In Revelation chapter 20, between Satan being locked up in the Abyss for a thousand years (verses 1-3) and afterwards his release, and immediate rebellion, and then his sudden descent into the Lake of Fire, where he will be tormented forever and ever (verses 7-10) is sandwiched the prophecy of the wrapping up of the first resurrection.

When it says “this is the first resurrection,” it certainly does not mean that was the totality of the first resurrection, but the end cap of it. Christ was the firstfruits of it, and next will be faithful believers, who will be raised up at Christ’s coming in the air to catch away the church (1 Corinthians 15:23). Revelation 11:11 also tells us that the two witnesses who are killed will be raised from the dead, and will ascend up to heaven. But, perhaps one of the largest groups to be resurrected will be all those who get born again during the Tribulation; many of whom will be beheaded for their accepting and clinging to Jesus Christ. They will refuse to worship the Antichrist, or take the mark of the beast, and therefore will be murdered for their faith (Revelation 20:4). And they will reign with Christ (and all the rest of us resurrected saints) for 1000 years.

Of course, all of us resurrected saints—of both Old and New Testaments—will continue to reign under Christ over the natural human beings who will go into the New Earth (Isaiah 65:17-25, 66:18-20, 21-24, Ezekiel 28:25-26, Zechariah 14:16-17, Matthew 22:30, 25:21, Luke 19:17). Very informative reading!     Back to Revelation 20:5—The rest of the dead [people who died as sinners] will not live again [be resurrected and have indestructible bodies] until after the thousand years are finished [after the Millennium].

Then, verse six goes back to the first resurrection, saying, “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power.”      Well, what is the second death, and what kind of power was John talking about? Revelation 20:14 tells us that the Lake of Fire is that second death. And Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18 that the gates of hell [Hades] will not prevail over His church. The redemption wrought by Jesus Christ closed those gates to genuine Christians. And, Christ’s blood-purchased redemption is the only thing that will keep anyone out of hell. Of course, one has to believe the Gospel about the salvation Jesus wrought for us on the cross, and confess Christ as Savior.     Revelation 20:11-15 reveals the ultimate fate of those who do not believe the Gospel message and receive the redemption that Jesus provided.

All the wicked dead will stand before God, Who will be sitting on a Great White Throne. They will do so reluctantly, for it says that they will try to flee their fate, but will not be able to do so. Unrepentant sinners will find no place to hide from the Judge. Books were opened! What kind of books? Record books! God does keep records. More will be said about all of that in our next session.  (Ron Craig is pastor, teacher and author of Christian books; and these articles. You may view all the books by logging onto www.livingwayfellowshiponline.org. While logged on the website you can even listen to audio Bible-lesson podcasts. You may also send your questions or comments to ronwritercraig@gmail.com)

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