Hey guys, so in our faith, you’ll often hear Latter-day Saints talk about “The” resurrection—as if it’s this one singular event. But Latter-day Saints actually believe that the resurrection of the dead will occur in stages over quite a long period of time. And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this episode, so buckle up.
Alright, so here’s what you need to know going into this: Latter-day Saints believe that Christ’s Second Coming will mark the beginning of a thousand-year period called the Millennium, during which time Christ will reign personally on earth. And you can learn more about that in this episode. We believe that the final judgment will not happen until the end of the Millennium. Now, it’s also important to remember that Latter-day Saints believe that Heaven is divided into three “kingdoms:” The highest degree of heaven is called the Celestial Kingdom, followed by the Terrestrial Kingdom, and finally, the Telestial Kingdom. At the final judgment, it will be formally determined which Kingdom you are prepared to inherit.
With that as a backdrop, let’s talk about resurrection. So, because Christ was resurrected, we believe everyone who has ever received a mortal body, righteous or wicked, will be resurrected.
But we do not believe everyone will be resurrected at the same time. There will be two major categories of resurrection: The First Resurrection, which is designated for the righteous, and the Second Resurrection designated for the wicked. But within each of those two categories, we have different stages. First, let’s focus on the First Resurrection.
We’re going to break this resurrection down into 3 stages: The Morning of the First Resurrection (Part 1), The Morning of the First Resurrection (Part 2), and the Afternoon of the first resurrection.
The Morning of the First Resurrection (Part 1) has already begun. It started when Christ was resurrected some 2,000 years ago. Remember Matthew 27: “And the graves opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” So Christ and these saints kicked off the morning of the First Resurrection (Part 1).
The next stage of resurrection, the Morning of the First Resurrection (Part 2), will happen at Christ’s Second Coming, which marks the beginning of the Millennium. We believe Revelation 20 actually references this group of people: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Now, it should be noted here that the order in which you are resurrected correlates with the degree of heaven you have prepared yourself to receive. So those resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium will be those prepared to inherit the Celestial Kingdom. The missionary handbook, Preach My Gospel, describes these people as those “who have repented of their sins, received the ordinances of the gospel, and kept the associated covenants….”
Stage 3, the Afternoon of the First Resurrection, will occur during the Millennium and will be composed of those people who have prepared themselves for the Terrestrial Kingdom. These people are those “who do not accept the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this life or in the world to come [the spirit world] but live honorable lives….”
And those are the stages of the First Resurrection. Part 1 of the Second Resurrection, the resurrection of the wicked, will take place at the end of the Millennium. These will be the people prepared to inherit the kingdom of least glory, the Telestial Kingdom. These people are those who “continued in their sins and did not repent in this life or accept the gospel in the world to come….”
And finally, after everyone else has been resurrected, the Sons of Perdition will have their turn. We’ve done an entire episode on them that you can check out, but essentially these are the people who have not just faith, but actual knowledge of the divinity of Christ and His mission, and reject Him nonetheless. This group of individuals, which I suspect will be rather small, will not inherit a kingdom of glory at all but will be cast into Outer Darkness with Satan and his fallen angels for, as far as we know, eternity.
Now, as we’ve talked about in other episodes, we believe that after we die, our disembodied spirits will reside in the “spirit world,” until the time comes for us to be resurrected. Our scriptures teach that “spirit and element inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; and when separated man cannot receive a fulness of joy.” This is why even the spirits of the righteous in the spirit world in Doctrine and Covenants 138 “looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage.”
Moral of the story: Live the gospel. Keep the commandments. Having a resurrected body is a sweet deal, and you don’t want to be stuck in the spirit world for an extra thousand years waiting to be resurrected while everybody else is having a good time with Jesus. [movie clip] Not to mention what it would mean for you when the final judgment rolls around.
If you’re looking to learn more about this topic from the scriptures I recommend Doctrine and Covenants section 88. I’ll link that and a bunch of other resources in the description. And we’ll see you next time! Have a great day.
- Doctrine and Covenants 88: https://bit.ly/2RQCiri
- List of scriptures dealing with “Resurrection,” via the Church’s website: https://bit.ly/30h9zAP
- Encyclopedia of Mormonism on “Sons of Perdition”: https://bit.ly/33U30VJ
- Some quotes on this subject from prominent past Church leaders: https://bit.ly/2RM13oG
- The Church’s teaching manual on this subject (quite good!): https://bit.ly/3hYazj4
- “The Order and Known Details of the Resurrections” ThirdHour article: https://bit.ly/3mL2LVC