Page 11 - April 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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your sins” (15:17).  The contrasting value   and then the living saints are changed and
                       2
        of the gospel would then be summed up   caught up (1Co 15:51). Next, at the end of
        in the phrase “now is Christ risen” (v20).   the Tribulation, The King of Kings and Lord
        Paul then builds on this to clarify that   of Lords comes to conquer His enemies and
        every single person who has ever died   set up His kingdom. At that time, the Old
        will be physically and bodily raised from   Testament saints and those believers who
        the dead.                             died during the Tribulation will be raised.
          Drawing on the third of Israel’s annual   We marvel as we see that the effective
        Feasts of Jehovah, he insists that Christ   power to achieve His royal purpose is
        is the Firstfruits in resurrection, first in   a sword coming out of His mouth (Rev
        both character and sequence of many to   19:15). His word will accomplish this res-
        come. He was honing the teaching that   urrection also.
        he already alluded to in the book of Acts   Next, Paul mentions “the end,” taking
        when he said, “There shall be a resur-  us beyond the kingdom to the inaugura-
        rection of the dead, both of the just and   tion of the eternal state (1Co 15:24). As
        unjust” (24:15). Of course, that line of   the redeemed are set to enjoy the new
        doctrine was based on the words of Dan-  heaven and the new earth, the Lord must
        iel (Dan 12:2) and the Lord Jesus Himself   first deal with the dead who fit Paul’s de-
        (Joh 5:29). Now, Paul reiterates that order:   scription of “the unjust.” The great white
        Christ first, they which are Christ’s at His   throne judgment accomplishes this. The
        coming, and then the end where death   one personally present to judge the dead
        itself shall be destroyed.            is The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and it can
          This now provides a framework to un-  be assumed that each of the dead is sum-
        derstand resurrection prophetically. While   moned to the throne and hurled into the
        a comprehensive study is not our goal, a   fiery lake by the same word that brought
        three-part summary of future resurrection   Lazarus from the tomb.
        is worth considering in context and order.  These events are sobering, but they
          Christ was raised from among the    perfectly follow the precedent of John 11.
        dead ones first. In a body called a “body   That day the Lord was present, His shout
        of glory” (Php 3:21 JND), He forms the   was heard, and the dead came out to meet
        prototype for future resurrection.    Him face to face. In a coming day, unjust
                                              sinners will come out of their graves to
          “They that are Christ’s” are next, round-  stand before His face. Though we are told
        ing out the resurrection of life (1Co 15:23)   that Abraham saw Christ’s day and “was
        or, as Revelation 20 calls it, “the first   glad,” imagine how glad he will be when
        resurrection.” Remembering the distinc-  he sees Christ’s face! And, of course, we
        tion between the phrases “in Christ” (the   who form the Church look forward to the
        Church) and “are Christ’s” (all believers),   Rapture, where in changed bodies we will
        we note that this event takes place in two   view The Great “I AM” face to face.
        stages. First, the events of 1 Thessalonians
        4 occur before the Tribulation, when the   What a day that will be when my Jesus
        Lord Himself descends and, through the              I shall see;
        power of His shout, the dead in Christ rise,   When I look upon His face, the One who
        ² Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV   saved me by His grace. 3
        unless otherwise noted.               ³ James Hill (1930-2018)

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