Sam Storms cites the following passages against Alford’s Dictum, ‘John 2:18-22; 11:25-26; Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:24; John 6:49-50; and possibly 1 Peter 3:1; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 9:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Amillennialists have almost uniformly appealed to John 5:25-29 as a clear exception to Alford’s dictum. Here a “spiritual” and a “physical” resurrection are spoken of in the same context.’
Revelation 20:5 reads, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” The first sentence is of a parenthetical nature. The focus is upon the believing and their present reign with the Lord Christ. With the addition of this parenthetical sentence, John is indicating the thing which the unbelieving dead are not experiencing. Yet the passage says that the wicked “did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” Does that imply that they will come to life? Well, for Premillennialists who contend for the understanding of “coming to life” in both v. 4 as well as v. 5 meaning bodily resurrection, they do not take v. 5 in a “literal” sense. What am I saying? Notice that v. 5 describes what the first resurrection is with the words “This is the first resurrection.”
Let us assume the Premillennial line of argumentation for a moment: The first resurrection is bodily and it is the believer’s reign with Christ on the earth, and in this, the unbelieving dead did not share. The coming to life and reining is described as the first resurrection. Two things are included in the definition of “the first resurrection”, both the coming to life, which Premillennialists believe is a physical resurrection, and reining with Christ. But there is a problem. If a “literal” reading should be followed and “they came to life” consistently interpreted in the same way in both v. 4 as well as v. 5, we would have a problem. What is exactly the problem? The problem is that v. 5 says that the unbelieving dead did not come to life “until” the thousand years were ended. Well, since the coming to life included reining with Christ and was called the “first resurrection” does that mean that the “rest of the dead will come to life” and reign with Christ after the Millennium? No Premillennialist says such a thing, and therefore they are not closely following Alford’s Dictum. They insist that the first resurrection is a physical resurrection, but the first resurrection is explicitly defined as the saints’ coming to life and reigning with Christ, yet they will not say that the wicked will come to life and reign with Christ after the Millennium. They are not being “literalists” or “straightforward” with the text.
That is a smaller problem for us Amillennialists as well, but the question must be answered: Does until imply a change of condition at its termination? Anthony Hoekema writes:
The Greek word here translated “until,” achri, means that what is said here holds true during the entire length of the thousand-year period. The use of the word until does not imply that these unbelieving dead will live and reign with Christ after this period has ended. If this were the case, w...