The Resurrection


Because He Lives - We Also Shall Live

No Single General Resurrection



Dr. John Hoole



For the last several weeks we have been studying what the Bible says concerning death.  Two weeks ago, I showed you a chart depicting what happens when a person dies. Let me quickly show it again.


The resurrection of the human body from the grave is clearly taught in God's Word.  Job, the oldest of the patriarchs, makes mention of a physical resurrection.  In Job 14, he asks a question about it.


Job 14:14 NKJV


14      If a man dies, shall he live again?


A few chapters later, Job provides the answer to his own question.


Job 19:25-27 NIV


25      I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26      And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

27      I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!


It should be evident that Job was firm in his belief in the resurrection of his body, as well as a future life beyond the grave.


Consider Abraham, the founder and father of his race. He lived to be 175 years old and "died in a good old age" (Genesis 25:7-8). But we are told that "he looked for a city which had foundations, whose building and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10).


      He never saw that city in his earthly life, for earth to him was a "strange country." This godly patriarch, like others after him, had a "desire for a better country,"… (That’s vs. 16, but he continues) a "heavenly one, where God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:16).


     But Abraham believed that the heavenly city would be inhabited by a fleshly body, believing "that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead..." (Hebrews 11:19).


David was also confident of a future life. He said: "My flesh also shall rest in hope" (Psalm 16:9).  And he continued: "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness (Psalm 17:15). This is not a spiritual awakening, but David is talking about his physical body."


2 Corinthian 4:14 NIV


14   …..we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.


      The certainty of our resurrection is predicated on the surety of Christ’s resurrection.


1 Cor 6:14 NIV


14   By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.


God has raised Jesus Christ as a guarantee that He will do the same for us. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, will also be used to raise us from the dead.


The Bible very clearly states that all who have died will one day be resurrected. That is true for believers and unbelievers alike.


John 5:28-29 NKJV


28   Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

29   and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.


If this verse in John 5 were taken alone, one might get the impression that all the dead, oth the righteous and the ungodly, are resurrected at the same time.


Then after that happens, each person would be judged and sent in either of two directions.


                  a.     a resurrection of life

                  b.     a resurrection of condemnation


Some would say that the separation between these two groups occurs after a common resurrection. This is a serious error which has robbed many believers of joy and victory in this life. The Bible teaches that the difference between the resurrection of the righteous and the ungodly is more than just a difference in character or nature. There is also a difference in time.


I do not believe the Bible teaches of a GENERAL RESURRECTION, where everyone is resurrected and all stand before the judge at the same time.


Neither the time nor the place or the judgments are the same for both righteous and unrighteous. In fact, I believe it is very clear from Scripture that there are multiple resurrections which will happen at different times.


One passage that makes this easy to see is in Revelation 20


Revelation 20:6 NKJV


6      Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power,…..


Notice the words, the first resurrection. Those words establish the fact of at least a two-fold resurrection. Of necessity, if there is a first resurrection, it logically follows that there must be a second. Otherwise, it would be absolutely meaningless to employ the term “the first.”


      If we peruse the preceding verses in Rev. 20, it should be apparent that there are at least two resurrections, separated by 1,000 years or more.


In verse 5, it refers to “the rest of the dead”. He is referring to those who did not have a part in the first resurrection and will not reign with Christ for a thousand years. These, it says, “lived not again until the thousand years were completed.”


So, in this passage we see that the two resurrections mentioned here occur at different times.


Another passage clearly teaching multiple resurrections with different timing is Phil 3:10-11.


Philippians 3:10-11 NKJV


10   That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

11   If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead.


Someone might ask, "Where are two resurrections mentioned in these verses?" And if they are somehow mentioned, where is the difference in timing? Look at those last four words.


It doesn’t say “resurrection of the dead” but “resurrection from among the dead.” The phrase “from among the dead” is translated from the Greek “Ek Nekron.” In Greek the word “EK” means…… “out of” or “out from.”  “NEKRON” means “the dead.” Putting the two together, we have a resurrection “out from the dead”.


The inference is that some of the dead will be resurrected out from among the rest of the dead, who are not yet being resurrected.


Paul wanted to be part of the “first resurrection”, which would separate him from among the wicked dead. The righteous would be taken out, leaving the ungodly remainder still waiting their resurrection.


Again, the inference here is that there is a resurrection of the godly that is different in timing from the resurrection of the ungodly.


Let’s consider just a few more Scriptures that emphasize a resurrection of the godly, which is separate and apart from the resurrection of the ungodly.


Matthew 24:31 NIV


31   And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.


      Notice that this speaks of gathering only the elect.


Luke 20:35-36 NKJV


35   But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead [Again: EK NEKRON], neither marry nor are given in marriage;

36   nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.


This verse addresses those who are “counted worthy” as having part in this resurrection.


Hebrews 11 speaks of many in the hall of faith. Each person mentioned had individual and varied experiences they went through but remained faithful.


Verse 35 (NKJV) says:

      And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.


      If there is a “better resurrection,” it follows that there must also be a “not so good” resurrection.


No, there is no general resurrection, where we find all, both saved and unsaved, raised from the dead at the same moment. But yes, there is a resurrection that is unique for those who have been godly. And Yes, we will immediately be taken into the presence of our Lord.


1 Corinthians 15:20 NKJV


20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.


Notice the phrase in verse 20 - Christ is "the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."  “Fallen asleep” means they have died.


The apostle Paul uses one of the annual Jewish holy days to describe the resurrection of Christ. The Feast of Firstfruits is the third of the seven annual holy days of the Jews. What is the significance of using this description? In the ceremony of the Israelites on the holy day of Firstfruits, the Jews would bring, as a sacrifice, a sheaf of the barley harvest to the priest. This was the initial fruit of the harvest - a sign of a harvest of more fruit to come.


Just as the firstfruits were a pledge of the coming harvest that would be presented to Jehovah, so our Lord's resurrection is a promise that all who are in their graves, having trusted Him, will be raised and brought into the presence of the Father.


Speaking to believers, the apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit says:


      "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive."


It is only because He was raised that we will also.