Let us read Revelation 20:4-6. “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” (NASB).

The sentence “This is the first resurrection” at the end of verse 5 refers back to the believers in verse 4. Something else that helps with understanding these verses is to think of a parenthesis around the first sentence of verse 5. The first resurrection is speaking of the resurrection of believers prior to Christ’s reign for a thousand years, as it states at the end of verse 4. It is clear in verse 6 that those who are part of the first resurrection must be believers since the second death has no power over them. Therefore, the first resurrection mentioned in the second part of verse 5 could not be speaking about the first part of verse 5. Those dead ones are not raised until after the thousand years are completed.

Revelation 20:7 states “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” Upon completion of the thousand years, we read about the spiritually dead people that were mentioned in verse 5 (“the rest of the dead”) in Revelation 20:11-15. “11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.”

Dear friend, these are very somber words! If you have not yet repented of your sins and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, please do so today. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.” The Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He does not want to cast you into the lake of fire, but if you refuse the only way of salvation, then that is what will happen. Come to Him today!

If you have trusted in the Lord Jesus, then share the good news of the gospel with as many as you can. People need Christ desperately, but they do not realize it. Pray for opportunities to share your faith and the Lord will help you as you sow the seed of the gospel. As we read in Psalm 126: 5-6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” May the Lord encourage you to shine for Christ with your life and share the gospel as He gives opportunities. (275.4) (DJ)