The popular teaching over the last 2,000 years has been there will be a GENERAL RESURRECTION at the end of time; in other words, there will only be ONE RESURRECTION. According to that teaching, all believers and unbelievers will be raised together and then they will be separated with believers going to heaven and unbelievers going to hell. As we shall see (and as you have pointed out), there is a FIRST RESURRECTION which means that has to be at least TWO RESURRECTIONS. Scripture is quite clear that there will indeed be two resurrections, the first one will be made up of all believers and the second will be all unbelievers.

The Lord Jesus spoke of these two resurrections in John 5:28-29, “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” (NASB). Ironically, this is the passage used to support the view that there is only one resurrection but Jesus is actually describing two resurrections, one that results in LIFE and the other that results in JUDGMENT.

Now let’s read Revelation 20:4-6, “Then I saw thrones, and THEY SAT ON THEM, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of THOSE WHO HAD BEEN BEHEADED because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and THOSE WHO HAD NOT WORSHIPPED THE BEAST OR HIS IMAGE, and not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and THEY CAME TO LIFE and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” This passage speaks of the RESURRECTION OF LIFE. There are THREE CLASSES OF BELIEVERS in verse 4 that are raised to LIFE and who will reign with Christ for a thousand years. John saw some believers already SITTING ON THRONES. Those are the church saints and Old Testament believers who were resurrected when the Rapture took place (see 1st Corinthians 15:20-23 and 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17). John also saw all those who were martyred during the first half of the Tribulation Period for their faithful testimony (see Revelation 6:9). And lastly, John saw those who were martyred during the second half of the Tribulation for not worshiping the beast (see Revelation 6:10-11 and 13:1-7, 15). All of the Tribulation martyrs will be raised at the end of the Tribulation. Though they are raised “at different times,” they all are included in the First Resurrection. It is then said of them, “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the FIRST RESURRECTION; over these the SECOND DEATH HAS NO POWER” (verse 6). What does that mean? It means they will not experience the awful judgment of those who have a part in the SECOND RESURRECTION, which we will now consider.

We saw in verse 5 that “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.” Their resurrection will take place after the 1,000 year kingdom of Christ ends and it will be the RESURRECTION OF JUDGMENT. Let’s read of that in verses 11-12, 15: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away….And I saw THE DEAD, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and THE DEAD WERE JUDGED from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds…And if anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. When we read of “the dead” in verses 5 and 12 it is referring to all those who had died in unbelief. Jesus said in John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will DIE IN YOUR SINS; for UNLESS YOU BELIEVE THAT I AM HE, YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS.” These people had all refused to “believe on the Lord Jesu Christ” for salvation (see Acts 16:31) and thus they “died in their sins.” At the “resurrection of judgment” their names will NOT be found in the “book of life” and they will be “thrown into the lake of fire” and this is “the second death.” “But for the cowardly and the UNBELIEVING and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, THEIR PART WILL BE IN THE LAKE THAT BURNS WITH FIRE and brimstone, WHICH IS THE SECOND DEATH” (Revelation 21:8).  (444.1)  (DO)