It seems we have the resurrection in order.

However, my question is how and when are these categories of persons resurrected?

  1. Those who died under the Old Covenant
  2. Those who die in the New Covenant
  3. Those who are alive at the coming of Jesus. 1Thess 4:17
  4. The bible speaks of the Ressurection of the Souls beheaded for the gospel. Rev 20:4 -5

I desire answers that give an overview of major Christian positions regarding this question.

  • What text are you referring to when you say 'resurrection of the souls beheaded for the gospel' ? What text are you referring to that states different resurrections for a) and b) ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 13:30
  • Ill add that in the edit Commented May 13, 2021 at 20:01
  • 1
    This question needs to be scoped more accurately given the wide disparity of views in relation to the last days.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 21:32
  • Revelation 20:4-5 speaks of the souls of the beheaded, not their bodies. You have still presented no text for distinguishing a) and b).
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 21:33
  • Even though it says souls, Still it was called. "Ressurection " Commented May 13, 2021 at 23:13

3 Answers 3


Not all Christian denominations will agree with the following, but this is generally what is believed by those that accept the Bible as literal truth (except where it is obviously meant to be allegorical, hyperbolic, etc.).

The first general resurrection occurs at Christ's return. It is for those (a relatively small number) that have been saved, "the elect", whether dead or still alive: It is a spiritual resurrection to immortality, not a physical resurrection.

John 3:5–8:

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 15:51–52:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Thessalonians 4:16–18:

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Revelation 20:4–6:

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

The second resurrection occurs at the end of the Millennium. This is when all those that have died without an opportunity to be saved will be resurrected, still as physical mortals. They will have their first opportunity at salvation, living in the wonderful world that the Earth has become during the Millennium, being taught by the resurrected saints.

Then comes the final judgement.

The small number of people that knowingly rejected God's salvation will be burned to ashes, permanently destroyed. (Some think that this requires a third resurrection for these people.)

Revelation 20:12–15:

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. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Malachi 4:3

You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet …

Matthew 12:31–32:

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

  • This answer assumes a literal 1,000 years. The text of scripture is very clear in that the figure of 1,000 must be figurative. This answer supposes a 'second chance' to repent, before the end of time. Scripture makes no such unrighteous offer. This answer assumes annihilation rather than eternal torment, contrary to many scriptures.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 21:39
  • 2
    @NigelJ, Christianity is in complete contradiction to what most people believe. (e.g. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists). What does that have to do with anything? Commented May 13, 2021 at 21:40
  • 3
    @NigelJ, yes, it assumes a literal 1000 years, it in no way offers a second chance, and yes it does assume annihilation rather than eternal torment. God is not a psychopathic sadist, no matter how many denominations teach that doctrine. Commented May 13, 2021 at 21:42
  • 1
    So you admit that 'many' Christian denominations disagree with your answer. Therefore the question needs to be scoped accordingly.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 21:43
  • 1
    @Indigo, "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, …" — Zechariah 14:4. Commented May 15, 2021 at 0:56

The order most evangelical churches believe is as follows:

(I am eliminating temporary resurrections in which cases those resurrected died again, except for the resurrection of the unjust):

  1. Christ
  2. The joint-body of Christ ( under the New Covenant)
  3. The resurrection of the just Israel under the Old Covenant) and great tribulation martyrs
  4. The resurrection of the unjust ( to appear at The Great White Throne)

Some evangelicals include the "making alive" of those condemned at the GWT at the Consummation following the New Heaven and Earth (I Corinthians 15:20-28), which I also believe).

Many Catholic and Protestant groups put number 2 with number 3, at the same event, but this view is not supported by Scripture due to the contradictions in the Word introduced by that belief

Most evangelicals believe that the resurrection of those mentioned in Revelation 20:4,5 as looking forward to the resurrection of the just, and not a separate event.

  • This question explicitly asks for “those (resurrections) who died under the Old Covenant”.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 21:29
  • I will edit to make it clearer. I did mention Israel, the only ones under the old covenant. The question also includes other groups). Commented May 23, 2021 at 21:51

What is the Order of the Resurrection of the Dead?

The majority of Christians (Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and many more) will conform that the Order of the Resurrection of the Dead is as follows:

  • Resurrection of the widow’s son in Zarephath (1 Kgs 17:17–22)
  • Resurrection of the Shunammite’s son (2 Kgs 4:18–37)
  • Resurrection of the man thrown into Elisha’s grave (2 Kgs 13:20)
  • Resurrection of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:41)
  • Resurrection of the young man at Nain (Luke 7:14)
  • Resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:38–44)
  • Resurrection of unknown saints during the crucifixion (Matt 27:52–53)
  • Resurrection of Christ (Matt 28:1-6)
  • Resurrection of Tabitha/Dorcas (Acts 9:36–42)
  • Resurrection of Eutychus (Acts 20:7–12)
  • Resurrection of the Two Witnesses (Rev 11:7–11)
  • Resurrection of Old Testament Saints and Martyrs (Revelation 20:4)
  • Final Resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18) (John 5:28-29)
  • Resurrection of the Wicked (Revelation 20:5)

Different Christian denominations may interpret these passages differently, but as far as the Scriptures speak this is the order of resurrections according to Sacred Scriptures.


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