The First Resurrection

By on December 5, 2016

The First Resurrection – Bible Research Tools 
The book of Daniel speaks of the resurrection of the children of Israel in this manner:

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” — Dan 12:1-3 KJV

We know the term “thy people” is referring to the children of Israel by this earlier clause defining the term “my people”:

 “And whiles I [Daniel] was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God;” — Dan 9:20 KJV

And we know the timing of the resurrection by this passage:

“Now I am come to make thee [Daniel] understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.” — Dan 10:14 KJV

The Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament), which was in common use in the first century, and oft quoted by the New Testament authors, substituted “last days” for “latter days”:

“and I have come to inform thee of all that shall befall thy people in the last days: for the vision is yet for many days.” — Dan 10:14 LXX

The ministry of Christ occurred during the last days:

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” — Heb 1:1-2 KJVC

The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which immediately followed the ascension of Christ, also occurred during the last days:

“[Peter said]But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” — Acts 2:16-17 KJV


Moses spoke of a perverse generation living in the last days which the Lord would provoke to jealousy with a foolish nation:

“Thou hast forsaken God that begot thee, and forgotten God who feeds thee. And the Lord saw, and was jealous; and was provoked by the anger of his sons and daughters, and said, I will turn away my face from them, and will show what shall happen to them in the last days; for it is a perverse generation [Acts 2:38-40, NASB], sons in whom is no faith. They have provoked me to jealousy with that which is not God, they have exasperated me with their idols; and I will provoke them to jealousy with them that are no nation [Rom 10:19, NASB], I will anger them with a nation void of understanding.” — Deu 32:18-21 LXX

Peter referred to his generation as that perverse generation:

 [Peter said to them,] “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’” — Acts 2:38-40 NASB

So did Christ:

“And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.” — Luk 9:41-42 KJV

And Paul:

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” — Phi 2:15 KJV

Paul also explained that his generation of Israelites was the generation being provoked to jealousy:

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” — Rom 10:18-20 KJV


In every case the timing of the first resurrection pointed to the generation of Christ.  Isaiah even foretold an “acceptable time” and “a day of salvation”:

“Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.” — Isa 49:8-10 KJV

Paul wrote that his day was the acceptable time and the day of salvation:

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” — 2Cor 6:1-2 KJV


Ezekiel foretold the resurrection at the time of the pouring out of the spirit, the making of the new covenant, and the reign of Christ:

“And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” — Eze 36:27-28 KJV

“And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.” — Eze 37:13-14 KJV

“And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” — Eze 37:24-27 KJV

Paul told the Corinthians that they were God’s people as foretold in Ezekiel 37:27:

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” — 2Cor 6:16 KJV

The Hebrews, quoting Jeremiah 31, stated that would occur at the time of the New Covenant:

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” — Heb 8:10 KJV


Jesus said the hour of the first resurrection had come:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” — John 5:25 KJV

That was foretold in Exodus with this promise to the faithful children of Israel:

“And now if ye will indeed hear my voice, and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me a peculiar people above all nations; for the whole earth is mine. And ye shall be to me a royal priesthood and a holy nation: these words shalt thou speak to the children of Israel.” — Exo 19:5-6 LXX

Who among the children of Israel heard the voice of the Son of God?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” — John 10:27 KJV

Peter told the diaspora in Asia Minor that they were the ones who received the promise of Exodus 19:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” — 1Pet 2:9-10 KJV

In verse 10, above, Peter told the diaspora that they were also part of the restoration of Israel foretold in Hosea:

“And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” — Hos 1:6 KJV

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” — Hos 1:10-11 KJV

“And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” — Hos 2:23 KJV

And who did not hear the Lord’s voice?

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” — John 8:47 KJV

If ye are not of God, then ye are of the devil.  Jesus explicitly labeled those who could not hear his voice as the children of the devil:

“Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” — John 8:43-44 KJV


Back to the timing of the Resurrection.  Paul indicated the resurrection would occur within his generation by his use of the first personal pronoun, “we”:

“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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” — 1Th 4:16-18 KJV

James and Peter implied the Lord’s coming and judgment was imminent:

“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” — Jas 5:8-9 KJV

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” — 1Pet 4:17 KJV

John said it was the “last time”, and he, like Paul, used the first personal pronoun “we”:

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” — 1Joh 2:18 KJV

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” — 1Joh 3:2 KJV


Jesus explained in many ways that his second coming would occur within his own generation, even in this one:

“When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They [the chief priests and Pharisees] say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” — Mat 21:40-45 KJV

That passage refers back to the promise of Exodus 19:5-6 that Israel would become a holy nation of priests.  Jesus explains that the priesthood and leadership were to be taken away from the Levites and Rabbis and given to faithful members of all tribes, which is called the remnant (Rom 9:27, 11:5).


The most well-known references to Christ’s second coming also point to His generation.  In this first one, Jesus explained that the resurrection/judgment and his second coming would occur while some he was talking to were still alive:

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” — Mat 16:27-28 KJV

In the second, Jesus explains that those who pierced him (Zec 12:10; John 19:32-37) would still be alive to see his coming:

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” — Rev 1:7 KJV

A more understandable translation of that passage is the one below which reveals that the “earth” is “the land” (the land of Israel) and the “kindreds of the earth” are the tribes of Israel:

“Behold, he comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they which have pierced him, and all the tribes of the land shall wail because of him. Yea. Amen.” — Rev 1:7 DARBY 1890

This final reference is from the Olivet Discourse, in which Jesus said this about gathering his elect:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” — Mat 24:29-31 KJV

That was fulfilled within his own generation:

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” — Mat 24:34 KJV


There is another resurrection in the future where all the dead are judged according to their works:

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” — Rev 20:12-13 KJV

Not all of the children of Israel were raised in the first resurrection:

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” — Dan 12:2 KJV

John explained that those left behind in the first resurrection will be raised in the second resurrection:

“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” — Rev 20:5 KJV



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