July 23 2022
Today, Saturday July 23
The Two Resurrections
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
In Revelation 19 John describes the events that take place at the very end of the Seven-year Tribulation. He looked up to heaven and found the saints rejoicing over the fall of Babylon, the economic, political and religious kingdom of the Antichrist (19:1-5). John saw a wedding take place of the Lord Jesus and His bride the church (19:6-10). He saw heaven open and saw Jesus on a white horse coming with the armies of the saints and angels to the earth to “strike the nations and rule with a rod of iron” (19:11-16). He saw the kings of the earth and their armies destroyed and become a supper for the birds (19:17-19). And finally, John saw the beast and the false prophet cast into the lake of fire (19:20-21).
Now in Revelation 20, John sees an angel from heaven bind Satan and cast him into the “bottomless pit” for a thousand years (20:1-3). Next John sees the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth with His saints. The phrase "thousand years" occurs six times in Revelation 20:1-7. This period in history is known as "the Millennium," from two Latin words, mille ("thousand") and annum ("year")—the 1,000-year kingdom of Christ on earth. At last, Christ and His church will reign over the nations of the earth, and Israel will enjoy the blessings promised by the prophets (see Isa. 2:1-5; 4:1-6; 11:1-9; 12:1-6; 30:18-26; 35:1-10).
Is this a literal kingdom on earth, or should these verses be "spiritualized" and applied to the church today? Some interpreters say that the term "a thousand years" is simply a number meaning "ultimate perfection" (10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000). They assert that it is a symbol of Christ's victory and the church's wonderful blessings now that Satan has been defeated and bound. This view is known as amillennialism, which means "no millennium"—that is, no literal kingdom.
The problem with this view is that it does not explain why John introduced the period with a resurrection of the dead. He was certainly not writing about a "spiritual" resurrection, because he even told how these people died! And in Revelation 20:5, John wrote of another literal resurrection. If we are now in the 1,000-year kingdom of victory, when did this resurrection take place? It seems reasonable to assume that John wrote about a literal physical resurrection of the dead, and a literal kingdom on earth.
The phrase "general resurrection" is not found in the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible teaches two resurrections: the first is of the saved and leads to blessing; the second is of all the lost and leads to judgment Jesus spoke of this in John 5:28-29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Daniel the prophet also sees these two resurrections in Daniel 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
The first resurrection to life takes place at both the end of the church age (1 Thess. 4:13-18), and the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 20:4), when the Tribulation martyrs will be raised from the dead and given glorious thrones and rewards. The church will share in this reign, as symbolized by the twenty-four elders (Rev. 5:10; see also 2:26-28; 3:12, 21; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 2 Tim. 2:12). Some Bible students believe that the Old Testament saints will also be a part of this "first resurrection" (Dan. 12:1-4). Revelation 20:6 describes the special blessings of those who share in the first resurrection.
The second “resurrection of condemnation” takes place at the end of Millennium, at the Great White Thone Judgement (Rev. 20:13-15). This is also called the “second death” (vv. 6, 14). You definitely want to prepare to be a part of the “first resurrection” by making sure you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!