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The Quick and The Dead
by Wayne Blank
"But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11 KJV)
Many of us can recall our surprise when we first learned that The Bible speaks not just of a resurrection, but of resurrections - more than one, separated by a long span of time. The future resurrections will occur in two stages, the first at the return of Jesus Christ (to our Jewish readers, that's what Rosh Hashanah, known to Christians as The Feast Of Trumpets, ultimately represents), and the second after the 1,000 years (to our Jewish readers, that's what Shemini Atzeret, "the 8th day" of Sukkot, ultimately represents - the 7 days of Sukkot, known to Christians as The Feast Of Tabernacles, represents the first 1,000 years after the earthly rule of the Messiah begins).
Resurrections Up To Now
Through Bible History, there are a number of recorded resurrections of people back to normal physical life after they had died from old age, illness or injury. All of these people would have died a natural death again later. A few examples:
Of course, the greatest resurrection up to now, the only one to glorious spirit life so far, was that of Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 24:1-53).
The Resurrection At The Return Of Christ
Those who have been truly called, and have repented, through all the ages up to the day of The Return of Jesus Christ will be resurrected from the dead, or instantly changed if they are alive that day, to eternal spirit life. They will serve Him, and rule the world with Him, during the 1,000 years (see The Elect):
"For this we declare to you by the word of The Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of The Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.For The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 RSV).
The Resurrection At The End Of The 1,000 Years
All of the people who have lived through the ages who did not have the opportunity to learn of Christ and be converted will be resurrected back to physical life at the end of the 1,000 years - not as any sort of "second chance," but as their first chance. Then, for that relatively short time between the second resurrection and the final judgment, they will learn the truth and have the opportunity to repent and be converted. Those that choose to obey God will then be transformed into eternal spirit beings just as those who were changed at the Return of Christ 1,000 years before.
The logical reason that Satan will be released from his prison for a short time after being locked up for the previous 1,000 years is to test those who will then know the Truth for the first time, including the hundreds of millions of people of the last generation of humans then alive, the descendants of the humans that were born and lived through the 1,000 years when Satan had no influence over them, as he does with the world now.
"The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." (Revelation 20:5 RSV)
The Lake Of Fire
All of those through the ages who refused to repent after they learned the truth will be resurrected back to physical life for passing of the sentence that they will have brought upon themselves. These incorrigible wicked will be destroyed along with those who rebel later. They will be completely obliterated - burnt to lifeless ash. It will be as though they never existed.
"And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:13-15 RSV)
Fact Finder: Does God want everyone to have the opportunity to choose eternal life so that none would perish?
This Week's Bible Quiz
1. What was the name of the man to whom the Book of Acts written?
2. What was the name of the man who replaced Judas Iscariot as an apostle?
3. On what Biblical Holy Day did the Holy Spirit come upon the church?
4. Who is considered to be the first Christian martyr?
5. What was the name of the sorcerer who attempted to buy the powers of The Holy Spirit?
6. Where was Saul going when he was struck down and converted into Paul?
7. What was the name of the woman that Peter raised from the dead in Joppa?
8. What was the name of the young man who Paul raised from the dead after he fell from a third-floor window?
9. Where was Saul/Paul born?
10. What was the name of the island on which Paul was shipwrecked?
For the answers to this October 9 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page