The word translated as resurrection in the New Testament, is from the Greek word, ‘anastasis’, meaning; a standing up again. That is, literally, a resurrection from death—either individual or general resurrection…
And figuratively, it means a moral or spiritual recovery.
In this article, we want to consider the different kinds of resurrection of the dead as contained in the scriptures.
Kinds of Resurrection of the Dead
Scripturally, there are basically four kinds of resurrection of the dead. And we want to consider each one of them at a time.
- Salvational Resurrection: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”—John 5:24-25.Scripturally, every human has inherent eternal death sentence passed on them through the original Adamic sin and consequent curse of death (Romans 5:12). Hence we are told in Ephesians 2:1-3, that we were dead in trespasses and sins and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others…But in the book of John 5: 24-25, the Lord himself tells us how to receive resurrection from this eternal death sentence inherent in all natural man.
He says, to receive this resurrection, all we have to do is, hear his words and believe on the Father that sent him. And of course, we believe on the father, through believing in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).Hence, everyone who already believes in Jesus Christ through hearing God’s word, already has eternal or spiritual resurrection from eternal or spiritual death. This in other words, can be referred to as Eternal Salvation. And this is what I have coined, ‘Salvational Resurrection of the Dead’.
- Miraculous Resurrection: Yes, every kind of resurrection discussed here is miraculous. But for the want of a better word to explain this type of resurrection of the dead, I had to coin it so. By miraculous resurrection, I mean miraculous raising of the dead through faith and prayers as Jesus and the Apostles did. When Jesus sent out his disciples for Evangelism, one of the instructions given to them—amongst others—was to raise the dead bodies in the places they go to preach (Matthew 10:8).And of course, he has given every one of us the power and authority to be able to do so in his name as well. In John 14:12, the Lord says anyone that believes on him shall do the same works that he did and even greater, because he is gone to the father.
And of course, one of the works he did was raising of dead bodies. So if someone dies around any believer, it is his or her responsibility to exercise his faith in God for the resurrection of that dead body to the glory of God.
- The Resurrection of The Just: The first resurrection is another name for the resurrection of the just. And it will happen at the second coming of Jesus, at the sound of the last trumpet. Let’s see what the scriptures says concerning this:“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”—1Thessalonians 4:15-18 (see also 1Corinthians 15:51-54).
This is the general resurrection of the just men and women who die (sleep) in the Lord and those saints who would be alive and remain at Christ’s second coming. For the living saints, who remain alive at the Lord’s second coming, their resurrection will be transformation of their natural bodies into spiritual bodies. That is, their mortal bodies will be transformed to immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:53).
- The Second Resurrection: The second resurrection can as well be referred to as the last or final resurrection of the dead. It can also be referred to as the resurrection of damnation from Jesus’ words. He says;“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” John 5:28-29.The resurrection of life the Lord refers to in the above scripture is the resurrection of the just already discussed above. Then the resurrection of damnation the Lord referred to above is the second or final resurrection of the dead.
That is, the resurrection of evil doers—the unjust. And this final resurrection will happen after the millennial reign of Christ, at the great white throne judgement. Let’s see this in the scripture below:“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according as their works”—Revelation 20:11-12
The above judgment mentioned in verse twelve talks about the judgment of the saints who have reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Now let’s see the final resurrection of the dead…
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” Revelations 20:13-15.
The above is the last resurrection, which is the resurrection unto eternal damnation or second death. And the Lord says the people that will partake of this kind of resurrection, are those who practice evil. That is, the unjust.