There are three resurrections mentioned in the bible!
The topic of the resurrection is often confusing and misunderstood, especially if you believe that people go to heaven or hell when they die. "Why is there a resurrection if people are already in heaven or hell?" What is being resurrected if "souls" of people are already where they are going?
When you understand that people who have died are simply asleep in their graves, you will begin to see and understand the need for a resurrection. If people are dead, lifeless and have no consciousness, the only way for them to receive their reward is for them to come to life once again.
Let's look at the definition of resurrection, and some scriptures that discuss the "Resurrections," and what they imply.
Resurrection: NT:386 = anastasis (an-as'-tas-is); from NT:450; a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death - raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again.
This definition shows us that those that are resurrected are "rising" or "standing up again." If one is in hell, this "rising up" could apply, but what of those supposedly in heaven? How are they "rising up again" if they are already "up?" This shows us that all those who have died are still dead, and waiting for their resurrection.
Matt 12:41 "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here."
This clearly shows that those who died in Nineveh, and the queen of the south, will all be resurrected from their graves... death, where they still are, at the same time as those (uncalled) listening to Christ will and all go into judgment. It will be more "tolerable" because of the hard heartedness and resistance the latter show and they will have a much harder time in overcoming their carnality.
Ezek 37:11 "Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'"
Rom 11 discusses the truth that ancient Israel, those who rejected God and died in the wilderness, among many others in history, will be resurrected to physical life again and given the opportunity to see and understand God's truth... something God did NOT give to them at that time. This isn't a "second chance" as some call it. It will be their FIRST chance and God will give them His spirit once they are resurrected. They will then be judged by how they conduct their lives in obedience and growing in Christ's nature... something they couldn't do previously and what most people today cannot do.
Matt 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
This refers to the lake of fire which some who are resurrected later on will be cast into and be and their "soul" (life) destroyed forever... completely ceasing to exist.
Acts 4:2 "Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead."
The apostles began teaching about Christ and the resurrection. The statement "the resurrection from the dead" clearly implies that those who are DEAD are in need of a resurrection. If people reside in heaven or hell after they die, are they really dead or are they really alive? If they are alive, WHY is a resurrection needed, and WHAT is being resurrected?
1 Cor 15:21 "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 coming."
1 Thess 4:15 "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (dead). 16 For 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: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
This speaks of an "order" to the resurrection of all, including Christ, Christ was first, then the resurrection of the church, those called in this age. . .
Rev 20:5 "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 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."
This scripture clearly indicates that there is another resurrection 1000 years, AFTER the first resurrection at the return of Christ, in which the "rest of the dead" are resurrected to life and consciousness again. The statement "This is the first resurrection" refers to the prior discussion. It also shows that if there is a FIRST resurrection, there clearly must be at LEAST a "second" resurrection.
Heb 11:35 "Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:"
"Better resurrection" - better than what... of course better than the second resurrection because of being married to Christ and ruling with Him.
John 5:29 "And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation (better translated "resurrection of judgment" - The church is being judged NOW, (1 Peter 4:17) and all those not called or given understanding of scriptures and the salvation process will be judged at a later time (after they are resurrected to physical life again), throughout their lives as the church is being judged by how they live and respond to God in THIS age)."
1 Cor 15:35 "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?"
This scripture refers to those that are DEAD, and that they will be "raised up" with some sort of body.
1 Cor 15:42 "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
Death for all humans leads to "corruption" of the body... it rots and decays away to dust. . .
Ps 16:10 "For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption."
Acts 2:27 "Because you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption."
Acts 13:35 "Wherefore he says also in another psalm, You shall not suffer your Holy One to see corruption."
1 Cor 15:42 "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:"
These first three scriptures refer to Jesus Christ after His death. Jesus Christ was in hell (the grave) for three days and three nights, and was THEN resurrected. His body did NOT decay or "see corruption" as the rest of humanity experiences by decaying back into dust. The resurrection is necessary for any of us to live again, and was necessary for Christ to live again...
Rom 6:5 "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
1 Cor 15:12 "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised , our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised , then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised , your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."
The above scripture is very clear... If death is not really death, then Christ didn't really die, and if that is so, there was no need for a resurrection. However, these scriptures directly connect Christ's resurrection from the dead, and our hope of our own resurrection from death (being dead in the grave). If Christ is not raised from the grave, we won't be raised either.
Acts 3:15 "And killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."
1 Cor 15:3 . . ."Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
Just as Christ was DEAD. . . lifeless (for three complete days and three complete nights - 72 hours), all humans who have died are just as lifeless. The resurrectionS are part of the greater plan of God in bringing every willing human into His family. The very core of Christianity rests on the fact that Christ both lived AND died, and that the Father raised Him from this death... the death we all face forever unless Christ WERE raised to life again.
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
The Church shall be resurrected like Christ was resurrected, and be the same as He is now... spirit
Phil 3:21 "Who shall change our vile body , that it may be fashioned like his glorious body. . ."
There is more to the story, undoubtedly, but so far, we can know that those who are resurrected at the time of Christ's return are in the FIRST resurrection, and that there is a SECOND resurrection after this one, 1000 years later when the "rest" of the dead are brought to life once again, and a third after which is explained in the article below. God's plan includes every human who has ever lived, and allows for growth and development of Godly character in order to be "born again as spirit in God's family.
More Complete Resurrection Discussion
Resurrections from the Dead
Judgment: Three Resurrections: detailed discussion of how the three resurrections are explained in Scripture!
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