The Bible clearly teaches more than one resurrection. There is a resurrection to life and a resurrection to judgment. Many of the COGs teach a third resurrection. While the terms “second resurrection” and “third resurrection” are not found in the Bible, Rev 20 clearly teaches a “first resurrection” and that “the rest of the dead” are not resurrected until after Christ’s Millennial rule.
It seems that James Malm in “Three Mass Resurrections?” wants to misrepresent that teaching, as he has done so many others.
Herbert W Armstrong taught that there would be three mass resurrections of humanity: Frst the resurrection to spirit of the first fruits; second the resurrection of the Main Harvest of humanity; Third, a resurrection of the incorrigably wicked to be then thrown into the fire of damnation.
So far, so good. That in a nutshell is what HWA taught. However, he follows this up with:
Consider this: If a person were to be uncalled and wicked and to die once in that state, he might then have a part in the main resurrection and given his first chance to understand. If he were then to utterly reject God and to die a second time, he would now have died twice. If he were to be then resurrection a second time and then immediately thrown into the fire of damnation; he would be dying a third time.
Yet, he seems evasive (big surprise!) when it comes to pointing out where HWA (or, anyone else for that matter) states or writes that someone brought up in the second resurrection actually dies and then is brought up yet again. Once again, he quotes some unnamed “direct representative of HWA”, but not anything HWA actually wrote! Oddly, he is sticking to his works of fiction even after being confronted about them.
Can you represent the truth while spreading lies about others? John wrote that truth and lies do not mix.
21I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
~1Jn 2:21 (KJV)
What did HWA teach about the third resurrection? Did he teach that everyone would be raised up in the second resurrection, die a second time, be raised again and die a third time in the Lake of Fire? What do many of the offshoots teach? What follows is just a sampling.
COMMENT: Mortals naturally die once, because we just “wear out” (Heb. 9:27). But if anyone dies the second death, that individual will have been judged by God to be guilty of persistent disobedience and incorrigible rebellion. The second death will be for all eternity!
~ Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, L06 (1983). p 10.
Abraham and Lazarus will have already inherited eternal life in God’s Kingdom (Matt. 25:34). They will have been immortal for over 1,000 years BEFORE the wicked rich man is resurrected [emphasis mine] to be burned in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:4-5, 13-15). Until then, the rich man will have been dead in his grave, having no consciousness of the passing of time (Eccl. 9:5).
~ibid. p 14.
In other words, “ALL” are not resurrected during the second resurrection. The third resurrection is reserved for those who rejected Christ’s calling now in this age.
Jesus gave enough examples of people living at widespread times to prove that most [emphasis mine, “most” but not “all”] of humanity will be brought back to life at the same time on this earth [in the second resurrection]. There will be pre-Flood men and women, all 12 tribes of Israel, those who lived during the Middle Ages and the vast majority living now.
Even babies and children who died untimely deaths will be resurrected. They will all rise in the second resurrection because they had not been called by God during their first lifetime [emphasis mine].
This group includes all people of all times except [notice there are exceptions!] those who will have already been born of God, and those relatively few people who already had their opportunity to receive eternal life, but deliberately rejected it and sinned willfully. Those few will be resurrected in the third and final resurrection [i.e., not in the second], and they will be destroyed in the lake of fire (Rev.
~ Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, L31 (1987). p 7.
3. How long will this period of judgment last? Isa. 65:20.
COMMENT: This verse strongly indicates that those resurrected then will live for 100 years, no matter how old they were when they died. Further, it indicates that the child (of God) will, at the end of this period, be changed-the fleshly cells of the body will die as the person puts on immortality. (This death of the physical cells of the body also occurs to Christians who are alive at Christ’s Second Coming. They, too, die-but do not sleep the sleep of death; they are in the “twinkling of an eye” changed to immortality.) The wicked sinner at the end of the 100 years will be under a curse-will die in the lake of fire.
~ ibid. p 11.
There is no indication that the resurrected person will die again only to be resurrected yet a second time to die a third death.
2. After 100 years of testing, will those few who remain stubbornly rebellious be accursed? Isa. 65:20. What does the Apostle John see happening immediately after the final period of testing is over? Rev. 20:13-15.
COMMENT: This is the third resurrection. It will occur after all who can be saved are saved. All of the wicked who have knowingly rejected God’s way and died in their sins will be raised to physical life. Their attitudes will be evident. No one will ever claim these people were unjustly condemned. None of them will repent. They will appear before the
judgment seat of Christ to receive their penalty — extinction in the lake of fire. This will be their second death. They will never again be resurrected.
~ ibid. p 14.
Notice those who are still alive (not dead) after the 100 years are “accursed”. They are then thrown into the Lake of Fire.
The third resurrection is clearly indicated for no other reason than it is absolutely logical. Think about it for a moment. Clearly there are people who have been given the Holy Spirit from Creation to the present. These are the firstfruits the Bible speaks of. These are the more than 3000 who were baptized in Acts 2 and the beginning of God’s church. Now along the way, certain people, having that Holy Spirit rejected God and their calling…they fell away from the Salvation Process. Some have committed the unpardonable sin by bringing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. These people have their fate, the Lake of Fire. Clearly many of these people are already dead and merely awaiting the Lake of Fire. There is no repentance for these people and there is no second chance at Salvation. No one ever gets a second chance. Once given the truth via the Holy Spirit and entering the Salvation Process, they have their ONE chance. Now, if a person has committed the unpardonable sin and/or rejected their calling and their God AND are lying in the grave, where does God resurrect them?
Can it be the first resurrection with the firstfruits at the return of Christ? Hardly.
Can it be the second resurrection which is for all the billions who never knew Christ and/or never had the Holy Spirit? No way. The second resurrection is ONLY for those who never had the truth and never had the Holy Spirit. Those rejecting their calling and/or bringing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit DID have truth and the Holy Spirit. Clearly they will not be resurrected into new physical bodies to live out 100 years learning the truth and having the Holy Spirit. Why would God give His Holy Spirit to someone who has already rejected it?
So when the 1st and 2nd resurrections are done there MUST, by definition and spiritual logic, still be some bodies in the ground!!
The Intercontinental Church of God was founded by Garner Ted Armstrong, son of HWA.
THERE IT IS! In plain language! The experience of Lazarus and the rich man shows the RESURRECTION from the dead–not an instantaneous going to “heaven” or “hell.” It is a resurrection from THE DEAD–not from life. It shows MORTALITY which dies, and is DEAD not immortality which never loses consciousness and lives forever in an eternal punishing of the imaginary “hell.” Jesus was showing a RESURRECTION–or bringing back to life of one who was DEAD–of one who had no consciousness whatever of the lapse of centuries and millenniums since his death.
Far from illustrating immortality of the soul and the lurid eternally burning torture of Dante’s fabled “hell,” Jesus illustrates DEATH–total UNCONSCIOUSNESS thru the centuries,–RESURRECTION from death and restoration of consciousness,–and, finally, the SECOND DEATH in the lake of fire that shall totally destroy the wicked in which they PERISH and become ashes under the soles of the feet of the saved–the eternal punishment of DEATH–eternal DEATH–the SECOND death!
~ HWA. Lazarus and the Rich Man.
Notice what HWA taught here. There was no intermediate resurrection for the rich man. He already knew the truth. He was resurrected purely for the purpose of punishment in the Lake of Fire. He died twice, not three times.
Now back to Revelation 20. Verses 13 to 15 indicate that there will then be a last final resurrection of the incorrigible who have rejected the eternal salvation offered them. They, with any such living at the end of the Millennium, will then die the second death – utter extinction – in the lake of fire; described by Peter as the face of the earth becoming a molten mass.
~ HWA. The Incredible Human Potential. Chapter 12, “Is There Life After Death?”
Again, HWA uses the term “second death”, just as the Bible does.
Now continuing in Revelation 20, notice in verse 13 that the remaining dead are raised in a third resurrection and are judged “according to their works.” These are the wicked who were called in this life and who rebelled. Verse 14 continues, “And death and hell [hades, the grave] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Here is a plain statement revealing that Gehenna, or the lake of fire, IS the SECOND DEATH
~ Meredith, Roderick C. To Hell and Back. Part 3, “HELL Man Idea versus the Bible”
Dr Meredith in this third of three articles that appeared in The Plain Truth emphasizes the “in this life” portion of the statement of whom is raised up at the third resurrection. Notice also how it is the “remaining dead” that are raised.
So, where are the statements that someone dies a third death? Nowhere but in Malm’s mind.