Do The Scriptures Teach More Than One Resurrection When Christ Returns?

A. Generally speaking, those who teach and believe in more than one resurrection do so because of the influence of premillennial doctrine.
1. From this same doctrine also comes the teaching of the "Rapture".
B. Basically, millennialists teach:
1. Christ will return and the saints will be resurrected and "raptured" with Him to heaven.
2. There will be a period of "Tribulation". (Some say it will be for 7 years.)
3. Christ will again return with the saints. He will establish His kingdom and rule in person on earth for a 1000 yrs. on the throne of David in Jerusalem.
4. During which time He will restore Israel as a nation to the land of Palestine and exalt Israel over the nations of the earth.
5. At the end of the 1000 years, the wicked will be resurrected.
C. These doctrines not only teach the necessity of two resurrections but also of two returns of Christ: one return to resurrect and rapture the saints and another return to establish His kingdom and resurrect the wicked.
D. The "proof" the millennialists use to "prove" their doctrine of a 1000 year reign of Christ is Revelation 20 and they give 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 to "prove" the "rapture".

I. The Scriptures Do Not Teach That Two Returns Of Christ Are Yet To Occur.
A. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 - "To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."
1. While the millennialists teach Christ is coming "for his saints", this teaches He will come "with all his saints".
2. Thus, Paul has Christ coming seven years too early to fit the millennial doctrine.
B. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 - "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
1. When the Lord comes, He will "bring with them" those "which sleep".
2. This passage is also totally opposite to millennial teaching.
C. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
1. He will recompense tribulation "to them that trouble you"-the wicked.
2. He will recompense rest to those "who are troubled"-the righteous.
3. He will take vengeance on them that refuse to know God and reject the gospel of Christ.
4. He will punish all cases of disobedient described with everlasting punishment from His presence.
5. He will reward all who are worthy of the calling with his own glory.
a. What we have in these passages is judgment 1000 years too early.
b. These passages puts the judgment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous at the same time.
6. There is no time for the rapture nor two resurrections and two comings as the rapture doctrine teaches.

II. The Scriptures Do Not Teach There Will Be Two Resurrections.
A. Acts 23:6; 24:15
1. Paul only speaks of the "resurrection" in the singular.
2. There is but one resurrection and it is of "the dead" - all the dead!
3. There is to be no play made of the phrase "of the dead" and "from the dead" because Jesus is called the "firstborn from the dead" in Colossians 1:18 and the "firstborn of the dead" in Revelation 1:5.
a. Paul did not hope to be in two resurrections: one FROM the dead and the other OF the dead.
b. Neither is Christ the firstborn of two resurrections.
4. Also, note Matthew 22:30,31 and the parallel account in Luke 20:35.
a. The same event, the same people being spoken to, the same resurrection, yet Matthew says "of the dead" and Luke says, "from the dead".

III. Examination Of Their "Proof"Text.
A. Revelation 20
1. Things we must keep in mind about the book of Revelation:
a. Uses signs and symbols to reveal its message.
b. The reason for this is John wrote during troublesome times. The personal safety of both the writer and the reader were in danger if the enemy understood the true meaning of the book.
c. Revelation conceals and reveals: Conceals the message from the enemy and reveals the message to people of God.
d. Other examples of this style of writing is Daniel, Ezekiel,Isaiah, and Joel.
e. No interpretation of Revelation is correct if it is meaningless and fails to bring practical help and comfort to Christian's of John's day.
f. Symbols are qualities, ideas, and principles represented by things concrete. It is a language with a double meaning.
g. The proper way to understand symbols is like that of understanding parables: find the main point and let the details fit in the most natural way.
h. The main point of Revelation is: Despite persecution and oppression, whatever it's source, if we will remain true and faithful to the Lord, the victory will ultimately be ours through Christ. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." (Rev. 5:12)
2. A look at the context in which Revelation 20 is found.
a. In chapter 17 John describes Babylon and in chapter 18 John tells of her fall.
(1) What Babylon was to fleshly Israel, Rome was to the Christians of John's day.
(2) What Jabin and Sisera was to fleshly Israel, the beast and false prophet were to the Christians of John's day (Judges 4)
3. Revelation 20 is similar to Ezekiel 37.
a. In Ezekiel 37 we have the restoration of Israel out of Babylonian captivity compared to the resurrection of a valley of dry bones.
b. However, neither passage is talking about a bodily resurrection. It is symbolical:
(1) As God resurrected Israel from the captivity of Babylon, He would resurrect the martyred saints who had been killed by the beast.
4. Revelation 20 says nothing about:
a. Christ setting up a kingdom.
b. Christ reigning on earth a thousand years. (It does not mention the reign of Christ but rather the reign of souls with Christ.)
c. A rapture.
d. A bodily resurrection.
e. All Christians reigning.
f. Second coming of Christ.
g. Throne of David, or any other throne on earth.
h. Jerusalem or Palestine.
I. Us.
B. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1. Christians in Thessalonica were concerned about what would happen to Christians who had already died when Christ returned. Would they be forgotten?
2. Paul is laying their fears to rest, thus these verses are dealing only with the righteous. The wicked are not under consideration in these verses.
3. Nothing is said of a rapture of saints to occur before the resurrection of the wicked. The dead in Christ will rise first and then those who are living will "be caught up together with them".

IV. What The Scriptures Teach About Christ's Second Coming:
A. All the dead will raise. John 5:28,29
1. Millennialists says just the dead saints will raise and the wicked will later.
2. Yet, Jesus says, in "that HOUR"!
B. It will occur on "last day". John 6:40,44,54.
1. How is it possible to get 7 years and 1000 years in the "last day" and "that hour"?
C. All will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51,52
D. Will meet Jesus in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:16
1. Millennialists says Jesus is coming back to earth to establish a kingdom but Scriptures say the closest Christ will come to this earth is for us to meet Him "in the air".
E. Judgment will take place. Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10
1. As we are in death, so will we be in judgment.
F. Heaven and earth will "pass away". 2 Peter 3:12
G. Will bring an end to Christ's kingdom. 1 Corinthians 15:25
1. When will the last enemy, death, be destroyed? Answer: When everyone is resurrected.
2. Millennialists says just the opposite.
a. They say Christ is coming back to set up His kingdom.
H. Saints will be glorified (Colossians 3:4) but the wicked will be damned (Philippians 3:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

A. The Scriptures do not teach:
1. Thousand year reign of Christ on earth with all saints.
2. A rapture of only saints when Jesus returns.
3. Two or more resurrections.
B. The Scriptures teach two deaths. Revelation 20:6; 21:8 but there is not resurrection from that death.
1. The second death is not a bodily death but a spiritual death. If we can understand this, we should also be able to understand that the resurrection of Revelation 20 is likewise, not a bodily resurrection, but a spiritual resurrection.

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