In the hyper-alienated world of today's religious division, only two different views of the same New Testament doctrine is not too bad. Still, the two competing views of the Resurrection are very different. Those two views are (i) the "General Resurrection" of Realized Millennialism and (ii) the multiple Resurrections of Dispensational Premillennialism. This article will explain these two views and compare them with applicable Bible passages.
The Two Views Explained
In addition to predicting a literal, 1,000-year, political, military and religious reign of Christ on earth and a prominent role for the secular nation of Israel in the run-up to the end of time, Premillennialism also predicts multiple Resurrections. This view entirely depends on a rigidly literal interpretation of Revelation 20 plus some very creative thinking.
Premillennialists teach that Christ will return before ("pre-") the millennium...(and)...also deduce that there will be two resurrections, one of saints before the millennium (who are then judged and rewarded) and another of everyone else after the millennium (who will then be judged). Many dispensational premillennialists go further, and distinguish between a resurrection of the saints at the beginning of the (supposed) Tribulation...and a resurrection of additional converts at the end of the Tribulation (when Christ finally reaches earth "with" his saints). So they discern three resurrections in all (note: some Premillennialists envision as many as five Resurrections).
Believing that the Church is the "Realized" Kingdom, and rejecting dramatic "End-Times" predictions, Amillennialists also believe in one General Resurrection.
The General Resurrection is a doctrine that states that at one point in time, at the "Second Coming" of Christ, God will raise all of the good and the evil from every age of man. Immediately, the resurrected dead and those who were alive at the coming of Christ will stand before the bar of God's judgment. Immediately after that, eternity will begin in Heaven for the justified and in Hell for the condemned.
The Bible Teaches the General Resurrection
- "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2).
- "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. " (Jn. 5:28-29).
- "There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked" (Acts 24:15).
- "In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (I Cor. 15:52).
- "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. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord" (I Thess. 4:16-17).
- "Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen" (Rev. 1:7).
The difference between the doctrine of the General Resurrection and the doctrine of multiple Resurrections highlight the greater difference between Premillennialism and Amillennialism. That greater difference is the incompatible approaches to scripture practiced by the competing "isms." Practicing an approach that elevates a very few highly figurative passages above all else, Premillennialism also practices a highly creative, highly fanciful brand of interpretation that has created multiple Resurrections. Practicing a much more time-honored approach to scripture, Amillennialism allows scripture to teach one General Resurrection.