A Sketch of the First Resurrection
The “souls” will be
resurrected to reign
with Christ for
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
— Revelation 20:4
Last week I sent out a Note in which I said that the “souls” in this verse have already been resurrected (“The Last Soul”). However, one brother commented that no, they have not yet been raised. That made me look at the verse again, and I realized he was right; I had been mistaken to say they were resurrected. Sorry for that!
That didn’t change the overall point of the Note, that the reference to “souls” here emphasizes that these believers have paid the price to “gain” their soul in the next age (Matt. 16:25-27), but it did make me look at this verse in a new way.
In fact, this verse is giving us a thumbnail sketch of the entire first resurrection. Just like the saints under the altar at the time of the fifth seal (Rev. 6:9-11), these believers are “souls” because they are awaiting the resurrection. But then they “live,” which means they are resurrected. Finally they “reign with Christ for a thousand years.” This means they pass through the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) and are approved to enter into the millennial kingdom with Him.
This much is pretty straightforward; it is, quite simply “the first resurrection,” as the next verse tells us:
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
— Revelation 20:5
Then verse 6 goes on to speak of the blessedness of those who participate in this resurrection:
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
— Revelation 20:6
What is not so straightforward (and they reason why I had been mistaken about the status of the “souls”), is the first sentence in verse 4:
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them.
We will consider that statement in an upcoming Note.
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— 25 February 2023 —