Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

I have written quite a bit about the first resurrection, the resurrection of the Royal Priesthood. I have not said as much about the final resurrection. These are the only two resurrections I know about.

Every individual who does not have a part in the first resurrection will be in the final resurrection. The first resurrection will take place when Jesus next appears. The final resurrection will take place after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, after the present earth and sky flee from the Presence of Christ.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 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)

We know this is not the resurrection the Apostle Paul was seeking to attain to, because there is no need to attain to it. As the Lord Jesus said, “All who are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth, some to life and some to condemnation.”

I think there are two misunderstandings concerning the first and the final resurrections. One misunderstanding is that everyone who “accepts Christ” will be in the first resurrection, that it is the resurrection of basic salvation. Revelation 20:4-6 does not bear this out.

The other misunderstanding is that everyone who has a part in the final resurrection will go into the Lake of Fire. This is not true. I believe this notion is based on the idea that since the judgment that takes place at the final resurrection concerns what the person had done, and since our behavior has nothing to do with our salvation, all that appear here are lost. It is this sort of religious syllogism that brings the utter confusion Christian theology is in today. Jesus said those who do good will rise to life. This means it is your behavior that governs the kind of resurrection you will have. If you are a true Christian, your behavior will be satisfactory.

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)

Those who have done good. Persistence in doing good. I think it is about time that this idea of salvation having nothing to do with our behavior is thrown out with the garbage! If your “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ is not making you a better person, you are not being saved! God is not much interested in your religious beliefs but He is vitally interested in what kind of person you are.

Now, let’s see what the Scripture says about the final resurrection:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne.

Sometimes this throne is referred to as “the Great White Throne,” as though it were different from the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is not different from the Judgment Seat of Christ; it is the Judgment Seat of Christ. Not only is the Lord Jesus Christ on this throne, but every member of the Royal Priesthood is seated there with Him, if my understanding is correct.

Books were opened.

The deeds of every person while living on the earth are recorded in these books. Please note that no books are opened at the first resurrection, because the victorious saints already had been judged and sentenced to eternal life and to be with the Lord forever. This sentence is handed down before the Lord Jesus returns with His victorious saints.

Another book was opened, which is the book of life.

The opening of the Book of Life shows that not everyone is condemned to the Lake of Fire at the final judgment. Those whose names are in the Book of Life have been judged worthy of the Kingdom. If Christ has been presented to them at some point, they have accepted His Lordship. Also, their behavior has been acceptable to God. We cannot receive Christ and then live a wicked life, and expect to have our name remain in the Book of Life!

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:5,6)

Those who teach that our name can never be blotted from the Book of Life are teaching lies. They are changing the Book of Revelation.

The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

If we do not attain to the first resurrection, and are required to take part in the final resurrection and judgment, our behavior shall be judged. This is one reason why it is advisable to seek to attain to the first resurrection. If we are willing to confess our sins today, and turn away from them, and serve Christ in total obedience, we may attain to the first resurrection.

The sea gave up the dead that were in it,

This may refer to the oceans of the world. My opinion is, however, that it is speaking of the multitudes of people from the nations. As in Revelation 21:1, when the statement is made that there was no longer any sea. Having been raised close to the Atlantic Ocean, a new earth without any oceans or seas would seem to be a poor place. I choose to believe the reference to the sea is to the mass of mankind who are moved by demagogues, as we observe today. Antichrist rises out of the “sea”—this sort of thing.

Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them,

Apparently Death and Hades are two separate places. Perhaps “death” refers to people who died and were waiting in the spirit world, while “Hades” may refer to a place of punishment.

Each person was judged according to what he had done.

To turn this around by saying it does not matter what we do is an abomination! As I ponder the significance of this statement in the Book of Revelation, I am made aware of the fact that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is being preached incorrectly in our country. We have made belief in the Lord Jesus Christ to be a ticket to Heaven. Belief in Christ neither is a ticket to Heaven nor is it a pass out of Hell.

God gave us a new covenant because the Jews did not obey the statutes of the Law of Moses. The new covenant is not “four steps of salvation.” The “four steps of salvation” are a man-made covenant.

The new covenant is the writing of God’s eternal moral laws in our mind and heart (Jeremiah 31:33). This means it is a covenant of moral transformation. In other words, we are not saved from earth or Hell, to Heaven, but from wicked behavior to righteous behavior. We are becoming a new creation of righteous behavior as we follow and obey Christ at all times.

The bottom line is, the true Gospel, for the most part, is not being preached in America nor is it being brought to the nations of the earth. We are not preaching the New Testament. We are preaching a man-made religion that is keeping the believers in an eternal babyhood. This is why our government and our culture are sliding down toward a moral abyss.

The Kingdom of God is one of sowing and reaping. The Apostle Paul taught that clearly. If we sow to the Spirit of God, we will reap eternal life. If we sow to our sinful nature, we will reap corruption in our body in the Day of Resurrection. Grace does not affect the law of sowing and reaping. Rather, grace forgives our sins of the past and leads us to sow righteous seed.

If a professing Christian keeps on yielding to his or her sinful nature, the end result will be the destruction of his or her body in the Day of Resurrection, and the possibility of eternal death in the Lake of Fire.

Our shepherds of today are like the religious leaders of Israel, when the Prophets, such as Ezekiel, denounced them for being false representatives of God. I believe this is the condition today in America in many instances.

The simple fact is that the Gospel of the Kingdom has been altered into the gospel of Heaven, claiming the way to Heaven is by doing nothing but believe the facts about Jesus Christ. What is it going to take to turn this situation around so that the men and women of God are preaching what the New Testament declares, instead of lawless grace and the unscriptural “rapture”? I hope, if it is the Lord’s will, to live to see the day when the preachers of America hear from the Lord and preach the Bible.

Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire

It does not say that the people in Death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire, but Death and Hades themselves. This could mean that these are personages. I would not be surprised if this is true.

The Lake of Fire is the second death. Perhaps the first death is that state of being in which an individual does not have the eternal Life of Christ in his or her personality.

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

I do not have the ability to describe the horror of the second death, the death of the Lake of Fire. Those who find their eternal residence there will never be able to feel the Presence of God again; never see a child’s smile again; never again hear anyone say, “I love you.”

God goes to every length to persuade a person to accept the rule of Jesus Christ. He is reluctant to admit that there is no hope. The individual has doomed himself or herself by insisting on governing his or her own life. With great sorrow, God decides that the gift of repentance never again will be given to that person. All that is left for the individual is suffering with no hope of relief.

Perhaps the worst consequence of being assigned to the Lake of Fire is that the sufferer is becoming as evil as Satan, the master of self-will. Just as the person who is with Christ constantly is made in the image of Christ, so the individual who has chosen self-will is made in the image of Satan.

There no longer is hope. There no longer is joy. There no longer is peace. There no longer is love. There no longer is righteousness. These blessings are denied to everyone who chooses his or her own way and will not consent to be governed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those whose names are in the Book of Life will be brought over to the new world of righteousness, to citizenship on the new earth. They will experience righteousness, love, joy, and peace for eternity.

There are no “days” on the new earth, because there is no sun. But if there were days, I would say that for those whose names are found in the Book of Life at the final resurrection, each day will be vastly more glorious than the previous.

(“The Final Resurrection”, 3793-1, proofed 20210920)

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