How many resurrections that are still to take place are implied in the New Testament?

Could what is described in Revelation 6:9-10 be considered as resurrection?:

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

In the end of Revelation we see at least two separate resurrections on each side of the millennium kingdom:

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 worshiped 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)

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 (Revelation 20:12)

But in the First Thessalonians Paul speaks about one more resurrection:

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 (1st Thessalonians 4:16)

On the other hand, I also heard that in Philippians 3:11 Paul also speaks about some kind of extra-resurrection:

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead

And also, both the Savior and Martha mention resurrection that will happen on the last day:

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40)

Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day (John 11:24)

Some of all these resurrections may actually be referring to the same resurrection.

There may also be other resurrections mentioned in the New Testament that I haven't brought up here.

So, how many different instances of the future resurrections are reserved in the New Testament?


5 Answers 5


Revelation 20:5-6 makes it clear that there are two resurrections:

(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

First note the use of "first resurrection". If there was only one resurrection, the word "first" would be superfluous.

Second, note the part in brackets. In context (Revelation 20:4-5):

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

So we see that there are two resurrections:

  1. The first is before the thousand years. These are believers1 who reign with Christ.
  2. The second is after the thousand years. They are here described as "the rest".


  1. "Temporary resurrections" are not included here, eg John 11:43-44 and Matthew 27:52-53.
  2. In another Christian meaning of the word, there is only One Resurrection (the source of all other resurrections).

1 It is not clear if this is all believers or a subset. Hence it is also not possible to determine if "the rest" are only unbelievers or also some believers.

  • See e.g. Nestle-Aland apparatus for Rev 20:5. The first half of the verse was quite obviously not part of the original text.
    – hannes
    Jul 24, 2013 at 11:03
  • @hannes: isn't that view specifically believed by Jehovah's Witnesses? Jul 24, 2013 at 12:09
  • Thanks for the reference. Good discussion by someone obviously not JW. As far as I am informed, JW do build some of their ideas on that part of the verse (Rev 20:5). It had i.m.o. been added along with Augustin's and others' view of the millenium as the church reigning, which is unsupported but was favourable to many.
    – hannes
    Jul 24, 2013 at 12:58
  • @hannes: possibly a good new question to post? Jul 24, 2013 at 13:03
  • I had mentioned it before. It had not received any interest. Because of your suggestion I wrote to the editors of the Nestle-Aland again, which I had done 5 years ago in the same matter. Their argument pro text was weak i.m.o. back then.
    – hannes
    Jul 24, 2013 at 19:52

In his letter to the disciples in Philippi Paul wrote (3:11)

ει πως καταντησω εις την εξαναστασιν την εκ νεκρων

Exanastasis is what he tried to attain - literally an out-upstanding, out of (and prior to) the resurrection of all. It is the rising of the dead in Christ (1Thess 4), of the 'beheaded' for their witness for Jesus (Rev 20), the first resurrection (20:6).

Because it is for kingship (judgement) and priesthood in behalf of renewed mankind (in the resurrection of all), they will be raised up before all else.

Addendum: Rev 20 : 5 first part of verse ("the rest of the dead did not live before the thousand years were over") is not present in the majority of the koine manuscripts, not in the Syriac Peschitta, not in Codex Aleph (Sinaiticus), not in the commentaries to the Apocalypse by Victorinus (3rd century) and Beatus (7th c.). It was erroneously introduced there. Rev. 20 to 22 is not refering to time after Christ's reign with mankind but to the fulfillment of all things in His presence and in His handing over of everything to the Father.

  • Thanks for your response. So, according to your answer, there will be only two resurrections, right?
    – brilliant
    Jun 23, 2013 at 17:28
  • Yes, but in effect it will be one: The resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. - It means the resurrection of all. How great and just is God, who will bring every hidden thing into the light and will make all known to everyone according to his perfect will.
    – hannes
    Jun 23, 2013 at 19:46

Ezekiel 37:1-10

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, Thou knowest. Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

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Resurrection is always a corporate event - like a harvest. When Jesus was resurrected, saints also came out of their graves to testify as legal witnesses in Jerusalem.

The pattern is also architectural, and the architecture of the Bible and history is triune. The house of God has the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place, and the Courts. Israel had the Tabernacle, the Land of Israel, and the nations. The pattern is always Garden - Land - World.

Adam's sin corrupted the Garden. Cain's sin corrupted the Land. The intermarriage of the priestly sons of God with the daughters of Cainite kings led to the corruption of the entire world.

Just so, we see Jesus arrested and condemned in the Garden (High Priest), sent to the king of the Land for a second legal witness (Herod), and then condemned by the representative of the emperor of the World, Pilate.

Now we can understand the architectural nature of the resurrections. Jesus crushed the serpent and reclaimed the Garden. He sent the Spirit and His apostles' witness defeated the fiery serpents (brood of vipers) in the Land, which led to the destruction of the Temple. With this victory over Cain (the false brother), the blood of Abel was avenged, and all the Old Testament saints could ascend into heaven.* This is the "first resurrection" of Revelation 20.

Then we have the final resurrection, in the "World," at the end of time.

We see this architecture in 1 Cor. 15:

GARDEN: Christ the firstfruits, (AD30)

LAND: THEN at his [soon] coming those who belong to Christ. (AD70)

WORLD: THEN comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying nevery rule and every authority and power. (Future)**

*They are referred to as "beheaded" to correspond them to John the Baptist, the final Old Covenant witness. They all waited for their Covenant "head," Christ. The body of the sacrifice could not ascend until the head ascended to God. Read Lev. 1.

**The 1000 years of Revelation is a symbolic allusion to the administration of the Tabernacle (1000 years from Isaac on Moriah to David's purchase of the site), and the Temple (1000 years from the completion of Solomon's Temple to the destruction of Herod's Temple). Notice that the Tabernacle and Temple both went through a death-and-resurrection process: Moses' silent Tabernacle - David's Tabernacle of music (with Gentile worshipers) Solomon's Temple of Stone - Ezekiel's living temple of the oikoumene (Gentile empires with the Jews as a priesthood)

  • 2
    "The 1000 years of Revelation is a symbolic allusion to the administration of the Tabernacle" - How do you know that those are not real 1000 years?
    – brilliant
    Jun 24, 2013 at 8:00
  • 1
    "Just so, we see Jesus arrested and condemned in the Garden" - I've always thought that He was only arrested in the garden, but condemned in the Sanhedrin.
    – brilliant
    Jun 24, 2013 at 8:02
  • 2
    "1000 years - because the Revelation is entirely "sign-ified" to John" - Yet you do take some things in this book at their literal meaning, for example, the act of resurrection. Why then resurrection is taken literally, but the 1000 year-period in the same passage figuratively?
    – brilliant
    Jun 24, 2013 at 14:16
  • 2
    "Symbols are also used to describe resurrection in Revelation, not just the plain word" - Sure symbols are used elsewhere to describe resurrection, but I am talking about this particular passage. In this passage the resurrection is spoken about in plain words, not in symbols. If so, why then 1000 years in the very same passage should be taken symbolically?
    – brilliant
    Jun 26, 2013 at 4:34
  • 1
    "The High Priest was the only man (the only Adam) with access to the Most Holy, which was a replica of the Garden, with its cherubim and the Law of God" - How are the cherubs and the law of God replica of a garden?! The only element in the tabernacle that would remotely remind me of a garden is the budding rod of Aaron. However, that would still look to me as quite a bit of a stretch to consider the tabernacle's Most Holy Place as a replica of a garden.
    – brilliant
    Jun 26, 2013 at 4:42

There are many minor resurrections; Enoch; Genesis 5:24 KJV [24] And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Then we have the two witnesses; Revelation 11:12

Then there is the 144,000 Jewish witnesses resurrected.

Then at the return of Christ the general resurrection of the saved, to include the beheaded trib saints who refused the mark of the beast.

Then after the 1,000 year rain of Christ with his saints there is a final resurrection of all the dead at the Great White throne Judgment.

The Apostle Paul also mentions that the Church at the last trump, or the trumpet? This seems to be a mystery, or part of the first resurrection? Which would lend to a mid trip rapture, or even a post trib rapture. I can see the multitude from all nations in Heaven in Revelation chapter 7 after the 6th seal is opened.

I welcome some discussion on the subject.

[email protected] Rev Wilmoth

  • 2
    "here are many minor resurrections; Enoch; Genesis 5:24" How is what happened to Enoch a resurrection? As far as I know, Enoch, just like Elijah, never died.
    – brilliant
    Mar 19, 2014 at 4:12
  • Flesh & blood shall not be in Heaven, but a sinless body like unto Christ. Enoch, Elijah had the Adammic nature, until the were translated unto Heaven. Their old nature died as they were taken. They are shadows and types of the future events of Revelation. Moses was see on the mount of transfiguration. Was he resurrected? Mar 19, 2014 at 11:11
  • 1
    (1) “Moses was seen on the mount of transfiguration. Was he resurrected?” – Moses, though we ARE told in the O.T. that he DID die, is still quite a special case, so to say – he is the only person in the O.T. of whom it is mentioned specifically that, even though he was buried, no man knows were his grave is (Deut. 34:6). Also, he is the only prophet, in fact, the only human in the whole O.T., of whom the Scripture specifically mentions that at the moment of his death “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut. 34:7).
    – brilliant
    Mar 19, 2014 at 14:37
  • 1
    (2) The N.T. further distinguishes Moses’ case by telling us of an argument between Michael the Archangel and the Devil – and that was about Moses’ body. All of this singles Moses out and makes him somewhat closer to Enoch and Elijah, the only two persons in the O.T. of whom we are told that they were taken by God while they were still alive, rather than to any other ordinary human. Moses’ appearance on the mount of transfiguration with Elijah is, of course, another case in point stressing the exclusiveness of Moses’ case.
    – brilliant
    Mar 19, 2014 at 14:38
  • 1
    “Flesh & blood shall not be in Heaven, but a sinless body like unto Christ ... Their old nature died as they were taken” - My question was: How is Enoch's case a resurrection? One doesn't necessarily need to die physically to have his old nature terminated - those of the believers who will still be alive at the Lord's coming, as we know, will never die physically, yet will also be changed within a moment and taken to the Lord (1Cor 15:51-51, 1Thes 4:16, 17) - however, one can't be resurrected if he hasn't died physically. Enoch never died physically, at least the Scriptures never say that.
    – brilliant
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:33

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