Study on Scripture Text: Revelation 20: 5-15
It is troubling for me to know that at one time I was a participant in teaching that there would be two separate physical resurrections from the dead: one for the righteous, one for the sinner. These two resurrections would happen a thousand years apart. One resurrection would occur for the just before the millennium and another resurrection for the unjust at the end of that time. It is regretful that possibly 95% of Evangelical Christians believe this as well. I am sorrowful for this fact. Had I been thinking I would have never allowed myself to be pulled into believing this teaching, why? This doctrine is very different from the one that our Lord and Savior taught years before the book of Revelation was written. Jesus always taught one physical resurrection for both the just and the unjust at the same time on the last day.
The book of Revelation is the word of God but what separates it from the Gospels and Letters is found in understanding the fashion in which they were written. The four Gospels and the letters of the Apostles were written without hidden meaning. They wanted us to be able to understand. Theologians who only adhere to the truth call this “Clear Text”. On the other hand the book of Revelation is written in an entirely different fashion. John in Revelation called it signified, in other words, it was given to us in symbolism rather than clear text. What you see in all the illustrations are symbolic in meaning including the numbers that are found there.
Revelation 1: 1: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Then why were the Gospels and Letters written so that we could easily understand them and Revelation was written so differently? The answer is in knowing that at the time John was given the book of Revelation the Church was under horrible persecution by the Romans. In many places you couldn’t buy or sell without publicly declaring Caesar to be God. Strangely he didn’t care if you had a hundred gods. But if you believed that Jesus was the only true God then you would be in deep trouble. If what John had to say would have been easily understood by the Romans that would have caused even greater death and persecution to believers.
The book of Revelation was written to a people of that time and would serve to teach the rest of us down through history. What they experienced under Caesar was similar to many governments today. For example Communism killed more Christians than any other government in the world. The Jewish led Bolsheviks killed an estimated 40 million Christians in Russia during the Soviet Union era. Think of the millions killed by Red China during the years of forced government Communism. These Christians found comfort in the book of Revelation knowing that it was the spirit of anti-Christ that was causing this persecution, and that God would vindicate them and avenge them one day. The Christians in those countries saw the Communist “Red” government and Red China as the great Red Dragon in Revelation. For them, it was. The book of Revelation is still bringing comfort to the Christians that are being slaughtered by ISIS and other groups.
I have said all of this to help bring us to a conclusion. It is more important for us to accept “Clear Text” found in the Gospels and Letters over any so-called special revelation of the book of Revelation. For example, John is not going to contradict what he taught us in the Gospel of John by the book of Revelation. The Gospels and the book of Revelation must be one in understanding and explanation or it isn’t being understood in truth.
Getting back to the resurrections from the dead. It is true that there are two resurrections but these do not happen in the way that Scofield, Darby, Larkin and John Hagee explain it. The truth is that there are two resurrections for sure but they are not the same type of resurrection. One resurrection is a spiritual resurrection, or what we call being born-again by the Spirit. We were once dead in trespasses and sins but now we are resurrected to a newness of life, we are born of the Spirit.
The First Resurrection and it's benefits:
The following are some scriptures that speak on this topic:
Ephesians 2: 1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5: Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
In verse one we see a word in the KJV called "quickened" This word means to be made alive. The verse goes on to say that we were dead in trespasses and sins at that time. We were not dead physically but were dead to God spiritually. But has God made us alive, spiritually, and awakened our senses to God. We come alive or are resurrected in Christ when we are born again.
John:5:25: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
In the verse above John the apostle tells us the teachings of Jesus on this subject. Jesus was speaking of a time in the future but also speaking of the present time.There is an hour coming in which all of the dead in the graves will hear his voice and be raised from the dead physically (John 5: 28-29). But he goes on to say "and now is" this is speaking about a person being born again as Christ calls us to himself. Being born again is a spiritual resurrection from the death of sin. It is called the first resurrection in Revelation 20 because John knew that Jesus had taught him that you had to be resurrected spiritually by the Spirit first before you could be resurrected spiritually from the grave. There are two stages to the saving of the whole person. First he must be resurrected spiritually in order to save his soul, second he must be raised physically to save the body. God does not leave anything out of the saving of a person. It is necessary to be in the first resurrection in order to be a part of the second resurrection which is the resurrection of the body.
Revelation 20: 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: For on such the second death hath no power.but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Revelation 20:14: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
We can tell by the scriptures above that if you are in the first resurrection then the second death has no power over you. By knowing what the second death is it helps to understand more about the first resurrection. In these scriptures we are able to tell what the second death is. It is when a person is cast into the lake of fire on judgement day. If you are dead in trespasses and sin or already in hell you will be cast into the lake of fire. The first death can only be one thing. It is speaking about being dead in trespasses and sins. This is why you must be born again. It will protect you in the day of judgement. Verse six above explains that a person who has been born-again will also be priests of God and Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. The thing that will catch your eye immediately is the thousand years and it prevents a multitude of people from understanding what they are reading. Before I explain the thousand years let's look at the priest and reigning with Christ.
Revelation 1: 5: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6: And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Looking at the scriptures above we understanding that John was speaking to those of that day and our present day. We must realize that we are made kings and priests right now. Since we are kings in Christ, this means that we are reigning with him over sin and death. Why? Because we are in him. But, we are not waiting to go to heaven or for a millennial period to begin for this to happen, it is happening right now. So everything that we see in Revelation 20: 6 with the saints is no different than what we are experiencing everyday as born-again Christians. The second death has no power over me, I am a priest with God in Christ over my spiritual temple, I am reigning with Christ over sin and death and it will be for a very long time.
The Thousand Years
Why does this verse say for a thousand years?
In order to answer that question I will remind us that Revelation is written in signification and symbols including the numbers. Peter used this number to explain God's time to us.
Peter used this symbolic number to demonstrate God's timing.
2nd Peter 3:8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Psalmist used as a symbolic number In the book of Psalms
Psalms 50:10: For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Since God owns the cattle upon a thousand hills does this mean that he doesn't own the cattle on hill one thousand one? Hardly, it simply means that all the cattle belong to God.
The thousand years in Revelation 20: 6 is symbolic and simply means that from the time Jesus ascended back into heaven his people will prevail, even in death until his return.
The Second Resurrection or the Resurrection of the Body
There is no separate resurrection of the body for sinners and saints, they are all resurrected in the same resurrection of the dead, at the same time. Jesus told us clearly this in the fifth chapter of John.
John 5: 28: Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Look at verse 28 above, it says that there is an hour that is coming. This means that there is a specific time, not several different times. Read closely, he says, “in the which all that are in the graves will hear his voice”. “In the which” in this scripture means that it will happen during that hour for all that are in the graves. This presents another question. Who are “all” that are in the graves? Verse 29 tells us who are in the graves. It appears that the word “all” is made up of those that have done good and those that have done evil.
John 5: 29: And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
At that time the good are resurrected to life and the evil to the resurrection of damnation. It happens at the same time. Interesting truth is that all of the parables that show the judgement of God shows it happening for both good and evil at the same event. The tares and the wheat all grow together until the harvest and are separated at that time. The net drags in both good and bad and they are separated at the same time. There is no where in the Gospels or the letters that even give a clue of a thousand year separation between two separate resurrections.
Consider the Last Day
Another thing to consider is that the Rapture of the Church and the resurrection of the dead occur at the same time on the last day. How can people separate the rapture and resurrection from the last day? I do not know. But listen to what Jesus says:
John:6:39: And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
John:6:40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
J0hn:6:44: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John:6:54: Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John:11:24: Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
John:12:48: He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
There are several problems with believing in two separate resurrections of the dead. The main problem is the way it is viewed. Most teach that the first resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous. In their opinion this is to occur seven years before the thousand years, then at the end of the thousand years there will be the resurrection of the unjust at the great white throne Judgement. All of the scriptures above except for John 12: 48 explains to us that the righteous are raised from the dead on the last day. This is opposite of what is commonly taught. John 12: 48 goes on to say that the wicked will be judged in the last day. If a person gets caught up on the words "at, on or in the last day" they should realize that "at, on and in" are all the same word in the Greek Text. So I believe the way the scriptures are written are all saying the same thing.
Bottom Line? The truth is that there is only one resurrection from the dead for the body and that is on the last day at the time of the great white throne judgement. A person will be judged and sentenced to the lake of fire if he hasn't been in the first resurrection. The first resurrection is being born-again by the Spirit. There will only be one judgement day and only one resurrection for both Christian and sinner at the same moment in time. This is the way I believe and it it is the same way men like Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Martin luther and all of the reformers before them. Men like John Darby, C.I. Scofield, and Clarence Larkin taught like John Hagee believing in the secret rapture, a seven year tribulation with the rebuilding of a Jewish kingdom with Christ on the throne for a thousand years.
Revelation clearly warned about adding to or taking away scripture from the word of God. Here is two examples of how these men added to.
Revelation 20: 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
(Between this verse and the following verse was added teachings about a millennial kingdom that isn't here or implied.)
7: And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Daniel 9: 26: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
(between these two verses was added a gap theory called the Church age that destroys the truth concerning Christ in these scriptures. In the following scripture they substituted Christ by the anti-Christ and created a 7 year Tribulation. The following scripture is speaking of Christ preaching the Gospel for 3 1/2 years until the Cross followed by the preaching of the apostles for 3 1/2 years. This completed the 70 weeks that were determined on Israel and then God turned to the Gentiles.)
27: And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
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God Bless You
Understanding the 1st and 2nd Resurrections
Renewing the Mind Through Bible Truths