God’s Word Is Alive
The Two Resurrections
AN EMPTY tomb! Miraculously, Jesus’ body has disappeared! The chief priests give money to the soldiers who have been guarding the tomb so that they will falsely say that Jesus’ disciples came and stole his body. (Matthew 28:11-15) Actually, Christ had been resurrected, being the first to be raised as a spirit person.—Acts 26:22, 23; 1 Peter 3:18.
Others besides Jesus enjoy a resurrection to spirit life, as the Bible says: “Each one in his own rank: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23) Who are “those who belong to the Christ”? They are the 144,000 faithful disciples who are chosen to rule as kings over the earth with Christ in God’s Kingdom.—Revelation 5:10; 14:1, 3; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12.
The resurrection to life as spirit creatures in heaven, of course, is unseen to human eyes. The Bible describes the change to spirit life in this way: “It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.”—1 Corinthians 15:42-44.
This resurrection to life in heaven is called the first resurrection. The Bible says, “Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will . . . rule as kings with him for the thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6) The resurrection to heavenly life is also called “the earlier resurrection.” (Philippians 3:11) As noted before, it occurs ‘during Christ’s presence,’ which began in 1914, when Jesus Christ returned to begin ruling as King in the midst of his enemies.—Hebrews 10:12, 13.
The expressions “first resurrection” and “earlier resurrection” show that another will follow. After those who become corulers with Christ are resurrected and the earth is cleansed of all opposers of God’s Kingdom, then, in time, the resurrection of dead ones to life on the earth will begin. Thus there are two resurrections. First, there is the resurrection to heavenly life. Second, there is the resurrection “of both the righteous and the unrighteous” with the opportunity to gain everlasting life on the earth.—Acts 24:15.
Consider what a wonderful miracle the resurrection is—actually restoring to life people who had ceased to live! And think of how vital this is to the fulfillment of God’s purposes! Surely this marvelous provision of God should move us to do all we can to show our love and devotion to him.