Revelation 20:4-6

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 24, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

We have arrived at the climax of history. Let’s review the major events that are in our future:

1. Gog War (Eze. 38-39)

This is what we’re beginning to see develop in the Middle East. In this war, nations Russia, Iran, and Libya will be forming a coalition to invade Israel.

2. The Rapture (1Th. 4:17)

All those who have died before the rapture will receive their glorified bodies at that time. Up until the rapture, they are spirits without bodies.

All believers living on the earth will be taken to heaven with Jesus and receive brand new glorified bodies.

3. The Tribulation (Rev. 6-18)

That terrible seven year period where the antichrist rules the world and God’s wrath is poured out on the earth.

4. The Second Coming (Rev. 19)

Jesus comes back on His white horse, with us behind Him.

All the unbelievers alive on the earth will be put to death by Jesus.

5. The Millennium (Rev. 20)

That’s this week.  Jesus sets up His kingdom rules for a thousand years.

20:4-6 One Thousand Years

:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw 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 lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

:4 thronesthronos – a throne seat

:4 judgmentkrima – a decree, judgments; judgment; a matter to be judicially decided, a lawsuit, a case in court

:4 committeddidomi – to give; to give something to someone

:4 soulspsuche – breath; the soul

:4 who had been beheadedpelekizo – to cut off with an axe, to behead

Perfect participle

:4 witnessmarturia – a testifying; what one testifies, testimony, i.e. before a judge

:4 worshipedproskuneo – among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

:4 livedzao – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)

:4 reignedbasileuo – to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign

:4 I saw thrones, and they sat on them

We will be a part of the “they”.

Look at what Jesus promised to the churches:

(Re 2:26–27 NKJV) —26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father;
(Re 3:21 NKJV) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

:4 judgment was committed to them

Sitting on thrones doesn’t mean you have won the big prize and you get to eat bonbons all day.

Sitting on a throne puts you in a place to make decisions, to handle judgment.


Good Judgment

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he rebuked them for their own lack of “judgment”. They had problems within the church where believers were suing other believers and Paul thought they ought to be wise enough to learn to settle these things in the church instead of going to court.
(1 Co 6:2 NKJV) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m don’t make the wisest decisions.
Sometimes when people ask me for a decision or a “judgment”, I feel about as qualified as if I was Ernest P. Worrell sitting on a jury …

Play Ernest goes to Jail clip

How would you like to be on trial in court with Ernest on the jury?

And yet sometimes we’re no better than Ernest with some of the decisions we make in life.

I think that this life we have now is where we get our training for these “thrones” we’re going to be sitting on.
I want to learn this “wisdom” stuff. I want to be ready for the job ahead of us.
Solomon wrote that we ought to make wisdom a priority in our lives:
(Pr 4:7 NKJV) Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
Wisdom comes from a correct relationship with God.
Solomon, the wisest man, wrote,

(Pr 9:10 NKJV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Job wrote,

(Job 28:28 NKJV) And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”

Having a proper, healthy respect for God is the starting place for wisdom.

It’s when you’re close to God that you will find He has tons to share:

(Col 2:3 NKJV) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Three things that grow us in wisdom:
James wrote that getting wisdom involves asking God for it:

(Jas 1:5–6 NKJV) —5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

When you realize you need wisdom, learn to ask God for help.

The key to receiving God’s kind of wisdom is “faith”, learning to live a life where I am trusting God.

Do I believe God knows what He’s doing in my life? Do I believe that God has the answers I need? These are the kinds of questions that tell me where my “faith” is at.

God’s Word
The Psalmist wrote that wisdom is found in God’s Word:

(Ps 119:99 NKJV) I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

God’s Word gives me my standards for knowing what is right and what is wrong, and sometimes that’s what I need to be reminded of.

I can learn wisdom by seeing how people in the Bible made their decisions.

An important way of growing in wisdom is how we learn through our experiences in life.

That means that when we make mistakes, we learn from them.

I got this picture off of my niece’s post on Facebook:  “Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and you make bad decisions”


There was a college student trying to earn some pocket money by going from house to house offering to do odd jobs. He explained this to a man who answered one door. “How much will you charge to paint my porch?” asked the man. “Forty dollars” “Fine” said the man, and gave the student the paint and brushes. Three hours later the paint-splattered lad knocked on the door again. “All done!” he says, and collects his money. “By the way,” the student says, “That’s not a Porsche, it’s a Ferrari.”

I hope that kid learned something …

When we go through hardship, we face a choice.  We can grow wiser or we can grow bitter.

(Pr 14:6 NKJV) A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands.

You can scoff at your troubles and you won’t learn anything. But if you decide to learn from your troubles and failures, you will grow in wisdom.

(Pr 11:2 NKJV) When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.

It takes humility to fail and learn from the experience.

Sometimes we like to live life as “safe” as possible.

We don’t want to make any mistakes, so we don’t make any decisions.

It’s better to make a decision, be wrong and grow from it, than to avoid making any decisions and never gain in wisdom.

How can you tell if you are growing in wisdom? James gives us a couple of ways to test our “wisdom”:
(Jas 3:13–17 NKJV) —13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Good conduct and meekness (vs. 13)

Purity, peace, gentle, willing to yield, mercy, good fruit, no partiality, no hypocrisy (vs. 17).

:4 those who had been beheaded

John sees those who had been martyred during the seven year Tribulation.

They had lost their lives for three reasons:
They talked about Jesus.
They followed God’s Word.
They did not worship the antichrist.

:4 And they lived

They came back to life.

They were given new bodies.

Believers who have already died will get new bodies at the Rapture.
We will have new bodies at the Rapture.
Now all those who were martyred during the Tribulation will receive their new bodies.

What are the new bodies like?

They will be like Jesus’ resurrected body.
(1 Jn 3:2 NKJV) Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He could walk through walls. He could keep others from recognizing Him. He could fly.

:4 reigned with Christ for a thousand years


Millennial Kingdom

“Millennial” or “Millennium” means “1,000”.
We will sit on thrones and reign with Christ for 1,000 years.
When C.S. Lewis wrote his “Chronicles of Narnia” for children, he painted a picture for us of what this will be like. In his story, the hero is a Lion named Aslan, who is a picture of Jesus. When the war between the White Witch and Aslan is over, the children are shown their thrones.

Play “Narnia Thrones” clip from The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe

Some facts about the "Millennial Kingdom":

1. The kingdom of heaven

This is the kingdom referred to so much in scripture.
It’s there much more than we are aware of.
In the book of Matthew alone, the word “kingdom” appears some 52 times, most of which could and does apply to this kingdom.

There is a sense in which “the kingdom of heaven” refers to that territory that God has staked out in your life (Luke 17:21), almost as a foretaste of heaven itself, but I believe most references apply to this kingdom.

(Lk 17:21 NKJV) 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Here are some samples (just from the Sermon on the Mount!):
(Mt 5:3 NKJV) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Mt 5:20 NKJV) For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

What’s the only way to have that kind of righteousness? To have Jesus’ righteousness given to us!

(Mt 6:10 NKJV) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
(Mt 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

2. The capitol is Jerusalem

Don’t lose sight of the fact that this kingdom is in fact the Israel that God intended it to be.
(Is 2:3 NKJV)  Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Much of the problems that people get in with interpreting these passages is that they think that Israel no longer is going to receive all the promises that God had for it, but that somehow the church has taken its place.
Paul wrote,

(Ro 11:1 NKJV) I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not!

(Ro 11:25–26 NKJV) —25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

Jesus will be ruling in Jerusalem, on the throne of David.

Some nations of the world will still be intact through the Millennium, but Jesus will be ruling the world from the land of Israel.

3. No more curse

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, all sorts of things got ruined in creation. But that will all change during the Millennium.
(Is 11:6–8 NKJV) —6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
If there’s no more curse, then there will be no more thorns on roses. There will be no more pain in childbirth.
This is why all creation groans for this day to come (Rom. 8:19)

(Ro 8:19 NKJV) For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

4. Live long (Long life and health)

There will be people in the Millennium with the new glorified bodies like us.
There will also be people who came to believe in Jesus during the Tribulation and somehow were able to survive without being killed.
They will enter the kingdom in their old bodies, but things will change…
(Is 65:20–22 NKJV) —20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
If someone dies at age 100, they would be considered a child. I believe that people will be living the entire length of the millennium, just as those in Adam’s day lived almost to be 1,000 years.

5. And prosper (Material prosperity)

(Am 9:13 NLT) “The time will come,” says the Lord, “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine!
The harvest will be so great, that the reapers will still be harvesting the fields, when the plow comes along to plant more crops!

6. True justice

(Is 11:4 NKJV) But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
There won’t be any questions about police brutality, sexual abuse, or whether or not the glove fits.
You might wonder, “How could there be any bad things happen in a place like this?”

Even though the kingdom starts with all believers, those who have their natural bodies will be able to have kids, and those kids will not necessarily be doing the right things.

There will still be a need for justice.

7. Peace

(Is 2:4 NKJV) He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Weapons will be turned into farming implements.
This verse is inscribed on the United Nations building, but it won’t happen by the efforts of the United Nations, it will only happen when Jesus comes back on His white horse.

:5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

:5 the restloipoy – remaining, the rest

:5 live againanazao – live again, recover life

:5 resurrectionanastasis (“up” + “stand”) – a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat); a rising from the dead

:5 the rest of the dead did not live

Who are the “rest of the dead” who are not raised from the dead at this point?

All those who have believed in Jesus have been raised from the dead by this time.
All that’s left are the dead unbelievers.
They too will be raised from the dead and be given new bodies, but that won’t happen until the end of the 1,000 years.

:5 the first resurrection

This is referring to the Tribulation martyrs who have just been given their new bodies.

It is in contrast with the “second death” mentioned in the next verse.

Distinguishing the resurrections

Some people get confused with terms and might think this is referring to the first ever resurrection. Is it?
The first person historically recorded to be raised from the dead goes back to the prophet Elijah, who raised from the dead the child of the widow with whom he was staying (1Ki. 17:22)

(1 Ki 17:22 NKJV) Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.

Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite from the dead.

(2 Ki 4:35 NKJV) He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

Jesus raised several people from the dead.

He raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead (Luke 7:14-15)

(Lk 7:14–15 NKJV) —14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

He raised His friend Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44)

(Jn 11:43–44 NKJV) —43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

The apostles raised people from the dead.
Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead and never to die again.
This is simply referring to the “first resurrection” in this present setting, as opposed to a resurrection that will take place at the end of the 1,000 years.

Some have suggested that the “first resurrection” is not a single event, but a “category”, meaning the resurrection of all believers, starting at the Rapture with us, and on to these folks.

:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

:6 Blessedmakarios – blessed, happy

:6 holyhagios – holy

:6 powerexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

:6 priestshiereus – a priest, one who offers sacrifices and in general in busied with sacred rites

:6 the second death

Being sent to the place called the “Lake of Fire” is the second death.

(Re 20:14 NKJV) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
A person’s “first death” occurs when their physical body dies, when their spirit and body are separated.
When a person rejects Jesus, they will suffer the “second death”, eventually being sent to the Lake of Fire and being eternally separated from God.
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the price of our “second death”.
As Jesus was dying, He cried “It is finished”. The words He used are words that talk about paying a debt in full.
He paid for our sins to keep us from this second death.

:6 they shall be priests

A priest is a “go-between” between a person and God.

A priest represents God to man, and man to God.



The Bible doesn’t teach that just a select few men are priests, but that all believers are priests.
(1 Pe 2:9 NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
We are already priests.
We already function as representatives of God to people as we witness.

God has things He wants to say to people, and one of His favorite ways of speaking to them is through you.

(Mt 5:14–16 NKJV) —14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Our witness is not just the words we say, but the things we do.

We function as representatives of man to God when we pray.

One of the coolest things you can do for your friends who don’t know Christ yet is to pray for them.

And when you’ve been praying for them regularly, sometimes it is okay to let them know that you have been praying for them.

They might tease you now for being a “God-freak”, but when they are in trouble, they will come to you and ask for prayer. That’s a great time to share Christ with them.

:6 Blessed and holy … the first resurrection

Blessed = “happy”

Holy = “pure”


Trust Him

If you are a person who has trusted in Jesus to pay for your sins, then you will be a part of the “first resurrection”, whether it’s at the Rapture, or at the end of the Tribulation.
You will be “happy” beyond what you could ever dream of.
You will no longer be guilty or dirty
When we put our trust in Jesus, God applies Jesus’ death to our debt, and we no longer will face the second death, but will instead have everlasting life with Him.
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Let today be the day that you let Jesus into your life.