The First Resurrection in Revelation 20

Matt Waymeyer | May 23, 2016

Revelation 20 is often seen as the most significant biblical passage in the debate over the timing and nature of the millennium. In verses 4–6, John describes individuals who “came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (v. 4) and calls this coming to life “the first resurrection” (v. 5). According to premillennialism, this passage provides compelling evidence for two physical resurrections separated by a thousand years—a resurrection of the righteous at the Second Coming (vv. 4–6) and a resurrection of the wicked after the millennial reign of Christ (vv. 11–15). In contrast, amillennialists argue that the first resurrection is not physical but spiritual, referring to either (a) the regeneration of the believer or (b) the believer’s entrance into heaven at the point of death. But a careful evaluation of the amillennial arguments for these views demonstrates that the first resurrection cannot be spiritual in nature and therefore must refer to the first of two physical resurrections in Revelation 20, just as premillennialism teaches.

Vol. 27, no. 1 (Spring 2016)

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Waymeyer, Matt. "The First Resurrection in Revelation 20." The Master's Seminary Journal 27, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 3-32.