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THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND JUDGMENT
Separating Fact from Fiction
Victor M. Eskew
A. The resurrection is one of the things that gives the child of God hope.
1. The word means “to stand again.”
2. When man dies, he is “laid to rest” in the tomb or in the grave.
a. Man looks defeated.
b. The death of man seems to final. Not so!!!
3. The dead will stand again.
a. It was the hope of the Jews (John 11:23-24).
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
b. It is the hope of Christians (I Cor. 15:19-21)
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
c. It was definitely the hope of the apostle Paul (Phil. 3:10-11)
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
B. The resurrection is associated with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (John 5:28-29; 6:39-40; I Cor. 15:22-23; I Thess. 4:16).
C. As we consider the resurrection, one of the many questions that must be discussed is: “How many resurrections will there be?”
1. Those who are referred to as Amils believe that there will be only one general resurrection of all the dead on the same day, the last day.
2. The Premils believe that there will be at least two resurrections, and, possibly, as many as four resurrections.
a. “Premils teach that the righteous dead will be raised before the millennium and that the unbelieving dead will be raised after it” (The Millennial Reign of Christ, Homer Duncan, 64-65).
b. “Dispensationalism requires three or perhaps four resurrections to meet the demands of its system. According to this system the first, that of the saints, occurs at the Rapture. This is followed seven years later, at the Revelation, by the resurrection of other saints who have died or been put to death during the Great Tribulation. Both Historic Premillennialism and Dispensationalism logically call for a resurrection at the end of the Millennium of the righteous who have died during that time – presumably there will be some death of the righteous as well as the wicked during the Millennium, for we read, ‘The child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed’ (Isa. 65:20). Dr. Scofield neglected to give any pronouncement regarding this point, and no other authoritative voice has been able to do so. Also, Dispensationalism holds that there is to be a resurrection of the wicked of all ages at the end of the Millennium, that being the fourth needed to meet the requirements of this system” (The Millennium, Loraine Boettner, 263).
I. THE BIBLE TEACHES ONE GENERAL RESURRECTION
A. 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.
B. Acts 24:15
And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
C. At the last day
1. Four times we are told that believers will be raised “at the last day.”
a. John 6:39
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again in the last day.
b. John 6:40
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
c. John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
d. John 6:54
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
2. According to John 12:48, the wicked will be judged “in the last day.”
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
a. Since the resurrection of the righteous is on the last day, it cannot occur a thousand years before the last day.
b. Since after the last day there can be no days on which the wicked might be raised, their resurrection must occur at the same time.
D. Important point: These texts are divinely inspired. Nothing else that the Holy Spirit reveals in the Bible about the resurrection would contradict what we have learned thus far.
II. THREE “PROOF-TEXTS” OF THE PREMILS
A. Revelation 20:4-5
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon the, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or on their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again unto the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
1. The Premil sees two resurrections in this text.
a. Those who lived and reigned with Christ
b. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
a. The Premil believes these two things about the book of Revelation:
1) The book of Revelation “has for its central theme the second coming of Christ” (Duncan, 5).
2) Bible prophecy should be interpreted literally.
a) Allis: “One of the most marked factors of Premillennialism in all its forms is the emphasis which it places on the literal interpretation of Scripture” (as quoted by Duncan, 13-14).
b) Cooper: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at it primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise” (as quoted by Duncan, 14).
b. The book of Revelation should clearly be interpreted “otherwise.”
1) Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which much shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
a) The text says that the Revelation was “signified.”
b) Definition of signified:
- Strong (4591): (a mark; of uncertain origin)
- Thayer: to give a sign, to signify
c) One has said that Revelation was “sign”-ified. It has been revealed by signs, in other words, in highly figurative language. One would have to be devoid of all understanding to miss this.
2) The Premils are not consistent in their “literal” interpretation of Revelation 20.
a) Is the key literal?
b) Is the bottomless pit literal?
c) Is Satan a literal dragon?
d) Those who lived and reigned with Christ are “the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus.” Is this literal?
3) There is nothing in this passage relating to
a) The Second Coming of Christ
c) The temple
d) Those who were not beheaded for the witness of Jesus.
c. The Premil interpretation contradicts the previous passages of the New Testament that we studied.
B. I Corinthians 15:22-26
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all things under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1. The Premil view of this passage:
a. Paul speaks of the “order” of the resurrection.
b. Their order:
2) They that are Christ’s at his coming
3) Then, at a much later time comes the end when the wicked dead are raised.
a. First, in this text “Paul has believers only in mind, and does not say anything at all about a resurrection of unbelievers….And since nothing can be proven from silence, there is no basis at all for the notion that this passage sets forth a period of time between the resurrection of the righteous and that of the wicked” (Boettner, 267-268).
b. When the expression, “the end,” is used in other places in Scripture, it means the end of all things, and of the end of the world.
1) Matthew 10:22
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
2) I Corinthians 1:8
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3) II Corinthians 1:13
For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end.
4) Hebrews 3:14
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.
c. In verse 52, we learn that the resurrection of the righteous occurs at the last trump. “Hence since this is the last trump there can be no other trump for another resurrection a thousand years later” (Boettner, 268).
C. I Thessalonians 4:13-17
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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 shall we ever be with the Lord.
1. In the text, Paul mentions only one resurrection, not two or more.
2. The focus of Paul’s message is entirely upon the righteous.
a. The righteous dead will be raised.
b. The righteous living will be caught up together with them in the air.
c. Nothing is said after that about the wicked dead.
1) The Premil assumes they will be raised later, that is, after the millennium.
2) Why couldn’t we assume they will be raised immediately after the righteous are taken from the earth to be with the Lord on the very same day and in the very same hour?
3) NOTE: No doctrine should ever be based upon an assumption made by man.
D. Another answer to Premillennialism
1. At the most, we have only read of two resurrections in any passage of Scripture. These are only found by making figurative texts literal, by adding to the text, or by making assumptions.
2. Question: Where are the passages of Scripture for the resurrection of the saints who die during the Tribulation or during the Millennium?
3. Boettner: “The answers to these questions may be somewhat startling to the reader, for the fact is: This whole subject is blank in the system. All that the Scripture has to say about the resurrection of the saints they apply to those who are raised at the Rapture or at the beginning of the Millennium. For the most part they subject is avoided. Those who have attempted to grapple with this problem have been able to offer nothing more than conjectures or human speculations” (273).
A. All the dead will “stand again,” that is, they will be resurrected.
B. It will be at the last day, at the sounding of the last trump, and in the same hour.
C. Resurrection has an order:
1. Christ, the firstfruits
2. They are Christ’s at His coming
3. The wicked dead
D. Teachings about two, three, or four resurrections are false. They are based upon perversions of the Scriptures, additions to the Word of God, and man-made assumptions.