The hope of all mankind and the promise to the
Christian is the resurrection from the dead. There are references to
four resurrections in the Bible: 1) the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
the firstborn from the dead and the pioneer of our salvation; 2) the
resurrection of the saints at the return of Christ when the true
believers shall become spirit-composed members of God's family; 3) the
resurrection back to physical life of all who have ever died without
having understood God's way, for their first opportunity for salvation;
4) the resurrection of all those who have refused to repent and have
rejected God's way, to be consumed in the lake of fire (called the
The resurrection from the dead is the only real hope
of man, whether he believes it or even knows about it. It gives him
final, ultimate victory over death which is the common enemy of every
human being (1 Corinthians 15:26). Paul referred to the "hope of eternal life
which God, who never lies, promised ages ago" (Titus 1:2). When Paul was
brought before Felix, he admitted that "according to the way, which they
call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers. believing everything laid
down by the law or written in the prophets, having a hope in God
which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection
of both the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:14-15).
The resurrection was the central theme of the
apostles' message which they preached powerfully. It was often
controversial. Paul was called a "babbler" by certain Greek philosophers
"because he preached Jesus and the resurrection" (Acts 17:18); the
resurrection from the dead was subjected to ridicule by some, and it
intrigued others. "Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead,
some mocked; but others said, We will hear you again about this" (Acts
And hear again they shall; not only those ancient
Greeks, but every man, woman and child who ever drew breath on this
earth. None who have ever died-in whatever place at whatever time-are
forgotten by God. Numerous scriptures make plain that a resurrection
from the dead is an integral part of God's plan for all mankind (Job
19:25-27; John. 5:21-29; John. 11:23-25, etc.).
Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected from
physical death to eternal life. He was in fact "designated Son of God in
power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the
dead" (Romans 1:4). His resurrection is extremely important to the
Christian because it proves the viability of God's plan. We have "a
living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and
to an inheritance which is imperishable" (1
Peter 1:3); but "if Christ
has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in
vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Christ's resurrection demonstrates positively that
God can and shall resurrect a person who has God's Spirit dwelling
within him. It is the faith and belief that God shall resurrect the
Christian as Christ was resurrected that encourages one to continue
along the path of salvation. "For if we have been united with Him in a
death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection
like His" (Romans 6:5).
Jesus Christ is called the "firstfruits" of the dead,
because He was the first of many who shall follow Him in the
resurrection, but "each in his own order."
1 Corinthians 15:20-26
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the
dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as
by man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of
the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be
made alive, but each in his own order: Christ the first fruits;
then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the
end, when He delivers the Kingdom to God the Father after
destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must
reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last
enemy to be destroyed is death."
The scriptures record three resurrections for three
different classifications of persons. The first is prophesied to occur
at the return of Jesus Christ. A comparison of the pertinent verses
indicates that this first resurrection shall include all saints that
have lived and died from Adam's time until Christ's second coming,
including those still alive when He comes (although technically, they
shall be "changed" rather than resurrected-1
Corinthians 15:51). This
resurrection is from the nothingness of physical death to the incredible
majesty of spiritual life as members of God's family. "Blessed and holy
is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death
has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ. and they
shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).
Another resurrection is prophesied for the multiple
billions of human beings who have lived and died never having had a
chance for salvation. This resurrection is from physical death to a
second physical life during which a person shall be given God's Spirit
and the knowledge of salvation. The truth of God shall be opened to
their understanding at this time and their lives shall be lived
according to the biblical precepts. Ezekiel 37:1-14 paints a
breathtaking picture of this resurrection to physical life, "Behold, I
will open your graves, and raise you from your graves" (verse 12).
Though only Israel is discussed, this is because it shall be the
example-the nation that shall show how God's plan works; thus, all
nations and peoples of the earth are included in Ezekiel 37 by
implication. This is confirmed in Revelation 20:11-12:
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who
sat upon it; from His presence earth and sky fled away, and no
place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small,
standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another
book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were
judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done."
The scriptures record one final resurrection. It is
mentioned in various passages (e.g. Daniel 12: 2-3; John. 5:21-29; etc.)
but is explained most precisely in Revelation 20:14-15. Here John
explains that the unrepentant-those who have had a chance for salvation
but have adamantly rejected it-shall be resurrected to physical life and
cast into the lake of fire where they shall be consumed. The death they
suffer is called in Revelation 20 "the second death" (v. 14), which
occurs only for those whose names are not found written in the book of
life-that is, those who have not obtained salvation (v. 15). This final
resurrection is in a sense a mercy killing for those to whom eternal
life in their state of rebellion would eventually mean extreme agony and
The first resurrection of saints to eternal life and
the subsequent resurrection of the innumerable multitudes to physical
life will be moments of unimaginable emotion when loved ones who thought
they were separated forever-parents and children, husbands and wives,
brothers and sisters, friends and relatives-shall be suddenly reunited.
To all of them it will be as though no time had passed, like awakening
in the morning after a solid night's sleep without dreams; it will be
the next instant of their consciousness from the instant of their death
no matter how they might have died or how long ago it might have been.
Immediately it is to be expected that numerous
questions about these awesome events will be raised. Paul asked and
answered the most obvious one himself. "But some one will ask, How are
the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" (1
He then explains that, just as different animals have different types of
bodies, so the body of the resurrection is different from all others. It
is celestial, imperishable, glorious and spiritual.
"So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is
sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in
dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in
power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If
there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is
written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became
a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the
physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a
man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so
are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so are those
who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,
we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this,
brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does
the perishable inherit the imperishable. Lo! I tell you a mystery: We
shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For
this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal
nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the
imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to
pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O
death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of
death is sin, and, the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1
READ THESE SCRIPTURES FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE:
1 Corinthians 15:26 - Death shall be
Titus 1:2 - God promises eternal
Acts 24:14-15 - There shall be a
resurrection of the dead.
Acts 17:18 - The Resurrection was a
controversial subject in Paul's day.
Job 19:25-27; John 5:21-29, 11:23-25
- The resurrection is an integral part of the plan of God.
Romans 1:4 - Jesus designated Son of
God in power according to the spirit of Holiness by His resurrection.
1 Peter 1:3 - We are begotten
because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:14 - If Christ had
not been resurrected our faith would be in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:20-26 - Jesus
Christ is the first of many firstfruits.
1 Corinthians 15:51 - Firstfruits
alive at Christ's return will be changed to spirit.
Ezekiel 37:1-14 - Valley of the Dry
Bones (picturing the 2nd Resurrection).
Revelation 20:11-12 - White Throne
Daniel 12:2-3; John 5:21-29; Revelation
20:14-15 - Third Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:42-57 - Description
of the resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:57
- But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
are references to ____ [how many?] resurrections in the Bible.
2] The resurrection from the dead is the only real hope of man, whether
he believes it or even knows about it. True or False?
3] God cannot tell a lie? True or False?
4] In Paul's day the idea of the resurrection was generally accepted by
most everyone. True or False?
5] The resurrection of the dead is for...
b) the firstfruits
c) "the saved"
d) all of mankind
6] Jesus Christ is in His present position because of the resurrection.
True or False?
7] We are offered the Salvation Process by virtue of the resurrection of
Jesus Christ. True or False?
8] According to 1 Corinthians 15:14, if Jesus had not been raised, then
the preaching of the church is ____ and our faith is ____. [what?]
9] Romans 6:5 says if we have been united with Him (Jesus) in a death
like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a ___________ like
10] Which is true? Jesus Christ:
a) Son of God by virtue of the resurrection
b) firstfruit of the dead
c) by whom came the resurrection
d) will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
e) all are true
11] How many resurrections are there for mankind?
12] The first resurrection is for all the people (biblically referred to
as "saints") between Adam and the return of Christ who had the
Holy Spirit. True or False?
13] The second resurrection is for the multiple billions of humans
beings who lived and died but never had an opportunity for salvation.
True or False?
14] These people raised in the second resurrection will be raised in new
physical bodies. True or False?
15] Those brought up in the second resurrection will then enter the
salvation process and given God's Holy Spirit. True or False?
16] The third resurrection is for those who had their opportunity for
salvation but who have adamantly rejected it. True or False?
17] Those brought up on the third resurrection get a second opportunity
at salvation. True or False?
18] Those in the 3rd resurrection are brought up in physical bodies and
mercifully put into the lake of fire and die instantly. True or
19] For the dead, death last (seems like) only a second of time,
regardless of how long they have been dead. True or False?
20] Which of the following are descriptions of a resurrection to a
a) what was perishable becomes imperishable
b) what was in dishonor is raised in glory
c) what was in weakness is raised in power
d) what was mortal is raised immortal
e) what had earthly image is raised in heavenly image
f) all of the above