The Bible speaks of only two resurrections besides the resurrection of the dead by Jesus Christ. The two passages that make this the most clear are I Corinthians 15:12-49 and Revelation 20:1-6.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. [2] And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, [3] and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Rev. 20:1-6 (ESV)

[4] Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. [5] The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Revelation chapter 20 gives us a further definition of the overcomer Christians who are first identified in Revelation 2-3. If you will review Christ’s letters to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3 you will see that he commends a group of people in each church that he calls the overcomers. Jesus praises his people in each corresponding church for the following things: 1) good works, toil, patient endurance, abhorrence of those who are evil, testing and proving those who call themselves apostles, keeping their first love, and repentance, 2) enduring under conditions of tribulation, poverty, slander, imprisonment, and torture, 3) continuing in faith even in the midst of martyrdom, refusing to hold to the teaching of Balaam, refusing to eat food sacrificed to idols (which means refusing to participate in false doctrine and false religion), avoiding sexual immorality, and refusing to hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans (which is the clergy-laity distinction practiced in most churches that has created thousands of individual “popes”), 4) practicing love, faith, service, patient endurance, good works, refusing to tolerate the woman Jezebel, refusing to tolerate the Jezebel (feminist) teachings of sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols, and refusing to learn and study the deep things of Satan, 5) hearing, remembering, and keeping the word of God, awakening from spiritual slumber, and keeping oneself pure from the defilements of the world, 6) keeping Christ’s word and refusing to deny his name even in the face of small spiritual power, patient endurance, and holding fast Christ’s word, 7) fervency for the Lord and his truth, humility, lack of hypocrisy, walking daily with Christ and expecting him to meet all of one’s spiritual needs. In Revelation 20 we also see that Christ commends those who 1) were martyred for their steadfast testimony of him and his word, 2) who refused to worship the beast or its image, and 3) who refused to take the mark of the beast upon their heads or their hands.

Jesus says that the following rewards belong to each of the overcomers described above: 1) they will eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God, 2) they will not be hurt by the second death, 3) they will receive the hidden manna, the white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows except the person who receives it, 4) they will be given authority over the nation’s, they will rule with a rod of iron, and they will receive the Morning Star, 5) they will be clothed in white garments, their names will always remain written in the book of life, and Christ himself will confess their names before his Father and his angels, 6) Christ will make each overcomer a pillar in the temple of God so that he always remains in the presence of God, he will write upon that person the name of God, the name of the city of God which is the new Jerusalem, and his own new name, and 7) he will grant each person the authority to sit with him on his throne. Revelation 20 adds that the second death has no power over the overcomers and that they will rule with Christ for 1000 years.

In reviewing these rewards we clearly see the identification of the overcomers with Christ himself. The identification that we noticed regarding the laying on of hands we now see in full fruition. This is the calling of all God’s people, but Jesus makes it clear that only certain ones will attain to this high stature, at least in time to participate in the first resurrection. The goal of each person, then, should be to become an overcomer. Ultimately an overcomer is one who has made God his refuge and has entered His rest. Hebrews exhorts us to strive to enter God’s rest and teaches throughout its pages that disobedience to God will cause us to fail to enter it. See Hebrews 4:11. The Bible itself, rather than being a book written to bring people to spiritual salvation by faith in Christ, was written to bring God’s people to the salvation of their souls by faith in Christ i.e. to make them into overcomers. The fulfillment of its purpose brings people into the image of God. This final image and identification with the Son of God himself explains why he calls us elohim.

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