June 18, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In the last four blogs we have been looking at What Will Heaven Be Like? There is relatively scant information on ‘heaven’, but there is more on the thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth, called The Millennium. And there are basically three views in Christianity concerning The Millennium:
• Premillennialism – Premillennialists believe that Jesus Christ – upon His return (as prophesied in Acts 1:11 and many other scriptures) – will establish God’s kingdom upon the earth and reign from Jerusalem as “…KING OF KINGS…” (Revelation 19:16) for literally one thousand years.
• Postmillennialism – In this view, the Postmillennialist believes that Christianity will spread across the world to the point where the kingdom of God will be ushered into a world made holy by the Church’s work. After Gods kingdom is established upon the earth, Jesus will return.
• Amillennialism – In the Greek, an ‘a’ before a word makes it the negative of that word. Amillenialists interpret the scriptures in such a way to believe that Christ will reign over no literal kingdom upon the earth.
I am a Premillennialist! And I believe the scriptures show forth this view in the least confusing way of the three views above.
Let me make a statement here: We do not understand all that the Bible teaches! It says in I Corinthians 13:9, “For now we know in part….” No one theologian or Bible scholar has all the answers! My theory of putting together Bible truth is likened to this: If you put all your knowledge of the Bible together it is like a ball of yarn with many lengths of yarn wrapped up together. When I pick up this ball and examine it, when the fewest loose ends hang down from the ball – that is what I currently believe! I say ‘currently’ because my understanding of God’s Word is dynamic. The Holy Spirit has taught me new things over the 49 years of being a Christian, and He will continue to open to me further understanding of what He authored! (see II Peter 1:21; John 14:26; I John 2:27). There are always new truths to learn as we read and study God’s holy Word!
Now, the scripture I have chosen for this blog – Revelation 20:4 through 6 – is one of the proof-texts that Premillennialists point to:
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was committed to
them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness
of 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. But the rest of
the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is
the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resur-
rection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests
of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
The first resurrection is actually in three parts:
• The resurrection of Jesus Christ – As it says in I Corinthians 15:20, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The firstfruits were the first ripened grain, fruit, and baked goods offered to God in thanksgiving and anticipation of a great harvest to follow (see Proverbs 3:9 and 10).
• The resurrection at the Rapture of Church-age believers (and perhaps Old Testament believers) – In I Thessalonians 4:13 through 17 Paul writes:
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have
fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe
that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who
sleep 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 by no means precede
those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with
a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And
the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And
thus we shall always be with the Lord.
• The resurrection of those who believe in Jesus Christ and are martyred during the Tribulation – This is what our featured scripture of Revelation 20:4 through 6 is about.
These three are all part of the first resurrection.
We will continue the introduction of What Will The Millennium Be Like? in the next blog.