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The Seven-Fold Blessing in the Book of Revelation, Part 4

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Intro

Text
Revelation 20:4–6 NKJV
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. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first 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
Review of Previous “Beatitudes” in Revelation
- a general admonition to John’s readers
; - for those who will have to endure the Great Tribulation
- For those who will survive the tribulation period and enter the Millennium
Questions to Answer:
what is the “first resurrection”?
who are the ones who will be part of the first resurrection?

Main Points

As John was writing the Book, he looks back to his vision of the Lord’s coming to earth and recorded the following:
Jesus’ return to earth takes place after the wrath of God is poured out against the scarlet woman
Jesus will wage war against the beast, the kings of the earth and their armies (). This is the battle of Armageddon
Satan is captured and bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years ()
2 resurrections will take place: the first one will take place at or before the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ, the second one will take place after the millennium

The First Resurrection

Revelation 20:4–6 NKJV
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. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first 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.

The first resurrection takes place before the millennium.

“And I saw thrones, they sat on them, and judgment was given unto them...”
the people here those who will come down with Christ at His return from heaven
Revelation 19:7–8 NKJV
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Revelation 19:14 NKJV
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
Revelation 19.14
they wore fine linen, symbolizing the glorified body
they were identified as an “army”, because the first thing they will do is fight against the armies of the nations who will resist the coming of Christ.
“Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded...”
these “souls” lived and died during the time of the beast at the image of the beast
Revelation 13:4–7 NKJV
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Revelation 14:9–10 NKJV
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
Revelation 14.9-
Revelation 15:2 NKJV
And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
Revelation 15.2-
Revelation 12:11 NKJV
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Revelation 12.
Revelation 7:9–10 NKJV
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
They will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years
The Tribulation Saints - also identified as “foolish virgins” will also live and reign with Christ!
concerning the rapture, they are foolish
concerning the tribulation, they are “victorious”
“The rest of the dead...”
those who died during the time of the tribulation - obviously, not everyone who will die because of their faith in Christ
hermeneutically, we apply this statement to those who did rise in the “first resurrection”

The First Resurrection is also a “series” of resurrections.

The resurrection of Christ as the “firstfruits”
1 Corinthians 15:20 NKJV
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:23 NKJV
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
The resurrection of those who are “in Christ”
The resurrection of those who will die for Christ during the tribulation period ()

The Blessedness of those who will be part of the First Resurrection

The second death will have no power over them

Second Death is the lake of fire
Revelation 20:14 NKJV
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:14–15 NKJV
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20.
Second death applies to those who will rise in the “second resurrection”
See - “the rest of the dead did not live again until...”
Revelation 20:5 NKJV
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:5a NKJV
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
“And I saw the dead, small and great...”
Revelation 20.
Revelation 20:12 NKJV
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
Revelation 20.12-
the first reference is to those who died during the tribulation period but were not raised in the “first resurrection”
Anyone not found written...”
Revelation 20:15 NKJV
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
first reference is to those who died in the tribulation period but were not part of the

They will be priests of God and of Christ in the millennium

These people will serve Christ in the Millennium as “priests”
Revelation 7:14–15 NKJV
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
Revelation 7.14-15
“our” priestly work is finished when we go up to the Rapture
Their priestly work is concerned with the nations in the millennium
These people will reign with Him
because they are on a “higher level” of existence than the humans making up the “nations”
it means to be part of the “ruling class”, so to speak
Revelation 22:3–5 NKJV
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22.
God’s “servants” shall “reign with Him forever and ever”

Conclusion

God has reserved a special reward to those who will go through the tribulation and suffer in the hands of the Beast.
they will become part of the kingdom of God in the millennium and beyond
they are not part of the Bride, who will rule with Christ.
It is only proper that we be careful to live a life worthy of the gospel, as the Bride of Christ who will meet Him in the Rapture.
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