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The Millennium & the First Resurrection

28 Apr
First Resurrection

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John recorded that the martyrs “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4), and this comprises the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5-6), because those who were in the literal graves (Revelation 20:11-12) or who were buried in the sea (Revelation 20:13) didn’t live again, until the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:5)! What can be understood from this?

John tells us that judgment (i.e. a verdict) was given to those who lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4), but this wasn’t done exclusively for the martyrs. The Lord also determined that all believers, including those still living out their physical lives would live and reign with Christ in heavenly places. Paul told his readers that they had been dead in their sins, but were quickened, i.e. born again (cp. John 3:3; 1Peter 1:23) or raised to life (Ephesians 2:1). In other words, while they walked in the course of this world (Ephesians 2:2-3), they were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:5), but Christ quickened them and caused their spirits to live so they could sit in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:5-6; Revelation 20:4). In other words, the death that John tells his readers they were raised out of was spiritual death, so, therefore, the first resurrection occurs for those who were physically alive but dead as far as spiritual things were concerned. They were raised to spiritual life, because they believed and obeyed the Gospel. Notice what Jesus says in the Gospel of John:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 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. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 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. (John 5:24-29 KJV)

Jesus makes a distinction between those who hear and believe him (John 5:24) and those who are resurrected out of literal graves (John 5:28-29). Those who are resurrected out of literal graves are judged according to how they lived (John 5:29), but those, who are given everlasting life in John 5:24, live because they hear and believe Jesus (John 5:25). Moreover, Jesus describes this giving of life on his part as judgment, a verdict, if you will, that the Father had given him to exercise (John 5:27), and this is the same judgment or verdict that was given to those who lived and reigned with him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).

Therefore, according to the Apocalypse, the first resurrection has to do only with those who lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years, and this affected only those living during the first century AD.[1] It had absolutely nothing to do with folks who were physically dead and rose from their graves (cp. Acts 2:29, 34). The resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 13:30, 36-42) wouldn’t occur until the end of the age (Matthew 13:39, 49) or after the millennium (Revelation 20:12-13).

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[1] See my earlier studies: The Millennium, a Period of Evaluation and What is the Millennium?

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2020 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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8 responses to “The Millennium & the First Resurrection

  1. Eddie

    May 5, 2020 at 10:53

    Greetings Patricia and thank you for reading my studies.

    While we may agree on some things, we use that agreement to take us to different conclusions. For one thing, I don’t believe you and I share the same understanding of the identity of ‘satan’. Disagreement here changes everything. Who or what was imprisoned or taken out of the way, and in what context could John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2 and 1Peter 5:8 be true without contradicting Revelation 20:2-3, 7?

    Your analogy of the pit bull is interesting, but a mere chain doesn’t change him, only the the territory of his control.

    Concerning Revelation 12:12, we have the implementation of this verse in two different time lines. I have it occurring during Jesus ministry when he sent out the 70 (Luke 10:18).

    Lord bless you, Patricia, and by the way, stay healthy during these dangerous times.

     
  2. Patricia Watkins

    May 4, 2020 at 12:34

    Hi again Eddie,

    I would need to review your post on the bottomless pit again, but I think we are more or less in agreement that the “bottomless pit” represents a changed CONDITION (not necessarily a place or a location) for the person or thing that is in that “pit”. In Christ’s case, being in the “abussos” bottomless pit (Romans10:7) did not mean that His physical body ceased to exist – only that it ceased to function in a living manner as it had before. In the case of Rev. 17:8’s Scarlet Beast of an independent Jewish state that was “about to arise from the “bottomless pit” in AD 66, as you have said, the state did not cease to exist, but its independent CONDITION did disappear while Rome ruled the Jewish state.

    Just so in the case of Rev. 20:3 for the one John calls “the Devil, and Satan”. He / It did not actually cease to exist in this case, because a great chain was put on him / it for that thousand years. That chain prohibited deception of the nations (perhaps the Jewish nations of the land of Canaan only?), but that chain did not totally eliminate the existence or actions of this entity altogether during that time. A barking pit bull lunging at the end of a great chain can still bite if you get within range of his teeth. Likewise, the “binding of the strong man” does not cause the strong man to disappear from existence. It just changes his status for a time.

    BEFORE that thousand years started in 968/967 BC, this “Devil and Satan” was freely allowed to deceive the nations at will, leading them to worship idols (as Paul testified in Acts 14:16 and 17:30). That full freedom to deceive was also allowed AFTER that thousand years had expired – but only when the “Devil and Satan” was cast out of heaven unto the earth for that “SHORT TIME” of Rev. 12:12, which is the same as the “LITTLE SEASON” of his loosing in Rev. 20:3. This then-present reality of a loosed Devil was repeated by Paul in II Tim. 2:26 (the snare of the Devil taking opponents of the gospel captive at his will), and by Peter in I Peter 5:8 (the “roaring lion” walking about, seeking whom he could devour).

    It is this very “SHORT TIME” and “LITTLE SEASON” of loosing the Devil that dates the preceding millennium period to a very precise time. John told his readers that this Devil “IS COME DOWN unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time”. This was a very “short time” that had ALREADY STARTED BACK THEN in John’s days, based on the verb tense John used in Rev. 12:12. Since that “loosing” was to follow immediately AFTER the expiration of the millennium, (according to Rev. 20:3 & 7), then that millennium period MUST have been finished, even before John was writing Revelation.

    Jesus also further refines this time that the Devil was going to be cast down unto the earth. Just five days before the Passover and His crucifixion, Christ told the people in John 12:31, “NOW is the judgment of this world: NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out.” That meant he was going to be “cast out” of HEAVEN unto the earth at that time, to plague the inhabitants of the earth (Israel) and of the sea (pagan Gentile nations), just as Rev. 12:12 repeated.

    And even closer to the time of this “casting out” of the “prince of this world” from heaven, on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the PRINCE OF THIS WORLD COMETH, and hath nothing in me.” It would be the blood of the risen Lamb (presented on heaven’s mercy seat on the morning after His resurrection-day ascension) that would forever cast out the “accuser of the brethren” from having access to the court of heaven.

    Because of being “cast out” of heaven unto the earth in “great wrath” for that “short time” (after the AD 33 “First resurrection” of Christ and the “remnant of the dead” Matt. 27 saints raised with Him), the Devil would make every effort to deceive the nations, because it was the last chance to plague humanity before his destruction in the Lake of Fire that was AD 70 Jerusalem’s fiery conclusion.

     
  3. Eddie

    May 4, 2020 at 08:24

    Greetings, Patricia, Lord bless you.

    First off, I don’t see how the casting down of “Satan” in Revelation 12:12 has anything to do with his imprisonment in Revelation 20:3, 7. In previous studies, if have the bottomless pit as either death or ceasing to exist, so whatever “Satan” is he / it ceased to exist for a period of time–I have it between 6 AD and 66 AD, or the time when Rome directly ruled the Jewish state.

    We have some fundamental difference here, Patricia, and that concerns Revelation 20. You go on to state what occurs in Revelation 21, but I haven’t published my studies of Revelation 21, yet, so I’d rather not comment on what is said there at this time.

    Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

     
  4. Patricia Watkins

    May 3, 2020 at 11:47

    Hi Eddie,

    Yes, that was a typo, my apologies. I meant to repeat the verses I mentioned previously. The ones comparing John’s statements in both Rev. 12:12 and Rev. 20:3 & 7 that concern the end of the millennium expiring before John was writing Revelation. Sorry if this caused any confusion.

    The 144 cubits-high wall of the New Jerusalem of Rev. 21 in a very real sense IS the people of God themselves. We are the “lively stones” (I Peter 2:5) that are built upon the New Jerusalem wall’s foundation. Ephesians 2:19-22 describes how the believers (both Jew and Gentile) are being “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord:”

    This is why the 1,500 mile square, cube-shaped New Jerusalem city, encompassed by the 144 cubits-high wall, has NO TEMPLE in it. God and the Lamb are the Temple of the city (Rev. 21:22), and since we are in Christ, we are also considered to be the Temple of this city.

    However, in contrast to the Old Covenant Temple, this New Jerusalem city / Temple is a depiction of the cube-shaped Holy of Holies alone, without the surrounding rectangle-shaped framework that used to separate God’s presence from the people. By the Holy Spirit which now dwells WITHIN the saints since Christ’s resurrection-day ascension, God and His people are unified by that Spirit. The saints of this New Jerusalem are considered vicariously holy; as I Cor. 3:17 says “…for the Temple of God is holy, WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE.”

    This New Jerusalem was not an AD 70 reality that sprang into existence at that time. Its foundation corner stone had actually been put in place under the New Covenant from the time Christ became our high priest intercessor on His resurrection-day ascension. This “First Resurrection” day in AD 33 was the END of the literal 1,000-year millennium composed of God’s physical temple worship system. It had lasted from the time King Solomon had laid the Temple foundation stone in 968/967 BC until Christ became the fulfillment as the True Foundation Stone of the True Temple being made of “living stones” built on top of it.

    It is interesting how the size of the cube-shaped Holy of Holies kept increasing through the years. In Moses’ wilderness Tabernacle, it was 10 cubits square. At the beginning of the millennium in Solomon’s day, and afterward in Zerubbabel’s post-exilic Temple, it was 20 cubits square. In the New Jerusalem that is nothing but an earthly Holy of Holies, the absolute superiority of it is demonstrated by its being 1,500 miles square. Showing that there is ample room for an innumerable quantity of the saints as “kings and priests” to occupy the New Jerusalem.

     
  5. Eddie

    May 3, 2020 at 05:50

    Greetings Patricia and thank you once more for your interest in my studies.

    We agree that the 12 Apostles are the 12 foundations spoken of in Revelation 21:14, and the present reality of this is the fact that their word still goes out to folks today in the form of the Gospel narratives and these same people are judged worthy to enter the city or rejected based upon their acceptance of the Apostles’ testimony. Whether or not this is an exact fit for Matt. 16:18-19, I am uncertain, as I haven’t studied out the matter as it seems you have. Matthew 16 speaks of the Church and Revelation 21 speaks of the **walls** of the city. I’m uncertain if there is a difference there, as I said, I haven’t studied this particular matter.

    I am uncertain where you are going with your conclusion, so I don’t know if I agree or not. Your John 12:12 seems to be a typo, as I have no idea how it applies to Revelation 20:3, 7.

    Lord bless you, Patricia and thank you again for reading my studies.

     
  6. Patricia Watkins

    May 2, 2020 at 10:34

    Hi again Eddie,

    My thanks for giving this some further consideration. Perhaps we are not all that different in our understanding of the role the Apostles’ doctrine played in history. As you say, their doctrine affected more than just the tribes of Israel, and lasted more than just the approximate 40 years.

    We know that the superior New Jerusalem in Rev. 21:14 (a present reality) is depicted as having 12 FOUNDATIONS of the 12 APOSTLES of the Lamb that the walls were built upon, with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. This was verified by Christ giving Peter the “keys to the kingdom” in Matt. 16:18-19. Upon Peter the Apostle, leader of the early church at Jerusalem and a foundation “rock” of the New Jerusalem, Christ would build the “walls” of His church.

    It was not the 12 tribes of Israel that were the 12 foundations of the New Jerusalem, because the 12 tribes only provided the early type of the later fulfillment of the 12 apostles. The superior authority to judge that Christ granted to the ENTHRONED 12 Apostles at His regeneration to life would allow them to exercise judgement over the 12 tribes of Israel – not the other way around. This does not say that their authority was ONLY over the 12 tribes; John was only making sure that his readers realized that the former authority of the “judges of the earth” (the Levitical priesthood) over the 12 tribes was always intended to submit to the superior authority of the more glorious New Covenant established by the Apostles doctrine, given to them by Christ.

    While these 12 Apostles of Christ were still alive after His resurrection and final ascension, they were given authority by Christ to actively pass judgment on matters of doctrine and practice in the early church at Jerusalem (while the 12 tribes had not yet been eradicated). Even after their eventual deaths, the authority of the “Apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42) continued by being committed to faithful believers, who were able to teach others also. This, of course, included Gentiles, who were subsumed into the “One New Man” reality of the New Covenant, established by Christ on His resurrection-day ascension.

    The entire context of the Rev. 20 millennium is wrapped around the main event of Christ’s resurrection as the “FIRST-fruits”, the “FIRST-born”, and the “FIRST-begotten” (also called the “FIRST resurrection” that included the blessed and holy “remnant of the dead” – the Matthew 27:52-53 saints raised along with Him at the expiration of the millennium in AD 33. Which end of the millennium had already expired before John was writing Revelation, as proved by John 12:12 compared to Rev. 20:3 & 7).

     
  7. Eddie

    April 30, 2020 at 19:01

    Greetings Patricia, and thank you for reading and for your comment.

    I thought your comment was interesting, and at first I thought I had missed something in what I studied. These things are not presently in my thoughts, though they are what I’m presently posting. I studied these things at least a year ago, and since have gone on to other books, which I intend to publish a short while after the completion of the present study of the Apocalypse. It should be complete by mid June. Although your interpretation is very interesting, I have to reject it for two reasons. First, you have the Apostles sitting on thrones for what amounts to about 40 years and that’s all. I had always thought they would sit on those thrones forever, and if not forever, for certainly longer than 40 years. I had interpreted the Apostles’ judgment to be their writings in the New Covenant text. They judge not only Israel (12 tribes) but lots of other folks too, and going on 2000 years.

    The second reason I feel I must reject your interpretation is that the verb is in the passive and singular (judgment) “it was given them.” In other words they weren’t in the act of judging with Christ for 1000 years (actually 40), but “it (a singular judgment) was given them.” And, I interpret this to be a “verdict” was given them, because a result is denoted, not an act of judging. So, if the Apostles were sitting of 12 thrones in Revelation 20:4, who was before them? Who were they in the act of judging at this point in time? To my understanding it is a verdict that was given–“they were victorious before they fought” (1John 5:4) “and they were acquitted before they were tried” (Revelation 20:9). [see Schaff’s commentary]

    Lord bless you, Patricia, and thanks again for your interest in my studies.

     
  8. Patricia Watkins

    April 30, 2020 at 00:26

    Hi Eddie,

    To be precise, Rev. 20:4 does not say that judgment was given to those who lived and reigned with Christ during the thousand years. It says that judgment was given to those who were sitting on the thrones – a different category of persons in this text. The majority of translations do not say that it was a verdict of judgment passed upon them. It was the AUTHORITY for them to pass judgment on others that was given to those sitting on thrones.

    For myself, I am certain that these individuals on thrones who were given the authority to pass judgment were the 12 disciples who were told by Christ in Matthew 19:28 that, in the regeneration when Christ sat on the throne of His glory, (His resurrection day when He was seated at God’s right hand as our intercessory high priest on heaven’s mercy seat), that they also would “sit upon 12 thrones, JUDGING the 12 tribes of the house of Israel”. The disciples were given these “thrones of judgment” over the tribes of Israel during the days of the early Jerusalem church when church doctrines and practices were being established and put into decrees to pass down to all the churches. These matters of judgment for the early church entailed such questions for the apostles to settle as the option of circumcision, the care of widows, the dispersion of profits from the sale of properties, who to ordain as elders and deacons, the judgment passed on Ananias and Sapphira for their deception, etc.

    These who were sitting on thrones in Rev. 20:4 with the power to pass judgment (the apostles) were meant to be an anti-type fulfillment of the OT “thrones of judgment” that were in Jerusalem, as Psalms 122:3-5 said. “Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set THRONES OF JUDGMENT, the thrones of the house of David.” David was simply reminding his readers of the OT precedent of the judges of Israel passing down judicial decisions in Jerusalem or Shiloh on the more difficult cases which were sent to them out of all the tribes, if the people were unable to settle those hard disputes in their own cities (Deut. 17:8-13).

    Except under the New Covenant, instead of the OC judges and high priests of Israel, Christ had then given the 12 apostles the responsibility of passing down judgments, and of setting precedents and decrees for the early Jerusalem church to follow, based upon Christ’s doctrine that they were taught.

    As for dating the millennium, there are three verses that absolutely nail when the end of the Rev. 20 millennium had come. They are Rev. 12:12 compared with Rev. 20:3,7. We know scripture says that Satan / the Devil / that old serpent was to be loosed for “a LITTLE SEASON” when the thousand years had expired. John told the believers in Rev. 12:12 that the Devil had at that present time ALREADY BEEN LOOSED for “a SHORT TIME” as he was writing to them. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil *IS* COME DOWN UNTO YOU (a present reality), having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Of necessity then, the millennium must have already been expired as John was writing the book of Revelation in late AD 59 – early AD 60.

     
 
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