The Bible says that because Christ rose from the dead, those who are in Christ will also rise from the dead. Christ is the Sample of the Resurrection. He is the firstfruits of a future resurrection harvest of believers (1 Cor. 15:20-23).
But what about those who are not in Christ—those who are in Adam? How about those who have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior? They will participate in the 2nd Resurrection.
We noted that there is the Sequence of the Resurrection. The Bible talks about two Resurrections—the 1st and the 2nd Resurrection. The 1st Resurrection is called the Resurrection to Life. Jesus calls the 2nd Resurrection, the Resurrection to Condemnation (John 5:28-29).
Rev. 20:4-5 talks about two kinds of resurrection—the 1st Resurrection and the 2nd Resurrection. The 1st Resurrection covers all those who believed in Christ from Adam up to the end of the Tribulation Period. Rev. 20:4 says, “They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (NASB). The literal reading is very clear. They include the Tribulation saints—those “who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus . . . who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands” (Rev. 20:4, ESV). The 1st Resurrection believers are not those who went to heaven after they died. Rather, they are believers who will rise bodily at the end of the 7-year Tribulation Period, right at the beginning of the Millennium reign of Christ. John calls them “blessed and holy . . . over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6, ESV). This literal reading of Tribulation saints who did not worship the beast and the Millennium as a thousand years, is the Premilleniallist view. (The Amillennialist view however, does not see a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ in this world, preferring to interpret Revelation figuratively and symbolically.)
The 2nd Resurrection covers all those who did not believe in Christ, who rejected Him, from Adam up to the Millennial Period. Rev. 20:5 says, “The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished.” (NKJV). These will rise at the end of the Millennium, but not with resurrection bodies. They will rise to face God in the Final Judgment.
How about those who will believe in Christ during the Millennial Period? There are 2 views about their resurrection. The 1st view is that at the moment of faith in Christ, they will immediately receive resurrection bodies. The 2nd view is that at the moment of death during the Millennial Period, they will instantly receive resurrection bodies.
We begin the 1st of a 2-part sermon series on the Final Judgment in Rev. 20:11-15. We will focus on what will happen to those who are in Adam, those who are not in Christ, or those who have rejected Christ. You see, the Resurrection of Christ is not just for the dead in Christ, but for the dead without Christ. “Because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31, ESV). Easter or Holy Week therefore is not just a remembrance of the resurrection, but an assurance of judgment.