Biblical Eschatology

A Biblical study of eschatology and the pre-tribulational & post-tribulational rapture views of the end times.

The Resurrection

Christians use the word rapture in regards to The Resurrection, however, rapture is not a technical term in the New Testament. For instance, if it was, then the "rapture" debate would be closed based on Jude 1:23. It states, "save others by snatching [rapturing] (harpazo ἁρπάζοντες) them out of the fire..."

On the other hand, ἀνάστασις (anastasis) the Greek word for Resurrection is a technical term in the New Testament. This is proven by the fact that when anastasis is used in reference to the resurrection on the last day, no other information is required to define what topic is being discussed.

Matthew 22:23 NASB
23On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν]) came to Jesus and questioned Him,
In verse 23, no other description on what type of "anastasis" is mentioned. But, since it is a technical term no additional description was required. All readers knew Matthew was speaking of the resurrection of the dead on the last day. Also with verse 23 there was no Greek article used with anastasis. The reason for this is because the topic is called back in verse 28, 30 and 31. This is common in Greek for the first occurrence to not have an article, followed by subsequent references having an article, to call back to the reader that they are still talking about the same thing.

All uses of anastasis in the New Testament is a reference to either the resurrection of the just, the resurrection of the unjust, or the resurrection of Jesus. The only exception is Hebrews 11:35, where raising from the dead generally is compared to the "better" resurrection, to contrast the two.

Colossians 1:18 NASB
18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
Revelation 1:5 NASB
5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-
Acts 26:23 ESV
23that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise [be resurrected ἀναστάσεως] from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
Acts 26:23 is a key verse that is commonly overlooked, and generally not well translated. The NET and ESV both similarly translate it and most accurately. Obviously others have risen from the dead, such as the widow of Zarephath's son (1 Kings 17:17-24); The Shunammite woman's son (2 Kings 4:18-37); The man raised from grave by touching Elisha (2 Kings 13:21); The widow of Nain's son (Luke 7:11-15), Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:52-55); Lazarus of Bethany (John 11:1-46); Tabitha (Acts 9:36-41); and Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12).

Therefore, Luke is not talking about people rising from the dead generally. Instead he is speaking of being resurrected, which is a theme throughout the New Testament. This theme is also echoed in Revelation 1:5 and Colossians 1:18 which both say that Jesus was the "firstborn from the dead."

The phrase πρῶτος ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν in Acts 26:23, πρῶτος is nominative and ἀναστάσεως is genitive. Therefore, the proper translation is "the first to be resurrected from the dead."

For this reason, the event described in Matthew 27:51-53 was also not considered a resurrection. This also means that Elijah and Enoch were not resurrected.

2 Timothy 2:18 ESV
18men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection [τὴν ἀνάστασιν] has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
Notice, Paul doesn't not specify which resurrection he is referring to. Obviously, Jesus had already been resurrected, which proves that anastasis without qualifiers, references the resurrection of the dead. Also why wasn't the debate, "that the rapture already took place?" The answer, because rapture is not a technical term that was used by the early Church, resurrection was.

Acts 24:21 NASB
21other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, 'For the resurrection [anastasis - ἀναστάσεως] of the dead I am on trial before you today.'"
Acts 23:6 NASB
6But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection [anastasis - ἀναστάσεως] of the dead!"
Acts 24:15 NASB
15having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
In verse 15 here, "the righteous and the wicked" δικαίων τε καὶ ἀδίκων is an enumeration, since δικαίων and ἀδίκων are in the same case and separated by καὶ. As with all enumerations, each list item is equal to the subject of the enumeration, which here is ἀνάστασιν. Also ἀνάστασιν is singular, not plural. Therefore, this could be translated as "there will be one resurrection of the just and one resurrection of the wicked."

In verse 15 Paul said his hope was the resurrection, not the harpazo. Why would this be so if the harpazo is imminent and could happen at any time? Shouldn't this mean that the harpazo was his hope? The logical explanation is that all believers are resurrected, the living, and the dead. This was the mystery Paul reveals.

In the New Testament ἀνάστασις (anastasis) is never plural in its Greek form, ever! This is significant! Pre-trib teaches that there will be multiple resurrections of the righteous. In Acts 24:15 Paul uses ἀνάστασιν, which is the accusative singular form of anastasis. If there is more than one resurrection of the just or unjust, Paul is using terrible Greek grammar, and instead should have used ἀναστάσεις, which is accusative plural. Therefore, if it is translated literally it would say "that there shall certainly be one resurrection of the righteous and one resurrection of the wicked."
Revelation 20:5-6 NASB
5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection [ἡ ἀνάστασις ἡ πρώτη]. 6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection [ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῇ πρώτῃ]; 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.
The Greek phrase ἡ ἀνάστασις ἡ πρώτη translated as "the First Resurrection" has been downplayed by pretribulationists as having no significance. However, the phrase is very significant. The Greek word here πρώτη (protos), is equivalent to our word "first."

BDAG, the most respected lexicon used for understanding the Greek words found in the Bible, defines πρῶτος (protos) as:

1) pert. to be first in a sequence, inclusive of time, set (number), or space, first.
2) pert. to prominence, first, foremost, most important, most prominent.

For πρώτη (protos) in Revelation 20:5, BDAG assigns it to the second meaning. Being first in order. If we assigned protos to the second category, it wouldn't make any logical sense. This would mean that the resurrection in Revelation 20:5 was considered by Jesus as the best or most important resurrection. But if there is a pre-trib resurrection, what makes this post-trib resurrection better than the pre-trib one? This would then also be saying that this post-trib resurrection was better than the Resurrection of Jesus, but to say that would be heresy! As 1 Corinthians 15:14 points out, "and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." How could any event ever be better than Christ being resurrected from the dead? For without that, we have no hope!

Therefore, the only valid translation is the first of two or more events. This fits both what is taught in scripture and the grammar. Since the Greek word for resurrection ἀνάστασις, is never plural in the New Testament, this cannot be a reference to multiple resurrections each referred to as the first. The concept of only two resurrections is confirmed by Luke.

Here are the references in the New Testament where anastasis refers to the resurrection of the dead.
Matthew 22:28 NASB
28"In the resurrection [anastasis - τῇ ἀναστάσει], therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her."
Matthew 22:30 NASB
30"For in the resurrection [anastasis - τῇ ἀναστάσει] they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Matthew 22:31 NASB
31"But regarding the resurrection [anastasis - τῆς ἀναστάσεως] of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God:
Mark 12:18 NASB
18Some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν]) came to Jesus, and began questioning Him, saying,
Mark 12:23 NASB
23"In the resurrection [anastasis - τῇ ἀναστάσει], when they rise again, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her."
Luke 2:34 NASB
34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise [resurrection] [ἀνάστασιν] of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed-
Luke 14:14 NASB
14and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection [anastasis - τῇ ἀναστάσει] of the righteous."
Luke 20:27 NASB
27Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν]),
Luke 20:33 NASB
33"In the resurrection [anastasis - τῇ ἀναστάσει] therefore, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her."
Luke 20:35 NASB
35but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection [anastasis - τῆς ἀναστάσεως] from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
Luke 20:36 NASB
36for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection [anastasis - τῆς ἀναστάσεως].
John 5:28-29 NASB
28"Do not marvel at this; for an hour [ὥρα] is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς], those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως].
John 11:24 NASB
24Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection [anastasis - τῇ ἀναστάσει] on the last day [ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ]."
Notice that in verse 24, anastasis has the article. Martha was referring back to what Jesus said earlier in John 6:39-54.
John 11:25-26 NASB
25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection [anastasis - ἡ ἀνάστασις] and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Acts 4:2 NASB
2being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection [anastasis - τὴν ἀνάστασιν] from the dead.
Acts 17:18 NASB
18And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection [anastasis - τὴν ἀνάστασιν].
Acts 17:32 NASB
32Now when they heard of the resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν] of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this."
This is a theme throughout the early Church, that they continually taught the resurection from the dead on the last day. But why would they be teaching the resurection and not the rapture?
Acts 23:8 NASB
8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασιν], nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
Romans 1:4 NASB
4who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection [anastasis - ἀναστάσεως] from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Romans 6:4-5 NASB
4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection [anastasis - τῆς ἀναστάσεως],
1 Corinthians 15:12-13 NASB
12Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασις] of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασις] of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 NASB
20But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection [anastasis - ἀνάστασις] of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:42 NASB
42So also is the resurrection [anastasis - ἡ ἀνάστασις] of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
The second most popular passage in the Bible used to prove a pre-trib rapture is 1 Corinthians 15. But did Paul call this event the rapture or the harpazo? Nope, he never once uses the word. On the other hand he does use anastasis (resurrection), over and over again.
Hebrews 6:1-2 NASB
11Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection [anastasis - ἀναστάσεώς] of the dead and eternal judgment.
The resurrection included one of the most disputed doctrines of their day, but look what is missing, the rapture.
Hebrews 11:35 NIV
35Women received back their dead, raised [anastasis - ἀναστάσεως] to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection [anastasis - ἀναστάσεως].
Verse 35a is a reference to those who had been raised from the dead, but only to die again. Above I listed those who had risen from the dead. Verse 35b contrasts this temporal resurrection with the permanent resurrection, in which when you are raised you live forever and can't die again. This is why they call this "The better resurrection." Note, neither instances of anastasis in this passage have an article. That is because the writer is expressing that these are two completely different things. Verse 35a is the only verse in the New Testament where anastasis does not refer to Jesus or the final resurrection of the dead on the last day.

Additional references solely to the resurrection of Jesus that have not yet been covered; Acts 1:22 τῆς ἀναστάσεως, Acts 2:31 τῆς ἀναστάσεως, Acts 4:33 τῆς ἀναστάσεως, Philippians 3:10 τῆς ἀναστάσεως, 1 Peter 1:3 ἀναστάσεως, and 1 Peter 3:21 ἀναστάσεως.

We Are Not Appointed to Wrath

The Timing of the Rapture

The Testimony and Parables of Jesus

Does apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refer to the rapture?

The Church Not Found In Revelation

The Resurrection

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, New Doctrine or Just a Clarification?

Who Escapes What in Revelation 3:10?

Imminence Refuted

John 14 - In My Fathers House

Harpazo the Greek Word for Rapture

Behold! I tell you what mystery means

The Dead in Christ & Tribulation Saints

Andy Woods

Revelation is NOT Chronological

Is the Holy Spirit the Restrainer?

What I believe - Day of the Lord Timeline

Understanding Zechariah 14

Blasted Hope or Blessed Hope?

Understanding Greek Pronouns and Their Importance

The Comfort Given by Paul

The Rapture in Revelation 7, Part 1

The Rapture in Revelation 7, Part 2

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