Most Bible readers readily acknowledge Christ’s resurrection from the dead after His crucifixion. There are also those who don’t believe their loved ones are swept off to heaven at death, and may even talk about the resurrection of the Saints at Christ’s return—those who were Christ’s in life and are then transformed into spirit beings to serve with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In 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.
American King James Version×). But there is another resurrection most people don’t speak of. They may not have ever noticed it in the Bible or even been taught it in a church.
Too many people think there is no chance for loved ones who never believed in God or accepted Christ, but there is hope
Christ’s second coming is promised. His followers will be resurrected and they will teach God’s way to those still living on earth for the 1,000-year period that follows. What most don’t realize is that there is more to the story. There will be a future for both those who are followers of Christ, and also for those who are not at this time (Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
American King James Version×; Revelation 20:11-12 Revelation 20:11-12 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
American King James Version×). The rest of the dead in verse 5 references all who have died. Surprising? It was for me when I first read it.
God doesn’t want to lose anyone. He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×Modern English Version throughout). Knowing this fact is very important to understanding why God’s plan includes this real chance at redemption. Too many people think there is no chance for loved ones who never believed in God or accepted Christ, but there is hope. A loving Father, who wants to give His children every opportunity possible to change.
A day of judgment
There will be a face-to-face meeting of people from all time. All people, young and old, brought before God that they may be judged for their deeds. Scripture mentions that the people of Sodom, Tyre, Sidon, Nineveh and the queen of Sheba will all be together on the day of judgment (Luke 10:14 Luke 10:14But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
American King James Version×; Matthew 11:21-24 Matthew 11:21-24 21 Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
American King James Version×; Matthew 12:40-42 Matthew 12:40-42 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
American King James Version×). Notice verse 41: “But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Without a second resurrection, the preponderance of people would have no hope and would suffer eternal death with no opportunity at conversion.
Imagine every single person who ever lived getting a chance for eternal life. The only exception will be for those who were given understanding by God to His way in this life and rejected it. They had their chance at salvation—their only chance—and they threw it away (Hebrews 6:4-6 Hebrews 6:4-6 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
American King James Version×; Hebrews 10:26-29 Hebrews 10:26-29 26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace?
American King James Version×).
What people find very difficult to believe, is that even those they consider to be bad will be given an opportunity for salvation. There will be people from throughout time resurrected. Good people and those we might call bad or evil, but their character is not for us to decide. God is a loving Father and He understands His children. He knows that given a chance, most people will change and turn to Him. What could be better than all people following Christ and living God’s way?