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.Revelation 20:6(NASB)
The resurrection of the body is a blessed biblical truth, that is often overlooked or misunderstood. Man is a tripartite being, made up of spirit, soul and body. We are born dead in trespasses and sins.. but our human spirit is resurrected.. or made alive at the point of our salvation. However, throughout our entire Christian life, our soul is being made new, through a process of practical sanctification.. as day by day our soul-life is gradually being conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus - as we grow in grace and mature in the faith. And one day we will be fully like Him.. reflecting His beautiful, eternal, righteous life - in every way.
But our bodies are also going to be changed, in the twinkling of an eye - at the last trump. The dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible and the living will be caught up together with them in the clouds. We are saved.. spirit (at salvation), soul (through the process of sanctification) and body (at the resurrection/rapture). However, there are not three salvations - but one. When we are born again we have God's assurance that we are saved spirit, soul and body. Our justification, sanctification and glorification is 'yes' and 'amen' - in Christ Jesus, our Saviour.
Although there is one salvation, which embraces us spirit, soul and body, the Bible mentions two resurrections' 1) the resurrection of the just and 2) the resurrection of the wicked. Both saved and unsaved men are resurrected.. but their eternal destinies are very different. The destiny of the believer is eternal life, which was decided at the cross of Calvary by faith. But the destiny of the unsaved is finalised at the great white throne judgement seat.. where the works of the wicked will be tried - and found wanting.
The first resurrection identifies those that are 'blessed and holy', who are resurrected unto everlasting life. The second resurrection identifies the unsaved, who rejected God's offer of salvation, by grace through faith. They are raised unto shame and everlasting contempt and condemnation. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, but the result of unbelief is everlasting contempt and eternal condemnation - because they did not believe on the only begotten Son of God, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
The Bible also identifies two “deaths.' Every man experiences the first death, which is a physical death, but only those that are part of the second resurrection - the resurrection of the wicked, will experience the second death. It is unbelievers who did not trust in Christ for their salvation who are part of the second resurrection.. and they will experience the second death.
Jesus was the first Man who tasted death, and by His death He destroyed the power of the second death over all who would believe on His name. Having shed His precious blood on our account He was resurrected from the dead, in a body of flesh and bone. Jesus was the first-fruit from the dead and all who trust in Him will partake in first resurrection , with a body of flesh and bone - and will not be hurt by the second death.
There are a number of groups that are part of the first resurrection 1) Christ. 2) Those that came out of their graves on that first resurrection morning. 3) The New Testament Church. 4) The Tribulation Saints. 5) The Two Witnesses of Revelation eleven and 6) the Old Testament Saints. All are part of the first resurrection, because all have been justified, by faith.. and Paul tells us that each will be resurrected in his own order: Christ the first fruits. After that.. those who are Christ's at His coming (the Church). 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. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
The very next group in line for the 'first resurrection' are US!! - New Testament, Church-age saints. The dead in Christ and the living believers will participate in the 'first resurrection' when Christ comes in the clouds to take us to our heavenly home. The tribulation saints, who will die in the coming seven-year tribulation, are also blessed to be part of the 'first resurrection' - and we read in Revelation that the two witnesses, who are killed by the antichrist, will similarly participate in the 'first resurrection' of the saints. The last members of the 'first resurrection' are the Old Testament saints. Men and women, as outlined in Hebrews 11, will awake from the dust of the earth and receive everlasting life.. and their resurrection will take place at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns to set up His millennial kingdom on earth.
It is the tribulation saints about whom it is written: 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. Martyred saints, who trusted in the Lamb of God during the time of Jacob's Trouble, will be given certain privileges.. as outlined in this verse. They are going to be raised incorruptible, having received everlasting life.. and will serve in the Temple of God for 1000-years, as priests of God and of Christ. As those who have believed during the age of grace - we have the privilege of being made kings and priests - and are part of the bride of Christ, at His soon return. And by grace through faith.. we will rule and reign with Him for 1000 years.
It is wonderful to know that all who have trusted God and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ will take part in this glorious “first resurrection' but how somber to realise that all who have rejected God's offer of salvation will take part in the resurrection of the wicked (the 'second resurrection').. and then will have to face the second death and eternal separation from their long-suffering God and gracious Saviour. May God have mercy on them, while there is still time.
Heavenly Father, it is a sober thought to realise that all who reject God's offer of salvation will take part in the second resurrection.. and have to face the great white throne judgement, and the second death. I pray that You would use me in the time that we have left to witness of the glorious gospel of the grace of God - that Christ died for our sins, and was buried and rose again so that whosever believes on HIM would not perish but take part in the first resurrection and receive life everlasting - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN