27. I have heard a pastor say that we who are Christians have experienced the first resurrection; is that true?



No, that’s not true, because the first resurrection, of which John speaks in the book of Revelation, is first of all a bodily resurrection, and then it will take place at the coming of Christ from heaven. Here is what John says: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords ….. And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. 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 for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his 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. Blessed and holy are those who have part 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” (Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-6 - NIV). As you can see, the fact that John speaks of those souls who came to life, and then he says that the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended, shows clearly that the first resurrection is a bodily resurrection.

Of course, we have experienced a resurrection, but it is a spiritual resurrection, as it is written: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7 – NKJV).

We experienced this resurrection when we repented of our sins and believed in the name of the Son of God.

I conclude by warning you of this false doctrine, which can lead believers to deny the Millennial Reign, which is a period of a thousand years during which Christ and His saints will reign on earth. However, keep in mind this also, the denial of the Millennial Reign may lead believers to interpret the first resurrection as a spiritual resurrection. For many interpret the first resurrection in that way because they deny the Millennial Reign. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church, following Augustine of Hippo, denies the Millennial Reign and thus teaches that the first resurrection is the spiritual resurrection men experience when they are ‘baptized’, because, as you know, the Roman Catholic Church teaches baptismal regeneration (according to this Church, the water of its so called water baptism has the power to regenerate people).