Dr. David R. Reagan and panel on the show Christ in Prophecy answer questions concerning resurrections and judgments.
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Dr. Reagan: The Bible says there will be two resurrections: the resurrection of the just, and the unjust. And yet, the Bible seems to describe several other resurrections. How can this apparent contradiction be reconciled? The Bible says that we are saved by grace and not by works. Yet it also says that we will be judged of our works. Again, how can these seemingly contradictory statements be reconciled? Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our Blessed Hope. I’m Dave Reagan, Senior Evangelist for Lamb & Lion Ministries, and I am delighted to have with me again this week two experts on Bible prophecy. The first is my colleague Dennis Pollock, who is my associate here at Lamb & Lion Ministries. The other is Don McGee, the Founder and Director of Crown and Sickle Ministries, located in Amite, Louisiana. Over the past few weeks, Dennis, Don and I have been responding to questions that have been sent to us by our viewers.
Well fellas, we’ve looked at a great variety of questions over the last week. We’ve looked at things like Millennialism, the concept of a Millennium. Amillennialism the concept that there will be no Millennium. And last week we looked at life after death. This week we want to get into resurrections and judgments. You guys ready?
Don McGee: Let’s do it.
Dennis Pollock: Ready, let’s go for it.
Dr. Reagan: Then let’s go. OK fellows, let’s go to our first question concerning resurrections and judgments. This is a question sent in by one of our viewers, and it says: Will Old Testament believers be resurrected and taken to Heaven at the time of the Rapture? What about it? Will the Rapture include Old Testament believers?
Dennis Pollock: It’s a good question. You know, the Day of Jesus, when He comes for the Church, is spoken of always in relation to the Church. The Rapture itself is for those who are alive and in Christ. The resurrection of the dead, which will occur just before the Church is snatched, is for those who are asleep in Christ. So there’s nothing really to refer to the Old Testament Saints in that whole scenario. Not only that, but in Daniel, the very end of Daniel, we read that Daniel is told when he will receive his resurrection. A lot of people pass by this verse and don’t notice it, but the very last verse of Daniel, he’s told, “Go your way till the end. You will rest and will arise to your inheritance Daniel, at the end of the days.” The context of that is the Tribulation. The whole context of that chapter is the Tribulation, and he’s told, “You will arise, you will receive your inheritance at the end of those days.”
Don McGee: That period of time where we will be in Heaven with the Lord during the Tribulation period, seven years, is a time that has reference to the Church. The nation of Israel, the Old Testament Saints are not really dovetailed in very closely with that. That’s the time where Jesus is handing out rewards to the Church, to Christians. And it’s not a time where He’s going to be dealing with the Old Testament Saints.
Dr. Reagan: Go back to your point for a moment, Dennis. At the beginning of chapter 12 of Daniel, the same point is made. He says, “At that time,” speaking of the end-times, “Michael the Archangel, the great Prince who stands guard over the children of Israel will arise. And there will be a time of distress such has never occurred in all of history.” This is the Tribulation.
Dennis Pollock: Right.
Dr. Reagan: Then it says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake.” It’s talking about the end of this time. “These to everlasting life, but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” He says that this is going to occur at the end of this period of distress. So I think it’s very clearly stated here, both at the beginning of chapter 12, and the end of chapter 12, that the resurrection of the Old Testament saints will occur at the end of the Tribulation period.
Don McGee: Second Thessalonians 4 precludes the Old Testament Saints here I believe, because it’s the dead in Christ.
Dr. Reagan: The dead in Christ.
Don McGee: And in I Corinthians 15, the personal pronoun “we” is used in the context of the Christians.
Dr. Reagan: Also, the imagery.
Don McGee: Sure.
Dr. Reagan: The imagery of the Rapture is always an imagery of the Bridegroom coming for His Bride. The Bride consists of the Church Age Saints. It doesn’t include the Old Testament Saints. That’s the Church Age Saints. And so I think that the Bible is very clear: the Rapture is going to be for those who are in Christ, Church Age Saints, living and dead, and not include the Old Testament Saints. Okay. Let’s go to question number two. The Bible refers to two resurrections: the resurrection of the just and the unjust. And yet it seems to describe more than two. How do you reconcile this apparent conflict? This is a good question.
Don McGee: He’s talking about kinds of resurrections; he’s not talking about resurrections in number.
Dr. Reagan: Okay.
Don McGee: There are instances where you will have a just resurrection, such as at the Rapture. There will also be a just resurrection at the end of the Tribulation when the Old Testament Saints are resurrected.
Dr. Reagan: So you’re saying the first resurrection, the resurrection of the just could be in stages.
Don McGee: Yes, well yes, because it could be dealing with two different groups of people. So he’s talking about “types.” The resurrection of the just and the unjust are types, not numbers.
Dr. Reagan: OK. Do you want to add something to that Dennis?
Dennis Pollock: No, that’s exactly what I think.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I think you’re right. I think that the, it says, in fact you mentioned this I think earlier, that Jesus is the First Fruits of the resurrection. We know that a part of that first resurrection, the resurrection of the just has already occurred in Jesus Christ. The second stage will be at the Rapture when Jesus appears in the Heavens and those who are alive, and dead in Christ are going to be taken up. And then at the end of the Tribulation we’re going to have another resurrection that’s part of the resurrection of the just. That’s going to be the resurrection of the Tribulation Saints, those who died during the Tribulation. And it’s going to be a resurrection of Old Testament saints, so two groups are going to be resurrected at that time. So you’ve got that resurrection occurring in three stages, and then the resurrection of the unjust is all going to occur at one time. But when is that going to occur?
Don McGee: It’s going to be just before the Great White Throne Judgment.
Dr. Reagan: Right at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, when it’s all wrapped up, then everyone who has ever died outside of a faith relationship with the Lord will be resurrected and judged at that time. So the second resurrection, the resurrection of the unjust occurs all at one time. But the first resurrection, the resurrection of the just occurs in stages. So to get back to your point, we’re talking about two resurrections in kind.
Don McGee: There’s only one way that He’s going to deal with the unjust, that only requires one resurrection.
Dr. Reagan: Right, OK. Let’s go to question number three. When and where will Church Age Saints be judged? And what will they be judged of? Also, what is the purpose of their judgment? Is it to determine their eternal destiny?
Dennis Pollock: You know Dave, I grew up in a very legalistic Church that used the idea of the judgment of Christians as kind of a war club or a threat to keep you in line. You know, “You better watch it, if you go to that movie house you’ll pay for it at the judgment seat.”
Dr. Reagan: Dennis, I grew up in exactly the same kind of Church. The preacher would get up and he would talk about “That Great White Throne Judgment that we’re going to–” And yet that doesn’t even apply to believers.
Dennis Pollock: Right.
Dr. Reagan: But he would apply it to us and he’d say, “And the day will come and you will be in line for that Great White Throne Judgment, and your name will be called, and you will step up before that Great White Throne. And the Lord will open the book and He will say, ‘Dave Reagan, you are–‘ and you won’t know till that moment whether you are saved or you’re lost.” And when he would offer the invitation there would be a stampede. Everybody in Church would go up and get saved again, you know, baptized again.
Dennis Pollock: 95th time.
Dr. Reagan: It was just such a misuse of scripture. Go ahead with your point.
Dennis Pollock: Well, I was just going to say it reminds me of the Nixon tapes. With the Nixon tapes–
Dr. Reagan: Here we go again.
Don McGee: Is this like Yugo?
Dennis Pollock: There was something missing from the Nixon tapes, right? There was that 18-minute gap that no one could explain. Well, when we stand before Christ, there will be some gaps in our records. And what the gaps will be, will be all the stuff that we’ve done that wasn’t perfect. All the stuff that was wrong, all the sins of our life. As believers, those are not going to be there to be accounted for, because the blood of Christ will have so thoroughly cleansed us and so completely justified us.
Dr. Reagan: Praise God.
Dennis Pollock: There will be no record of sin. He’s not going to look with a big frown and say, “You did this wrong, you did that wrong, you did this wrong, and you did that wrong.” So, the question is then, “Well, what’s the point of the judgment?” And the point is to determine our rewards. The Bible has a whole lot to say about reward for the believer. Don, why don’t you add something to that?
Don McGee: In 2 Corinthians 5: 10, we’re seen as appearing before the Judgment seat of Christ, and I know I’ve been hit over the head with that too about, you know, “You’re going to appear before the Judgment seat of Christ,” not in the church where I was raised, but among friends. The word Judgment Seat there is an entirely different word for the word Judgment or Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation. The word in the Corinthian letter is the word “bema” B-E-M-A, and it’s “krino” in Revelation and its two different terms. The bema in the Corinthian passage is the Judgment seat for rewards, much like the judge at the Olympics stands before the contestants and he gives the gold, the silver, and the bronze. But the judgment seat at the Great White Throne in Revelation is like a court of law where sentence is passed. Both are judgment seats, and both are translated judgment seat in English, but in the Greek they are two different words with two entirely different meanings.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, and Jesus tells us that God’s keeping of records for the purpose of rewarding us is so precise, and so thorough that even the smallest act of kindness is going to be dealt with and rewarded at the judgment seat. He said, “If you give a child a glass of water because he’s a disciple, or in My name, that will not be forgotten.” There will be a reward even for that.
Dr. Reagan: I’m just overwhelmed by the grace of God when you talk about that, because here is a God who, when you put your faith in His Son as Lord and Savior, forgives and forgets your sins in that He will never hold them against you again. And yet He remembers every little good thing that you’ve ever done.
Dennis Pollock: It is awesome.
Dr. Reagan: Now, is that grace? That’s grace. And something you said earlier about the fact that we’re not going to be standing there being judged of our sins to determine our eternal destiny. Now we’re talking about saved people here.
Dennis Pollock: Right.
Dr. Reagan: We’re going to be judged to determine our degrees of reward; our eternal destiny is sealed when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is confirmed in Hebrews 9:28 where it says, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time.” And what will He appear for? “For salvation without reference to sin to those who eagerly await Him.” Not for those who have rejected Him. It’ll be a coming in reference to sin, but for those who have accepted Him, no reference to sin.
Dennis Pollock: Well, you know, this justification is so powerful, and a lot of people, it really affects their walk. A lot of people are under the impression that if you die with one sin in your life, as a believer, that you haven’t actually repented of, you’ve had it, you know, you are lost. So here’s a guy that his wife fixes him breakfast and it’s not done very well and he gripes at her, suddenly has a heart attack and dies, he’s just lost it all. Well, it’s not that way. The justification of Christ covers completely, when we put our faith in Him, and are born again, you may die having griped at your wife, but you’re still going to go to Heaven. Some husband will say, “Praise the Lord!”
Don McGee: Part of this question has to do with where and when we will be judged.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, that’s right.
Don McGee: It’s going to be in Heaven, and it’s going to be immediately after the Rapture.
Dr. Reagan: Yes.
Don McGee: It’s going to be during that seven-year period. We call it the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, and boy are they going to have a lot of good boudin.
Dr. Reagan: Now I don’t know about that boudin, brother.
Don McGee: One lady told me one time, she said, “I can’t wait, we’re going to eat supper for seven years.”
Dr. Reagan: Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
Don McGee: Yeah, that’s right.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I tell you, I hope they have some good chocolate cake there, but I don’t know about that boudin.
Dennis Pollock: We’re going to be so big we’re going to have a hard time getting on those horses to follow Jesus back down at the second coming.
Dr. Reagan: All right fellas, let’s go to the next question. The next question is: When and where does the Sheep and Goat Judgment in Matthew 25 take place?
Don McGee: On earth at His Second Coming.
Dr. Reagan: Is that it?
Don McGee: That’s it.
Dr. Reagan: On earth at the Second Coming.
Don McGee: That’s right.
Dr. Reagan: In other words, when Jesus comes back at the end of the Tribulation, we’re talking about, right? At the second coming, He is going to gather all the people on Planet Earth, and He is going to judge the Jews, and He’s going to judge the Gentiles. There’s a Jewish judgment described over in Ezekiel. So He will judge the Jews, He will judge the Gentiles. And what is the purpose of that judgment?
Don McGee: It’s important to understand that in this Matthew 25 passage, that there are three groups that are associated here. Jesus talks about the sheep and the goats and the My brethren. This is not, as is commonly believed, the judgment of the saved and the lost. He’s talking about a judgment of those Gentile nations that responded to the needs of His brethren, the Jews, during that Tribulation period, whether they responded in kindness, or in animosity. And they are going to be judged based upon what they did with the Jews during that time.
Dr. Reagan: OK. And the purpose of this judgment. What’s the overall purpose of this particular judgment? Isn’t it to determine whose going to go into the Millennium in the flesh?
Don McGee: It goes back to Genesis 12:3 where God said to Abram, He said, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.”
Dr. Reagan: Yes. You know, it also says that when He conducts this particular judgment, that those who are not found worthy to go into the Millennium in the flesh are going to be consigned to death. It says that they will be put where the vultures will eat their bodies, it’s told over in the Book of Luke. So this is a judgment to determine who’s going to go into the Millennium in the flesh. And a lot of it is going to be based upon how they treated the Jewish people during the Tribulation period. Because the only people who are going to show any love and mercy toward Jews in the Tribulation period are going to be people who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nobody else would do it because they would be killed right away. Anything to add to that?
Dennis Pollock: No, I think the Jews during the Tribulation period, are going to be kind of like, it’ll be a test kind of like the Parakeet in the coal mine. If someone has a response toward the Jews, they obviously have some grace working in their life or they wouldn’t be doing that.
Dr. Reagan: All right. What if people don’t know what the Parakeet in the coal mine is all about?
Dennis Pollock: Well, we don’t have time to go into that so we’ll just take it by faith I know what I’m talking about.
Dr. Reagan: But didn’t they used to take, like a Parakeet in a cage in the coalmine, and see whether it died from the gas or not?
Dennis Pollock: It was a test to see if the air was good enough to live in.
Dr. Reagan: It’s a good illustration. All right, another question: When and where will the lost be judged, and what will they be judged of? So far we’ve been talking primarily about saved people, and when their judgments are going to take place. And what that judgment is going to be all about. But what about those who are lost? When will they be judged, and what will they be judged of?
Dennis Pollock: Well, John describes it beautifully in Revelation. I mean it’s a very clear description, and he starts out saying, “I saw the dead,” which is quite a statement, “small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.” And what he’s seeing is this great, incredible judgment of all the lost people that have ever lived, standing before God. He says, “Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life, and they were judged according to their works.” Well, why would they be judged according to their works? Well, there was no grace at work in their lives. They didn’t have their sins forgiven, so their works will be a condemnation. Why does God need to do that? Well, He chooses to do that to show the justness of His sentence. And He will go over their lives very carefully. You know, that will be the ultimate horror story. You know, people, Hollywood tries to outdo itself with horror stories. The ultimate horror story would be to stand before a Holy God, have all your sins exposed, all your lies, all your sexual immorality, and you’re standing before the One with the “eyes like a flame of fire.” And then He declares, “I never knew you, you are sentenced to eternal destruction.”
Dr. Reagan: So that Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus, called the Great White Throne Judgment, is a judgment of the damned. It’s a judgment of those who have died throughout all of history outside of a faith relationship with God. They’re judged of their works, and since no man can be justified by his works, every one of them will be condemned to Hell.
Don McGee: Who wants to meet God based upon his own ability?
Dr. Reagan: Well, there are people who think they can.
Don McGee: They think so, but at that moment it’ll seen for the–
Dr. Reagan: And you know what they do? They do it primarily by judging themselves in accordance to somebody else. “Well, I am so much better than the guy who lives down the street from me. I mean, hey, he cheats on his wife. I don’t cheat on my wife.” But God doesn’t grade on the curve, He grades on the Cross.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Reagan: And that’s what people usually–
Don McGee: They’re using the wrong standard.
Dennis Pollock: People who compare themselves with someone else, it’s like one ant saying, “I’m a lot taller than this other ant.” Well, you may think you are, but compared to everybody else, you’re a little shorty, and so it is morally. None of us are any better than anybody else apart from the grace of Christ.
Dr. Reagan: What would you say Dennis, to a person who is watching right now, who does not have the hope of life everlasting with God, who, if Jesus were to appear during this program would be left behind, if the Rapture occurred? A person who has no hope, but wants hope, who wants the hope of resurrection, and wants the hope of a glorified body, wants the hope of living with God forever on a New Earth? What would you say to such a person?
Dennis Pollock: Well, I would say this: Friends, there is hope for you, and the answer is found in the scriptures that tell us what Jesus did. The Bible says, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God.” And we receive Him by faith, believing that on His Cross He took all our sins upon Himself. Believing that He shed His blood that we might be forgiven, that we might be accepted with God, believing that He rose again the third day. And if you will believe that and receive Him as your Lord and Savior, by faith, He will instantly do two things for you. He will forgive every sin you have ever committed. And He will give you His Holy Spirit, to live on the inside of you. You will be a child of God, just like that, courtesy of the Cross and resurrection of Jesus.”
Dr. Reagan: Thank you Dennis. I want to summarize now what we have covered in this program, but I want to do it visually. I want to step over to the illustration board for a moment, and once again give people a visual illustration of what we’ve been talking about. Because I believe that this will help us to better remember it and understand it.
Let me illustrate it this way. This is the Cross of Jesus Christ. Here is the current period that we are living in, which I’m going to refer to as the Church Age. And I put a little zigzag in the line here to indicate that this line is not drawn to scale, because if it was drawn to scale it would be longer than this room. So here’s the Church Age.
Then the Church Age, according to the Scriptures, is followed by a period called the Tribulation, and it is divided into two periods of three and a half years each, when the Antichrist goes into the Temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God and begins his great persecution of the Jewish people during the last part of this Tribulation.
Then, according to the Bible, the Tribulation is going to be followed by another period of time that I will abbreviate in length, and that is called, the Millennium, which is a period of one thousand years.
So what we have then is, we have three periods of time. The first period of time, the Church Age, is approximately two thousand years plus. We don’t know how long it will continue, but I believe we are right there at the end of it, according to the signs of the times. The Tribulation is seven years in length. And the Millennium is a thousand years. And then, following that will be the New Heavens and the New Earth, where we’re going to live forever with God.
Now, what about these different resurrections? Incidentally, let me just say that here, we believe Jesus will appear, and the Rapture will take place and that we will be in Heaven with Him during the Tribulation, and will return with Him at the end of the Tribulation.
Two things will happen while we are in Heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. One is that we will be judged of our works, to determine our degrees of reward, not our eternal destiny. And we will have a celebration after that judgment with the Lord Jesus Christ, celebrating our union with Him in what is called the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
Now, where the resurrections and judgments fit in? The first resurrection has already occurred. That is here. This is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that occurred two thousand years ago. The next resurrection will occur at the time of the Rapture, and this will be the Church Age Saints, which will be taken up to meet the Lord in the air. And then at the end of the Tribulation, the Tribulation Martyrs and the Old Testament Saints will be resurrected. These three resurrections constitute the first resurrection. As Don said, there are two resurrections in kind, not two resurrections in number.
The first resurrection in kind is in three stages: Jesus the first fruits, the Church as the general harvest, the Tribulation Martyrs and Old Testament Saints are the gleanings. The second resurrection will occur here at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus. All those who have ever died outside a faith relationship with God will be resurrected, they will be judged, and all of them will be condemned because no man can be justified by his works, and they will be cast into Hell. The saved will go to live with God forever on a New Earth.
So I hope that will help you to better visualize what we’ve been talking about. The first resurrection in three stages. The second resurrection at the end of the Millennial Reign. Fellas, we don’t have much time left, but just a few brief comments in about a minute’s time about degrees of reward and punishment. Anything to say about that?
Dennis Pollock: Absolutely. The Bible teaches that there will be degrees of reward in Heaven. There will be degrees of punishment in Hell. In Hell, for example, Jesus said, “The servant who knew his master’s will, and didn’t prepare himself, but did things worthy of punishment will be beaten with many stripes.” But He said, “The one who did not know his master’s will and did things that were wrong will be beaten with few.” He said, “Everyone to whom much is given, to him much will be required.” So Jesus indicates that the more you know, the worse your suffering in Hell will be, because you had far more knowledge available. Therefore, people who live in America and don’t get born again are going to be judged much stricter and have a much harder time in Hell than people from countries where the Gospel is not preached.
Dr. Reagan: Don, we have about 20 seconds.
Don McGee: I just agree completely with what Dennis said. Now the message for us today is this: We will be held to a higher degree of accountability than that man who never heard the Gospel.
Dr. Reagan: Amen, thank you fellows. I want to thank you for tuning in this week. I hope the program has been a blessing to you and I hope you will be back with us next week when we will discuss questions concerning the Rapture. Questions like: Where can you find the Rapture in the Bible? What is the purpose of the Rapture? Will children be taken in the Rapture?” And when is the Rapture most likely to occur? Until then, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our redemption is drawing near.”
End of Program