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Topic: The Feast of Trumpets

Kinds and Times of Resurrections

by Darrel Cline

We have been looking into the relationship of the Jewish Feast of Trumpets to the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture is a term used to describe the event referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We began our study of the issues surrounding the Rapture by dealing with the biblical teaching on resurrection. (053) This teaching clearly establishes the fact that everyone who ever begins to live as a human being will never cease to exist as a human being. Everyone is destined to be physically raised from the dead at some time in the future. Jesus Himself taught this (John 5:28-29). The scoffers deny it, but they have no basis in their experience to do so--Heaven and Hell do not cough up their residents and send them back to earth to tell us their experiences. It wouldn't do any good if they did (Luke 16:31).

So we began with the general truth of resurrection. Because the Rapture is a unique event tied to resurrection, it was necessary that we begin there.

But there are several things that we also need to understand in order to grasp what the Rapture is all about. The first of these is the fact that the Bible teaches more than one kind of resurrection and more than one time of resurrection. We need to understand the difference between the kinds of resurrection and the various times of resurrection.

The first kind of resurrection is the resurrection to life. The second kind of resurrection is the resurrection to condemnation. According to various texts of Scripture, there are at least four (and perhaps five) resurrections to life at various times in earth history, and one resurrection to condemnation in earthly time. We need to keep the kinds and times carefully distinct in our thinking.

The five resurrections of life are these:

  1. Jesus' resurrection from the grave in 33 A.D.;
  2. the believer's spiritual resurrection from the dead at the point of faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:5-9);
  3. the physical, bodily resurrection of every member of Christ's Church at the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18);
  4. the physical, bodily resurrection of all of the saints of the pre-Church era at the end of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2; and Revelation 20:1-4)
  5. And, though the Bible doesn't specifically say so, there must also be a resurrection of the believers who live and die during the millennial reign of Christ at the end of that period.

The one resurrection to condemnation is the one in which the dead of all ages who refused to believe in God's promise of forgiveness and life are raised. This is going to occur at the end of Jesus' reign upon the earth and is so taught in Revelation 20:5-15.

Our understanding of these resurrections is necessary because the Rapture, which is foreshadowed by the Feast of Trumpets, will occur in conjunction with the third of the resurrections of life listed above. According to I Thessalonians 4:13-18, the Rapture will occur when the members of Christ's Church are called forth from the grave to enter into their places in the Kingdom.

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This is article #054.
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