The Resurrection And Judgment Would Begin Right After The Tribulation

By Duncan McKenzie


One of the basic differences between partial preterism and full preterism is that partial preterists separate the great tribulation (which they correctly say happened just prior to AD 70) from the resurrection and judgment (which they say will happen in the future). Full preterists say there is no separation between the two events. While I am not a full preterist (I see the millennium as beginning at AD 70), I do agree with them on this issue: Scripture consistently shows the resurrection and judgment as beginning right after the great tribulation (it continues from that time). Consider the following section of Revelation 20; both partial and full preterists agree that it is referring to the time of the resurrection.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:11-15 (underlined emphasis mine)

This is showing the resurrection—the time when death would be defeated (v. 14). This is the time spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:20-26

The “end” here is not the end of the world but the end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 11:40-12:7; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:1-2; 8:13; 9:26). Russell has a great chart on this here:

Jesus speaks of the end of the age in Matthew 24.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” . . . [Jesus answers] “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Matthew 24:3, 13-14; cf. Rom. 10:17-18; Col. 1:5-6, 23

Jesus’ putting down of all rule and power happened at the AD 70 end of the age—right after the great tribulation: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matt. 24:29). The spiritual rulers of the pre-AD 70 age would come to nothing at Jesus’ parousia (cf. 1 Cor. 2:6). This is shown in Daniel 2 in the form of Nebuchadnezzar’s great image being suddenly destroyed by the coming of the kingdom of God (vv. 34-35, 44-45). It is shown in Daniel 7 where the four beasts are all stripped of their authority at the same time (vv. 11-12). It is shown in Revelation 11:15-18 where the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of God (notice that the dead are judged at this time, v. 18; cf. Rev. 16:19).

In terms of the timing of Revelation 20:11-15 and books opened for the judgment, consider Daniel 7: The time of the resurrection and judgment was to happen right after the tribulation—at the AD 70 defeat of the little eleventh horn (here is an article I wrote on the little horn ).

I was considering the horns [of the fourth beast] and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated and the books were opened. I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
Daniel 7:7-10 (underlined emphasis mine)

According to Daniel 7:7-10, the judgment—the time when the court was seated and books were opened in Revelation 20:11-12—would begin at AD 70. Daniel 7:25-27 confirm that this would happen right after the tribulation (i.e., at AD 70).

He [Titus, the little horn] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated [cf. v. 10], and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
Daniel 7:25-27 (underlined emphasis mine)

The seating of the court for the judgment was to happen at the AD 70 coming of God to defeat the Antichrist (Dan. 7:21-22); it continues since that time. For believers who have died since AD 70 it is not so much a judgment as it is an evaluation of rewards for their works: “. . . Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. [since AD 70, cf. Rev. 14:6-8] ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them’” (Rev. 14:13).
Daniel 12 similarly shows the great tribulation as immediately followed by the resurrection and judgment at AD 70.

And he [Titus—the king of the North] shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time, and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt . . . it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered all these things shall be finished.
Daniel 11:45-12:2, 7; cf. 7:25-26

Daniel 11:36-12:13 is speaking about “the time of the end” (Dan. 11:40). This was the time of the end of the old covenant age, not the end of the world. This is the end that the NT is referencing.52 There are not thousands of years between the great tribulation and the resurrection; both were to happen at the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation at the end of the age (Dan. 12:7). This would be the time when God destroyed those who were morally destroying the land of Israel.

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth
Revelation 11:18

Again, the time for the dead to “be judged” began at AD 70. The great tribulation is shown just prior to this in Revelation 11:7-14. The beast makes “war against” the two witnesses—a symbol of the saints—and overcomes them (v. 7; cf Dan. 7:21-22).