The First Resurrection And The Rapture, Are They The Same?


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. 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.

(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.

Let’s recap…

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. These two things happen in one event.

*Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your thoughts! You can post your comment below.

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41 thoughts on “The First Resurrection And The Rapture, Are They The Same?”

  1. I agree the “rapture” is post trib. However, I see a pre-trib event also. Luke 17:22-37 says it is pre-trib because life is normal (eating, drinking, planting, etc.). It will be hell on earth post-trib. There is a flash of light, believers are taken and leave their flesh on earth (verse 37). I don’t see a resurrection in this pre-trib event.

    • It will not be “hell on Earth” for unbelievers until God’s wrath is poured out, which happens after the rapture. Believers aren’t in darkness, so we wait and watch for the return of Christ; we are awake and alert. However, this is not the case for unbelievers; they are not expecting the return of Christ, but we have the blessed hope.

      • Thanks for the reply Travis. So, it looks like we believe the same thing. One pre-tribulation rapture without a resurrection and one post-tribulation rapture with a resurrection? I believe the resurrection is for earth, not heaven.

        • No, not entirely, I only believe in the first resurrection for life, and a thousand years after, a resurrection of death. I do not believe the Bible teaches a rapture with no resurrection. I think you should read over this again. 🙂

          • Travis – if the church does not need the tribulation for further sanctification or purification, why do you believe we have to go through it? What purpose does it serve? Especially when there are many Scriptures that indicate that God does have a rescue plan for His elect BEFORE then? And I don’t mean by our resurrection, cause I agree that comes after the tribulation.

          • I don’t understand where you find a problem with God’s Saints going through tribulation; the Bible says it!

            “In the world ye shall have tribulation” – Jesus Christ
            “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” – Apostle Paul
            “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” – John the Apostle
            “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” – Jesus Christ

            You said: “there are many Scriptures that indicate that God does have a rescue plan for His elect BEFORE then.” (I take it you used the word “then” for the tribulation.) However, Jesus said: “for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” I think we should believe Him, don’t you?

  2. If rapture and end of tribulation are the same. Where is the surprise of Christ’s return? From what I have read on post tribulation Christ returns at end of tribulation then that would be 1260 days after the abomination of the desolation which will surely be a notable day. Abomination of desolation plus 1260 days is an exact date.
    I am trying to understand . Whereas the pre tribulation rapture can happen anytime prior to tribulation . Not an exact date.

    • First, the rapture and the end of the tribulation are not the same. The rapture is the first resurrection, but it is not the tribulation. The tribulation, according to Jesus, represents a time of persecution inflicted upon Saints. The rapture is a time of deliverance from tribulation, which happens when God pours out His wrath. (There is a difference between God’s wrath and the devils.)

      Secondly, I’m not suggesting the day or hour Christ will return, for I don’t know when that time will come, but I’ll try to watch and be ready. Now you should know that God has not left His people in darkness concerning that time; the Scripture says, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” Yet Christ will come as a thief in the night.

      If you believe what I see the Bible clearly teaches, then you don’t know the time of the rapture beyond the light given of God. However, we expect it, wherefore it is called the blessed hope. If you are pre-trib, then you believe it happens before the first resurrection, which is an unbelievable time, for the Scripture does not teach it.

  3. that the first resurrection/the rapture is same? what I understanding between different the Rapture and the Resurrection because who those were martyred in the Tribulation will be take out of prior the great tribulation . In Revelation 6:10 the Fifth Seal Saints are killed is not the first resurrection because didn’t to took the beheaded but in 20:4 are beheaded is come from the first resurrection. the two different primary, my thought is to do more details later on either someone could help us to know more about the first resurrection. (interestingly, anxious to learn more)

    • The Bible does not teach those who are martyred in the tribulation will be raptured prior to the great tribulation. The taking out of Christian Saints happens before God pours out His wrath upon the Earth.

  4. Those that are alive during Daniel’s 70th week or the Tribulation period which is 3.5 years will go thru the whole 3.5 years unless they die by the grave whether they are saved or not. The Christians that have already died are already with the Lord. Paul said to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. That’s why we can’t precede them, because they are already with the Lord. The remains of a human body is nothing but dust. Why would you want a corruptible body. There is no reason to resurrect dust, for flesh and blood cannot enter heaven. We must put on in-corruption and this mortal (means liable to die soul) must put on immortality. We have a much better glorified spirit body to look forward to. At the last Trump (7th Trump) all flesh is done away with and we go into the 1000 year reign of Christ, which is the Lord’s Day for teaching and spiritual correction.

  5. What’s your thoughts on the day of the Lord. It’s at the end of the tribulation. Pours his wrath out. But my question is how long is the day? Is it a literal 24 hours. In Isaiah 34:8 it speaks of the day of the Lord vengeance, for 1 year. Shalom. Ron

    • I think the Day of the Lord is a time when the Lord alone will reign, which is also in Isaiah. I think it begins when God pours out His wrath upon the world and possibly goes til the last judgment. There are different events that happen within the Day and last for a certain time.

  6. This is wrong. The problem is the assumption about what counts as a resurrection. The harpazo is believers both the ones dead and the ones alive alive meeting Christ in the air. When Jesus rose from the dead he didn’t just get a new body he was on the earth. The harpazo is being with Christ but those believers are not on the earth yet. Then at the end of the trib you have all the judgement of day of the Lord and then all the believers including those brought back to life from the trib come down to earth and that is the first ressurection because it is the first time all those believers are alive on the earth. That keeps consistant the no one knows passages and deals with what is being said in this article.

    Another fact, it is very clear in jeremiah 30 and Daniel 9, the ending of the time of the gentiles in Luke, the gathering of the jews in Ezekiel etc that the purpose of the trib is to correct israel and in Zechariah 1/3 of them will be saved. There is not one verse in the scriptures that says the church needs the trib for sanctification because 1 cor 3 says that believers sanctification is completed before the judgement seat of Christ.

    • Your thinking on this article is faulty, for it never says, as you say, “The church needs the trib for sanctification.” I don’t know where you got that…

  7. There are only two resurrections, the first are those who died in Christ and will rise prior to the rapture which takes place immediately after the first resurrection, all of us will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and return to earth with Him with our glorified bodies to reign with him. The second resurrection is the resurrection of those who dies in their sin and will received God’s judgment at the White Throne Judgment and then will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

  8. How can it be anything else?
    1 Thess 4:13-17 – can’t be “caught up” until after the first resurrection, says it twice.

    Then there is:
    we die, He makes us alive, each in order. Christ first, then His at His coming, then is the end
    1Cor 15:20-24 But now Christ has been raised from the dead ones; He became the firstfruit of the ones having fallen asleep. For since death is through man, also through a Man is a resurrection of dead ones; for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ, the firstfruit; afterward the ones of Christ in His coming. Then is the end, whenever He gives over the kingdom to God, even the Father, whenever He causes to cease all rule and all authority and power.
    Also, 1 Cor 15:51-53 Lo, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, suddenly, as in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, when it shall sound; and the dead will arise, without corruption; and we shall be changed. For this which is corruptible, is to put on incorruption; and that which dies, will put on immortality. At the last trumpet, Rev 11:15

    Thank you for this article,

  9. Love Your Post. Why is it that we do not expound upon that Resurrection that happened when Jesus died / or resurrected? A mass of people got up out of the graves…Wouldn’t this be a resurrection?

  10. Matthew 27:50-54 {50} And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. {52} and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. This was when He died… BUT the next verse says when he was resurrected {53} They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Is this two different events?

  11. Just a bit of clarification: According to the 70 weeks of Daniel, as we know, only 69 have been fulfilled. This is only for Israel – the 70th week which translates into the 7 year period which we have called the Tribulation, will focus on the redemption of Israel. There will be people who will come to saving knowledge of Jesus, that’s why they are referred to as “saints” or the “elect.” The Church will be gone (rapture, as we call it) because
    1) God did not appoint us to suffer wrath (1 Thess. 5:9) It is plain that the 7 years will be a time of wrath – God’s wrath (Rev. 6:16).
    2) The Anti-Christ or Lawless One (2 Thess. 2:3-7) must come to power however he will not be able to unless the “one holding him back is taken out of the way.” Who is it holding back the Anti-Christ? Us – the Church. It would be a difficult, if not impossible task, to deceive the nations while the Church is still here.
    So, the “Rapture” cannot happen at the end of the 7 years, nor at the middle because even the beginning of the 7 years is called the wrath of God. The “Rapture” is not considered a resurrection, in my opinion, because it is “snatching away” those who are the Church. Throughout the Bible God snatched His people from destruction (the flood, Sodom, Red Sea) And the Church is called His bride. Why would He put His bride through the 7 years of His wrath?
    Will there be believers in the 7 years period? Yes. People will come to Christ in that period but they are never called the Church – only elect or saints.
    In my opinion, the first resurrection is related to the believers who were martyred during the 7 years period not the Church that is “Raptured” or “snatched away” before the 7 years begins and Israel becomes the focal point of prophecy.
    Certainly there is a lot more that can be said about this but I hope this gives you something to study.

    • Admittedly, I disagree with your explanation. Sudden destruction of God’s wrath does not come on anyone at the beginning of the seven years (1 Thess. 5:3). Sudden destruction is God’s wrath, not the Antichrist’s; and yes, I believe the rapture happens prior to God’s wrath. Now, if the rapture is not considered a resurrection, in your opinion, as you stated, then 1 Cor. 15:52 must not be a reference to the rapture, which clearly it is.

      I hope I made answers to your objections understandable.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • 1 COR 15:52 talks about being raised in heaven not on earth. The Trib saints in Rev 19:4-5 reigned with Christ on the Earth.
        Don’t really know what you mean by: Sudden destruction of God’s wrath does not come on anyone at the beginning of the seven years (1 Thess. 5:3) but if you were left behind and not raptured with the church wouldn’t you think that God is getting ready to pour out his wrath? Just because there will be peace on Earth does not mean there’s no wrath because God is solidifying the fact that those left behind have rejected Jesus since they made that choice He is allowing their own free will to be their condemnation.

        • There are two groups who shall be changed in the rapture: Believers who sleep in Jesus and Believers on Earth. I emphasized biblical proof in the verses below.

          1 Cor 15:51-52: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, 52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED.

          And just to answer your other question: I believe God’s wrath begins after the rapture, and God has not appointed His people to His wrath.

    • The Bible says Christians will not suffer the wrath of God in 1 Thessalonians 5:9. It says, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” However, it does say unbelievers will a few verses before in 1 Thessalonians 5:3: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” I believe the rapture happens before God pours out His wrath upon Earth.

      Thanks for your questions!

    • Holly I think those saints were raised as a testament to Jesus’ victory over death and conquering the grave. I don’t think they were raised incorruptible as He was which would not constitute a resurrection in the sense that we are talking.

  12. Travis, I have an open mind and accept whatever the Lord has in store for us.

    That said, I have a few honest questions in my quest for better understanding…

    What would be the title given to the rising of those who came out of the grave along with Jesus (Matt 27:52-53)? How would that not be a resurrection that clearly came before the “first resurrection” in Rev 20?

    …plus the various other moments in the NT (and in modern times) when the dead have been raised?

    Seeing as resurrections have occurred before the one mentioned in Rev 20, does that not leave room for others prior to the trib?

    Could the key here lie in what is considered a resurrection?

    Also, if not a snatching up of certain saints before the “hour of trial that is coming on the whole world” mentioned in Rev 3:10, what exactly would it mean for God to keep the church of Philadelphia from it?

    Likewise what would be the event in Rev 18:4, in which the Lord calls His people to “come out from her” to avoid taking part in her sins and plagues?

    Thanks in advance for your enlightenment.

    • To my first set of questions, I suppose the difference/key may be that the “first resurrection” would likely include the people being transformed into new creatures, rather than the ones that’ve occurred already, in which they merely returned to life as a regular human. So if that spares you from having to answer those, all that remains is the latter two.

    • The resurrection we are referencing is like Christ’s; He had a body that could disappear and appear at any given moment. His body also had the power to ascend into Heaven. Those who came out of the graves did not have this kind of body before Jesus.

  13. “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: ”

    Where are the dead ones prior to the birth of Christ and the belief of Christ??

  14. Travis;
    Good write: I agree there are many teachings and so many preconceived ideas that create blindness to our understandings of scripture. We only hear with the ears on the side of our head not the ears of our heart. “Those who have ears, let them hear”. If we do not keep an open mind and learn daily, we will be easily deceived. It is like Paul told the Corinthians “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”
    The tribulation has been going on since Jesus ascended to heaven and will intensify when the beast rises from the bottomless pit and Satan gives him his power. Many have already been beheaded and have died for their confession of Christ (millions). The only ones left for the future are those killed for not taking the mark of the beast. Revelation is hard because it is not written in chronological order.
    The battle of Armageddon will be horrific, but only the armies and the kings will be destroyed. During the thousand years there will still be people that will live and die and having children, the only thing, Satan will not deceive them. There also will be people come from all nations to worship Jesus. Isaiah, Zechariah, and more.
    The first resurrection is for the saved and the white throne judgement is for the unsaved is taught by many. Whether I am correct or not, I do not agree. The reason is the last verse in Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
    The only thing we must be steadfast without any doubt is our salvation in Jesus Christ. The other we must be open minded and to test the spirits and study to know the truth and trust the scriptures and not man. To me just the word rapture automatically paints a picture of the Church being taken to heaven being spared the great tribulation that is confused of being the wrath of God. The great tribulation is from Satan, the beast and the false prophet not from God. I feel many teachings like only 69 weeks of the prophecy given to Daniel have been fulfilled and many others creating wonderful pictures of the second coming of Jesus has so many looking for things that will not happen.
    Just a few thoughts; Love your post, will read more.

  15. Revelation 20:4,6
    This is called the first resurrection.
    John 11: 21-24
    John 6: 39, 40, 44, 54
    The resurrection is on the last day.
    I Corinthians 15: 52
    The dead are raised at the last trumpet.
    I Thessalonians 4: 14-16
    Christ will unit believers with their bodies.
    These happen on the last day

  16. The many events covering the world make many to think of what’s to happen in worsening degree of intensity and christians who look forward to our Lord’s coming are discussing in many groups around the world, the accurate signposts to watch.
    In the book of Daniel it was said that there will be 7 years of hard times to come before our Lord’s coming to establish His Kingdom on earth(1000 yr reign).
    Approaching this is where lies the unknown times.

    About the rapture, tribulations sign posts, there is one chapter I noticed that foretell very accurately of what to watch before events.

    Matthew 24:15-21

    15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
    16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
    17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,
    18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
    19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!
    20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.
    21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:15, ESV)

    The abomination of desolation mentioned is the stoppage of worship sa temple in jerusalem, the antichrist is revealed here who he is.
    Once this abomination occurs, Jesus foretold of the succeeding tribulations.
    On the verses there are three warnings He told them.
    Verse 16: for the Jews.
    Verse 17 & 18: for the church to be taken away
    Verse 19: for the unbelievers that will be left out.

    On verse 16, this is rightly true for the Jews will not be taken away but hidden in the wilderness
    Verse 17&18 are rightly true, since when the church is taken away it will be in a blink of an eye, nothing else is needed but wait for the Lord.
    Verse 19 is rightly true for it will be the worst case scenario for those caught in the tribulation.
    All this means the events , rapture , etc will come in the middle of the 7 year period.

    Currently the Peace plan initiated by Trump may not be this yet since in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4, the Peace Treaty is believed to have a 7year time period stipulated for whatever reason. Trump Peace Treaty is not yet published in detail. We do not know.
    If Israel comes to have this 7 yr peace treaty, rapture become very near (3 1/2 yrs) even at the doors.
    Once the peace treaty commence, the rebuilding of the temple may follow.
    Now the signposts,
    – There will be a 7 year Peace Treaty wit Israel.
    – The Temple destroyed in the year 70 AD will be rebuilt for the third times.
    -In the middle of this 7 year Peace Treaty(3 1/2 years) the antichrist will be revealed when he surrounds Jerusalem and stop the worshipping in the Temple and put himself there to be worshipped(abomination of desolation).
    -The taking away of the Church (rapture) follows.

    Keep watching the Middle East, Europe, the US, and Asia.

  17. The subject regarding the timing of the catching up is very confusing to me.
    Various viewpoints ,each seaming to have merit. Rev 20; 4 &5 state clearly ,this is the first resurrection. But, the church is to be the bride of Christ, Why would a groom beat up and torment the bride before the wedding ceremony as described in the tribulation period. Until the day I clearly understand I can only trust in the promises of God.

    • Hey Bill,
      Thanks for sharing! To answer your question, Jesus Christ does not pour out His wrath upon His bride. The wrath of Satan is NOT the wrath of God. The bride has always gone through tribulation. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” and Paul said, “We must through much tribulation.” (See John 16:33, Acts 14:22.)

  18. I totally agree on the rapture and the first resurrection being the same. My thoughts on the 70 weeks of Daniel is, since God chose to leave the Gentiles; saved and unsaved, to live through the 69 weeks, why would He take them out at the 70th week? The saved have suffered through many things that the Jews experienced in more profound ways through history. I am convinced it will be the same in the 70th week. Plus I see scriptures that support that belief: the main one being 24th chapter of Matthew.


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