Let’s begin by reading Acts 24:14-15, “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”

All those who have lived and passed away will be raised…the just and the unjust. The just (or righteous) will be raised for eternal blessings. The unjust will be raised for eternal torment. These two events do not occur at the same time, so we will look at them separately.

Let’s begin by reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This is what is commonly known as the Rapture! When a believer passes away, he is escorted immediately into the presence of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” He is in an interim state. He is alive in the presence of the Lord, but he is without his body. At the Rapture, all those believers who have ‘died in Christ’ will return with the Lord and take up their old bodies.

Let’s compare this with 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” It is at the instance of the Rapture that all believers, both living and dead, will have their bodies changed to incorruptible and immortal bodies. Then, we are told “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Eternal bliss!

The raising of the unsaved doesn’t take place until the end of the Lord’s Millennial reign on the earth. We read in Revelation 20:11-15, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” ALL the unsaved dead will be raised to stand before the Lord to be judged ‘according to their works.’ The eternal fate is the same for each of them. They will all be “cast into the lake of fire.” Matthew 25:46 tells us, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

These are the two raisings of the just and the unjust. My friend, if you have never put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I encourage you to do that now so that you might be raised to “life eternal.” (321.4)