Biblical “Last Days” Timetable

Bodily Resurrections & Judgments (Grk. anastasis-to make to stand, or rise up; érerseōs-to wake up, reanimation from the dead; exanástasis-to rise up)

The resurrection of Christ is the ultimate salvific doctrine of Christianity (1 Cor. 15:3, 13-19). It is the basis of our salvation and our hope for time and eternity. The resurrections and judgments are necessarily essentially concomitant.

Christ’s resurrection is both a necessary and sufficient condition for our resurrection for seven reasons:[1]

  1. Because of Who He Is
  2. Fulfills the Covenants (Abrahamic & Davidic)
  3. The source of resurrection life
  4. The source of resurrection power
  5. Makes Christ Head over all things to the Church
  6. By justification (only the justified are resurrected with Him)
  7. Christ was the First-fruits

The following table shows the variant views of the timing of the resurrections:

VIEWS CONCERNING LAST THINGS [2]

last-things-chart

The most biblically sound is the Dispensational Premil. view. The rapture is inclusive of the resurrection of the Church age saints in this paradigm. The rapture and the resurrection of the “dead in Christ” are virtually, if not actually, simultaneous (1 Thss. 4:16)[3].

last-days-timelineThe Church, both the dead and the living, have already been taken up with Christ. What is called the first resurrection is the resurrection of the tribulation saints—those that died or were martyred during the tribulation. There will be no other kingdoms are left on earth at this time—only the Millennial Kingdom exists.

Judgments[i]

At the rapture Christ will judge His Church for their sanctified works. This is the Bema Seat judgment, a judgment of rewards, not punishment.

At the Lord’s Second Coming (“The First Resurrection”)[ii] three judgments take place.

  1. The judgment of the Gentiles
    1. Those who made it through the tribulation alive
      1. The righteous (sheep), in their earthly bodies will go into the Millennial Kingdom
      2. The unbelieving will go into eternal punishment.
    2. The judgment of Israel
      1. Those who made it through the tribulation alive
        1. The righteous in their earthly bodies will enter the Millennial Kingdom
        2. The secular/rebellious “will be cut off.”
      2. The judgment of Old Testament and tribulation “saints”
        1. Those who “lived by faith” and died prior to the “new covenant in Christ”
        2. Those saints who died during the tribulation either naturally or were martyred.

At the conclusion of the Christ’s reign He will preside over three post Millennial judgments.

  1. Satan and his demonic minions[iii]
    1. Judged by Christ and Christ’s Church
  2. The judgment of all creation
  3. The passing away of the cursed creation
  4. The Great White Throne Judgment
  5. All the unsaved from all ages

All are thrown into the Lake of Fire



[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, ST vol.5, v, vi.

[2] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, adapted, 383.

[3]  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

[4] Adapted from Paul Benware’s, Understanding End Times Prophecy (Revised), (Moody Publishers, 2006).

[5] The First Resurrection is exclusive of the rapture/resurrection of the Church. All involved in the “First Resurrection” are believers, but not part of the Church.

[6] Benware calls this a staged judgment. At the mid-point of the tribulation Satan and his demons are barred from the heavenlies and confined to earth. At the start of the Millennium the Devil and his toadies are chained and imprisoned in the Abyss. Lastly after the post Millennial he joins the already exiled Antichrist and the false prophet in eternal banishment to the Lake of Fire.

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