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James Dodson


PRE-MILLENNIALISTS would set aside all this evidence from the most explicit passages bearing upon the questions at issue. They would rend both the resurrection and the judgment of the righteous from the resurrection and judgment of the wicked by the interjection of the millennial period, and that of the great uprising of wickedness. Before proceeding to consider the grounds upon which the teaching of all these apparently plain passages is ignored, it may be well to place the two views as to the resurrection and judgment of the righteous and the wicked side by side in general comparison. The reader will then be better able to judge of the general impression they respectively make.

The view of Post-millennialists is very simple. They believe that all the dead are raised at the coming of the Lord, and all the righteous living are changed. Then all, righteous and wicked, risen and alive, are judged and enter upon their eternal reward or doom. The resurrection takes place after all who are to die have died. The judgment takes place after all men have had their probation, and all action upon which judgment is to be passed, is finished. Does not this seem to be the natural and appropriate time for both resurrection and judgment? Is this not the time we would expect these great events to happen, even if the Scripture teaching upon the question were less decisive?

Now let us compare with this the complicated scheme of our pre-millennial friends. I give it as outlined by Dr. J. H. Brookes, in “Maranatha,” pp. 545-6; W. E. Blackstone, “Jesus is Coming,” pp. 48-50; John McNeil, “Even So, Come”:

“Descent of the Lord to receive His bride (1 Thess. 4:16); Resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14) and change of living believers (1 Cor. 15:23, 51, 52); Translation of the saints who are caught up to meet Christ and His bride (1 Thess. 4:17); The meeting of Christ and His bride (1 Thess. 4:17); Period of unequalled tribulation to the world (Matt. 24:21), during which the Church having been taken out, God begins to deal with Israel again, and will restore them to their own land (Isa. 11:11, Acts 15:16); The vials of God’s wrath will be poured out (Rev. 6-19 chaps.); Israel accepts Christ and are brought through the fire (Zech. 13:9); The revelation of Christ and His saints in flaming fire to execute judgment on the earth (Jude 14, 15). This is Christ’s second coming to the . earth (Matt. 24:24, 29, 30); Judgment of the nations or the quick (Matt. 25:31-46); Antichrist is destroyed (2 Thess. 2:8); The beast and the false prophet are taken (Rev. 19:20); God and His allies are smitten (Ezek. 38, 39 chaps); Satan is bound (Rev. 20:1-3); Resurrection of the tribulation saints which completes the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6); The millennium, Christ’s glorious reign on the earth for one thousand years with His bride (Rev. 20:4); Satan loosed for a little season and destroyed with Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:7-10); The resurrection of judgment (Rev. 20:12-15); Judgment of the great white throne of all the remaining dead (Rev. 20:12-15); Death and Hell destroyed (Rev. 20:14); Eternity, or rather the aions to come (Eph. 2: 7).”

According to this outline, it will be noticed our Lord first comes for His people. All the righteous dead are raised and all the righteous who are alive are “changed” and are caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. There they remain during the great tribulation on the earth–some say seven years from the prophetic week of Dan 9:27, others think it lasts longer. Then Christ descends to the earth with His saints, and the righteous who have died during this period are raised from the dead. The millennial period follows, during which people continue to be born and die. It would seem that the righteous, for it is held that righteousness is universal, cannot be translated at conversion in childhood, or the race would not continue. They must either die, or receive their resurrection body without dying, after they have done their part in propagating the race. So there must be a resurrection at the close of the millennium for these, or a continuous process of “changing” during all this period. The wicked dead are all raised together as the final resurrection act.

Now, is not this a complicated scheme as to the resurrection of the dead? Does the general impression of Scripture teaching favor this view, or the simple post-millennial conception of that grand event given above When the Scripture passages urged in favor of it are examined, they are found to be detached and, the most of them, of the obscure kind about whose correct interpretation there has always been doubt, while some of the less obscure do not seem to have received their most natural explanation. So evident is this that Dr. Gordon admits “we have never met this startling doctrine of two distinct resurrections, with a millennium between, till we reach the last book in the Bible,”[1] and, it may be added, not until near the close of this book, and that in a very obscure passage of three verses. He also adds, “There is, perhaps, no doctrine of Scripture the references to which are at once so complemental of each other as this doctrine of two resurrections,” although he thinks it made out by scattered allusions in connection with Rev. 20:4–6.

Notice also the scheme for the judgments. The first is that of the righteous, to distribute rewards according to their works. This takes place while the saints are in the air, during the great tribulation upon the earth. The second is of the nations when He comes to the earth with His saints. There must be a third, of the tribulation saints, as they have a separate resurrection after the judgment of the other dead and those who were alive and are changed, at His coming for His people, unless they have no judgment, as do the others. Then there must be a fourth, for all the saints that are born and live during the millennium and the great uprising of wickedness, unless they also have no judgment. Finally, there is a fifth judgment, that of all the unrighteous at the end of the history of the race on earth. Now, we venture to assert, as between this complicated scheme of judgments and the simple and grand conception of a single judgment of - all men at the end, which Post-millennialists hold, there are few, if any, unbiased students who, by a reading of the Bible, would arrive at this complicated view.

But the complicated scheme of resurrection and judgment not only seems opposed to the general impression made by Scripture teaching as well as in contradiction to the plainest meaning of the passages bearing most directly upon the question, but it also gives rise to all kinds of difficulties and inconsistencies.

Some of these have already been referred to and others will be considered later. Successive resurrections, and judgments by installments, before all who are to be raised have died and before probation is ended for all who are to be judged, are hard to reconcile with God’s changelessness and the finality of His doings.



[1] “Ecce Venit,” p. 219.