The First Resurection

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The First Resurrection

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Brief Background

We have worked our way through the book of Revelation and are now almost to the end. John the son of Zebedee was in exile on the isle of Patmos, and Yeshua revealed Himself to John there. John was commanded to write to seven communities in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).
Last week we talked about the beginning of Yeshua’s judgement when he returns. We compared the two feasts, one for the Bride of Messiah, and the other for the birds of the air. We discussed how Yeshua is coming back as the King of kings, and as the Judge of the whole world. We closed by remembering that we are called to forgive those who have wronged us, to pray for those who spitefully use us, and to trust God with the measuring out of justice.
Today we will continue from Chapter 20 and look into the binding of Hasatan and the First Resurrection.

The First Resurrection

Let’s read Rev. 20:1-6
Revelation 20:1–6 TLV
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a great chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan—and bound him for a thousand years. He also threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed. After these things, he must be released for a short while. Then I saw thrones, and people sat upon them—those to whom authority to judge was given. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yeshua and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image, nor had they received his mark on their forehead or on their hand. And they came to life and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. How fortunate and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no authority, but they shall be kohanim of God and the Messiah, and they shall reign with Him for a thousand years.

Dragon thrown into the abyss

Last week we mentioned that the Beast and the False Prophet were both thrown into the Lake of Fire. We now begin this chapter by the binding of Hasatan. And just in case we had not figured out who the dragon was earlier in Revelation, John now tells us that the dragon is the ancient serpent (a flash back to Genesis) who is also known as the Devil and Satan (the accuser).
What is interesting, is that this is not the final judgement of the Devil. Rather we see that the Devil is bound, and sealed in the Abyss for 1000 years, only to be released at the end of it.

Pre-Millennial, Amillennial & Post-Millennial

Pre-Millennial of 1st Century

There are many views on the Millennium. I will briefly address the main ones, and then I will share the view that I hold.
The Pre-Millennial simply means the belief that Yeshua returns before the 1000 years, and He literally reigns for that time from Jerusalem. This was the view of the early believers for the first 400 years or so. We have quotes of Papias in the writings of Irenaeus and Eusebius. Craig Keener put its this way:
Papias, for example, is said to have reported that the apostle John promised a material, agricultural paradise to come, in a Millennium after the resurrection of the righteous.
The mid-second century Christian philosopher Justin Martyr accepts a literal, future, thousand-year reign of [Messiah] in a rebuilt Jerusalem after the resurrection of the righteous, though he admitted that some Christians held other views; he proves his case from Isaiah and Revelation.
Irenaeus, a late second-century bishop, tends to interpret many biblical prophecies literally, including those in Revelation, and warns against allegorizing them.

A-Millennial of 4th Century

It was later in the 4th century that we start to see the 1000 years being allegorized into the was the a-millennial view. This view was held for over 1000 years by people such as Augustine, Calvin, Luther and Wesley. Those who hold to an a-millennial view, often see that we are in a literal present millennium, and they usually look at the 1000 years here in Revelation as symbolic. Some see that 1000 years as referring to the entire “Christian era”. Originally this was thought to be the literal 1000 years after the persecution of the Roman empire, but now it is often seen as simply the time between the first and second comings of Yeshua.

Post-Millennial of 19th Century

During the 19th century, during the times of the Great Awakenings, many of the evangelical leaders were Post-Millennial. They saw that believers were supposed to take control of the world and usher in a reign of peace, that would culminate with the return of Yeshua.
This view “fuelled the activist faith of nineteenth-century evangelicals in the United States as they evangelized and worked to abolish slavery. Leading figures of the Great Awakenings like Jonathan Edwards (often noted for his influential theology) and Charles Finney (a prominent voice in a revival in which hundreds of thousands of conversions occurred) were postmillennial.

Dispensational Pre-Millennial of the 19th Century

In the 1830s, John Nelson Darby came up with the view of dispensationalism and with it a revived version of Pre-Millennialism. Dispensationalism sought to split or divide history into dispensations. Dispensations were ways that God dealt with people.
Darby sought to distinguish which parts of the Bible addressed national Israel and which addressed the church. He argued that God dealt with Israel until the church age and would again deal with Israel during the final Tribulation, after the church’s Rapture to heaven.
So that is an extremely abreviated study of end time views, and I apoligize to everyone, because I have no doubt included only enough to misrepresent all of the views entirely. :)

My views of End Times and 1000 years

When I rededicated my life to the Lord at 14 years old, I listened to Chuck Mistler and so I became a Dispensational-Premillennialist and I held to a pre-tribulational rapture. So basically, I believed that Yeshua was coming back secretly to rapture his followers, and then was returning 7 years later to set up a literal kingdom and reign for a literal 1000 years.
I know that there is a myth that once you accept Yeshua as Lord and Messiah that everything will be great and your life will be full of peace and prosperity....but…for those who do not know my testimony, I will simply say that the next 4 years were the worst in my life.
At 18, I finally humbled myself completely and broke, and then I gave God what was left of my life. The reason I bring this up is that at 19 my world view was confronted when I visited Israel for the first time. There is something about seeing the land that Yeshua walked, and remembering the prophesies throughout the Bible, that wakes you up. I started realising how “grounded” the prophesies were, and how literally they were fulfilled. This caused me to revisit all of the prophesies that refer to the coming of the Messiah, including Revelation.
I figured that if I was going to claim to be a follower of Yeshua, then I should match my life as closely to the teachings of the 1st century New Covenant writings and their authors as a I could. For this reason, I now hold to the Historical Pre-Millennialism.
I do not think that believers will be able to change all the world’s systems to all follow God’s ways (i.e. Post-Millennial), and I do not see the divisions in Scripture that the Dispensationalists speak of. But like the believers of the first 4 centuries, I hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture, unless there is specific reason to believe that something is allegoric, symbolic, figurative or even an exaggeration. Simply put I follow the “Golden Rule of Interpretation.”
When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.

The First Resurrection

So, coming back to Revelation, based upon verse 2, the dragon, the ancient serpent, is the Devil (because John explicitly states so). And the 1000 years is 1000 years, because there is no reason to believe otherwise. The text seems to show that the 1000 years comes after the Great Tribulation, because the people who are resurrected, were killed because they did not worship the Beast and bow down to its image.
Those that are a part of this first resurrection, which based on 1 Thess. 4:15-17 includes those who are still alive but are caught up to meet Yeshua in the sky, will rule on thrones with Yeshua.

Who will they rule?

Well those who are still alive, but were not followers of Yeshua at His return. This blessed time of Yeshua setting up and ruling His Kingdom on earth, will be 1000 years of peace.

Application for Today

How do we apply this to us today? John writes in Rev. 20:6
Revelation 20:6 TLV
How fortunate and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no authority, but they shall be kohanim of God and the Messiah, and they shall reign with Him for a thousand years.
We all have a calling to be a kingdom of priests. That means we are called to serve as ministers of reconciliation between God and mankind. Our calling, according to Yeshua’s last words in Matthew’s Gospel Matt. 28:18-20
Matthew 28:18–20 TLV
And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We are all called to make talmidim or disciples. That does not mean that we are all gifted to be evangelists, or pastors and teachers. However we can all grab someone close to us and say “Follow me just like I follow Yeshua the Messiah!” (1 Cor. 11:1)
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