RESURRECTION TIMELINE AND OUR JUDGMENT
Paul says there is an order, a timeline associated with resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:23 (NKJV)
23 But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
In God”s great plan Paul reveals there will be orderly steps for resurrection. And each step has an appointed time. The first step has already taken place as Christ was the first fruits since He is resurrected. And we know Christ is the first fruits since no man before Him has been resurrected. It was not even possible. This step has taken place already and that takes us to the second step. It is for “those who are Christ’s.” Those are the ones who are believing in Christ and have since the day of His resurrection. Elsewhere we know those who are dead, including the Old Testament saints will be resurrected first after Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NKJV)
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
At the end of verse 23 is says, “at His Coming.” which can lead to misunderstanding of what Paul is saying. Remember, when we see in the New Testament references about the “coming of the Lord” or “Christ’s coming,” it is referring to the resurrection of the church. This is what we see in verse 23. It is the moment when Christ returns for His Bride, us, the Church. Don’t confuse this with the second coming of Christ, a time when Christ returns to reign on Earth in His Kingdom..
1 Corinthians 15:24 (NKJV)
24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
In the original Greek the word “come” doesn’t appear in verse 24 when Paul says “then comes the end.” The phrase as translated in the Greek is “then the end.”
In Revelation 20 we are told there are two periods of resurrection. God’s plan has always been for First and Second Resurrections. As Paul said earlier the First resurrection began with Christ being resurrected Himself and in order it will move to the Church (those who are Christ’s).
Then it follows with hose saints who live during the Great Tribulation and those who are born in the Millennial Kingdom. We can see all these saints are receiving their new bodies at different points in time, but together they are all included in the First Resurrection according to scripture.
Revelation 20:4 (NKJV)
The Saints Reign with Christ 1,000 Years
4 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.
These are the saints who suffered through Tribulation and many were martyred for their faith. When they died, they entered Heaven as souls only, without new bodies yet.
John in verse 4 of Revelation 20 says, they “lived” meaning these souls “came to life.” This is a description of resurrection. And with obtaining their eternal bodies they were able to reign with Christ in the Kingdom for the 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:5 (NKJV)
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
By process of elimination, the “rest of the dead” can only refer to
In The Kingdom All groups of believers have already been resurrected
• OT Saints
• Church saints
• Saints who were martyred in Tribulation
• Believing Jews alive at the end of Tribulation
John tells us that there is a first resurrection, but the rest of humanity won’t be resurrected until after the thousand years of the kingdom. This first resurrection is the resurrection unto eternal life. It begins with Christ and comes to conclusion with those who are resurrected during the 1,000-year kingdom.
As we are told in Revelation 20:5, the “rest” of the dead didn’t receive new bodies until
after the 1,000 years are complete. This is referring to the Second Resurrection. It is at the end of the Kingdom, “then the end,” Paul is addressing in verse 24 of 1 Corinthians 15. We are told after a 1,000 years the Kingdom on Earth will come to an end. And what follows afterwards is the second resurrection. In Revelation it says this resurrection is specifically for all unbelievers and who are waiting in Hades for their judgment.
Revelation 20:11-12 (NKJV)
The Great White Throne Judgment
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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, standing before God,and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
This is referencing the Great White Throne Judgment, when unbelievers are
finally judged. And according to their deeds will be condemned and thrown into the Lake of Fire. Where they will live eternally because of their non-repentance and unbelief in Christ. They never received the Messiah for atonement of their sinful deeds. Here we learn that all of mankind is eventually resurrected, not just the believers. For the believer, their reward is to be resurrected into a new, sinless body that has been promised to enjoy eternal life with God in peace. However, for the unbelievers, they were resurrected into eternal judgment because in their new bodies the sinful nature inherited from Adam still existed. They were not born again and were incapable of escaping their fate of a sinful life.
Verse 24 ends the 1,000 year reign of the Kingdom with Christ handing all
authority back to the Father. Once the Father has abolished all power and authority in
His Creation apart from His own power and authority. What an amazing insight into the future prophetic plan for God’s creation. With Christ’s second coming to earth, God sets up a Kingdom to rule over all mankind on earth. Christ is reigning over a world during this time that still exists in sin. However, the resurrected saints will not have sin. But there will be others in the Kingdom who still have sin. Thus making it necessary for Christ’s perfect judgment and out ruling with him. Revelation 20:4 tells us we are ruling with Jesus over this world during the time of the Kingdom. But Christ’s ruling does have a purpose according to scripture. It is to allow Christ to put all His enemies under His authority.
1 Corinthians 15:25-28 (NKJV)
25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For
“He has put all things under His feet.”
But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Know the final and greatest enemy of God is death itself, and the source of death, is Satan. So Christ’s rule in the Kingdom until the final enemy is conquered. So it is at the end of Christ’s rule in the Kingdom that Satan and death are put away. In accomplishing this the purpose of the Kingdom has been fulfilled and authority is handed back to the Father. The use of pronouns can cause a bit of misunderstanding of this passage initially. But replacing them with proper nouns will make it easier to read and understand.
1 Corinthians 15:27
27 For “the Father HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER CHRIST’S FEET. But when the Spirit says “all things are put in subjection,” it is evident that the Father is excepted who put all things in subjection to Christ..
Therefore, it is evident that the Father Himself is not to be subjected to Christ’s rule. And once the final enemy is conquered, the Son obediently returns all authority back to the Father. Which at that point the Son returns, through obedience, subjects Himself to the Father. And Paul says God returns to being “all in all.” It is unclear what this moment actually means for the Godhead. A simple explanation is the Godhead returns to a singular expression. It does not suggest the Three Persons of the Godhead stop existing, since they have always existed. But it is suited more realistically they no longer express themselves into Creation in Three Persons separated one from another. Instead, now the Godhead begins to express Itself as One, in the same manner in the way God existed at the beginning of Creation when the Godhead said LET US make man in Our image.
So to sum this up, Christ came to earth as a man to die and be resurrected and
rule so that as a man, He could conquer all the enemies of God in Creation. And once He completes this mission, His purpose to exist in the form of man is met. And then He will return to the Oneness with the Father that He has enjoyed since before the beginning. Therefore, resurrection is a key step along that path of redemption. For it proved His claims to deity, and it opened the door for our own rebirth into new sinless living. That new spiritual birth and physical resurrection sets us on a course of eternal fellowship and reigning with Christ. And once Christ has ruled to the extinction of all God’s enemies, then the next phase of eternity will begin. A glorious endless age of living with and the enjoyment of the fullness of God in the new heavens and earth.
And it all began with a resurrection. The risen Lord Who promises we will share in His future by faith in His promises. Our own promise of resurrection begins with our confession of faith in Christ as Lord. How can we call ourselves a Christian and live in the hope of new life without a belief in the literal, physical resurrection of the dead body? As Paul says in Romans 8
Romans 8:11 (NKJV)
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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