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I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.[1]

From the day John the Beloved was given the Revelation as the Holy Spirit took him into Himself, the knowledge of the R/resurrection had been available to the church, except the church did not obey Jesus’ command to listen to the Holy Spirit.  Instead, it went off in the apostolic tradition and set its own agenda and definition, theologies and doctrines about all things of God including the R/resurrection.  Most Christians have been led to believe there is only one resurrection, just as they have been taught that all who believe will die and be raised to life again at the resurrection, and are kept ignorant of the complete picture and certainly are not encouraged to believe the entire scripture.  Most Christians are ignorant of the Scriptures.  The average Christian’s idea of reading the Bible is picking it up to read a few verses and memorising a few verses.  If they ate their natural food the way they eat their spiritual food, most Christians would have physically died of starvation.

Paul wrote to the Romans and the Corinthian church with these words:  I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery[2] …of the fact,[3] yet most who call themselves Christians are ignorant of the mystery of Christ, the power of God to save and the fact that the word of God, as it is written, is for all to examine as a testimony.  Indeed, that which Jesus said to the Sadducees applies to most who call themselves Christians, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”[4]  That is, they are ignorant of the fact and the mystery.  Indeed, even the apostle Peter acknowledges that it is ignorant and unstable people[5] who distort the things that Paul has written about the Lord.  They are ignorant of the fact and the mystery, and are unstable because they are double-minded, looking backwards as they plough the field, always ready to let go of the plough if things do not go well.  These are men and women of whom Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.”[6] 

So, do not be ignorant of the fact and the mystery of the Word and His word if you are going to master the subject of the resurrection of the dead, otherwise you cannot go onto the judgement of the dead. 

It is imperative that you speak the truth in love at all times… that is obvious.  So, to our brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of their motives, we need to tell them there is a first and a second resurrection, and ask them which one they are hoping to be a part of.  Remember, many have never even heard that there is a first resurrection, just like those believers whom Paul found in Ephesus, who had never heard of the Holy Spirit in Acts 19.  You will be sure to raise questions and debate, and this is where you must be certain of what you say.  That certainty of what you say does not come just from a study of Scripture, for Jesus also said to some Jews, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.”[7]  As such, your declaration of the R/resurrection must not be based only on the scriptures, but your testimony of the power of God in your life, of the R/resurrection’s effect on your life as those things that you thought were dead are being raised… your dead hopes, dreams and circumstances, in ways that are better and different from what you originally dreamt, planned and hoped for.  For the Law of the Spirit of Life does not become real and testimonial to you until you have embraced this truth of Jesus when He said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?”[8]

Firstly, you must believe He is the Resurrection, and as such, the resurrection of the dead is not only an event, but a Person who lives in you and in whom you live.  As such, the Resurrection should have a constant and present effect on your life now.  If you do not believe it, how can you live it for the righteous will live by faith?[9]  You will live whatever you believe according to the Law of Life that says, “the righteous will live by his faith [or] faithfulness.”[10]  As one whose righteousness is from Jesus, whatever you believe of Jesus, you will live.  If you believe “He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies,” you will experience exactly that… you will live a life of a believer who will die to live again as the events of the first and second resurrection take place.  As to which one you will participate in will depend on how you live your faith.  Did you use your faith in Jesus to preserve your life or did you use your faith in Jesus to lose your life for the sake of Him and His word?

Many have lived and died before this time without the freedom to read the Scriptures as we have, but nevertheless, regardless of the availability of the fullness of the Scriptures, they still had a choice to live their lives to preserve it or to lose it for the sake of Jesus.  Those who lost their lives for the sake of Jesus and His testimony will be back at the first resurrection.  Those, who used their faith in Christ to preserve their lives and indeed to enrich their lives on earth for fear of losing it, will have to wait for the second resurrection.  Too often we teach our people to live well for Christ, rather than to die well for Christ, not realising that living to die well for Christ is the richest life of all.

Since all who hear this word, “He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die,” are alive at the moment they hear it, there is really no choice in what they can believe.  All who live can only have John 11:26, “whoever lives and believes in Me will never die,” to believe in unless proven otherwise at their funeral, in which case John 11:25 is their hope… “He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”  As such, it is really quite simple for all who are alive now and believe, they only have John 11:26 to believe in unless death gives them John 11:25 to hope for.  And if those who live seriously believed what Jesus said in John 11:26, how could death come for them?

The proof that you are in the Resurrection, now of course, is the manifestation of the resurrection of dead hopes and dreams, of course, unless you have never put to death any hopes and dreams or had hopes and dreams die on you.  In most cases, unbelievers – that is those not yet given to Jesus – live a life of hopes and dreams being put to death, so that by the time they come to the Kingdom and into the Resurrection, there are plenty of hopes and dreams to resurrect.  At the same time, those who are in Christ are supposed to put their hopes and dreams to death so that Jesus can resurrect them as He said, “…whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”[11]  And this is the promise that as you lose your life, your “home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields” for Jesus and His gospel, you will not “fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age… and in the age to come, eternal life.”[12]

Thus, your testimony should grow and acquire a maturing where there are witnesses of the raising of the dead hopes and dreams that you had before you were in Christ, and the witness of the hundredfold return of that which you put to death for the sake of Christ and His gospel.  It may take a bit of time, and though it may linger, it will come to pass.  Just remember, when the Resurrection Himself appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they did not recognise Him until He revealed Himself.

So, in truth, there are three manifestations of the Resurrection and witnesses to the word of Jesus when He said, “I am the Resurrection,” and if He is the Resurrection, He is the resurrection of the dead that will be testified to by:

1.     A personal experience of the resurrection of the dead in your life now.

2.     A manifestation of those who will participate in the first resurrection and the Millennial Reign with Him.

3.     And a final resurrection of the rest of the dead, including all who lived in the Millennium who are not members of the first resurrection, including those who surrounded the camp of God’s people.[13]

Those who have blasphemed the Holy Spirit like the False Prophet and the Beast and those who have denied the truth that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, that is, the Devil and Death, will not take part in any resurrection, either the first or the second, but are thrown into the Lake of Sulphur without resurrection as it is written:  The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur.[14]

And at the second resurrection, only the sea and Death and Hades give up the dead that were in them for judgement,[15] but the Lake of Sulphur gives up no one and nothing once they are condemned there.  Only those over whom it has no power can venture there without fear.

So what is the truth about the resurrection of the dead?  There are two events and One Person… He who is the Resurrection has died and has been raised and is alive, soon to return.  That is the resurrection of the Resurrection, the Person, the Father’s part of the resurrection when His Word was raised up again as He said, “After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied.”[16]

After Christ the Resurrection was raised, the two events, the first resurrection and the second resurrection can occur.  The first event of the resurrection after Christ is to fulfil the word of the Lord, the Son, as He declared, “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it,” and the second event of the resurrection is to fulfil the Law of the Spirit of Life in whom there is no death with the resurrection of all who died and had not taken part in the first resurrection.

Thus, even the resurrection itself has three parts.  One for the Father concerning His Son who died for Him; one for the Son concerning all who died for Him (called the first resurrection[17]); and the last one concerning the Holy Spirit, so that all would be alive (the second resurrection[18]), and death is forever conquered, to live on New Earth either outside or inside of New Jerusalem, depending on whether they are resurrected as dogs[19] or gods.[20] 

As those who are elected by the Holy Spirit to be in Him and not just flesh upon whom He has been poured or believers into whom Jesus has baptised, your testimony of the resurrection of the dead must be based on the fullness of the knowledge of the word of God and the power of the Spirit of God, so that you can refute all tongues that rise up against you.  For you, the grace of God is not an excuse of ignorance, but a safety net that catches you as you attempt to fly by faith in the word of the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

You have the privilege to know that you who believe and live will never die, so that you may live through the days of distress to participate in the arrival of Jesus Christ and all His elect above Jerusalem for His Millennial reign.  Finally, Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel [saying to them, “Come up here.”] and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  [And they went up to Heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.]  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.[21]

Be sure and be clear on which resurrection you are aiming for in the Resurrection.  Once you have decided what you will believe for and ask for, it can be done for you according to your faith.  If you have chosen to be worthy of the first resurrection, then you must begin to live your life in that manner and plan as such in that manner.

AMEN


[1] Revelation 20:4-6

[2] Romans 11:25

[3] 1 Corinthians 10:1

[4] Matthew 22:29

[5] 2 Peter 3:16

[6] Luke 9:62

[7] John 5:39-40

[8] John 11:25-26

[9] Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11

[10] Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 10:38

[11] Matthew 10:39b

[12] Mark 10:29-30

[13] Revelation 20:2

[14] Revelation 19:20

[15] Revelation 20:13

[16] Isaiah 53:11

[17] Revelation 20:5-6

[18] Revelation 20:6,11-15

[19] Revelation 22:15

[20] John 10:34; Psalm 82:6

[21] 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; insert in [] Revelation 11:12

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