TEXT: Revelation 20:1-6
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: 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; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 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.
— PRAYER —
The 1,000-Year Reign of Christ — The Future Wars of the Nations (Part 11)
Last week, we addressed the issue of the devil being bound and imprisoned after the battle of Armageddon. With the devil gone and Jesus Christ on earth, our passage informs us that there will be 1,000 years of God’s rule instead of man’s rule or the devil’s rule over the planet.
Now, this 1,000 years, known as the Millennial Kingdom, has been the subject of debate down through the centuries. Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck provide the following summary of this debate: “This chapter presents the fact that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years. If this chapter is taken literally, it is relatively simple to understand what is meant. However, because many Bible interpreters have rejected the idea that there will be a reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years after His second coming, this chapter has been given an unusually large number of diverse interpretations, all designed to eliminate a literal millennial reign.”
Generally speaking, there are three views of the Millennial Kingdom. The first major view is known as postmillennialism. This view states that the period leading up to the second coming will be a time of spiritual triumph and Christian influence followed by Jesus’ return and the Millennial Kingdom. Now, this view has largely been done away with recently because of the anti-Christian movements that have come on the scene and because the work of the devil in the earth has not been abated.
The second major view of the Millennial Kingdom is amillennialism. This view denies that there is any real, physical millennium. Proponents of this view state that the 1,000 years of Christ’s rule is a metaphor for Jesus’ lordship in the heart of Christian believers.
The third major view of the Millennial Kingdom is premillennialism. “Pre” refers to the interpretation that Jesus returns before the millennial kingdom is established. This view has a long tradition going back to the first century church fathers. Under this view, we are going to take these verses just as literally as we have taken the rest of the Book of Revelation. Thus, when we speak of the Millennial Kingdom, we are saying that Jesus Christ will establish and rule a real, literal, physical kingdom on earth. His seat of government will be just as real as the White House, the U.S. Capitol, Vatican City, the Kremlin, or Buckingham Palace.
Now, notice the people who will help Jesus rule this kingdom. John writes, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…” He is not specifically told the identity of the people who sit on the thrones. It is likely that they are the twelve disciples whom Jesus promised would “eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.”
Next, notice another class of people who will inhabit the Millennial Kingdom. “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; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” These are those who accepted Christ as Savior during the Tribulation period and did not turn their backs on Him because of persecution. They were killed by the Antichrist, but they will be raised again to take part in the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
John continues, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” The “rest of the dead” are the unsaved who lived during the Tribulation. They took the mark of the beast and worshipped the antichrist. They were killed either by the many judgments of the Tribulation or at the battle of Armageddon. These people do not take part in the Millennial Kingdom.
Returning to the Tribulation saints, John says, “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.” The “first resurrection” that John speaks of refers to the resurrection of the righteous. Everyone who has ever placed their faith in Jesus Christ will be raised from the dead either at the Rapture or at the end of the Tribulation period. A second resurrection, a resurrection of the unrighteous, will also take place at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. These unrighteous dead will face judgment at the Great White Throne and then will be sentenced to eternal death in the lake of fire. This is the “second death” that John speaks of. This death will have no power over any who are part of the first resurrection.
Not only will the martyred dead of the Tribulation period rule and reign with Jesus Christ during the Millennial Kingdom, but we — the saints of the church age — will as well, for we will have been raptured before the Tribulation and then returned to earth with Christ at Armageddon. It pays to be faithful to God; it pays to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Even when it may seem like we have chosen the losing side in the war, if we persevere to the end, we will be richly rewarded. We will escape the second death and will take part in the glorious Millennial Kingdom.
If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.