Saturday, August 19, 2006

The First Resurrection

It is amazing what one can learn by actually reading the Bible for what it actually says! I grew up in the 70's and 80's when Dispensationalism, with it's pre-millenial and pre-tribulational interpretations, were their most popular. I was taken in by most of it because it was exciting, and seemed to be taking the events of the cold war so very seriously.

However, the interpretations became a little too forced as I studied in the most dispensationalist school outside of Dallas. I was in graduate school, so my "indoctrination" was not as severe. I was being taught critical thinking skills, so I started asking questions. But not too loudly.

Anyway, the first interpretation that "went" was the pre-tribulation "rapture." The words "immediately after the tribulation" kept glaring out at me like "this is my body" did for Martin Luther! I had to face it, I was "historic pre-mil," the only position I could take and still be in "good graces" with teachers at school. I gradually went over to a a-mil position under the tutelage of some good Presbyterian preaching. But that is another story.

I bring that up only to present the following interpretation of the resurrections with which we have to do:

From my website I have copied yet another bit of eschatological controversy! Behold:

When all seemed hopeless, God works a miracle. Actually, it is the fulfilling of a promise. The "great voice" which will call the prophets home is megale phone, the same the "great sound" of the trumpet prophecied by Christ in Matt. 24:31. Eternal life and Resurrection are part of His Grand Plan for believers. As the "second woe" passes, it will logically lead up to the "third woe" which is the LAST TRUMPET! To the Anti-Christ's astonishment, he sees the Resurrection of his enemies, taken out of this world. But his heart is harder than tempered steel -- no, harder than diamond! He thinks he is ready to meet God face to face, but we will see that he is not. ARE YOU READY? The FIRST RESURRECTION is not that great event at the end of time, but rather NEW LIFE FROM THE DEAD.

The words of Christ himself make it clear that this is an accurate picture of the "General Resurrection" to come. Were it not so, I would not argue this point here, or elsewhere. This was personally hard for me to realize, but this passage is so much clearer when from a "new perspective":

John 5:
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 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.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 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.

As hard as it was for me as a Pre-millennialist, I eventually grasped the concept of "the first resurrection" being the same as the "new birth." No unbiased reader of Jesus' words can deny that two "resurrections" are in view here. It is hard to escape the words of Christ when faced with doctrinal controversy. . . . Historically the doctrine is treated as a "General Resurrection," somewhat like that referred to by Christ in John 5:29 above. Without twisting scripture, that is where I am left -- ONE FINAL JUDGMENT WITH ONE RESURRECTION AT THAT TIME.

And so, let's live like we have the power of the First Resurrection with us even today! With that kind of authority, we need not fear whatever the world has in store for us. We will prevail.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.