...he wilderness in utter dependence on God (James 5:17; 1Kings 18). It also reminds us of the Jewish persecution in the time of the Maccabees and Antiochus Epiphanes IV.
Both 3,5 and 1000 years represent the Church Era, but it depends from which angle we look at it. If we look at it from the angle of persecution, it seems of imperfect and incomplete. But if we look at the 1000 years in the context of Satan’s binding it seems so huge and assures us of Gospel success. Let us not forget that many, if not all the disciples expected our Lord to return soon. 1000 is a huge number.
The First Resurrection
There are two possible explanations for this. It is either Regeneration or the entrance of the saints to heaven (Dean’s view). I favor the Regeneration view because it has direct statements from Scripture and especially from John to confirm this, but I still have some questions which the “entrance to heaven” view answers. I’m challenged by Dean’s view, it seems indeed to fit. [Edit: as of 25-04-2015 I have changed my view of the first resurrection to Dean’s. I believe the first resurrection refers to the believers’ entrance into the Intermediate State.]
Dean’s view say that the first resurrection is not a physical resurrection, indeed the consistent teaching of the NT is that of one general resurrection at the Parousia. The first resurrection refers to the believers’ entrance to heaven and reigning there with Christ.
There are two groups who are reigning with Christ:
- The martyrs
- the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God
- Born again believers
- those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands
The Regeneration view sees support in John 5.
John 5:25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
Here Regeneration is seen as a resurrection from the dead. Resurrection from deadness in sin.
This is further confirmed in the many ways that Paul refers to our old self and Regeneration:
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Here is it of special importance because in a certain and real (because the Bible affirms it) sense we are already seated in heaven (on thrones?) and are reining. In what way? Reining in life (Rom 5:17) and against sin.
The new life is connected with resurrection in Ephesians 5 also:
Eph 5:13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, Eph 5:14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
I think both views have good support and there remains questions to be asked about each (and more research and re-checking for me).
This is indeed not meant to be an exhaustive exposition of Revelation 20 and answering objection, but that’s exactly the reason why you should get the book and study it for yourself. [In re-reading on the subject of the First ...