In Revelation 20:5 we are told when the second resurrection will take place: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years (millennium) were finished.” The last part of verse five refers to verse six which describes to those who arose in the first resurrection–God’s saints. As noted, these are priests of God and Christ who will rule and reign with Them forever from universe headquarters in Jerusalem.
The Apostle Paul was taken to the third heaven and shown what God will do following Christ’s return to earth. Afterward he did his best to describe what he had seen and heard: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments; His way are beyond understanding” (Rom. 11:33). “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed those things to His people by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yea, even the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:9). I wholeheartedly agree with the apostle. Only God could be so incredibly righteous and gracious as to do what He tells us in His Word He will do for mankind, especially for those who love Him (obey His Law–Jn. 14:15,23). What you are about to read has truly been formulated in the celestial realm far beyond the terrestrial level of man’s mental processes. Paul had trouble even describing it, admitting that he could not totally comprehend it at all. After all, as he said, God’s ways are beyond mortal man’s mental capacity to comprehend. Praise the Lord, all ye people. Praise Him mightily.
The Great Tribulation will be a 2 1/2 year period when Satan will be allowed to pour out his wrath on mankind without interference from God. The Day of the Lord will be a one year period when God will pour out His wrath on those same people. God’s punishment will be much worse than Satan’s punishment. Bear in mind that shortly before the tribulation begins God will take His saints to a place of safety where they will wait out the tribulation and Lord’s day in safety. It is from there that they will go up in the first resurrection.
As earlier stated, there will be billions of people left alive on earth following the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord, which combined is often referred to as World War III. Today there are some 7.3 billion people living on earth. According to Scripture, two-thirds of the earth’s population will be killed during WWIII which will end with the return of Jesus Christ to earth. That means that over 2.5 billion people will be alive and scattered around the globe, only a tiny remnant of whom Jesus will have gathered to Himself during the first resurrection and led into Jerusalem where He will establish the Kingdom of God. It is from there that He and His saints will rule and reign over first the earth, then the universe. See God’s Very Elect: Future Caretakers of the Universe.
It will be the job of His saints to teach those left alive after WWIII the ways of the Lord. Each of the two billion plus “students” will be given 100 years of education during which time they will learn the ways of the Lord. At the end of the individual’s life he/she will die, for it is decreed that man must die once. Recall that these people had survived the tribulation and Lord’s Day and will not have died.
During the millennium the saints will reeducate the world-wide masses by un-teaching them the ways of their previous god while teaching them about the Biblical God, His ways and the sacrifice of His Son on their behalf. Among these people will possibly be some of the saints’ relatives and friends who had survived the terror of WWIII and had witnessed the return of Jesus Christ and the gathering of His saints to Him in the clouds. We are told that every one on earth will witness His Second Advent. Those concerned about their relatives and friends who have not been converted and have unwittingly served Satan in his church system can rest assured that they will be given a chance for salvation. Not having heard God’s Truth, they will be treated the same as atheists, Hindus, Muslims, sun worshippers, etc. in that, in the eyes of God, they are the same. However, as earlier stated, even if they choose eternal life at the end of their allotted time, they will not live in the Jerusalem headquarters in the presence of God and Christ. Only those who had become spiritual Israelites prior to Christ’s return will live, rule and reign with Him from Jerusalem. These saints are represented by the five wise virgins of Matthew 25.
Human nature (Satan’s nature that man embraces) will not suddenly disappear. As is the case in any unlearning-relearning situation, the transition will be time consuming and probably arduous. We must assume that not everyone undergoing the process will be convinced. I probably know a few of them. In fact, I am probably related to some of them. Stubbornness is a powerful trait within my family. For those for whom the education process does not take, the Lake of Fire awaits. These will be burned to ash at the end of the Millennium (Eze. 28:18/ Mal. 4:3). This is also the fate of those who, having been brought back from the dead, will arise during the second resurrection and, after being taught the ways of God, reject Him.
Let us now look at the second resurrection. At the end of the millennium all those who died from the time of Adam until Christ’s return will be resurrected from the dead as mortal flesh and blood human beings. This is the second resurrection. This will include those disobedient Israelites whom God will deal with in the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11,12). These will be told the truth about their sins, about Christ and what He had done for mankind. They will then be given the opportunity to repent, receive the Holy Spirit and live eternally. Why? GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY MAN SHOULD DIE, BUT THAT ALL COME TO REPENTANCE” (2 Pet. 3:9). Everyone who has ever lived and died will be offered salvation, each in his own time (1 Cor. 15:22,23).
For those who, like me in times past, question why God would offer salvation to those who rejected Him in their past life I say, come, let us reason together. At least half of the people who have ever lived on this earth never heard the name of Jesus Christ–“THE NAME BY WHICH WE ALL MUST BE SAVED” (Acts 4:12). Others, like those in the Institutional Church, have heard His name, but have rejected His message, which made them ineligible for the first resurrection and entrance into the Kingdom of God. These unwitting souls–sinners saved by grace–who did not “walk as Jesus walked” (1 Jn. 2:6), who did not “purify themselves as He is pure” (1 Jn. 3:3), who did not “overcome (Satan) as I (Christ) overcame” will not sit with Christ on His throne (Rev. 3:25). In the eyes of God, these church people are no different from the unchurched in that both refused to do the works of righteousness that must be done in order to qualify for eternal life. Nevertheless, God loves them and wants them to live eternally on His beautified earth.
Following the second resurrection, a third resurrection will take place. This is called “the resurrection unto damnation” (Jn. 5:29). This resurrection will consist of all people of all time who have ever known the Truth, believed it but rejected it. There have been people who knew the Truth and believed it, some even obeyed it for a time, but then rejected it and went back into the world. This group is represented by the five foolish virgins written about in Matthew 25. All of mankind will be given the opportunity to live eternally on God’s beautified earth. L.J.