Paul called "the hope of Israel. But: 2. The New Testament must, of course, furnish the larger proof.
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Our Lord perpetually speaks of the resurrection of the good and of the evil as of separate things. He tells John of "the resurrection of life" and of "the resurrection of judgment;" and in ver. Then cf. John , 40 , "I will raise him up at the last day. But why, if every one is to be raised up at the last day - if that be the general resurrection, why is there this mark of distinction for "him" if there be none? We conclude there is a distinction. Another and a more glorious resurrection awaits "him" than awaits others. Then Luke the Lord speaks of "the resurrection of the just. He teaches us that there is.
Then 1 Corinthians , where the order of the resurrection is given - "every man in his own order: Christ See, too, in Matthew The gathering together of the elect is told of, and then afterwards - we know not how long - the judgment of the heathen, the nations, of which we are told at the close of Matthew See, too, Philippians Now, "the resurrection from the dead" which St. Paul there speaks of as "the prize of his high calling," and after which he strove, if "by any means he might attain unto it" - for as yet he had not attained to it, and therefore he still pressed, as an eager racer, towards the goal - this resurrection could not be the general one, for he knew that he would rise again; nor either does it mean simply being saved, for he knew that he was saved already.
King James Version (KJV)
It must mean, therefore, a special resurrection - this of which our text tells; a prize - the prize, indeed. And we read of "a better resurrection" after which the saints of old strove. And Christians are called "firstfruits," and "the Church of the Firstborn" - expressions which denote priority and privilege such as the first resurrection declares.
We hold it, therefore, to be no vain and unauthorized imagination which believes that in these remarkable verses St. John does teach what his words so evidently seem to affirm. John's purpose , or rather the Holy Spirit's purpose through him, was by this glorious revelation to do in an especial manner that which was the great design of the whole book - to comfort, strengthen, and inspire with holy courage the persecuted Church.
And we can hardly imagine that it failed to do this. The imagery is taken from facts within their own experience - the constitution of the empire, in which the varied kings who ruled over the provinces each contributed to the power and glory of the whole; and the priestly service in the temple with which they had long been familiar. The book is full of Jewish imagery throughout. The vision, therefore, assured to them that the lot of their faithful brethren the martyrs, and all of like mind with them, should speedily and wondrously be changed.
Poor, persecuted, down trodden, the offscouring of all things now, they should be as kings; their dungeons they should exchange for thrones; their dreadful death for life - life eternal, life with Christ. Vast capacity for ministering to the glory of the reign of Christ should be theirs, for they should be kings under him, their Lord. Constant access to his presence and the ministry of intercession for their brethren - these, too, should be theirs, for they were also to be his priests.
So would they feel and speak and act, and this was what was intended. And for ourselves - for the vision is for all Christ's faithful ones as well as for the martyrs - what should be the influence of this doctrine of the first resurrection upon us? Surely we should "have respect unto the recompense of the reward. Is it fitting, some may ask, that Christ's servants should serve him with their eyes on the reward? Was it fitting that any reward which Christ promised to bestow should be without appreciation?
First published in Tabletalk Magazine , an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.
The Truth About the First Resurrection
Dennis E. Johnson is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California. The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries is to proclaim the holiness of God in all its fullness to as many people as possible. Your gift enables our worldwide outreach. Donate Now.
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Sproul Sinclair Ferguson W. A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone. Follow Question. What is the first resurrection? What is the second resurrection? Answers 7 Discuss.
The First Resurrection in Revelation 20
Christ and the many saints that were resurrected after His resurrection Matthew 53; 1Cor. Afterward they that are Christ's at His coming known as "Church saints" 1Cor. Everyone in Christ, dead or alive, will be translated at this time. Not one person will be left on earth who is in Christ 1Th. See these scriptures. The great multitude of "tribulation saints" who are saved after the rapture of His Church point 2 above and during the whole of Daniel's 70th week Rev. The first martyrs of this period are told to rest until the rest of them are killed Rev.
This proves their rapture in time for the marriage supper Rev. Six reasons for their beheading: 1. For the witness testimony of Jesus 2. For the Word of God 3. For not worshiping the beast 4. For not worshiping his image 5. For not taking his mark upon their foreheads 6. For not taking his mark in their hands These tribulation saints not church saints will be resurrected and reigned with Christ 1, years.
The rapture of the two witnesses Elijah and Enoch , ending the first resurrection which began with the resurrection of Christ Rev. Apart from the above resurrected saints, there are last generation natural people who will live from the future tribulation period through the Millennium but not beheaded or killed and then on into the New Earth forever-- if they do not commit sin or rebel with Satan at the end of the Millennium Rev. Resurrected people above points 1 thorough 5 who have part in the first resurrection will be the eternal rulers of the eternal generations of natural people Rev.
The resurrected people will not marry or give in marriage Mt. This is the resurrection of all the wicked from Adam to the end of the Millennium. It will take place after the Millennium and will also include those wicked who die during the Millennium Rev. They will be raised with immortal bodies to be tormented in hell forever Mt. The theory that only the righteous will be raised to immortality is false, not being founded on one scripture.
The method of the resurrection of the just and unjust is plainly taught and illustrated by a grain of wheat or any other grain. Both the saved and unsaved will be immortal as is plainly taught in all Scripture.
The wicked bodies will exist in conscious torment forever Lk. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries Daniel summarizes the two very different fates facing mankind: "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contem Philip Davies The first resurrection is spiritual, the second resurrection is physical. The first resurrection is sometimes called being born again.
It is a coming to life spiritually.