Today's Foundations Devotional: Two categories of people who will come forth to the resurrection of life
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were
opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the
dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were
written in the books.
Yesterday we read John's description of the dead being judged. Among all these, however, Scripture indicates that there will be at least two categories of people who will come forth to the resurrection of life and not of condemnation.
One such category includes people such as the queen of the South (Sheba) and the men of Nineveh referred to by Jesus.
The queen of the South will rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here (Luke 11:31-32).
In each of these examples it is clear that the men of this generation (who rejected the mercy offered them through Jesus) will rise up (be resurrected) for the judgement of condemnation. Together with them, however, two groups will be resurrected who will receive mercy at the judgement: the queen of the South and the men of Nineveh.
Unlike the saints of the old covenant, these two groups were not granted a revelation of Christ’s atoning sacrifice – foreshadowed in type and in prophecy – in which they could trust for salvation. Consequently they will not be included in the resurrection of those who are Christ’s at His coming. They did, however, respond in faith to the limited measure of light that came to them. At the close of the millennium, therefore, they will be delivered from condemnation and enter into the resurrection of life.
Will there be others in the same category as the queen of the South and the men of Nineveh? If so, who? And how many? The answers to these questions can come only from the omniscience of God Himself. One thing, however, is certain: Those who have heard and rejected the gospel of Christ have forever shut themselves off from the mercy of God.
A second category of people who will be delivered from condemnation at the final resurrection will be the righteous who have died during Christ’s millennial reign on earth.
Concerning this millennial period, we find the following prophetic account in Isaiah.
No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed (65:20).
The picture here given by Isaiah of life on Earth during the millennium indicates that though the span of human life will be greatly extended, nevertheless both the righteous and the sinner will still be subject to death. From this we may conclude that the righteous who die during the millennium will be resurrected at its close but will not be subject to God’s judgement upon the unrighteous who are to be resurrected at the same time.
Lord Jesus, what a wonderful, eternally powerful sacrifice You made when
You died for humanity and conquered death through Your resurrection. I
pray, Lord, that many millions will still hear and accept that message in