Article: RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD | Pr. T. V. Thomas
The children of God all over the world are watching closely the unveiling of events which clearly tell us that we are living at the end of this age.Jesus Christ has made the picture clear in the parable of the fig tree in Mathew 24:32-34.It is also recorded in Mark 13:28-32 and in Luke 21:29-33. The series of events which are to follow at the close of this age are as follows.
1. The Rapture of the Church
2. The great Tribulation
3. The Second coming of Jesus in glory into this world. It is also called His manifestation which is the second phase of His second coming.
4. Establishing of the Millennial Kingdom on this earth.
5. White Throne judgement
6. Ushering in of the Eternal State.
The word of God clearly speaks about the various judgements which are to take place in between. But the theologians do not agree on their time because of their disagreement on millennium and Rapture.
There are three major views on millennium
The supporters of this view do not believe in a literal millennial rule of Christ on this earth.
2. Post Millennialism
It is the belief that the millennium will be established in this world mainly by the work of the church with the help of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s second coming will be after that.
3. Pre Millennialism
This view holds that the second coming of Jesus Christ will occur first and He will establish the millennial rule on this earth.
Apart from the differences on millennium, scholars are divided on the time of the Rapture. The following arguments are seen on this:
1. Pre Tribulationism
It is the view that rapture takes place before the Tribulation and that the church will not go through it.
2. Post Tribulationism
It says that Rapture occurs after the Tribulation and hence the church will go through the Tribulation.
3. Mid Tribulationism
It holds that Rapture takes places at the mid-point of the Tribulation.
This article on Resurrection is based on the principles of Pre Millennialism and Pre Tribulationism. They are considered to be the scriptural view by the evangelical Christians especially Pentecostals and Brethrens even though some among them may differ. Differences of opinion were there right from the early centuries and they are still going on. World famous theologians with very deep knowledge on the word of God are behind all the aforesaid arguments. It is fair that some margin is to be given to those who disagree with us on these matters and must be willing to hear what they are telling instead of bluntly rejecting their arguments.
The aim of this article is to rekindle the hope of the believers and to encourage them to prepare themselves for the bliss awaiting them.
Resurrection includes the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that of the saved and unsaved dead. Belief in the resurrection of the dead is clearly stated in the Apostles’ Creed which is a fundamental creed of the Christian faith. Apostle Paul has stated in 1 Corinthians 15:22-23, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
The Order of Resurrections
Resurrections of the dead fall mainly into two categories.
A. The first Resurrection or the Resurrection to life.
We have seen that Jesus Christ resurrected as the first fruit of many to come.(1 Cor 15:23). Though some others have been raised from the dead before that, Jesus Christ was the first to rise from the grave with a body that was no longer subject to death.
Resurrection of the just is mainly concerned with dead saints of the church age. (1 Thess 4:16). They will be raptured along with the living saints who will be transformed. This is the first phase of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Theologians are of the view that two more groups will also be resurrected and they will be brought before the Lord just before He comes to the earth to establish the millennial kingdom.
But it is felt that there are no clear and conclusive references for this in the word of God. But it can be accepted as the natural sequence of events.
1. The dead saints of the Old Testament period(Dan 12:, Eze 37:13-14), Isa 26:19)
2. Martyrs of the Tribulation period.( Rev 20:4)
3. Some scholars include those people who resurrected at the time of the crucifixion also as part of the first resurrection.(Matt 27:51-52)
These resurrections of the saints of all ages constitute the first resurrection.(Rev 20:6). It is also termed as Resurrection to life (Jn 5:29) or the Resurrection of the righteous.(Luke 14:14).
B. Second Resurrection
It is the Resurrection of the unsaved dead. It includes all the unredeemed dead of all time and they will be resurrected at the end of the millennium to stand before the white throne judgement. They will be cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-14)
Although there is no mention in the Bible, some scholars believe that there may be a resurrection of saints from among those who entered the millennial kingdom and of their off springs. The unjust of that period will stand before the white throne. The scripture is silent in the case of the just of that period. It may be due to the fact that it is of no relevance or practical application to the saints living now. It may be revealed during the millennium.
As stated earlier, the present age is going to its end. All world events point to this. The second coming of the Lord is imminent. The political scenario of these days also shows that our Master is going to come again soon. Let us be prepared to welcome Him. “Blessed and holy is he has part in the first resurrection. On 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”. (Rev 20:6).
Pr. T.V. Thomas
Agape Bible College