Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 15, 2021

Death and Resurrection, Part 2, the First Resurrection to God and Heaven

The First Resurrection

The resurrection from the dead will occur in two resurrections which will have four stages and five groups; a plan which was devised by God in eternity past. The first resurrection, which includes three stages and four groups is initiated by the resurrection of the Lord, later joined by the justified to join with God in heaven. The second resurrection has one stage and one group and is the resurrection to condemnation and the Lake of Fire.

Stage One, Group 1, the First Fruits of Them that Slept

On April 5, AD 33, the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave and became the first human to be resurrected from the dead; the First Fruits of them that slept. This was in fulfillment of God’s promise of a redeemer and the ancient Feast of First Fruits which was established by God in Leviticus 23:9-14. This vitally important beginning of the resurrections God had planned was completed, and opened the door for the resurrections that would follow.

Let me clarify one point; in Matthew 27:52-53 it is written:

52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

These saints were resuscitated, not resurrected; resuscitation restores the mortal life to the individual who will then later die a normal death. Resuscitation was the process used to raise people from the dead found in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected from the dead and receive a heavenly body which would never die again.

This completes stage one, group one of the resurrections.

Stage 2, Group 2, the Church

The next stage planned by God is still future, the resurrection of the Church; all born-again believers who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior during the Age of the Church will be resurrected together. The Church Age began at Pentecost, May 25, AD 33 and will end when the Lord calls the church home at the Rapture of the Church. This is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 where it is written:

1But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The return of the Lord Jesus Christ for his church is done in the air, not on the ground; this is not the Second Advent but actually takes place a minimum of seven years before the Second Advent. I am personally of the opinion this takes place closer to ten to twelve years before the Second Advent. I have commented on the timing in some detail in other essays.

This completes stage 2, group 2 of the resurrections.

Stage 3, Groups 3 and 4, Israel and the Tribulation Saints

The Age of Israel was interrupted by Israel’s rejection of its Messiah; on March 30, AD 33, Israel was set aside seven years short of the final period of 490 years given to it by God. Those last seven years are still somewhere in the future and will be completed after the removal of the church; I have written more on this in a three-part series that begins with “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

The Age of Israel recommences when Israel signs a treaty with the Antichrist; the church is gone, world events focus on the tiny state of Israel. This time of terrible judgment by God is brought to a close by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the armies of heaven which will include you and me in our resurrected bodies.

In Revelation 19:11-16 it is written:

1Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:


This is the Second Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ where he, as our Kinsman/Redeemer, will reclaim the earth from Satan and establish his rule over all the earth!

At some point, after the return of our Lord at his Second Advent, both Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints will be resurrected as groups 3 and 4. We have references to this in Daniel 12:13 and Isaiah 26:19 for Old Testament saint s and Revelation 20:4 for Tribulation saints.

We find some rather cryptic language in Daniel 12:11-12 where it is written:

11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

The second half of the Tribulation is 1,260 days, so we see an additional 30 and an additional 45 days added to the total for a grand total of 75 days. No explanation is given for this time span but it has been suggested this is the time when the Lord will restore the earth to its original condition.

It may well be the Old Testament and Tribulation saints are resurrected after the earth has been fully restored. Perhaps the blessed ones who wait and come to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days are those saints of the Lord.

This concludes Stage 3, groups 3 and 4 and the First Resurrection. “This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5b-6

Next week we will cover Palm Sunday and the following week we will cover Good Friday and Easter Sunday; the Second Resurrection to the Lake of Fire will follow after our observance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ which makes all the rest possible.

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