We continue once again with our subject,
Death and Resurrection
Concerning the second resurrection Seventh Day Adventist had the following to say.
“The second resurrection happens after the thousand years have passed. This resurrection is for those who were unfaithful to Christ. These are the lost people who decided not to follow Christ during their life on earth.
“The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5, ESV).
Unfortunately, these people are not raised to eternal life, but instead will face the second death.”
Having considered the first three points underlined above, we move on to the fourth point mentioned concerning the timing of the second resurrection, Adventist state:
4) “The second resurrection happens after the thousand years have passed.”
In support of this position, they quote Rev 20:5
“The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection”
It would seem that if one were attempting to explain the second resurrection quoting this verse would appear a bit counterintuitive, as it appears to be suggesting that this is the first resurrection, not the second. The difficulty however is that the first sentence in this verse is spurious, and is not found in oldest and most reliable manuscripts, however the next sentence in this verse, “This is the first resurrection”, is authentic.
“The context, makes plain the counterfeit character of the first sentence. First of all, note how clear the message of Verse 4 is without the offending line: “They came to life and reigned…This is the first resurrection.” How clear!
WITH the fake words we have: “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. THIS is the first resurrection.” HOW LUDICROUS!
Obviously, this is NOT the first resurrection.
Additionally, note WHY the dragon is bound (Verse 3): “…so that he should not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed.”
Now, IF the saints are all in heaven on thrones, and IF the rest of the dead don’t return to life until the end of the thousand years,
Who is left for the dragon to deceive?
Why waste time binding him if there is no one to deceive?
Now note the wonderful progression of the experience of the saints in Verses 4 through 6 without the spurious words in the way:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them, even the souls of those who 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 came to life and reigned with Christ for the thousand years. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for the thousand years.”
Now in Rev 22:18 the Lord gives a warning about adding to or taking from the words of this prophecy (Revelation as a whole); however, we cannot be sure that this was a deliberate insertion or merely a transcriber error. It may be that this quote was mistakenly inserted by a translator who when translating the text mistakenly added a side note written by another translator, assuming it part of the text. Its possible many errors have crept in this way.
Nevertheless, we believe that in this instance the Lord overruled, that is to say although it wrong to say that the second resurrection takes place at the end of the thousand years, it is NOT wrong to say that “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” Not if you rightfully understand.
Once again recall that the word “resurrection” viz., a full, complete rising up out of death conditions into perfection of life conditions. This can take place instantaneously or gradually.
The Church not only receives an instantaneous resurrection to perfection of life, but a change of nature from the human nature to the spirit nature, and not just any spirit nature but the highest possible spirit nature, the divine nature. The world having part in the “resurrection of judgment” or trial, will experience a gradual resurrection as they learn righteousness and are slowly brought back to the original perfection loss by father Adam.
As theirs is not a resurrection to life (in the fullest sense of the word), but rather a resurrection of judgement (to try or test them to see if they are worthy of the right to life), this implies that they remain in the same condition as they previously were, DEAD in the eyes of the Lord, until they reach a complete resurrection to perfection.
All mankind, from God's standpoint, being under the sentence of death are counted as dead. This is what the Lord referred to when addressing the man who wanted to follow him, but wished first to bury his father, the Lord’s reply was, "Let the dead bury the dead." (Matt. 8:22)
In the millennium while under judgement the world will still be considered dead, that is until they pass their final test at the end of the thousand years. Note the following:
“Then I saw a great white throne (of purity and justice) and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away (the old order of things, the present evil world). And there was found no place for them (no remnant of them is left, Compare Dan 2:35).
And I saw the dead small and great (The dead world--dead in the sense that God does not recognize them as having right to life, dead in the sense that they have not the Son), standing before the throne, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works (their efforts in reforming their characters at that time), by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one (individually) according to his works (of progress to perfection).” (Rev 20:11-13)
So, in essence the spurious part of Verse 5 is nevertheless true, viz., “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended”, until they had reached a full resurrection to perfection and had passed their final test.
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