The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
The First Resurrection
The First Resurrection.
The erroneous opinions held by many, of the first resurrection, and the taking up of the saints to heaven before the final judgment, &c., seems to have its origin in what St. Paul says in 1 Thess. iv. 16, "And the dead in Christ shall rise first;" and also from a misunderstanding as to how' the millennium is to be constituted, and who are to be the inhabitants of the earth at that period. From what the Apostle says with regard to "the resurrection of the just," (verse 14 to 17,) it is quite clear that his intention is to comfort the Thessalonians, telling them not to sorrow about those who shall have fallen asleep previous to the coming of Christ, as if those, or some of them, might be overlooked or left behind. He points out that those shall be raised first, and, in company with those which are then in life, who in the twinkling of an eye shall be changed, shall be "caught up" together, &c. But this statement cannot possibly mean that this takes place separately, with an interval of a thousand years, or something like that, previously to the resurrection of the ungodly—far from it. For the words of Christ, recorded in Math. xxv. 32-33, distinctly indicate that the general judgment will take place at the time when He "comes in His glory." And this, compared with what our Lord declares in Math. xiii. 47-50, is shown to be the end of the world. And, speaking of this period, Paul says: He "shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom" (1 Tim. iv., 1). Also, when referring to this "second time" of the Saviour's appearing, the Apostle links it immediately with the final judgment. (See Heb. ix. 27-28.) And, further, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. xiv. 10). Now, it is impossible to limit these references to the judgment, as affecting the persons of the righteous only; for it is said the "goats" and the "sheep" shall at one and the same time stand before Christ the Judge, there to be finally separated; and the "tares" shall be gathered from amongst the wheat——i.e., the angels shall gather out the godly from amongst the ungodly.
Some writers, commenting on the Millennium, try very hard to make us believe that the inhabitants of the earth during the Millennium will be the raised saints, who are termed "the first resurrection" (Rev. xx. 5, 6). Also, that Christ will be their King, and himself personally reign on earth during the specified thousand years.
That Christ should establish a kingdom on this old earth, which has been defiled with all sorts of filthiness, of which the inhabitants should be saints who have been raised from the dead; and also whilst there is still a heathen race of people existing, who, after the expiration of the specified thousand years of peace, inspired by Satan, and after his release from prison, shall compass "the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city," (Rev. xx. 7, 8, 9)—such an idea we declare to be fabulous in the extreme.
As we have shown elsewhere, the inhabitants of the Millennial Empire will be mortals such as we are. They will comprise, firstly, the Jews; not merely a remnant of them, but all the Jews, who will embrace the opportunity to return to their land by the confirmation of a covenant with that "prince," Antichrist, (Daniel ix. 27,) which he shall make with them, they having been converted after or in consequence of the destruction by Divine interposition of that prince and his army. (Ezekiel xxxix.) And, secondly, the Jews will be increased by the remnant of the Gentile Church returning from their place of safety, whither they fled for refuge during the persecution of Antichrist (Rev. xii. 14), which remnant will be incorporated into the Jewish nation. And their King will also be mortal, as themselves. and will be selected from amongst their own nation.
The raised saints will be a superior order of the priesthood, unchangeable by death during the millennial thousand years, in addition to the mortal priesthood page 55 described in Ezekiel. But Christ's kingdom, with the raised saints as its subjects, will be postponed until the new heaven and new earth is established (Rev. xxi).
That the second death shall have no power over those raised priests means that they shall not be raised like Lazarus and others, who were subject to die again; but these shall be finally raised to their glorified state, and will be withdrawn when the specified thousand years are finished. Satan being then loosed again out of his imprisonment.