Sunday, March 12, 2017
Thousand Year Reign with Christ Series #7 – Part 135 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
So far in this series we have scripturally established the outset of the first death, the first resurrection, when the thousand year reign with Christ on the earth begins, and how His reign on the earth will end. We don’t know when – we only know how. We began this series in Revelation chapter 20 and there is much more esoteric imagery and metaphorical language for us to delve into before we can understand the full message that Jesus Christ imparted to John.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years…but the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…this is the first resurrection…Rev. 20:4-5.
These two verses reveal the first resurrection of the saints of God on the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and presented them to His Father in Heaven – the firstfruits of His resurrection…Rev. 14:1-5. It also reveals to the followers of Christ what they will experience in Heaven after they die on the earth for their allegiance to Him, as well as their reward for their faithfulness…this is the first resurrection.
One sentence in this verse needs further clarification. What is that sentence? But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. Don’t you love a good riddle – especially one that can be solved? We already know who lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years – it is those who endured suffering in the world for His sake – and they began their reign with Him the day they became born again.
We know by our study text that the followers of Christ, those who died on the earth, will arrive in Heaven – but who are the rest of the dead who lived not until the thousand years were finished?” The rest of the dead are people who did not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. They rejected His plan of salvation. Apparently they did not believe Him when He said…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me…John 14:6.
If the rest of the dead were not in Heaven, where were they? Do you remember the illustration that Jesus gave us about Hades? We find His story in Luke 16:19-31. Jesus was telling his followers about a certain rich man who had lived sumptuously his whole earthly life, then died. Then He described the life of a beggar who had fared poorly his whole earthly life, then died. Both were found in Hades – region of departed spirits.
Jesus said that the departed spirit of the beggar Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham’s Bosom to be comforted until the time of resurrection. The departed spirit of the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham’s Bosom and said…Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame…verse 24.
Before Jesus died and rose from the grave, those who died on the earth were transported to Hades – place of departed spirits. When the rich man asked for Lazarus to come relieve his torment, Abraham said to him…Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented, and besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.
We can see clearly that there are two distinct places for departed spirits to reside prior to the day Jesus rose from the grave. One was a place of comfort – the other was a place of torment.
We have answered our two questions: who are the rest of the dead and where are they? Our reference also confirms that although the rich man and Lazarus are human beings who died on the earth, their spirits live on forever. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, all people residing in Abraham’s Bosom were resurrected and taken to Heaven, as firstfruits of His salvation. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
If the rest of the dead were not resurrected along with the departed spirits in Abraham’s Bosom the day Jesus rose from the grave, what happened to them? Are they still in Hades? Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question~~~