What about the first and second resurrections?
I must be missing something here but I just have a few questions regarding our resurrection when we die to eternal life with God and the resurrection of those who died before Christ. If the first resurrection only pertains to those who were martyred for Christ and the second only involves those who worked for Rome, where does that leave those who died prior to Christ and where does that leave us in the grand scheme of eternal life? This is puzzling me.
Your question is not clear. It seeks answers to questions regarding 1) our [who is meant by “our”] resurrection when we [presumably the “our”] die to eternal life with God and 2) the resurrection of those who died before Christ. Then the question adds two groups: 1) the first resurrection that only pertains to those who were martyred for Christ and 2) the second [resurrection] that only involves those who worked for Rome. [The question does not identify the source of the comments about either those in the first resurrection or the second resurrection which makes it impossible to comment on either group or the correctness of the identity of either group.] The question concludes about how that [without identifying whether “that” refers to one or both of the resurrections, one or both of the groups, or to something else altogether] leaves us [presumably the “our” earlier mentioned] in the grand scheme of eternal life.
One passage that comes to mind is John 4:25-29: “25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Verse 24 speaks of a resurrection of the spiritually dead that “NOW IS,” i.e., was present when Jesus was speaking. Then with similar language in verses 28-29 Jesus spoke of a final judgment associated with the resurrection of the physically dead. The first resurrection does not refer to the resurrection of the body but to the resurrection from spiritual death to spiritual life. It relates to the resurrection of the body to be reunited with the soul and admission into the presence of God only in the sense that one cannot arise to be with God without being raised to walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:3-4.
Comment can be made on the resurrection of those who died before Christ. If they lived according to God’s will as revealed to them in the patriarchal age or the Mosaic age, the blood of Christ will flow back to them, provide them forgiveness, and they will be raised with all others at the final resurrection and admitted to Glory.
As for the first resurrection and the second resurrection in the Book of Revelation, see our notes here.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)