Christian Church of God - Grand Junction, Colorado

Christian Church of God, Grand Junction, Colorado    Statement #10 page two

…are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever…. We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great;…'” There IS a specific time assigned to this event.

Addressing the “sleep” idea, many Biblical passages present our death period as being a state of deep unconsciousness, like being asleep. In 1st Timothy 4:13-17 we read: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not [preceed] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” He not only likens it to sleep, but he states specifically that they ARE asleep! What is noteworthy also in this passage is the fact that his readers did not envision those ‘asleep in Jesus’ as already having ‘gone to be with the Lord’! Such an idea contradicts the deceased being unconscious.

IS there Biblical Affirmation? Sincere believers should be open to there being multiple resurrections if such a teaching could be found in Scripture. The question is, can we find such teaching? In fact there are two significant narratives which make reference to and explain each of these three! Both are ‘first person’ quotes of Christ Himself, and both are recorded by the beloved Apostle John. They are found in John chapter 5 and Revelation chapter 20.

We can better understand these two important narratives in the context of each other, so I here present them harmonized with one another, with pertinent comments:

The FIRST Resurrection: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (Jn.5:24 / Rev. 20:4-6) “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them… And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him for a thousand years.” These Christ refers to as the ‘dead in Christ’, those who are to be in the first resurrection, which occurs at Christ’s Second Coming, (long prior to the Great White Throne Judgment period in which they will also co-officiate!) (see 1st Cor 6:2 & Mal 3:18) Notice, in both passages we are told of a condition in

which believers are exempted from the final Judgment (that one which assigns either Life or eternal death (that is the meaning of the ‘second death’)). Such exemption is only provided to those truly converted in this age. Those who rejected their opportunity for Salvation are ‘condemned already’ (John 3:18) and will await final sentencing at the Judgment at the end. This raises the question of the situation as it relates to those throughout history who never had any opportunity for salvation or who were deliberately blinded by God lest the glorious light of the gospel should shine unto them. (John 12:40 & 2nd Cor. 4:4) To address that question, we need to examine Christ’s explanation of the next resurrection of humanity.

The SECOND Resurrection: Revelation 20 verse 5 explains most clearly, that the subsequent resurrection will not occur prior to the end of the 1000 year righteous reign of Christ and His Saints. Punctuating His statements to His disciples with exclamation, He continued: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear (Notice here the wording, suggesting that not all in this contingent will hear. In the next resurrection, ALL will hear! All will live.) For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” (Jn.5:25-27 / Rev.20:11-12) “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. (to be assigned, as they have not yet been given opportunity?) “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” This resurrection is a resurrection back to physical life (as we see in Ezekiel 37) which provides opportunity for those who never had a chance to respond to God’s call and live by the things written in ‘the books‘: their names can then be added into the Book of Life. No such opportunity is referred to in the next and final resurrection. The only book referred to there is the Book of Life, and that, only for the purpose of seeing whose names are written in it!! And notice that the final resurrection is all-inclusive! This previous one wasn’t all-inclusive, nor did that one impose the ‘second death’! That comes later!

Judgment exists in two phases: There is the ‘evidentiary phase’ in which a person is evaluated (such as we see upon the Church of God at this time (1st Pet. 4:17)) and then a ‘sentencing phase’. We should always remain attentive to that distinction when considering the word Judgment where it’s used.

The second resurrection era is also known by the term: Great White Throne Judgment, which provides a time of evaluative Judgment on that segment of humanity that never was afforded an opportunity for Salvation. The length of this era is speculative; some regard it as 100 years from a scripture in Isaiah 65, but in any event, it will be sufficient to allow enough time to perfect their conversion. Most likely, this will be one generation long.

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