- Category: Kingdom of Heaven
Theme Text– '‘For as all die in Adam, even so shall all be made alive in Christ." (1Corinthians 15:22)
1) At the return of Christ, all the dead are to come back to life! But is such a thing really possible?
Many have always doubted this. That’s why the Apostle declared -
‘Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?’ (Acts 26:8)
Yes, Jesus’s ransom for Adam is to bring all of Adam back to life (Rom 5:12,18, 1Tim 2:6, 1Jn 2:2).
“For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” 1Cor 15:22.
2) So will everybody come back to life in an instant?
No, the Bible declares the resurrection of the dead will occur in two phases.
I. The first will be the faithful followers of Jesus (the Elect) who are of ‘the first resurrection.’
‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.’ (Rev. 20:6)
II. Next will be the rest of mankind.
In Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits [the Elect Church]; afterwards they that are Christ’s [mankind]. 1Cor 15:22-23. Here the phrase ‘Christ the firstfruits’ includes Jesus (the Head) and his entire church (the Body of Christ) who are to be raised first. James 1:18 explains this –
‘He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created’. The terms ‘firstfruits’ and ‘first resurrection’ suggest that there will also be ‘after-fruits’ and a ‘second resurrection.’
3) What’s the difference between the first and second resurrections?
- For the Elect a heavenly reward is promised i.e. a change of nature from fleshly to spiritual.
- The rest of mankind would be in perfect fleshly bodies as God’s original intent was to have an earthly creation (Genesis 1). The resurrection will restore Edenic perfection. Man will be restored to his earthly home and, under the reign of Christ and his Elect, will be granted the opportunity—by obedience to Christ—of living there forever.
Apostle Paul explains the two resurrections:
“All flesh is not the same flesh. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. So also is the resurrection of the dead.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. As is the earthy, such are they also that are [resurrected to the] earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are [resurrected to the] heavenly.” 1Cor 15:39-48.
4) Will these two resurrections take place right after one another?
No, the first resurrection precedes much before the second, and therefore, those of the Elect are protected from the great distress that is to come upon the earth. Just as God protected Noah and his family while the rest of humanity suffered, so shall a chosen few be protected before the world is subjected to a time of great distress.
“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Rev 7:3.
It is also clear that the chosen will not be judged on the Day of Judgment as the unrighteous will be.
The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment (chastisement) on the Day of Judgment. 2 Peter 2:9.
While the rest of humanity is busy with its day to day business, Christ will return and gather his chosen as part of the first resurrection:
For the Lord will come down from heaven, with the voice of the archangel, and the dead in Christ will rise. We who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 1Thess 4:15-17.
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Luke 17:26-27, Matt 24:39-41.