"...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.." (Philippians 3: 10, 11NKJV)
In the New Testament there is a great difference between what is called the "resurrection of the dead" and the "resurrection from the dead."
This difference inprepositionsis not insignificant and is more clearly seen in the way the two different phrases are written and expressed in the Greek. What is that difference?
J. R. Graves said - "In all passages which refer to the indiscriminate resurrection of the dead it is "en anastasis ton nekron," the resurrection of the dead; but when the resurrection of the righteous is alluded to, it is "ex ton nekron," the resurrection from or out of the dead. That the preposition from is never used when the resurrection of the wicked is spoken of. I refer the reader to Acts 17: 23; 23: 6; 24: 21; I Cor. 15: 12, 13, 21, 42."
"Sometimes the preposition ex is prefixed to resurrection, when referring to the resurrection of Christ and believers, but never of that of sinners."
Of the passage in Philippians 3: 11Graves said:
"This is a conclusive passage. Paul gave as a reason why he was so willing to labor and suffer for Christ: "if by any means I may attain the resurrection out from among the dead."
"He could not have referred to a general resurrection here, since he could not possibly escape that, but this special resurrection of the just, so as to enjoy its peculiar blessedness; for "blessed and holy is he that hath part in the firstresurrection, for over such the second death hath no power," clearly implying that it will have power over all who rise in the second and last." (See this passage at the end of this lesson)
"Paul labored with his eye constantly upon this coming event-i.e., a resurrection from out of the dead-that he might be among those who had part in the "first resurrection."
Christ's Resurrection was Eclectic
"...that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from (or out from among) the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26: 23NKJV)
"...and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from (or out from among) the dead." (Romans 1: 4NKJV)
When Jesus was resurrected, all the dead were notresurrected with him. He therefore "came out from among" the dead, implying, that the others were not resurrected, his resurrection being special, or eclectic or selective.
The Greek prefix "ek" or "ex" literally denotes a selection or the removal ofsomething from a group, taking some butleaving some too. For instance, I take "out from among" a barrel of apples a single apple; that selectionimplies that some apples in the group are not taken. Such was the resurrection of Jesus. Such will be the resurrection of believers, called the "resurrection of the just," in contrast to the "resurrection of the unjust" (Acts 24: 15NKJV).
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him athousand years. And when the thousand years are expired...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." (Revelation 20: 1-7, 11-15KJV)
"But now Christ is risen from (or out from among) 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 (no Greek preposition here, so it is different from the preceding) the dead(both just and unjust). For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power." (I Corinthians 15: 20-24NKJV)
There are three separate resurrections mentioned in this passage, which three resurrections are mentioned in various Old and New Testament passages.
There is the (1)resurrection of Christ, and (2) the resurrection of those denominated as "just," and (3) the resurrection of those denominated as "unjust." We have the order, rank, and chronology of these three separate, distinct andselective resurrections; each is specialandeclective.
"But each in his own order" (NKJV)
"But each in his own turn" (NIV)
"But each in his own rank" (Darby Translation)
Christ is of the "first rank" in regard tohis resurrection. Believers are of the next "order" and "rank," they constituting those who will be resurrected upon the return of Christ, when they are raised in the "first resurrection," and who are therefore the "blessed" and the "holy." Their special eclectic resurrection is next in "turn."
"Then comes the end..." End of what? Of several things; After the resurrection of the just, after the 1000 year reign of Christ, the "rest of the dead," who were left in their graveswhen the just were resurrected, and who are the cursed and the unholy, will be last resurrected.
The "last" or the "end" is also the finalresurrection. If there is a "first" resurrection, then there is a "second," and if there is a "beginning" resurrection, then there is an "ending" resurrection too. There is no third or fourthresurrection, for the "second resurrection" will be the "last" or "end" resurrection.
Friend, whichresurrection will you have a part?What is your "rank" or "order"?