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So far we’ve seen that salvation is offered to those called by God in this age, who are in a situation to learn about Christ’s sacrifice and draw closer to Him. But, as we’ve previously asked, what about all those who have died, or will yet die, without ever knowing about Christ or being called to salvation? This group represents the majority of all people who have ever lived.
Jesus described a time when people from all past ages—including the long-dead people of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh and the biblical “queen of the South” from Solomon’s time will rise with those from Christ’s generation and live at the same time. Together they will come to understand the truth about who Christ is and the purpose of life, and will find it remarkable that the people of Jesus’ time rejected Him. (Matthew 10:14-15; Matthew 12:41-42).
The Apostle John also spoke of this time and taught those not resurrected at the time of Jesus’ return (“the rest of the dead”) will live again at the end of the Millennium: “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5).
A few verses later he describes this later resurrection period: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it …. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God…. And the dead were judged according to their works…. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades [the grave] delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” (Revelation 20:11-13).
With Satan, the arch deceiver, removed at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:10), those who are part of the second or general resurrection will have their formerly closed minds opened to the truth of God’s plan, and be given sufficient time to prove by their actions and decisions they believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and are willing to submit to His way of life.
This second resurrection is not a second chance for salvation. Rather, those in this resurrection will receive their first and only opportunity to really know and serve God, just as those called in this age are now given that opportunity.
Our loving Father, who loves and cares about every human being who has ever lived, has a plan that not only defeats Satan’s goal to destroy humanity and the opportunity God offers them of eternal life in His family, but also ensures everyone will have the chance to be informed of God’s way of life and have the option to choose to obey God.
This time when God resurrects all those who have ever lived and offers them His Holy Spirit is symbolised by the observance of the Eighth Day, the last of God’s annual festivals, to be celebrated after the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles.
In 2020 the Feast of Tabernacles is observed from October 3, beginning the day before at sunset to sunset on October 9, with the Eighth Day beginning at sunset on October the 9th.
Bible Study Guide - God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise Of Hope For All Mankind