is the process of dying to self and being raised into the image of Christ—a present-day death and resurrection that accompanies sincere belief as discussed in the previous article.

To Live, We Must First Die

Regardless of the manner of resurrection we might consider, there must first be death. We cannot be raised from the dead unless we die. For the purpose of this article and thought process, I mean death in a kind of metaphorical sense, though this death is just as real whether we perceive it or not. This is death in the spirit—just as real as death in the flesh—and each “living” person now experiences spiritual death in one form or another. All of us are dead or dying, either at the hands of sin or as one who has taken up their cross as a follower of Jesus. Let me see if I can explain.

There are a few of ways to look at our present state of death, first being the dead state of an unbeliever who is not in Christ, secondly an unbeliever or nominal believer who is not fully converted, and lastly the believer who is taking up their cross and following the Lord.

Each are in a state of death. The unbeliever is dead in their sins, and without the grace of God they will not escape death—presently or eternally. The Christian who is nominally converted might be dead in sin, just as all unbelievers, even if they profess Christ in word because they deny him inwardly and their deeds follow. Sin is destructive and brings death to those who practice it, regardless of whether Jesus is on their lips.

The believer taking up their cross is experiencing a different kind of death. While the others are living a life of sin and destruction, killing themselves and others through ungodly lifestyle, the Christian who has taken up their cross is dying to self, dying to this world, and dying to sin. Though this person will make mistakes and sin, there is repentance and patient enduring in the faith that leads to freedom from sinful actions. Their old self is being crucified so that they can be raised into conformity with Jesus. This is a present death, one that leads to a present resurrection.

Death Represented in Water Baptism

I don’t want to discuss baptism in detail, but I don’t want to neglect it either. When we talk about Christian death and resurrection, we might think about the symbology of the water baptism. Being submerged symbolizes our death to this world and being raised out of the water symbolizes our being raised in newness of life as converted believers in Jesus. There is some debate about whether a Christian must be baptized in order to be saved, and that is not something I want to discuss here in depth.

My belief is that a Christian should seek to do as Jesus did, and if we can be baptized then we should. I do not believe it is strictly required for salvation, but it is a sign of a good conscience towards God (1 Peter 3:21), so why refuse that? If we have a mind and heart that is looking for ways around doing as Jesus did, then that is not good. In-fact, such a thing can be an indicator of a serious problem within our faith.

Life in the Holy Ghost

There are many scriptures about being baptized in the name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Ghost. Receiving the Holy Spirit is a critical component to the faith because the Holy Spirit is he who works in us, raising us from our dead state. The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of sin, leads us to all truth, comforts us when we mourn, and provides us with the power to overcome sin.

As with the water baptism, there are differing beliefs about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some believe that the moment a person “accepts Jesus” and invites him into their heart, they have the Holy Spirit. Others believe that you must receive some kind of evidence, like speaking in tongues, otherwise you did not really receive the Holy Spirit.

This is another topic I do not want to get too far into right now, though it is something I have considered. I know it is possible to receive the Holy Spirit in a powerful way that mimics what you will read about in Acts. However, I also know seemingly sincere Christians who never experienced such a thing, but they seem to be growing in the things of God.

As with all things, having a very strict rule is not wise, in by belief. I encourage all Christians to seek more from the Holy Spirit, no matter what you believe about the Holy Spirit baptism, speaking in tongues, and the like. As with the water baptism, there are many scriptures that indicate the importance, and if we want to follow Jesus why refuse anything that will lead us closer to him?

As far as I know, the indicator of whether a person really has the Holy Spirit within are the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance. These are the fruits of life—the fruits of present-day resurrection. However, we grow at different rates, so we cannot look at one who seems unfruitful and assume the Holy Spirit is not with them. He could be in their heart, actively fighting against the things that keep fruit from coming forth and remaining. We cannot judge these things. We can only look at ourselves and seek to our own salvation.

Walk in Newness of Life

Though it is good for us to perform the water baptism as a symbol of death and resurrection, the water baptism itself does not perform any real function. However, we must be “born again” through the Holy Ghost in order to bring forth the fruits of Life given by the Holy Spirit.

If we believe in Jesus, we are being raised “in newness of life.” That means as we take up our cross, follow Jesus, and continue to die in this world, we are also being raised from the dead.

The process of dying and being raised from the dead is an on-going event that persists throughout the life of every sincere Christian as the Spirit works within us.

For example, we die to lying and we are raised in truthfulness. We die to selfish hate and we are raised in love. We die to fear and we are raised in peace. We die to excessive living and we are raised in temperance. We die to loving this world and we are raised in faithfulness to Jesus alone.

The Resurrection Shown in Grace, Faith, Salvation, and The Gospel

I’ve written it before and I will probably write this many more times. We need to understand what grace and faith mean. We need to understand what salvation means. We need to understand what the “good news” really is. All of this is centered around undeserved favor of God that brings us life—that brings us the resurrection.

If you already hold the beliefs I write about here, then please do not be offended by my serious tone. It is only because I care deeply about this, and I care about those who are trapped by the confused teachings that dominate Westernized pop Christian culture.

What is Grace?

Grace is often treated as a free pass, when in reality grace is receiving something you do not deserve. Confusing this leads to a complacent attitude towards sin and an entitled attitude towards salvation. It should be the other way around! Grace is not a free gift. Grace is undeserved favor of God, which is a gift. Yet, this notion can easily be confused by self-serving man. We should be very cautious of how we perceive grace, or we might not receive grace at all.

We should be serious about sin and understand that we do not deserve to be saved. We are not entitled to forgiveness, we are not entitled to learning the truth and being freed from deceptive and destructive ideas, we do not deserve to be freed from sinful life, we do not deserve to be freed from death. The ONLY thing we deserve is to die.

It is not the favor of God if we continue in the things that destroy us. It is not the favor of God to continue in deception and confusion. It is not the favor of God to continue in a life of sin. What twisted and confused notions many have about grace!

Seeing grace for what it is should be liberating, encouraging, and provide us with much hope. Having the favor of God should cause us to be thankful, humble, joyful, and allegiant to the Lord. If we love Jesus, we should not love our sin also. We should not confuse grace as a free pass to continue doing the things our Lord despises, thereby trapping ourselves in the very things Jesus came to graciously free us from.

 Does the grace you believe teach you that Jesus will raise you from the dead, even though you do not deserve it—or does it make excuses for continuing in dead living because “you’re worth it?”

What is Christian Faith?

Faith is to believe in something. What should a Christian believe in? Should we believe that if we claim Jesus is the Son of God who was raised from the dead then we can continue a sinful life and still live eternally—because of grace? No way! The faith of a Christian is to know we are sinful. To know that sin brings death. To know that we deserve death. To know that Jesus brings forgiveness—and—to know that Jesus brings LIFE! He is the Resurrection!

The twisted teaching of “Faith Plus Nothing” is a dangerous and ridiculous notion! Faith works MUCH in us. If not, then what faith we have is not sincere—or it is sincerely misplaced—and we might not attain the resurrection of the dead at the coming of Jesus Christ. There are always exceptions, like the thief on the cross. However, as with all Christian pursuits, as time and ability is given to us, we are to be faithful to what we have. If we are not, then we will likely lose what we “seemed to have.” We must bear the fruits of the Spirit (fruits of life) in any case. Those who are not fruitful are “cast into the fire and burned.”

Does the faith you believe in raise you from the dead, or does it stop at forgiveness and neglect the power that can heal you and transform your LIFE?

What is Salvation?

What are we being saved from? Are we being saved from eternal conscious torment in hell? No. We are being saved from death, plain and simple. If we continue in sin, we are dying—and death will be our end. We are doing things that kill ourselves and others, and we receive the just reward. We have all sinned, therefore we all deserve to die. That is where grace comes in. We are getting more than we deserve. We are not getting a free pass to sin.

By grace, we are granted faith in Jesus. What faith? Again, it is the faith that Jesus died to forgive our sins. AND it is the faith that Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit to heal us from sin. It is the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Sure, most Christians believe in the resurrection in some form, but without belief in the transformative nature of the gospel, the faith we have could be in vain.

Does the salvation you believe in raise you from the dead, or does it provide a “get out of hell free” card that does not really lead you to the kingdom of heaven?

What is the Gospel?

The gospel is that Jesus provides grace (unmerited favor) to all men—not just the Jews—but gentiles. People of all nations and backgrounds without regard to social status, race, gender, or past sin are chosen of God to partake of the divine nature—the nature of the resurrection.

This is the gospel of the kingdom. As the Holy Spirit works in us, the laws of the kingdom are “written on the tables of the heart.” This is the very process of dying to this world and being raised in newness of life. This is the very process of bringing forth fruits of the Spirit. This is the very process of the present-day resurrection.

Does the gospel you believe in twist grace, faith, salvation, and make lite of the teachings and promises of Christ? Does the gospel you believe in promise worldly prosperity instead of prosperity in righteousness? Does the gospel you believe in raise you from the dead?

Belief in eternal salvation without seeking present-day salvation first is not the gospel!

What is the Resurrection?

There will come a time when Jesus returns to avenge his people from the rule of the antichrist, and the faithful subjects of his Kingdom are raised from the dead or transfigured. However, we must first be faithful. We must first be living as one who is already heading towards the kingdom. We must first taste fruits of the resurrection and bring forth the fruits of Life given by the Holy Spirit. We must be “wise virgins,” “faithful servants,” and one who has on their “wedding garment.”

 We can believe the wrong form of grace and receive no favor of God. We can have sincere faith that is misplaced. We can believe we are saved and deceive ourselves. We can believe in a false or incomplete gospel. We can sincerely believe in a twisted version of Jesus. We can be sincerely misled. We can sincerely say that we live, yet we are dead!

Even so, God is merciful and gracious to all who love Jesus sincerely, no matter what they have been taught or believe about salvation and the gospel in general. Many hold misconceptions due to common teaching today, but because the Lord is gracious to them and they love Jesus, they are fruitful in the things of God. I meet such people very often. So, I want to be clear that things I write go after ideas, not people.

God can and will work in the hearts of his elect despite what they believe, yet, bad teachings overthrow the faith of many, so such ideas must be spoken against.

Scripture About Resurrection as One Living for the Lord

There are many scriptures that speak of a present-day dying to sin and being raised in newness of live in Jesus Christ. I try to avoid inserting scriptures in the things I write unless I know I am considering the context and using the scripture appropriately, so I’d rather leave a few here for you to consider for yourself. Once this series is complete, I will add a new “Scriptures” page with a list of all the scripture I gathered about the resurrection for reference.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4).

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3: 10-12).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6: 8-11).

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you (Romans 8: 7-11).

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:17-21)

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

Part 2 – The First and Second Resurrection (Section 1)

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.

Daniel 12

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.

Part 2 – The First and Second Resurrection (Section 2)

In the previous article, we began an exploration of several chapters of scripture that give us some insight into the first and second resurrection—and subsequently—insight into the judgment of God. We focused on Daniel 12 and mentioned relevant scripture in John 5, Matthew 25, Revelation 12, and Revelation 20.

In this article, I want to focus on passages from John 5 and Matthew 25 with a focus on defining what differentiates the first resurrection from the second in terms of the judgment of God.

John 5:19-30

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

Here we see Jesus stating that the Father has given all judgment to the Son. It is commonly understood among Christians that God gave judgment to the Son because of the suffering Jesus endured. Since Jesus walked in the flesh, he endured temptation as we do, yet without sin. Being without sin, Jesus was a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. His experience in the flesh and the sacrifice of His life makes Jesus uniquely worthy of judging the world. You can read more about that in Hebrews 2.

You might also notice that Jesus mentioned a greater works that he would perform, and in verse 21 we can see that Jesus was referring to the resurrection. The word “quicken” means to make alive.

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Here we have the stipulation. If we hear the word of Jesus and honor the Son as we do the Father by believing on Jesus, then we will have everlasting life. We will pass from death to life. We will be raised from the dead. When does this happen?

25 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.

26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 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.

Here Jesus is citing the same scripture we read in Daniel 12:2. The reasons the hour is coming, and yet is, is because there is a resurrection we experience as we “take up the cross.” Without that sacrifice, we are at risk of being rejected of the promise of resurrection that leads to everlasting life. Those who are faithful to the teachings of Jesus will “bring forth fruit.” That means we will grow in the things of righteousness and we will die to sin.

Does this mean we will live perfectly? No, but if we aim for a life that mimics Jesus and settle for nothing less, we will grow until the moment we die. There is always room to grow, because none is good like Jesus. Yet, without that focus that “seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” we can become complacent and even become unfruitful in the faith. If we are unfruitful, we might not be receiving grace from God at all, and we might not partake of the first resurrection of life. Instead, if we do evil wantonly, we might find ourselves entering the resurrection of damnation.

30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

If we seek to have the mind of Jesus Christ, we will seek the will of the Father. Though we might struggle with the pleasures of sin for a season, if we truly appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus and seek to learn His ways and keep them, then we are receiving grace. By grace, we are given faith that Jesus forgives our sins.

By grace, we are also given faith that the Spirit, which is Jesus in us, is stronger that the spirits of this world. Through patient continuing, we can die to sin and be raised in newness of life presently. We will be fruitful according to the measure of faith and determination to seek the things of God we are given,“some thirty-fold, some fifty, some one hundred.”

If we take the sacrifice of Jesus and the grace of God for granted, using these as a loophole for living sinfully and escaping judgment, then we are in danger. Jesus does not like loopholes, as we can see in how he talks to the Scribes and Pharisees.

God is not mocked, and those who merely honor Jesus in word but not in deed are going to be judged—not according to grace, but according to their works. You catch glimpses of that in some of the warnings to the churches in Revelation 2-3. That is the judgment we need to take away here. The Lord is merciful, but His mercy has a limit. Many will face judgement who called Jesus Lord with their lips but not their heart (Matthew 7:22-23).

If we love Jesus in sincerity, we cannot help but want to know more about Him. As we seek, we will find. Jesus promised this. He also promised that all things pertaining to our salvation are given by grace through faith—faith that is also given. All things are given to those who God is raising up. So, if we love Jesus, we take comfort in the faithfulness of the Lord and know that we will be fruitful according to what we are given. Even so, the judgment of God stands, and knowing this judgement can help motivate us towards growth.

Matthew 25

Matthew 25 includes some very important parables of Jesus that teach us about the judgement of God, and within these we can see the first and second resurrection. Jesus does not specifically call these the “first” and “second” resurrection. However, if we consider what we know so far about the judgment of Jesus, and the fact that He states that there will be resurrection of life and damnation (Daniel 12, John 5), then we can carry that thought through when we read parables that indicate a separation of the just and wicked – or as we see in Matthew 25, “the wise and foolish virgins,” “the faithful and slothful servant,” and “the sheep and the goats.”

The Wise and Foolish Virgins

1 Then shall 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.

10 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.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The Faithful and Slothful Servant

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Dividing of the Sheep and the Goats

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

In Conclusion

Can we see a continuing theme? Those who are faithful to the testimony of Jesus are as the wise virgins. If we are wise virgins, then we will wisely invest our “talent” into something that is profitable for the Kingdom of Heaven. Our talent could be many things according to the measure of faith we are given and according to the gifts of the Spirit we are given. As much as we are given, we should invest in others as servants to the brethren and to the Lord. Those who are wise and faithful will do good works. We will care for those in need as it is given to us, and in so doing, we care for Jesus. “Faith without works is dead.”

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:14-16).

This hearkens back to what we mentioned in the last article when we talked about the “daily sacrifice taken away” in Daniel 12. It is my belief that Daniel’s prophesy is speaking of a time in which Christians do not sacrifice self by taking up the cross, but instead embrace the world, thereby being ripe for deception of antichrist.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12).

The idea that we can make a one time declaration or recite a prayer then be “saved” after living an unfruitful Christian life full of wanton sin is a deadly lie. The idea that we can sin because the grace of God forgives all is a deadly lie. This is a lie that leads us to becoming as the “foolish virgins” and so forth.

Our works do not save us. Only the grace of God can save us because we can never do enough good to be worthy of eternal life. We can never be good enough to erase the sins we have done. Yet, if we are sincere about Jesus, we will care about the teachings of Jesus. We will be wise, faithful, and zealous after righteousness. Jesus rewards those who earnestly seek righteousness by giving power through the Holy Spirit to overcome sin in the flesh. As we walk more after the Spirit, we are dying to self presently and we are also being raised from the dead presently—and we will partake of the first resurrection.

Otherwise, we are counted as foolish virgins, slothful servants, and our talent that we think we have is taken away from us. This is a stark reality that a vast majority of modern Christianity does not teach. However, those who lose their talent are only losing what they “seemed to have” as shown in the account of that parable in Luke.

Those who God is in truth raising up through the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation, because all things pertaining to salvation is wrought in God: the Author and Finisher of our faith. Therefore, be zealous after the things of God, but do not lose hope. Rather, have faith and lay hold of the promises of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven that can make you “free indeed” – promises that raise you from the dead – presently and then eternally!

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.

Part 3 – Timing of the Resurrection

When does the resurrection happen? We will consider whether the first and second resurrection occur together or at separate times. Pertaining to the timing of the first resurrection, in answering this, we can put to rest debate for and against soul sleep or for and against going to heaven right away when we die. We will also compare the first resurrection to the rapture doctrine.

The above question and statement come from the prologue article to this series. If you go there, you will find links to all the articles within this series.

First a quick re-cap before starting a new Part. In Part 1 we looked at scriptures that describe the nature of the resurrection and what that means for us in terms of the gospel. In Part 2 we looked at scriptures that make a case for a first and second resurrection. We then considered what these events can teach us about the judgment of God.

In Part 2 we began considering the timing of the first and second resurrection, but for good measure I want to have an article that focuses solely on this topic. You’re going to see scriptures we have already looked at, but when side-by-side I hope we will get a clear picture.

It is Appointed to Men Once to Die, and Next the Judgment

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:27-28).

When we take verse 27 on its own, we can get the impression that judgment comes right after death. However, this chapter in Hebrews is painting an overall picture that shows how the sacrifice of Jesus replaced the sacrifices of the old covenant.

We have all sinned, so therefore we must die. Yet, death does not keep us from facing judgment. After we die, we will be raised and judged. However, through faith in Jesus Christ who bore our sins, we have hope of a pleasant resurrection in which we will appear without sin before God.

These ideas are being addressed in the above scripture. Here we see the sin of man, the judgment of God, and the promise given to those who believe in Jesus. There is no need to read something extra into this scripture by using one verse as a support for immediate resurrection after death when the context is something different.

Timing of the First Resurrection

As mentioned in previous articles, the first resurrection is the hope of the Christian. This is the resurrection of life. Those who believe in Jesus will face God as one who is sinless because the blood of the Lamb has washed our robes clean. Does this happen immediately after we die?

If we look at the scriptures concerning the first resurrection, we see this event taking place at the coming of Jesus during the 7th trumpet in the book of Revelation. This event is detailed in Revelation 11. Here we see the two witnesses are slain and raised from the dead three and a half days later when Jesus returns at the sound of the 7th angel.

11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:1-15).

This is the same event that Paul the apostle wrote of in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Corinthians 15:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this 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.

16 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:

17 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. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 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. (1 Corinthians 15:16-24).

What we see in Revelation along with the understanding given by Paul the apostle goes something like the following.

  • All of man has sinned therefore all men die.
  • All of man will be raised from the dead and face judgment.
  • Jesus sacrificed himself to atone for our sins as a fulfillment of old covenant blood sacrifice and as atonement for the sins of those who believe in him.
  • Jesus was the first to raise from the dead.
  • The next to raise from the dead are the “first fruits” which are those who are dead (or as some like to call asleep) in Christ. This occurs at the 7th trumpet and the return of Jesus to establish His Kingdom.
  • Believers who are alive at the coming of Jesus rise next in transfigured bodies.

This is 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.

6 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).

Timing of the Second Resurrection

A first resurrection cannot occur without a second. Although a second resurrection is never explicitly named, the existence of a “first” implies the other. As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, what differentiates the first and second resurrection is the judgment of God.

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 5:28-29).

The second resurrection includes both obvious unbelievers as well as those who profess Christianity but do not take the gospel to heart (the parable of the wedding guests, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the parable of the talents, the parable of the sheep and the goats, the parable of the sower). In each parable, you see two: one who is faithful and appointed to salvation and one who is wicked and appointed to wrath. See Matthew 24-25.

Does the second resurrection take place at the same time as the first? There are scriptures in Revelation that indicate a thousand-year separation between the first and second resurrection—along with there being a “first” resurrection in the first place.

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 (Revelation 20:5-15).

Where Does Popular Doctrine Fit?

There are reasons Christians have different views, and so we should be compassionate in regards to teachings that are not strictly necessary for salvation. However, we should pursue sound doctrine. It is our duty, as much as we are able, to consider the full context of the word of God. In so-doing, we create a clearer picture that can greatly help the faith of others.

False teachings give enemies of the gospel a foothold, and many use false teachings to erode the faith of others. That’s why I do my best to support sound doctrine. Not to sew conflict among the brethren, but to encourage and build up those within the household of the faith.

In learning about the first and second resurrection, where can we find place for these popular Christian doctrines:

  • When a person dies, those who believe in Jesus immediately go to heaven. Those that do not believe in Jesus immediately go to hell.

There are only two resurrections, and the hope of the Christian is within the first. This occurs at the coming of the Lord Jesus at the 7th trumpet. This occurs after the six preceding trumpets, the coming of antichrist, and the killing of all those who are faithful to the testimony of Jesus (the two witnesses). Until that time, all who are dead in Christ are in the grave awaiting the resurrection.

For more read: What Happens When a Christian Dies?

  • God will rapture His church away before the great tribulation?

There is no rapture, but there is a resurrection. When Jesus returns, those who died for His namesake during the tribulation will have been dead for 3 ½ days. During this time, they wait in the grave along with all who have died as a Christian over the centuries. When Jesus returns, all the dead in Christ will rise together and those who are alive and remain are caught up together in the clouds with the resurrected dead.

Most scripture that is used to support the rapture is a reference to the first resurrection. There are other scriptures used to support the rapture that are either misunderstood or otherwise taken out of context, like those that refer to being “taken.”

A full work that debunks the rapture will be written soon entitled, “You Don’t Want to Be Taken.” You want to be those who die for Jesus sake or those who are alive and remain.

Part 4 – Jesus is the Resurrection

This is the final article of the “Considering the Resurrection” series. We’ve discussed the nature of the resurrection and what that means for our present-day experience of the gospel as well as our hope of everlasting life. We’ve discussed the resurrection in terms of the judgment and mercy of God. We’ve discussed the timing of the resurrection and how that affects common Christian doctrines.

Now, it seems fitting to wrap this up with an article that gives glory to Jesus as the only One who has power of life over death. Jesus is the resurrection!

Why is Jesus the only way? Jesus is Life.

There are several analogies that Jesus makes to himself as a source of life. He is the bread of life. He is the fountain of living waters.

Jesus gives us everything we need to live. Contrast that with Satan who only brings death. The following will include a scripture that shows the life-giving properties of Jesus and the death-bringing properties of Satan.

Blood of Life

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him (John 6:56).

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (Revelation 17:6).

We all drink a cup of blood. Either we will drink the blood of the Lamb with great reverance, or we will drink the cup of the Great Whore which is the blood of the saints. The blood of Jesus cleanses us of our sins, but if we have no respect for this cup then we are “drinking damnation to ourselves.”

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:29).

If we have real love for Jesus and respect for the shedding of the blood of the Son of God, then we are receiving forgiveness. If we take the cross as some lite thing and do not dedicate our lives to service of the Lord, all the while claiming the blood of Jesus, we are drinking damnation to ourselves. We are drinking the cup of the Great Whore.

Bring this around to life.

The blood of Jesus brings us life. If we follow Jesus, we will honor his teachings. His teachings bring life to those who practice the commandments of Christ. The more we obey the commandments of God, the more we bring life to those around us. If we do not, we continue as murderers (killing others in flesh and in spirit by our words and actions). If we claim the blood of Jesus, we should hate all sin because Jesus died for our sin. We should also hate sin because it destroys ourselves and others.

If we continue in wanton sin, thereby killing others mentally, emotionally, and physically, then it is manifest that we are drinking the blood of the Lamb unworthily. We are using His blood for selfish reasons – like escaping eternal torture for example – instead of drinking His blood so that Jesus can bring life to us those around us.

For more read: Who Have We Killed Today?

Bread of Life

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:32-35).

13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,15 To call passengers who go right on their ways: 16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell (Proverbs 9:13-18).

Think of bread as understanding or knowledge. As the bread of life, Jesus provides nourishment to our spirit, giving us things needful for life including understanding that leads to a more righteous lifestyle. We can feed ourselves with the good things of God or we can feed ourselves with Satan’s bread. Satan’s bread often looks like something that is good, but once eaten it will destroy us.

I cannot help but think of pop culture Christian preaching and various forms of mold-riddled merchandise that carries the stolen name of Jesus. There are many kinds of “bread” out there that claim to nourish the body of Christ, but instead these things only lead to fatness instead of fullness. What do I mean by that?

A prime example is the teaching of the “sinners prayer” as sufficient for salvation. Recite this and you are “saved.” Any teaching that makes one feel as if they have everything they need to be saved without any encouragement towards growth in the things of God leaves people fat. They do not “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” They are not “poor in spirit” as one who realizes how depraved they are and how much more there is to pursue as a Christian.

Water of Life

38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all (Luke 17:26-27).

Jesus is the fountain of life. Specifically, the Holy Spirit is described as the fountain of life. Jesus gives us living waters through his Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that causes us to become fruitful in the things of God. Without the Spirit, we can do nothing (John 14-16). We fight sin and we fail. This is the power of God that helps us to overcome the powers of this world that destroy us, and almost always, cause us to destroy others.

The bible also mentions waters as a metaphor for Satan and the enemies of God. Water can also stand for the wrath of God towards those who are unfaithful or otherwise deny Jesus. This could be what we are seeing when Satan casts “water as a flood” after the woman in Revelation 12.  If we are watered by the Spirit of God, then we are well rooted in the things of God. When the “flood” comes, we will not be washed away.

Addition 2/20/19

I must have really lost focus in this section. I’m really astounded that I messed this up because this has been on my mind for a while. Good lesson here though. As we are able, we “study to show ourselves approved.” Man is faulty. We should seek Jesus above all, no matter what. I’m no lord over you or anyone else. I’m another servant striving in the mastery according to the promises of the gospel. Anyhow, the scripture I mentioned above for the evil waters was not the best choice. The scripture given about “as in the days of Noe” refers to the coming of the Lord, Jesus. Here is what I should have mentioned:

Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks and he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.

Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. (Isaiah 8:7-10).

Another obvious reference to waters as something from the enemy is the “beast that rises out of the sea.”

The waters of the Lord bring life and are compared to spring waters which are good for drinking. Waters of the enemy carry the character of the sea, which is not good for human consumption. The king of Assyria is a kind of antichrist prototype. The events we see concerning the Assyrian invasion could be a foreshadowing of the antichrist invasion, which will come as a flood. However, not a literal flood because God promised He would never again destroy by flood. This is symbolic, just as the waters of the Lord are symbolic.

In any case, if we are focused on Jesus and recipients of the grace of God, then we will not be washed away by any flood of the enemy, whatever form that might take. We should always remember that “God is with us.” Therefore, “who can be against us?”

Clothing of Righteousness

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints (Revelation 19:7-8).

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth (Revelation 17:4-5)

 If we drink the blood of Christ worthily: meaning we have great respect for the sacrifice of the Son and live for Jesus instead of ourselves, then we will grow in things that bring life. We will eat that which is good, feeding ourselves with the bread of Jesus. We will refuse knowledge that leads to sinfulness and deceit. We are given the Holy Spirit who gives is the ability to overcome sin in this present life, leading us to fruitfulness of the Spirit.

On the other hand, we can drink the blood of Christ unworthily: meaning we can claim salvation but have no respect to the kingdom of heaven and use the grace and forgiveness of Jesus as a cop-out for embracing sin. In so doing, we continue a life of self-destruction and destruction of others. There are many pastors and Christian merchandise out there to feed those who would drink the blood of Christ unworthily. Quite frankly, Western Christianity is full of it. It is full of decadence, abominations, and filth.

Those who are on the path towards becoming the Great Whore are prone to deception. They are prone to “the flood” of antichrist who will deceive the world – including many Christians — into worshiping him. How does this happen? If we do not take the faith seriously now and seek the truth, then we are already blinded by the deceitfulness of sin. Though the Great Whore has not yet filled her cup, she will. And “she” is Christian. We need to be aware of this and be as those who “come out of her” so that we do not “partake of her sin” and “receive her plagues.”

The Word of Life

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:34-37).

How do we drink the blood of the lamb, eat the bread of life, receive living waters, and become clothed in white robes of righteousness? All of this is given to us by grace through faith in Jesus. All of this comes to us by the Word.

Jesus is the Word of God. We are told that “the Word of God is sharper than any two-edge sword (Hebrews 4:12).” The Word of the Lord can kill or make alive. Consider all we have learned so far in this series.

The Word of God can bring us life, or it can bring us death. It depends on how we receive the Word. If the Word takes root in our hearts, then our own words will confess Jesus.

If we confess Jesus with our mouths, we are saved (Romans 10:12).

What does that mean? Does that mean we make a one-time, verbal commitment? Or, is there something more? Something on-going? If our words do not continue to confess Jesus by bringing life, then we are at risk of damnation. A one-time confession does not excuse a lifetime of death-bringing words that deny the teachings of Jesus.

If we are faithful to the Word, then we will be careful with our own words. Just as the Word of God can kill and make alive, so do ours. What we say to others matters. We should seek Jesus and strive to be as one whose mouth has “no guile.”

Is this easy? No, but as with all sin, if we continue in faith Jesus will save us. “His burden is easy and his yoke is light.” Any freedom from sin we receive is His work in us. He will cause us to have more control over our words and we will speak life more and more. This is something we should be earnestly seeking after.

There is No Other Name

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12).

Jesus is the only name given that brings salvation from sin and death. Not a single person can save themselves, and there is no man or woman, no matter how influential or seemingly powerful, that can save you. A real and meaningful relationship with Jesus is the only way.

Satan tries to mimic everything Jesus does. He has his own cup of blood, his own bread, and so on. He has his perversions of the gospel, his pastors, his prophets, his children. He will even come one day claiming to be God. He will be very deceptive, and many will believe him and worship him. However, this usurper cannot raise you from the dead. Even so, I think it is reasonable to assume that he will have some way of mimicking eternal life too, either through science or some other false promise. I wonder if this could be the “fornication” of the great whore.

In any case, whatever form the deception of antichrist takes, those who follow him will not live. They will receive the plagues contained within the vials of the wrath of God. They will die. Only the true Jesus Christ can make you alive.

How can we know the difference? How can we avoid so great a deception that will ensnare the whole world, even many who claim to be Christians? We seek Jesus first above all else. We forsake the world. We die to self. We trust Jesus to raise us up in newness of life. We seek the resurrection! We seek the gospel that brings us LIFE!

In Conclusion

I know there is a lot of redundancy in the article series, but the concepts are critically important for Christians.

If we have reverence for Jesus, His word will make us alive. We will die to self as we “take up the cross” and offer ourselves as “daily sacrifices” to God. We will live for Jesus and seek first things of the Kingdom of God. If we try to keep the commandments of God, Jesus will send the Holy Spirit. This is Jesus in us, giving us the power to overcome sin in the flesh so that we can bring forth fruits of the Spirit: fruits of life. This is a present-day death and resurrection according to the gospel of the kingdom of heaven that must first be “within you.” If we are faithful and fruitful, we have the promise of the first resurrection. We will appear before God clean and white, and we will live with Jesus Christ and serve him in his kingdom for eternity.

If we have no reverence for Jesus and what he promises through the true gospel, we can readily eat bread of Satan (bad Christian teachings and other influences) that make us feel safe in our foolishness. We will not seek to grow in the things of God because we are deceived into thinking we are already “saved” just because we said a prayer once. We will not receive the Holy Spirit, and we will be limited in our fruitfulness. We might not be fruitful at all. We might be divided from among the faithful when the flood comes with the ultimate deception because we did not exercise ourselves in the truth now. These experience the resurrection of damnation. They are raised, judged according to their works and not grace, are cast into the lake of fire and destroyed. This is the second death.

The Bible is filled with warnings against the kind of Christianity we commonly see in the West. Western Christianity more resembles the Great Whore than the Bride — at least among pop culture. There are many who are very sincere within various Christian denominations, and the sincerity of others is for Jesus to judge, but the Day of the Lord will reveal it as the sifting and dividing occurs. 

Every Christian wants to be an “olive tree” and “lampstand aka candlestick” that is faithfully testifying to the gospel of Jesus during the last days, if we are alive during that time. This is a gospel that brings the resurrection – a gospel that brings life both presently and eternally.

We need to stand firm in the truth of the gospel and receive the Holy Spirit so we can be a well-rooted and fruitful “olive tree” that is prepared in righteousness and fills our “candlesticks” (churches) with the things of Light Life. Otherwise, we will be as a tree that is swept away by “the flood” and our candlesticks (churches) are “removed of its place” as they fully become the Great Whore.

If we are not faithful now and seek the truth, we are at great risk of being “taken” “washed away” or “removed” by deception of the worst kind. We will be separated as foolish virgins, slothful servants, and so forth. Many are already deceived, and they are ripe for the coming of that final deception. All our lies and murders are paving the way for antichrist. Only truth and life will pave the way for the True King of Kings

If you have something you’d like to say, leave a reply or send an email to kindlingtruth@hushmail.com. If you want future posts by email (check online for updates/revisions), then you can subscribe.

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Posted in Bible Studies, Christian Doctrine, 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