Comfort One Another With these Words
Hebrews 6:1-2 show that the resurrection is one of the foundational doctrines taught by your Bible. And it is the knowledge of the resurrection that gives us God’smind about the purpose of life—and the meaning of death.
There are several references in the Old Testament to the resurrection, but only the Prophet Daniel begins to hint that there might be more than one resurrection. Daniel wrote, “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” (Daniel 12:2). In the New Testament, Jesus Christ said, “… 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 [judgment]” (John 5:28-29).
In Acts 24:15, the Apostle Paul plainly stated “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Paul wrote at length regarding the resurrections in 1 Corinthians 15.
The simple truth of your Bible is that there will be three resurrections (Revelation 20:4-15). The first will be at Christ’s return to Earth (1 Corinthians 15:22-23) when He will resurrect to eternal spirit life those who have received God’s Holy Spirit in order to belong to Christ (Romans 8:9) and who have overcome and endured in God’s ways and held fast to God’s truth (Revelation 3:11-12; 21:7).
This reality explains God’s perspective on the end of physical life: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
The second resurrection will occur 1,000 years after Christ’s return (Revelation 20:11-12). Those in this resurrection will be given human physical bodies once again. For the first time, they will receive the opportunity to understand God’s precious truth and put it into practice in their lives (Isaiah 30:20-21) so that they, too, can be added to the spirit-composed Family of God (Ephesians 3:14-15).
This second resurrection gives us the sure hope of again seeing even those loved ones who never knew the truth of God. Every human being only gets one opportunity to respond to God’s truth! Just because a person has lived does not mean they understood God’s truth. They will receive their one opportunity in the second resurrection!
The third resurrection will also be a resurrection to physical life, but the end result of this resurrection will be eternal death, complete cessation of life—not an eternity boiling and bubbling in an ever burning hellfire, but death. These individuals understood God’s truth and ways but rejected them, through either rebellion or weakness (Hebrews 10:26-27; Revelation 20:13-15; 21:8). God will mercifully impose an eternal death penalty upon them to prevent them from becoming ever living, miserable wretches like Satan the devil.
God’s plan in Scripture inspires tremendous hope—a hope offered to every person who has ever lived.
The Apostle Paul, in explaining this truth, wrote thus: “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [are dead], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Then, after describing the first resurrection in glorious detail, he concluded by admonishing us, in verse 18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”