There are two terms that are all too often overlooked by Christians when studying this topic. The two terms are “the first resurection” and “the second resurection.” These two terms, or events, are part of Christ second coming and the final judgement of the wicked. We are told that at the second coming that “…the dead in Christ shall be raised first, and we who are alive (saved) will be caught up to meet Him in the air…” By the time Christ returnes “the Gospel will be “preached in all the world to every kindred, toung, and people” At that time there will still be those that have chosen to go their own way and will not be able to “stand before the glory of the Lord.” In other words they will die at the second coming. The resurection of the rightous is called the “first resurestion.”
There is also warning given to those that haven’t chosen to accept Jesus Christ as Lord that there will be a second resurection and a second death. That second resurection will take place when the New Jerusalem decends to this earth. At that time the results of God’s judgment will be made clear to all, both the saved and the lost. Much like in a court of law today the verdict is explained to all. Even the guilty, the lost, will acknowledge that God was right and Satan was wrong. At that point the final judgement will be carried out. Just like the condemmed man today it will be useless to say “I’m sorry” at that point. Judgement will be serverd to “…each man according to his works.”
I realize that I’ve used an economy of words to make just a very simple explination. I have done so in part because you say you are an athiest. If however you wish to explore this topic further I’ll be most happy to do so with you.
Respectfully, your brother in Christ,