THE FINAL TRIUMPH; THE MILLENNIAL
THE FIRST RESURRECTION AND MILLENNIAL REIGN OF CHRIST
Note: Many of the statements contained herein are not original with me. They have been drawn from many resources, including the Preachers Outline and Sermon Bible and many well written sermons and books on prophecy.
Our passage today, Revelation 20:6, is one of the most exciting passages in all of Scripture for the believer. It is all about the great millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth.
NOTE: The word millennium simply means one thousand years. So, when we speak of the Millennium, we mean the one-thousand year rule (reign) of Jesus Christ on earth. Note the two great events that have been revealed to us in our study thus far.
First, Jesus Christ is going to return to earth as conqueror, and He is going to destroy the Antichrist and all the war machines and armies of the world at Armageddon.
Fact: No shot will be fired at Armageddon. Why? Because when Jesus Christ appears in the heavens, He will give one blast of His glory and the most powerful laser-like beam the world has ever known will destroy the armies and nations of the world.
Second, Christ will take Satan and bind and remove him from the earth for one thousand years. What does this mean? For one thousand years, Satan will not be able to tempt or deceive people on earth.
However, this does not mean that the people cannot sin or do wrong, for man will still have his human nature that comes short of God by its very nature. Man will still have choices to make; man can make the choice to follow Christ or not to follow Christ. But with Satan bound and removed, there will be far less evil and ungodliness in the world. Further, the deceit to follow Satan will be far less powerful because government and society itself will be under the control of Jesus Christ himself. This means that…
- no more war or killing will exist in the world.
- no more assaults, abuse or crimes will go unpunished in that society.
- no more hunger, homelessness or unemployment will exist in society.
- no more laziness, lethargy or unconcern will be allowed in society.
- no more pushing of drugs or enslavement to drunkenness will be tolerated in that society.
- there will be no more enslavement of young girls for sexual use in society.
- there will be no more killings of different ethnic groups in Society.
Now consider the present passage: this is the first resurrection and great millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon earth.
- The resurrection and rule of believers (v. 4)
- The resurrection of believers only (v. 5)
- The great privilege of believers (v. 6)
Notice Revelation 20:4, the rewards or the resurrection and rule of believers. Note three facts:
1. John sees thrones and people sitting upon them with authority to judge and rule. Further, he also sees the millions of believers who were martyred during the tribulation. These are those who were killed for their witness for Christ and their stand for the Word of God.
Note: Seen also are those who refused to worship and receive the mark of the Antichrist (Beast).
But who are the people sitting upon the thrones? Isn’t it neat that we are not left in the dark? For John tells us that…
- they are those WHO LIVE AGAIN OR COME TO LIFE AGAIN AND WHO REIGN WITH CHRIST (V. 4).
- they are those who take part in the first resurrection.
2. Note that John sets the martyrs of the tribulation off as a special group of believers. Why? Probably because they paid the ultimate price for Christ and they died for Him. Their blood especially cries out for vindication and reward. They, among us all, should be rewarded and given the right to rule with Christ.
3. The millennial reign of Jesus Christ is when the believer’s glorious rule and reign with Christ begins. Note what John says he saw:
“I saw thrones, and they [believers] sat upon them, and judgment [authority to rule] was given to them” (v. 4).
The Millennium is when Jesus Christ sets up the organization and arrangement of rule and reign throughout the whole universe. The millennial reign is when Christ gives believers their duties and responsibilities, their assignments and service for eternity.
The assignments and service will most likely be enlarged at the end of the Millennium when He creates the new heavens and earth. The Millennium is where Christ removes the fallen spiritual beings from power. This is where Satan and his heavenly hosts are bound and removed from power.
- Remember the spiritual forces that fight against God and man in the high places, that Scripture says they hold power.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
- As stated, this is where Christ dethrones Satan and his heavenly host.
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3).
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth” (Isaiah 24:21).
NOTE: This is where Christ reclaims the positions of the principalities and the high places of rule throughout the universe and exalts believers to those positions.
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge (oversee, rule) angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?” (I Corinthians 6:2-3).
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7).
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).
Now move to Revelation 20:5 and key word Resurrection.
- First, there is the resurrection of believers ONLY.
- Based on our study thus far It should not be seen as unusual that the millennial reign of Christ will see ONLY the resurrection of believers.
- Note verse 6:
+The first resurrection is for those who are blessed and holy.
+Also, the second death (eternal death) has no power upon True believers.
+The first resurrection will be only of those who are going to live forever in the presence of God.
+The rest of the dead, unbelievers, will not “live again” until after the thousand years are finished.
+Note exactly what John says that he saw:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again unto the thousand years were finished. This is the FIRST resurrection” (Revelation 20: 4-5).
- John saw people sitting upon thrones with the authority to judge or rule (v. 4).
- John saw the martyrs of the tribulation (v. 4).
- John saw these living again; that is, they were resurrected in the first resurrection (v. 4).
- He saw that the rest of the dead, the unbelievers, would not live again until the thousand years were finished (Revelation 20:13).
NOTE that this is exactly what Scripture says: there are to be one thousand years between the first resurrection of believers and the rest of the dead–the unbelievers (Revelation 20:12-15; 21:8).
Now let’s move to Revelation 20:6 and the Millennium Kingdom.
In the Millennium there is the great privilege of the resurrected believers. However, please note that this verse is still referring ONLY to the resurrected believers, NOT TO THE UNSAVED PEOPLE who will be upon the earth.
NOTE: The resurrected believers will have various glorious privileges in the Millennium Kingdom. Let’s review them:
1. They will be extremely blessed. “Blessed” (Makarios) means joy and satisfaction, being complete and fulfilled, secure and peaceful within one’s being; having meaning, significance, and purpose.
Note: To be blessed is what men seek. The problem is that they seek it in the things of this world: position, money, possessions, fame, power and worldly pleasures–rather than God, in violation of I John 2:15-17. Where Christians are told to love not the world and the things of the world, for they are passing away and only God and the things He gives us are eternal (not passing away).
Fact: God alone can raise up a person in the first resurrection. He alone can give a person the right to rule and reign with Him in His Millennial reign.
Listen to Scripture:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasurers upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves TREASURES IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:15-16).
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13).
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
“And he saith unto me, Write Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true saying of God” (Revelation 19:9).
2. The resurrected believers will be holy. That is, they will be perfected into the holiness of Christ Himself. They will be perfectly separated from the world and set apart unto God. They will bear the very same nature of Christ Himself, a holy nature, a nature that is perfectly pure.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
“For our conversion (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
3. FACT: The resurrected believers will never be touched by the second death. What is the second death? It means a second kind of death. The first death is when we leave this world and pass on into the next world. The second death refers to eternal death, to being separated from God forever. It means to be put into a different place other than where God is. It means to live someplace other than in heaven with God. Scripture clearly tells us what the second death is:
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
The second death is being SEPARATED FROM GOD and being cast into the lake of fire.
The point is this: resurrected true believers will never have to suffer the second death. Despite our depravity and failure and sins upon earth–despite our rebellion and rejection of God for so many years before we surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ (see John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13).
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God MUST believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrew 11:6).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened (made us alive) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. FOR BY GRACE are ye SAVED THROUGH FAITH; and not of yourselves: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. For WE ARE his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORK, which God hath before ordained that we [true Christians] should walk [live] in them” (Ephesians 2:4-10).
NOTE: Despite what we might deserve–if we have TRULY SURRENDERED our lives to Jesus Christ, we will never suffer the second death. This will be one of the glorious privileges of the resurrected believers.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26).
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (I Corinthians 15:54).
“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8).
4. The resurrected believer will SERVE as a priest of God and of Christ. This means that believers will have the same right that they have upon earth now, the right to enter the presence of God and Christ as needed.
FACT: There will be no need for a mediator to stand between God and the believer. As stated, it will be just as it is upon earth now, except that we will be standing face to face with God and Christ, whereas now we approach them through prayer and thought.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:5).
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever” (Revelation 1:6).
“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” (Revelation 20:6).
As we stop today, I have a question: Note Matthew 7:13-14 – the strait and wide gates. It is important to evaluate your own life and then look at Romans 10:9-13; John 3:16. Now having done that, determine which road you are traveling. It is important, because the broad path that so many are traveling leads straight to hell; but, the narrow gate leads to heaven (John 3:16). Which gate have you gone through? If it is the broad gate, it is not too late to go through the narrow gate. The decision is yours. John 3:16 AND Romans 10:9-13 will lead you to the narrow gate and heaven….
The choice is yours!
NOTE: In our next study we will do a deep dive into the Millennial reign of Christ and our blessings we can look forward to….IF we are saved (John 3:16).
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