Many Christians have been led to believe that the first resurrection and the rapture are not the same. But is this what Bible actually teaches? Is the first resurrection really the rapture? I believe that they are the same, and after you read this, you’ll know why.
I’m going to take you to the Bible and prove that the first resurrection and the rapture are in fact the same. I’ll also answer a couple questions along the way…
In order to establish an accurate conclusion here, we need to take a look in the Bible. The Scriptures are the foundation for everything Christians should believe. If what we believe causes doubt when compared to other scriptures, then we should be open to change.
It has to be the Spirit of God who convinces us of truth. And when He does that, we need to stand on that truth. It’s not wise to be carried about with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14), but making corrections to our beliefs when needed is wise.
Let’s get started and see if there’s anything we need to change…
Where is the first resurrection in the Bible?
The phrase the first resurrection is only found twice in the whole Bible. The two times that it is mentioned are both in the same chapter of the Book of Revelation. In fact, they are back to back occurrences. These scriptures alone are enough to prove that the first resurrection and the rapture are the same, but we’ll look at another just in case you have any doubts.
Revelation 20:4-6: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, 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. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 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.
(I put our words in bold so that they are easy to spot.)
As you can see, the phrase first resurrection is mentioned in verses five and six. The concept here is to identify those who take part in this resurrection. It’s important to note that the Bible says, “This is the first resurrection.”
I interpret Scripture literally, so when it says that this is the first resurrection, it means there hasn’t been one prior. These people where obviously dead. They were martyred for their faith in Christ during the great tribulation. These tribulation martyrs were dead in Christ!
Getting the Context
Here are some events that have happened up to this point:
- The great tribulation is now past, wherein the Saints were killed for the testimony of Christ (Matthew 24:21-22; Revelation 6:9-11, Revelation 7:9-14, Revelation 14:12-13).
- God has successfully poured out a portion of His wrath upon those who refused to receive Christ in faith (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9).
- Jesus Christ has already returned and destroyed the nations in the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-17).
- The beast and the false prophet were both cast alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:19-21).
- The devil was cast into the bottomless pit until after the millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-3).
The millennial reign of Christ is a thousand year period where Jesus Christ is expected to sit on His throne and rule and reign. It’s clear from our scripture in verse six, that there will be people who actually reign with Him. If we look at verse four, we can identify who those people are.
Revelation 20:4: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, 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.
Revelation 20:4 speaks of people who died for their faith in Christ. These individuals were literally resurrected. They were also given a body so that they could live and physically reign with Christ. It would be impossible for this to be without a bodily resurrection.
It’s commonly believed and accurately taught that at the rapture, there is a bodily resurrection of the Saints. This brings us back to our question about the first resurrection and the rapture. Are they the same?
Is the first resurrection the same as the rapture?
The first resurrection and the rapture are in truth the same. Many people teach that they aren’t, but Scripture and sound reason prove otherwise.
We know that Revelation 20 speaks of the first resurrection, we know that those who took part in this resurrection were dead, we know that the first resurrection was a resurrecting of Saints, we know that these Saints were martyred during the great tribulation period, and we know that they were bodily resurrected to live again and physically reign with Christ.
The First Resurrection And The Rapture Are The Same!
Adversaries to this Bible truth use a scripture found in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians to try and prove that the rapture is a different event than the first resurrection. They say that the rapture happens first. However, the rapture is when Jesus Christ gathers Believers to Himself that are alive on Earth at His return.
I’ll prove using Thessalonians, that their theory is inaccurate…
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: 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: 17 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.
When the Bible says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,” it is referring to the time after the dead in Christ have risen. The dead in Christ will rise first. This is the first resurrection of the dead. Therefore, the tribulation Saints of Revelation 20 must have part in this resurrection. Otherwise, the resurrection in Revelation 20 could not be the first resurrection.
The truth is the first resurrection and the rapture is the same. Some people do not like this because it contradicts their theology, or it contradicts what they were taught. The dead in Christ shall rise first, so this is the first resurrection. The rapture and the resurrection both happen after the great tribulation. It goes in order: the first resurrection of the dead, and then the rapture of the living.
*Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your thoughts! You can post your comment below.