"... and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked."
Thoughts for Today:Although there is still much discussion about this issue, most Biblical scholars agree there will be two resurrections, the first for believers and the second for unbelievers.
Resurrection of believers:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."
This passage is the foundation for what has widely become known as "The Rapture," in which Jesus comes back and the world experiences one thousand years of unparalleled peace and prosperity.
Revelation 20:1-5, "And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended... They [believers] came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection."
At the end of this time will be the second resurrection, the Resurrection of the unbeliever:
Revelation 20: 11-15, "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
There will always be those who profess to live by their own set of moral and ethical standards, who compare themselves to the world and ask, "I'm a good person aren't I? Why then should I go to hell?" That is until the records are opened and every thought, lie, attitude, and deed is revealed. There is no grading on the curve. There is no higher or lesser degree of guilt or innocence. Either we are guilty or innocent. Which are you?
Questions to Ponder:Paul's hope was for a resurrection -- one in which all believers would stand blameless before God, our sin covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This past week the Pastor of my church asked the question, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, or is being a Christian just something you do?" In other words, is being a Christian simply another activity or a job like being a mechanic, hairdresser, or skier. In Colossians 1:27 Paul wrote, "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." What is your "hope of glory"? Mine is Jesus.