Hope in the Resurrection: By Terry Birkhoff
Can the most popular views about the resurrection in Christianity today really be true or does the resurrection bring greater hope than what is widely believed. Is this the only day of salvation like so many churches teach? Is one immediately resurrected into heaven upon death if they were saved and lived a life according to the Word? Today we are going to examine what the scriptures really say about the resurrection and dispel the narrative that if you are not saved today and have not accepted the Messiah as your Savior, then you are basically doomed to hell. Let’s examine the scripture to determine if anyone has ascended into heaven besides our Messiah. Do the scriptures indicate if Noah, Abraham or Moses had ascended into heaven. The answer to this question is found in John 3:13. “And no man has ascended into heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. This scripture clearly shows that no man has ascended into heaven except the Messiah; not even the patriarchs, Noah, Abraham or Moses. We also find there is another scripture in Job 14:12; “So a man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
So then, if one does not ascend into heaven or descend into hell upon one’s death then what happens at death? The scripture in the book of Job seems to liken death to sleep. Let’s examine this further to see how the bible defines death and if we can find similar comparisons.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Lazarus, and how Yeshua brought Lazarus back to life. Let’s pick up the story in John 11:11; “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” John then goes on to say in verse 13 that Yeshua spoke of his death: but the disciples thought that he had spoken of taking a rest. If you continue to read through verse 17, you will find that when Yeshua arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been dead for 4 days. Martha even said to Yeshua that if He would had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Interestingly, Martha said to the Messiah (John 11:24) “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” So, even Martha knew that there was a resurrection to come at a future time.
It is clear as you read through these scriptures that death is compared to sleep and when a man dies, he does not ascend to heaven or go to hell. What is the truth about the resurrection? When does the resurrection take place and do the scriptures refer to more than one resurrection? To answer these questions, we will begin in 1Thess 4:13-18. In verse 13; “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that Ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” Let’s go to verse 16; “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” As we continue in verse 17; “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…”The scriptures have once again confirmed that those who have died remain dead or asleep. We also are beginning to see how scripture defines the resurrection. An interesting verse to examine is verse 20 when Paul talks about Yeshua being the first of the first fruits; “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and became the firstfruits of them that slept.” So if Christ is the first of the firstfruits, then there must be other fruits and more than one resurrection. If we continue to read in verse 23, we find that every man has an order in which he will be resurrected. Let’s examine this further.
The Bible mentions three harvest seasons and three main feasts as outlined in Lev 23. Yaweh’s Feast and Holy days play out the resurrection as they fall within the 3 harvest seasons. Every time there is a harvest, there is a resurrection. As we compare various scriptures, this will become clear. It is critical that we understand the connection between the three harvest seasons, Yaweh’s feast days and the resurrections. For many times in scripture man is referred to as vegetation or trees. An example of this is in Psalm 1:3; And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season… Man is compared to a tree that brings forth fruit in his season. This demonstrates that there is a system of order that the Messiah works through. Everyone is not being called today nor is this the only day of judgement or salvation. Every man will be called in his order.
The first of the Mo’edims mentioned in scripture is in the Spring which is the barley harvest, representing the called out ones or the firstfruits manifested during Passover season (Exodus 23:14). The second harvest mentioned is the summer or wheat harvest corresponding to the Feast of Weeks. The third harvest is in the fall, the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16-17) when grapes, olives and other crops are harvested. We read earlier in 1 Corinthians 15 that Yeshua is considered the first of the firstfruits. We know that he was crucified and resurrected during Passover season. Yahweh had instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that when they came into the land to take a sheaf of the first fruits and wave it on the day after the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 23:10-11). Newly harvested grain could not be eaten until the first fruits of grain had been offered on the day after the Sabbath (Lev 23:9-14). The first fruits are being offered up to our Father just as this represents the Messiah being accepted to the Father after his resurrection. (Ask Linda explain)
Before we examine the remaining two resurrections that correlate to the two remaining festival seasons in Exodus 23:16-17, it is critical that we understand how our Father views time. When Yaweh refers to the end of the year, the Feast of ingathering, he calculates time differently than how the world keeps time today. We will review it briefly here, but for a more in depth look at this teaching on Time, please refer to Linda Watson’s teaching on 12tribehistory.com.
Yaweh’s year begins and ends with the Spring and Fall Festival seasons. His holy time of the year is the daylight portion of the year. He mentions in scripture that a day is like a year. So if we compare the day to the year, then February 21st, is the dawning of the day or year when light begins to shine through the darkness. March 21 is the spring equinox, when there is equal day and equal night, and the days begin to move towards more light than darkness, which pictures the 9:00 hour. June 21 is the summer Equinox (the longest day of the year) which represents the noon part of the day or the mid part of the year. At the fall equinox on Sept 23 (equal day/night), we approach the 3:00 pm hour when the days begin to shorten. At the end of Yaweh’s holy year, October 23 is twilght and the light begins to fade and the darkness begins to take over (shorter days and more darkness). Therefore, our Heavenly Father does His work 2/3 of the year (during His Festival season or spring, summer & fall) and the adversary does his 1/3 of the year during the winter or darkness Oct 23 – Feb 21). This is important to understand since our Father has designed everything to work in harmony as is being revealed as we examine the harvest, festival seasons and resurrections.
Now that we have an understanding of how Yaweh calculates time, we can continue to examine the remaining resurrections. The second harvest that is spoken of in the scripture is the Wheat harvest and comes at Pentecost. This is spoken of in Exodus 34:22: You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of ingathering at the year’s end. The count for Pentecost begins the day when the wave sheaf is waved, the morrow after the Sabbath. Seven weeks are counted and then the 50th day is Pentecost. To find out more about the real meaning of Pentecost, listen to Linda Watson’s teaching on her website.
To identify those that will come up in the 2nd resurrection and live and rein with Christ and his first fruits, let’s examine the vision that Ezekiel was given in Ezekiel 37:1-14. This scripture talks about the valley of dry bones and Ezekiel sees these bones that come to back to life again. As the bones are coming back to life and being put back together, His spirit is breathed in them, and they are able to hear the word of Yahweh (understand who he is at this point). Without our Father’s spirit, it is impossible to overcome. I would encourage you to read the entire
The identity of the dry bones are revealed in verse 11; “Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel” . . So then the wheat harvest is the second resurrection and the Whole House of Israel. If you read further through the verses, he is putting the two houses of Isreal back together again. It’s interesting to note that while both the barley and wheat is planted in the autumn and ripened in the spring, barley matures faster and would be harvested first. The barley ripens during the first week of unleavened bread and is harvested, then the wheat takes seven weeks and is harvested at Pentecost. The firstfruits are called to teach the second during those 1000 years. At Pentecost the total of the whole house of Israel is completed, representing the Jubilee year, the 50th day of Pentecost. One other verse that is interesting to note is Daniel 12:2. Daniel is being told that many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall wake to everlasting life and some to shame and ever lasting contempt (will be put back in the flesh – a contempt state).
In Luke 14:12-13, the Messiah talks about a feast and who should be invited. He talks about inviting the poor, the maimed and the blind. Israel is referred to as the poor, maimed and blind in Isaiah 43:8. I would encourage you to read the entire chapter of Isaiah 43 to get the full context. Jeremiah 2:3-4 also refers to the House of Israel and their families as being his holiness and first fruits of his increase.
To examine the 3rd and final resurrection, we will begin with the scripture in Revelation 20:4-5. Let’s pick up in verse 5 where it says, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished”. In the previous verse we can see that those who are in Yeshua’ and alive when He returns and those who have died in Yeshua will live and reign with Him a 1000 years. He wants the firstfruits involved in the conversion and teaching of others called at a later time. So, the Gentile nations (non-Israelite nations will come up towards the end of the 1000 years but will have a greater name & greater inheritance. This is talking about a third resurrection that happens at the end of Yaweh’s holy year, the Feast of Ingathering or Sukkoth. There are seven days of Sukkoth, then follows the Last great Day, a high holy day. To understand what the Last Great day represents we need to look closely at Rev 20:11. The great white throne judgement commemorates the festival season when finally all the dead will be judged according to their works.
Before we conclude this section, I want to talk about to talk about Rev 20:6. Those that take part in the first resurrection will be priests of Yaweh and will reign with the Messiah a 1,000 years. Another scripture you may want to review in context to what has been presented is Rev:7.
The story of Yahweh’s plan for mankind is an amazing story that is being played out in the resurrections, represented by the three harvest seasons and Yahweh’s Holy Days. This is why it is important to observe and keep the harvest feasts. Yahweh is revealing his plan for mankind through His festival seasons and we observe them, we get to know him and the Messiah and understand all that they represent.
In summary let’s go to Isaiah 65:17-24 to see the incredible things that the future shall bring. Our Father will create a new heaven and new earth and the former things shall not be remembered. He will cleanse our minds and bring forth a time when an infant & a man will live out their full days. He is talking about the beginning and ending of the millennial reign. There will be no more crying and hurt in all the land. Before we cry out to him he will already answer. This is the real hope and promise that our Creator has given not only to me and you but to all generations and family members.
Many men went to their graves never being called and their loved ones are left wondering when and if they will see them again. There is a time in the future when they will be called, and we know that Yahweh or our Father is the one that does the calling (Acts 2:39 & John 6:37-39).
As we began taking about the harvest seasons and Yaweh’s festivals, we mentioned that the Messiah has a system of order that He works through. We must come out of this false system that we have been steeped in and examine what the scriptures really say. There is much hope that lies in the coming resurrections and Yahweh’s mercy and love for His people are demonstrated through them.
I hope that this article has helped you gain a better appreciation for the harvest seasons and Yaweh’s festivals and the incredible things that lie ahead in our near future.Mail this post