The First Resurrection

The First Resurrection?  According to many dispensationalists, the first resurrection is really the second resurrection.
First off, you have to understand the chronology of the book of Revelation does not read like you would think.  Not everything is in strict chronological order.  There are some things that are undeniably in order.  For instance, the seven seals.  It’s pretty straight forward that the first seal is opened first, the second seal is opened second, etc.  But there are other issues that must be resolved.
From Revelation chapter 1 all the way through chapter 11, we have a pretty straight forward timeline.  There is one parenthetical passage beginning in chapter 10 and extending through 11:14.  The reason is that before describing the seventh trumpet, you have to understand some additional information.  So after the description of the sixth trumpet, the chronology breaks to give some other background information especially concerning the two witnesses.  The seventh trumpet carries us to the end of Daniel’s seventieth week and into the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.  However, the angel had said in 10:8-11 that John would prophesy again concerning these things after taking the little book out of angel’s hand and eating it.
So as we enter chapter 12, we begin the chonology again fresh, this time with information that dates back to the dawn of time, but quickly moves us into the subject matter at hand.  The events of chapters 12-16 cover the exact same ground that John had just seen.  It is another prophecy concerning what will happen during the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week.  In chapters 6-11, we have the progression of
#1- Great Tribulation
#2- Sealing of the 144,000
#3- The resurrection/rapture
#4- The day of the LORD wrath, trumpets
And in chapters 12-16 we have the progression of
#1- Great Tribulation
#2- Sealing of the 144,000
#3- The resurrection/rapture
#4- The day of the LORD wrath, bowls
But after chapter 16 brings Daniel’s seventieth week to a close all over again, John is sort of taken on a little tour.  The angel who serves as his guide gives him explanations concerning things that have already happened within the chronology.  For instance, the destruction of Babylon has already occured in connection with the coming of Christ and with the seventh bowl, yet we have a two chapter explanation of the event.  Does this mean the destruction of Babylon occurs after Daniel’s seventieth week is all over?   Of course not.  The description of this destruction is to be inserted into the chronology exactly where it has already been revealed that it belongs.
It’s the same with the battle of Armageddon.  We have a picture of Christ as warrior in 19:11-16 with the armies of the earth advancing on Him in 19:17-21.  It has already been revealed that at the sixth bowl, all the nations of the earth were being gathered to Armageddon.  Then at the seventh bowl we have the statement, "It is done".  The great city is divided and Great Babylon is given the cup of wrath to drink.  The events described in 19:11-21 occur at the seventh bowl as one of the last events (if not THE last event) in Daniel’s seventieth week.
Now on to what the Bible terms, The First Resurrection.  Here is the passage.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Again, we must insert this description into the chronology exactly where it occured in both prophecies.  It is located squarely between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the LORD.  In the first prophecy, it is at the sixth seal.  In the second prophecy, it is at the first reaping.  Here are the only factors as far as chronology goes that we can glean from this passage.
#1-  The first resurrection is after the great tribulation since it includes those who refused the mark of the beast.
#2-  The first resurrection is before the Millennium since those who are resurrected reign with Christ a thousand years.
But what is meant by the word "First"?  I looked it up in Strong’s concordance and it basically means "First".  Yet there are those who insist that there already has been another resurrection before the first resurrection.  I’m not just talking about Pre-Tribbers here.  Many PreWrathers believe this very thing.  They place the resurrection/rapture at the sixth seal, but insist that the First Resurrection described here is after Daniel’s seventieth week is over, and many believe that we are even after the thirty day period immediately following Daniel’s seventieth week when placing the timing of the First Resurrection.  Some PreWrathers also try to divide the First Resurrection as well.  They insist that the First Resurrection described in the above passage is only for those who have been martyred.  According to them, this is a special resurrection just for those who were martyred for not taking the mark of the beast during the Great Tribulation.
I can’t buy any of that.  The First Resurrection is the FIRST Resurrection.  There will be no other that precedes it (beside the resurrection of Christ as per I Cor 15:23).  The First Resurrection also includes OT saints, NT saints, all the church, all tribulation saints, including all tribulation martyrs.  It is after the Great Tribulation, but before the Millennium by very definition of the surrounding passage.  This resurrection that happens after the tribulation is NOT the second resurrection, but the First Resurrection.  This all encompassing view of the resurrection of the righteous is exactly what the writer to the Hebrews believed when he wrote Hebrews 11:40.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman
P.S.  Fellow PreWrathers, if you don’t agree, we are still family, and still united on a great many issues.  Feel free to contact me with any disagreements.
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