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The Forty-Second (Resurrection Part 2)

Praise God! In general, for a lot of reasons, but this time just because :) I hope this finds you well. This week, let's revisit resurrection. You may recall my previous discussion of resurrection, which actually ended up being slightly more about the rapture. This time, we're going to focus more on the first and second resurrection.

We know that Jesus Christ was the resurrection firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:23), and the other notable resurrection mentioned in scripture is the so-called first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-5). However, there are many resurrections discussed in the Bible: the resurrection of a boy by Elijah (1 Kings 17:17), the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:38-44), the resurrection of some saints when Christ rose (Matthew 27:52), etc.

The first resurrection is set apart from these other resurrections in that it involves a large group of people with one distinct characteristic: they are Christ's (1 Corinthians 15:23). When this resurrection occurs, those in Christ that have died will be resurrected into uncorrupted, immortal, spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42, 44, 53), that are of the image of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:49). Those that are alive when He returns will have their earthly bodies changed into those bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52).

How do we get included in this resurrection/changing? Our faith and belief in our heart of Christ Jesus as the Son of God, our Savior, and His resurrection (Ephesians 2:5-9). On a side note, something I found interesting in those verses is in the KJV verse 6 makes it sound like we're already raised up and seated in heavenly places. However, when you look at the Greek this verse fits more into the side thought of the end of verse 5 ("by grace ye are saved.") because the word "hath" was inserted by the translators. So really, verses 5-7 should read,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved and raised up together and made sit together

in heaven in Christ Jesus.)

This shows that God's grace saves us, raises us, and sits us in heaven, and doesn't confuse that we're already raised up and there in heaven somehow.

Jesus' death and resurrection saved us from the result of sin: death (Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:17). His death was due to our sins and His resurrection shows our justification (Romans 4:25). His role is to intervene for us (Hebrews 7:25), and Yehovah also gave Him the authority to judge (John 5:22). Not even Jesus will judge, however. He has decided to use His Word as His judgment (John 12:47-48).

So if we hear His Word and do not believe or receive, or if we reject Him, we will be judged according to His Word regardless of belief or disbelief. Even those who don't hear His Word have no excuse and will be judged because even in nature and all of creation the work of Yehovah and His existence is evident (Romans 1:20).

This occurs after the second resurrection. We have identified that those resurrected in the first resurrection are those in Christ. The second resurrection occurs after the thousand year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:7-15). The dead will be raised and stand before God, being judged according to their works. Remember, those in the first resurrection and those still alive that were changed all have spiritual, immortal, uncorrupted bodies, so this second group consists of those that were not in Christ. Additionally, it is possible it includes those that died during the reign of Christ. There is nothing that says those that were born during His reign or come to believe in Christ during His reign change the same as believers during the first resurrection, or that anyone but those first resurrected and changed will be immortal.

Before I close, I want to take a moment to point out some specifics about those resurrected and judged in the end. As we saw, this judgment is according to their works, however there is no specification on the result of this judgment. Likely, there will be a range of consequences they will receive, but we don't know what those consequences are. One key thing to note however, is the only individuals specifically designated to be cast into the lake of fire are: death, hell (Revelation 20:14), and those not written in the book of life (Revelation 20:15). There is another lake (which may be different than this one), the lake of fire and brimstone, specified where Satan, the beast and the false prophet will be tormented forever (Revelation 20:10). Additionally, in the lake of fire (without brimstone) is where the second death occurs, and with death comes ceasing to exist. So those in the lake will cease to exist rather than exist and be tormented forever, and those in the fire and brimstone lake will be tormented forever.

Just thought I'd point that out as I found it interesting. While fire and brimstone, meaning being tormented forever, is widely used as some sort of scare tactic to try to get people to be good and not sin, the only individuals specifically designated for that lake are Satan, the beast and the false prophet. We don't know what judgments will be made, and obviously God can do whatever He decides so it's possible certain people will be thrown into that lake. However, from my point of view, this is not what I think a merciful God would do. Rather, I believe a more merciful action would be to make second death the ultimate punishment since the original sin was caused by Satan himself. But as always, you're welcome to your beliefs! I would be interested in hearing your point of view as well, if you're so inclined!

I hope you have a wonderful week! Shabbat Shalom and God bless you!

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