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Distinguishing Between The Various Resurrections Revealed In The Bible

This article is a discussion of the resurrections described in the Bible.  Resurrections are to be distinguished from those where the person is resuscitated in the same mortal body and apparently dies again, such as Lazarus (John 11:1-44) or the son of Zarephath's widow (1 Kings 17:17-24).

Beginning with Christ there are many resurrections, but only two types of resurrection - the "first" (good) and "second" (bad).  Revelation 20:4-6 and Daniel 12:2 provide for us the distinction.

The "first" resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous (blood bought, saved by grace through faith) and happens in the following order:

1. Christ's resurrection

2. The resurrection of some Old Testament saints shortly after Christ's resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53).  Many argue that what is described in Matthew 27 is only a select few Old Testament figures and the rest will be resurrected after the tribulation along with the tribulation saints (Daniel 12:2, Revelation 20:4).  This resurrection may be a fulfillment of the prefigured "wave offering" of the Feast of First Fruits.

3. Possibly some of those who perished in Noah's flood who Jesus preached to in Hades between His death and resurrection (1 Peter 3:18-19, Ephesians 4:8-9).  Ephesians describes the "captives" going with Jesus to Heaven in His ascension.  The ancient doctrine, the Harrowing of Hades, is touched on briefly in the Apostles' Creed.

4. The resurrection and rapture of the Church (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

5. The resurrection and gathering of tribulation saints (Revelation 7:9-14, Revelation 20:4-6, Matthew 24:29-31) and likely the majority of Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2).

The "second" resurrection is the resurrection of the wicked (rejected God's grace, judged by works) and only consists of those raised at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:4-6, 20:11-15).

One thing left to inference is what happens to those who are born and come to faith during the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Do they just simply live forever without ever dying?  Do they die and then undergo a resurrection into immortal bodies at some point?  These are questions we don't yet have the answers to, but we defer to God's good judgment.

We know there will be a final, wicked group of people at the end of the Millennium who yield to Satan's influence (Revelation 20:7-9), so there must be some ability for mortals to accept or reject Christ during His 1,000 year reign.

Further analysis of this topic can be found here, along with a discussion of what happens to believers during Christ's millennial reign.

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  1. There is no Pre trib. resurrection written if one insists on believing in some so called rapture/ resurrection. Then be aware it is simply another term for the time of reaping harvest ..the field is the world the crop is man . Resurrection is about the harvest of the crop from the field. The order of any harvest ..is the first fruits ... the good crop gathered to the barn ... The weeds chaff burned destroyed. And that the very order scripture gives one if you follow it ... First off there is no harvest/resurrection before Christ (farmer) returns. Matt. 24:29 he gathers elect.. Time line moves to Rev 14 We see the lamb/Christ with the 144,000 Elect he just gathered up. they are the first fruits.. He ready to reap harvest the rest of the crop (Rev.14:14-16)
    “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Its at this time we meet him in the air not before.
    Now the wicked the weeds, the chaff, the bad vine are reaped into Gods wrath to come in the form of the last 7 bowls of his wrath. No one going into his wrath survives (rev 19:21(These are those who are the rest of dead that
    5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
    this is their second chance ... Christ is ruling as King of Kings at this time they will know exactly who he is if they choose to follow Satan now ..the lake of fire which is the second death awaits them.

  2. May I suggest the phrase "brought back to life" when referring to people returning from the dead like Lazarus or Paul. "Immortal resurrection" is kind of redundant because all resurrections are unto immortality ;) just my 2 cents

  3. Do they just simply live forever without ever dying? Do they die and then undergo a resurrection into immortal bodies at some point? These are questions we don't yet have the answers to, but we defer to God's good judgment.

    Based on Isaiah 65:20 it looks like that they will die but not before at least reach 100 years. What do you think?



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