How many resurrections are there?

Submit questions  -  New Articles
How many resurrections from the dead are there in the Bible? What is their purpose in God's plan? Who will be in each of them? Will those not called and converted in this life have a FULL chance at salvation in the future? When, according to Scripture, will those who refuse to go God's way be brought back to life? What is their ultimate fate?

Without a doubt, the Bible does teach at least two resurrections. The first one is of the righteous at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (1Thessalonians 4:16) where they will be made alive and composed of the same substance as he is (1Corinthians 15:42 - 54). A second raising of the dead will also occur after the 1,000 year reign (the Millennium) of Christ on the earth. This raising is for all those who never have a full chance at hearing or understanding the gospel message (Revelation 20:5).

There is also some scriptural evidence suggesting a third and final resurrection. Its purpose would be to resurrect those who willfully, and with full knowledge, reject God and what he stands for (they committed the unpardonable sin) and they refuse to repent (Daniel 12:2).

The first two

No single passage in the Bible clearly shows all the resurrections that will be performed. There are some sections, however, that do discuss two of them. A passage in Revelation 20 is one such of these sections.

"And I saw thrones; and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and those who did not worship the beast, or his image, and did not receive the mark in their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were completed). This is the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:4 - 5)

Jesus collaborates the above in John 5:28 - 29.

What is the BOOK of LIFE?
What does the Bible say about Paradise?
Was Jesus REALLY dead for three days and nights?

The apostle Paul states that a raising of the dead takes place at Christ's Second Coming. This is the first resurrection of the dead in God's great plan for all mankind (1Corinthians 15:51 - 52).

The second one

The second resurrection is the raising of the dead back to a flesh-based existence that comes after Jesus' 1,000 year rule. Ezekiel's strange vision of a valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) is God's revealing of His bringing back to life what will amount to the majority of mankind. It is one of the main supporting passages of scripture that teach those who died ignorant of salvation will receive, through God's mercy, a chance to live forever. In his vision he finds himself in the middle of dry valley. He then hears God make an incredible promise.

"Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live."

"And He (God) said to me (Ezekiel), "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel."" (Ezekiel 37:5 - 6, 11)

During what is known as God's white throne judgment, the book of life is still open and the names of the newly resurrected (including those who Paul referred to as 'all Israel' - see Romans 11:26) can still be placed in it (Revelation 20:12).

The last one

Those who refuse to repent of their evil will receive an execution by fire from which there will never be another resurrection.

On the day when I act, you will overcome the wicked, and they will be like dust under your feet (Malachi 4:3)

Christ told his audience not to be afraid of men but to fear God who can completely take them out of existence.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but do not have power to destroy the life; rather, fear Him Who has the power to destroy both life and body in Gehenna." (Matthew 10:28)

The warnings in the Bible about the wicked being burnt up are also for those God's now calls in this life (see Matthew 13 and John 6) but who ultimately are unfaithful and reject him. Every human being who ever lived will be in a resurrection (Revelation 20:13) and, sadly, a few will be in the third one.

Those who are incorrigibly wicked who perished prior to Jesus' Second Coming, and the ignorant who were made physically alive again in the second resurrection but who rejected God (possibly during a 100-year period stated in Isaiah 65:20) are killed forever all at once. The merciful execution of those who totally reject the Eternal and his ways will happen after the white throne judgment.

Additional Study Materials
Why did God create man?
What are the seven deadly sins?
Timeline of Jesus' ministry after his resurrection!
© The Bible Study Site
How many resurrections are there?