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Overview of Eternal Rewards - Part 2 (4 of 12)

Mike Connell

So firstly, the Bible reveals there are two resurrections...

Revelations 20:5-6 - “The rest of the dead lived not again, until 1000 years were finished. This is the first resurrection”

For the millennium, there's a whole lot of people who are dead; but there's others who are resurrected.

“...So blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection, on such the second death has no power. They shall be priests of God and of Christ and reign with Him 1000 years”.

There's a First Resurrection; and if there's a first one, then there's also another one. The First Resurrection takes place at the beginning of the millennium; then there's 1000 years, and at the very end, then there is a General Resurrection. The second, or general, resurrection takes place at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, at the Great White Throne Judgement.

Revelations 20:11-15 - “Then I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great…”

(there it is again, different degrees)

“...standing before God and the books were opened, and another book was opened which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

(we saw before that God keeps a detailed record).

“...The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hell were delivered up their dead which were in them. They were judged, every man according their works, and Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”.

Notice in the first resurrection, it says: they become priests and kings; but it doesn't say that about the second resurrection. In the first resurrection, we become priests and kings to God; and we reign for 1000 years, working with Jesus for that 1000 years. And what are we doing? What happens?

1 Corinthians 15:24-25 (at the end of the 1000 years) - “He will then hand over all the kingdoms of the world to God the Father, then He'll put an end to all rule and authority”.

In other words, for 1000 years, Jesus will be working to establish the kingdom on earth; and when it's all done, then comes the end, and He hands it all over to the Father; and the Father comes and inhabits the earth, fulfilling what God has always wanted to do: to dwell on earth, with His people.

The first resurrection, I believe, is a resurrection of reward. I believe that participation in the first resurrection is reserved for those who are overcomers. It would be helpful for you to understand that there is a significant point of difference of doctrine about this issue, and not everyone will be happy if you take this position; but I believe it's a true position, and here's why... Some Christians don't even know there's two resurrections; if you ask them about the resurrection, they're not even sure about that, let alone that there's two! Did you know there's two resurrections? Which one will you be in? Will you be in either? People don't always know.

The second thing is, some believers, or some Christians, think that the first resurrection has already taken place. They think it's already happened! I don't believe that at all; and then some Christians, that's another group of them, believe that all believers will be in the first resurrection. That's a position, and there's some scriptural support for that; but others believe that the first resurrection is a prize, and therefore not automatic. That's the position I've taken, for many, many years: that the First Resurrection is a Resurrection of Reward - a prize to be won. If you think about it, that's an enormous prize: to come into a resurrection body; to share in changing the earth with Jesus; and to be never able to die again - yet living among a world where people live and die.

I'm going to give you some scriptures in support of that... that it's a resurrection of reward. What evidence is there, in scripture, that would point towards the first resurrection being a reward? It's quite a subject of its own of course... Firstly, Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Philippians 3:7-11 - “The things that were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ; and indeed I count everything loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them rubbish, so that I may gain Christ...”