Saturday, April 9, 2011

FAITHFUL WITNESS AND FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD

REVELATION 1:5

"And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.  Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood..."

As in previous blogs, I'll focus upon each phrase in this verse.  Each verse in the book of Revelation is a TREASURE TROVE of SPIRITUAL WEALTH, so I'll NOT rush through it.   I encourage you to savor these teachings like a mouthful of rich chocolate, slowly enjoying their pleasant delight...

In verse 5, we see THREE TITLES of Jesus Christ, which picture our Lord as faithful witness (Prophet), first begotten of the dead (Priest) and prince of the kings of the earth (King).


JESUS IS FAITHFUL WITNESS

As a TRUE PROPHET, part of the ministry of Jesus is to REVEAL God, the Father, to mankind.  Jesus not only TOLD people about the FATHER GOD, but in his INCARNATION, by becoming God in the flesh of a man, by HIS VERY PERSON, Jesus is the PERFECT REVELATION and A WITNESS to EVERYONE of ALL that God is (and has said and done).

I quote from the Gospel of John, the words of Jesus Himself, which shows this facet of His ministry:  A FAITHFUL WITNESS and A PROPHET.

He's speaking to His disciples (and IF we follow Jesus, WE ARE His disciples, too)--"If you had known me, you would HAVE KNOWN MY FATHER also:  and from henceforth you KNOW Him, and have SEEN Him"  John 14:7

The middle part of John 14:9--"...He that hath SEEN Me has SEEN the Father..."

"Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?  The words that I speak unto you I speak NOT of Myself:  but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me:  or else believe Me for the very works sake."  John 14:10-11.

Jesus makes it clear, that IF people would get a correct understanding of Him (Jesus), of the words He spoke, of the deeds He did, of the mercy He demonstrated, of the forgiveness He offered, of the love He shared, of the sacrifices He made--then those people would have A CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, THE OLD TESTAMENT JEHOVAH, THE FATHER WHO SITS OMNIPOTENT ON HIS THRONE IN HEAVEN.

IF YOU SEE AND KNOW JESUS, YOU ALSO SEE AND KNOW GOD, THE FATHER.  This is so important to grasp, comprehend, and store deep inside our hearts!

Another insight about the FAITHFUL WITNESS is that the Greek word for "witness" is "martus."  This is the root from which we get our English word "martyr."

Jesus indeed became a "martyr."  He was FAITHFUL--even to the point of becoming a sacrifice upon the cross.  He was FAITHFUL unto death!

Jesus approached His death, His face set like flint toward Jerusalem, knowing FULL WELL what would happen to Him.  Jesus laid down His life so that mankind, held captive by sin to eternal death (spiritual death), could be set free.

Jesus SHOWED the WILL of His Father.  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should NOT perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE."  John 3:16.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13.

God Himself (in Jesus) lay down His life for us (in the second person of the Godhead).  He's THE FAITHFUL WITNESS (MARTYR) for our sakes, so that He might become our Savior and Lord.

The end of the story is that Jesus rose triumphant from the tomb, and from the confines of HADES (in the compartment known as Abraham's bosom--or "paradise").  Jesus triumphed over the grave, death and the works of the devil through His death and resurrection.  And now, God will NO LONGER sentence anyone to a place of eternal torment in hell--IF--and THIS is THE CRUX of the story,--IF we will place our FAITH in Jesus and ask Him to come dwell in our hearts.  Then, and only then, we will NOT receive eternal judgment from God.

Can you accept this great GIFT which is given to us by God Himself? May you know the joy of SALVATION.


RESURRECTION--WHO'S FIRST?

Having seen Jesus as the FAITHFUL WITNESS, we'll now look at Him as the FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD (meaning that He ROSE from dead--AND received a glorified resurrection body--this, too, for our sakes.)

What does this mean?  HOW did it unfold?  What does it signify for us?

The FIRST BEGOTTEN (meaning "first born") OF THE DEAD points to the crucifixion of Jesus, and His powerful victory over death.  In performing what He did at the cross, Jesus acted as a PRIEST.  How can that be possible?  Where does death and resurrection fit into the PRIEST concept?

A PRIEST serves God as a "go-between"--someone who stands "in place" to REPRESENT other people before God.  In Jesus' act of rising from the dead, He received an immortal, glorified body...AND He entered THE OFFICE of our GREAT HIGH PRIEST at the throne of God.

Christians pray to God IN THE NAME OF JESUS.  PLUS, Jesus SITS at the right hand of God the Father, and INTERCEDES for us.  Hebrews 4:14-16 and 1 John 2:1.  INTERCESSION IS THE ACT OF A PRIEST, and Jesus obtained THAT MINISTRY by becoming the FIRST BEGOTTEN (first procreated, first born) OF THE DEAD.

Jesus IS the FIRST person to be resurrected from the dead, and Who obtained a glorified body.  (There are a few exceptions. Lazarus was raised from the dead BEFORE Jesus, as well as some others, like 12 year old Jairus' daughter, but these people did NOT receive a glorified or resurrection body.  They died for a second time at the end of their lifespan.)

There's something else, concerning this topic, which is MUCH HARDER to explain (so try to bear with me, and realize, that at this point in time, we all look through a glass darkly. Now we can only understand, in part, but when we get to heaven ourselves, we'll know in full).

In the Old Testament, two men were taken from earth into heaven--Enoch and Elijah.  They were "translated"--which is a word that means "to be removed from earth to heaven WITHOUT passing through the usual death procedure."  Genesis 5:21-23 and 2 Kings 2:11.

[I'll insert this technicality BEFORE continuing]  We can say that Enoch and Elijah did NOT REALLY DIE, since they were taken from earth to heaven WITHOUT passing through death's channel.  But, their presence in heaven REQUIRES that they are in a GLORIFIED STATE--AS IF they had actually died and rose again.  (Enoch and Elijah, as types, show an awesome truth FOR THE CHURCH--which will be studied in more depth in a FUTURE blog.)

Are we to believe that Enoch and Elijah are at the THRONE OF GOD in NORMAL bodies of "flesh and blood" BECAUSE they were translated directly from earth to heaven WITHOUT passing through the usual door of death?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Other scriptures reveals that FLESH AND BLOOD cannot STAND in God's presence--the ACT WOULD KILL A MORTAL PERSON!

There's a THIRD man who is shrouded in MYSTERY because of UNUSUAL actions by God, AFTER his death.  Let's consider Moses.

We discover in Exodus 33:17-23, that Moses needed to hide in a cleft of a rock when God's glory was revealed to him.  This was to PROTECT Moses from dying in God's presence.  Moses wasn't allowed to look upon God's face--he could only see God's backside--BECAUSE "Thou CANST see My face:  for there shall NO MAN see Me AND LIVE."  Again, this points to HOW a MORTAL man, of flesh and blood, CANNOT survive in the presence of a HOLY God!

There's more about Moses:  In him, we see that there's a THIRD idea to consider, concerning WHO'S in heaven--and this BEFORE the events of Jesus' first coming!

Something unusual occurred when Moses died.  Scripture tells us that Moses died in the land of Moab, "according to the Lord."  NO MAN KNOWS where the tomb of Moses lies, because the Lord Himself TOOK CARE of Moses' dead body.  Did Moses' burial by God involve MORE than his being laid to rest in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor (which means "house of a wide open gap")?  Did God take him to heaven?  Deuteronomy 34:5-7.  I ask this question BECAUSE, when we get to the Gospels, we see MOSES and Elijah appear in the glory of Jesus' transfiguration.  Matthew 17:1 to 3.

How could Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus in the transfiguration IF they were NOT already in heaven, in God's presence?  Was the transfiguration JUST A VISION that Jesus allowed his disciples to witness?  Or was it a REAL EVENT, sponsored by a God Who can do anything, Who can suspend His laws temporarily, if it suits His purpose?

I personally feel it MUST have been REAL--BECAUSE Peter wanted to ERECT A MONUMENT, A MEMORIAL, right on that spot!  (Although there could be a DOUBT about Moses actually being in heaven [because of a "burial" performed by God], there's NO DOUBT about Elijah.  He was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot!)

Can Elijah (or Enoch), be in heaven in God's presence--in a REGULAR "flesh and blood" body (since they did NOT pass through death to get there)?  THE ANSWER:  THEY CANNOT EXIST IN HEAVEN IN MORTAL FLESH AND BLOOD.  God's glory would kill them instantly!  These men, in heaven, MUST have received GLORIFIED bodies in order to exist there.  (Again, this is my understanding about it--and REMEMBER, I see through that glass darkly!)

With all of this in mind, HOW CAN JESUS be called THE FIRST BEGOTTEN (first procreated, first born) OF THE DEAD--Who received a glorified resurrection body?  There seems to be a discrepancy, since Enoch and Elijah were taken (translated) to heaven BEFORE Jesus rose from the dead, AND since a mystery surrounds Moses' dead body (the reason why his grave has never been discovered).  Wouldn't Enoch, Elijah, and possibly Moses, be considered as the first to receive GLORIFIED bodies?  And because Moses and Elijah were seen in GLORIFIED bodies, along with Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration, does that mean they were sent by God from heaven (in glorified bodily form) to meet with Jesus there?

In this, we must remember GOD'S perspective.  He KNOWS the END from the BEGINNING, and everything in between.  God could make EXCEPTIONS about Enoch, Elijah, and possibly Moses, BECAUSE in God's eyes, JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD FROM BEFORE THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD!  1 Peter 1:18-21 and Ephesians 1:3-4.

This means that BEFORE God created the world, BEFORE God created Adam and Eve, BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God KNEW what would happen.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit had already planned THE ANSWER to mankind's sin, BEFORE their sin ACTUALLY OCCURRED.  The reason Jesus can be truthfully called THE FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD, is because from God's ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE, Jesus HAD ALREADY DIED, ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND RECEIVED HIS GLORIFIED BODY.  This is INDEED ONE of the PROFOUND MYSTERIES of God.  (God, in ETERNITY--perceives FUTURE events which indeed happen IN OUR TIME, as IF those events were ALWAYS there and PRESENT beforehand. This is AS DIFFICULT for us to understand as the three persons of God's TRINITY.  Some things will never be clear to us until we actually get to heaven, experience ETERNITY, and see the TRINITY for ourselves.)

We must remember, too, that Enoch, Elijah, and possibly Moses, could NOT be in heaven during Old Testament times, UNLESS...

The UNLESS is THAT these men BELIEVED the Gospel as it was presented from God TO THEM--IN THEIR TIME.  They were reckoned righteous BECAUSE they believed God's promise to send A SAVIOR, His ONLY BEGOTTEN Son, Jesus.  Enoch, Elijah, and possibly Moses, were taken to heaven because of their FAITH in Jesus--even BEFORE Jesus was actually incarnated!

IN GOD'S PERSPECTIVE, THESE MEN RECEIVED SALVATION, AND THEY DWELL IN HEAVEN, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED IN JESUS EVEN BEFORE JESUS PERFORMED THE WORK.  AND IN GOD'S ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE, JESUS HAD ALREADY RISEN TO BE "THE FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD"--FOR ALL THOSE WHO WILL PLACE THEIR TRUST IN HIM (whether they arrive in heaven THROUGH death or "translation"--the Rapture).

I KNOW this is exceptionally deep.  And it IS profound.  But this is the ONLY way to explain Enoch and Elijah (who did NOT REALLY DIE, and who technically DID NOT RISE FROM THE DEAD, but who nevertheless, MUST possess some kind of "translated" bodies in heaven), and possibly also Moses (whose dead body was cared for by God).  MY PURPOSE IS TO HIGHLIGHT A DEEP MYSTERY--WITHOUT CREATING ANY MASSIVE CONTRADICTIONS.  And I hope this didn't confuse you!

Indeed, Jesus is our GREAT HIGH PRIEST, because Jesus is THE FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD!

Now, we'll begin to see what the FIRST RESURRECTION REALLY IS--and HOW the FIRST RESURRECTION will unfold.  There's MUCH more to BOGGLE our minds!


RISEN FROM THE DEAD--IN STAGES

To briefly recap: Revelation 1:5 (first part of the verse). "...and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth..."

The focus remains upon "THE FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD."

In this, we see Jesus Christ as the FIRST person to have experienced death, descend into hell--the compartment of Hades called "Paradise," rise again from the dead, and to receive a glorified resurrection body.

The new body that Christ received was solid, comprised of flesh and bone.  His disciples could touch it, could place their fingers into the scars left by the nails in his hands and feet.  And at the same time, Jesus was able to appear and disappear at will.  He could suddenly materialize inside a closed room.  He was also able to eat.  John 20:18-31.

Christ's new resurrection body is THE SAME KIND that believers in the Lord will receive upon their own resurrection (or by their "translation" in the "rapture" of the church)--whichever that might be.  The new body will be ETERNAL--which will NEVER ever grow old, and which will NEVER grow tired, be injured or become sick.  The new body will be IMMORTAL--meaning that NEVER again will our bodies die.  We have so much to anticipate!  What joy!  What release!  What freedom!  (I'm so eager and excited--more than ready to KNOW and EXPERIENCE these ULTIMATE blessings!)

Jesus rising from the dead is PART of what's called the FIRST RESURRECTION.  We see the first resurrection explained in Revelation 20:6.  "Blessed and holy is he that has part in the FIRST RESURRECTION: on such the SECOND DEATH has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

Some people believe that the FIRST RESURRECTION will take place in ONE FELL SWOOP after the return of Jesus in the Armageddon confrontation.  However, when we SEE that Jesus has ALREADY risen from the dead, and that HIS resurrection IS PART of the FIRST RESURRECTION, then we are able to sense that the FIRST RESURRECTION takes place IN STAGES.

1 Corinthians 15:23 says this (speaking of resurrection), "But EVERY man IN HIS OWN ORDER:  Christ the FIRSTFRUITS; afterward THEY THAT ARE CHRIST'S AT HIS COMING."  And continuing THE ORDER of the FIRST RESURRECTION into verse 24--"THEN comes THE END..."

We need to understand how Jesus FULFILLED the feast of FIRSTFRUITS, a Jewish holiday, which is celebrated THREE DAYS after the Passover.  Christ died on Passover, and three days later, He rose again from the dead on the VERY DAY of FIRSTFRUITS--and He became the FIRSTFRUITS of the FIRST RESURRECTION (on the EXACT DAY that the Jews celebrated that feast).

Afterward, WE SEE the SECOND PART of the FIRST RESURRECTION--those who are Christ's AT HIS COMING (speaking of the Church and an event called "the Rapture," the "catching up", the Greek word HARPAZO--which is the Church rising up to meet the Lord in the air.  This is literally a "SNATCHING AWAY").

THEN COMES THE END--Judgment, "great tribulation," Armageddon, then FINALLY, the LAST PART (the THIRD PART) of the FIRST RESURRECTION--the RAISING of Old Testament and TRIBULATION SAINTS from the dead.

We see in this structure that Jesus was the FIRST in a series of stages in the FIRST RESURRECTION.  Other places in scripture say that Jesus is the HEAD of His BODY, the Church.  He has already risen and already possesses a glorified and immortal body.  We can take this fact a little bit further and say that RIGHT NOW the HEAD (Jesus) is in heaven, but His BODY (the Church) isn't.

The SECOND STAGE of the FIRST RESURRECTION will be Christians in the CHURCH--those who have DIED, believing in Christ, throughout the ages--AND those who will be ALIVE at HIS COMING, who will rise to meet Him in the clouds (the Rapture), and experience the instantaneous "translation" of our bodies (passing from earth to heaven WITHOUT going through the usual death).

The event called the "Rapture of the Church" is recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17--"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and THE DEAD in Christ shall RISE first:  Then we which are ALIVE and remain shall BE CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so we shall be ever with the Lord."

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 shows another picture of the SECOND STAGE of the FIRST RESURRECTION.  "Behold, I show you a MYSTERY; we shall NOT all sleep (meaning die), but we shall ALL be CHANGED (translated).  In a MOMENT, in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the DEAD shall be RAISED incorruptible, and we shall ALL BE CHANGED.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this MORTAL must put on IMMORTALITY."

Even in the Old Testament, there's a prophecy which shows the same structure as the RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.  Isaiah 26:19-20--"Thy DEAD men shall LIVE (resurrection), together with my dead body shall they RISE.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust (the grave):  for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall CAST OUT THE DEAD.  (Listen to the next phrase--it's a call to people who are ALIVE.)  Come, My people, enter thou into your chambers ("mansions"), and shut your doors about you:  HIDE yourself as it were FOR A LITTLE MOMENT, UNTIL THE INDIGNATION (the wrath of God in judgment) be overpast."  (In other words, "Hide, My people"--UNTIL the "seven year tribulation" has run its course.)  All I can add to that is "WOW!"

I won't take the time to elaborate upon each scripture I quoted.  But I want you to see THE STRUCTURE that's so readily apparent in EACH of these passages.  In the CATCHING UP, the SNATCHING AWAY of the Church (which is the Greek word HARPAZO)--and which is the SECOND STAGE of the FIRST RESURRECTION, there's FIRST a RISING OF THE DEAD.  THEN those who are ALIVE are instantly CHANGED ("translated") into GLORIFIED BODIES, and are CAUGHT UP together in the air with the dead in Christ, to meet the Lord. 

These prophecies parallel what Jesus promised in John 14:1-3.  "Let not your hearts be troubled:  you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are MANY MANSIONS:  if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU.  And if I go and prepare a PLACE for you, I will COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF, that WHERE I am (heaven), there you may be also."

In the Isaiah passage, we see many similarities to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  The resurrection of the dead happens FIRST.  Then comes the CALL to people who are alive and remain unto Christ's coming--"the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout"--"Come, My people, ENTER your chambers (mansions)."  This will event will occur BEFORE A DAY OF JUDGMENT, THE INDIGNATION, THE WRATH OF GOD.  It offers SAFETY to those in the chambers WHILE THE INDIGNATION is happening.

Keeping the Church SAFE from God's WRATH and JUDGMENT compares to 1 Thessalonians 5:9, John 3:17-18, and Revelation 3:10.  HOMEWORK--PLEASE READ THESE SCRIPTURES!

The phrase "Come, My people, ENTER thy chambers" in Isaiah 26 compares to Revelation 4:1 where the Apostle John (as a "type" of the Church) is CALLED, "Come up, hither."  A voice like A TRUMPET called John up to heaven.  And this compares to BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.  TRUMPETS are used in ALL these passages.

I want to further define the TRUMP of God, used at the Church's rapture, because so many people CONFUSE that TRUMPET with the trumpet judgments in Revelation.  People think the use of the TRUMPET proves that the Church will be Raptured at the LAST TRUMPET, the SEVENTH in the series of horrendous Tribulation judgments.  And thus, the Church will be on the earth during that calamitous time--(or so these people insist).

BUT--ARE we to assume that trumpets have never been used BEFORE, or that they will NEVER BE USED AGAIN, after the blast of the seventh JUDGMENT trumpet in Revelation?  Hardly!

When we do a comparative study throughout the scriptures, we discover a multiplicity of differing uses of trumpets in Israel.  Trumpets called an assembly to worship.  Trumpets, used militarily, alerted soldiers to changes of duty.  A trumpet also signaled that an army was going to war.  A series of trumpet blasts were used in the moving of the camp of Israel--when the LAST ONE sounded, it was time to MOVE OUT.  At the LAST TRUMPET, the Church's work will be done--it will be time to MOVE OUT of the earth and up to heaven!

The trumpet used to call the Church to meet Jesus in the air is also COMPARABLE to the TWO silver Temple trumpets, the SILVER representing REDEMPTION.  It's blast is TO CALL an assembly together for worship.  When we arrive in heaven, we certainly will WORSHIP!  Why is it called THE LAST TRUMPET as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53?  THE ANSWER IS SO SIMPLE.  It's the LAST TRUMPET, because AT ITS BLAST, the work of the Church is OVER (completed)--and we are going home!

I want to cite one more scripture which shows a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.  Again we find this in the Old Testament.  Zephaniah 2:2-3.  "Before THE DECREE bring forth (BEFORE the "prince that shall come--Daniel 9:27--confirm the covenant), BEFORE the day pass as the chaff, BEFORE the FIERCE ANGER (judgment, wrath) of the Lord come upon you, BEFORE the day of the Lord's ANGER (the Tribulation) come upon you.  SEEK ye the Lord, all ye MEEK of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; SEEK righteousness, SEEK meekness:  it may be YE SHALL BE HID in the DAY of the LORD'S ANGER."  (You will be SHUT INSIDE your CHAMBERS or MANSIONS in that time of God's wrath and punishment upon THOSE WHO DWELL UPON THE EARTH.  Revelation 3:10).  Do you see how these scriptures INTERTWINE with the SAME DOCTRINE and TRUTH?

Here's yet ONE MORE, before I leave the subject of the SECOND STAGE of the FIRST RESURRECTION, which IS the Rapture of the Church.  Malachi 3:17--"And they (the Church) shall BE MINE saith the Lord of hosts, IN THAT DAY WHEN I MAKE UP MY JEWELS (gather them up, take them up); and I will SPARE them, as a man SPARES HIS OWN SON THAT SERVED HIM."  (This is yet another reference to the Rapture.  We, Church, will be spared from the Tribulation--because we are THE SONS OF GOD who served Him.) 

In Malachi, we also see that Rapture is Pre-Trib, because of what's recorded in the VERY NEXT VERSE.  Malachi 3:18--"Then shall you RETURN, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves Him not."  When Jesus RETURNS to the earth at the Armageddon scene, the Church will RETURN WITH HIM.  Zechariah 14:5.  Jude 14.  Revelation 19:1-8.  Revelation 19:14.  When Jesus RETURNS and the Church is WITH HIM, we will act WITH HIM in the judging of the world and angels.  1 Corinthians 6:2-3.  Jude 14-15.  What can be clearer than all these dovetailing scriptures?


A THIRD STAGE of the FIRST RESURRECTION will happen AFTER the Armageddon scene--at THE END of the "Great Tribulation."  This STAGE is pictured in Revelation 20:4. HOMEWORK--PLEASE READ IT.  At this point, ALL the martyred TRIBULATION SAINTS will be given their resurrection bodies.

It's also seen, from other scriptures, that OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS will be resurrected at this SAME time.  Let's consider Job 19:25--where Job declared, "For I KNOW that my Redeemer LIVETH, and that HE shall STAND at the latter day UPON THE EARTH (at the Mount of Olives):  and though AFTER my skin worms destroy this body, YET IN MY FLESH shall I see God."

In Isaiah 25:8 to Isaiah 26:1-2, we see this--"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth."  PLEASE READ THE WHOLE PASSAGE.  After the image of death being swallowed up in victory (which is resurrection), we see that the rebuke, the burden of God's people, Israel, will be removed or lifted from off the earth.  The Lord will be in Mount Zion (Jerusalem).  The enemies will be trodden and destroyed.  The gates of the city will be open for the righteous to enter.  All these events will happen when Jesus returns at THE END of the "Great Tribulation" to set His Kingdom upon the earth.  At that time, the Old Testament saints will be resurrected, the THIRD STAGE of the FIRST RESURRECTION.

There's TWO places in scripture where the VARIOUS RESURRECTIONS are ALL lumped into ONE VERSE, and these have LED people to the INCORRECT CONCLUSION that the FIRST RESURRECTION and SECOND RESURRECTION occurs simultaneously.

However, the scripture clearly says that THE SECOND RESURRECTION is "the one" that's unto SECOND DEATH--when ALL the unrighteous dead are raised at THE END of Jesus' thousand year reign on the earth (which is also called THE MILLENNIUM).  The wicked and unsaved people will be cast into the lake of fire in a final and catastrophic judgment, because they NEVER placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

I'll quote the TWO verses which lump ALL the resurrections together in one statement.  Daniel 12:2--"And many of them that sleep in the earth are resurrected, some unto life, some unto second death."  Also John 5:28-29--"Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

These TWO verses give ONLY an OVERVIEW, and they bring out the FACT that there will be TWO KINDS of resurrections--one unto eternal life, and the other unto eternal judgment in the lake of fire.

Blessed are those who have a part in the FIRST RESURRECTION!  "But every man in HIS ORDER!"

(1.)  Jesus, the "FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD," is the FIRSTFRUITS--the very FIRST in the order of FIRST RESURRECTION.

(2.)  AFTERWARD, they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING--a "resurrection" PLUS the "Rapture"--"the HARPAZO"--"the snatching away"--"the translation" (being taken from earth to heaven without passing through usual death)--speaking of the Church.

(3.)  THEN COMES THE END--Armageddon, and THEN the resurrection of TRIBULATION SAINTS and OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS--just prior to Christ ruling on the earth from Jerusalem in His earthly Kingdom.

FINALLY, to review the understanding of Revelation 1:5--Jesus as "the FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD:

He was the FIRST to receive a resurrected and glorified body.  And as our GREAT HIGH PRIEST, He sits at the Father's right hand, to INTERCEDE for us (which is the action of a PRIEST). Therefore, Jesus, as FIRST BEGOTTEN OF THE DEAD is in the OFFICE of a PRIEST at the Thone of God for us.

There's a wealth of information which is UNCOVERED by exploring that one potent phrase--Jesus, the first begotten of the dead.  I pray you are edified and encouraged by these amazing insights!

And may you be exceedingly blessed...

LET'S GATHER TOGETHER IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION--in the SECOND STAGE which shows THE CHURCH at its Resurrection/Rapture!

Let's RECEIVE our SAFETY from wrath and judgment which WILL OCCUR during THE END when "Great Tribulation" fills the earth.  "Come, My people, enter your chambers, AND HIDE, as if for a little moment, until the INDIGNATION is OVERPAST."

Those who do NOT become part of the Church, by accepting Jesus in this age of GRACE, will find themselves CAUGHT in the "Great Tribulation."  Those who come to Jesus in that terrible time will face MARTYRDOM and be raised from the dead AFTER Jesus' feet touch the Mount of Olives--which is the THIRD stage of the FIRST RESURRECTION.

Get ready during the AGE of the Church--turn to Jesus in this ACCEPTABLE TIME of God's GRACE.  You will be hidden in your MANSIONS when JUDGMENT and GOD'S WRATH rages across the face of the earth.

Do you see and understand these truths?  ARE YOU READY?

I KNOW I'm ready!  Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.  All of us Who really KNOW You YEARN to see Your glorious face, and to WORSHIP at Your feet!


4 comments:

  1. This is a great article, thanks! I used it for reference material for one of mine.

    In addition to Jesus being the first fruit, the first of the first resurrection, would you also consider those who arose from the graves with Jesus to be a part of this first part of the first resurrection? I am guessing so.

    Mat 27:50-53 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. (51) And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (52) And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, (53) And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

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  2. Yes, Stan. In other teachings, I have gone into great detail on how Jesus fulfilled the feast of FIRSTFRUITS when He rose from the dead. Leviticus 23:10-12 describes the waving of the sheaf of FIRSTFRUITS before the Lord. When MANY Old Testament saints (NOT "ALL" OF THEM)rose from the dead (Matthew 27:50-53), this fulfilled that portion of FIRSTFRUITS. When Jesus ascended to His Father soon after He rose from the dead (See John 20:16-17), He waved these resurrected Old Testament saints before His Father as the sheaf of FIRSTFRUITS-- and also He sprinkled His blood on the heavenly mercy seat (Hebrews 9:19-28), which is also indicated in Hebrews 12:24. The PURPOSE of this blog was to show the structure of the First Resurrection in stages. I felt it would be too wide a tangent to include these other awesome details. IT'S POWERFUL REVELATION, HOWEVER. THANKS FOR BRING IT UP.

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  3. Here is something else I'm trying to fit into the resurrections. I'm wondering if there are 4 parts instead of three, or perhaps this fits as a part of the second? This seems to be another distinct resurrection, post rapture, and pre old testament/trib saints, that we would want to make a note of. (I understand it was beyond the scope of your article, but I'm curious about your thoughts.

    I'm doing this because my small group got pretty confused about the resurrections, and I told them I would put an article together to document what the Biblical record of the resurrections is.

    What are your thoughts?

    Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

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  4. Hebrews11

    these all died in faith, not having received the promise (this includes Abal, Enoch, Noah Abraham, David(all men including Christ Enoch Moses and Elijah have died (Christ rose again the other wait for the resurrection)


    And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

    33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

    34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

    35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

    36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

    37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

    38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

    39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

    40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect

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