Summary: What is our hope? For the Israelites it was for a Messiah, their nation seemed to be constantly under attack. We now have a Messiah, and we are still under constant attack form the enemy, so what do we hope for now?
When Jesus was born into the world at the first Christmas, the beginning of the prophecy of hope was fulfilled, Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Now did you know that our greatest hope now as believers is really in the final judgment that he brings upon the earth? Why do I say that? Because the eternal life we have in Jesus is going to be lived on the earth, when the new heaven and earth are introduced after the first have passed away. In other words God is going to recreate something like the original heaven and earth that existed before sin and the flood and all of that. The one we were originally created for. Somehow when we die before he comes again we will be in his presence spiritually, but we will be waiting for this new physical creation.
But if we look at Revelation 20, there are two resurrections. The first resurrection is for believers and occurs during the millennial reign of Christ and is not a physical resurrection but a spiritual one. How do we know this? Because there is no physical place for us to live with Christ until the New Jerusalem is brought down to the new earth in Revelation 21, after the battle of Armageddon.
That is where we will dwell physically with Jesus in our resurrection bodies and there will be no death, or pain, or tears and so on. The Word says that those who participate in the first resurrection, which would include what we consider the rapture, will not experience the second death, which happens when the second resurrection takes place at Jesus second coming.
The second resurrection is strictly for unbelievers and only takes place so that the unbelieving people can be judged and experience the second death, which is being thrown into the lake of fire with Satan. Whether that’s literal or not. It is a place of torment separated from God.
So, Jesus Christ is the final authority and that is what we base our hope on (vv 19-21)
Verse 21 says that the Father raises the dead and gives them life, and the son gives life to those whom he will, the Son is equal to the Father. That relates to the first resurrection, because the second resurrection does not give life. It also says the Father has given all judgement to the Son, so when Jesus returns:
Grace ends and Judgment begins (22-24). Remember a few chapters ahead in John 12 Jesus says I have not come (this first time), to judge the world, but to save it. So Jesus does not seem to have the authority to bring judgment until he has been resurrected.
But here in verse 22 it says the Father has given all judgment to the Son that all may honor both the Son and the Father. He has the authority to judge when he comes the first time, but not to deliver the ultimate judgment upon the earth. The first time is to save, the second is to execute the judgment.
And what is the criteria for this judgment? Is it our deeds? No, it says right there in verse 24 with emphasis, “truly I say to you, anyone who hears my words, and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment (the second death), but has passed from death to life”.