First Death and First Resurrection
By Jorge L Trujillo
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto
them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for
the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had
received [his] mark upon 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 finished. This
is the first resurrection.
In Revelation 20:5 we find in the Bible a reference to a "First
Resurrection". Premillennialists and Amillennialists have debated the nature
of that resurrection since the closure of the Holy Canon. Premillennialists insist that
this "First Resurrection" refers to the bodily resurrection of the
Just at the time of the Second Coming of Christ while the Unjust will remain in the grave
until a period of 1000 years of reign of Christ over the earth is completed. At that point
"The Second resurrection", which will be only for sinners, will take place.
Amillennialists believe that such resurrection is not a reference to the bodily
resurrection of the believers at the time of Christ's second coming, but to the
resurrection of a soul dead in sins and trespasses to Life in Christ at the time of
The Premillennialists fail to understand this true biblical doctrine
due to a great extent to their
materialistic mentality full of supposed "literalism" that looks forward for a Kingdom of "Earthly Glory" and
"National Favoritism" which are completely contrary to Scripture. When we let
the Bible speak on it's own without "taking away" or "adding
to" it's meaning, then we can see how it all makes sense and becomes clear.
In this short article I would like to bring to the reader's attention an important
Biblical doctrine that I feel is normally overlooked when interpreting the "First
Resurrection" of Revelation 20:5. If we read in Revelation 20:6 the Bible
tells us that those who take part in the "First Resurrection" are blessed
because the "Second Death" has no power over them. This "Second
Death" is then mentioned again in Revelation 20:14, where it says that those
who were NOT found written in the book of Life were cast into the Lake of Fire, "This
is the Second Death".
The fact that the text talks about a "Second Death" should
make us ask the following question: Which one is then the First Death? Many will
quickly conclude that "The First death" is that which happens at
the time of physical death and burial, but such interpretation, I believe is
NOT in total agreement with the
Bible and what it says about the subject. But before we continue it is also important to
understand that when Christ returns, not everyone will be physically dead, some will be
alive, including believers. These Christians will NOT be resurrected but will be
transformed at the time of the rapture. This quickly indicates to us that the passage of
Revelation 20:5 CANNOT be referring to a "physical resurrection of
the body". If that were the case,
then those believers who are alive at the time of Christ coming do not resurrect or
part in such "first resurrection of the body" . In 1
Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that the dead "will
resurrect" but those who are alive at the moment of the rapture will
not be resurrected but will be transformed instead.
1 Corinthians 15
51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We
shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52in
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.
1 Thessalonians 4
15For 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.
16For 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. 17Then 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.
It is also very CLEAR in the passage of Revelation 20
that the ONLY ONES who will not suffer the Second Death are ONLY THOSE who
take part in the FIRST RESURRECTION, therefore any believer who is alive at
the time of Christ Coming will not "blessed" and the Second Death
will have power over him. But that makes absolutely no sense.
Following I would like to introduce the true Biblical meaning of the "First
Death" which will then help us understand the true Biblical meaning of the "First
- ADAM -
THE FIRST DEATH
Many Premillennialists do not accept the Biblical fact that the first resurrection of
the believer is a Spiritual one that happens at conversion, thus denying the words of our
Lord Jesus Christ:
24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has
eternal life and will not be condemned;
has crossed over from death to life.
They based their reasoning on the fact that no one
"literally" comes out of any "physical" tomb into any
"physical" body at the time of conversion. That being the case, they see
themselves forced to admit that when Adam sinned he really did not die the "FIRST
DEATH" since he was not "literally" buried in a physical tomb at the
physical Garden of Eden.
The "First death" came through Adam. The Bible teaches that ALL
of us were in dead in Adam when he sinned. When we are born of the FLESH, we TAKE PART
in Adam's death we become "Dead in Adam". We are counted as being dead in Adam.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and
thus death spread to all men,
Therefore, as through one man's offense
JUDGEMENT CAME TO ALL MEN, resulting in
Even though we WERE NOT at the Garden of Eden when Adam sinned and died. We are still
dead in him in the "FIRST DEATH". Every human being becomes a participant in
such death by physical birth. (this is what theologians call "imputed sin").
the time of birth, a baby, becomes a participant of the sin Adam committed thousands of
years ago, therefore he is spiritually dead even one minute after being born!! This
newborn baby is identified by physical birth to Adam and takes part in Adam's sin. That is
what Paul says in
I Corinthians 15:22
- "For as in Adam all die
1 Corinthians 15
21 For since by man [Adam] came
- 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned
after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who
is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free
gift. For if through the offence of one
many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift
by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
In the Garden of Eden God told Adam that if he ate of the forbidden fruit, he was going
to die on that SAME DAY. But as we all know, Adam did not die physically and was not
physically buried in a physical tomb in the Garden.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may
freely eat; "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,
THE DAY THAT YOU EAT OF IT YOU SHALL SURELY
Was God lying to Adam when He told him that he would die on
the same day he ate of the tree? Not at all, God did not lie and Adam DID die!
The fact is that the "First Death" is NOT physical death, but
"Spiritual Death". In the same manner, the first resurrection IS
NOT physical resurrection but "Spiritual Resurrection".
The "FIRST DEATH" is Adam, that is why Paul says in Corinthians 15:22 "For
in Adam all die", in reference to physical death of the body, because when we are born of the flesh, we are
"in Adam" and we
die the first death. Physical death is part of this the first death in that it is a
direct consequence and visible manifestation of the spiritual invisible death.
The physical death of Adam was evidence that he had incurred in
"spiritual death" and in that manner he died physically at the age
of 930. Since then, men have reaped spiritual death and it's evidence
physical death because of Adam's disobedience.
- CHRIST -
Then came Christ, the Second Adam. When Christ resurrected from the dead, He
resurrected us with him. Even though we were NOT at Calvary literally dying on the cross
with Him and were not in Israel on Resurrection Sunday being "literally" risen
with him, we were resurrected. When we are "BORN AGAIN" we take part in that
cross and of that death and THAT RESURRECTION!
Jesus clearly said that He was the resurrection. In the same way that Adam is death,
the Second Adam Christ, is the "First Resurrection"
1 Corinthians 15
by man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead.
- Although the body dies, the soul of Believers DO NOT DIE. That is what Jesus told Martha before the tomb of
Lazarus and what he told the Saducees who did not believe in the
resurrection, that "God is God of the Living" and He was the
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who had died physically but were not
dead spiritually, their souls were alive with God.
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
- Mark 12
- 26But concerning the
dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in
the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying,
"I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob'? 27He is not the God of
the dead, but the God of the living. You are
therefore greatly mistaken."
Adam was the figure of him that was to come, Jesus. Adam brought the "First
death" but Jesus brought the "First resurrection".
- 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned
after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift.
For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of
God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
- When someone believes in Jesus for salvation, he is identified with Christ's
resurrection. A one-day-old believer is reigning forever with Christ because he becomes
part of that first resurrection which is Jesus.
And He is the Head of the Body, the Church; who is the beginning,
the Firstborn from the dead
that in all things He might
Buried with Him in Baptism, wherein also ye
were Risen with Him through faith
- JESUS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION. Therefore, those of us who are in Him have taken
part in the first resurrection.
That Christ would suffer, that He would be THE "FIRST RESURRECTION" FROM THE DEAD, and
would proclaim light to the Jewish and to the Gentiles.
The Greek words used here in Acts 26:23, are the same Greek words used in Rev. 20:5:
[anastasis] resurrection [ek] from [nekros] (the) dead
- - THE REAL MESSAGE OF REVELATION 20
- The purpose of Revelation 20:5 is to show the "Biblical truth" that those
believers who die physically "REALLY NEVER DIE", their souls
are ALIVE with Jesus
in heaven. I think this is exactly what Jesus told Martha:
- 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26
and whoever lives and believes in me will
never die. Do you believe this?"
- While the rest of the physically dead will not live again until
judgment day. These souls of the martyred ones [zao] "remain alive" OR "are alive" and
they are kings and priests unto the Lord.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I
saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of
God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his]
mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
lived [zao] and reigned
with Christ a thousand years.
The word used here in this verse translated "and they lived" is
this word "does not necessarily mean" that they were physically resurrected at that particular
moment since it must include all those who reign with Christ and that
includes ALL believers whether dead or alive (cf. Ephesians 2:6 )
6And God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
So it most likely means that they "continued living". The word is
in "aorist" tense and speaks of the
fact that they have life. When in Revelation 20:5 it says
"This is the first Resurrection" what it implies is, this is the direct
consequence of the first resurrection. The martyrs were killed yet they [zao] are alive!.
PHYSICAL DEATH DID NOTHING to them. In contrast, the other dead, those who did not
participate of the first resurrection in Chtist, did not (will not) live until judgment
The dead in Christ do not die, Jesus said it (John 11:25). They continue living
after they physically die, they continue reigning after they physically die,
they continue being priests after physical death!! That is the message
behind Revelation 20:5. This would be the correct interpretation of the word
[zao] in this
verse. Not that they were resurrected, but that they never died. THAT
IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION!
- Jesus said to her, "I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will
live, even though he dies; and whoever
lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe
©1999-2009 Jorge L. Trujillo
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Written circa 9/20/2002