by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
It’s good to begin another lesson and teach the Word and put it as simply as we know how, so that folks can understand. I think there are many Bible believers who read their Bible, but they just don’t understand what they’re reading. And this is all I’m trying to do, to teach the Word. Well back to Revelation. I had a viewer call the other night who had just started watching our lessons. I told her if she was just joining us in the Book Revelation, then that would be almost like a kid that has been thrown into calculus class without ever having had 4th grade math. I love to have people start with me in the Book of Genesis and come all the way through, then all these things just fall into place. Let’s continue with our study in Revelation. In the last lesson we were in Chapter 20 and verse 6, but I would like to come back for a moment to verse 1 for a very short review, so we won’t lose track of how we have arrived at some of these points in time.
As the Tribulation has run its course, and the battle of Armageddon has taken place, Christ has returned and crushed all the armies gathered there in the Middle East. Now we are getting ready for the onset of the Kingdom. I can hardly wait. In fact, as I was thinking things over the past day or two, I was wishing that I had a four hour run without an interruption to the teach the Kingdom. Anyway, we are ready now to introduce the Kingdom. And Revelation 20 is the first place that the Kingdom is brought down to a particular time frame. The Old Testament speaks of the Kingdom. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom. Paul makes reference to the Kingdom, but not in a time frame. But here in Chapter 20 comes the almost exclusive the term – 1000 years. Now it’s put into a time frame that we can understand. Here in verse 1:
“AND I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the keys of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. …that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,”
Now look in these next few verses how many times by (inspiration of the Holy Spirit) the term 1000 years is brought out. I’ve stressed all the way from the Book of Genesis that when the Bible repeats something three or four times in short order, you sit up and take notice because it’s doing it for a reason. And that is emphasis. They are emphasizing the fact that this Kingdom rule and reign of Christ will be a thousand years. In verse 3 we find that after Satan has been chained and sealed, that he’s shut up in a bottomless pit.
“…that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled:…”
The thousand years has been used twice in two verses. After the thousand years, Satan is going to be released, and we will be teaching that in another lesson. Now in verse 4, John sees believers who have been resurrected, and brought up into the very heaven of the heavens. Now he begins to list 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 (now all of these are resurrected believers, and they are all grouped together here, I’m convinced); and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
Now that’s four times we have used the thousand years in just four verses. After our last lesson, when I was teaching on the resurrection, I had a person tell me during our break that I had lost them in explaining the resurrection. So looking at verse 5 again, I want to make sure you understand these resurrections. I’ll try to go slower on this subject, because I know during the last lesson I didn’t get to explain it as well as I wanted because my time was getting away from me.
We have all the believers all the way from Adam through the Tribulation who are now resurrected and they are in the Lord’s presence. But verse 5 says, “But the rest of the dead.” You always need to remember that there are only two groups of people so far as God is concerned. And they are the lost and the saved. So if the saved are already resurrected and are in the Lord’s presence, then the rest of the dead would have to be whom? The lost. And so the lost will not have anything happen to them “until the thousand years were finished.” Now that’s just plain English. So they will stay in their original state, which is, in Hell as we understand it. And they will be there for the entire thousand years of the Kingdom rule and then they will be resurrected. And in order to pick up that resurrection, which is called the second resurrection, we find that in verse 14:
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death.”
We will be teaching this in future lessons. The Great White Throne Judgment. But just to show you now that the two resurrections are separated by a thousand years, we have the resurrection of the just as Jesus talked about in John Chapter 5, when they will all be resurrected before the Kingdom begins. But the resurrection of the unjust, as He spoke of it in John Chapter 5 will take place after the thousand years are finished, and as a result of that Great White Throne judgment. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death.” The lost have died physically but now they are going to experience spiritual death, their separation from God forever. Here you have these two great groups of humanity, the saved who are resurrected in stages before the Kingdom begins. The lost of all the ages will be resurrected here at the Great White Throne, and then go to their eternal doom. Unbelievers will also be resurrected and get a body fit for their eternity in the lake of fire, even as we will have a body prepared for eternal life. Come back to verse 6 in Chapter 20. So in this first resurrection:
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection (the resurrection of all the believers, Old Testament, Church Age and Tribulation): on such the second death (as we saw in verse 14) hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,”
Out of the first seven verses here in Chapter 20, a thousand years is mentioned six times. In order to qualify that, turn back with me to II Peter Chapter 3 for a moment, where again we have that term a `thousand years.’ And this is comparing Scripture with Scripture.
II Peter 3:8
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
When we first started teaching Revelation, I think I made the point that all the seeds that are finally coming to fruition here in Revelation were sown in the Book of Genesis. Now when you come into this matter of seven days back in Genesis, how were they broken down? Six days prepared all of creation for the appearance of man. So six has always been the number of man all the way up through Scripture. Six days and God got everything ready for mankind. But then we have the seventh day. And the seventh day was a day of God’s rest. Remember I told you when we first started teach, that for 6000 years man has pretty much run the show, at least he thinks he has. But there is that 7000th year left. I think you can see now that these combined are the seven days, so far as God is concerned, that we read about in II Peter 3:8. And the seventh day or the 7000th year period of time is the one that is right out in front of us, even as we speak. Now you know I’m not one for setting dates, but there are a lot of scholars that are now frantically putting all of this together, and I certainly won’t argue the point with them, especially if they don’t set any dates. But they are just showing how the whole program of God from Genesis to Revelation seems to be set in a time frame of 7000 years.
There is a well known gentleman who has come up with some interesting figures, and he is basing some of this on the Jubilee period of time, especially in Israel’s history. A Jubilee was fifty years. And every fiftieth year was called the year of Jubilee. According to God’s Law, when He started dealing with the Nation of Israel, the year of Jubilee was the year of new beginnings. All debts were canceled, and property reverted back to the original owner. Everything looked good. But Israel, as far as I know, never practiced it. The thing I want to point out is a Jubilee was fifty years. To this gentleman who had written a book, by the end of this millennium (or the year 2000), it will have been the 120th Jubilee since Adam. That will be the year of 2000. It would be the 70th Jubilee since the year that Joshua led the Children of Israel into Canaan. And it will be the 40th Jubilee from the time of the Crucifixion. And remember these numbers are indicative of a lot of things in Scripture. For example, the number 120 is three sets of 40. And 40 in Scriptures is a time frame that God has used over and over. But this gentleman says in his book, we must be careful not to tie ourselves to that and say this is when the Lord is coming. But regardless, I feel we are getting so very, very close. Another point regardless of when Christ comes at the Second Coming, we as believers will go in the Rapture seven years before that time.
We are living in exciting times. Scriptures doesn’t set a date and neither will I, but it’s imminent. It could happen at any time. Everything is coming to pass so quickly, and the world is falling apart right before our eyes. And we are reaching the perplexity of the nations. I read an article by one of our congresswomen recently, and she made the statement that she’s finding as she travels around the world that nobody in any government on earth is having any fun. Do you know what she meant? The problems of this world are so overwhelming that people in government are almost pressed down. There is seemingly no solution to the world problems. It’s all because we are winding down and we are getting closer and closer to the time when Christ will take us out. Then there will be a lot take place in that next seven years and one of them will be the marriage of the Lamb. We will be studying about that in a future lesson. We will also study about the Bema Seat for the believers’ rewards. So we still have a lot to study before we are through with these end time events. Come back to Revelation 20:6 again:
“…but they (resurrected believers) shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years,”
This is the first resurrection. Now let’s again come back to I Corinthians Chapter 15. The great resurrection Chapter, where the Apostle Paul deals with Resurrection in plain simple language.
I Corinthians 15:20
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits (plural) of them that slept (or have died),”
I Corinthians 15:21
“For since by man came death, by man..(as he points out in verse 47),”
I Corinthians 15:47
“The first man is of the earth, earthy (Adam): the second man is the Lord (Christ) from heaven.” Now let’s look at verse 21 again:
I Corinthians 15:21
“For since by man came death (by Adam), by man (the second man or Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead.”
You know I have never heard of a religion in the world which teaches resurrection as Christianity understands it. They all speak of a life hereafter, but they don’t teach resurrection as part of their salvation like Christianity does. Resurrection is very unique. In other words, when Elijah raised the widow’s son, that was not resurrection. He merely brought that lad back to life, and then the son at a later time died again. The same thing happened with Lazarus. Jesus called him forth from the grave, but he wasn’t resurrected. He was brought back to life. Lazarus also had to die again. So keep this concept clear, that resurrection is that unique Sovereign act of God, whereby He will bring back from the dead a human being who has died, not just to die again, but back to a life of eternity. As I stressed back in Genesis, when God breathed into man and he became a living soul, that separated man from all the other categories of life. Because man is immortal in the area of the soul.
That is why Revelation speaks of the resurrection of the just to a life of immortality in God’s presence, and the lost who will be resurrected to a life separated from God, or the second death, but they, too, will continue on throughout eternity. I know there are groups that teach that when a lost person dies they are annihilated. But that doesn’t come close to lining up with Scripture. They’re going to suffer and experience feeling and regret forever. And Christ was the first Person to ever experience Resurrection. And that is why He is called here the first fruits (Plural) of them that slept. Now for a brief moment turn to the Book of Leviticus Chapter 23. Here we have, as far as I know, the first mention of the firstfruits. Here Israel is being given the various aspects of the Law as they are gathered around Mount Sinai.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, `Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:’”
Now is a sheaf one stem of grain or many? It’s many. And we will pick this up in our next lesson. But remember what we are talking about: “The first fruits of the harvest.”