The First Resurrection 

If you are a Christian and are aware of the very spiritual event termed ‘The Rapture,’ you are no doubt anticipating that you – together with members of your family and other Christian friends will be removed from this world and into the eternal presence of your Creator and Savior Jesus Christ when it happens.

The purpose of this study is to reveal certain Biblical truths associated with this event in an attempt to clarify some of the many misconceptions that Christians have about it today. 

This article is the third of a four part series titled, The Rapture. It covers the following topics: 

1. The First and Second Resurrections 

  • All people will have a resurrected body
  • Who is in the First Resurrection?

Well done, good and faithfull servant

  • Who is in the Second Resurrection?

Depart from me ye cursed

2. Christ the First-fruits (1 Cor 15:23) – completed

  • Why the need for a Resurrection?
  • What is a Resurrection?
  • What was Christ's new body like?

1. The First and Second Resurrection 

All people will one day have a resurrected body that is required for them to spend the remainder of etenity in. 

If you are a Christian and you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then you believe in the First Resurrection. The Bible clearly states that all people will have their mortal body of flesh, blood and bones transformed into an eternal (resurrected) body, as stated below: 

(Rom 14:9) "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the [resurrected] dead [in Hell] and [the resurrected] living [who live eternally with Him].” 

The above verse illustrates that all resurrected people (including both His resurrected saints and those who rejected Him) will eventually recognize Him and King of kings and Lord of lords: 

(Phil 2:10-11) "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven [saints, angels, cherubim, seraphim], and things in earth [resurrected saints, natural people], and things under the earth [people in Hell]; {11} And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Who is in the First Resurrection? 

Christians who participate in the First Resurrection are those who are symbolic of the Wise Virgins in the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins spoken by Jesus in Matt 25:1-13. The unique characteristics of these Wise Virgins are as follows: 

  • They are Saved (Rom 10:9-10)
  • They have been baptized in water by a man (Mark 16:16)
  • They are “born again(John 3:3-8). This is a spiritual new birth experience that occurs in the same manner as a natural birth occurs. It is a similar ‘experience’ to that of a baby traveling from the world of its mother’s belly into this physical world. The child of God has to partake of a similar new birth when passing from the carnality of this world to the holiness of God’s kingdom. This experience must occur within his or her lifetime on the Earth.
  • They have been baptized in the Spirit by Jesus (John 3:5-6; John 20:22) and now have their spiritual eyes opened (Mark 8:24) to see God’s kingdom (John 3:3).
    • Has studied the scriptures to understand the doctrines they contain (1 Tim 2:16), and
    • Is able to teach and defend what the Bible teaches using Bible-based doctrines (2 Tim 4:2)
    • Believes and lives according to what is Biblical truth rather than invoking compromise or excuse, which is always a feature of the Wise Virgin’s life, no matter what the cost (Eph 4:14-15).
    • They have put off the old carnal (or Adamic) nature and have put on the new spiritual nature of Jesus Christ (Eph 4:22-24) that can only happen through the new birth (John 3:1-8)
  • They have put off their own (self) righteousness (of personal or ethnic values of right and wrong) and have put on Christ’s values of righteousness (2 Cor 9:10; Eph 4: 24; 1 Peter 4:18; Matt 5:20) that overrides all cultural and religious beliefs.
  • They have put on Christ’s holiness, and bring forth the “fruits of holiness” in their lives (Rom 6:22; 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Thes 3:13; Titus 2:3; Heb 12:14).
  • They have been persecuted for sharing Biblical truths to others (John 15:20-21; 2 Tim 3;12).

The above listed qualities are essential for Christians to attain if they hope to be a member of the Rapture. The above list is not exhaustive, but represents some of the vital qualities Jesus is looking to see in His people who are faithful to Him.

(Luke 13:24) "STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate: for MANY [Christians], I [Jesus] say unto you, will seek to enter in [at the Rapture], and shall NOT be able." 

God has set the standards He requires for entry into the Rapture in scripture. If any professing Christian has failed to attain these essential (Godly) qualities that He requires for Him to honor His word, then such a person will fall into the category of being either a Harlot or a Foolish Virgin (Matt 25:1-3).

The passage of scripture below illustrates that every disciple of Jesus Christ who dies in the faith will be resurrected into eternal life, or “made alive” for eternity. Scripture then states that there are “orders” or phases in which the First Resurrection occurs, where the resurrection of Jesus was the first event to occur: 

(1 Cor 15:22-23) "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 [of the First Resurrection]; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.” 

The verse of scripture below highlights that every disciple of Jesus Christ who takes part in the First Resurrection will be “blessed” throughout eternity, whereas those who experience the Second Resurrection will suffer under its “power” – experiencing agonising death every day throughout eternity for rejecting Christ or becoming an enemy of Him.

The reference to the “thousand years” in this verse refers to the millennial (or one thousand year) reign of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords when He establishes His kingdom and His throne in Jerusalem at the end of the Tribulation period. 

(Rev 20:6) "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the FIRST RESURRECTION: on such the second death [or Second Resurrection] hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and [they] shall reign with him a thousand years.” 

Who is in the Second Resurrection? 

There are three main categories of people who will be in the Second Resurrection: 

1. The Unbelievers:

This category represents people who consider they are non-religious. They are usually secular and prefer to worship the worldly ‘gods’ of wealth (money, property, businesses, etc.) and pursue the hedonistic pleasures that this world offers. In religious terms, they could be called, unrepentant sinners. 

2. Idol Worshippers:

This category represents people who have rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have preferred to embrace an alternative religion other than Biblical Christianity. Such religions would include any that involve actual idol worship such as Buddhism; or an unseen ‘idol’ that involves intellectualism such as philosophy.

There are other forms of idol worship, however our Creator is jealous of anything that entices an individual to worship anything other than Him (Rom 1:24-25). This could be from an inaminate item such as a motor car to another human being such as a family member or a football star. 

3. Christian Cults:

Any person who perverts or distorts the truths that the Christian Bible reveals is termed a heretic or “an enemy of Jesus Christ.” The Bible defines such Christians as those whose faith now resembles a “shipwreck” (1 Tim 1:19-20) and is usually evidenced by their rejection of Biblical truths or the opposition they create to the true disciples of Jesus Christ when denying the literalness of what scripture plainly states. 

For the unbelievers who have rejected Christ’s salvation, there are less punishments waiting for them in Hell after they die, because they simply chose the pleasures of this life rather than the cost of securing eternal life that comes with accepting the Biblical Jesus Christ as Savior.

(Matt 10:39) "He that findeth his [born-again, spiritual life in this] life shall lose it [because it is worthless and offensive to God]: and he that loseth his [former self-indulgent] life for my sake shall find it [magnified in blessings throughout eternity].”

However, for those Christians who prefer to associate with those who worship idols made of wood, stone or metal, God has reserved a more severe punishment for these who are deemed to become traitors of Jesus Christ – just as Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus (Matt 26:23-24). The passages of scripture below illustrate that Christians will experience a worse degree of punishment in Hell for their sinful ways if they are guilty of betraying Jesus Christ:

(Luke 12:45-48) "But and if that servant [such as a pastor or church leader] say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; {46} The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder [two pieces], and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. {47} And that servant [or every lukewarm Christian], which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his [Christ’s] will, shall be beaten with MANY STRIPES [in Hell]. {48} But he that knew not [e.g. the unbeliever], and did commit things worthy of stripes [or punishments revealed through the law as “sin”], shall be beaten with FEW STRIPES. For unto whomsoever much is given [the professing Christian church through their Bibles], of him shall be much required [by God]: and to whom men have committed much [to those in leadership], of him they will ask the more.

(Gal 6:7-8) "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth [in this lifetime], that shall he also reap [in the next lifetime]. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh [in this lifetime] shall of the flesh reap corruption [in the Lake of Fire throughout eternity]; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting [throughout eternity].

Highlighted below are categories of Christians who can be classed as rejecters of the Biblical Jesus Christ:

  1. Faithless Christians (Matt 17:17) who have attended churches but have failed to study the Bible to gain sufficient faith in the scriptures to endure the trials of life when they come (Matt 7:24-27) or to do God’s will (Mark 3:35; ). Jesus illustrated this category of Christians whose faith ‘fails’ when the trial of their faith (1 Peter 1:7) becomes too much and they become withered and eventually die spiritually (Matt 13:5-6; John 15:6).
  2. Christians who attend churches and have studied the Bible and gained faith in the scriptures but the pressures of daily life have prevented them from exercising their faith to the degree where they are mature enough to produce spiritual ‘fruit’ for God (Matt 13:7; Luke 8:14).
  3. Christians who use their intellectual minds to understand scripture rather than reading and believing everything in the Bible in pure faith (1 Tim 1:5; 2 Tim 1:5). Any Bible knowledge they acquire about Christ (Col 2:7-8) is undermined by certain doubts they embrace through their “leavened” beliefs" (1 Cor 5:7) as illustrated below:
  • Scripture re-interpretation:  The Bible refers to this approach of Bible understanding as “vain deceit.” Such actions tend to make God a liar in preference to the individual’s own personal beliefs.
  • By embracing humanistic (or intellectual) philosophy. Such a belief rejects what scripture plainly states in preference to accepting the ‘wisdom’ of the corrupt human mind.

(Rom 8:7-8) "Because the carnal [or intellectual] mind is enmity [or an enemy] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. {8} So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

d. Christians who have made their faith appear like it is “shipwrecked” (1 Tim 1:19). These people are those who remain in churches but what they believe and speak are blasphemous (or heretical) beliefs compared to what scripture plainly states. Depending upon the degree of opposition to Biblical truth they present, such Christians can be classed as:

  • False apostles (2 Cor 11:13)
  • Deceitful workers (2 Cor 11:13)
  • Grievous wolves (Acts 20:29)
  • False shepherds (John 10:12-13)
  • Workers of iniquity (Luke 13:27)

The abovementioned groups of Christians will be rejected by God because they have chosen to walk the journey of their lifetime on the Earth in ‘their fleshly mind’ instead of “walking in the Spirit” (Rom 8:1). Below are some of the warnings contained in scripture about becoming one of these Christians.

(Mark 13:5) "And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:"

(Col 2:17-19) "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his FLESHLY MIND,”

(Col 2:7-8) "…BEWARE lest any man spoil you through PHILOSOPHY and VAIN DECEIT, after the TRADITION OF MEN, after the RUDIMENTS OF THE WORLD, and not after Christ.

For Christians and non-Christians who prefer to reject the teachings of the Bible and therefore offend their Creator, scripture plainly states that these people mentioned in the following categories will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God in eternity, but will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev 21:8) in their eternally resurrected bodies.

(1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21) "Know ye not that THE UNRIGHTEOUS [comprised of Christians and non-Christians] shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, {10} Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed [in the blood of Christ], but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the NAME of the Lord Jesus, and BY the Spirit of our God."

2. Christ the First-fruits – completed

(1 Cor 15:23)  "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."

What is a Resurrection? 

A resurrection represents the bringing back to life something that was dead. In Christianity, this refers to human bodies that have been in graves for hundreds or thousands of years will be raised up to live once again. At this time, it is not to live again an earthly life in an earthly body, but an eternal lifetime in an eternal body in one of two environments:

  • With Christ and with our spiritual Father (Heb 12:9).
  • In the eternal Lake of Fire with our spiritual Deceiver – Satan (Rev 20:10).

Why the need for a Resurrection? 

God has proven that He cannot trust angels to do the ‘right’ thing all the time (Job 4:18). This claim is further highlighted where the prophet Ezekiel records Lucifer’s reign in Heaven before he was cast to the Earth as “profane” (Ezek 28:15).

If sinful angels cannot dwell in God’s presence, then they have to ‘dwell’ somewhere. God has assigned a location (such as a prison) where they cannot perpetrate more offences upon His creation, and this place is termed Hell (Matt 25:41). 

Hell was not created for disobedient (or rebellious) humans, but for rebellious and sinful, angels. However, because mankind’s heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9), God gives each of us a lifelong opportunity to listen the voice of either our Savior Jesus Christ, or listen to our enemy, the Devil (Matt 13:38-39).

God gives us our free will to chose whom we want to follow as our spiritual father – the Father of all spirits (God the Father) or the father of all rebellious spirits (the Devil or Satan). 

The First Resurrection will see “the just” (or those who have be justified by their works – James 2:27) men and women enter into eternal life with their Creator in their eternal bodies (Phil 3:21). The Second Resurrection will see "the unjust” (sinful, rebellious) men and women enter into the Lake of Fire to spend eternity in their immortal bodies to be punished for their iniquities with their spiritual father – the Devil (Rev 21:8).

What was Christ’s new body like?

Before Jesus Christ came to the Earth as a man, He had lived in Heaven (throughout eternity past) with God the Father in a spiritual body (John 1:1-3). The scriptures do not reveal much about what the body of God is like in the sense of what Christ had before He came to the Earth. All we know from scripture is that it is a spiritual body that has the same appearance as any man’s body has, because the Bible says all men are made in the image of God: 

(Gen 1:26-27) "And God said, Let us make man in OUR IMAGE, after OUR LIKENESS: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. {27} So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 

(Exod 24:9-11) "Then went up [on Mount Sinai] Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: {10} And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were THE BODY OF HEAVEN IN HIS CLEARNESS. {11} And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” 

Scripture reveals the following characteristics about God that help us relate to Him as human beings. The summary below was taken from notes contained in the Dake Annotated Reference Bible located at the end of the Book of Job.

He is a PERSON - Job 13:8, Heb 1:3
He has a SPIRIT BODY - John 4:24 Dan 10:5-6
He has a SHAPE - John 5:37
He has an IMAGE and LIKENESS - Gen 1:26; 9:6; 1Cor 11:7; James 3:9
He has BACK PARTS - Exod33:23
He has a FORM - Phil 2:5-7
He has COUNTENANCE - Psalm 11:7
He has a HEAD - Dan 7:9
He has a MOUTH - Num 12:8; Isa 1:20
He has LIPS - Isa 11:4; 30:27
He has a TONGUE - Isa 30:27
He has NOSTRILS - 2 Sam 22:9; Psa 18:8,15
He has EYES - Psa 11:4; 18:24; 33:18
He has EARS - Psa 18:6; 34:15
He has HAIR - Dan 7:9
He has a VOICE - Psalm 29
He has BREATH - Gen 2:7
He has ARMS - Psa 44:3; John 12:38
He has HANDS - Psa 102:25-26; Heb 1:10
He has FINGERS - Psa 8:3; Exod 31:18
He has a RIGHT HAND - Rev 5:1, Psalm 110:1
He has LOINS - Ezek 1:26-27
He has FEET - Exod 24:10; Psa 18:9
He has a HEART - Gen 6:6; 8:21
He EATS FOOD - Gen 18:1-8
He needs REST - Gen 2:1-2; Heb 4:4
He SITS ON A THRONE - Isa 6; Dan 7:9-11
He WALKS - Gen 3:8; 18:1-8, 22, 33
He RIDES - Psa 18:10; 68:17; Ezek 1
He has a SOUL - Math 12:18; Heb 10:38
He experiences GRIEF - Gen 6:6
He experiences ANGER - Psa 7:11, 1 Kings 11:9
He experiences REPENTANCE - Gen 6:6
He experiences JEALOUSY - Ex 20:5; 34:14
He experiences HATE - Zech 14:3, Prov 6:16
He experiences PITY - Ezek 36:21
He experiences LOVE - John 3:16
He experiences FELLOWSHIP - 1 Cor 1:9, Eph 3:9
He experiences JOY - Neh 8:10; Zeph 3:17
He experiences PEACE - Rom 16:20, Heb 13:20
He experiences GENTLENESS - 2 Cor 10:1
He experiences GOODNESS - Ex 34:6, Rom 2:3-4
He experiences MEEKNESS - Psalm 45:3-4
He has a PERSONAL SPIRIT - Psa 143:10; Isa 30:1
He experiences characteristics of MIND - Rom 11:34
He experiences characteristics of INTELLIGENCE - Gen 1:26; Rom 11:33
He experiences characteristics of WILL - Rom 8:27; 9:19
He experiences characteristics of POWER - Eph 1:19; 3:7,20; Heb 1:3
He experiences characteristics of TRUTH - Psa 91:4, 138:2
He experiences characteristics of HOPE - Rom 15:13
He experiences characteristics of RIGHTEOUSNESS - Psa 7:9, 45:4
He experiences characteristics of FAITHFULNESS - 1 Cor 10:13
He experiences characteristics of KNOWLEDGE - Isa 11:2
He experiences characteristics of WISDOM - 1 Tim 1:17
He experiences characteristics of DISCERNMENT - 2 Sam 14:17, Heb 4:12
He experiences PLEASURE & DELIGHT - Psa 147:11, Prov 11:20
He endures LONGSUFFERING - Rom 2:3-4,
He exercises SELF-CONTROL - Isa 48:9

The Bible also tells us that our body comprised of flesh, bones and blood CANNOT inherit eternity. We each require a new physical body in which to spend eternity – whether it is with our Creator or with our arch enemy and Deceiver, Satan (1 Peter 5:8-9) 

(1 Cor 15:48-50) "As is the earthy [i.e. the first Adam – 1 Cor 15:45], such are they also that are earthy [or those who reject God’s salvation in Jesus Christ]: and as is the heavenly [Christ – the second Adam], such are they also that are heavenly [meaning, who live according to His words as Christ lived according to His Father’s words – John 14:24]. {49} And as we have borne the image of the earthy [in bodies of flesh, bones and blood], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [in a similar body to that of the resurrected Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 15:52-55]. {50} Now this I say, brethren, that [a body comprised of] flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth [a mortal body of] corruption [that ages, cannot] inherit incorruption [or immortality].”

Therefore, scripture plainly states that every person’s body will be resurrected to spend eternal life with either our Creator, or spend eternal damnation (or dying daily) with our archenemy – the Devil, in the Lake of Fire. Each person's lifetime spent on the Earth will determine for eternity to whom we have spiritually listened to and aligned ourselves with. 

(Matt 12:35-37) "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. {36} But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. {37} For BY THY WORDS thou shalt be JUSTIFIED [to enter in Heaven], and BY THY WORDS thou shalt be CONDEMNED [into Hell].”

Christians worthy of eternal life with Christ will have a body like His that has the following characteristics:

  • It can pass through doors and walls (John 20:26)
  • It is invisible to natural–born humans (Rev 2:1; Matt 18:20)
  • It can be easily disguised (Luke 24:15-16)
  • It can ascend through the sky to Heaven (Acts 1:9; John 1:51)
  • It can consumefood found on the Earth (Luke 24:39-43)
  • It has no blood (Luke 24:39; Mark 14:24)
  • It can be recognized as having the same physical features as when it lived on the Earth (John 20:15-16; John 21:5-7)
  • It will never age (2 Cor 5:1-5).

There are FIVE ‘orders’ that comprise the First Resurrection, which are listed below (1 Cor 15:23). They each have a resurrection of dead bodies of God’s people and they each ascend from the Earth into Heaven via a cloud:

  1. Christ the Firstfruits (1 Cor 15:23; Acts 1:9) – completed
  2. The Old Testament saints (Matt 27:52-53) – completed
  3. The Rapture of the Church (1 Thes 4:15-18; 1 Thes 4:16-17) – very soon!
  4. The 144,000 Jewish (virgin) men – the ‘manchild’ (Rev 12:1-5; Rev 12:5)
  5. The Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Rev 11:7-11; Rev 11:12)

This article is the third in a four part series titled, The Rapture, which are listed below.

Please click on the link below to take you to the last item.

1. Harlot versus Virgin Christians
2. Wise Versus Foolish Christians
3. The First Resurrection
4. Qualifications for the Rapture
5. False Prophecy of the 21st May 2011 Rapture