Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The SECOND Resurrection -- WHY?
Comparatively few Israelites will be privileged to take part in the first resurrection to immortality. But untold millions will be surprised to find themselves rising up in a resurrection to mortality. Why would YEHOVAH God resurrect countless millions of Israelites back to a mortal life?
by HOIM Staff
Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said before the American Congress: "He must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below...."
What is that purpose which the Creator is working out on this earth among mere mortals?
The Bible indicates that Israel's only hope is the resurrection. The Bible also shows that man is mortal -- not immortal -- and that he can only receive immortality as a gift from YEHOVAH God by a resurrection from the dead.
Furthermore, the Bible clearly reveals there is to be more than one resurrection. There is an orderly plan whereby different ones of Israel are to be resurrected at different times. "But every man [of Israel will be resurrected] in his own order..." (I Corinthians 15:23). There will be a proper "order" or succession of resurrections.
The true, faithful Israelite Christians will be the first raised to life, and they will be resurrected to immortality at the future coming of YEHOVAH God (see I Corinthians 15:49-53; I Thessalonians 4:14-17).
Resurrection of the Unjust
But what about all those of Israel who are not resurrected when YEHOVAH God puts His feet down on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3-4)? Will they remain forever dead, or will YEHOVAH God also resurrect them at a later date? And will they be raised back to life merely to be flung into the lake of fire? What about all the unsaved multitudes of Israel, who have never heard the name of Yeshua the Messiah or understood the gospel?
Some say these multitudes will have a second chance. But have they really ever had a first chance to know Yeshua the Messiah as Savior?
Revelation 20:5 begins to give the answer. "But the rest of the dead [of Israel] lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."
The expression "this is the first resurrection" is parenthetical and refers back to those in verse four who are raised to immortality at YEHOVAH God's return to become rulers with Him as kings and priests on the earth during the Millennium.
Many have made the mistake of thinking there will be only one resurrection -- when both wicked and righteous of Israel will rise in judgment to be either rewarded or punished. But Revelation 20:5 plainly brands this an error. As a matter of fact, nowhere does the Bible say that YEHOVAH God will resurrect all the dead of Israel in the same resurrection.
True, the Apostle Paul affirmed "that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15).
And Yeshua the Messiah said: "...For the hour is coming, in the which all [of Israel] that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life [eternal]; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [or, better translated, judgment] " (John 5:28, 29).
Therefore, not thinking deeply, "Most Christians believe that on the last day of the world all the dead will come to life. They call the day Judgment Day, because God will judge everyone" (World Book Encyclopedia, 1972 edition).
But let us not fall into the common error of assuming that Paul and the Messiah meant the "just" and the "unjust" of Israel would be resurrected at the same time.
We have seen that the apostle John wrote of a "first resurrection" and a "second resurrection." So where does that leave us?
Since all the "just" or righteous dead of Israel are resurrected at the arrival of YEHOVAH God, leaving the "unjust" dead of Israel in their graves, are all these unjust dead eternally lost -- without any hope of ever having an opportunity to live again and obtain immortality?
A Resurrection of Mortal Israelites
Are the unjust ones of Israel merely to be resurrected so YEHOVAH God can fling them into the lake of fire to be burned up? What did the Messiah mean when he said that "they that have done evil [will be resurrected], unto the resurrection of judgment"? (John 5:29.)
Who are the "unjust" ones mentioned by Paul in Acts 24:15? Are those Israelites who died in sin really fully accountable for their actions in their "first life"? Have they ever had a chance for eternal salvation?
Astounding as it may seem to people who do not really know the scriptural teaching regarding the resurrections, countless millions of Israel are yet to be brought back to a mortal life to have their "first chance" to receive salvation.
Think for a moment. Could the untold millions of Israel who have lived and died over the ages possibly have received salvation? Have the vast majority ever had a chance to understand the Bible? Have they, then, really rejected salvation? No! Many individuals have lived their entire lifetimes without ever seeing a Bible or even hearing the name of Yeshua the Messiah.
Are they forever doomed simply because they did not have the Word of YEHOVAH God, and did not know that the Messiah is the Savior of all Israel? What nonsense!
What Constitutes a "Chance"?
Is it possible that those of Israel could receive salvation through some other person, or by a different way? The apostle Peter emphatically answers: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Those of Israel can only be saved if and when they learn of Yeshua the Messiah as their Savior who died for them, and then accept that supreme sacrifice in payment for their personal sins.
The Messiah said: "I am the door: by me if any man [of Israel] enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture" (John 10:9). He made it abundantly clear that anyone who "entereth not by the door [the Messiah] into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber" (verse 1).
There is no other "door" by which we of Israel can enter the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
Can You Have a Second Chance?
Someone will ask: "Do you mean to say that God will resurrect men back to a mortal life, and give them a second chance?" No, this is not what the Bible teaches at all.
But the scriptures plainly reveal that the time is coming when YEHOVAH God will raise the "unjust" dead of Israel -- those who through no fault of their own were deceived and never understood the way of salvation -- and will at that time reveal His plan of salvation to them.
Don't forget this basic truth: It is "impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18). And "the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35); therefore, whatever YEHOVAH promises in His Word, He will do.
YEHOVAH's Word plainly says: "The LORD is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any [of Israel] should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).
It is not YEHOVAH's will that sincere Israelite people who may practice a false religion, should perish. A loving Creator wills that "all [of Israel] should come to repentance" -- in His own time and way.
The apostle Paul was also inspired to write that YEHOVAH God our Savior "will have all men [of Israel] to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4). He then went on to show that "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (verses 5, 6).
It is YEHOVAH God's responsibility to grant the people of Israel the knowledge of the truth. The vast majority who have ever lived and died were, through no fault of their own, deprived of this knowledge which could have made salvation possible in their first life-time. It therefore becomes imperative that YEHOVAH give them their first real chance to hear, understand and follow YEHOVAH's way of salvation. But how? By raising them from the dead to renewed physical life in a second resurrection.
But many Israelite Christians erroneously believe that when one dies in sin he is lost forever. Many feel under a tremendous burden to see that the Messiah is preached to all the nations of Israel in various parts of the earth -- because they think that if these non-believing Israelites die in sin, they will miss out on salvation forever.
One scripture oft quoted to prove that a person of Israel who dies in sin is forever doomed is Ecclesiastes 11:3. "...If the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." This scripture, referring in context to certain instructions Solomon was giving with regard to the importance of making the most out of an uncertain and relatively short human lifetime, has nothing to do with any resurrection. Solomon does not say that if one, through no fault of his own, dies in sin, he will never have a chance to repent and receive salvation.
What Is Judgment?
In John 5:29, the Messiah spoke of "the resurrection of damnation." Nearly all modern translations correctly render this last word as "judgment" rather than "damnation."
But what does it mean to be resurrected to judgment? Most Christian Israelites woefully misunderstand. They think of "judgment" as only a time when a sentence is passed -- rewarding the righteous or condemning the guilty. But that is a false concept.
Notice what the apostle Peter wrote: "For the time [beginning nearly 2,000 years ago] is come that judgment must begin at the house of God..." (I Peter 4:17). What did he mean? He did not mean just condemnation had begun at YEHOVAH's house, the Ecclesia.
Rather he referred to the fact that YEHOVAH God is now judging Israelite Christians. We of Israel are now having our chance, and we will never have another. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation...?" (Hebrews 2:3.) See also Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29. YEHOVAH holds every Israelite Christian strictly accountable for his actions. He is now judging every believer according to His Word. But the vast majority of Israel, to this very day, do not understand or believe the truth of YEHOVAH God. They have been deceived by the devil (Revelation 12:9). And it is YEHOVAH's responsibility to someday see that these deceived millions become undeceived and are given their chance for salvation -- for He is not willing that any perish!
When the Messiah said some Israelites would come forth in a resurrection to "judgment," he meant they would be raised up from their graves to a time when they would learn the truth and have their opportunity to walk in it. Then YEHOVAH God will render a decision -- a verdict -- for each, on the basis of how they do.
Judgment of Unjust Sodom
Some are amazed to learn that the Messiah made a number of statements in which he said that the Israelite peoples of Sodom, Gomorrah, Tyre, Sidon, Nineveh, and those living in the Messiah's day will all rise up in the judgment together. Mercy will be shown to all, but the Israelite people in these cities will find their judgment period more bearable than those who personally heard the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah and yet rejected him and his gospel.
The Messiah solemnly affirmed: "Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city [which rejected his teachings]" (Matthew 10:15).
To those cities who saw his miracles, the Messiah said: "But I say unto you [Israelite people of Bethsaida and Chorazin], It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you" (Matthew 11:21, 22) .
Then Yeshua warned Capernaum that if the mighty works done by him in that city had been done in Sodom, Sodom would have existed to that very day. "But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee" (verse 24).
Furthermore, the Messiah made a similar pronouncement regarding Nineveh: "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here" (Matthew 12:41).
Yeshua then explained that "The queen of the south [Queen of Sheba] shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here" (verse 42).
What did the Messiah mean? Just this. The Queen of Sheba, the Israelite peoples of Nineveh, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah will find repentance easier in their "day of judgment" than will those who rejected the Messiah and his gospel message.
Resurrected Israel's Judgment
Yeshua the Messiah was not preaching a "new doctrine" when he spoke of the resurrection of the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was clearly indicated, if the people only had eyes to see, in the 16th chapter of the book of Ezekiel.
Much of the chapter relates to the people of Jerusalem (verse 2). It details their abominations, calling Samaria the "elder sister" of Jerusalem, and Sodom her "younger sister" (verse 46). Then YEHOVAH God points out that the sins the people of Jerusalem had committed were more abominable than those of her sisters -- Sodom and Samaria.
Finally, Ezekiel prophesies of the time when the Sodomites, Samaritans and the people of Jerusalem -- all Israelites -- will all be brought up out of their captivity in death and will finally receive a chance for salvation.
"When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them" (verse 53).
The Israelite peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah have been held captive in the grave for nearly four thousand years. But through the Messiah's death and resurrection all of those held captive in the grave will be released.
"...When he [the Messiah] ascended up on high [at his resurrection], he led captivity [death] captive..." (Ephesians 4:8). The Messiah was held captive in the grave for three days, but at his resurrection he "led captivity captive." He will do the same for all of Israel in due time when YEHOVAH God resurrects "all that are in the graves."
When YEHOVAH God resurrects the Israelite peoples of ancient Sodom, Samaria and Jerusalem, they will "return to their former estate" -- meaning that YEHOVAH God will place them in the land where they once lived (Ezekiel 16:55).
Ezekiel also prophesied elsewhere of a coming resurrection of all the dead Israelites of past centuries.
The prophet first sees them as long dead in a "valley of dry bones" (Ezekiel 37:1-10). "Then he [YEHOVAH God] said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel....Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves" (verses 11-13).
Then YEHOVAH God promises He will put His spirit in them (giving them the prerequisite for salvation) and will place them in their "own land" (verse 14).
The Great Summer Harvest
Scripture reveals that the Feast of
Shavuot (Leviticus 23:15-21; Exodus 32:5) represented the second resurrection,
and was established as an agricultural feast that was related to the wheat
harvest. On this day a unique sacrifice was offered to YEHOVAH God. The priests
waved two leavened loaves of bread made from the finest of the newly harvested
wheat flours. These loaves were then presented to YEHOVAH God, but they could
not be placed on the altar, because YEHOVAH declared that, "No grain offering,
which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer
up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD"
While the understanding of this feast has largely been lost, the two leavened loaves depict "both the houses of Israel" -- see Isaiah 8:14:
"He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
Of all the bread offerings listed in the
Bible, only the two wave loaves of Shavuot were baked with leaven. Leaven
symbolizes sin, and there are two houses of Israel -- both of which have
stumbled over the One who would be a "Sanctuary" to them.
Both houses have fallen short, and will continue to fall short as long as they are divided and antagonistic toward each other (Isaiah 8:14; John 2:22; Romans 11:25). Both Ephraim and Judah are plagued by leaven, meaning they are puffed up with error. As they stand, neither house is fit to be "offered" on YEHOVAH's altar. Something is missing. And, something is present that keeps them from being fully acceptable to Him.
To be an acceptable offering, bread must be unleavened. So it is that both houses fall short of the glory of YEHOVAH God. The sins found in their houses are like a stench in His nostrils and it prevents them from being fully acceptable to Him (Isaiah 65:5). Both are missing the quality of sinlessness. That quality is found only in the Messiah. He is the Unleavened Bread of Passover, and in him, both houses can be made whole, sinless.
Mercy Upon All
Even the apostle Paul prophesied of a coming resurrection for carnal Israel.
Paul wrote: "God hath not cast away his people [Israel] which he foreknew" (Romans 11:2).
Paul explains that the majority of Israel are spiritually blinded (verse 7). And who is responsible? "...God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear..." (verse 8). Why?
"For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world" -- it makes possible the salvation of the northern 10 tribes of Israel who were taken captive to the four corners of the ancient world! -- "what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" (Verse 15.) Yes, they are to be raised from the dead and given life by the God who loves them and all Israel.
Paul calls this a "mystery" -- "that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles [northern 10 tribes of Israel] be come in. And so ALL Israel shall be saved..." (verses 25, 26).
What Paul is saying is simply this: YEHOVAH God has determined to call and choose only a limited number from all of Israel in that age. He was not trying to save all Israel at that time! He therefore calls those Israelites whom He wills, but allows the rest to remain blinded so that He can resurrect and call a number of Israelites from the tribes scattered abroad to fulfill His purpose.
"For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all [of Israel] in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (verses 30-32).
When the apostle Paul understood the mystery of YEHOVAH's great master plan, he was filled with praise: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Verse 33.)
YEHOVAH God is not trying to save all of Israel now! Rather, He has allowed Satan to deceive the nations of Israel with his false teaching (Revelation 12:9). He must prove to Satan and to His people Israel that Satan's way produces bad results!
Great White Throne Judgment
Just what is the Great White Throne Judgment? The resurrection of the righteous Israelites will take place at the coming of YEHOVAH God at the beginning of the Kingdom Age (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:53), while the resurrection of the unsaved Israelites will occur at the Great White Throne Judgment after the Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:11-15).
YEHOVAH God is great, merciful, loving -- not willing that any of Israel should perish. He wills that all of Israel come to the knowledge of the truth and to true repentance. But He knows it is better that most of the people of Israel come to this knowledge of the truth in a better world than ours. That is why these people will be raised up in the second resurrection -- a resurrection to a mortal, fleshly, earthly existence.
Here is how it is depicted in the 20th chapter of Revelation. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it....And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God..." (Revelation 20:11, 12).
"The books [Greek, biblos -- books or Bible] were opened" (verse 12). This means that those Israelites raised up at that time will have the books of the Bible opened to their knowledge and understanding. And also the "book of life" will be open so their names will not be removed from it when each repents of his sins, accepts the Messiah as personal Savior, and receives YEHOVAH's holy spirit.
Then they will be judged "according to their works" (verse 12).
Thus we see the "rest of the dead" of Israel raised to life, standing before YEHOVAH God to be judged -- but not to be condemned, as so many falsely assume. YEHOVAH God will then judge those "unjust" dead, who are at that time raised to life, just as He now judges His own house -- His Ecclesia (I Peter 4:17). The book of life will be opened so they can all receive eternal life, if they will!
How thrilling to understand YEHOVAH's master plan which He is working out here below among His people Israel.