"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. (These are the Tribulation Saints.) And they (the 'Throne Sitters' and 'Tribulation Saints') lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead (Wicked Dead) lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This (the resurrection of the 'Throne Sitters,' and 'Tribulation Saints') is the FIRST RESURRECTION.
"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 YEARS."
In this passage we meet for the first time the expression--"THE FIRST RESURRECTION." In 1. Thess. 4:16, we read that the dead IN CHRIST shall rise FIRST, but as no wicked are mentioned it is simply a relative statement to show that the living Christians shall not be caught away before the "Dead in Christ" shall be raised. This passage speaks of two separate "Companies of Believers" who are to be raised, each in their own order, at the "First Resurrection."
(1). The First Company is described by the words--"I saw Thrones, and they sat upon them, and Judgment was given unto them." Now the only "Company of Believers" that we see sitting on Thrones are the "Four and Twenty Elders" of chapter 4:4-5. These as we have seen stand for the Church, and were resurrected or caught
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The Resurrections and Judgments
out before "The Tribulation," and are the "Harvest" of which Christ and those who rose at the time of His Resurrection were the "First Fruits." See the "Chart on ."
(2). The Second Company is described by the words--"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." This Company is made up of those who were slain for refusing to worship the "Beast" or his "Image," and represent the "Tribulation Saints," or those who perish as martyrs after the Church has been caught out, and during the "Tribulation Period," and are the "Gleanings" of the "Harvest."
Now we read that these Two Companies "lived," that is, they were dead but lived again, that is, had been raised from the dead, for John saw the Tribulation Saints in their disembodied or SOULISH state between death and the resurrection of the body. This clearly teaches that both these Companies were resurrected and lived and were to reign with Christ for a 1000 YEARS, and not that only the Tribulation Saints lived and would reign with Him during the 1000 Years. Thus both Companies make up the FIRST RESURRECTION SAINTS.
In the next verse (5) we have another class or Company of per-sons mentioned, called the "REST OF THE DEAD," who are not to live again (that is, raised from the dead) until the 1000 Years are finished. Who these dead are we are told in verse 12, where they are referred to as the "WICKED DEAD." It is clear then that there are to be TWO Resurrections of the dead, the first of the "RIGHTEOUS," and the second of the "WICKED," and that these two Resurrections are to be 1000 YEARS APART.
But some object to the statement that there are to be Two Resurrections, and say that we are not justified in basing such a doctrine on a single statement in a symbolical book. But if we are to reject the statements of the Word of God simply because they are mentioned only once, then we must reject the doctrine of the "Virgin Birth," for that was only mentioned once in the Old Testament before it was fulfilled, but of the resurrection of the "Righteous" a 1000 years before the "Wicked" we are told in this Book of Revelation three times.
But we do not have to depend on this passage to prove that the "Righteous" shall rise before the "Wicked," its value lies in the fact that it gives us the LENGTH OF TIME (1000 years) between the Two Resurrections. The Scriptures, while they speak of the Resurrection of the "JUST" and the "UNJUST" (the Justified and the Unjustified), Acts 24:15, and a Resurrection of "LIFE," and a Resurrection of "DAMNATION" (John 5:28-29), also speak of an "OUT" Resurrection "FROM AMONG" the dead, called in Luke 14:13-14, the Resurrection of the "JUST." In Luke 20:35-36 a Resurrection is spoken of called a Resurrection "FROM (out from) THE DEAD," and is an "OUT" Resurrection, because those who rise are called the "CHILDREN OF GOD," being the children of "THE (First or
"out from") RESURRECTION." Again in Heb. 11:35, we read of a "BETTER RESURRECTION," and all these references to a "SPECIAL" Resurrection are made clear, and the "time element" and its "length" (1000 years) between the Resurrection of the "JUST" and "UNJUST" revealed in the passage we are considering.
There could be no statement more clear than--"THE REST OF THE DEAD LIVED NOT AGAIN UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED," to show that the "Unrighteous Dead" will not be raised until the end of the Millennium. This at one stroke does away with the argument of those who claim that all the dead will be raised at the beginning of the Millennium, and shall have another chance to accept the Gospel and be saved.
We read--"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the 'FIRST Resurrection'; on such the 'SECOND DEATH' hath no power." What is the "SECOND DEATH"? First, what is DEATH? It is the separation of the "soul" and "spirit" from the "body." That is the "FIRST DEATH." At the Resurrection the "soul" and "spirit" are reunited to the "body." This is true of both the Righteous and the Wicked. But the Wicked after they have been raised are to be Judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and because their names are not found written in the "Book of Life," they are sentenced to die again, that is, their "soul" and "spirit" are again separated from their "body," and they go to the "LAKE OF FIRE" without a material body, and as "soul" and "spirit" are incombustible they can remain in the flames of a literal fire for all eternity without being consumed. This is the doom of the Wicked dead. The Rich Man in Hell (Luke 16:19-31) was conscious and tormented in the flame after his death, and he shall remain so until his body shall be raised from the dead at the Resurrection of the Wicked, and when he shall be Judged and condemned at the Great White Throne Judgment, and sentenced to die again, his "soul" and "spirit" will descend to the "Lake of Fire" (the Final Hell), where they will exist in a conscious state and in torment for all eternity. But the "Second Death" has no terror for the Righteous, for the promise is that it shall have no power over them.