The Berean Expositor
Volume 15 - Page 117 of 160
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Studies in the Book of the Revelation.
Rev. 20: 5-15.
The First Resurrection and the Second Death (20: 5, 6).
pp. 33 - 37
How are we to understand the words "the first resurrection"? If it means the first of
all that shall take place, then the resurrection of the church of the One Body must take
place later. The statement of verse 5 has a bearing, for there we read:--
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished."
According to the teaching of Rev. 20: the resurrection that follows the "first" is that
which brings all "the rest" before the great white throne. This increases the difficulty, for
not only is the hope of the One Body involved, but the resurrection of I Cor. 15: and
I Thess. 4: also. In Rev. 20: 1 we have these words:--
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were
passed away."
Here we have the same word "first" used in 20: 5 and 21: 1. Now we are already
acquainted with the teaching of II Pet. 3: 4-13, where we find a distinct reference to a
third heaven and earth:--
(1). "The world that then was."
(2). "The heavens and the earth which are now."
(3). "A new heavens and a new earth."
It will be noticed also that Peter's argument goes back to "the beginning of the
creation", and so to Gen. 1: 1. It is evident therefore that the heaven and earth which
passed away in Rev. 21: 1 is really the second, namely, "the heavens and earth which
are now", and the word "first" is in contrast with the word "new" and should be
translated "the former". This same meaning is intended in Rev. 20: 5:--
"This is the former resurrection (of the two under notice)."
The Second Death and the Overcomer.
These two resurrections have one thing in common, they are both connected with the
second death. To the overcomer in Smyrna came the words:--
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life . . . . . he that
overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" (Rev. 2: 10, 11).