Rev 20:4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given
unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of
Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither
his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their
hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Thrones indicate kings.
According to Rev. 1:5 those who were redeemed by the blood of Christ are also
made kings and priests unto God: "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful
witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the
earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory
and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Also in Rev. 5:10 some of those will
reign on the earth: "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we
shall reign on the earth." The thrones that they sat upon were thrones of
judgment. That is, they judged their lives and their actions by the word of God.
We reign as kings over our bodies, our hearts, and our spirits. As we reign we
sit upon the thrones of God's judgment set forth in the word of God.
"I saw the souls of
them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and
which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his
mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands." Martyrs of Jesus were killed
in a variety of ways. Some were beheaded such as Paul. Some were crucified such
as Peter. Some were stoned to death as was Stephen. Some were fed to the lions,
etc. If the above verse was addressing martyrdom, then the word beheaded is far
too restrictive. Therefore, those referred to as beheaded for the witness of
Jesus, etc. are not limited to the martyrs. To be beheaded is to lose ones head.
The head is the control center for the whole body. We come into this world
believing we have control of our own lives. We believe that we are the head of
our actions and decisions over our lives. After that we are born of the Spirit
of God and see ourselves as sinners and then hear and believe the gospel of
Jesus Christ and press into the kingdom of God, we give up the headship over our
own lives in favor of Christ being the head over our lives and we being guided
by his word and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Thus we are beheaded for the
witness of Jesus and for the word of God.
Those who were beheaded
for the witness of Jesus and had not worshipped the beast, etc. are the
disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and make up the true church of God. These
"lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Christ is reigning in his
kingdom and these reign with him in His kingdom. Christ reigns over them and
they reign over their own lives according to the teaching of His words.
What is the significance
of the term, "thousand years?" The word, "thousand," is often used in the
scriptures to indicate an indefinite large number:
1. Ps. 50:10 "For every
beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."
2. Deu. 7:9 "Know
therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth
covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a
3. Ps. 105:8 "He hath
remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand
4. Ps. 90:4 "For a
thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch
in the night."
5. 2 Pet. 3:8 "But,
beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
6. Deu. 1:11 "(The LORD
God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless
you, as he hath promised you!)"
7. Deu. 32:30 "How
should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their
Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?"
8. Job 33:23 "If there
be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man
his uprightness: 24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him
from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom."
9. Ps. 84:10 "For a day
in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the
house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
Thus a thousand years is
an indefinite term indicating that for a large indefinite period there would be
people living and reigning with Christ in his spiritual kingdom here on earth.
Rev 20:5, 6 "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years
were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that
hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but
they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand
The above passage speaks
to us about the first resurrection and the second death. Reason suggests that if
there is a first resurrection then there must be a second resurrection. Also,
reason suggests that if there is a second death then there must be a first
death. We are told that those who have part in the first resurrection, the
second death has no power over them. The task before us is to identify the first
resurrection and the second resurrection and the first death and the second
death according to the scriptures.
God gave Adam a law after
that he created him: Gen. 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of
every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 "But of the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Not only did Adam bring
death upon himself when he ate of the forbidden fruit, but according to Rom.
5:12-19 he brought death upon all mankind:
Rom. 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one
man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but
sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned
from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of
Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But
not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one
many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one
man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one
that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but
the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one
man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of
grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus
Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men
to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all
men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
The above is in harmony
with 1 Cor. 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be
made alive." All mankind died in Adam. We were brought under the
condemnation of the law of sin and death. We were under the curse of death. This
death in trespasses and sins under the law of sin and death is the first death.
John 5:25-29 teaches us of
two resurrections and a second death: John 5:25 "Verily, verily, I say unto
you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the
Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life
in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And
hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are
in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that
have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil,
unto the resurrection of damnation."
The first resurrection
takes place when the Son of God speaks to those who are dead in trespasses and
sins and gives them spiritual life. Eph. 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who
were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of
the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our
flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature
the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in
sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)."
It is by his quickening
voice that we receive spiritual life. Before that voice spake to us we were dead
in trespasses and sins. That quickening voice raises us up out of death in
trespasses and sins to spiritual life. This is the first resurrection.
The second resurrection
takes place when Christ speaks to those who are in the graves. This takes place
at the end of this time world. The elect are changed to be fashioned like the
glorious body of Christ in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:51 "Behold,
I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
The second death is
defined for us in Rev. 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of
fire. This is the second death."
Who is it that has part in
the first resurrection on which the second death has no power? It is the elect
1. Rom. 8:29 "For whom
he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his
Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom
he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also
justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
2. Rom. 8:33 "Who shall
lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen
again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for
3. Eph. 1:4 "According
as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should
be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us
unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein
he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his
It is the elect that we
are told in Rev. 1:5, 6 who are also made kings and priests unto God: Rev. 1:5 "And
from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the
dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and
washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and
priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
Amen." Only the elect are capable of reigning with Christ in his timely
church kingdom. They are the only ones who have spiritual eyes and spiritual
ears whereby they can see the kingdom of God and enter into the kingdom of God.
"But the rest of the
dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." The rest of
the dead are those who had not part in the first resurrection. They are the
non-elect. They are not born of the spirit and thus have no part in the first
resurrection. It is upon those that the second death has power. They are not
cleansed by the blood of Christ. The execution of God's wrathful judgment is yet
future for them. Their bodies will be raised in the resurrection, not to eternal
life, but to eternal damnation.