John 5:25: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the (spiritually) dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live (have the life of God in their spirits).” Now our spirits are reborn, hades has no power over them and they go to be with the Lord in Heaven at death.
In fact in one sense they already are there through the New Birth: “Even when we were dead in trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5,6).
Death 1. Although we may still suffer physical death as a believer Jesus has taken the sting out of it: “O DEATH, where is your sting? O HADES, where is your victory?” (1Corinthians 15:55).
(1) The first sting (going to HADES) is removed - instead we go straight to heaven.
(2) The 2nd sting of physical death, that time has run out and you must now face the final judgement of God, is also removed, for we have already been justified by faith and have been delivered from the judgement unto confdemnation. Moreover
(3) PHYSICAL DEATH is only temporary for Christ’s resurrection guarantees our glorious resurrection.
John 5:28,29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice, and come forth— (1) those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and (2) those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Everyone will be raised up physically, but in 2 separate groups (believers/righteous to eternal life and the unrighteous to eternal condemation). Other scriptures tell us that these 2 resurrections will be separated by 1000 years. Thus Christ has removed the sting of death for believers, for
(1) we no longer go to Hades,
(2) we are no longer under condemnation, and
(3) we will be resurrected to life.
But the unbeliever who does not accept the work of Christ will still experience death on every level:
(1) Physical death, which still has its full sting, because
(2) his spirit remains under the power of spiritual death (dead to God), and so goes down to Hades (Hell) upon death, awaiting His final judgement, when he will be resurrected and sealed forever in a state of spiritual death and be thrown into the Lake of Fire which is
(3) the 2nd Death, eternal separation from the goodness, grace and mercy of God.
*God’s programme of resurrections.
There are two basic resurrections, one for believers and one for unbelievers.
*John 5:28,29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice, and come forth— (1) those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and (2) those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
*Daniel 12:2: Many (not all) of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake (the resurrection), some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”
Acts 24:14,15: “Believing all things written in the Law and the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.”
These 2 resurrections do not happen at the same time but are separated by 1000 years (Revelation 20:4-6): “I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was (had been) committed to them Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands (martyred in the Tribulation) and they lived (they were resurrected) and reigned with Christ for 1,000 years. (But the rest of the dead (the unbelievers) did not live again until the 1000 years were finished). This is (completes) the first resurrection (of the just). Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection (all believers). Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
*Those in the first resurrection go into Eternal Life, but those in the 2nd Resurrection go into the 2nd Death.
1Corinthians 15:20-26: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the First Fruits (prototype) of those who have fallen asleep(believers). For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all (believers)shall be made alive. But each one in his own order (RANK or TROOP).” God’s Resurrection programme is in stages (or in army ranks) - each in his own ORDER (1Corinthians 15:23). ‘ORDER’ is a military word for a RANK or TROOP. All will be raised but it will be one TROOP or COMPANY at a time, in military procession:
1. Christ - the First Fruits,
2. Afterward those who are Christ’s at His Coming
(all believers raised at the time of the Rapture and 2nd Coming),
3. Then comes the end (2nd Resurrection -1000 years later, this refers to the resurrection of all unbelievers at the end of time, so that death has been completely defeated as Paul goes on to explain) when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (for death to be fully defeated, believers in mortal bodies at the end of the Millennium must also receive a changed body).”
The First Resurrection (of all Believers)
1. Christ - the First Fruits (1Corinthians 15:20,23). The resurrection is described as stages of God’s Harvest of the earth.:
THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
1Corinthians 15:3,4: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (in fulfilment of death of the Passover Lamb - on the 14th Nisan, see 1Corinthians 15:7), and that He was buried (in fulfilment of first day of Unleavened Bread, on the 15th Nisan, see 1Corinthians 15:6-8), and that He rose again the third day (16th Nisan) according to the Scriptures(fulfilling First Fruits).”
*The overall theme of the whole chapter of 1Corinthians 15 is the exposition of Christ as the Firstfruits with its ramifications in what it means for us and our resurrection. Especially that our resurrection is guaranteed because His resurrection was not a one-off, but was the fulfilment of the Feast of Firstfruits on the 3rd day after He died as the Passover Lamb.
1Corinthians 15:6-8: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
1Corinthians 15:20-24a describes the resurrection as stages of God’s Harvest of the earth: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order:
1. Christ the Firstfruits,
2. afterward, those who are Christ’s at His Coming.
3. Then comes the end....”
Paul makes these claims as an OT scholar:
*Messiah must fulfil the Feasts in their prophetic aspect. Therefore:
*He had to die on a Passover - Nisan 14th.
*He had to rise as the first resurrected man at Firstfruits - which is always a Sunday (as we will see).
*Messiah must rise from the dead on the 3rd day, so He had to die on a Friday.
*Thus the Messiah had to die on Passover in a year when Passover was on a Friday, and rise again on the following Sunday.
*Jesus Christ fulfilled this perfectly as the New Testament spells out. Therefore He died and rose again on April 1st-3rd, AD 33 on our (Gregorian) Calendar.
*FIRSTFRUITS Exodus 34:26: “The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God.”
Exodus 23:19: “The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.”
*The Principles of the Offering of our Firstfruits (eg in our giving).
*It represents the whole harvest (Christ is our Representative).
*It acknowledges that the whole harvest belongs to God. As God gives us the first part, we are to offer it back to Him, for it is His, and this transaction in turn sanctifies the whole (bringing God’s blessing on the rest to come), thus guaranteeing the fulfilment of the whole harvest. See the story of the 10 lepers where the offering of thanks for the cleansing releases the complete healing. When Christ offered Himself up to God as the Firstfruits from the dead on our behalf, this brought the blessing (the firstfruits) of the Holy-Spirit upon His people (the rest of the Harvest), which was God’s guarantee of our future resurrection, just like Christ’s. The Holy-Spirit is God’s gift to us signifying the completed transaction that God has accepted Christ as the Firstfruits from the dead. This is why Jesus said that the Spirit could not come to us until Christ had gone (died) and then been glorified (John 7:39, 16:7).
*Thus it is the guarantee of the future harvest, a taste of what is to come. What Christ has already entered into, is coming to us!
*God’s acceptance and blessing of the Firstfruits makes the rest (whole) of the harvest holy, which was represented and accepted ‘in the Firstfruits’ when it was presented to God:
Romans 11:16: “if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy.”
Likewise, we were ‘in Christ’ when He offered and presented Himself to God as our Firstfruits and was accepted and blessed by God on our behalf. Thus we are now ‘accepted in the beloved’ and have been blessed by the Holy-Spirit, Who makes us holy. The Spirit sets us apart to God and is God’s promise/deposit/guarantee that we will be harvested (resurrected) just like Christ the Firstfruits. If the First Fruit is holy (offered up/dedicated to God and accepted/consecrated by God), then the rest of the harvest is holy, blessed and acceptable to God. Thus it guarantees the rest of the harvest will be (come forth) just as (like) the First-fruits.
Leviticus 23:10-14: “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. v11 He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. v12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD.
v13 Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. v14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
THE FULFILMENT IN CHRIST
Leviticus 2:12-16: “As for the offering of the First Fruits, you shall offer them to the LORD, but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet aroma. And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt. If you offer a grain offering of your first fruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your first fruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire, grain beaten from full heads. And you shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering. Then the priest shall burn the memorial portion: part of its beaten grain and part of its oil, with all the frankincense, as an offering made by fire to the LORD.”
Other offerings added prophetic detail of Christ
*Beaten, sifted and burnt - this speaks of Christ’s suffering.
*Oil - the Spirit.
*Offered up with a lamb.
The Feast of Weeks (the completion of the grain harvest).
v15: “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: 7 Sabbaths shall be completed. v16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.”
Deuteronomy 16:9,10: “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you.”
*Grain harvests of barley and wheat. First-fruit sheaf waved before the Lord is a picture of Christ risen on our behalf, as our representative, the beginning and head of the new creation, the firstborn from the dead. It was the first complete fruit to rise up out of what had been buried in the earth (all the dead are like seeds buried in the earth). Christ, the Firstfruits, was: “accepted (by God) on your behalf.”
*waving=worship and triumph, the assurance of the rest of the harvest.
The basis of 1Corinthians 15 is that if Christ was not raised then us also. If He was raised it means we will also be raised, for He is the firstfruits of the future harvest (v51-56). Our resurrection is therefore intimately connected to the resurrection of Christ.
*It was always on Sunday, the day after the sabbath.
*2 different interpretations (see handouts).
*How Jesus fulfilled it. 1Corinthians 15:20: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and become the FIRSTFRUITS of those who have fallen asleep.”
John 12:23,24: “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
Matthew 27:51-53: “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." This reveals that a few select individuals were resurrected along with Christ as part of the First-fruit offering (believers who were buried near Jerusalem, and who were buried recently for they had relatives that knew them in the city). However it was not time for the other dead to be raised yet, for it was not yet time for the complete harvest - just for the Firstfruits (the general resurrection of believers is still future).
Acts 2:29: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” This shows David was still in his tomb unresurrected, 50 days later at Pentecost.
Jesus did a jail-break from Hades, taking all the believers with Him up to heaven! Ephesians 4:8-10: “He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."
*On the same day, on resurrection morning, He ascended to the Father as the First-fruits and to present His Blood to God.
John 20:11-16: “But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).”
John 20:17: “Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father,
and to My God and your God.’”
John 20:18: “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and He had spoken these things to her.”
This was on the day after the Passover Sabbath, at the time of the morning sacrifice (8-9am), the prescibed time for offering the First-fruits, which started the countdown to Pentecost, when the completed harvest is lifted up to God (that is why it says ‘the time was fulfilled’ at 9am, when the Spirit fell, in Acts 2:1).
Acts 2:1-4: “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Jesus ascended as the Firstfruits (with selected resurrected believers as the wavesheaf offering), and He took all the spirits of just men made perfect (the Old-Testament saints) with Him to Heaven.
*The procession of reborn spirits proved that He had conquered Hades and spiritual death. The procession of the resurrected Firstfruits (which included Himself) proved that He had also conquered physical death.
Matthew 28:9,10: “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
John 20:20-23: “When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit (the Firstfruits of the Spirit- the other side of the transaction) If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
John 20:24-29: “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the 12, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after 8 days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
He ascended to the Father as the Firstfruits, bringing all the believers with Him to Heaven, where He presented His Blood to God opening up the new and living Way for us to enter into God’s Presence in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12,23-25; 10:19,20).
Hebrews 9:12-15: “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the New Covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first Covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
Hebrews 9:23-26: “Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but (has entered) into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Hebrews 10:19,20: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh”. So now when believers die in the Lord they do not go DOWN to Paradise in Hades under the earth, but UP to Paradise in Heaven to be with the Lord, for Jesus relocated Paradise to Heaven on the day of His Resurrection.
*John 3:13 - before Christ, Heaven was not populated by mankind. Although declared righteous by faith, until Christ put away sin by making full atonement for our sins it was not possible for believers to abide in the direct Presence of God in Heaven. The OT system of worship taught the impossibility of entering the holy of holies without the blood of atonement because man is tainted with sin. The blood of animals could not sanctify us (Hebrews 10:4), so the only solution is for One without spot or blemish (Hebrews 4:15) to make atonement for us with His Blood and enter into the heavenly holy of holies with the Blood of Atonement as our representative as the High-Priest did on the Day of Atonement, to secure our full salvation and to open up the way for us to enter directly into God’s holy Presence.
With His Blood, Jesus cleansed us from all sin and made us holy to enter in and paid the full price to purchase a place in heaven for us. By His resurrection power our spirits are reborn and become perfect, holy and righteous new-creations, even the righteousness of God in Christ. Thus after His death and resurrection believers could enter Heaven and realise the fulfilment of their faith (living with God face to face) in and through Christ (through His atoning Blood and His perfect righteousness).
Therefore He led captivity (the souls in Paradise) captive (in His triumphal procession out from Hades and up to Heaven on the day of His resurrection) (see Psalm 68:18a, Ephesians 4:8-10). Thus Jesus rose from Hades with the righteous dead following Him in their disembodied spiritual state. On route, upon reaching the earth’s surface, He received His glorified resurrection body as the firstfruits from the dead. However the vast majority of the righteous with Him remained in their spiritual state, for the general resurrection of the righteous is yet future.
As God’s perfect High Priest He then ascended to Heaven to present His atoning Blood to His Father, appearing in the Presence of God for us, thus opening the way for us to enter in through Him (Hebrews 9:24). He then ushered the righteous spirits (who were behind Him in His train) into His Father’s Presence. So Paradise where the righteous go, is no longer in Hades, but is now in Heaven. It is the place where God lives with His redeemed people in the 3rd Heaven.
Jesus is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven (Romans 8:34). When we leave this body at death, we go to be at home (present) with the Lord (2Cor 5:8), therefore we go to Heaven to be with Jesus. We go to Paradise which is in the 3rd Heaven (2Cor 12:2,3). In fact, God’s people in their spirits are already raised with Christ far above, and seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). The wicked however were not relocated by Christ and so remain in Hades (Hell) and all who die in their sins join them there, where they await their resurrection unto final judgement and condemnation (Daniel 12:2, Revelation 20:12-15).
*At this time, He was given all authority in heaven and earth, being installed as the king over all: Matthew 28:18,19: “Jesus spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
He was given the Name above every name:
Philippians 2:8-11: “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Daniel 7:13-14 also describes Christ’s Ascension on the day of His Resurrection: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away and His kingdom one which shall not be destroyed.”
*He presented His Blood in the heavenly Holy of Holies (Hebrews) opening up the New and Living Way for all believers to enter into Heaven. So now all believers can enter Heaven through His Blood accepted in Heaven. So now when believers die they go up to the 3rd Heaven, straight into the Presence of the Lord, instead of going down to Hades, which they dead before His death and resurrection. Others raised at the same time as Christ (Matthew 27:52,53) - ‘Firstfruits-Wavesheaf’ (Leviticus 23:10,11).
Ephesians 4:8-10: “Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."(Now this, "He ascended" --what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lowest parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things).”
This is a quote from the Messianic Psalm 68, claiming that Christ fulfilled it at His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. Therefore we should expect the rest of this Psalm to give us further description of this dramatic event.
Psalm 68:1: “Let God (Jesus Christ) arise (from the dead -see v20) let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who hate Him flee before Him(Christ triumphed over all demonic powers when He rose out of Hades)
v2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
v3 But let the righteous (especially the believers in Paradise being taken up to Heaven in His triumphal Procession) be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.
v4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him.
v5 A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. v6 God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land (the believers were released into heaven’s glory, but unbelievers remained in Torments in Hades).”
v11 The Lord gave the word (The Gospel Message). Great was the company of those who proclaimed it. On the resurrection day Christ appeared to His disciples and commissioned (sent) them to spread the good-news of His resurrection.
v18 You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts (from God, to give) among men, even the rebellious (He received the gift of the Spirit to give to all men who would receive Him). That the Lord God might dwell there (the indwelling Spirit).
v19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
v20 Our God is the God of salvation;
and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.
v24 They have seen Your procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
*Psalm 24 also describes this event: “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place” (v3).
v7-10: “Lift up your heads O ye gates and be lifted up you everlasting doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle (He has just won a great victory over the gates of hell). Lift up your heads O ye gates and be lifted up you everlasting doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Almighty. He is the King of Glory!”
Now Paradise, where believers go, is no longer under the earth, but in Heaven (Jesus relocated Paradise on the day of His resurrection).
So now when believers die they do not go DOWN to Paradise in Hades, but UP to Paradise in Heaven.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4: “A man in Christ 14 years ago, (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell) was caught UP to the 3rd heaven.., caught UP into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words.” Last time we saw scriptures showing how believers now go up to Heaven, not down to hades.
*Acts 1. Jesus then returned to the earth to instruct, prepare His disciples for 40 days for the new dispensation, then finally ascended to heaven and sit on His throne until the time of His Return.
*Let us now look at proof that all believers are in Heaven now (OT and NT), having been relocated at Firstfruits (AD 33).
Spiritually we have already entered into Firstfruits, in that our spirits are reborn and raised with Christ so that we are spiritually firstfruits unto God (james 1) and we have received the firstfruits of the Spirit so we go to heaven at death, but our physical resurrection is part of a future Pentecostal harvest.
2. The Church - at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Because He has risen as firstfruits He has guaranteed our like-resurrection in due time ast the pentecostal harvest (Phil 3:20) at the Rapture.
1Corinthians 15:20-25: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the First Fruits (prototype) of those who have fallen asleep(believers). For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all (believers)shall be made alive. But each one in his own order (RANK or TROOP).”
1. Christ - the First Fruits,
2. Afterward those who are Christ’s at His Coming.
1Corinthians 15:51-56: “Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we (who are alive) shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
*Believer: Rejoice He has risen, conquered hell and death for us and opened a new and living way for us into heaven’s glory.
*Warning to unbeliever: But unbelievers still go down to Hades-Torments to await their final sentencing. We have this life to choose life or death, heaven and hell. CHOOSE LIFE.
*RECEIVE JESUS and His salvation (only antidote that can work) and when you do He will come in by His Spirit and fill you with His love and power to live a change life.Put all your trust in Him for forgiveness, salvation and eternal life. Then live a life that proves your faith (trust) in Him is genuine.
*If you have not yet put all your trust in Him and so do not have assurance pray this prayer with me.