Please clarify a few things for me regarding the Resurrection and Second Coming of Christ.
- Will there be a final general, literal Resurrection of all the dead?
- Will there be a literal Second Advent of Christ at the end of this system of things?
- How do we interpret 1 Thess. 4:13-18?
Your inquisitive brother in Hope, and thanks for putting up with me.
There is a general difficulty in answering the questions you have posed. The first is in the idea of a final resurrection since Jesus said He is the resurrection. Since He, being God, is the same yesterday, today and forever and cannot change, He is now and has always been the resurrection so there cannot be a final resurrection as asked. For each there is a literal resurrection when the time of our habitation is over. To the wicked it is a resurrection unto damnation and torment where the worm never dies and the flame is never quenched. To the incorruptible seed, it is unto the manifestation of eternal life but all shall appear before the throne, every man in his order, and bowing the knee before God, profess Him to be Lord of all.
Secondly, what do you mean by literal? The wicked were afore ordained unto judgment and they shall experience the torment in whatever body has been outfitted for destruction, but this is not obliteration (Luke 16:23). The just shall enter into the rest of Messiah in their bodies of the risen Lord. When He shall appear to them, at the end of the time of their habitation, they shall be like Him. They have born the image of the earthly; they shall bear the image of the heavenly. These cannot be a figurative expressions for then salvation would also be figurative since He delivered His people from the day of wrath and dies that they might have life.
Next, the second coming. Sorry but I cannot find “the second coming” in the scriptures. I do find that to them that look for Him, He shall appear a second time without sin but I do not find a specific time in which He is coming back to this world, to be seen of all men and then to enact something. He has shown forth His salvation and all the world has seen it (This is the mystery of the gospel and not some media transmission where everyone can view the coming. The whole world is in agreement with John 3:16 and means the gentiles also not only the Jews).
At the dead and resurrection of Messiah, He raised up all Israel from the dead (Ez. 37) and all Israel was made alive. Now we know that all these works were finished from the foundation of the world, but in Him those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God were raised up in Him. Also those who had not yet been born were raised up in Him but they still had the time of their habitation wherein they were made partakers of flesh and blood. These do not prevent those who have died in the Lord who have “slept in the dust of the earth” (Dan.12:2) and are the fulfillment of the prophesy that after three days thy dead men shall arise (Is. 26:19). But those who that have been born from above shall not all sleep. Jesus said that He that believeth in Him shall never die (John 11) and no He was not speaking of the flesh, so we which are alive in Him and remain shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds when He calls us home. The trump of God is His voice and when the “Mighty Messenger” (archangel) sounds the trump (speaks the word, “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the rest prepared for you”) the tabernacle of this dwelling will be dissolved (II Cor. 5:1), this hide will be ripped off (Job19:26) and we have put off this tabernacle (II Pt. 1:14) we shall forever be with our Lord.
The enactment of the last will and testament, when the final vestments of national Israel was destroyed and the altar was beaten into chalkstones and the fortified city was made desolate, then the great trumpet blew and those who were ready to perish came and worshiped at the holy mount at Jerusalem (Is. 27:9-13).
I know I have been brief but I hope I have given you enough to understand my views of I Thes. 4:13-18.
Thank you for your continued inquiries and I pray that the Spirit will lead you in your search.
Your servant in Christ,
April 11, 2013