A Timeline of Resurrection and Judgment

As with the Dictionary of Death, Resurrection, and Judgment, I am likely to revise this timeline as I continue the Afterlife series. You know what they say: “You only stop learning when you die.” I’m sure somebody says it, anyway…

  • The Crucifixion – Yeshua is crucified and dies.
  • Three Days in the Grave – Yeshua is buried in tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and remains there until the third day.
  • The Resurrection – The tomb is opened, Yeshua returns to life, and leaves the grave.
  • The Pre-Resurrection – The dead in Jerusalem (probably only the very recently dead) are brought back to life sometime between Yeshua’s death and reappearance in Jerusalem. These people were resurrected with their old bodies, not glorified ones. They don’t count as the “firstfruits of the resurrection” because they would die again like Lazarus. They go back to their homes and families, not to Heaven.
  • The Second Coming – Yeshua makes a dramatic and violent return to earth, binding Satan in Sheol for a thousand years and ending the period of the Great Tribulation.
  • The First Resurrection – The saints who were martyred by the Beast and False Prophet during the Tribulation are resurrected to reign on earth with Yeshua.
  • The Final Battle – Satan is released to lead the nations of the earth in a rebellion against Yeshua and are defeated. Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire, where he remains forever.
  • The Second Resurrection – All the dead who were not resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium are resurrected in order to face judgment.
  • The Final Judgment – The books of Heaven and the Book of Life are opened and all the dead are judged according to the record of their deeds.
  • The End of Death and Hades – Sheol itself is thrown into the Lake of Fire.
  • The Final Disposition – Those whose names are written in the Book of Life are allowed to eat from the Tree of Life and to live in the New Jerusalem or the New Earth. All who are not found in the Book of Life are thrown into the Lake of Fire.
  • The New Heaven and New Earth – The old heaven and earth have passed away and are replaced by new, incorruptible versions. A new, massive Jerusalem descends from Heaven.
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2 Replies to “A Timeline of Resurrection and Judgment”

  1. “The dead in Jerusalem (probably only the very recently dead) are brought back to life before Yeshua is buried.”
    Just wondering why you think that?
    Best wishes, Penny

  2. Hi Penny. That’s a good question!

    Matthew 27:52 says that “many bodies of the saints…were raised.” This tells us three things: 1) These were only people of true faith, which leaves most people out. 2) Many is not all, so it wasn’t even all people of true faith. 3) Their bodies were raised, so they didn’t get new bodies, like we will in the final resurrections, which rules out anyone whose bodies had returned to dust.

    There’s another important, consideration that I think necessarily limits this resurrection to a relatively small number of people. There are no extra-Biblical accounts of this resurrection that I know of. If thousands of people all came back from the dead after years or centuries in their tombs, everyone in the Empire would have heard about it. It took many decades for the news of the resurrection of one man to circulate throughout the Roman world, but the resurrection of thousands would have been known everywhere within a single year. Pagan philosophers and historians would have devoted entire books to the event.

    That’s not proof-positive, which is why I wrote “probably only the very recently dead”, but it’s certainly convincing to me.

    I need to make a correction, though. They weren’t resurrected before he was buried. The tombs opened before he was buried, but their bodies only came out of the tombs after Yeshua did.

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