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First Resurrection

"I'll Fly Away"Midi!

(Rev 20:6 KJV) "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priest of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

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Resurrection Coffin There will be the "First Resurrection" of all Saints (which will occur after the Great Tribulation) who will reign with Christ a thousand years (Millennium); subsequently, not until the end of the thousand years will the rest of the dead be raised (Rev 20:5).

Former Resurrections

The coming "first resurrection" in Revelation 20:6 may seem to be a paradox to some, since there have been previous resurrections. After studying and "...rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15 KJV), one will better understand what the Lord is saying through John the Beloved concerning this "first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power." John was one of the eyewitnesses of the resurrections and the miracles that Jesus performed during His ministry. This is another resurrection that the Lord has informed us about by the hand of John. To begin I would like to discuss some former resurrections to clear up some things that are possibly on your mind.

Most Christians should have read or at least heard about the following who were raised: Lazarus who had been dead four days (John 11:39-44), daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43), son of a widow from Nain (Luke 7:11-15), and when Jesus yielded up the ghost, "...graves were opened; and many bodies of the Saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" (Mat 27:50-53 KJV).

Not one of those raised out of their sleep had changed bodies fashioned like unto His glorious body (Phil 3:20-21), or did they put on immortality (1 Cor 15:51-54), essentials for the (First) Resurrection of the last day (John 11:24-26) whereby they could live bodily in the presence of the Lord forever. Jesus, who died and rose from the grave the third day (Mat 16:21) and is now at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Rom 8:34), is the only one at this time who has received such a body and who alone has immortality (1 Tim 6:14-16).

Change Our Vile Body (Phil 3:20-21)

Those former resurrections had already occurred before the information in Revelation was recorded. The First Resurrection will be upcoming when all believers will rise and have changed (Job 14:12-15) bodies (1 Cor 15:51-54). We should long for that Day when our bodies will " fashioned like unto his glorious body..." (Phil 3:21 KJV).

Hidden Specifics

There are some important hidden specifics in the bread and grain of four of seven Israelite festivals (Lev 23) that pertain to the body of Christ and the resurrection, which contributes toward understanding the First Resurrection. Portrayals are in the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exo 12:1-20), Sheaf of the First Fruits of Harvest (Lev 23:9-14), Feast of Weeks (Deu 16:9-12; Lev 23:15-21) in the two wave loaves (Lev 23:17), bread of the first fruits (Lev 23:20) on Pentecost, and Feast of Ingathering.

Passover and Unleavened Bread

Note: Jesus, who is "...the resurrection and the life..." (John 11:24-26 KJV), is our Passover (Exo 12:1-16) who was sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7-8).

First, during the Lord's Supper on the day of the Feast of the Passover (Luke 22:1) and the first day of unleavened (Lev 23:5-6) bread (Mark 14:1, 12-16), the new covenant believers ate bread that represented the body (Luke 22:15-20) of Jesus Christ -- who is the Bread of Life (John 6:48-51) -- which was broken for us (1 Cor 11:24-26).

Sheaf of the First Fruits (Lev 23:10-11)

Second, Jesus rising from the grave (the third day) is portrayed in the sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest -- He being the first fruits of them that slept (1 Cor 15:20-23) -- which was waved before the LORD "...he morrow [Sunday] after the sabbath [Saturday]..." (Lev 23:10-11 KJV). And was fulfilled on the first day of the week (Mark 16:1-2, 9) -- a day that could be called Resurrection Sunday ("Low in the Grave He Lay" Midi!).

Third portrayal is in the two wave loaves (Lev 23:17), bread of the first fruits (Lev 23:20) and was celebrated (Sunday) on the fiftieth day (Pentecost) following the seventh Sabbath after bringing a sheaf of first fruits of the wave offering (Lev 23:10-16). The bread of the first fruits (1 Cor 15:20-23) of wheat (Exo 34:22) or possibly barley (2 Ki 4:42) was made of fine flour, in essence is Christ holiness (Rom 11:16), and was baked with leaven (Lev 23:17). One loaf represented Jew and the other Gentile. Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) began to be fulfilled (Joel 2:28-29) when Jew first (Rom 1:16) then Gentile (Acts 10:44-48; Gal 3:14) took part in the bread that I call Resurrection Bread and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5 1)..

Note: Some may not realize the fullness of God (Eph 3:14-21) and Christ (Eph 4:7-16) that can be achieved after receiving the Resurrection Spirit, the Spirit of God (Rom 8:11). At this moment, we who have Him have a foretaste of the resurrection and His power currently manifested in our lives.

Quicken Your Mortal Bodies (Rom 8:11)

(Rom 8:11 KJV) "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."

Like as Christ Was Raised Up (Rom 6:3-4)

To understand how we are raised now, read Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12 that explain how water baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior.

(Rom 6:3-4 KJV) "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? {4} Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." 3
(Col 2:12 KJV) "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."

Have Put on Christ (Gal 3:27-28)

Galatians 3:27-28 tells us when baptized we put on Christ. And that there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

(Gal 3:27-28 KJV) "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. {28} There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

Redemption of Our Body (Rom 8:22-23)

Through faith (Col 2:12 4) we have been raised (Eph 2:4-9) with Him (Rom 6:3-6) and now wait for the redemption of our body (Rom 8:22-23) when Jesus gives the command (1 Th 4:16-17). All those who partake of that one bread -- being many (1 Cor 12:12-13) members (Eph 5:29-30) are one bread and one body (1 Cor 10:16-17 2) in Christ (Rom 12:5) with Christ being the Head (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18) -- will have part in the (first) resurrection (Rev 20:6) at the last day (John 6:37-40) when He reaps the harvest (Rev 14:14-16).

Feast of Ingathering (Exo 23:16)

This reaping is portrayed in the Feast of Ingathering (Exo 23:16). This festival is also called the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34), which began after the corn and wine (Deu 11:14) were gathered (Deu 16:13; Rev 14:17-20). When fulfilled, the tabernacle of God will be with men (Ezek 37:27), and we will reign with the Lord on the earth (Rev 5:9-10) for a thousand years (Rev 20:6 30) and in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-3) forever and ever (Rev 22:5).

We should be eagerly waiting and fully ready for the coming resurrection of the just (Acts 24:15), for it will be one time event. Jesus said, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves will hear his voice, 5 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29 KJV).

Note: Daniel 12:1-3 is an O.T. reference.

Saints Who Will Have Part in the First Resurrection

Throughout Revelation many of the Saints identified, which I have numbered in groups, will have part in the coming First Resurrection (Rev 20:5-6). The Revelation message was to seven churches in Asia (Rev 1:4), and could very well be for today's N.T. Church. As you study, I would like for you to try envisioning the various groups, which John saw from a heavenly view (Rev 4:1-2). The first group is found in Revelation chapters 4 and 5.

Group one:

Four Beasts and Twenty-four Elders (Rev 5:8-10)

(Rev 5:8-10 KJV) "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. {9} And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy 6 to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; {10} And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: 7 and we shall reign on the earth."

The redeemed four beasts and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers (Eph 6:18; 1 Sam 12:23) of Saints, and they sung a new song.

Cherubim or Seraphim

(Rev 4:6-8 KJV) "...and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. {7} And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. {8} And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes 8 within...."

In actuality the mysteriously looking four beasts (living things) 35 could either be the cherubim (living creatures) in Ezekiel's vision in chapters 1 and 10 or the seraphim in Isaiah 6:1-7; or they could have various characteristics and duties of them both, and be new creatures or creations similar to how we are new creatures (Gal 6:15) or creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).

Four Beasts Could Be Figurative

Spiritually I believe the four beasts could be figurative representing the kingdom of God -- home of the Saints and formerly dispersed to the four corners of the earth (Isa 11:12 9) and lost (Ezek 34:16) sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 10:5-8). One reason I believe that is because when you study other beast in prophecy, such as in Daniel chapters 2, 4, 7 and 8, you find that some of the images represent kings and kingdoms -- so why not in the case with the four? According to Hosea 12:10, God has given prophets many visions (Exo 24:10; Ezek 1:1) and has used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. The idea is the same with the revelations to John and to Paul (2 Cor 12:1-4; Eph 3:3).

Also, there are some recognizable attributes, just to name one, of our Great God and Savior identifying His kingdom. The lion appearance of one beast reminds me of our Lord who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5; Gen 49:9), who is King (of kings) (1 Tim 6:15 32), and who will fully demonstrate his power and authority at His second coming when we reign (Rev 20:4-6 30) with Him (Rev 19:11-16 31) as kings and priest (Rev 5:9-10).

Twenty-four Elders

Then, the twenty-four elders (Heb 11:2) who were sitting with crowns on their heads (Rev 4:4, 10-11), represent elders like Abel, Enoch (Gen 5:24; Heb 11:5-6), Noah, Abraham and others (Job 19:25-27 33) mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, who either have died or been translated, and some believe could represent the twelve patriarchs (Acts 7:8) or tribes of Israel and twelve disciples of Jesus, which add up to twenty-four.

All Were Redeemed

The four beast and the twenty-four elders were redeemed (Luke 1:68-69 34) " God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev 5:9 KJV). Not only were the elders redeemed but also the beasts. All were redeemed is another reason to believe that the beasts could represent Saints in His kingdom.

Therefore, in brief, the four beasts represent Saints and formerly dispersed and lost sheep of the house of Israel from the beginning of time until the resurrection of Christ. The twenty-four elders represent elders during the same period, and some believe could represent the twelve patriarchs or tribes of Israel and twelve disciples of Jesus, which add up to twenty-four.

Group two:

Souls under the Altar (Rev 6:9-11)

The second group is in chapter 6.

(Rev 6:9-11 KJV) "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain 10 for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: {10} And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? {11} And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."

Represent Prophets and Saints like Stephen

I believe the souls of them under the altar represent prophets and Saints (Psa 116:15 11) like Stephen (Acts 7:59-60), James (Acts 12:1-3), the brother of John, Peter (2 Pet 1:14-15), Paul (2 Tim 1:1, 4:5-8), and others who were slain ("...for the word of God and for the testimony which they held...that they should rest yet for little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled," Rev 6:9-11 KJV 12), according to how it is perceived, before the resurrection of Christ until the revelation to John, and/or during the first century church martyrdom until the Great Tribulation, including those mentioned in the Fox's Book of Martyrs. They were souls who had no bodies. To help understand that, read what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28.

Soul and Body

(Mat 10:28 KJV) "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

One of the things He said was that we have a body that can be destroyed (1 Cor 5:1-6), and also a soul (Mat 22:37 13) that can be destroyed. No matter what makes up the soul, which could be our character, spirit, heart, mind and whatever else we may think it to be, ones in heaven at this time do not have physical bodies as we see it (2 Cor 5:1-8). For Abraham saw Jesus' day (John 8:56), and he is physically dead

There also exist in heaven, people like Lazarus, in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), Moses and Elijah, who were seen on the mount of transfiguration (Mat 17:1-4), and others. Although Moses' body (Deu 34:5-6; Jude 1:9) was long ago buried, Elijah was taken up into heaven (2 Ki 2:11-12), during the times of the kings of Israel, and many of the Saints have died, they are all in the presence of the Lord waiting for the resurrection. He is God of the living (Mat 22:32) not of the dead. The LORD preserves the souls of His Saints (Psa 97:10) until they are resurrected.

(Psa 97:10 KJV) "Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked."

Group three:

Sealed an Hundred Forty-four Thousand (Rev 7:1-8)

A group, which will go through the Great Tribulation and will have part in the coming First Resurrection, is described in 7:1-8.

(Rev 7:2, 4 KJV) "...And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God... {4} ...and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."

They are the 144,000 Israelites who will be specially sealed in their foreheads so not to be hurt with plagues (Rev 7:3; 9:3-4).

Note: Children of God are washed in the blood of the Lamb and are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30 19). All have been delivered from the wrath of God (1 Th 1:9-10), and if alive during the Great Tribulation will be protected from the plagues (Psa 91). The Lord knows who are his (2 Tim 2:19). He will keep (or guard from loss or injury) the Philadelphia church from the hour of temptation (Rev 3:10), who will not necessarily escape that troubled time. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan 3:24-27), who went through the fiery furnace, were delivered from the kings fury (Dan 3:19). And in ways Saints (Dan 12:1) will be delivered (John 16:20-22; Rom 8:16-23) and will be accounted worthy to obtain the world to come and the resurrection from the dead (Luke 20:34-36), to escape (flee) all the things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).

Group four:

Great Multitude (Rev 7:9-17)

Also in chapter 7 there is described a great multitude of all nations, tribes, people and tongues that will come out of the Great Tribulation and also will have part in the First Resurrection.

(Rev 7:9-17 KJV) "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms 14 in their hands; {10} And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. {11} And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, {12} Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. {13} And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? {14} And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, 15 and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. {15} Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. {16} They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. {17} For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

The multitude was so great that no man could number (Hosea 1:10) those who came out of great tribulation and are about the throne worshipping God. The multitude must include the multiplied seed of Abraham (Gen 16:10 16) who through faith in Christ Jesus received the promise of the Holy Spirit (Gal 3:14, 28-29). Paul quoted from Isaiah 10:20-22, "Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved..." (Rom 9:27-29 KJV).

(Isa 10:22 KJV) "For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness."

To make it such a great multitude, many Gentile of the household of God (Eph 2:11-19) must be in that number. From Hosea 1:10 where it says "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered," Paul quoted, "...And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God" (Rom 9:24-26 KJV). God has not called Jews only, but also Gentiles.

(Hosea 1:10 KJV) "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."

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