Chapter 12 - The Resurrection.



The biblical foundations of Resurrection.

The order in Resurrection.

Christ in the realm of the dead.

The Resurrection of the saints.

The Resurrection of the Lord.

Raising from the dead and Resurrection.

The First Resurrection – the martyrs come to life again.

The Universal / General Resurrection.

The Last Judgment.

The kingdom of God.


The assignment to the appropriate time.

On account of quite concrete statements of the Scriptures we can subdivide the Resurrection of the dead into two individual events which are separated from each other: into First Resurrection and into Universal Resurrection.

The First Resurrection is the first event in the period of the ‘Millennium’ and thus follows immediately upon the reorganization of heaven and earth, the last event in the period of the ‘Day of the Lord’.

The Universal / General Resurrection, however, takes place in the period of the ‘end of the world’ and is the last event which - right after the Last Fight – in its first stage obviously takes place still on the ground of this earth. Immediately afterward heaven and earth will pass away, and then the resurrected are already standing before the great white throne of God and the Lamb in heaven. The Last Judgment before this great white throne is finally the last event of the period ‘end of the world’ and leads up to the ‘New Creation’ of God in the days of eternity.

The biblical foundations of Resurrection.

Eternal life.

In the Holy Scriptures there is relatively often talk about ‘eternal life’. Now, for us men, the word ‘life’ has, of course, again and again and predominantly the meaning of biological life, which cannot be ’eternal’ by nature.

In the languages in which the Bible was written, namely Hebrew, Aramaic, and finally Greek for the New Testament, a differentiation of the term was not possible. Even in our language of today it is not easy to do justice to the meaning of ‘eternal life’ with a single word as far as its contents is concerned. This is also shown by the fact that we have to provide the term ‘life’ which is misleading in this context with the attribute ‘eternal’ in order to put into words what we want to express by that. So, it is a semantic makeshift construction.

Human existence.

In order to be not permanently hindered in our work and in the discussion on this subject by abstraction processes, it would prove to be very helpful to have here one - and only one - quite concrete term which corresponds to this definition.

A - as it seems quite useful - suggestion in this connection is the term ‘existence’. Existence is not a priori restricted in time - one of the main conditions for the definition we are looking for. And existence does not have the specific affinity to biological being, like the term ‘life’.

Spirit of man.

The individual entity of human existence would then be the ‘spirit’, which is inherent in every human individual as unmistakable and unique consciousness. In its specific shape it is formed in the phase of the biological (fleshy) manifestation by decisions of its own and is immortal by its form of existence.

The biological phase of human existence.

We call then that phase of human existence in which this consciousness develops in connection with a biological, human body ‘biological phase’. At the same time it is that stage, which forms consciousness and is responsible for its later shape - in a similar way as childhood does within the biological phase.

Biological death of man.

The biological death of man comes at the end of the biological phase. It leads to the loss of the physical body and thus separates the spirit from this biological body of his. This form of existence that remains afterward is called ‘dead soul’ by the Scriptures, and its whereabouts is called ‘Hades’. At the same time the biological death (according to the Scriptures: ‘the first death’) leads up to a kind of phase of rest in which the human spirit / the human consciousness does not take an active part any more in the historical development of the Creation.

Resurrection of the human spirit.

Just as biological death is a consequence that is immanent in the system of biological life, Resurrection - that is to say the resuscitation of the human spirit - is a logical inevitability of human existence.

Therefore, Resurrection is not an extraordinary process. It is just as normal as biological death and also concerns - just as this death - all men, regardless of their faith and their behavior during their lifetimes.

Today this view is already held and mathematically substantiated by distinguished physicists, such as for instance by Prof. Dr. Frank J. Tipler of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Cambridge/USA, in his book ‘The Physics of Immortality’ (1994).

The spiritual phase, the final goal of human existence.

Nevertheless Resurrection is the central event in human existence. While birth was a switch over from non-being into being in the biological phase, ‘regeneration’ / Greek: palingenesia (Mt 19:28) at the Resurrection into the spiritual phase is the switch over from the physical, material world into the spiritual, transcendental world. According to the Scriptures the Resurrection of man takes place in humanoid, corporeal form. It can be assumed that this body will be able to represent flesh and bones. However, it is no longer only physical and material, but a spiritual body, which will probably be able to change the form of its appearance.

(See also Excursus 07: “The resurrection body.”)

The Judgment.

As the two criteria - faith and behavior - were the essential factors of influence for the forming of the spirit in the biological phase, they are also the basis for the testing and rating of each man which will take place immediately after the raising from the dead. The Scriptures calls this the ‘Judgment’, and - on the analogy of the two Resurrections - also here a division into two parts can be identified: The judgment after the First Resurrection and the ‘Day of Judgment’ or to be more precise the ‘Last Judgment’ after the Universal Resurrection at the end of the world.

The result of this testing is also decisive for the further course of the respective human existence. All men who receive a positive judgment (according to the Scriptures: ‘those whose names are written in the Book of Life’), then switch over to the last and never-ending phase of their existence, to the spiritual and transcendental dimension of God (according to the Scriptures: ‘to eternal life’).

But also those men who do not pass the rating (according to the Scriptures: ‘the godless and impenitent’), switch over to a stage of their existence that is unrestricted in time. Their destiny is, however, damnation (according to the Scriptures: ‘the second death’) and eternal grief (according to the Scriptures: ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ and 'lake of fire’) at the decision they failed to take during their lifetimes.

The order in Resurrection

Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end.

1Cor 15,20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 15,21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 15,22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 15,23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 15,24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 1Cor 15,20-24;


The above and the subsequent text from the Scriptures, the first one from the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, the other one from John's Gospel, are the key passages for the topic of Resurrection. Each of these texts is speaking of three Resurrections.

Paul shows us in the First Epistle to the Corinthians the order in Resurrection:

-  ‘as firstling Christ’ - that is to say the Resurrection of the Lord,

-  ‘after that those who are Christ's at His coming’ - that is to say the ‘raising from the dead’ at the return of the Lord,

-  ‘then comes the end’ - that is to say the Universal Resurrection of all men at the end of days.


Those dead who hear the voice of the Son of God will live.

Jn 5,25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 5,26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5,28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Jn 5,25-29;


Also the Lord Jesus prophesies us here in John's Gospel three Resurrections. But as the Lord does not speak of the fourth one, namely his Resurrection, only two of them are identical with those in the Epistle to the Corinthians. The third Resurrection that is prophesied by the Lord is a completely different one, and as we will see below, a Resurrection that is not paid attention to very much.

If we now – for the sake of simplicity - start with the last one, namely Universal Resurrection, we have in Jn 5,28–29 the text: …for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.’

As we can recognize easily, these here are exactly the characteristics of the Universal Resurrection at the Last Judgment at the end of days.

-  all people (who are in the tombs) will resurrect

-  those who did the good deeds to a Resurrection of life,

-  those who committed the evil deeds to a Resurrection of judgment.


Some verses before, in Jn 5,25, we have then the hints at the two other Resurrections:

Jn 5, 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. Jn 5,25;

Just as the Lord has called above, in Jn 5,28, at the Universal Resurrection the dead, he will also here call into the realm of the dead. But in contrast to the situation there, to the ‘hour’ there, where all dead will hear his voice, it says here, however, ‘and those who hear will live’. So, obviously at this call of the Lord, at this other ‘hour’, not all men will hear his voice. But those who hear it will resurrect.

Therefore we have here the typical situation of the raising from (out of) the dead and the Rapture at the return of the Lord. It will be only the faithful ‘in Christ’, who will be able to hear this call of the Lord and to follow suit. All others - also the other faithful! - will not hear this call and will come to life again only at the Universal Resurrection at the end of days.

And now let us come to the third Resurrection in this text, which is mentioned by the Lord first. It is a little bit hidden, but nevertheless perceivable. For in this text from Jn 5,25 it is said of this ‘hour’,

Jn 5,25 …an hour is coming and now is


This ‘and now is’ must, of course, refer to the time when it was said, that is to say the time of Jesus, and must also concern a Resurrection of dead. And indeed, Matthew reports us such a Resurrection at the death of the Lord:

The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

Mt 27,50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 27,51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 27,52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 27,53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Mt 27,50-53;


Also here the Lord Jesus called into the tombs - immediately after his death and even already in the realm of the dead. And also here only those heard him who were destined for the awakening from the dead at that time.

So it is a Resurrection of quite particular saints, which took place at the death of the Lord and which the Lord has prophesied above, in Jn 5,25. Nowhere in the Scriptures we find an answer to the question who these saints were. A conceivable approach would be the twenty-four elders from Rev 4,10; 5,8; 11,16; and 19,4.

When we now leave this Resurrection of the saints in the past out of account, and take a look at the Resurrections still to come, we distinguish - from the qualitative way of looking at it - between a Resurrection to eternal life and a Resurrection to eternal damnation.

As far as chronology is concerned, we know - as future events - the raising from (out of) the dead and the Rapture at the return of the Lord, the First Resurrection at the beginning of the Millennium, and - approximately a thousand years later - the Universal Resurrection at the end of the world.

Regardless of the fact in which of these two Resurrections man is taking part, he has to receive his sentence in a subsequent judgment. But as only the faithful ‘in Christ’ will come to life again at the raising from the dead and the Rapture, in this case only reward will be assigned. At the Universal Resurrection, however, it will be reward for one group and punishment and damnation for the other group. Depending on whether they accepted the faith in the Lord or not. But the precondition for that is that both groups got the possibility to decide for themselves during their lifetimes.

The problem in this connection was now that the basis of this decision of faith, namely Golgatha, that is to say the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, took place ‘in the middle of the time’ so to speak. All people who came after that event had and have the possibility to call upon this sacrifice consciously for themselves and to ‘redeem’ themselves by that. But what happens with those who died up to that time? Also they had to and should hear the ‘Word of God’, the Gospel and get the possibility to decide for or against the love of God in Jesus Christ.

As we will see immediately, this seems to be the reason why the Lord did not rise again from the dead right after his death, but only three days later.

Christ in the realm of the dead.

He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth.

Eph 4,8 Therefore it says, ‘when He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’ 4,9 Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 4,10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. Eph 4, 8-10;


These three days which the Lord spent in the lower parts of the earth are a fulfillment of the prophecy which is represented by the story of Jonah with the fish. This is also confirmed to us by the Lord himself:

The Son of Man was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Mt 12,38Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ 12,39 But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

12,40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ Mt 12,38-40;

Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

Jona 1,17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. Jona 1,17;

He will rise again from the dead the third day.

Lk 24,45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 24,46 and He said to them, Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day. Lk 24,45-46;

Here below still a table from discourse 87: The Turin Shroud.


Tabular Overview of the Week of Jesus’ Crucifixion

In order to present these new findings in their general context, they are arranged here in a table below, so that the reader can easily survey them. (Please note: In Jewish division of the day, the day begins with 6:00 p.m. and ends on our today's next day at 6:00 p.m.)

 Day   Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
 Time 6am6pm 6am6pm 6am6pm 6am6pm 6am6pm 6am6pm 6am6pm
13th Nisan 14th Nisan 15th Nisan 16th Nisan 17th Nisan 18th Nisan 19th Nisan
Night            Day Night            Day Night            Day Night            Day Night            Day Night            Day Night                 Day




















Preparation Day
for Passover


after 6:00 p.m.
the Lord's supper

Capture in
Gethsemane


Crucifixion

3:00 p.m.
Death on the
Cross


~6:00 p.m.
burial



Begin
Passover

Great Annual
Sabbath















Preparation Day
for Sabbath

Purchase of
Spices and Perfumes














Weekly Sabbath














~6:00 p.m.
Raising up



First Day of
the Week

Women arrive at
the empty tomb




































During his stay in the realm of the dead, the whereabouts of the deceased, and in prison (also dungeon or abyss), the whereabouts of the spirits and angels who are immortal by nature, and who fell away from God before the Flood and therefore are bound to this place and imprisoned until the Judgment - also Satan will be bound and imprisoned here during the Millennium - the Lord preached the Gospel, the Word of God about the deliverance from sins out of mercy to all of them.

The gospel has been preached even to those who are dead,

1Pet 4,6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. 1Pet 4, 6;

Christ died, but had been made alive in the spirit, in which He went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison.

1Pet 3,18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 3,19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison. 1Pet 3,18-19;


The fact that the Lord preached the Gospel also in the ‘lower parts of the earth’ (Eph 4,9) is only a logical consequence of the principle of the substitutional sacrifice. For the offer of the deliverance through this sacrifice of the Lord applied and applies to the entire Creation. That is to say also to those men who had already died at the death of the Lord. But this message still had to be delivered to them. After his Ascension to the Father the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to this world for the living people in order that he testifies the truth to us and we can decide until the return of the Lord.

But to those who had died until that time the Lord delivered the Word of God himself. For the Gospel does not only apply to all those who have lived up to today as descendants of Noah and his sons and who also have died and to those who will live and die in future, up to the end. This sacrifice is strong enough to apply also to all those men who lived before the Flood and who perished in the Flood. What is even more, it also applies to the angels who were imprisoned because they strayed from their rank and begot children by the daughters of men before the Flood who then grew up into the giants on earth.

The fallen angels.

1Mo 6,1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 6,2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

6,3 Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’

6,4 The giants were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Gen 6, 1- 4;

The sons of Anak, who come of the giants.

4Mo 13,33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, who come of the giants. And we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. Num 13,33;

And he also had been born to the giant.

2Sam 21,20 There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant. 2Sam 21,20;

Angels who did not keep their own domain, are kept under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Jud 1,5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

1,6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,

1,7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1, 5- 7;

Angels when they sinned, are cast into hell and committed to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.

2Ptr 2,4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 2,5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2,6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 2,7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men. 2Pet 2, 4- 7;


Although both texts above - Jude 1,5-7 and 2Pet 2,4-7 - are speaking of the fact that these fallen angels were thrown into darkness, it nevertheless also says in both cases ‘reserved for judgment’. That means that their judgment has not been pronounced yet. For it will depend on the fact whether these creatures accepted the deliverance or not at the sermon of the Lord in the abyss, in 'prison’, where these spirits are imprisoned.

Christ went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.

1Pet 3,18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 3,19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 3,20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.1Pet 3,18-20;


And just as among the living the sins are remitted from all those who convert and call upon the sacrifice of Christ for themselves, also among the dead the following applied: ‘… when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.’ (Jn 5,25).

After this short survey we want to deal with the Resurrections handed down to us in the Scriptures in more detail. As already explained at the beginning, the Scriptures reports altogether four Resurrections after the death of the Lord Jesus to us. Two of them have already taken place and the other two of them are still to come in future.

In the following we will analyze all four of them briefly and compare them to the texts of the parallel passages.

The Resurrection of the saints.

As already mentioned above, the first event of that kind is not paid much attention to in general, but it is nevertheless biblical reality.

The raising of many saints after the death of the Lord Jesus.

Mt 27,50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 27,51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 27,52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 27,53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 27,54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’ Mt 27,50-54;


This is also announced by the Lord during his lifetime:

The hour now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God.

Jn 5,25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. Jn 5,25;


We see here: They were many, they raised, went into the city and appeared to many. They could walk, see and were also seen by others.

This is, however everything that is handed down to us about this phenomenal event. And, moreover, only in the Holy Scriptures. Although there are some historical reports from this period, and although also this event would have been absolutely apt to be brought forward, this occurrence that is unique and incredible for the world, is not mentioned anywhere.

Now one could establish a connection between this and the death of the Lord and quote the same reasons which also prevented the Resurrection of the Lord from going down in the history books. Namely hushing up by the political pressure of the Jewish clergy, the Sanhedrins, who feared for their power.

However, due to the fact that there were many who rose from the dead, and that they were certainly also seen by many, the probability seems to be relatively high that they were also seen by contemporaries who were not ready to support the political instruction of the Sanhedrins and their order to make the Resurrection of Jesus appear as a fraud of the Disciples.

The Resurrection of the Lord.

We come now to the second Resurrection which has already taken place. Of course, it is the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

In Christ all will be made alive: Christ the first fruits.

1Cor 15,23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, 1Cor 15,23;

They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.

Jn 20,1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 20,2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’

20,3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 30,4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 20,5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 20,6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 20,7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.

20,8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 20,9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 20,10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes. Jn 20, 1-10;

Do not touch me , for I have not yet ascended to the Father.

Jn 20,11But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 20,12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 20,13 And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’

20,14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 20,15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ 20,16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher).

20,17 Jesus said to her, Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’ 20,18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and that He had said these things to her. Jn 20,11-18;


In the Gospels we have somewhat different reports of the Resurrection of the Lord. Some of the divergent statements may have been caused by the fact that different persons experienced them at different times of the course of events and also handed them down in that way.

The report of John has the advantage that it describes the things he experienced himself for long sections. And it is not only that we know John as the evangelist who rather handed down the spiritual contents of the speeches and teachings of the Lord and not so much the everyday occurrences, we also perceive from his accounts that he endeavors to stick to the truth as closely as possible. And he strives to do that even if he himself does not always cut the best figure in these reports. If one takes a look at Jn 20,3-8 (see above) for instance, one recognizes the respective specific traits of character of the acting persons. John, full of grief at the loss of the beloved Lord, but also fearful and hesitating. Peter, on the other hand, angry at the fact that the dead body of the Lord was apparently stolen and willing to examine the problem.

Also the report above, in Jn 20,11-18, about the meeting of Mary Magdalene with the Lord, contains so many details which can be assigned psychologically unmistakably to an actual occurrence that one can consider this source for this report to be the probably most authentic one of all four Gospels.

Raising from the dead and Resurrection.

The description of this encounter of Mary Magdalene with the Lord at his tomb contains an interesting statement. Mary did not recognize the Lord immediately. Only when he addressed her with her name, she knew who was standing there before her. One can well imagine her joy and relief and also that she perhaps fell down to his feet and wanted to embrace him.

But as we read in verse Jn 20,17, the Lord did not allow this. He said, ‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father’ - so, this is an almost frightened reaction which must have its particular reason. For, when the Lord appeared to the Disciples later on, he did not have any misgivings any more about being touched by Thomas (Jn 20:27-28).

So, one gets the impression that the Lord here, at his encounter with Mary Magdalene, has not yet ‘finished’ his Resurrection, so to speak, and has not been ‘alive’ yet. He has not been with the Father yet and therefore Mary was not allowed to touch him yet.

This circumstance is of particular interest here because Paul tells us in 1Cor 15,49 that this Resurrection of the Lord can be directly compared to our Resurrection.

Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

1Cor 15,45 So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 15,46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 15,47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 15,48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 15,49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. 1Cor 15,45-49;


So, let us therefore have a look at the description in Rev 20,4-5 about the First Resurrection of the dead as a comparison:

The rest of the dead did not come to life. This is the first resurrection.

Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

20,5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Rev 20, 4- 5;


Here it says in Rev 20,4, ‘And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded (…) and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years’. To our surprise, here, there is no talk of dead, but of ‘souls’.

Also in Rev 6,9-11 John is speaking of such ‘souls’. However, these souls are not in the realm of the dead, but obviously already in heaven, ‘underneath the altar’. And they do not sleep either as one would expect it from the dead, but they ‘cried out with a loud voice’ to God in order to claim the condemnation of their murderers on earth. So, they take an active part in the happenings in heaven.

And in Rev 15,2-3 we find also the martyrs from the antichristian reign ‘those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name’ already in heaven ‘on the sea of glass’, before the throne of God. And so we have altogether twelve statements in the Revelation about groups of faithful who are already in heaven. These are: Rev 6,9-11; 7,9-17; 12,10-11; 14,2; 14,1.3-5; 15,1-4; 17,12-14; 19,6; 19,7; 19,8-9; 19,11-14; and finally 20,4-6.

But in Rev 20,4 we also read, ‘The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.’.

This First Resurrection in Rev 20,4-6 obviously takes place after the Battle of Armageddon: Antichrist and false prophet are in the lake of fire and Satan is bound in the abyss for a thousand years. And when it says at the end of Rev 20,4, ‘and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years’, we can conclude from that that this event will take place at the beginning of these one thousand years, that is to say at the beginning of the Millennium.

So, if – as it is often maintained - this First Resurrection of the beheaded faithful dead, the martyrs (Rev 20,4-6), were to mean at the same time the raising of the dead ‘in Christ’ from the realm of the dead and their ascension into heaven (1The 4,15-17), and if, however, according to Rev 20,5 ‘the rest of the dead did not come to life’, who are then all those groups of faithful in heaven? According to Rev 20,4-6 these groups – at least those who are not martyrs - have not come to life / resurrected yet. But what are they then doing in heaven?

If we now take again a look at the text from Rev 20,4-5, it says here that these souls came to ‘life’. But obviously this does not mean that they were dead before – that is to say ‘asleep’ in the realm of the dead – , since John saw them immediately before as ‘souls’ before the thrones of the court of judgment. So, also they were beforehand, before they came to ‘life’, not in the realm of the dead, but already in heaven.

But from that we can conclude that this ‘First Resurrection’, this coming to ‘life’ of souls from heaven is not identical with the raising of the faithful ‘in Christ’ from the realm of the dead at the return of the Lord and the subsequent Rapture, together with the living faithful, to heaven, but that here rather already raised dead, who already are in heaven as souls, come to ‘life’ again. So, they get a physical body in order to be able to return to earth again and to reign there together with Christ for a thousand years.

So, the goal of Resurrection in general is to let the dead come to life again, that means to give them a physical body.

While this process reels off without any interruption at the Resurrection of all dead at the Last Judgment, it is divided here, at the raising from (out of) the dead and the Rapture and the First Resurrection into two phases.


1. The raising of the dead in the realm of the dead at the return of the Lord.

The dead are in a state similar to sleep in the realm of the dead. In this first phase of Resurrection the dead are raised, the perishable is turned into imperishability (1Cor 15,53), they get an immaterial body (1Cor 15,44), come out of their tombs (Mt 27,52; Jn 20,11-14) and make a ‘stopover’ on the earth for a short time (Mt 27,53; Jn 20,15).

They are then caught up from the earth into heaven together with the elect living faithful (1Cor 15,52; 1The 4,17), where judgment is pronounced upon them and where they receive their sentence or reward (Rev 20,4). As a sign of their righteousness they are now allowed to put on clean white robes (Rev 6,11; 7,9.14; 19,8.14) and will take part in the further heavenly happenings as souls (Rev 6,9; 20,4).


This first phase is described by Paul in 1Cor 15,51-53 and 1The 4,15-17:

The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1Cor 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,51-53;


So, at the raising from the dead the sleeping dead in the realm of the dead are waked. At the Rapture before the Millennium they are subsequently caught up into heaven, where they continue their existence as ‘souls’.


2. The First Resurrection of the souls of the martyrs in heaven at the beginning of the Millennium.

Those raised souls in heaven who are to take part in the subsequent First Resurrection to reign together with Christ in the Millennium - that is to say the martyrs - receive a new spiritual and physical body – a resurrection body (Jn 20,27) - at this First Resurrection and come to life again – down from heaven to the earth (Rev 20,4).

The other souls from the raising from the dead and the Rapture, who do not come to life here, that is to say who will not resurrect physically, remain in this state in heaven until the Universal Resurrection.


At the Universal Resurrection this step in between is dropped and the dead receive a new physical body right after their raising from the realm of the dead.

If one can now imagine the course of events roughly that way, some statements that have been incomprehensible up to now make sense again. Above all it would be clarified then that the ‘resurrection’ of the dead at the Rapture in 1The 4,16 and 1Cor 15,52 is for the time being a ‘raising’ – that is to say the first phase – and not at all identical with the First Resurrection in Rev 20,4-5.

Also the question could be answered why Paul always writes in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (1Cor 15,20.43.44.52) of ‘raising’ (something that is by mistake unfortunately always translated with ‘resurrecting’ in the German translation by Luther). And finally one could understand at last why John can speak in Rev 20,5 of the ‘first’ Resurrection, although we have both with Matthew (Mt 27,52-53) and precisely also with Paul (1Cor 15 and 1The 4,15-17) already before ‘resurrections’, which, however, now, under this new aspect, would not be resurrections but only raisings from the dead and so, the event reported by John in Rev 20,5 can actually be identified as the ‘First Resurrection’.

God raised Him up on the third day and we ate and drunk with Him after He arose from the dead.

Acts 10,38 "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 10,39"We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 10,40"God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 10,41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. Acts 10,38-41;


Therefore we will in the further course of this analysis proceed from this working hypothesis and deal with the raising from the dead and the Rapture in the chapter ‘The return of the Lord’ and with the First Resurrection in this chapter.

(See also Chapter 06: “The Return of the Lord.”)

The First Resurrection – the martyrs come to life again.

John sees in Rev 20,4-6 the happenings of the First Resurrection in heaven, when the souls are standing before the thrones of judgment and when subsequently the martyrs come to life again.

All martyrs will come to life in the first resurrection.

Rev20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

20,5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 20,6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Rev 20, 4- 6;


So, according to Rev 20,4 there are two groups of faithful, who come to life again at the First Resurrection:

1. The beheaded – that is to say those who were killed because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God.


These are those martyrs from the Old and from the New Covenant, who are already in heaven, ‘underneath the altar’ and who are mentioned in Rev 6,9-11. There they are told that they still had to wait for their brethren (from the antichristian reign), who were to be killed just as they had been killed.

The slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony.

Rev 6,9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 6,10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ 6,11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Rev 6, 9-11;


And precisely these brethren, ‘who were to be killed even as they had been’, that is to say this other group in the First Resurrection, are those who had not worshiped the beast and his image in the antichristian reign.

2. Those who had not worshiped the beast and his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand.


According to Rev 13,15 they were killed as well just because they had not worshiped the image of the beast.

As many as do not worship the image of the beast are killed.

Rev 13,13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 13,14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.

13,15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 13,16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 13,17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 13,18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. Rev 13,13-18;


And in Rev 15,2-3 we also find them in heaven, on the ‘sea of glass’ before the throne of God (Rev 4,6), and they are singing the song of Moses.

Those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name.

Rev 15,2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 15,3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! Rev 15, 2- 3;


Both groups have in common that they gave their lives for the faith in their God and thus obviously acquired the right to take part in the raising from the dead as well as in the First Resurrection and to reign together with the Lord in the Millennium. The hint: over these the second death has no power “ in Rev 20,6 confirms us that at the First Resurrection only faithful - however, not all faithful, but only the killed martyrs - will rise from the dead.

And here the difference between ‘raising’ out of the dead with ascension to heaven and ‘resurrection’, namely the coming down from heaven, alive, with a resurrection body, can be once again seen very clearly: While above, in Rev 20,4, these martyrs from the antichristian reign come to life again in the First Resurrection coming down from heaven together with the other martyrs in order to reign together with Christ in the Millennium, we recognize them here above, in Rev 15,2-3, after their raising out of the dead, still in heaven on the sea of glass - which is according to Rev 4,6 before the throne -, when they are singing the song of Moses there and are praising God. If the First Resurrection and the raising from the dead/Rapture were one identical event, these martyrs from the antichristian reign could not be already in heaven in Rev 15,2-4, when they are raised out of the dead and caught up into heaven only in Rev 20,4.

The view that only those who were conformed to the death of the Lord - that is to say who died the death of a martyr - can attain to the (First) Resurrection, is also confirmed to us by Paul several times.

That I may be conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection out of the dead.

Phil 3,7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 3,8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 3,9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 3,10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 3,11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection out of the dead. Phil 3, 7-11;


We see that Paul mentions here quite concretely the condition under which he hopes to attain to the Resurrection out of the dead – that is to say to the First Resurrection: by knowing Christ in the fellowship of his sufferings and by being conformed to his death. Also in his Second Epistle to Timothy he quite clearly alludes to this topic:

For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him.

2Tim 2,10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 2,11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 2,12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 2Tim 2,10-12;


These statements of Paul prove quite clearly that the hope to take part in the First Resurrection is only possible if we died with the Lord, if we endured the sufferings of Christ, if we were conformed to his death and were killed as martyrs. For Paul this sorrowful way also become reality then. He was put to death as a martyr in Rome.

So, we can draw the conclusion from Rev 20,4-6 that it will not be the entire congregation that will take part in the First Resurrection, but only those faithful who were killed because of their faith – that is to say the martyrs.

And thus also the promises of the Lord from the Gospels are fulfilled here, which apparently are not read or not understood by many advocates of a First Resurrection to life ‘of all brothers and sisters’, and in which he promises a new life to his loved ones who lost their lives for his sake. Of course, also the eternal life in the New Creation is meant by that, but before that those who followed the Lord also in his suffering will receive a deserved second earthly life in community with the Lord.

He who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

Mt 10,37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 10,38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 10,39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Mt 10,37-39;


Mt 16,24Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 16,25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Mt 16,24-25;


Mk 8,34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 8,35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mk 8,34-35;


Lk 9,23 And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 9,24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. Lk 9,23-24;

Jn 12,25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 12,26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Jn 12,25-26;

The Resurrection of the martyrs from the Old Covenant.

But apart from this martyrdom they have in common, there is also a difference among these souls in heaven. There are three different reasons why these souls are raised from the dead and are also the first to resurrect - that is to say come to life again. And as we will see immediately, these reasons can also be assigned quite definitely to a certain time.

1. Those who were killed ‘because of the word of God’.

The martyrs of the Old Covenant.

Classed among those are all people of the pre-Christian era who were killed because of their faith in the one and only God, beginning with Abel, via the prophets of the Old Covenant, who preached the Word of God in Israel and who were considered to be a nuisance and politically dangerous by the rulers of their time and who were therefore put to death, up to John the Baptist, who was the last of them.


However, in the case of the martyrs of the Old Covenant the Israelites who are brought back to life cannot be restricted exclusively to the prophets. It rather seems to be that way that the selection is made according to the fact in how far these Israelites have lived and acted as ‘servants of God’. So we know for instance from Eze 34,23-24 that also David will be brought back to life again by God in order to be prince in Israel in the Millennium, although David was neither a prophet nor did he die a violent death so that he could therefore be considered a martyr.

It is – as we can gather from Dan 12,1 – ‘everyone (of Israel) who is found written in the book’, who will resurrect to the life in the Millennium and as the people of God in Israel.

These very dry bones will come alive.

Ezk 37,1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.

37,2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 37,3 He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know.’ 37,4 Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’ 37,5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘‘ehold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 37,6 ‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’ Eze 37, 1- 6;

The slain of Israel came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly army.

Ezk 37,7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 37,8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.

37,9 Then He said to me, Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’ 37,10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Eze 37, 7-10;


The view held by some people that these prophecies would include the entire Israelite people of all times, fails to see a little detail of this text. It says here, in Eze 37,9: ‘… breathe on these slain …’ (‘strangulated’ according to Buber). So, it is not the deceased of the people of Israel as a whole that is meant but only those Israelites who died a violent death and therefore are martyrs and who are written in the ‘book’ as we will read below in Dan 12,1. It is faithful Israelites (house of Israel), who had to give their life because of their faith or because of any other thing by the order of their God. They are martyrs and the ‘people of God’ just as the prophets and the other servants of God – namely the whole house of Israel - who come to life again here, at the First Resurrection.

The LORD opens their graves and causes them to come up, that they will come to life.

Ezk 37,11 Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ 37,12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.’

37,13 Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 37,14 I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,‘ declares the LORD.’ Eze 37,11-14;


The fact that here this restriction in verse Eze 37,9 is again and again overlooked because no differentiation is made between ‘dead’ and ‘killed’ often leads to the fact then that one shrinks from a concrete fulfillment of this prophecy at all, namely from a real resurrection of the Israelites. The consequence of this is then that one flees to symbolism and tries to interpret this resurrection of the house of Israel as the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. In most cases the ‘fig tree’ from Mt 21,18-22 is then quoted as comparison and it is argued that the fig tree stands here as the symbol of Israel. However, it is relatively easy to find out that the symbol of Israel is not the fig tree, but the olive tree as we can gather from Rom 11,17.24. Moreover, the fig tree is promised, ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you’, whereas in Eze 37 Israel comes to life again. Therefore the story with the fig tree in Mt 21 and parallel passages is nothing else but a demonstration of the Lord for the Disciples in order to prove what true faith is able to effect. There the fig tree is just a fig tree and nothing else. The fact that the prophecy from Eze 37,9-14 is not to be understood symbolically is confirmed to us by even further passages from the Scriptures quite concretely.

He will revive us and He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.

Hos 6,1Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. 6,2 He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. 6,3 ‘So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.’ Hos 6, 1- 3;

Your dead will live; My slain shall rise again.

Isa 26,19 Your dead will live; My slain shall rise again. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. Isa 26,19;

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake.

Dan 12,1 Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.12,2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to life in world-time (Buber), but the others to disgrace and contempt in world-time (Buber). 12,3 Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars in world-time and eternity (Buber). Dan 12, 1- 3;

The LORD hears the groaning of the prisoner, He sets free those who were doomed to death

Ps 102,12 But You, O LORD, abide forever, And Your name to all generations.102,13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, For the appointed time has come. 102,14 Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones And feel pity for her dust. 102,15 So the nations will fear the name of the LORD And all the kings of the earth Your glory. 102,16 For the LORD has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory. 102,17 He has regarded the prayer of the destitute And has not despised their prayer. 102,18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. 102,19 For He looked down from His holy height; From heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth, 102,20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To set free those who were doomed to death, 102,21 That men may tell of the name of the LORD in Zion And His praise in Jerusalem, 102,22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. Ps 102,12-22;


So it is the killed Israelites, the martyrs of Israel, who will come to life again together with the martyrs out of the Gentiles who converted into Christians. Then, at the beginning of the Millennium, they will return to their land with the still living Israelites who are dispersed all over the world and they will also be brought back by the still living and remaining Gentiles in order to be there the ‘head among the nations’ during the one thousand years of the Kingdom of Peace of the Messiah. This is the promise of their God and they have waited for that for thousands of years. At the first appearance of our Lord, their Messiah, almost two thousand years ago, the impenitent people in Israel hoped for it in vain and therefore rejected him. Now the time has come: Zion has the former power again. So, they are the new people of God on this earth in the Millennium. They will ‘inherit the earth’.

(See also Chapter 10: “The Millennium.”)

The pure in heart shall see God, the gentle shall inherit the earth.

Mt 5,1When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.

5,2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

5,3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5,4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5,5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

5,6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

5,7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

5,8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

5,9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

5,10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5,11 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 5,12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Mt 5, 1-12;


In the beatitudes of the Lord, above in Mt 5,1-12, which contain all told nine statements, there are five hints which are to be interpreted as referring to the ‘kingdom of heaven’ and four hints which are rather to be interpreted as referring to the ‘the earth’.

So, the verses 3, 8, 9,10 and 11-12 consist of statements which contain promises for the ‘kingdom of heaven’:

-  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

-  for they shall see God

-  for they shall be called sons of God

-  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

-  for their reward in heaven is great


The verses 4, 5, 6, and 7, however, rather point at the ‘earth’:

-  for they shall be comforted

-  for they shall inherit the earth

-  for they shall be satisfied

-  for they shall receive mercy


According to the promise in Mt 5,3: ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven’, verse Mt 5,5 ‘they shall inherit the earth’ only makes sense if one proceeds from the assumption that at the same time while the one group is in heaven, with God, the others will live and rule in peace and righteousness here on earth.

The pious will be delivered from death in order to rule.

Ps 49,13 This is the way of those who are foolish, And of those after them who approve their words. Selah. 49,14 As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation. 49,15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. Selah. Ps 49,13-15;

And your descendants will possess nations And will resettle the desolate cities.

Isa 54,1 ‘Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,’ says the LORD. 54,2 Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. 54,3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations And will resettle the desolate cities. Isa 54, 1- 3;

The LORD God is in Zion and the remnant of Israel is the chief of the nations.

Jer 31,6 For there will be a day when watchmen On the hills of Ephraim call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the LORD our God.’ 31,7 For thus says the LORD, Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise and say, ‘O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.’ Jer 31, 6- 7;

The LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

5Mo 29,1 ‘Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 28,2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God’. Deut 28, 1- 2;

Even the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.

Mi 4,8 As for you, tower of the flock, Hill of the daughter of Zion, To you it will come – Even the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. Mi 4, 8;


In the texts above we see very clearly that the promise of being the ‘head among the nations’ in the Millennium, is exclusively meant for the people of Israel, whereas the Christians do not have any earthly promise.

The Resurrection of the martyrs of the New Covenant.

With that we come to the next group of those who were raised from the dead at the First Resurrection.

2. Those who were killed ‘because of their testimony of Jesus’.

The martyrs of the New Covenant.

The very first of this great group of martyrs was Stephan. He was followed by hundreds of thousands in the persecution of Christians of the Roman Empire and during the Inquisition and the Counter-Reformation of the Roman Church up to those faithful in Christ who will then be killed in the Great Tribulation.


As we know, also Paul and other Disciples of the Lord became victims of the persecutions and executions of that time in the Roman Empire.

The Resurrection of those who are not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good from the antichristian era.

And finally, the text from Rev 20,4 points out to us even another group of ‘beheaded’, that is to say killed, who met their death as martyrs under the antichristian reign.

3. Those who ‘had not worshiped the beast’.

Those who are not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good from the antichristian era.

These are all those faithful who ‘had not worshiped the beast and his image and had not received the mark on their forehead and their hand’ in the era of the Antichrist. They were persecuted, sentenced to death and executed.


These are also those brothers of whom there is talk in Rev 6,9-11. John sees there a situation in heaven where the already deceased martyrs of the first two groups (Old Covenant and New Covenant) are crying impatiently to the Lord to take vengeance. And they are put off ‘until the number of their fellow servants who were to be killed (during the reign of the Antichrist) even as they had been, would be completed also’.

Rest for a little while longer, until your brethren would have been killed even as you had been.

Rev 6,9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 6,10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’

6,11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Rev 6, 9-11;


These fellow servants and brethren of whom there is talk here are those who are not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, who resisted the order to worship the image of the beast and therefore were killed (Rev 13,13-18).

So, these three groups are those people who will rise from the dead at Rapture and resurrect at the First Resurrection. These resurrected come to life again and reign together with the Lord in the Millennium (Rev 20,6).

The Universal Resurrection.

The fourth Resurrection mentioned in the Scriptures is at the same time the last one, namely the resurrection of all men at the end of the world.

Now the view is widespread that all faithful will resurrect at the First Resurrection before the Millennium and as according to this view only accursed will die in the Millennium, there would not be any faithful any more among the dead at the Universal Resurrection after the Millennium and therefore only the godless and impenitent would resurrect and be judged.

The following passages from the Scriptures do not only show quite clearly that also faithful will resurrect at the Universal Resurrection at the end of the world, to be more precise resurrect to eternal life, in contrast to the godless who will then resurrect to the ‘second death’, the eternal damnation.

While you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.

Mt 13,24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 13,25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 13,26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 13,27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 13,28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’

13,29 But he said, No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 13,30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’ Mt 13,24-30;


Especially Mt 13,29 shows us also that just this erroneously propagated separation of the Resurrection – on the one hand the righteous or the ‘wheat’ and on the other hand the wicked or the ‘weed’ - shall not be made. Both shall grow together until the harvest. And the harvest is the end of the world.

The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels.

Mt 13,36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ 13,37 And He said, The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,

13,38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 13,39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels. 13,40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the world.

13,41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 13,42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Mt 13,36-43;

At the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.

Mt 13,47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 13,48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.

13,49 So it will be at the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 13,50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,51 ‘Have you understood all these things?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes.’ 13,52 And Jesus said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.’ Mt 13,47-52;

The hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Rev 14,14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. 14,15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ 14,16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

14,17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 14,18 Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.’ 14,19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 14,20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles. Rev 14,14-20;

Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father.

1Cor 15,24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 1Cor 15,24;


And it is proved very clearly also by these texts what some exegetes do not want to see, namely that this event takes place at the end of the Millennium – that is to say at the end of the world and not before the Millennium. Above, in Mt 13,39 it says expressly, ‘The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels.’ The two preceding parables – of the field and of the catching of the fish – are also to a large extent self-explaining and refer to a single event and not to two different ‘harvests’ or ‘catchings of fish’.

Furthermore, it says in Mt 13,41, ‘The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all stumbling blocks’. This kingdom is the Millennium and the ruler in this kingdom will be the Lord Jesus. Therefore the Lord says here ‘out of his kingdom’, while two verses later, when he is speaking of the remaining righteous who will then enter into the eternal kingdom on the new earth, into the new Jerusalem, he is speaking of ‘the kingdom of their Father’. Mt 13,43: Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

And in order to invalidate now also the argument which thinks that at the First Resurrection before the Millennium not only the martyrs, but all righteous would resurrect and at the end of the world, at the Universal Resurrection only the unrighteous, we have in Mt 13,49 the unambiguous statement, ‘So it will be at the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous’. So, if there were not any righteous left any more at that time, a ‘separation’ would not be necessary any more.

(See also Table 13: “The judgment upon the resurrected nations.”)


Also the following statements confirm this view:

But as for you Daniel, go your way to the end; then you will rise again at the end of the days.

Dan 12,13 ‘But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the days.’ Dan 12,13;

At the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.

Mt 13,49 So it will be at the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 13,50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mt 13,49-50;

And will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life.

Jn 5,26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5,28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Jn 5,26-29;

There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

Acts 24,14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; 24,15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. Acts 24,14-15;


Here there is talk about the Universal Resurrection, at which all will rise from the dead who are in the tombs (Jn 5,28), at the end of the days (Dan 12,13), at the end of the world (Mt 13,49), to execute judgment (Jn 5,27), at which the righteous as well as the wicked will rise from the dead (Dan 12,2; Jn 5,29; Acts 24,15). Then the wicked will be taken out from among the righteous and will be thrown into the furnace of fire. (Mt 13,49-50).

Of course, this involves troubles for the advocates of two qualitative separated resurrections - the one for the ‘good’, before the Millennium, the other one for the ‘wicked’, after the Millennium. If one analyzes now the argumentation of this line of interpretation, it becomes apparent that the mistake in the interpretation was not made here, at the Universal Resurrection, but already in the interpretation of the First Resurrection. There they falsely proceed from the assumption that all faithful - that is to say all ‘good’ - will rise from the dead at this event.

One can see this mistake very clearly in the argumentation (‘The book of Revelation’ by W. J. Ouweneel, page 477), which refers to Rev 20:

“It emerges unambiguously from the context (from Rev 20) that ‘the rest of the dead’ can only be those who died without faith, for in verse 4 all faithful starting from Abel are after all raised out of the dead. So, these dead 'out of’ the midst of whom they are raised, are necessarily the unfaithful.”

The souls of those who had been beheaded came to life.

Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 20,5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection Rev 20, 4- 5;


This line of interpretation fails to see that in verse 4 – as already mentioned above - there is talk about the ‘beheaded’. That is to say, not ‘all faithful’ come to life again at the First Resurrection, but only those among them who were killed because of their faith. Abel, the first man who was killed because of his faith undoubtedly belongs to this group. But all other faithful who did not have to give their lives because of their faith will rise from the dead at the ‘raising from the dead’ for Rapture or only at the Universal Resurrection, at the end of the world, and not here, at the First Resurrection before the Millennium.

Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection.

Rev 20,6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Rev 20, 6;


Also this statement from verse 6 is very freely interpreted by the author of the book quoted above. There it says,

“It emerges from verse 6 that those who will rise from the dead at the Second Resurrection (the Universal Resurrection), will not be ‘blessed and holy’, but condemned to the ‘second death’.”


Now, it is true that drawing conclusions from looking at things the other way round is an excellent instrument of analysis. However, this method is appropriate only if definite statements are concerned, which would be the case here only if there were an ‘only’ after the ‘Blessed is’. From the statement: ‘Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the First Resurrection’ one cannot draw the conclusion at all that all men who do not take part in the First Resurrection are automatically accursed. Otherwise those saints who came to life again at the death of the Lord (Mt 27,52-53) would have had to end up in the lake of fire, too.

Nor are all those who will rise from the dead at the Universal Resurrection condemned to the second death. There will be then – as explained above - righteous and wicked. The wicked will be thrown into the lake of fire, the righteous, however, will enter into the kingdom of their Father.

This can be also proved by passages from the Scriptures.

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Mt 25,45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 25,46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Mt 25,45-46;

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Mt 13,41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 13,42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Mt 13,41-43;

Who believes in the Son will have eternal life, and He Himself will raise him up on the last day.

Jn 6,39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 6,40 ‘For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.’ Jn 6,39-40;


Jn 6,44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. Jn 6,44;


Jn 6,54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. Jn 6,54;


Here, in Jn 6,39.44.54 there is unequivocally talk about the ‘Last Day’ (Luther always translated it wrong with ‘Recent Day’). So, there is talk about the end of the world and thus about the Universal Resurrection and about Judgment Day / the Last Judgment. And here the Lord himself tells us that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. So, the second death does not have any power over him. And the Lord will raise him from the death, in fact not before the Millennium, at the Rapture, but on the Last Day, at the Universal Resurrection, at the end of the world.

(See also Discourse 95: “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”)


As for the rest, it can be also seen from the parables of the Lord in this connection that the Resurrection of the faithful, too, and just the Resurrection of the faithful at the Universal Resurrection at the end of the world, together with the wicked, is absolutely intended and also conforming with the Scriptures.

Allow both to grow together until the harvest.

Mt 13,24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 13,25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 13,26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 13,27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 13,28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?

13,29 But he said, No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 13,30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’ Mt 13,24-30;


As we see above, in Mt 13,24-30, the Lord wants expressly that ‘wheat’ und ‘tares’ – that is to say faithful and wicked - grow together until the ‘harvest’, that is to say until the end of the world in order to avoid that while ‘gathering up the tares’ the wheat might be uprooted with them.

We find one of the most concrete statements about this subject in Rev 20,11-15:

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Rev 20,11Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

20,12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

20,13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

20,14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

20,15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev 20,11-15;


Here, the Universal Resurrection from the dead at the end of the world is described. Death and Hades - and even the sea - give up the dead who are within, all of them, great and small. And then the books – namely the ‘books of the deeds’ - are opened and judgment is pronounced. The Book of Life is opened as well, in which the names of those are registered who are allowed to enter into eternal life. And everyone who resurrected is tested, and those who were not found in the Book of Life are thrown into the lake of fire.

One would think that this is quite a clear and unambiguous statement. But the author of the above mentioned book wants to see it in a different way. He writes:

In the verses 11-15, at the judgment before the great white throne not a single faithful can be seen any longer; there are only ‘dead’, and there is only talk about the lake of fire.“


First of all, the last statement is wrong that there is ‘only talk about the lake of fire’. In the verses 12 and 15 there is talk about the Book of Life, in which all of those are registered, who will inherit eternal life and over whom the second death does not have any power.

Secondly, however, the first part of verse 15 is ignored. Here it says, ‘And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ If here not a ‘single faithful’ were among them any longer, this scrupulous ‘check’ would not be required. All of them could be thrown into the lake of fire directly. And then, as a result of logical consistency it also had to read, ‘As nobody was found …’. But the formulation ‘And if anyone's name was not found …’ implies downright that there will be also such who ‘are found’, and that also and just faithful will take part in this Universal Resurrection and at the Last Judgment at the end of the world and will enter into eternal life.

But the strange argumentation is not amazing. For the advocates of this line of interpretation are confronted with the problem that they have lost the righteous for the Last Judgment since they ‘let’ all faithful come to life again already at the First Resurrection.

A similar problem arises with those righteous who will die in the Millennium. As we will see in the following, in Isa 65,20-22, the faithful in the Millennium will get very old.

For the youth will die at the age of one hundred.

Isa 65,20 No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed. 65,21 They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 65,22 They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. Isa 65,20-22;


We can draw the conclusion from the statement in Isa 65,20 that the age of men – as compared to the conditions of today - will increase approximately tenfold. Today we call a ‘youth’ a boy at the age of approximately ten years, and then, in the Millennium, he will have an age of approximately one hundred years. The righteous will get as old as a tree, which today – if it can grow unaffected by human ‘care’ - can reach an age of a thousand years and more.

But irrespective of these fantastic conditions it also says in verse Isa 65,20 that there will not be any man who does not live out his days. This ‘living out’ one's days means that men will reach the age assigned to them by God and then die. It also says there, ‘the youth will die at the age of one hundred’. And this is not an ‘accursed’, for as the text says, the accursed will not even reach one hundred years. So, they are righteous, who die also in the Millennium and therefore will necessarily rise from the dead only at the Universal Resurrection, after the Millennium, at the end of the world.

The view that not a single man will die any more in the Millennium, denies all these statements, just in order to be able to maintain the other wrong theory, namely the one, according to which no righteous will appear any more at the Final Judgment. But as we can see easily, all of this wrong makeshift construction is only the consequence of another misinterpretation, namely the idea that all faithful, the ‘entire universal congregation’ will rise from the dead at the First Resurrection.

As already explained above, in Rev 20,4-5 John is speaking of beheaded - that is to say martyrs - who come to life again at the First Resurrection. A part of these martyrs are already mentioned in Rev 6,9, where they are called the souls of those ‘who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained’. However, in the Rapture prophesied by Paul in 1The 4,16, and 1Cor 15,52, all faithful who have died up to that time will be raised from the dead and will be caught up into heaven together with the living faithful, but they will not resurrect, that means they will not come to ‘life’ in the sense of Rev 20,4, but they will be in heaven with God as souls. They will then come to life at the end of the world, at the Universal Resurrection together with the faithful who died in the Millennium.

But let us now proceed to the Universal Resurrection:

An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice.

Jn 5,26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5,28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Jn 5,26-29;


From the above passage from the Scriptures four statements emerge very clearly:

1. The Son got the authority to execute judgment from the Father.

2. An hour is coming - and on account of this text this hour can certainly not be divided, such as for instance, into half an hour before the Millennium for the good and half an hour after the Millennium for the wicked as some people think, but this quite particular hour, in which

3. all those - not one time the good and the other time the wicked, but really all - who are still in the tombs at that time will hear his voice at the same time. And

4. those who did the good deeds will come forth to a Resurrection of life,

that is to say to the regeneration for eternal life,

Those who committed the evil deeds, however, to a Resurrection of judgment,

that is to say to the regeneration for the second death, the "redeath".


Therefore once more: At this last hour   a l l   dead will come to life again. It is the hour of regeneration (Mt 19:28;). The one in order to enter into eternal life, the others in order to die the ‘second death’ and to be thrown into the lake of fire.

This is also confirmed to us by Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians.

As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

1Cor 15,21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 15,22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 1Cor 15,21-22;


And by those who ‘will be made alive’ here not only the faithful are meant, but as Jn 5,28-29 confirms, it is all dead who will hear the voice of the Lord at the Universal Resurrection and who will come forth from their tombs.

We must not be surprised if also the godless and impenitent come to life again. As already explained at the beginning, the Resurrection of men is not an extraordinary event but - just as the biological death - a necessity that is immanent in the system, as man was created by God for an eternal existence. This does not mean that also the godless are saved but only that they come to life again physically. This also emerges from the logical conclusion that the godless, if they were not re-generated (reborn), could not re-die the ‘second death’ either.

The Resurrection of the faithful.

Resurrection is a regeneration (rebirth), not only for the faithful man, but especially for him. Just as we had to be born of the flesh for our earthly life, we must be born of the spirit for our eternal life. The Lord has tried to explain that already to Nicodemus.

In his conversation with Nicodemus, in Jn 3,3-8, the Lord had obviously difficulties to explain the connection between resurrection and regeneration.

Unless one is born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Jn 3,3 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 3,4 Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ 3,5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 3,6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 3,7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 3,8 ‘The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Jn 3, 3- 8;


Nicodemus only knew the biological, physical birth and therefore asked the Lord, if we had to return into our mother's womb to be born again. And the Lord explained to him that we need both: our biological birth – the birth out of water (amniotic fluid) – and our regeneration, namely the birth out of the spirit, in order to be able to enter into the kingdom of God.

And also the Lord himself saw this regeneration in his own Resurrection. This is testified to us by John in the Revelation who calls the Lord the ‘firstborn of the dead’.

The firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Rev 1,4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 1,5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood – 1,6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Rev 1, 4- 6;


Also when the Lord was speaking about the Last Judgment which will follow upon the Universal Resurrection, he calls this resurrection ‘regeneration’.

In the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne.

Mt 19,28 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Mt 19,28;


At this regeneration the Son of Man will call into the realm of the dead and all who are in the tombs will hear his voice.

And will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life.

Jn 5,26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5,28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Jn 5,26-29;


For the wicked it will be a regeneration for judgment and for eternal damnation, the ‘second death’. For the righteous, however, this is the regeneration for the beginning of their new, eternal life.

I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

Jn 6,39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 6,40 ‘For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.’ Jn 6,39-40;


Jn 6,44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. Jn 6,44;


Jn 6,54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day Jn 6,54;


As we can see, the above three passages from John's Gospel prove quite clearly that the Resurrection on Judgment Day/the Last Day, that is to say at the end of the world, also concerns the faithful and precisely the faithful.

But especially in Jn 6,44 we find out quite a peculiar connection. The Lord Jesus will raise us from the dead on Judgment Day/the Last Day because we believed in his word and turned to him. But as it seems, this belief in him was not our personal merit. It was the Father who drew us to the Son.

How grateful must we be to our God that we are not too low for him that he tries to help all of us and leads us to his Son.

They are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Lk 20,34 Jesus said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 20,35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 20,36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Lk 20,34-36;


After the Universal Resurrection at the end of the world, at the ‘regeneration’, the faithful receive their reward. As immortal beings they will be like the angels, and they will enter into eternal life in the kingdom of God, into the second, the New Creation as sons of God.

(See also Chapter 14: “The New Creation.”)

The Resurrection of the unfaithful.

Although now judgment is handed over to the Son, the Lord will - according to his own words - not judge himself on Judgment Day. His function as a judge was his appearance on this earth and his word that he spoke to us. He did all that his Father had ordered him. And in those days he showed men once and for all the way how they can be saved.

And so no judge is required any more at the Resurrection on the Last Day. Unlike the time before the death of Jesus (see above) since the time after Golgotha with the death of each man also his judgment has been pronounced at the same time. Depending on whether he accepted the word of the Lord or not, he has inherited eternal life or not.

The word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

Jn 12,44 And Jesus cried out and said, He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 12,45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 12,46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 12,47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

12,48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 12,49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak 12,50 ‘I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.’ Jn 12,44-50;


Therefore, at this Last Judgment no ‘taking of evidence’ is required any more. Only the books are opened. There are, as we will see below in Rev 20,11-15, two different kinds of books. On the one hand the ‘books of the deeds’, where the deeds of men are recorded. And on the other hand the ‘Book of Life’. In this ‘Book of the Lamb’, as it is also called, all those are registered who adopted the faith during their lives and who turned to their Lord. And those who are not registered in that Book of Life, are condemned, even if they had to show gigantic heaps of good deeds to their credit.

For the cowardly and unbelieving, their part will be in the lake of fire which is the second death.

Rev 21,7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 21,8 ‘But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’ Rev 21, 7- 8;

The gathering of the unrighteous.

In contrast to the Rapture before the Millennium, where the elect were gathered among the living by the angels and the godless and impenitent were left for the subsequent judgment of catastrophes - the Day of the Lord - , here, at the end of the world, a reverse way of procedure can be seen. The angels will gather first those who commit lawlessness and throw them into the furnace of fire. Then the remaining righteous will enter into the kingdom of their Father, into eternal life.

(See also Chapter 05: “The Day of the Lord.”)

The angels will gather those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire.

Mt 13,36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ 13,37 And He said, The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,

13,38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 13,39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels. 13,40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the world.

13,41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 13,42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Mt 13,36-43;

At the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.

Mt 13,47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 13,48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.

13,49 So it will be at the end of the world; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 13,50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,51 Have you understood all these things? They said to Him, Yes. 13,52 And Jesus said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.’ Mt 13,47-52;

The Last Judgment.

As now both groups, righteous and wicked, attained to regeneration at the Universal Resurrection, also the separation has taken place now. All of a sudden the godless will become aware of this knowledge at their Resurrection. They will see themselves transformed - just as the faithful - with an immortal body. And they will see that the faithful are actually allowed to continue to live with this immortality of theirs in eternity, in peace and joy in the kingdom of God.

They themselves, however, will now, after they have received a second life, also have to die the ‘second death’ and will be thrown into the lake of fire. They will weep and gnash their teeth in all eternity.

(See also Excursus 08: “The first and the second death.”)

Anyone who’s name was not found written in the book of life, has to die the second death.

Rev 20,11Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

20,12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

20,13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 20,14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 20,15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev 20,11-15;

(See also Chapter 13: “The Last Judgment.”)

Just as some exegetes think to have to ‘place’ also us other faithful who did not die the death of a martyr or will not die the death of a martyr in the First Resurrection by means of a somewhat more reader-friendly interpretation, some circles do not want to burden the godless and impenitent with an eternal damnation either. Although this view does not have any foundation in the Scriptures, they think that this ‘eternal’ strictly speaking is not eternal, but that these people simply cease to exist after their condemnation.

With that these interpreters disclose on the one hand that the importance of the decision of man against God in his life, and also the absolute consequence of the justice of God has not yet become aware to them in its full extent. And as on the other hand the term ‘eternal’ is used in the relevant passages from the Scriptures in completely identical spelling – and as it is therewith also used in an identical lexical meaning - always both for eternal life and for eternal damnation, this would mean, if you look at it the other way round that also the eternal life of the faithful could not be eternal. So, according to this view also they would have to reckon with the fact that they will soon cease to exist. But if the life in the New Creation after regeneration that is promised to us by our Lord is actually eternal – and there is no reason at all to be found in the Scriptures why we should doubt this – then – however hard this may sound – also damnation will be eternal, that is to say never ending!

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Mt 25,41 Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 25,42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 25,43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 25,44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 25,45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 25,46 ‘These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ Mt 25,41-46;

The kingdom of God.

At the name of Jesus every knee will bow.

Now finally the goal is reached which runs like a red thread through the whole Bible, from 1 Moses up to the Revelation of John: All enemies of God are defeated.

At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.

Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.

Ps 110,1<<A Psalm of David.>> The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Ps 110, 1;

Mt 22,41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 22,42 What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ 22,43 He said to them, Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,

22,44 the LORD said to my Lord, “sit at My right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet” 22,45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son? 22,46 No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. Mt 22,41-46;


Acts 2,29 Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

2,30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 2,31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 2,32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

2,33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

2,34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘the LORD said to my Lord, “sit at My right hand, 2,35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2,36 ‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Acts 2,29-36;


Hbr 1,10 And, ‘You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; 1,11 they will perish, bur You remain, and they all will become old like a garment, 1,12 and like a mantle You will roll them up, like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.’

1,13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘sit at My right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet ’? 1,14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? Heb 1,10-14;


Hbr 10,11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

10,12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 10,13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. Heb 10,11-13;

Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Phil 2,5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 2,6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 2,7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 2,8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

2,9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 2,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 2,11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2, 5-11;


Also these texts above, especially in Phil 2,9-11, are often - in particular within the scope of the doctrine of the ‘Atonement of All’ - used to deny a punishment of the godless and the impenitent. And what is more, they even got that far to maintain that even Satan himself will finally convert to God and that that way the entire Creation will be united again in the days of eternity.

I wonder if the supporters of this view are aware of the fact that they reduce the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross to absurdity by that. A decision of man would not be necessary either then – because in the long run everyone will convert to God anyway. Without wanting to offend these people, this way of thinking reminds us very much of those who tried to make the first men believe ‘You will not die at all’.

Now also the Son will be subjected to the Father.

Then the Son Himself also will be subjected, so that God may be all in all.

1Cor 15,25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 15,26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

15,27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.

15,28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. 1Cor 15,25-28;


After all other enemies – the godless and the impenitent – now also the last enemy, death, will be abolished. And in order to express it once more quite clearly: ‘abolished’ does not mean the dissolution of existence here! In a similar way as the first death destroys the physical body, the second death will destroy the second body, which we will receive at the Resurrection, that is to say at the regeneration. But just as man only changed over to a spiritual dimension with his consciousness after his death, he will also then, after the second death - the lake of fire –, continue to exist spiritually. However, separated from God and the Lamb. And this will cause the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’.

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.

Rev 20,14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. Rev 20,14;


And when then the remaining men – but also the remaining angels - will be subjected to the Son, also the Son will be subjected to the Father, who subjected all things to him. With that the goal of the First Creation is reached.

(See also Table 08: “The way of salvation.”)

The second, eternal, the New Creation, will probably also have its own goals. If we turn to the Lord, we will be sure to get to know them.