The firstfruits of them that slept

1 Corinthians 15:20 KJVS
[20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

There is a common misconception shared by a large portion of Christianity regarding death and the disposition of souls after death. First of all dead means just that, you are dead and lack any conscious awareness, Eccl 9:5&6. There is a specific order assigned to those who are to be resurrected from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:22-26 KJVS
[22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. [25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The order of resurrections, which involves large groups of people, are the first resurrection of the just and unjust, Mt 25:34, 41, and the second general resurrection of the white throne judgment, Re 20:11-14. The dead know nothing and their souls are in a sleep state, Eccl 9:5&6, Job 17-13-16, until resurrected into a body. In Revelation it mentions souls under the altar in heaven.

Revelation 6:11 KJVS
[11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be Revelation 6:9-11 KJVS
[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were , should be fulfilled.

A good deal of the Christian peoples of the world think that when they die, they do not pass go, and they either go directly to heaven or hell. If you do a word study on the word “resurrection” in the bible you will see the word is only used in the New Testament. That is because the resurrection is completely dependent upon the messiah, Jesus Christ, 1 Co 15:22-25, who is Abraham’s seed, Gal 2:29. You can ascertain some of what Jewish people believed in, while Jesus walked the earth, from the different accounts given in the gospels. Of course what Jesus states presents sound doctrine. The Sadducees presented Jesus a question trying to trip him up if you will, Lk 20:27-35. It is a rather a involved question regarding seven brothers marrying the same woman in succession following each one’s death and not producing a child during their various union. This invented situation was geared to ask just one question. In the resurrection whose wife would the woman be. Jesus answer is as follows.

Luke 20:34-35 KJVS
[34] And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: [35] But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

Let us take a look at verse 35 using a literal translation of the bible. Bear with me as this is relevant to the next point I am about to make.

Lk 20:35 Yet those deemed worthy to happen upon that eon and the resurrection from among the dead are neither marrying nor taking out in marriage. CLV

This scripture agrees in part with Col 1:12, and it is referring to the first resurrection of those, who will partake of the inheritance of Abraham. Those who are resurrected, will take part of the Kingdom of God, and rule and reign with Jesus Christ as priest and kings for a thousand years, Re 20:6. Just before Jesus was going to resurrect Lazarus, his sister Martha affirms her belief that her brother would be resurrected at the last day, Jn 11:24&25. The last day is a day of thousand years and Lazarus would be resurrected during or at the start of that day. I don’t want to get too bogged down in this, but in Lk 20:35, and in other verses in the New Testament, most bible translations will use a number of different words when translating the Greek noun G165.

Strong’s Number
G165
Original Word
αἰών
Transliterated Word
aiōn
Phonetic Spelling
ahee-ohn’
Parts of Speech
Noun Masculine
Definition
for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
the worlds, universe
period of time, age
Usage by Word
ever (50), world (32), never (7), began (3), evermore (3), ages (2), eternal (2), worlds (2), course (1), end (1), standeth (1)

The whole point of language is to communicate thoughts and ideas in as precise and clear fashion. Now granted, there is going to be a new heavens and earth, 2Pe 3:12&13, at the beginning of the Kingdom of God. So I suppose for the sake of argument, “world” could be used in Lk 20:35. But in all cases where G165 is used should be translated into the words age or eon, as it more accurately presents the different ages of God’s unfolding purpose in the earth. For a more expansive coverage of this see this article. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=269. I read a article over a decade ago on the Internet, that gave me insight in regards to a reason behind the wind of doctrine of man in this case, Eph 4:14. Most of the early religions and the mythologies of early civilizations were designed towards controlling people within those societies. The belief and fear of eternal torment does have a significant restraining influence on people’s who live in societies, past and present. Laws are effective because there are penalties involved if one breaks the law. Fines, imprisonment and in extreme cases the death penalty. I once stated to a man at a certain church that I believed God was going to save all men, and that hell or torment was finite not eternal. He said if that were true, then why should he go to church. And I said because your called by God and are a slave to righteousness. It was clear that the man’s mindset was on not spending eternity in fire. Fear of a eternal torment, and the preaching of it, is also a big money maker. Which is why you see so many different denominations and sects of Christianity in the world today. Almost all of which preach and uphold the doctrine of eternal hell. God’s main characteristic is love, 1 Jn 4:16. It is also written that no one can resist God’s will, Ro 9:19, and that He justifies the ungodly, Ro 4:5. So why would God save some on the one hand and consign a good deal of humanity to a eternal torment on the other hand? But that is not the scope of this post. The important thing that a person needs to understands, is what is taking place in regards to doctrine. In order to teach and maintain the concept of eternal damnation, the New Testament scriptures needed to be translated in a certain way to hide the truth of the matter in regards to death. So the major religious institutions over the centuries, printed translations which obfuscated certain words to hide the truth of the gospel. Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God. That kingdom is a thousand year kingdom. If you are found worthy of that great calling, and God is able to make you worthy, you will take part of the first resurrection of the just, Re 20,4-6. If not, you sleep in the grave until the white throne judgment. Those who are resurrected in the first resurrection of the unjust will suffer torment for apparently a thousand years.

Re 14:11 And the fumes of their torment are ascending for the eons of the eons. And they are having no rest day and night, those worshiping the wild beast and its image, and if anyone is getting the emblem of its name CLV

Eons of the eons is a superlative. Just as Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lord. So to his thousand year reign will be the greatest eon of all eons. But in most all other translations of the bible Re 14:11 will read similar to this.

Revelation 14:11 KJVS
[11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

So, in order to use religion and fear as a control mechanism, early Christianity was infused with the Greek and Roman mythologies of the immortality of the soul and eternal torment by fire. The Old English word hell actually means under the ground. You would put your potatoes in hell for the winter. And if you look in The Strong’s Concordance, at the usage of the Hebrew word sometimes translated into the English word “hell”, you will see this:

Usage by Word
hell (31), grave (28), pit (3), grave’s (1)

The trouble with the mistranslation of words in the bible, is a mistranslation does not hold true in all the verses where the Hebrew and Greek words are used. So you have to expand the definition of the word to support the doctrines of man and their religious institutions. With study, the truth of the scripture becomes clear and the indoctrination we were subjected to as we grew up, looses the grip it has on us. Religious institutions and even the media reinforce the indoctrination of the immortality of the soul and of either going to hell or heaven or some place in between after you die. Many of the major denominations have forgotten they are not of this world, and they do not presently reign, as the kingdom of God is slated for the age to come, Ro 12:2, 1 Co 4:8, Re 20:6. So they have no business in assisting governments in controlling and governing the people in the world. Their primary function is clearly outlined Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:12 KJVS
[12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

I would suppose there is no sense in going on and on about it. As stated before, religious indoctrination is hard to break free from. The 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted to the subject of death, and our hope in Christ, of the resurrection from the dead, and should be carefully read. The whole point of the law was it imparted the knowledge of what sin was, and the penalty of sin is death, Eze 18:20. Our hope is in Christ and the resurrection from the dead.