“4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” Rev 20:4-6
The are two deaths and there are two resurrections. This is the order of the 2 deaths and the 2 resurrections:
Everyone suffers the first death. Some stay dead and some, like the martyrs he spoke of, do not and they come to life and reign with Christ throughout His reign as King. Everyone takes part in the second resurrection. The second resurrection points to the general resurrection of the “living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pt 4:5). Since there is a second resurrection, what does the New Testament say is the first resurrection or life from the dead? As when the Christian martyrs came to life to reign with Him, it is the Believes in Christ who are not dead but are alive in Christ. Becoming a Christian is a spiritual resurrection and a new life. Why is this important to “take part in the first resurrection”? Because with the second resurrection, the second death has no power over them (20:6), and they enjoy eternal life unlike those who did not take part in the first resurrection. The majority of mankind is in this spiritually dead state. They are like the woman Paul speaks of, “she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.” 1 Tim 5:6. Therefore those who don’t take part in the first resurrection are still in their sins and will not be blessed at the judgment day. For these, the second death WILL have power over them.
The first resurrection must be the becoming of a Christian. Jesus said,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jn. 5:24.
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Rom 6:4
“12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,” Col 2:12,13
They overcame the first death, taking part in the first resurrection, and came into life not to spiritually die again. They were raised to walk in newness of life, Rom 6:3-5. They are “born again” and “new creatures in Christ“. This is why Revelation 20 says that the second death has no power over them.
So what? The second resurrection and the second death, which is the judgment of hell, is coming and everyone should be taking part in the first resurrection that they might not suffer this fate. Everyone needs to do is to take part in the first resurrection, and enjoy new life as a Christian. If a person remains dead in his sins, after the second resurrection, the second death did have power over him.
I believe this is the correct meaning of Revelation 20. I offer this humbly, Dan
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