Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
THE FIRST RESURRECTION
PART OF A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 6TH, 1861, BY THE
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon then, 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 lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. - Rev 20: 4, 5, 6.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand 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. Rev. 20: 12.
You will bear me witness, my friends, that it is exceedingly seldom I ever intrude into the mysteries of the future with regard either to the second advent, the millennial reign, or the first and second resurrection. As often as we come across it in our expositions, we do not turn aside from the point, but if guilty at all on this point, it is rather in being too silent than saying too much. And now, in bringing forward this question this morning, I would say, I do not do it to amuse your curiosity by novelty, or that I may pretend to have the true key of the prophecies which are as yet unfulfilled. I scarcely think it would be justifiable for me to spend my time upon prophetic studies for which I have not the necessary talent, nor is it the vocation to which my Master has ordained me. I think some ministers would do far more for the profit of Gods people, if they would preach more about the first advent and less about the second. But I have chosen this topic because I believe it has practical bearings, and may be made useful, instructive, and rousing to us all. I find that the most earnest of the Puritanic preachers did not forbear to dwell upon this mysterious subject. I turn to Charnock; and in his disquisition upon the Immutability of God, he does not hesitate to speak of the conflagration of the world, of the millennial reign, and the new heavens and new earth. I turn to Richard Baxter, a man who above all other men loved the souls of men; who more perhaps than any man, with the exception of the apostle Paul, travailed in birth for souls; and I find him making a barbed arrow out of the doctrine of the coming of the Lord, and thrusting this great truth into the very heart and conscience of unbelievers [i.e., A-Millennialists], as though it were heavens own sword. And John Bunyan too - plain, honest John - he who preached so simply that a child could comprehend him, and was certainly never guilty of having written upon his forehead the word Mystery, he, too, speaks of the advent of Christ, and of the glories which shall follow, and uses this doctrine as a stimulus to the saints, and as a warning to the ungodly [amongst them]. I do not think therefore I need tremble very much if the charge should be brought against me of bringing before you an unprofitable subject. It shall profit if God shall bless the word; and if it be Gods word we may expect his blessing if we preach it all, but he will withdraw it if we refrain from teaching any part of his council because in our pretended wisdom we fancy that it would not have practical effect.
Now, my dear friends, in introducing again these texts to you, I shall just remark that in the first text which relates to the people of God, we have three great privileges; and in the second text, which relates to the ungodly who are not in covenant with Christ, we have three great and terrible things which may soon be perceived.
1. First of all, we will take the first text with its THREE PRIVILEGES. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Before I proceed to enter into these privileges, I must remark that two modes of understanding this verse have been proposed, both of which I think are untenable. I have been reading carefully through Albert Barnes. He gives it, as his opinion, that the first resurrection here spoken of is a resurrection of principles, ‑ a resurrection of the patience, the undaunted courage, the holy boldness and constancy of the ancient martyrs. He says these great principles have been forgotten, and, as it were, buried; and that during the spiritual reign of Christ which is to come, these great principles will have a resurrection. Now, I appeal to you, would you, in reading that passage, think this to be the meaning? Would any man believe that to be its meaning, if he had not some thesis to defend? The fact is, we sometimes read Scripture, thinking of what it ought to say, rather than what it does say. I do not hesitate to affirm that any simple-minded person, who was intent upon discovering the mind of the Spirit, and not upon finding a method by which the words could be compelled to express his own mind, would say that the resurrection of principles, or the resurrection of doctrines, does not give the fair meaning of the words here stated. Brethren, cannot you perceive at a glance that this is the resurrection of men? And is it not a literal resurrection, too? Does it not say, I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus? Is it not written, The rest of the dead lived not? Does this mean the rest of the dead principles? the rest of the dead doctrines? You cannot so translate it. It is - we have no doubt whatever - a literal resurrection of the saints of God, and not of principles nor of doctrines. But another interpretation has been proposed. I once had the misfortune to listen to an excellent friend of mine who was preaching upon this very text, and I must confess, I did not attend with very great patience to his exposition. He said it meant, blessed and holy is he who has been born again, who has been regenerated, and so has had a resurrection from dead works by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. All the while he was preaching, I could not help wishing that I could propose to him the difficulty, how he would make this metaphorical interpretation agree with the literal fact, that the rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years were finished? For, if the first resurrection here spoken of is a metaphorical, or spiritual, or typical resurrection, why the next where it speaks of the resurrection of the dead must be spiritual, and mystical, and metaphorical too. Now, no one would agree to this. You know, when you read a chapter, you are not to say, This part is a symbol, and is to be read so, and the next part is to be read literally. Brethren, the Holy Ghost does not jumble metaphors and facts together. A typical book has plain indications that it is so intended, and when you come upon a literal passage in a typical chapter, it is always attached to a something else which is distinctly literal, so that you cannot, without violence to common sense, make a typical meaning out of it. The fact is, in reading this passage with an unbiased judgment having no purpose whatever to serve, having no theory to defend, - and I confess I have none, for I know but very little about mysteries to come, - I could not help seeing there are two literal resurrections here spoken of, one of the spirits [souls and bodies] of the just, and the other of the [souls and] bodies of the wicked; one of the saints who sleep in Jesus, whom God shall bring with him, and another of those who live and die impenitent, who perish in their sins.
But this by way of preface to this first text. Let me now proceed. There are three privileges in the text.
1. Now as to the first privilege, the priority of resurrection. I think Scripture is exceedingly plain and explicit upon this point. You have perhaps imagined that all men will rise at the same moment; that the trump of the archangel will break open every grave at the same instant, and sound in the ear of every sleeper at the identical moment. Such I do not think is the testimony of the Word of God. I think the Word of God teaches, and teaches indisputably, that the [worthy] saints shall rise first. And be the interval of time whatever it may, whether the thousand years are literal years, or a very long period of time, I am not now about to determine; I have nothing to do except with the fact that there are two resurrections, a resurrection of the just, and afterwards of the unjust, - a time when the saints of God shall rise, an aftertime when the wicked shall rise to the resurrection of damnation. I shall now refer you to one or two passages in Scripture, and you will use your Bibles and follow me. First, let us look at the words of the apostle in that chapter which we use generally as a burial service, the first epistle to the Corinthians, 15: 20:- But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christs at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. There has been an interval of two thousand years between Christ the firstfruits and the afterward they that are Christs at his coming. Why not then a thousand years between that first resurrection and the end? Here is a resurrection of those who are Christs, and of them only. As for the wicked, one would scarce know that they would rise at all from this passage, if it were not for the general statement, All shall be made alive, and even this may not be so comprehensive as at first sight it seems. It is enough for me that there is here a particular and exclusive resurrection of those who are Christs. Turn to another passage, which is perhaps plainer still; the first epistle to the Thessalonians, 4: 13:- But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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, - or have a preference beyond 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. Here is nothing said whatever about the resurrection of the wicked: it is only stated that the dead in Christ shall rise first. Our apostle is evidently speaking of a first resurrection; and since we know that a first resurrection implies a second, and since we know that the wicked* dead are to rise as well as the righteous dead, we draw the inference that the wicked dead shall rise at the second resurrection, after the interval between the two resurrections shall have been accomplished. Turn to Philippians 3., verses 8 and 11, and compare the two. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the [out] resurrection [out]* of the dead. What does he mean here? Everyone will rise, no orthodox Christian doubts that. The doctrine of a general resurrection is received by all the Christian Church. What then, is this resurrection after which Paul was exerting himself, if by any means he might attain unto it? It could not be the general resurrection; he would attain unto that live as he list. It must have been some superior resurrection of which only those shall be partakers who have known Christ and the power of his resurrection, having been made conformable unto his death. I think you cannot interpret this passage, or give it any force of meaning, without you admit that there is to be a prior resurrection of the just before the resurrection of the unjust. If you will turn to a passage in Luke 20::35, which probably is fresh upon your memories. you will find there something which I will venture to call a clear proof of a special resurrection. The Sadducees had proposed a difficulty as to the relationship of men and women in the future state, and Jesus here says, But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [age], and the resurrection [out]* from the dead neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now, brethren, there is some worthiness necessary for this resurrection. Do you not perceive it? There is some distinction involved in being called the children of the resurrection. Now, again I say, you do not doubt but that all shall rise. In that sense, then, every man would be one of the children of the resurrection; in that sense, no worthiness would be required for resurrection at all. There must be, then, a resurrection for which worthiness is needed, a resurrection which shall be a distinguished privilege, which being obtained, shall confer upon its possessor the distinguished and honourable title of a child of [the] resurrection. It seems to me that this is plain enough, and can be put beyond all dispute. In chapter 14. of the same gospel, in verse 14, you have a promise made to those who, when they make a feast, do not do it with the intention of getting anything in return. When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. I would not insist upon it that this would prove that the just rose at a different time; but still there is to be a resurrection of the unjust; and the time of recompense for the righteous is to be the resurrection of the just, which is spoken of as being a particular period. He might just as well have said, Thou shalt be recompensed at the general resurrection. There was no need to have said, At the resurrection of the just, if the two are to happen at the same time. The words of the just are superfluous in the passage, unless they do refer to some era distinguished and distinct from the resurrection of the unjust. I will not say that this is any clear proof, but still, all these things put together, with other passages I might quote if time did not fail me, would, I think, establish upon a Scriptural basis the doctrine of the two resurrections. But I would refer to one more, which seems to me to be exceedingly clear, in John 6: 39,40,44, 54. In these verses the Saviour four times over speaks of his own believing people, and promises them a resurrection. I will raise him up at the last day. Now, is there any joy or beauty in this, to the people of God in particular, unless there be a speciality in it for them? It is the lot of all to rise, and yet we have here a privilege for the elect! Surely, brethren, there is a different resurrection [for us, the redeemed of God, to attain unto]. Besides, there is yet a passage which now springs to my memory in the Hebrews, where the apostle, speaking of the trials of the godly, and their noble endurance, speaks of them as, not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection. The betterness was not in the after results of the resurrection, but in the resurrection itself. How, then, could it be a better resurrection, unless there be some distinction between the resurrection of the saint and the resurrection of the sinner? Let the one be a resurrection of splendour; let the other be a resurrection of gloom and horror, and let there be a marked division between the two, that as it was in the beginning, it may be even to the end, the Lord hath put a difference between him that feareth God and him that feareth him not.
I am well aware that I have not been able to put the argument so well but that any antagonist may cavil at it; but I have been preaching to my own congregation rather than fighting with opponents, and I hope you will take these passages and weigh them for yourselves, and if they do not teach you that the dead in Christ shall rise first, do not believe me if I say they do. If you cannot perceive the fact yourself, if the Holy Spirit show it not unto you, why then read the passage again, and then find if you can another and a better meaning. I have no purpose to serve except to make the Scripture as plain to you as possible; and I say it yet again I have not the shadow of a doubt in my own soul that these passages do teach us that there shall first of all be a resurrection concerning which it shall be said, Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
2. I now pass to the second privilage here promised to the godly. The second death on them hath no power. This, too, is a literal death; none the less literal because its main terror is spiritual, for a spiritual death is as literal as a carnal death. The death which shall come upon the ungodly without exception can never touch the righteous. Oh, brethren, this is the best of all. As for the first resurrection, if Christ hath granted that to his people there must be something glorious in it if we cannot perceive it. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know when he shall appear we shall be like him. I think the glories of the first resurrection belong to the glories which shall be revealed in us rather than the glories that are revealed to us. What shall be the majesty of that form in which we shall rise, what the distinguished happiness we shall then enjoy, we can but guess at a distance, we cannot know it to the full. But on this point we can understand what Scripture states, and understand this much well, that damnation, the second death, shall have no power on those who rise at the first resurrection. How should it? How can damnation fall on any but those who are sinners and are guilty of sin? But the saints are not guilty of sin.* They have sinned like others, and they were by nature the children of wrath even as others. But their sin has been lifted from them: it was laid upon the scapegoats head of old. He, the eternal Substitute, even our Lord Jesus, carried all their guilt and their iniquity into the wilderness of forgetfulness, where it shall never be found against them for ever. They wear the Saviours righteousness, even as they have been washed in his blood; and what wrath can lie on the man who is not only guiltless through the blood, but is meritorious through imputed righteousness! Oh, arm of justice, thou art nerveless to smite the blood-washed! Oh, ye flames of hell, how could even so much as a breath of your heat pass upon the man who is safe covered in the Saviours wounds! How is it possible for you, O Deaths, Destructions, Horrors, Glooms, Plagues, and Terrors, so much as to flit like a cloud over the serene sky of the spirit which has found peace with God through the blood of Christ! No, brethren,
Bold shall I stand in that great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
While, through thy blood, absolved I am
From sins tremendous curse and shame.*
There shall be a second death; but over us it shall have no power Do you understand the beauty of the picture? As if we might walk through the flames of hell and they should have no power to devour us any more than when the holy children paced with ease over the hot coals of Nebuchadnezzars seven times heated furnace. Death may bend his bow and fit the arrow to the string. But we laugh at thee, 0 Death! and thee, 0 hell, we will despise! for over both of you, ye enemies of man, we shall be more than conquerors through him that hath loved us. We shall stand invulnerable and invincible, defying and laughing to scorn our every foe. And all this because we are washed from sin and covered with a spotless righteousness.
But there is another reason why the second death can have no power on the believer; because when the prince of this world cometh against us then, we shall be able to say what our Master did, He hath nothing in me. When we shall rise again we shall be freed from all corruption: no evil tendencies shall remain in us. I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth In Zion. Without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, without even the shadow of a spot which the eye of omniscience could discover, we shall be as pure as Adam before his fall, as holy as the Immaculate manhood when it first came from the divine hand. We shall be better than Adam for Adam might sin, but we shall be so established in goodness, in truth, and in righteousness, that we shall not even be tempted again, much less shall we have any fear of falling. We shall stand spotless and faultless at the last great day.* Brethren, lift up your heads. Contending with sin, cast down with doubts, lift up your heads, and wipe the tears from your eyes. There are days coming, the like of which angels have not seen, but you shall see them. There are times coming when your spirits shall no more fear the chain, nor shall ye even remember the wormwood and the gall.
What, though your inbred sins require
Your flesh to see the dust:
Yet as the Lord your Saviour rose
So all his followers must.
And when they rise they shall leave the old Adam behind them. Blessed day! One of the most blessed parts of heaven - of heaven above or of heaven below - will be freedom from the tendency to sin, a total death to that old nature which has been our plague and woe.
[* NOTE. 1. Is it correct to say, The saints are not guilty if sin? I think not! But, surely, we should always strive to be not be guilty of deliberate sin, for it is written: If we deliberately [wilfully] keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, It is mine to avenge; I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge his people: (Heb. 10: 26-31, N.I.V.). Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.
Who wilfully allows himself in sins, and is not humbled and ashamed because of them, wrote J. C. Ryle, CANNOT BE CALLED HOLY. I dare not call anyone holy who makes a habit of wilfully neglecting known duties, and wilfully doing WHAT HE KNOWS GOD HAS COMMANDED HIM TO DO.
2. The words at the last day, would appear to point to a time after the Millennial Age, when the thousand years are over; and the dead, great and small are judged and when death and Hades give up the dead that were in them; and those whose names are not found in the Book of life, are thrown into the lake of fire: (Rev. 20: 7, 12, 13-15, N.I.V.)
The extra ordinary emphasis laid on the Martyrs should have warned the Church that co-royalty with Christ in the Age to Come as distinct from the eternal kingdom beyond is by no means so comprehensive of all the redeemed as has been supposed. He that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron. (Rev. 2: 26.)]
3. There is yet a third privilage in the text, upon which I shall speak but briefly. I believe this to be also one of the glories that shall be revealed. The third privilege of the text is, They shall reign with him a thousand years. Here is another point upon which there has been a long and very vigorous contention. It was believed in the early Church, I do not know whether there is any Scriptural foundation for the precise date they fixed, that the seventh thousand years of the worlds history would be a sabbath; that as there were six days of toil in the week, and the seventh was a day of rest, so the world would have six thousand years of toll and sorrow. and the seventh thousand would be a thousand years of rest. I say I do not know that there is any Scripture for that*; I do not know that there is none against it. I believe the Lord himself shall come but of that day and of that hour knoweth no man, no not even the angels of God. And I think it is idle to attempt to fix even the year or even the century when Christ shall come. Our business isv to expect him always, and to be always looking for his appearing, watching for his coming; that whether he come at cock-crow, or midnight, or at morning watch, we may be ready to go in with the wise virgins into the marriage feast, and to rejoice with our beloved. If there have been any dates given, I am not able at present to find them out. All these dates and mysteries I can leave to much more learned men, and men who give their whole time to it. The book of Revelation needs another expounder besides those who have loaded our shelves until they groan, for they have generally made confusion worse confounded. Their expositions have been rather an obvelation than a revelation; they have rather darkened counsel by words without knowledge than made the dark things plain. I am prepared to go about as far as my predecessor, Dr. Gill, went; as far as the old fathers of the Church went; as far as Baxter and Bunyan would have gone, but to go no further than that. Yet I think we may say this morning, there is in the text a distinct promise that the saints are to reign withChrist a thousand years; and I believe they are to reign with him upon this earth. There are some passages which I think obtain a singular fulness of meaning if this be true. Turn to Psalm 37: 10, 11. It is that Psalm where David has been fretting himself, because of the evil doers, and their prosperity upon the earth. He says, For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. You can interpret that to mean that the meek man shall enjoy much more of this worlds goods than the sinner, and that he shall have abundance of peace. But I think you have given it a lean meaning, a very lean meaning indeed. If it be true that these meek ones shall yet possess this very earth, and that here, in the abundance of peace through the Messiahs reign, they shall rejoice in it, I think you have found a fuller meaning, and one which has a God-like meaning. So it is thatr Gods promises always have a wider meaning than we can conceive; now, in this case, if it only mean that the meek are to have what they gain in this life, which is very little indeed, if they are only to have what they enjoy here upon earth, which is so little, that I think if in this life only they have hope, they are of men the most miserable - if it only mean that, then the promise means less than we might conceive it to mean; but if it mean that they shall have glory even here, then you have given to it one of the widest meanings you can conceive, a meaning like the meanings usually given to the promises of God - wide, large, extensive, and worthy of himself.
[* NOTE. See Heb. 4: 8: For if Joshua
had given them rest, God would not have
spoken later about another day. There
remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.
Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so
that no-one will fall by following their (
Brethren, the meek do not
inherit the earth to any great degree at present, and we look for this in another age.
Let me quote the language of Christ, lest you should think this message
peculiar to the Old Testament dispensation, Blessed
are the meek, for they
shall inherit the earth. How? where? when?* Not now certainly, not in Christs days, not
in apostolic times by any means. What
did the meek inherit, brethren? Faggot,
flames, racks, pincers, dingeon. Their
inheritance, indeed, was nothing. They
were destitute, afflicted, tormented; they wandered about in sheepskins and
goatskins; and if the meek are ever to inherit the earth, certainly it must be in some age to come, for they have never inherited it yet. Turn again to a passage in Revelation 5: 9, 10 :‑ And they sung a new song. It is the very song we sang this morning, and
it runs thus, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou
wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and
tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and
priests; and we shall reign on
the earth. Whether any one
disputes the genuineness of these words, I do not know; but if they mean
anything at all, if the Holy Spirit meant to set forth any meaning, surely it
must have been that the people of Christ
shall reign upon the earth. Besides,
remember our Saviours words in Matthew 19: 28,
where in answer to a question which had been put by Peter as to what his saints
should have as the result of their losses for his sake, he said unto them, Vertly I say unto you
that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man
shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And
every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my names sake, shall receive an
hundredfold, and shall lnherit everlasting life. It seems that Christ here is to come in the
regeneration, when in a new-born world there shall be joys fitted for the
new-born spirits [souls];
and then there shall be plendours and glories for the apostles first, and for
all those who by any means have suffered any losses for Christ Jesus. You find such passages as these in the Word
of God, The
Lord of hosts shall reign in
Nor doth it yet appear
How great we must be made;
But when we see our Saviour here,
We shall be like our Head.
A hope so much divine
May trials well endure,
May purge our souls from sense and sin
As Christ the Lord is pure.
But to gather up what I have said, and to make one other observation. This doctrine which I have preached just now is not an unpractical one. For throughout the New Testament, whenever the apostle wants to stir up men to patience, to labour, to hope, to endurance, to holiness, he generally says something about the advent of Christ. Be patrient, brethren, says he, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Let your moderation be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand. Judge nothing before the time, till the Lord come. When the great Shepherd shall appear, ye also shall appear with him in glory. Brethren, I think we shall do wrong if we make too much of this; but we shall do equally wrong if we make too little of it. Let us give it a fair place in our thoughts, and especially let those of us who fear God and believe in Jesus take this to be a window through which we can look, when the house is dark and our home is full of misery, let us look to the time when we shall rise among the first, following Christ the firstfruits, when we shall reign with Christ, sharing in his glories, and when we shall know that the second death over us hath no power.
1. Keep in mind: The Holy Spirit prepares us for the coming of the Lord, and to be among the first fruits at His appearing. There is a remarkable expression in Romans 8: 23, which has a deeper meaning than appears on the surface Ourselves which have the first fruits of the Spirit. It means that the Holy Spirit is preparing a first company of holy and consecrated hearts for the coming of the Lord and the gathering of His saints, and that these will be followed later by the larger company of all the saved. There is a first resurrection, in which the blessed and holy shall have part, and for this He is preparing all who are willing to receive Him in His fulness. Transcendent honour! Unspeakable privilage! May God enable us to have a part in this blessed hope! - A. B. SIMPSON, D.D.
2. Each of these examples is an ex anastasis, while in Philippians (3: 11) it is an exanastasis.. The space after the x is the only difference, and this is not in the original.
Acts 26: 23. If He, the first of a resurrection from among the dead.
Heb. 11: 35. Women obtained their dead by resurrection.
The same sense is conveyed when the connective ek, OUT, follows the word, as in these passages:-
Luke 20: 35. Those deemed worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from among the dead.
Acts 4: 2. Announcing in Jesus the resurrection from among the dead.
1 Pet. 1: 3. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from among the dead.
3. The great command, even to Apostles, is Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6: 33), for all our regenerate life is to be the pursuit of a [millennial] glory beyond the grave; and no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is FIT [ready, prepared, ripe] for the kingdom of God (Luke 9: 62), since fitness for the coming Kingdom springs, not from conversion only, but from a face which, having fled from Sodom, never looks back. (Panton.)]
4. How where when? During the the Millennium of course, for The wicked will not inherit the
If we know nothing of holiness we may flatter ourselves as we plwase. But we have not got the Holy Spirit dwelling in us: we are DEAD, and must be brought to life AGAIN: we are LOST and must be found. J. C. Ryle. You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize, says the Spirit to the churches, that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. So be earnest, and repent. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Rev. 3: 17, 19, 21, N.I.V.)