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  Resurrection When?

When will the first and the second resurrection begin?

Page Index: (Last changes on 2008.08.17)
  • First Resurrection
    • Who?
    • When?
    • What kind of Body?
  • Second Resurrection
    • Who?
    • When?
    • Objection

First Resurrection


Revelation 20:4,5 And I saw thrones; and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and on account of the word of God; and those who had not done homage to the beast nor to his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and hand; and they lived and reigned with the Christ a thousand years: 5the rest of the dead did not live till the thousand years had been completed. This is the first resurrection. (Darby)

(the text in pink is omitted in the AVg ; ℅Sy -- perhaps it is not part of the inspired record. An explanation is offered under the Objection subheading)

5:8z,10 the saints. 9 . . . 10and made them to our God kings and priests; and they shall reign over the earth. (Darby)

Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus. (Darby)

Luke 12:32, Fear not, little flock, for it has been the good pleasure of your Father to give you the kingdom. (Darby)
Though Jesus says little about the Little Flock and the Other Sheep, other places in the Bible give ample witness about these two groups.  However, here the point seen in Luke 12:32 above is plain.  The Kingdom is given to the Little Flock, the Saints.  Therefore other scriptures naturally show the first resurrection to be for the Saints, the Born Again, the holy ones, the elect or chosen ones. These shall be resurrected in heavenly spirit bodies in the likeness of Christ's resurrection.  In heaven, these ones shall become joint heirs with Christ, and heirs of God. They become kings and priests under Christ during the thousand year reign.


Their resurrection is named the first, even though Christ was resurrected prior to them because they are part of the first large-scale resurrection of faithful ones. Those that are unfamiliar with whom the Saints, the Born Again, are should read that page. The text in bold yellow are links.

The scriptures tell us when these will begin to be resurrected.
Matthew 24:29, 31, But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.  31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the one extremity of the heavens to the other extremity of them. (Darby)

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the (1) coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.(1) Gr presence ) 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; 17then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (ASV)
The subject is crystal clear. There is no room for misunderstanding the text. The first resurrection will commence during Christ's presence. Those that claim that the dead living spirits go to God upon a person's death need to study this page: The Condition of the dead [ One. There is simply no way to misunderstand the scriptures above. 

Timing established

Of extreme importance as to establishing the time of the first resurrection is Paul's teaching to the Thessalonians above.  Here Paul clearly puts down the time of the first resurrection; he says that first the dead in Christ shall rise, and right after Christ sounds his trumpet and calls out to the living remaining saints.  At that moment, the living saints are changed so as to receive their heavenly bodies; then they meet the dead just resurrected and together they all join the Lord Jesus Christ.  We know this to be after the Great Tribulation according to Matthew above.

No prior permanent resurrection of anybody

Additional proof is provided by the apostles John and Paul.
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (KJV)

II Timothy 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (KJV)
When we realize that John wrote this some 63 years after Jesus' death and that Paul wrote his ca. 32 years thereafter, in 96Ce and 65CE respectively, it is abundantly clear that many of the original disciples had passed away during the intervening years.  Further, Jesus himself stated when the first resurrection would happen.  In John the phrase "last day" occurs seven times, five of them in regard to the resurrection.  Here are two of them:
John 6:39, And this is the will of him that sent me, that of all that which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For both John and Paul to state categorically that the resurrection had not occurred demonstrates that not a single person apart from Christ was resurrected to heaven prior to the beginning of Christ's presence.

The remaining Saints still alive at the completion of the Great Tribulation will be gathered to heaven suddenly as the scripture above stated. These do not have to do die and await their resurrection; rather, they are made to die whereupon they instantly get changed, get the heavenly resurrection.  These have immortal life and cannot be affected by the second death after their resurrection.

What happens after the final Saints' resurrection is discussed on the Christ’s Presence page.

What Kind of Body?

1 Cor 15:
50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; (Webster)
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ risen. 14And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is empty, and your faith is also empty.
35But some man will say, How are the dead raised, and with what kind of body do they come? (ACV)
40And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies: but different is the glory of the heavenly, different that of the earthly: (Darby)
44It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam [was made] a vivifying spirit. (Webster)
For a more extensive discussion of this subject, please look at the link here: Christ rose in the flesh or as a spirit?.  From this link, it will be obvious how both Jesus and his brothers, the Saints, will be resurrected.  The scriptures are quite clear in their conclusions about this.

The Second Resurrection


If you do not understand yet that many Christians will have eternal life not in heaven but on earth, please read God’s Kingdom page.

Those that do not understand the difference between eternal and immortal life and the consequences these entail would profit from reading the Mortality & Eternal Life page.

The first scriptures considered are from John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15, and Matthew 5:5:
John 5:28-29, Marvel not at this, because an hour comes in which all those in the sepulchers will hear his voice, 29and will come forth, those who have done right to a resurrection of life, and those who have practiced wrong to a resurrection of judgment. (ACV)

(KJV) which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth;

Acts 24:15, having hope toward God, which they themselves also await, to come to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (ACV)

Matthew 5:5, Blessed are the meek, because they will inherit the earth. (ACV)
These scripture show us that the faithful dead, and the unrighteous – commonly those who were non-Israelites and who lived throughout the ages in ignorance of God – will receive a resurrection and come out of their memorial tombs, graves, or sepulchers. These will obviously receive the earthly resurrection which is emphasized by the statement "in the graves . . . shall come forth."  More is said about this in regard to the scripture in Rev 20:11-15, please look at that link for that line of scriptural logic. (Link Rev 20:11-15)


Since the first resurrection of the Saints terminates just before Armageddon, (for details see Christ’s Presence) the explanation found in Rev 20:11-15 mentioned below cannot refer to the Saints, but must refer to the second resurrection whose recipients may be harmed by the second death, which in itself constitutes proof that these receive earthly resurrections.

The when of it is a jigsaw puzzle consisting of a few scriptures.  Involved in the puzzle is when does judgment begin?
2 Peter 3:7, But the present heavens and the earth by his word are laid up in store, kept for fire unto a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (Darby)

Matthew 13:39-42, and the enemy who has sowed it is the devil; and the harvest is the completion of the age, and the harvestmen are angels. 40As then the darnel is gathered and is burned in the fire, thus it shall be in the completion of the age. 41The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all offences, and those that practise lawlessness; 42and they shall cast them into the furnace of fire (Darby)

John 5:29, . . . and shall go forth; those that have practised good, to resurrection of life, and those that have done evil, to resurrection of judgment. (Darby)
Armageddon, judgment day, affects earth's living.  Upon its conclusion, we read in Revelation chapter eleven how it is time for the dead to be judged.  These dead are not the Saints who already have been before Christ's judgment seat prior to Armageddon.  They are those dead who receive the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous, the last one being the resurrection of judgment.
Revelation of John 11:17,18, . . . We give thee thanks, Lord God Almighty, He who is, and who was, that thou hast taken thy great power and hast reigned. 18And the nations have been full of wrath, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead to be judged, and to give the recompense to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to those who fear thy name, small and great; and to destroy those that destroy the earth. (Darby)

Dan 12:1, And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of distress, such as never was since there was a nation until that time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book. 2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame, to everlasting contempt. (Darby)
From Revelation and from what Daniel says, the timing of the second resurrection is after the Great Tribulation or Armageddon.  Thus, it is obvious that the second resurrection will commence during Christ's thousand year reign since it takes place after the harvest, after Armageddon.  It shall conclude when the process is finished according to God's will.  Though the following scripture is difficult and will cause controversy – it shall be included here.   Please be aware that verse five has been given an explanation below under the Objection subheading following next.
Revelation 20:4,5, And I saw seats; and they sat upon them; and judgment was given unto them; . . . 5The rest of the dead lived not, till the thousand years were finished. (DRC)

Revelation 20:11-15, And I saw a great white throne, and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hell gave up their dead that were in them; and they were judged every one according to their works. 14And hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the pool of fire. (DRC)
From all of the above scriptures in the Second Resurrection section, it becomes clear, as stated previously, that the second resurrection commences after the Saints sit on their judgment seats; they together with Christ shall judge the living and the dead. This shall occur during Christ's thousand year reign and commence as Armageddon concludes.


Perhaps, many may experience a natural objection after having read Rev 20:5 just above. There it seems that "the rest of the dead" will not come to life until after the thousand year reign is finished.  If the scripture is taken at face value (that phrase is not contained in one codex already mentioned) its interpretation is difficult at best.  All previous teachings of the Bible in regard to this subject must be understood so as to get the correct conclusion.

Here those who think to apply this literally should read this Preaching to the Dead page.

The phrase (Revelation 20:5, NIV & NW) "5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) . . ." is to be understood in the same manner that preaching to the dead is.
Revelation 20:5, Les autres morts ne revinrent point à la vie jusqu'à ce que les mille ans fussent accomplis. C'est la première résurrection. (French Louis Segond)

Translated: "The other dead did not return to life until the thousand year had been accomplished."

Taken at face value, that scripture then has this interpretation: in God's eyes the resurrected and the Great Crowd that survived the Great Tribulation are considered dead until they regain perfection through the administration by Christ and his under priests of the value of his ransom throughout the thousand year reign.  It takes these living-dead humans that long to become perfect and become alive in God's eyes.

However, their physical resurrection starts sometime soon after the Kingdom rule has begun and the re-establishing of Paradise has started.

Further points of proof

Revelation 20:7-9, And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them.  (ASV)

Matthew 8:11, and I say to you, that many from east and west shall come and recline (at meat) with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the reign of the heavens (YLT)

For those that believe that the second resurrection happens after the thousand year reign has completed, the above scriptures become impossibilities.  Why?

If only the Great Crowd whose status is that of being unblemished and tried survive the Great Tribulation (Revelation chapter seven), and if no one is resurrected to earth (second resurrection) until the thousand years have ended, then where do all these people, the nations, that Satan leads astray come from?  They cannot be the Great Crowd.  The Great Crowd is shown to be beyond Satan's temptation!  Remember, all the nations were destroyed during Armageddon!

Thus, the only answer remaining is that the second resurrection of the  righteous and the unrighteous has occurred.  Not only this, but if the second resurrection did not occur, then how come Abraham is alive during this thousand year reign.  This is not the heavens; this is the kingdom of the heavens, and that is on earth.

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