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and the heaven fled away;.................And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;......and the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them......
These three passages are so plain that the wayfaring man need not err therein.
In the first, we are told the order of the resurrectioneach "in his own order" (Gr. Band.). The figure is taken from troops moving by bands or regiments.
First, Christ ("the first born from the dead." Col. 1: 18).
Next, the godly, who die in Christ and who are His at His coming.
Next, the end, when "the rest of the dead" (who are not Christ's) shall come forth and death itself be destroyed.
The second passage reiterates and emphasizes the fact that the dead in Christ shall rise first and that they rise when the Lord descends from Heaven with a shout. The resurrection of the ungodly is not spoken of, for they have no part in this blessed first resurrection.
In the third passage we have the first resurrection completed by the resurrection of the Tribulation Saints (see page 101) and the reign with Christ for a thousand years is stated to occur before the rest of the dead are raised. And after the thousand years the rest of the dead, who lived not again until the thousand years were finished, stand before God, and death and Hades deliver up the dead in them.
This one thousand years is the Millennium (Latin, mille annum). What could be plainer than this proof that Christ's coming is to be pre-millennial? The dead in Christ are raised at His coming and they are raised before the millennium. Therefore His coming must be pre-millennial.
The Use of Scripture Passages.
It is objected that we have no right thus to bring to gether these passages from different parts of the Word. We answer-why not? Are they not all inspired ?13 Are they not all the product of one mind? See how plainly we are taught that they are all the utterances of the Holy Spirit.1 And it is clear that they all relate to the same subject, viz.: the resurrection.
Paul uses quotations in the same manner in Rom. 3 to prove that all have sinned, and again in Rom. 10 to prove the righteousness which is of faith, and in Heb. 11 to show the fruits of faith. We must certainly acknowledge the propriety of following his example.
Indeed, the same method of aggregating proof texts is used and relied upon to show the divinity of Christ and every evangelical doctrine.
Only Souls Mentioned.
It is objected that only the souls are mentioned in Rev. 20 and therefore it cannot be a literal resurrection, but is only the regeneration, or spiritual resurrection and present life of believers in Christ.
(13) 2 Tim. 3:16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2 Tim. 3:16 (R. V.). Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness:
17. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work..
Or, Every scripture is inspired of God and profitable.
(14) John 14:26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all
to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 16:13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak and he will shew you things to come.
1 Cor. 2:10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
2 Pet. 1:21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The fallacy of this is easily seen, for these holy dead enjoyed the spiritual resurrection before they "were beheaded for the witness of Jesus." Clearly, it was because of this spiritual life in Christ and their faith in the Word of God, that they became witnesses for Jesus and refused to worship the beast, or his image or receive his mark, and therefore they were beheaded (see chap. 13:11-15). Besides, vyàs (psukas-souls) means also life, person or individual. See same word in Acts 2:41, "there were added unto them about three thousand souls (persons)" and in Acts 7:14; 27:10-37; 1 Cor. 15:45; 1 Pet. 3: 20; Rev. 12:11; 16:3, it unmistakably means persons.1 15 A spirit could not be beheaded. Only a person having body and spirit could be beheaded, and such it is evident these were. But they suffered physical death; that is, separation of soul and body, and became part of the great company of the dead. The 5th verse emphatically confirms this-these being that portion of the dead ones (VEкpwv) who lived, while "the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished," and "this is the first resurrection.”
In this objection Post-millennialists manifest one of their most remarkable inconsistencies. They labor assiduously to disprove the literalism of the first resurrection, described in verses 4-6, where Cάu -zao= to live and ἀνάστασις- anastasis resurrection are each twice used, while they hold that verses 12 and 13 do describe a literal resurrection, though neither zao nor anastasis are used therein. Consistency requires that, if either is spiritual, it should be the latter. How much better to accept both as literal.
(15) Acts 7:14. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
Acts 27:37. And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
1 Pet. 3:20. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the
longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Rev. 16:3. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
Spiritual Life in Paradise.
Equally fallacious is the interpretation which claims that the first resurrection is the spiritual life of believers with Christ in Paradise (the intermediate place of the holy dead). For this spiritual life begins, not at death, but at the regeneration. It begins with the first exercise of faith in Christ. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." John 3:36. Hath it now. Is quickened already (Col. 2:13), and has been raised (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1), and lives the life he now lives by the faith of the Son of God. Gal. 2:19, 20. This spiritual resurrection spoken of in Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12, 13; 3:1, is expressed by words entirely different from anastasis, which is used in Rev. 20: 5-6, and which everywhere in the New Testament expresses a literal resurrection.
Only the Beheaded Mentioned.
Again it is objected that only the beheaded are mentioned and those who have specially to do with the beast and His image.
This is true of the latter part of the verse only. And we believe that these are the Tribulation Saints who accept of Christ and become His martyrs under the reign of Antichrist,16 after the Church has been caught up to meet
(16) 2 Thes. 2:1. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6. And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Christ in the air.17 (See page 101.) But notice that the first part of the verse speaks of some as though they had already been raised. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them."
Nothing is said about the resurrection of these because they had already been raised at the Rapture previous to the Tribulation.
They are all ready to occupy the thrones and reign upon the earth according to the promises.18 But John sees the
8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
Rev. 13:11. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13. And he doeth great wonders. SO that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor,
free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his
18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
(17) 1 Thes. 4:16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(18) Mat. 19:28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
1 Cor. 6:2. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye un