The doctrine of the
resurrection electrified the early church. In the New Testament
there are few doctrines on which more stress is laid, yet there
are few doctrines in the churches today which are treated with
more neglect. Why? Most traditional creeds in the Christian
churches refer to the "resurrection of the body"
same body we have in this life. Have you ever pondered what that
One Evangelical minister
attempted to explain the "resurrection of the body." He
said, that it will consist of a regathering and revivifying of all
the bones, sinews, flesh, skin, etc., that ever constituted a
human body, regardless of how these parts had been disposed
matter if parts had been destroyed by fire or accident or eaten by
fishes or beasts of prey; or if they had rotted in the ground and
been absorbed as nutrients into various fruits, vegetables, grass,
etc., and thus been over and over again transformed. He pictured
the air filled with hands, arms, feet, fingers, bones, skins,
sinews, etc., of the billions who have lived and died, seeking the
other parts of their bodies; and that then the souls would come
from heaven and hell and be imprisoned in those resurrected
How absurd! And yet, how
else could one explain the "resurrection of the same body? No
wonder very little mention is made of the resurrection in today's
pulpit. Hear the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians
But some man will say,
How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? And
that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that
shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of
some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath
pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
The most complete
discussion of the resurrection is given in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
where Paul unfolds the beautiful details of this doctrine:
20 But now is Christ
risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the
resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order:
Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up
the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down
all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till
he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that
shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:20-26).
Verse 20 shows Jesus was
the first to be raised from the dead. But there would be
afterfruits—all mankind. Verses 21 and 22 identify the
afterfruits. Just as all mankind died because of Adam's sin, so
all will be made alive because of Jesus' death—as a "ransom
for all" (1 Tim. 3:6).
Verse 23 shows that "all" mankind, for whom Jesus
died, will be divided into two groups—Christ the firstfruits,
followed by "they that are Christ's at his parousia"
(Greek for presence). Christ the firstfruits refers to the Body of
Christ, his Church. Jesus was the firstfruits from the dead. But
the Body of Christ will be the firstfruits of the world for whom
Jesus died. They are called the "firstborn" in Hebrews
12:23. These Christians are raised at Christ's return (1 Thess.
Christ will be present
for a thousand years (2 Peter 3:7-12). "They that are
Christ's at his presence" in 1 Corinthians 15:23 clearly
shows the afterfruits or remainder of mankind will be raised
during Christ's thousand-year kingdom (Rev. 20:1-6). This is
confirmed by verses 24-27 of 1 Corinthians 15 which show that the
resurrection work of verse 23 occurs during the Kingdom of Christ.
Thus, there are two
resurrections: first the church and second the remainder of
mankind. No wonder Paul spoke of the "resurrection of the
just and the unjust" in Acts 24:15. And this is just what
Jesus tells us in John 5:28, 29.
Marvel not at this, for
the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall
hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good
to a resurrection of life and they that have done evil
unto the resurrection of judgment (RSV).
Note, all will be raised
from the dead—first, "they that have done good." This
refers to the true Church. During Christ's return they will be
raised to spiritual life and united with their heavenly Lord. Then
will follow the resurrection of the "evil class," all
the remainder of men. They will come forth to a "resurrection
of judgment." The Greek word in the text is krisis
and it actually denotes "a crucial testing time." This
Greek word is the source of our English word "crisis."
And it has the same meaning. A doctor might say, "The patient
will reach his crisis tomorrow morning." This does not mean
that the patient will die tomorrow morning. Rather, the crisis of
an illness is that period when the patient will take a turn for
the better or for the worse.
The "crisis" or
trial time for the Church is in this present life, but the
"crisis" or trial time of the remainder of mankind will
be at the resurrection in the Kingdom. Billions of mankind before
and after Jesus' earthly ministry died without receiving the light
of Jesus. Yet John 1:9 states that Jesus is the light
every man that cometh into the world" A further Scriptural
confirmation that, for most, truth enlightenment will require an
awakening from the dead.
of the Unjust—When?
Both Jesus in John 5 and the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians
15 taught the resurrection of the unjust occurs during the 1,000
year Kingdom of Christ when they will be on trial for eternal
life. Yet Revelation 20:4, 5 seems to place it after the thousand
4…they [the Church]
came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
did not come to life until the thousand years
were completed. This is the first resurrection.
and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over
these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of
God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Verses 4 and 6 clearly
teach that the Church reigns with Christ in his 1,000 year
Kingdom. Therefore, the Church must be resurrected at the
beginning of the 1,000 years and verse 6 plainly states the
Church's resurrection is the "first resurrection." Yet
verse 5 places the raising of "the rest of the dead"
(the "unjust") after the thousand years are completed.
It then calls the raising of the unjust "the first
resurrection." This is a contradiction to verse 6 which
identifies the raising of the Church as "the first
Notice in verse 5 we
italicized, "the rest of the dead did not come alive until
the thousand years were completed." Why? These words do not
appear in the earliest manuscripts that contain these verses.1
By eliminating these spurious words, verses 4-6 harmonize. Now
verses 4 and 5 agree with verse 6—the first resurrection applies
to the Church.
Because of their
theology, the translators have been less than objective on 1 John
5:7-8 and Revelation 20:5. Finally the translators have, in the
last couple of decades, admitted that parts of 1 John 5:7-8 are
spurious. Hopefully they will also concede that the first part of
Revelation 20:5 is spurious. Thank the Lord there are reference
books that enable us to prove it for ourselves.
The prophet Daniel wrote "many who sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake"(12:3). In Romans 5:15-19
"many" is used interchangeably with "all" when
referring to those who benefit from Jesus' death. Daniel then
divides the "many" into two classes. Some awake to
"everlasting life" and "some to shame and
everlasting contempt." Some translations say
"age-lasting" or "age-abiding"
"life" or "contempt." The Hebrew word
translated everlasting or age-lasting is olam. Olam
does not mean eternal or everlasting. It means "for the
duration." The context or other scriptures will define the
length of that duration. Some translators seem to get a
satisfaction by rendering olam as everlasting or
perpetual when referring to the punishment on the non-elect.
The following scriptures
prove olam does not mean perpetual or everlasting.
In Exodus 29:9 the Aaronic Priesthood would be olam,
and was incorrectly translated perpetual. Hebrews
7:12 shows the Aaronic Priesthood ended in Paul's Day. It was
replaced by the Melchisedec order. In Jeremiah 25:9, 12,
Nebuchadnezzar would make the land of Judah a "perpetual
(olam) desolation." Incorrect translation! Verse 11
states that the desolation would be 70 years.
Recall John 5:28, 29. The
evil are raised to a resurrection by "krisis" or trial.
This trial includes the 1,000 years, plus the
"little season" that follows. Some will pass their trial
favorably during the 1,000 years and enjoy what Daniel (12:3)
age-lasting life. But only those who pass the test of the
"little season" will receive everlasting life. Certainly
there will be nefarious persons among the evil who are raised to
their trial time (John 5:29). They will endure age-lasting shame
as they are confronted by those they had harmed. Whether they
finally obtain eternal life is problematic.
Remember 1 Corinthians
15? At death "you do not sow the [same] body which is to be,
but bare grain, [our ego or personality] But God gives it a body
just as He wished." (1 Cor. 15:37, 38, 40 NAS)
Jesus spoke of the
resurrection of the "good" and the "evil".
Paul called it the resurrection of the just and the unjust. The
Revelator identified the raising of the Church as the first
resurrection, thus implying a second resurrection. In the first
resurrection, the "good" or "just" receive a
spiritual or celestial body that is immortal (1Cor. 15:38, 40, 53,
54). In the second resurrection, the "evil" or
"unjust" receive an earthly or terrestrial body (1 Cor.
15:38, 40). This life is age-lasting. If they have the faith and
obedience to pass their "krisis" or trial, they will
have eternal life (Rev. 20:17).
These words are missing
in the earliest Greek manuscripts —
Codex Sinaitic and Codex
Alexandrine. (The Codex Vatican #1209 does not contain the Book of
Revelation.) These words are also missing in the earliest Syriac
and Aramaic manuscripts.