Posted: Jun. 13, 2020 12:01 am Updated: Jun. 15, 2020 6:20 am
Editor’s note: This column is part four in a series about the biblical end of days and the book of Revelation.
A great blessing happens during the 1,000 years mentioned in Revelation 20. It is the “first resurrection.”
In Revelation 20:4-6, John says he sees two groups of people. First, he sees the souls of Christian martyrs — that is, those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus. Then, a separate group he sees are “those who had not worshiped the beast or his image.” This is a different group from the martyrs. This second group includes all Christian believers, both living and dead.
About this group, John says, “they have come to life” during this 1,000-year period — they have experienced a resurrection from the dead. “This is the first resurrection” and they “reigned with Christ for a thousand years,” during this 1,000-year period. At this point we are focusing only on the first resurrection. What is this first resurrection?
There are two kinds of resurrections. The first is a spiritual resurrection, a “coming to life” of the soul at conversion. The second resurrection will be the bodily resurrection at the second coming of Jesus. The Bible in other places refers to these two resurrections. For example, John 5:24-29 mentions two such resurrections that are quite different from each other.
“I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God and those who hear will live.”
This refers to the first resurrection of Revelation 20.
In John 5:28-29, Jesus refers to another resurrection yet to come. It is a bodily resurrection at the end of time.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (also see Romans 8:10,11).
This first resurrection, then, the one happening during this millennial age is a spiritual resurrection, not a bodily one. Christ made this one possible at his first coming.
This first spiritual resurrection takes place specifically in Christian baptism. See Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12,13. These are the two resurrections.
Jay Craig of Shelbina, Mo., has worked with Shiloh Christian Children’s Ranch for nearly 40 years. He’s a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Craig attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. He can be contacted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.