” But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:5 NKJV)
In the last post we differentiated between the rapture (a physical and forceful catching away of the saints) and the resurrection (the dead in Christ transformed with a glorified body). Those who are alive at the last trump will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. We also learned this transformation occurs prior to death’s ultimate defeat.
Matthew 5:18 states that Heaven and Earth disappear before the smallest part of the law goes away. The picture then becomes clearer: after our Heaven and Earth are gone, Death and Hades are sent to the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 20:4-6 answers the question: “When does the resurrection occur?” John sees thrones and people seated on them with authority to judge. These are the souls that had been beheaded for Christ (cf: Rev. 6:9-11). They refused to worship the beast or his image, neither had they taken his mark. It is repeated so we don’t miss it: This is the first resurrection!
It cannot be denied, the Bible says the martyred souls come back to life at the start of the Millennium; the general resurrection occurs after the thousand years is passed.
By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it becomes evident the Rapture is not described in 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. How can so many Bible prophecy experts get it wrong? “Taken or seized in an upward direction” is not ushered into glory in a new body. Are they so married to their doctrine of any moment rapture that they deny the obvious?
When are “alive” saints changed? Revelation 20:11 informs us. Believers are glorified when the last age, the Millennium, is no more. John sees a Great White Throne and on it The Judge. Heaven and Earth flee from His face. The Greek word is pheugo (fyoo’-go) and it means “to run away, vanish, escape, flee away” (pg. 75 of “The Greek Dictionary from Strong’s Concordance” a.k.a. Strongs).
The definition that fits the above context is “to vanish”. The present heavens and earth are preserved by fire for the Day of Judgment (2nd Peter 3:7). The heavens disappear with a great noise and the elements will melt with a fervent heat (2nd Peter 3:10). To survive, those alive must be changed. How could anyone live through an inferno?
Finally, the Heavenly Jerusalem will descend on a new earth (Rev. 21:1-2). Eternity begins. As believers, this is our glorious hope. To grasp this, God’s Spirit must be our teacher. Our part is studying, comparing and examining the Word of God within its proper context. We are certain readers will arrive at the same conclusion we have: Rapture is not Resurrection.