Two Resurrections, Thousand years Between ‘Em and A Dispensationalist In A Pear Tree

This is a follow up post regarding the millennial teaching of a double physical resurrection which I dealt with recently.

Why a follow up? Because I’ve been asked to explain something in this comment received. Pay attention to what this guy asks:

I accept that the Thessalonians passage describes only one resurrection – that of the dead in Christ. But Revelation mentioned two groups of the dead who lived again: the first group lived at the start of the thousand years; the second group lived not again until the thousand years were ended.

The first was called the first resurrection. To say there was a first, implied that there was to follow another – a second. It also implied that both resurrections would have the same nature. How do you fit both passages with the other?

I’ve dealt with some of these points in the previous post, but, perhaps even more clarification is in order.

First, look at this readers presuppositions:

1. “Revelation mentions two groups of the dead who lived again”

Nope, it does not, not anywhere.

Here is the verse in question:

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. – Revelation 20:4,5

Now, an examination of this passage stresses once again the importance of the study of the Greek New Testament. It is vital!

Brethren, in this passage, John says “they lived and reigned with Christ.” The root Greek word translated “lived” is ζάω meaning “to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)” – it is not, as many translators have erroneously rendered it “came to life.”

Such a translation is wrong, obviously, because the subject of this verb “lived” is “souls.” Souls of believers. It cannot mean these souls came to life because Scripture testifies in John’s Gospel that these souls which he sees here never died, thus they cannot “come to life again.” At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus told Martha:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25, 26

Paul, speaking of his death, spoke of going to be immediately with the Lord (Php 1:28). Peter described his own death as “laying aside my earthly dwelling” (2 Peter 1:13). When the spirit dies, it returns to God who gave it (Ec. 12:7).

For anyone truly in Christ, that continued existence is described in God’s Word as a living with Christ. They keep on living – they do not ‘come to life’.

Now, since we’ve gotten that important aspect out of the way, let’s continue.

“Came to life” is such a false translation. The context does not allow it whatsoever. The aorist ἔζησαν is followed by another aorist, ἐβασίλευσαν followed by an accusative denoting duration of time.

If John had wanted to express the idea of a resumption of life, he would have used another word. As it is, John says that during the period of the thousand years, the souls, without interruption, lived and reigned with Christ.

Brethren, listen, while the souls of unbelievers continue to exist after death, their continued existence is never, never, never in Scripture called ζάω, because that word means true spiritual life. Unbelievers never rise to life, only unto condemnation.

By the way, the dispensationalist in a pear tree, I have no comment on that, just thought it made a good title. Winking smile