The First Resurrection and Second Death
Recently retired after a 21 or 22 years, he started in 2000, right? 2000 and a force is now the minister there, the main minister we should say, but somebody told me when you retire, you get no more days off. So brother, Bob’s going to learn that the easy way I hope. Well, I’m finally free from COVID prison.
I’ve been at home tested positive last week, and now I’m supposed to be corned, no longer need to quarantine, which is sort of amazing to me that I tested positive. Cause I’ve been vaccinated and chips so many times that when I go through the metal detector at the hospital, it goes off like a pinball machine, but that’s the world we live in.
Isn’t it it’s a strange time. I heard on the news today as I was traveling here and they were interviewing a healthcare professional and he was talking about the healthcare industry that the federal government is mandating or trying to mandate that anyone that works in healthcare in that situation must be vaccinated. And the state of Florida says you can’t vaccinate. You can’t mandate that.
So he says, we’re caught between a rock and a hard, hard place. Where do we believe the federal government do we listen to them? Or do we listen to the state of Florida who had ever thought that that would be the world we live in? Wasn’t a whole lot different during the first century or in the first century. We see a time whether you take the early date or the late date,
a time of turmoil, if you believe revelation was written before a D 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, you have the persecution of the Jews. If you would believe it was written at the end of the first century, you have the persecution by the Romans, which leads us as we get into our study about the second death and the first resurrection that there’s three things that we’re going to look at this morning.
Well, that didn’t work out too well, but that’s a nice slide. I need the next slide. So as we look at this lesson this morning, we’re going to consider three things. The problem, the problem, and trying to understand revelation the perils associated with understanding revelation and the texts that we’re going to be dealing with. And then the possibilities of what John meant as he was inspired to write about the second death.
Then the first resurrection, the first problem was it was written about 2000 years ago. As I started to say, I take the late date Testament. Christians were under tremendous persecution during the time of Nero Christians suffered, which would have been before the 80, 70, but it was more due to the fact that Niro wanted to blame the Christians for some of his actions concerning Rome.
And it was more centralized in Rome where by the time of donation I had had spread throughout the world and the region of Asia was a hotbed of emperor support. And so during this time it became apparent our, it was that the, if you were going to be a loyal Roman citizen, you had to bow before Domitian or a statue of Domitian and acknowledging him as dominance at DiUS Lord and Christ.
Of course, the first century Christian couldn’t do that. Robert mounts writes by the time of Nero, the Imperial caught the Imperial court was the group that were promoting and trying to encourage or force people to bow. Before Caesar, I was firmly established as a religious institution. It was not until the reign of Domitian that failure, the honor of the empire emperors,
God became a political offense and was punishable Ian fare. A brother in Christ writes demission was the first to make emperor worship a matter of POCs, Romana PAX Romana was the idea of this Roman peace with Rome. As I understand it, you can pretty much do anything that you wanted. You could worship your God. You could even govern yourself to some bid.
As we see when the Jews tried to have Jesus put the death, they said, well, we don’t have the right to con sentence someone to death. But one thing that Rome did not tolerate was messing with the civil, you know, they didn’t want civil unrest. And so as Ian fare says, Domitian made this, this acknowledgement and of him as a God,
as dominance at Dios, as a matter of POCs Ramana. And if you didn’t do that, you were considered a politically as a treason being treasonable. So the, for the new Testament, Christian, to be a loyal Roman subject, he had to bow before the emperor statue of the young part and pur and acknowledge him as Lord and God. And obviously they couldn’t do that.
The problem associated with the understanding of revelation is John was giving, given this information in visions, if you have your Bibles look to revelation chapter one and notice in verses one and two, the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants things, which must shortly take place. And he sat and signified it by his angel to his servant,
John who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. And so here, this, this, this book, as it unfolds is a series of visions, 22 times in the book, John’s gonna say, Chi, Aiden and I saw, or I saw. And so he sees these visions.
It’s much like some of us are old enough to remember the old down things where you would, you had like a thing you looked into and it had like a little disc and you put in and you’d click it and you’d see a picture and click it again and see another picture. I don’t remember what they were, but that was before some of the things that we have now,
but it was a long that John would be given this picture. Some would be moving pictures. Some would not, some were very strange. You know, you think an action in revelation, chapter six, when he’s seen these visions of, of a white horse and a, a red horse and a black horse and this putrid color horses, you know,
you know, we, we have people today that are still trying to determine what happened. Am I okay? All right, I’m sorry. You master. Thank you, Jim. Thank you. So we have this series of visions while some of those visions were just totally foreign to us, to you and I, and, and, and so as,
as they’re developing or unfolding, as we’re reading the book of revelation, we’re trying to, well, what did this, what did God mean by this? You know, what did he mean by these Horsemans? What did he mean by these living creatures? What did he mean by these 144,000 and all these things, and we’re trying to determine that. So that creates a problem.
And so the third thing is that it was revelation is apocalyptic. Apocalyptic was literature. That was pretty predominant from 200 BC to about a hundred a D. And it was written during difficult times. In fact, the definition that we use in the class that I teach, maybe I should have one of the students give it to you here in a melanoma,
but Jewish or Christian literature written in hard times under oppressive foreign domination in symbolic language to encourage God’s people showing that God was in charge and that evil would be over overthrown. And so during this period of 200 BC to about 108 D there was things going on with the Jewish, the Jewish nation, they were put under Roman domination and things like that. Then obviously in the first century,
towards the end, you have this persecution of dominion. And when, when trials were most severe and during this period, that’s when this apocalyptic was put forth and what it did, it gave the people information in a figurative type way that would convey a message that they would be able to understand for some of us today. Those visions are very difficult to understand,
but for them, they understood them completely. And so you’ll have this problem. The problem it was written 2000 years ago, the problem that it’s a series of visions that have to be interpreted. And thirdly, that it’s apocalyptic, it’s men meeting was hidden from those that did not know that did not know the background of what the visions were, didn’t have anything to tie them to,
and it was done so that it would protect the innocent. For example, if I, if we were during the time of great persecution, we might tell someone to someone else and use phrases that are common to us today to convey a message, to tell them that, Hey, it’s going to be okay. You know, we’re going to win. God’s not abandoned us.
And we would use different phrasiology today. Then of course, that they would use in the first century. And so we have that problem. The second thing is the perils, the perils associated, because it was written 2000 years ago because it’s a series of visions because it is apocalyptic. There’s going to be some perils associated with you. And I trying to understand it.
One of the main parallels that I see is that the legal, the figurative is taken literally, and the literal has taken figuratively. Let me read something from you by a man by the name of John Wall Ford. And this is from the Bible knowledge commentary revelation. He says, and I quote, and it should be noted that the term, a thousand years,
that we’re going to see in our text, or I think someone’s preaching about that late this afternoon. It should be noted that the term a thousand years occurs six times in chapter 20. This was not something that could be seen visually. John had to be informed of it. And the vision had to be interpreted as relating to a period of a thousand years.
This is the only chapter in revelation where a period of thousand years is mansion. And the fact that it is mentioned six times and is clearly described as a period of time before which, and after which events take place, lead to the conclusion that it means a literal thousand year period. All right. So here, he’s saying, he’s saying John had to be told that this was a thousand years and he had to be told there were things going on before things going on after he goes on also to say,
since other time, designations and revelation are literal such as 42 months, 112 hundred and 60 days. It is natural to take a thousand years. Literally. Also John writes three times in revelation 20, I saw in revelation one verse 20 revelation, five, five revelation, seven 13 revelation chapter 17. It’s recorded that John has given an explanation for what he saw.
Another is there are some things that John didn’t understand in John chapter one verse 17, God, John sees the exalted Christ. He has seven stars, seven candlesticks, and the Lord explains to them, to John, what these represent. These are the angels of the churches. They represent the churches in revelation, chapter five, verse five. John is looking at the throne scene of God and chapter four in bribe and the scrolls there.
And John says, well, who is worthy? And he’s told that the lamb that was slaughtered, the lamb that was slain is worthy in revelation chapter seven, verse 13, chapter six, the souls under the altar. They talk about God who can be saved, what’s going on? When will you vindicate us? And then in chapter seven, he talks about John sees the seal of God,
the 144,000. And he sees there in verse 13, these individuals whose robes are white, who have come out as John records out of the great tribulation. And that’s explained to him that he didn’t know them, didn’t understand he needed some help. And then in revelation, chapter 17, he sees the harlot on the dragon. And he’s told about the seven heads and 10 horns.
He’s told about the harlot that she represents the great city Babylon. And so there were instances where John needed somehow to understand what was being said, and either the angel or whatever the case may be, the Lord helped him to understand. But I find it interesting that here in chapter 20, that Mr. Walford said that John knew that this isn’t what he saw.
Wasn’t what it really meant that it should be taken literally as a thousand years, if such was the case, why wasn’t John, why wasn’t it recorded? That John was helped to understand that this had to be a literal thousand years? Another thing should we always take this idea of a thousand years literal? We think about the book of job’s where job says,
if one wished to contend with him, contend with God, he could not answer him one out of a thousand. So does that mean that any time over one out of a thousand God could be contended with, is that what Joe meant? What about a lie? Who he says, if there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand to show him his uprightness,
then he is gracious to him and says, deliver him from going down to the pit. I have found ransom. He says a mediator, one among a thousand. Is he using that literally? Is he a lie who was saying, there’s only one person out of a thousand, or is he talking about, here’s an, a figured of way that this is an extreme situation that that’s not common.
We think about the softness that says for every beast of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand Hills. Well, I’m not the smartest tack in the box, but I believe there’s more than a thousand Hills in the world. Does that mean after those first thousand, the rest of the beast are not gods. He doesn’t have dominion over them.
Is that the position that Mr. Walford would take? Would we take the words of the Psalm was for a thousand years or in your sight are like yesterday when this pastor, when Peter says a thousand days, or is it a thousand years or as a day in a day is a thousand years. Are we to take those literally? Is that what the texts?
That’s what God’s telling us. I attended a gospel meeting years ago and I was first a Christian. And sadly there was a brother in Christ that took that, literally that to God a day is as a thousand years. Well, you know, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him a whole lot about it, but I think I under, I have understood this is time means nothing to God,
God exists outside of time. Well, are we going to take those thousand years literally? You know, and that seems to be the problem. One of the problems with, or apparels with understanding revelation, you take the literal figuratively and the figurative, literally, for example, the 42 months, the 1,260 days also the times time and a half a time,
which all corresponds to a same period, are we to take that literally turn in your Bibles to revelation chapter 12 and notice the situation. This is the woman that’s brings forth a child. And in verses one through six, now a great sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head, a Garland of 12 stars then being with child,
she cried out in labor and in paying gave birth. And another sign appeared in heaven, behold, a great fiery red dragon, having seven heads, 10 horns, and seven diadems on his heads. And his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them into the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth to devour her child.
As soon as it was born, she bore a male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and to his throne, clearly chapter verse five, there’s a reference to our Lord, our Psalm chapter two. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God that they should feed here.
Notice 1,260 days. Now go over to verse 13 and 14. Now, when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child, but the woman was given two wings of a great Eagle that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time times and a half of time from the presence of the serpent.
Are we the literally take that as a three and a half years as 42 months as as 12,060 days, or are we to take it in the fact here’s a period as both of those demonstrate a period of persecution of period of danger for God’s people, a period where God’s people are being oppressed or persecuted, and it’s not going to be forever. It’s not a complete,
but it’s a short time. Well, for those in revelation, those in the first century, as they were reading these things, and I believe they understood exactly what God intended, that would be great comfort just as the brother previously talking about a first Thessalonians chapter four, it was a great comfort to read that it’d be a great comfort for the first century Christians to read that whatever they were going through was not going to last forever,
but a temporary thing we read in, in revelation four one, after these things, I looked and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking to me saying, come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. Notice that word after this. And after these things,
according to Greg and his four views of revelation, he says, this passage marks one of the major turning points in the book of revelation to the dispensational view after this, or more literally after these things means after the things of the church or after the church age, thus the material in revelation after this point will be fulfilled after the church has gone. And so what Greg is saying to the dispensationalist to the futurist,
what they believe here in chapter four, with this, after these things are things which must take place after the same Greek words is something that are as of now thousands of years in the future, and still may be thousands of years in the future. It’s interesting that phrase Metta Tata is used 25 times in the new Testament and nowhere, nowhere does it suggest a span of thousands of years.
It just means after this, John saw something in the, after this. So to take it, say that, okay, this means this is the defining point, and this is going to be another thousand years or whatever it would be is taking something literal and making it figurative, or as they did before, take something figurative and make it literal. That’s one of the perils.
Another peril is that because revelation is apocalyptic because it is a series of visions that it’s easy RS by some, they attempt to invent doctrine, which the Bible does not support at Gwen quoting wall Vern. He said the first resurrection, we’re going to be looking at that and chapters, a revelation 25 and six contrasts with the last resurrection, which he says is in verse 12 and 13 of chapter 20,
which is followed by the second death in the fir it is first in the sense of before all the righteous, regardless of when they are raised, take part in the resurrection, which is first or before, the final resurrection of the wicked dead at the end of the millennium, this supports the conclusion that the resurrection of the righteous is by stages. He goes on to say,
Christ was the first fruits first Corinthians 15 verse 23, which was proceeded by the token resurrection of a number of saints, Matthew 27 52 versus 53, where we read that after Jesus rose from the grave, there were some there in Jerusalem that rose from the grave then will occur the rapture of the church, which will include the resurrection of dead shirts, saints,
and the translation of living church saints. And he quotes wrongly first Thessalonians first Thessalonians four 13 through 18. The resurrection of the two witnesses will occur in the Dre. The great tribulation revelation, 11 three and verse 11. Then the resurrection of the martyr dead of the great tribulation will occur soon after the Christ returns to earth revelation, 20 verse four and five two.
These may be added the resurrection of old Testament saints, which apparently will also occur at this time though. It is not mentioned in this tax. And so we have law for here saying, remember that vision that I, Jacob had many, many, many, many years ago where he’s, he’s left his family and he’s traveling and he lays his head.
And he has this vision at night of this ladder going up and down to heaven. Well, it seems to me, Mr. Walford’s got an escalator going here. I mean, he has people resurrecting all the time and talking and, and suggesting that there’s just numerous resurrections that will occur. Well, let’s look at some passages in John chapter five beginning in verse 24,
you have your Bibles. You want to turn there. There’s a couple pertinent phrases there that we need to consider beginning in verse 24. Most of Shirley, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him, who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly I say to you,
the hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God. And those who hear will live for as the father has life in himself. So he has granted the son to have life in his self. And he has given him authority to execute judgment because he is the son of man do not Marvel at this for the hour is coming in,
which som in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done good to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation. We already know from first Thessalonians, chapter four in the, in the lesson, the good brother preach that there may be some who have not died when Jesus comes again.
And those that have not got died will be changed and meet Christ in the air and to be with him forever more. Also turn over to Matthew chapter 25 and Matthew chapter 25. And the account of the, of those that were doing God’s will. And those that weren’t, he says beginning in verse 31, he says, when the son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him,
then he will sit on the throne of his glory. And all the nations will be gathered before him. And he will separate them. One from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. Notice he will sit on the throne of his glory and some of the nations will be gathered before him not what it says is it all the nations will be gathered before him.
And he will put, set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. So here in these two passages, we see that when the Lord comes again, second Corinthians chapter five, there’s going to be an accounting. We’re going to have to give him the car for what we’ve done, whether good or evil and those that are in the grave.
All nations will stand before him either you’ll get a well done or depart from me. I never knew you either. You’ll be a sheep or you’ll be a goat, but no way. All right. So we’ve seen the problems. We’ve seen the peril. Now we’re going to consider the possibilities. We find the phrase. Second death use force times in revelation revelation two 11.
He was an ear. Let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. Speaking to the church at Smyrna. He who overcome shall not be hurt by the second debt revelation, 20 verse six blessing and holy, who is he, who has part in the first resurrection over the second death over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priest of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years,
a revelation 20 verse 14, then death and Hades were cast in the lake of fire. This is the second death, but the cowardly, the unbelievable, the abominable and that’s revelation 20 14, 21 8, but the CA one of our family’s favorite verses one of the, but the cowardly, the unbelieving abominable murderers, sexually immoral. Sourcer is a daughters. And all liars will have their part in the lake,
which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. When God created Adam and Eve, God created Adam. He told him, Hey, there’s a tree in the middle of the garden. Don’t eat that tree. Eve came along. God made it Eve for God. She aided the tree. And Adam was told not to eat of this tree because in the day that you eat of it,
you shall surely die. Well, as we read to the Genesis account, it became apparent that that Adam did not. On that day. He lived for a few hundred years after that. We got some more children, but he did die in a way spiritually in Romans chapter five, verse 12, we save where the text rates, therefore just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin,
thus death spread to all men because all of sin, the religious world takes that. And first Corinthians 15 to be both dealing with the physical death. And of course the resurrection, Romans chapter five clearly does not deal with physical death. What does my sin have to do? Whether I die or not? I die because death entered the world with Adam.
They were banned from the garden. They had no more access to the tree of life. I don’t have access to the tree of life. It’s interesting that revelation that says in the end, we’ll have access to the tree of life again. So it’s come full circle. And so there was a physical death. There was a spiritual death. And James tells us in James chapter two,
that death is a separation as the body, without the spirit is dead. So then his faith without works. And so when Adam sin, they, he and Eve were separated from God. Isaiah said that, you know, because of the iniquities of Israel, he’d turn their face. He turned his face from them because they would not hear. And we read when Paul’s writing to the church at Ephesus,
that they were dead in their trespasses and sins, but God hadn’t made them alive. And so here they were, and here was Chris, or these were not before they were Christians. He says in verse 12, there that they had no hope. And without God in the world, that here were people that were dead, but yet they were walking around.
They were spiritually dead. So when they obeyed the gospel, Romans chapter six, four through six, they arose to walk in newness of life. So they revived, they became alive again. So I say all that, that the possibility of the second death may be not necessarily that I think that it is, but it may be if a Christian, once that Christian has,
that person has been saved, his sins have been washed away. If he turns once again to a life of sin, we may think about that as a second death. And first John chapter five and verse 16, I believe it is there. John talks about prayer. We’re not to pray for certain things. He says, I don’t pray for a sin,
a leading unto death. And he says that there are sins that lead to death and he’s writing to first century Christians. So that may be a possibility. I don’t think so, but it’s possible when I think is when you, at the context of all those verses, they have some eschatological impact to them. We’re talking about end time and separation. And so the second death is that point where we’re going to stand before Christ.
He’s going to look at our lives. He’s going to say either well done, good and faithful servant, or depart from me. You worker of inequity. And we’ll have that eternal separation from God, which is the prime mirror, a meaning of death separation. When it comes to the first resurrection, it’s going to depend. If you have your Bibles quick,
how much time do I have no time? All right. So I’m on borrowed time. Been on borrowed time for awhile. I had to laugh the young guys, you know, they’re all walking back and forth, you know, and you know, I, I appreciate that. But when you’re my age, you get your steps in, by going back and forth to the restroom,
y’all know, don’t you all right. Revelation, chapter 20 notice. And I saw the Thrones and they sent 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 their hands.
And they lived in reign with Christ for a thousand years. Now notice verse five, but the rest of the dead did not live again. The thousand years were until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection among our brethren. They have two points of view. Most of our brethren, not even in my lesson, in the book, I didn’t even deal with the denominational world because they’re all over the place.
I just looked at what our brethren are saying. You have two points of view. And the one point of view is, but the rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years were finished. That that is a parent, that tickle statement. And if you take that as many do that, that’s a parent thetical statement. Then this is the first resurrection modifies verse four there,
which makes it a figurative type thing. In other words, most of our brother and take the position or many of our brother and take the position that it is the resurrection of a cause. And in other words, here’s the cause of God, it looks like it’s going down the tubes. It looks like, you know, we’re not going to win.
It looks like everything’s, you know, going against us. The Roman empire is against us. We’re being persecuted, we’re being killed. And this suggests the possibility as in a verse chapter 11, they’re the two witnesses they’re killed. And then they arise. They’re resurrected that a resurrection of the cause of Christ, which for those first century, Christians would be important to know.
And you can look in the book and read the different views of the little variances, but that’s pretty much the main thing. If you do not take that as a parent, that ethical statement, then it gets a little weird. Let me read here, Kenny Barfield, who’s associated with Mars hill school. I think he’s the principal. He’s taught revelation there for a number of years.
I have his two volume commentary. He says this, he writes it. The first death represents the death of the soul, the separation, which occurs when we sin the first resurrection describes the resurrection of the martyrs, as well as all God’s family through God’s grace and Christ brought. The second resurrection is the general resurrection of all humanity. And second death is the final rejection by God who,
by those who had rejected him. If I understand brother Barfield correctly, what he’s saying is that the first resurrection is the resurrection of these martyrs and the resurrection that you and I, in some way experience, when we were baptized into Christ, we arise to walk in newness of life. And then he has the second. He says, revelation chapter five.
And the last part there of chapter verse five, as a general resurrection of all humanity, I’d have to talk to him, you know, and say, I remember one time I was in class with David’s dad, Jackie steersman, many of us know him and we were studying the holy spirit and we were using H Leo bowls book. And in the book,
brother bowls said something to the class that sounded really sketchy. And he said, be careful because you’re not here to talk to that person to know exactly what he meant, and which tells us if we’re writing, we want to be pretty exact. But anyway, Jim Waldron, he sees the coming to life of those who have been martyred for the cause of Christ,
who did not worship the beast, who did not have the mark. The beast was similar to the raising of John, the immerser as symbolic of the raising of Elijah. So the zealous saints raised to sit with Christ in the second and third centuries were raised up in a spirit and power of those who had lived, suffered and died under the beast. Those who had suffered made provisions for the following generations,
spiritual posterity, he sees the resurrection of revelation. 25 is a picture of individuals being raised up in succeeding generations by means of the gospel, instead of those who had suffered on the beast. And so from what we’ve looked at, we can see there’s different, different thoughts on the, on the first resurrection. Some of these may be, seem farfetched to us,
but as I said, without these good brother in here to talk with and to pick their brain about what they were thinking, we need to be careful without just rejecting them without giving due consideration. I am Eugene boring, and I want to leave you with this. And a couple more thoughts. This isn’t the end end. He wrote. John expected the ordinary men and women of the churches of Asia to understand the book though,
they were not Bible scholars, historians, or theological expert. They did not find it necessary to have study groups to discuss it. And its meaning, nor did they seal up the book for later centuries, when it would be understood. The issue for them was not what the book meant, which was transparent in their situation, but whether they would, whether or not they would respond to it’s call it’s to it’s call for faithfulness advocated by John,
even to the point of dying for the faith, blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things, which are written in it for the time is near. We may struggle. And we do struggle to determine exactly what John saw and to try to interpret it the best we can, but never, never, never doubt for a moment that those first century Christians did not understand.
They understood exactly. And God gave them the information in the encouragement that they needed in the face of a horrendous persecution to be faithful onto death. It’s interesting. When we read God Christ’s words to the church at Smyrna, he says to them, do not fear any of those things, which you are about to suffer, be faithful until death. And I will give you the crown of life and he who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death,
no matter what you and I might face in this world, God demands. One thing, faithfulness, he’s faithful to us and we must be faithful to him. Thank you for your attention.