Controversy over the nature and time of the millennium continues. In previous posts we have addressed teh timing of the millennium. Here it is our purpose to address the nature of the millennium in Revelation 20. Some times referred to as the intermediate state or the transition period, neither of these terms adequately describe the millennium. The term is a reference to the 1000 years reign of Christ found in Revelation.
Is the Millennium the Intermediate State?
Some have concluded that the millennium mentions only the intermediate state of the dead. This is because of the reference to the souls of those who were beheaded. The text says of them that they had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)
The Nature of the Millennium in Revelation 20
This must of necessity be a figurative description of the 1000 years reign for these are the departed souls of those who were martyred. Yet, they do not suffer the death of Hades. They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. It is because of this that some conclude that the millennium only involves the deceased and therefore refers to the intermediate state of the dead.
Who Were Those Who Sat Upon Thrones?
However, looking further, we not also that John saw thrones and “they” who sat upon them. To whom does these refer? Are they the dead? No, for they are sitting on thrones. The pronoun “they” refers back to its antecedent in the previous verse. Thus, the noun is “nations.” These are those who were not deceived by Satan and therefore obeyed the gospel. In fact, John sees them first in the vision, which is the correct order. Since the Martyrs are Christians, one would have to be a Christian before dying as a Christian martyr.
Now, these described in the millennium are definitely separate and distinct from the rest of the dead ones who are not raised until after the millennium is finished. Thus, those who lived and reign with Christ are part of the first resurrection. Now the nature of this resurrection cannot be physical because as we have demonstrated it involves the souls of those beheaded for their testimony to Christ, thus disembodied souls. Secondly, the other group of participants are embodies souls who had not yet died.Thus, the first resurrection is not a physical bodily resurrection from the grave.
The Millennium and the Defeat of Sin Death and Hades
Every place we see the millennium it is tied to the defeat and destruction of Satan. Every place we see Satan he is connected with Sin, Death and Hades. Note they all are destroyed together. Thus, the millennium is the victory over sin death and restoration to life in God as was being accomplished during Jesus’ pre-parousia reign before the end of the Jewish age. More will be developed on this topic in an upcoming book on the millennium, so stay tuned.
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