Jesus was the first to receive immortality. Immortality means life that needs nothing to exist forever. It is death-proof. God used his mighty power to give Jesus this gift. Ephesians 1:19-20, “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead…”
Jesus “brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel,” 2 Timothy 1:10. Jesus opened this “new and living way,” Hebrews 10:20. “And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,” Colossians 1:18. This is the first resurrection.
Faithful followers of Jesus, his body members, will be part of the first resurrection. Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power.” 1 Corinthians 15:52-53, “and we (those who are Christ’s body members) shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”
Very few, only a “little flock” of believers (Luke 12:32), will faithfully follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Yet, Jesus taught that all would be resurrected. John 5:28-29 (ESV), “…an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life (the first resurrection), and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment (the second resurrection).” Again Acts 24:15 states, “…there will be a resurrection of both the just (those justified by Jesus’ blood, Christians) and the unjust (the billions of mankind).”
During Christ’s 1,000 year reign, resurrected mankind will be taught righteousness through judgments. Isaiah 26:9, “when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Jeremiah 31:34, “…no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me.”
This was God’s plan all along. John 3:16,17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, (not immortality), For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (from death)”.
The first and second resurrections have different rewards. The first resurrection has a heavenly reward – immortality. The second resurrection has a reward of human perfection with everlasting life on earth (as Adam had). Both are wonderful, but the first resurrection is higher, because Christians are developed through sacrifice and suffering.