Death is like sleep in that the dead are not conscious while in the grave:
"Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; Then I would have been at rest with kings and counselors of the earth, Who built ruins for themselves, Or with princes who had gold, Who filled their houses with silver; Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, Like infants who never saw light? There the wicked cease from troubling, And there the weary are at rest. There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there, And the servant is free from his master." (Job 3:11-19)
The dead do not know anything, they do not do anything; they have no emotions or feelings. The dead have no work, knowledge or wisdom. They are in the grave, dead. All our plans perish at the time of death:
"For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6)
The dead do not come back from the grave. It is a place of no return:
"For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return. My spirit is broken, My days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me. " (Job 16:22-17:1)
"And he said, While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23)
The dead have no relationship with God. They do not praise God or even know Him:
"Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?"(Psalm 6:4-5)
"The dead do not praise the LORD, Nor any who go down into silence." (Psalm 115:17)
"For Sheol [grave KJV] cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, As I do this day; The father shall make known Your truth to the children." (Isaiah 38:18-19)
The only hope for the dead is the resurrection:
"But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged! " (Acts 23:6)
"I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." (Acts 24:15)
When does the first resurrection occur?
The resurrection of the dead occurs during the time of Jesus' second coming. "The dead in Christ" or "those who sleep in Jesus," deceased Christians, are resurrected at Jesus' return.
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (1Thessalonians 4:13-18)
After their resurrection, Christians will "always be with the Lord" (1Thessalonians 4:17). Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-12). When He returns, He will return to the Mount of Olives, and His Saints will be with Him (Zechariah 14:1-5). After the return of Christ, the resurrected Christians will reign as Kings and Priests on earth (Revelation 20:4-6; 5:9-10; Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22, 27).
Specifically, the resurrection takes place when the "last trumpet" sounds:
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."(1Corinthians 15:51-52) "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)
This "last trumpet" is referring to the last of the seven trumpets of Revelation (Revelation 8:1-9:21; 11:15-18).
As Jesus Christ returns to earth "with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. . . ." the dead in Christ will rise first. Then those still living at the time of the second coming are "caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
According to Matthew, as Jesus comes with the "clouds of heaven," He "will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:30-31). After meeting Jesus in the atmosphere above the earth, the Saints will descend to the earth with Jesus, coming to the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4-5).
What is the advantage of the first resurrection?
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
"Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6)
The battle taking place during the second coming of Jesus is recorded in Revelation 19:11-21. An additional event happening at that time is the binding of Satan for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3). In Revelation 20:4-6 we find another description of the resurrection. Those resurrected at the return of Christ take part in the First Resurrection.
In Hebrews 11:35 we find a reference to the faithful dead obtaining a "better resurrection":
"Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. "
The First Resurrection is a more useful, serviceable and advantageous resurrection.
The Resurrection Chapter
If any section of the Bible provides us with the greatest information on the subject of the resurrection, it is 1Corinthians 15. This chapter is known as the "resurrection chapter." By studying 1Corinthians 15, we will learn several very important facts about the resurrection.
The resurrection of the dead depends on the fact of Jesus' resurrection. If He had not risen from the dead, then no one else would ever rise from the dead:
"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. " (1Corinthians 15:12-16)
Jesus is the firstfruit of the grave
"And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. " (1Corinthians 15:17-20)
Jesus as the first person in history to be resurrected from the dead, is the "firstfruits" of many more to come. The apostle Paul expresses the same idea in Acts 26:23:
"that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. "
This was not a resurrection of the physical body to a physical life. There are numerous examples in the Bible of this type of resurrection (1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:32-35; 13:20-21; Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56; John 11:38-44; Acts 9:36-41; 20:9-12), thus, Jesus could not be the first. But, Jesus is the first individual resurrected with a spiritual body.
Is there an ORDER to God's resurrections?
"For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." (1Corinthians 15:21-26)
There is a time order to the resurrection of the dead. Jesus is the first person resurrected, followed by the dead in Christ at the second coming (1Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1Corinthians 15:51-56; Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27). As we saw earlier, this resurrection is also called the "first resurrection" (Revelation 20:5-6), because it is the first in a succession of resurrections, as well as first in rank, influence and honor, when compared to any future resurrections.
How are the dead raised?
"But someone will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain--perhaps wheat or some other grain." (1Corinthians 15:35-37)
The resurrect body will not be like the body that existed before death. The resurrected body is comparable to a seed sown in the ground which sprouts and grows into a plant. The plant which comes up out of the ground is very different from the seed that went into the ground. The same with the resurrected body, which is as different from the pre-resurrected body as a seed is from the plant that grows from it.
The resurrected Christian we will have a spiritual body. He will no longer be flesh and blood:
"But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestialbodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." (1Corinthians 15:38-44)
The apostle John writes that when Jesus returns we will be like him. Since Jesus will be spirit, so shall we:
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2).
We can gain a glimpse of what we will look like in the resurrection by examining a vision of the glorified Jesus Christ:
"Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last." (Revelation 1:12-17)
What did Jesus teach about the resurrection?
In Luke 14 Jesus teaches us that at the time of the resurrection of the just, He will repay or reward Christians for their works in this life. At the sound of the seventh or last trumpet when the resurrection happens (1Thessalonians 4:14-17), Jesus will return and will reward the servants, prophets and saints of God:
"Then He also said to him who invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:12-14)
Who are the "just" that Jesus is referring to in Luke 14:14? The "just" are Christians, those who have faith in Jesus.
"Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! . . .The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great . . ." (Revelation 11:15, 18)
At His return Jesus will bring a reward, which He gives to the Saints based upon their works during this life:
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matthew 16:26-28)
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work." (Revelation 22:12)
This reward is not eternal or everlasting life, which is a gift of God (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2: 8-10 ). The apostle Paul wrote that:
"in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8 NASB)
The apostle Peter wrote that:
"when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." (1 Peter 5:4)
Jesus will reward Christians with authority to rule as kings under Him after His return (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:10; 2:25-27; 3:21; 20:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27).
The part played by God the Father and Jesus Christ
Both God the Father, and Jesus Christ play a part in the resurrection of the dead. The Father raises the dead:
"And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. " (Romans 8:10-11)
"And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power" (1Corinthians 6:14). "[K]nowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you." (2Corinthians 4:14)
Jesus also plays a part in the resurrection of the dead:
"For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will" (John 5:21).
Does this mean that the Father will resurrect some people, and Jesus will resurrect another group of people? No, what this is saying is that the Father and Son act in harmony. The Son carries out the will of the Father. Just as the Father created all things through the Son (John 1:1-3, 14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2), so the Father resurrects the dead through the Son.
"[T]hat all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live." (John 5:23-25)
John 5:23-25 has a double meaning. On the one hand it refers to the resurrection, on the other hand, it refers to the Christian life now.
Jesus will raise them up on the last day
"This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:39-40, 44, 54)
As we saw in the previous verses, God the Father resurrects the dead through Jesus. In other words, Jesus resurrects the dead by the authority and approval of Father. The term "raise him up" is a reference to the resurrection (1Corinthians 15:12-16, 42-44).
When Jesus' speaks of raising people up on the "last day," He is referring to His second coming. We have already seen that the resurrection of dead in Christ happens at this time (1Thessalonians 4:16; 1Corinthians 15:51-52; Matthew 24:29-31).
From these verses in John 6, we see that there are some conditions concerning whom Jesus resurrects and gives everlasting life. One condition is believing in, or having faith in the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, and expressing this faith by partaking of the Passover symbols of bread and wine (verses 40, 54; Matthew 26:19-20, 26-29; 1Corinthians 5:7; 11:23-26). Another condition is that God the Father must draw or call a person to Jesus (verses 44, 65). Humans of their own initiative cannot come to God; He must first draw them.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God are resurrected at His return. Remember those in this resurrection will never die again (Luke 20:36). Jesus can claim He is "the resurrection and the life" because through him we are resurrected and receive eternal life. Jesus' resurrection makes possible the future resurrection of Christians at His second coming:
"But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming." (1Corinthians 15:20-23)
The Early Church preached the resurrection
The first resurrection was a part of the Gospel message preached by Jesus Christ. It was also part of the message preached by the early church in the first century A.D.
The apostle Paul preached about the resurrection when he was in Athens:
"Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, What does this babbler want to say? Others said, He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods, because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. "
"And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean. For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. "
"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: . . . Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:16-23, 30-33)
After his appearance before the Sanhedrin Paul appears before the Roman governor Felix and talks about the resurrection:
"But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. . . . Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrong doing in me while I stood before the council, unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day. " (Acts 24:14-15, 20-21)
Paul spoke of the " resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." We have already seen that the "resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14) is referring to the those raised from the dead at the second coming of Jesus. The resurrection of the unjust is the same thing as the "resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:29) and is outside the limits of this study.
Future glory and redemption
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance ." (Romans 8:18-25)
Paul is encouraging the Roman Christians not to focus on the trails and problems of this life, but to focus on the future "glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). He further encourages them to eagerly wait for the redemption of their bodies (verse 23). This redemption happens at the resurrection when the physical body changes to a glories spiritual body:
"But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body ." (1Corinthians 15:38-44)
The Resurrection as motivation for good behavior
Because of the future resurrection Christians should be careful how they live their lives:
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil ." (Ephesians 5:8-16)
Attaining to the resurrection of the dead
"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." (Philippians 3:8-12)
Paul is saying we have a part to play in attaining the resurrection. As we know from Luke 20:35, the resurrection is something we have to be counted worthy to receive. In Philippians 3:11-12 Paul equates attaining the resurrection with attaining perfection. When resurrected with spirit bodies, we will be "just men made perfect" (Hebrews 12:23). Our lowly bodies will conform to Jesus' glorious body (Philippians 3:21).
False teachings about the resurrection
"And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some " (2 Timothy 2:17-18).
During the first century there were some in the Church who did not understand the fundamental doctrine of the resurrection of the dead (Hebrews 5:12-6:2). Paul writes to Timothy about two men who were teaching that "the resurrection is already past." Paul had written earlier in 1Corinthians 15:12 about some in Corinth who were saying that there was "no resurrection of the dead."
Awake to everlasting life
"At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever ." (Daniel 12:1-3)
There will come a time in the future when the dead, "those who sleep in the dust of the earth," awake from their sleep of death. Some of those resurrected will receive everlasting life. Others will receive "shame and everlasting contempt." This sounds very similar to Jesus' statement in John 5:28-29:
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. "
Awaking to "everlasting life" is a reference to the First Resurrection. Those in this resurrection cannot die again because they have immortality (Luke 20:34-36; 1Corinthians 15:52-55). Like those in the "resurrection of condemnation," those who awake to "shame and everlasting contempt" are not the dead in Christ and are beyond the limits of this study.
Those who awake to everlasting life are the wise who "shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).
The Gospel of Matthew also deals with the theme of the resurrected righteous shining like the stars of heaven. In explaining the meaning of the "Parable of the Tares" (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), Jesus gives a description of the end of the age when the wicked, separated from the righteous are "burned in the fire" (verse 40). Jesus then says the righteous who the angles have gathered into his barn (verse 30) "will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (verse 43). This gathering of the righteous into Jesus' barn by angels, is similar to what Jesus said in Matthew 24:31:
"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
The saints will receive their inheritance
"But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days ." (Daniel 12:13)
In this final verse of the Book of Daniel, Daniel learns that he will die (rest), but at the "end of days" he will rise from the dead and receive an inheritance. In 1Corinthians 15 Paul writes that it is at the time of the resurrection when one inherits the Kingdom of God:
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1Corinthians 15:50-53)
The first resurrection of the dead will occur at Jesus' second coming. At that time, Christians will rise from the dead with new spiritual bodies, and the bodies of those Christians still living will change from physical to spiritual.