Isn’t the Resurrection on “The Last Day”?
Question: When speaking of the resurrection of those who believe on Him, Christ said that He would “raise [them] up at the last day” (John:6:40,44,54). Doesn’t Revelation:20:4,5 teach that the “first resurrection” takes place after the Battle of Armageddon, and couldn’t this be what Christ meant by “the last day”? Certainly a pre-trib resurrection couldn’t be on “the last day”! In view of such scriptures, how can one reconcile a resurrection (and its accompanying rapture) at the beginning of the great tribulation?
Response (Part 1): Nor could a post-trib rapture be on “the last day” if that expression refers to a 24-hour period, for an entire millennium of subsequent days follow. Beware of teaching built on one isolated verse. What do “first resurrection” and “last day” actually mean? The answer can only be found in the context of all Scripture. In John:5:28,29 Jesus spoke of two resurrections: “The hour is coming in 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.” That this does not all occur in the same “hour” is clear, for the resurrection of the wicked doesn’t take place until the millennium.
Yes, it says of the resurrection after Armageddon of those martyred by Antichrist, “This is the first resurrection” (Revelation:20:5). Obviously, however this can’t be the entire “first resurrection,” or Wesley, Spurgeon, and even Paul (who, though martyred, was not slain by Antichrist) will never be resurrected, because the only resurrection that remains is of the wicked in verses 12-15. As we shall see below, those resurrected at that time are judged and sent to the lake of fire. Then what about Abraham, Moses, Daniel, and the millions of other saints, both from Old Testament and New Testament times, who lived and died before Antichrist came on the scene? One can only conclude that the statement “This is the first resurrection” must mean that this event is part of and concludes the resurrection which occurred at the rapture. Consequently, these martyrs are also part of the church.
That the rapture and resurrection described in 1 Corinthians:15:50-52 and 1 Thessalonians:4:13-17 take place previous to the resurrection of the tribulation martyrs is clear from the fact that in Revelation:19:7 we have the church in heaven as Christ’s bride at the “marriage of the Lamb” (not the marriage supper, verse 9, which takes place later on earth, when Christ introduces His bride to those who enter the millennium). Christ’s bride, composed of the saints of all ages to that time (as we have seen), has already been resurrected, is in heaven with Christ, and accompanies Him at Armageddon, as Zechariah:14:5 and Jude 14 declare.