The First Resurrection

What would you say is the cost of making the first resurrection either the new birth or something else?

Contrasted with the first resurrection coming at the end of the last persecution with the destruction of the final beast, the obvious answer is the necessary details of all that. But is there something more that is lost? It sure feels like it.

Lost is all that God has invested in the demonstration that Israel was first set apart to demonstrate and vindicate “through their fall” and national resurrection by a sovereign act of discriminating grace (Eze 36:22, 32). Lost is all the meaning of God’s own affliction and sacrifice in their temporary surrendering over to blindness and dispersion “for our sake”. (Ro 11:11-12, 28). Lost too is all that God has invested in the crisis events of the end that signal and lead up to that great transition of greatest consequence to millions.

Lost is the purpose of 1000 years of open demonstration and vindication of the ‘everlasting covenant’, as every Jew who revered the scripture understood it before the cross, and as the apostles of the Lamb manifestly understood it after the cross.

In all references to the forward looking “everlasting / new covenant” the expectation is clear, that AFTER a final tribulation of unequaled severity, the penitent survivors of Israel would be born to new national life in one day (Ps 102:13; 110:3; Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9) through the spiritual regeneration of the new / everlasting covenant. That “from that day and forward”, not SOME but “ALL” would know the Lord from the least to the greatest (Isa 4:3; 45:17, 60:21; Jer 31:34; 32:40; Eze 39:22, 28-29), and this blessed preservation would extend without exception unto children’s children, “world without end” (Isa 44:3; 59:21; 61:9; 65:24; 66:22; Eze 37:25).

From this time and forward, all of Israel would lie down in safety, none making them afraid, or menacing their peace again forever (). This is because that at the end of the final week (Daniel’s 70th week), the surviving remnant of Israel, having come now to faith by the Spirit’s revelation of Jesus to their hearts, will enter into the “everlasting righteousness” that was secured when reconciliation was made for sin at the end of the 69th week (Dan 9:24-26).

It is not enough that Jews and gentiles be saved on equal footing by faith in Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice. For the promises of the covenant to have their complete and plenary fulfillment, it is necessary for two crucial events to be accomplished, 1.), the finishing of the mystery of iniquity by the finishing of the mystery of God at Jesus’ seventh trumpet return (2Thes 2:3-8; Rev 10:7; 11:15), and 2.), the salvation of “all Israel” that ends Israel’s temporary and partial blindness at the end of the times of the gentiles” (Mt 23:39; Ro 11:25-29; Lk 21:24).

God has joyously placed Himself under sworn obligation to His covenant oath that the hopelessly intractable nation that He first brought out of Egypt, He is able to bring into the specific Land of specific promise, and not only bring them in, but keep them there in abiding, unbroken peace, because of the everlasting righteousness that is not their own. That through His work with them, He might show on the public stage of history one of the greatest, open and visible demonstrations of the glory of sovereign, electing grace.

It is for this very cause (“in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls”) that He first chose Jacob on a basis utterly apart from any inherent quality in himself, and for this purpose, to make this very point, He has miraculously preserved their public visibility throughout all the centuries. That the people He first set His love upon, and for nothing that can be credited to them (Eze 36:22, 32), He has invested this open demonstration and vindication of HIs glory on the question of whether He is able to graft in again, and thus fulfill the everlasting covenant in all its parts and aspects, literally and tangibly on this earth, the opposition of history and all the demons of hell notwithstanding.

It is our appreciation of this, and our fellowship with Him in this great burden of the prophets that is at stake. We need to get beyond what any given truth of scripture will ‘do for us’, and enter into the fellowship of what this means to Him. He desires that we “come and see”, feast and fellowship in the mysteries of His manifold wisdom that He delights to reveal to His friends, even the hidden wisdom ordained to our glory.

He desires that we know what this great demonstration and vindication means to Him as His answer, not only to His people and the nations, but to the gainsaying principalities and powers that have so long ruled this present age, always raising that original, but no less perennial question, “has God really said?” For this great event of divine satisfaction, we are commanded to give Him no rest “till He stablish and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth”, against all odds!

Finally, there is the question of hermeneutics, which can have the end effect of raising the same question, “has God really said?” Going beyond the fully agreed and acknowledged use of metaphor, figurative language, poetic, symbolic and apocalyptic conventions of speech found all throughout the Bible, has anyone ever paused to document the sheer volume of scripture, not of figurative but plain words of plainest meaning, that would have to be spiritualized and divested of their natural sense, in order to sustain the non-millennial interpretations that see nothing on this present earth after the post-tribulational day of the Lord? I realize that’s a long sentence, but read that again.

It would be a worthwhile exercise just to go through and document the massive amount of scripture that describes conditions on this earth after the great day of the Lord, but that fall clearly short of the final perfection. Plain language could never be thus handled by anyone who believes the scripture infallible and without error unless deferring to powerful presuppositions as to what these scriptures ‘cannot’ mean.

Many have noticed how little agreement exists among amillennialists over what is meant by “the first resurrection”. There is only agreement on what it cannot mean. This can only be attributed to strong presuppositions that precede and influence exegesis, in this case, the plain person’s plain reading of plain language.

Even if we had never heard of the duration of the millennium from John’s Revelation, any plain reading of the OT would have led to the necessary inference of glorious but yet imperfect conditions on this earth between the post-tribulational DOL and the perfection of new heavens and new earth. We know that such views existed in the intertestamental period and among Jews during the post-Christian centuries.

Nothing in the NT contradicts but only re-affirms that fundamental expectation of events on this earth, only now in the full light of the revelation of the mystery of two comings of Messiah. And finally, have our amillennial brethren ever been to the future day of the Lord to confirm and report back that Israel will surely NOT be gathered?

The time for that event was always described as happening at one time only, i.e., the post-tribulational day of the Lord. On what ground can they certify to us that this will not happen right on schedule, when the prophets said it would? And what do they do with the modern state of Israel? Is it an accident of history? To those who have this hope, the trajectory of history seems firmly right on course.

Looks like we’re in for stormy weather, and it threatens to be a lot stormier if we do not have an anchor in what these events mean and where they’re designed to take the church and Israel in these ultimately transitional, closing days, particularly when they are staring us right in the face.


Filed under
Church Doctrine, The Day of the Lord, The Resurrection
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