Early in chapter 3 of the book of Acts, Peter was preaching to the Jews, and his message concerned their salvation; but these verses go further than just the salvation of a few thousand Jews living at that time. He gave a prophecy concerning the nation’s future salvation, and the consummation of things, and his prophecy involved the return of Christ to a Kingdom and a bride. He states beginning in Acts 3:12, that Jesus’ coming will be tied to their repentance and, to the fulfillment of other prophecy—“the restoration of all things” recorded in the Old Testament by the prophets.
So he says that the salvation of Israel is taught to be connected to and to precede the Second Coming and the end of the age, and this came from an apostle taught at the feet of Jesus. The ultimate union of Jew and Gentile through each accepting this Messiah who came for all men is predominant throughout Scripture from the time of the calling of Abram, himself a Gentile at the time of his calling, to the final revealing of the bride in Revelation.
Peter spoke of it here in Acts 3, Paul speaks of it extensively in Ephesians 2-4, and in Romans 9-11, and John records what he was told of it in his Gospel and in the Revelation. The one new man of Scripture is not unknown to us. Yet this is the most neglected truth of Scripture. The Gospel message requires that all men must come to salvation in the same way. The Gospel places us all as one in Christ— One body, one bride.
We have previously learned from Scripture in this blog the timing of the Rapture of the Bride. I’m sure it has surprised some readers, but the Rapture must occur following the resurrection of those who are in Christ and all men in order to be saved must be in Christ. Therefore we need the Scriptural answer for who those are who are in Christ.
Scripture must always be given its full weight in deciding truth.
We know that Messiah will return at His Second Coming in blood stained garments and in Isaiah we find out why this is so.
Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? “I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger, And trampled them in My wrath; And their life blood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment. “For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come (Isaiah 63:2-4 NASB).
Chuck Missler says that this is the picture of God’s deliverance of Israel from Petra where Israel is to be protected during Great Tribulation. (Credit Chuck Missler Endtime Scenario part 3 Section: Armageddon- the refuge in Edom)
The Scripture here calls the area Bozrah, and Petra is near where Missler and other Scholars say that Israel is to be protected during Great Tribulation. Isaiah says it this way. “Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save (Isaiah 63:1 NASB).”
I would agree that this is Messiah’s deliverance of Israel at the end of the age. As we have learned Israel has a refined remnant totaling one-third of the nation which will be delivered at the end of Great Tribulation (Zech. 13:8-9). The Blood stained Royal robe That Messiah is seen wearing at His Second Coming in Revelation 19, will come as a result of His delivering this remnant from Bozrah or Petra. But this passage presents a problem for a pre-Trib understanding because Messiah states: “And from the peoples there was no man with Me.” This deliverance is taking place near the end of the initial wrath of God as recorded in Revelation 16. This salvation of what remains of Israel is from Armageddon. This final act of salvation on the world’s stage brings the saving of Israel’s remnant in order to add them back into the Olive Tree (Romans11).
There is a prophesied Scriptural reason why their salvation spiritually must occur before the Lord’s actual Second Coming to earth. We need to review Scripture to find that evidence and to see why this is a problem for pre-Trib Theology.
Peter foresaw this day for Israel and in his sermon Acts 3 he outlines the part Israel will play in the second coming. Acts 3:12, & 17-21 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
This statement from Peter is a prophecy about the timing of the Lord’s return. Jesus is in Heaven until all prophecy is fulfilled. Part of that prophecy is in Hosea where the Lord Lays the groundwork for what Peter says: Hosea 5:15 I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. (Hosea 5:15 NASB).
The Isaiah sixty-three passage is a deeper look at this promise, but in light of the Acts and Hosea passages this deliverance from Bozrah comes after Israel’s final remnant seeks the Messiah, who they will then recognize is Jesus, therefore it is during their affliction that Jesus will go to them in the place where they have fled and are hiding from Satan’s wrath. So this prophecy in Hosea sees the afflicter of Israel’s remnant as the instrument bringing that affliction to bear.
Armageddon, which will close the time of Jacob’s Trouble, will also usher in the second coming. But as it is recorded in Isaiah Sixty-three, that portion of Gog’s army which is pursuing this remnant is about to see the wrath of Jesus, who delivers Israel while He is alone, with no man assisting Him. The fact that He is alone could cause one to conclude that the Rapture has not yet taken place, because once the Bride is raptured, she will always be with Him. In fact, it is His desire that the believer be with Him to see His glory. Listen:
“Father I want those you gave me to be with me where I am. Then they can see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world (John 17:24 CEB).
The Isaiah 63 Scripture tells us that His garment is now blood stained from saving the remnant of Israel, and this because of the timing must mean that He immediately returns to His former place in Glory in order to bring back with Him the souls of the Saints who have been given white robes for this very moment. Therefore when He returns Messiah is still wearing these blood stained garments from this engagement of Israel’s enemies at Bozrah. And the Saints return with Him.
If the bride was missing from this encounter with Israel, it is likely that this then is the time for the first resurrection of the dead in Christ (even as it is stated in Revelation 20). These are those who will constitute the souls who will meet their bodies and then return with Him. They would appear in the clouds with Him, and any one of the bride still alive and remaining on earth would then be caught up to be with Him in the air. This is immediately following Israel’s addition to the olive tree. This is the completion of the Bride — the Bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19), after the Tribulation.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB emphasis added). We will always be with the Lord once He comes, not in the clouds, but with Him where He is.
Remember the Lord returns with a bride who has made herself ready even as it is described in Revelation 11:15-18; 19:11-15. His return will be with those from every tribe and nation, including Israel and the tribulation saints (Revelation 7:9). And at this time after His encounter in Bozrah He immediately resumes the destruction and final wrath of God against His enemies as it is recorded in the sixth and seventh bowls of Revelation 16 and in Ezekiel 38. This evidence places the rapture in the midst of Armageddon.
Ezekiel records it this way: “and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’ and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog… The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground… With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord.”’ (Ezekiel 38:11-12, 16, 20, 22-23 NASB).
We see the effects of this Great battle in the Revelation.
Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17 NASB).
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” (Revelation 19:15, 17-18 NASB).
God’s involvement in the final defeat of Gog in this age (the last days) will be obvious to the nations remaining on earth after the resurrection and rapture. What scripture actually teaches is an overlap of perhaps many days between the end of the age and the Day of the Lord as we have seen in this book.
Interestingly, when we consider the final destruction during the battle of Armageddon recorded here and consider that this is the total destruction of Gog and the enemies of God, we might expect that there would be someone delivered, but we find no further mention of the saving of any people not even of God’s people in these passages. Why? Because this is the final battle which takes place to begin the Millennial kingdom. It seems that all of Israel who had not fled to Bozrah will have been destroyed by Gog before the Lord destroys him and his hordes. Two-thirds will die. It seems that Jesus comes back with us immediately after saving what is left of Israel to conclude the treading of the wine press of God’s wrath that He had begun in Bozrah just before His coming. This treading was begun just days or hours before but without us.
The Second Coming recorded in Daniel 7, Zech. 14, Matthew 24, Revelation 6, Revelation 11, and 19, Acts 3 and other places in Scripture brings about the first resurrection that the Scripture reveals will take place immediately before the Lord enters this the final battle of this age, which sees the final treading of the winepress by our Lord at the beginning of His day.
But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matthew 24:29-30 NASB).
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven (Mark 13:26-27 NASB).
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16 NASB).
And all of those who are the dead in Christ will be resurrected before the Rapture. These had been given their robes and were told to await this very day. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 NASB).
Pre-Trib theology tells us that the first resurrection has many parts. The following is supposed to be one of those.
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; (Matthew 27:52).
Many Jewish bodies were raised in conjunction with Jesus’ own resurrection, but not all of those then in the grave, just many. So this definitely qualifies as a miracle maybe even a much greater one then the resurrection of Lazarus. It also qualifies as a sign from heaven showing God’s control over Jesus’ resurrection, but it is not “the first resurrection” as we will see. The fact that the first resurrection is not mentioned is significant, but the lack of a word is not proof. And further based on this scripture we have no idea if these who were resurrected ever died again as did Lazarus.
What we do know is that all the dead of Israel had not been resurrected, for had they been there would have been crowds exiting the tombs at the time of Jesus own resurrection. Multiple times more than those already in the city for Passover. So was this a part of the first resurrection? Think about this. The first resurrection requirements are immortality and incorruption. Lazarus was resurrected but his body was not a first resurrection body like Jesus’ resurrection body, which was able to appear and disappear. He appeared and disappeared. He carried the scars of His death, yet showed no signs of their effect on Him physically. If these Saints had been first resurrection saints wouldn’t there have been much written about them in history to include their appearance and their feats, especially since we know that they did walk the streets of Jerusalem?
Matthew 20:18-19 is where Jesus predicts His own resurrection, and other Scripture calls Him the first fruits of the resurrection. But although His resurrection makes the resurrection to eternal life possible, it is not the first resurrection of the dead in Christ that Paul says His Second Coming will trigger.
If we look back to Daniel chapter 7 we find the little horn and his dominion being judged and the establishment of the kingdom of the Lord, but no description as to resurrections and rapture. In chapter 12:2 of Daniel we read of the resurrection of some to everlasting life, and of others to everlasting contempt. A cursory reading of this passage would imply only two resurrections. One of the just and another of the unjust. But there is no teaching of how this will occur. So Jesus’ teaching is the first we have regarding these events.
Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:24-27 NASB emphasis mine).
Jesus is here proving the resurrection as fact, because there has been division over this between the Sadusees and Pharisees. And He is proving that Israel’s saints are definitely included in the resurrection.
Of Jesus own resurrection it is said. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying (Matthew 28:6).
This is the actual account of Jesus resurrection. The only account that we see using the term first resurrection is not until we come to Revelation.
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years This is the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4 and 5b NASB).
This does not say that this is part of the first resurrection or that these are added to the first resurrection. These that John is seeing are Tribulation saints who are to be killed obviously during the tribulation and before the kingdom age; and they are definitely included with the first resurrection. They will reign with Christ as will we for 1000 years.
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. (Revelation 20:5a NASB emphasis added).
Unless one can prove a pre-Tribulation Resurrection then these scriptures offer very strong evidence for the post-Trib timing of the first resurrection. The Holy Spirit has stated here in this passage in very clear terms that “This is the first resurrection.”
But the pre-trib answer to this is to point us to the coming of the Lord as a theif on the Day of the Lord. Yet the Day of the Lord is explicit with detail in Old Testament Scripture. In chapter four of my book you will find Scripture proving that The day of the Lord begins the Millennial reign, it does not begin the Tribulation.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire ( Revelation 20:12, 15).
This is of course the second resurrection. And concerning this resurrection there seems to be little dispute among premillennials. So where do we find scriptural truth for only one “the first” resurrection? Or is it a multiple first resurrection?
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death (1 Corinthians 15:21-26 NASB).
This resurrection for all men in Christ is made clear again in Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
One thing is certain, there is no mention of a pre-trib resurrection in any passages of Scripture, and neither have the pre-Trib scholars found any, but with this passage there is an attempt by dispensationalists to apply those who are Christ’s at His coming to a Dispensational understanding of the church only. One that separates Israel out as another resurrection which is not mentioned here, but one to them that would still be part of what the Scripture calls the first resurrection. But the bigger problem for them is the fact that these scriptures teach that it is only in Christ that man who was made dead in Adam will now be made alive. Christ (Messiah) alone is the giver of eternal life, and for that life to be given one must be in Him, not sacrificing Animals to His Father, but actually in Him.
So if this is true then all men if they have been made alive spiritually before God must be in Christ. This is a condition to their being raised from the dead. He is the God of the living not of the dead. So all men from the time of creation, even to include Adam must come to Him. The above passage makes being in Christ a requirement for being made alive before God in eternity through the resurrection.
There is one other problem for a pre-Trib understanding that arises from this verse. The passage says: “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end”. This statement makes it impossible for anyone to be resurrected before His coming. Therefore all those all the way back to Adam who are made alive by this one man Jesus (the Christ) are subject to a resurrection at His coming. Why?–because He led them from Their captivity in Sheol to His captivity in Heaven. And their answer that there are two comings is unproven, because there is no scripture calling for a division of those in Christ. So herein is their problem- this must include all of Israel’s past saints in this resurrection. So do we have our answer totally resolved? You surly can see that the inclusion of the Old Testament saints of Israel with this resurrection taught in New Covenant Scripture is unavoidable for they are now dead in Christ, and this makes them part of the bride of Christ. And this lines up perfectly with Paul’s Ephesians teaching concerning our being one with the saints and included in their promises.
So you may ask how then does one prove that there is only one part to the first resurrection, and one part to the second coming? So let’s go back to 1 Thessalonians 4: “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Here we see that this resurrection of which Paul speaks is for the dead in Christ and we now know that all men all the way back to Adam who will resurrect are among the dead in Christ. This demands that all men who are ever to be made part of the first resurrection must be raised at this very same time before the Rapture. The fact that Paul teaches when the Rapture will take place, is without question. The dead in Christ will rise first. Paul in this passage makes the point that the Rapture will not preceded the resurrection of those who are dead in Christ. And he has made it clear that the dead in Christ must be resurrected just before the Rapture. So there can be no resurrection of men in Christ after the Rapture. In order to make another time for the resurrection of the Tribulation’s saved it must be determined that these saved are not in Christ. So how do they get saved? There is salvation in none other.
If the Church in Christ is defined as not being meant for Israel then the resurrection of Israel’s dead makes Paul’s writings false. For these scriptures teach that only in Christ can man made dead in the sin of Adam be made alive in the resurrection. So then will there be no resurrection for Israel, because Israel according to Dispensational theology can not belong to Christ if they are not raised before the rapture? They do not raise Israel’s dead until seven years later after those who are in Christ are raised. Yet according to these scriptures they must also be in Christ in order to be raised. This makes no sense in light of Peter’s message to the men of Israel in Acts 3:
While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced before hand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:11-12, 17-21).
Peter here is calling for Israel’s repentance and for their acceptance of their Christ. But this he calls a return, a return to what? The one appointed for them, who will not come until they do so. Once they have done what Peter has called on them to do will they not be Christ’s? Does this called for return not carry with it the conclusion that all saints who went before Israel’s rejection of Christ were somehow aligned to a faith in the Christ. Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end.
If these men who lived and died before Israel’s rejection of Christ were not Christ’s before; then they are without hope unless God had before hand provided a way for them to be in Christ. And this we saw He did. He entered paradise with the gospel and led them captive with Him. And just like He did this for them He has planned for the inclusion in Christ of the future Great Tribulation remnant of Israel.
Paul even tells us that this future salvation of the nation Israel will also be the time of our resurrection in Romans 11.
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:11, 15 NASB).
Life from the dead is resurrection. I suggest to you that there is no evidence of a pre-trib two part resurrection which there must be in order to have the Rapture at any other time then chapters 6, 12, and 19 of Revelation, because it is only then at the end of the age, that the dead including Tribulation saints will be in Christ. And it is the dead in Christ who will be raised before the Rapture. None of these passages even imply a two part first resurrection. There are two resurrections even as Daniel was shown; one to eternal life and one to eternal destruction.
So it is evident that all mankind who are in Christ will be resurrected as one bride to reign with Him where He is in Jerusalem during the millennium. Who we will reign over is covered elsewhere in this blog.
This Post is taken from my book — AND THEN THE END SHALL COME.
I know it was too long, but the problem it addresses has also existed for too long.