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“Eschatology” (Part 28: The Two Resurrections and the Final Judgment

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III. The Book of Revelation. U. The Two Resurrections and the Final Judgment (Revelation 20:4-10). 1. Last week, we saw: a. That Revelation 20:1-10 is a series of three visions. b. In the first vision (vv. 1-3), Satan is bound for a thousand years that he might not deceive the nations. (i) He is bound by Christ at His first coming (vv. 1-2). (ii) It’s not an absolute binding, but a limitation placed on Satan – that he may no longer deceive the nations (v. 3). (iii) At the end of the thousand years, he will be released for a short time, just prior to Christ’s Second Coming (vv. 3, 7-9). (iv) The thousand years, then, is the period of time between the first and second comings of Christ, or the Church Age. c. In the second vision (vv. 4-6), we see the reason Satan was bound: so that the kingdom of Christ would advance. (i) This is the time of Christ’s mediatorial reign: (a) From His ascension: “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Heb. 10:12-13). (b) To His Second Coming: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. . . . Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:22-26, 51-54). (ii) Those who were martyred and who did not worship the Beast during God’s judgment on the Jews are raised to rule and reign with Christ for a thousand years (v. 4). This is the first resurrection. d. The third vision has to do with the release of Satan (vv. 7-10).

2 (i) When the thousand years are complete, Satan’s chain is removed (v. 7). (ii) God’s purpose in releasing him is that he might gather those who are his against the church (vv. 8-9). (iii) But this is so Christ’s glory might shine all the brighter when He comes from heaven in flaming fire to deal out retribution on His enemies (v. 9). 2. The two resurrections. a. There are two resurrections mentioned in Revelation 20. (i) There is a first resurrection: “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” (20:4-6). (ii) First also implies a second, and though it is not called such in verses 1213, clearly the raising of the dead is a resurrection: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” b. The first resurrection is a spiritual and not a bodily resurrection: (i) It is simply one of the ways the new birth is represented in the New Testament. (a) “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. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:24-25). (b) “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6). (Note: we are said even now to be seated with Christ in heaven because of our union with Him by faith.) (c) “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14).

3 (d) In Revelation 20, it could also refer to the raising of our soul to be with Christ at our death. (ii) Those who take part in the first resurrection will reign with Christ: (a) “And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:6). (b) “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (3:21). (c) Compare Ephesians 2:4-6 cited above. (d) This includes not only those who lived during the time frame of the Jewish War who were faithful until death, but also all who are faithful to Christ until death during His present reign. (e) At the end of that time, their bodies will be raised. b. The second resurrection is a physical resurrection. “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed” (Rev. 20:5). (i) This is what is typically referred to in the Bible as the resurrection, which takes place at the Second Coming to gather all the dead to the final judgment. (ii) This is the resurrection Jesus was referring to in John 5, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (vv. 28-29). (iii) The righteous are raised to heaven to rule and reign with Christ for a thousand years, while the wicked dead remain in hell (soul) and in the grave (body) until the resurrection when they “live” again. c. The strong parallels that exist between Revelation 20 and John 5 show that Jesus is referring to the same events. (i) In Revelation 20, there is a first resurrection and a second resurrection. In John 5, there is a first and second resurrection. (ii) In Revelation 20, not everyone takes part in the first resurrection, but all take part in the second. The same is true of John 5. (iii) In Revelation 20, those who take part in the first resurrection are given special spiritual privileges: They rule and reign with Christ for a thousand years (v. 4). Those who take part in the second are all gathered together for judgment (v. 12). In John 5, the first group have spiritual blessings (“eternal life” entails all the blessings God has for His people), and the second group are all gathered for judgment. (iv) In Revelation 20, those who take part in the first resurrection have no fear of the second death, which is called the lake of fire: “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the

4 second death has no power” (v. 6). But some of those who take part in the second do. He writes, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (20:15). In John 5, those in the first pass from death into life, while in the second some are raised to life (those who took part in the first resurrection) and others to judgment. (v) There is only one spiritual resurrection to life, and there is only one bodily resurrection to judgment. Those who take part in the first resurrection (regeneration) will have nothing to fear from the second death (their names will be found recorded in the book of life). 3. The Final Judgment (vv. 11-15). a. Before the transition from this Creation to the New Creation takes place, the Lord brings everything in this Creation to its conclusion at the Final Judgment, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” b. As we noted earlier in our study, there is only one final judgment of all men, not several judgments. (i) When Christ returns, all the dead are raised and all the living are translated. (a) “And fire came down from heaven and devoured them. . . . 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (vv. 9, 11-12). (b) “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). (c) “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in

5 Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:14-17). (ii) If all the dead are raised and all the living are gathered to be judged, there must be only one judgment, since there won’t be anybody left to judge following this. (a) Jesus refers to this day as the “day of judgment”: “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you” (Matt. 11:2224; cf. 12:36; 41-42; 2 Pet. 2:9). (b) The Sheep and Goat Judgment must be the final judgment, since it takes place when Christ comes in His glory at the Second Coming: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matt. 25:31-32). Note that all the nations are gathered and that both the righteous (sheep) and the wicked (goats) are all judged. (c) The Bema Seat Judgment must be the final judgment, since it is the judgment of all men before Christ: (1) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences” (2 Cor. 5:10-11). (2) Note that all must appear before the judgment seat. All will be recompensed for the good or bad (morally base, wicked, evil, bad) they have done. (3) This is not the judgment of the righteous only, as Dispensationalism teaches. (A) There are those present who are judged for their wickedness. (B) The thought of this day strikes fear in Paul’s heart and moves him to persuade men to repent. How could this be true if only the faithful righteous are present? (d) The Great White Throne Judgment must be the final judgment because it is a universal judgment of all men before the Lord (Rev. 20:11-15). (1) All the dead are judged.

6 (A) The fact that the dead are singled out doesn’t mean there aren’t any believers there. (B) Note that “if” anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire, which implies that not everyone present is absent from that book: there must be believers present. (C) Again, if there is only one judgment, this must be the same judgment. (2) This is the second resurrection: the physical resurrection of the body. (A) Those who were part of the first resurrection – who are born again in Christ – have their names written in the book of life and so do not need to fear the second death. (B) But those who are part of the second resurrection, who had no part in the first, receive the second death, the lake of fire. (3) Note as well that the judgment of all the wicked and the righteous at the final judgment rules out a millennium to follow, since there can be no one left to populate the earth.