When will the Old Testament saints be resurrected?


by Shawn Brasseaux

When will the Old Testament saints be resurrected? Will that resurrection include those saved before the Dispensation of Grace? Let us be Bereans and search the Scriptures to see what they say about this topic (Acts 17:10-11).

Whenever I use the term “Old Testament saints” in this study, I am referring to every person who was saved outside of the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Technically, for the sake of simplicity, we can include in the term “Old Testament saints” those who will be saved after our dispensation as well (all the saints from the seven-year Tribulation), since they too are part of the prophetic program that began in the “Old Testament” Scriptures. Another term we can use is “Israel’s kingdom saints.” The reason why we lump all the believers in the prophetic program together is because the Bible calls their resurrection “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5-6).

Everything that is in the Holy Bible that is outside of our “mystery program” (the Dispensation of Grace and the Apostle Paul’s ministry) is what Scripture calls the “prophetic program” (contrast Acts 3:21 with Romans 16:25-26). The goal of the prophetic program is to have redeemed Israel fulfilling God’s will in the earth (Exodus 19:3-6; Psalm 24:1; Matthew 5:5; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 11:15)—that is what we call the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, or the 1,000-year kingdom, or what the Bible calls “the kingdom of heaven,” et cetera.

Notice what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 25:34 in reference to His earthly kingdom: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The promise of God’s earthly kingdom goes all the way back to Adam when God first placed man on the Earth (Acts 3:21) and it continues with Israel (Genesis 12 onward until we come to Paul, and everything after our dispensation): everyone justified before God from Adam all the way up to those saved outside of Paul’s ministry in the book of Acts, they have an earthly hope. The oldest Bible book, Job, makes it clear in Job 19:25-27 that these saints had a hope, not to die and go to heaven [our hope], but a hope to be raised again and go into that earthly kingdom. Job 19:25-27: “[25] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: [26] And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: [27] Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”

All who will be saved after our Dispensation of Grace, they too have an earthly hope: our Dispensation interrupts Israel’s prophetic and earthly program. Thus, all people saved unto eternal life outside of our Dispensation of Grace, outside of Paul’s ministry, they will all be resurrected together, for they all need go into the earthly kingdom that God promised them. They need to be resurrected after Jesus Christ comes back at His Second Coming, but before He initiates His kingdom on Earth. After the Rapture (when the Church the Body of Christ is taken into heaven), and after the seven-year Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to Earth (Revelation 19:11-21).

It is here on the Bible timeline that Revelation 20:4-6 will be fulfilled: “[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] 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.” Note the believing Jews slain during the Tribulation, are clearly referenced in verse 4. This is the “Old Testament saints’ resurrection,” the resurrection of Israel’s kingdom saints, and it will occur just after Jesus Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming. Notice how verse 6 speaks of Israel’s ministry as a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 61:6; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).

According to Jesus Christ, Israel’s patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be resurrected to enter and reign in their kingdom; obviously, their resurrection would be before the 1,000 years begin. Matthew 8:11: “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”

Please understand that Israel’s 12 apostles also need to be resurrected before the Millennial Kingdom can begin, for they will sit on 12 thrones judging Israel’s 12 tribes in her kingdom: “[27] Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? [28] And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. [30] But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:27-30). Mark records similar statements in Mark 10:28-31, which see.

Daniel 12:11-13 provides more info about the timeframe of the Old Testament saints’ resurrection: “[11] And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. [12] Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. [13] But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

Usually, the seven-year Tribulation, Daniel’s 70th week, is divided into 3 1/2 years and 3 1/2 years, or 42 months and 42 months, or 1260 days and 1260 days (see Revelation 11:2-3, Revelation 12:6, Revelation 13:5, et cetera). According to Daniel 12:12 above, from the time the Antichrist defiles Israel’s newly-rebuilt temple to one important event associated with Christ’s coming is 1290 days. Notice this is 30 days past the often-used figure of 1260 days. Daniel chapter 12 also speaks of 1335 days, or 75 days past the 1260 days. At this time, we cannot be sure what the 30-day mark and 75-day mark actually signify, but there is a “window of time” involved with Jesus’ Second Coming and the Old Testament saints’ resurrection. According to Daniel 12:12 (quoted above), it seems like the Old Testament saints will be resurrected approximately a month or two after Jesus Christ returns. Verse 13 leads me to conclude that they will be resurrected at the very end of those days listed, and that would be the 75-day mark, or 1335 days after the Antichrist defiled the temple. Generally speaking, the Old Testament saints, such as Daniel, will be resurrected after the seven-year Tribulation, after Jesus Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming.


“When will the Old Testament saints be resurrected?” They will be resurrected within a month or two after Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to end the seven-year Tribulation and establish His literal, physical, visible earthly kingdom. “Will that resurrection include those saved before the Dispensation of Grace?” Yes, the Old Testament resurrection will include all those saved before our Dispensation of Grace and all those saved after our Dispensation of Grace, too. That would be all saints from Adam to those saved under Peter and 11’s ministry in early Acts, as well as all believers martyred during the seven-year Tribulation. They will all be resurrected to enter and enjoy Jesus Christ’s literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom. Remember, none of these events have anything to do with us!

Also see:
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» What will the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ be like? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Why does Israel have 12 apostles?