Summary: Because of the believer’s status as belonging to the realm of the new creation and his new relationship status to Jesus Christ, his death is different to that of a non-believer
IN GOD'S IMAGE 82 - REVELATION 20 - RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
At the beginning of this series on the book of Revelation, we identified three themes running throughout the book.
• The first and major theme is one of allegiance.
• We shared the legend of a Native American grandfather speaking with his grandson about the two competing wolves that reside in each of us, one representing evil, and the other good.
• The story ends with the grandfather answering his grandson’s question as to “Which wolf will win?” with the response, “The one you feed.”
• John wants his readers to align themselves with the kingdom devoted to the preservation of life rather than the destruction of life despite the perils they may face.
• In other words, align yourselves with the kingdom representing “good.”
But there are a couple of sub-themes running throughout the dialogue.
• There are evil powers at work that infiltrate and infest all levels of human society, and the book of Revelation systematically exposes these malevolent powers, along with their final destruction.
• However the book does not end with destruction, but with a final vision of hope.
• From a human perspective it appears like the forces of evil are winning the battle but in the end as we saw, the forces of good prevail.
• We now turn our attention to this second sub-theme, the final vision of hope.
Now we are introduced to two resurrections – the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of all peoples.
• Last time we finished with the destruction of the dragon, the false prophet and the beast representing the forces of darkness.
• Now we see what the giver of life has in store for humanity now that the sources of evil have been removed.
• To look at this first resurrection, we need to back up again and look at this 1000-year “between the times” or “millennial time” period between Christ’s resurrection and His promised return.
• Revelation 20:4-6 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
• This as we saw is referring to the millennial or church age (v.5).
• John identifies these faithful Christians as martyrs (or from the Greek, “witnesses”) those who had remained loyal even in the face of death down through the centuries.
• V.5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
• In order to understand what is going on here, we need to make a distinction between what happens to one of God’s saints when they die and those who are not.
• As we learned earlier, there are two different dimensions at work, the physical one we humans occupy of time and space, and the spiritual one, eternal time, the one God occupies.
• They may have died from persecution or natural causes but because they died in the faith, the second death has no power over them.