April 19, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Jesus, being resurrected, was the first installment of The Resurrection Of The Righteous! What do I mean? We, of the pre-Tribulation Rapture eschatological (meaning end times) theological position, believe The Resurrection Of The Righteous occurs at the time of the Rapture, just before the start of the seven-year final Tribulation period. It is referred to in Revelation 20:6:
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.
But there are three installments to The Resurrection Of The Righteous! Here they are in some detail:
• The first is described in I Corinthians 15:20 through 22:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of
those who have fallen asleep [died]. For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ
the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Firstfruits refers to the offering described in Leviticus 23:10 through 21. The Israelites were to present the first of their produce, flock, and bread to the LORD – in anticipation of a great harvest to follow! So Jesus is the firstfruits of The Resurrection Of The Righteous! And there will be a great resurrection harvest of people made righteous by His sacrifice on the cross! But just as the main harvest of the Israelites was after the firstfruits offering, so the main part of The Resurrection Of The Righteous follows the Lord’s resurrection! And it really doesn’t matter if the time between the first two parts of the resurrection is two thousand years or more, for it tells us in II Peter 3:8, “…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
• The second part of The Resurrection Of The Righteous Paul writes about in I Corinthians 15:51 through 54:
…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
incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on
incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So then, when
this [happens]…then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written;
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
This refers to the Rapture! (See I Thessalonians 4:13-17). And this is the second part – the main part – of The Resurrection Of The Righteous! It is when all those who have died truly believing in Jesus shall be resurrected! This event signifies the end of the Church age (which started at Pentecost – see Acts 2:1-4), and is the final happening before the seven-year Tribulation starts.
• The third installment of The Resurrection Of The Righteous is found in Revelation 20:4 and 5:
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to
them [those who are with Jesus when He returns from heaven – see Rev-
elation 19:14]. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and 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….This is the first resurrection.
This part of The Resurrection Of The Righteous is clearly at the time of Jesus’ second coming! It is the resurrection of the Tribulation saints – those who have been martyred during the time of the antichrist because they remained faithful to the Lord. And this occurs seven years after the Rapture! Yet in verse 5 it is still called the first resurrection!
There is some disagreement as to whether the Old Testament saints are resurrected at the Rapture, or if it will happen at the end of the Tribulation. You see, the last seven year period, called the Tribulation, is the seventieth period of seven years prophesied in Daniel 9:24 through 27. According to verse 24, all seventy have to do with the Jews – a Jewish time! For it says, “Seventy weeks [of years] are determined for your people and for your holy city….” Gabriel is speaking to Daniel, who is Jewish! And the angel emphasizes your people and your holy city! So the last seven years is just as much a Jewish time as are the first sixty-nine – most of which is in the Old Testament! Daniel 9:25 sets the parameters of the first sixty nine sevens of years: “…from the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem [see Nehemiah 2:4-8] until Messiah the Prince [see Matthew 21:1-10]….” As we saw in the third installment, it is at the end of the Tribulation that the Tribulation saints are raised! If the seventieth-week saints are raised then, it may be the first sixty nine-week saints are raised at the same time!
So the first resurrection – The Resurrection Of The Righteous – is in three parts. There is a second resurrection, and it is described in Revelation 20:5: “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.” These dead are resurrected only to face the great white throne judgment – then to be cast into eternal hell! (See Revelation 20:11-15).
No wonder it says in Revelation 20:6: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death [hell] has no power….” Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you will be part of The Resurrection Of The Righteous!