"But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11 KJV)
Many of us can recall our surprise when we first learned that The Bible speaks not just of a resurrection, but of resurrections - more than one, separated by a long span of time. The future resurrections will occur in two stages, the first at the return of Jesus Christ (to our Jewish readers, that's what Rosh Hashanah, known to Christians as The Feast Of Trumpets, ultimately represents), and the second after the 1,000 years (to our Jewish readers, that's what Shemini Atzeret, "the 8th day" of Sukkot, ultimately represents - the 7 days of Sukkot, known to Christians as The Feast Of Tabernacles, represents the first 1,000 years after the earthly rule of the Messiah begins).
Resurrections Up To Now
Through Bible History, there are a number of recorded resurrections of people back to normal physical life after they had died from old age, illness or injury. All of these people would have died a natural death again later. A few examples:
Of course, the greatest resurrection up to now, the only one to glorious spirit life so far, was that of Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 24:1-53).
The Resurrection At The Return Of Christ
Those who have been truly called, and have repented, through all the ages up to the day of The Return of Jesus Christ will be resurrected from the dead, or instantly changed if they are alive that day, to eternal spirit life. They will serve Him, and rule the world with Him, during the 1,000 years (see The Elect):
"For this we declare to you by the word of The Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of The Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.For The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 RSV).
"Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls [see Where Is Your Soul?] of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4 RSV)
"This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:5-6)
The Resurrection At The End Of The 1,000 Years
All of the people who have lived through the ages who did not have the opportunity to learn of Christ and be converted will be resurrected back to physical life at the end of the 1,000 years - not as any sort of "second chance," but as their first chance. Then, for that relatively short time between the second resurrection and the final judgment, they will learn the truth and have the opportunity to repent and be converted. Those that choose to obey God will then be transformed into eternal spirit beings just as those who were changed at the Return of Christ 1,000 years before.
The logical reason that Satan will be released from his prison for a short time after being locked up for the previous 1,000 years is to test those who will then know the Truth for the first time, including the hundreds of millions of people of the last generation of humans then alive, the descendants of the humans that were born and lived through the 1,000 years when Satan had no influence over them, as he does with the world now.
"The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." (Revelation 20:5 RSV)
"And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:20-21 RSV)
"And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:7-10 RSV)
The Lake Of Fire
All of those through the ages who refused to repent after they learned the truth will be resurrected back to physical life for passing of the sentence that they will have brought upon themselves. These incorrigible wicked will be destroyed along with those who rebel later. They will be completely obliterated - burnt to lifeless ash. It will be as though they never existed.
"And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:13-15 RSV)
"For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says The Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My Name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go forth leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says The Lord of hosts." (Malachi 4:1-3 RSV)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 RSV) [i.e. an eternal death of complete oblivion after being burnt to ashes, not an eternal life of burning without end]
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind." (Isaiah 65:17 RSV) [i.e. "things" including the people who refused to repent and obey God when they were given the opportunity to do so, and who were completely destroyed in the lake of fire]
Fact Finder: Does God want everyone to have the opportunity to choose eternal life so that none would perish?
2 Peter 3:9
This Week's Bible Quiz
1. What was the name of the man to whom the Book of Acts written?
2. What was the name of the man who replaced Judas Iscariot as an apostle?
3. On what Biblical Holy Day did the Holy Spirit come upon the church?
4. Who is considered to be the first Christian martyr?
5. What was the name of the sorcerer who attempted to buy the powers of The Holy Spirit?
6. Where was Saul going when he was struck down and converted into Paul?
7. What was the name of the woman that Peter raised from the dead in Joppa?
8. What was the name of the young man who Paul raised from the dead after he fell from a third-floor window?
9. Where was Saul/Paul born?
10. What was the name of the island on which Paul was shipwrecked?
For the answers to this October 9 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page