The first resurrection is the raising of all believers. It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of the righteous”:
“And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:14)
and the “resurrection of life”:
Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29).
The first resurrection takes place in various stages.
Jesus Christ Himself (the “first fruits”), paved the way for the resurrection of all who believe in Him:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
There was a resurrection of the Jerusalem saints which should be included in our consideration of the first resurrection:
The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52-53)
This first resurrection includes those who return to life at the Rapture (the “dead in Christ” and believers alive at the Rapture):
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
This first resurrection also includes the resurrected Christian martyrs from the Tribulation period:
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!
All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.
Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
Then he told me:
These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They washed their robes and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and they serve Him day and night in His sanctuary.
The One seated on the throne will shelter them:
They will no longer hunger;
they will no longer thirst;
the sun will no longer strike them,
nor will any heat.
For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne
will shepherd them;
He will guide them to springs of living waters,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:9-17)
Those involved in the first resurrection will already be raised to life prior to the 1,000-year reign of Christ called the millennium:
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. To whom does this refer to?
The Revelation of Jesus Christ takes a turn when John is taken up to Heaven, as outlined in Revelation 4. This visit starts with an open door and a voice like a trumpet, and then immediately John is before the Throne Room of Heaven. This is a preview of our blessed Rapture!
After this I looked, and there in heaven was an open door. The first voice that I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
Immediately I was in the Spirit, and a throne was set there in heaven. One was seated on the throne, and the One seated looked like jasper and carnelian stone. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne. Around that throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones sat 24 elders dressed in white clothes, with gold crowns on their heads. Flashes of lightning and rumblings of thunder came from the throne. Seven fiery torches were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also before the throne. (Revelation 4:1-6)
Notice the 24 elders are:
* Wearing crowns
* Seated on thrones (having authority)
* Dressed in white
The promises to “the victor” in the 2 chapters previous to this one, apply to all of us who have been baptized, covered by His blood, and sealed by His Spirit:
Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
But hold on to what you have until I come. The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations — and he will shepherd them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like pottery—just as I have received this from My Father. (Revelation 2:25-27)
In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:5)
I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. (Revelation 3:8)
Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. (Revelation 3:10-11)
Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
The 24 elders represent all of us, the entire Body of Christ – every Old and New Testament believer:
When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slaughtered,
and You redeemed people
for God by Your blood
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.(Revelation 5:8-10)
As Christians, we sometimes become impatient with the Lord’s timing. We wonder when He is going to take us from this world. So, what does the Bible say about the timing of the End Times and the Rapture?
Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
What is the Lord telling us, through Peter? The Millennial day theory is a belief in Christian eschatology in which the Second Coming of Christ will occur 6,000 years after the creation of mankind, followed by 1,000 years of peace and harmony. The Sabbath Millennium is believed to be synonymous with the Millennial Reign of Christ that is found in Revelation 20.
The common belief and teaching was that a millennial reign would come after a literal six thousand year reign of Man. The scripture in Revelation is clear on the thousand years.
Biblical history is best understood as a series of dispensations and covenants.
A dispensation can be defined as the particular means God uses to deal with man and creation during a given period in redemptive history. The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. A Biblical covenant is an agreement between God and Man, to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities.
Viewed together, over a timeline of 7,000 years, the dispensations and covenants can give us a grand view of the Lord’s plan.
The seventh and final dispensation brings about the culmination of life on Earth and the closest thing yet to how God really wanted to live with us on this planet. As its name suggests, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be the true peace covenant, and will last for 1,000 years.
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set My sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people. When My sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahweh, sanctify Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:26-28)
As Christians, we are heirs with Christ:
All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17)
When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)
The Bible uses our relationship as the Church with Jesus Christ as His “body” and His “bride”. These are symbolic designations for something so wonderful and beyond our comprehension that we can’t fully understand it at this time.
But, as a redeemed Christian, know that:
- You are forgiven of all sin (Ephesians 1:7)
- You are predestined, called, justified and glorified (Romans 8:30)
- You are being transformed into Christ-likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18)
- You are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14)
- You are holy (Hebrews 10:10)
- Your spirit is already seated with Christ in Heaven (Ephesians 2:6-10, Colossians 3:3)
Paul shows that the Rapture will be of the Body:
God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? …But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him… Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? (1 Corinthians 6:14, 15, 17, 19)
With the Resurrection, the Lord begins to fulfill His promise to make all things new…
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
What “new” is included in His promise?
Our salvation as a new creation:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Our new spiritual bodies:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Corinthians 15:49)
New heavens and a new earth:
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)
And so, even with all the troubles we are experiencing with the trauma of these End Times, we can look forward to our Rapture into a new, eternal life as the Body in the Lord’s kingdom! We will rule the Universe with Christ!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”