I received the following question:

An out resurrection, out from amongst the dead. When does it happen?

The whole context of Paul’s words in Philippians 3:11 reveal that he had been offered the opportunity, if he would strive after it, of leaving behind the Acts period company in which he was placed when he became a believer, and instead switching over to the dispensation of grace company that God started calling at Acts 28:28. What was automatic for anyone who was first saved during this time Paul had to strive for. In verses 13 and 14, he says, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” I think the New King James badly translates it here. The call is not “upward,” as of direction, but “high” as of an elevated calling. Paul was enamored with the high position that God had now thrown open to men in this new dispensation. It was his desire to leave behind everything he had gained as part of the Acts period company of believers to attain to this new and high calling. Therefore, the out-resurrection he refers to in verse 11 must be the resurrection of this new, high calling.

As far as when it happens, there is no reason to believe that it is accelerated in time from the resurrection of other saints, only in position. People will be resurrected at the same time who will pass into very different companies. Those who are part of this “out-resurrection” are resurrected to a special position, not at a special time.

I believe that the resurrection of all God’s saints from down through the ages will take place in the same time period, that is, when God, even the Lord Jesus Christ, judges “the living and the dead at His appearing even His kingdom.” II Timothy 4:1. There will be a period of resurrection at the start of that kingdom. Not all who are resurrected then will be resurrected at the same time. Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” This would seem to indicate that when Christ is made manifest to the world, we will be at the same time. It could well be that our resurrection, then, will take place at the very beginning of the resurrection period starting the kingdom, so that we can be manifested with Him. Others will be resurrected later, as time goes on. But still the point of the out-resurrection is, I believe, a higher position, not an earlier time.

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