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1Corinthians: Chapter 15 Timeline

The following graphic is of the order of the resurrection that Paul wrote about in 1Corinthians 15.  The order of the resurrection is applied onto the timeline that begins with the cross, and continues on through to eternity future.  There are three main events that Paul refers to with respect to the resurrection:

  • Christ is the firstfruits, and the first person to be resurrected
  • The Lord comes to resurrect those who belong to Him, which is the first resurrection
  • There will be a second resurrection at the time during the great white throne judgment

The first event was Christ's own resurrection, and the few who were resurrected with Him, and appeared in Jerusalem, Matthew 27:51-53.   Having already occurred, the last two events are future, which are the first resurrection for the righteous, followed by the second resurrection of the unrighteous.  Righteousness for the believer in Christ is attained by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, Romans 3:20-26, Romans 10:4-13, Ephesians 2:1-10.

The first resurrection has three parts, as described in other parts of the Bible, which span the period from the rapture of the church through the end of the seven years of tribulation.  The three parts of the first resurrection include:

  • The beginning of the first resurrection event is marked by the rapture of the church.  This is when the dead in Christ are resurrected, then those who are alive are changed in an instant and are caught up to Christ in the clouds, and to be with Him forevermore, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1Corinthians 15:50-57.  This is normally termed as the pretribulation rapture of the church.
  • The second part of the first resurrection covers the tribulation saints who suffer for the word of God, and for the testimony that they held, Revelation 6:9.  Here they are seen with their white robes under the altar.  The tribulation saints constitute the second group that is part of this first resurrection event.  They appear before the Lord clothed in His righteousness immediately upon their physical death, Revelation 7:9-17
  • The third and final group that are part of the first resurrection are the Old Testament saints.  They will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns with all His saints to establish his kingdom on earth for 1,000 years.  At that time, these saints will be resurrected to enjoy the promises and inheritance that God had given them in the land of Israel, Daniel 12:1-3  

The final of the three resurrection events, what Paul called the end, is usually termed today the "2nd Resurrection" or the 2nd death as found in Revelation 20:11-15, and Revelation 20.  This is a singular event that occurs after the final rebellion of Satan, who will be released from the abyss following the first 1,000 year reign of Christ.  After this rebellion is destroyed by God, the great white throne of God will be set, and all whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will be resurrected to appear before God.  Upon their judgment, they will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity future.  

Though nothing is written concerning the state of the millennial saints who are alive during the final rebellion, it is expected that like Enoch, Genesis 5:22-24, and the living saints at the end of the church age, that they too will be transformed into eternal bodies instantly.

The following graphic illustrates the three parts of the first resurrection.  It is repeated here from the web page on this site on the rapture.  Following this link will provide more information and illustrations concerning this subject.  More information on this topic is also available on this site on the second resurrection.

Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014