Revelation 20 "First Resurrection" - Commentary - Preterist Vision (Catholic Website)

First Resurrection, The

Jesus Christ was the first to rise out of the dead. Jesus was, literally, the "first resurrection." This fact, well attested by the writings of the New Testament, forms the basis for understanding Revelation 20:5-6:

"This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power" (Revelation 20:5-6)

The first resurrection was Jesus Christ:

Revelation 1:5
Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born out of the dead
Acts 26:23
Christ should suffer the first that should rise from the dead

Colossians 1:18
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead

1 Corinthians 15:20
Christ hath risen out of the dead--the first-fruits of those sleeping he became

Jesus Christ was, plainly, the first resurrection. This fact forms the basis of St. John's depiction of the tribulation martyr saints becoming full partakers of the "first resurrection" in Revelation 20--everything Christ received by his death and resurrection is granted to them. Revelation 20:4-6, therefore, depicts the reality of Pauline theology concerning the identity Christ's followers had "in Him." Paul had taught that the saints were to become partakers of Christ's own reign and victory over death. Paul, with his detailed theology of our baptism into the very death and resurrection of Jesus (Rom 6:3-14), taught that the saints had co-resurrection and co-enthronement in the realized resurrection and enthronement of Jesus Christ:

The saints have co-resurrection in Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 1:20 (Christ's resurrection)
He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places
Ephesians 2:5-6 (the saints' co-resurrection in Christ)
[God] made us alive together with Christ...and raised us up with Him

Colossians 2:12 (the saints' co-resurrection in Christ)
ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead

Colossians 3:1 (the saints' co-resurrection in Christ)
If ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above

The saints have co-enthronement in Jesus Christ

Ephesians 1:20-22 (Christ's enthronement)
He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet
Ephesians 2:6 (the saints' co-enthronement in Jesus Christ)
God...raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Colossians 3:1 (the saints' co-enthronement in Jesus Christ)
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

The suffering, overcomer saints reign with Him

Revelation 3:21 (cf. 2:26-27)
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne
2 Timothy 2:11-12
If we be dead with him, we shall live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him

Philippians 3:8-12
I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death in order that I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that

The tribulation saints of Revelation 6:9-11, after being told to rest for a short time that the rest of the shed blood of the appointed martyrs might fill up the fullness of God's wrath (Matt 23:34-36; Rev 18:20,24; 19:2; 16:4-6,19; 17:6; 18:5-6; 1 Thess 2:14-16), were granted the realization of their co-inheritance with Christ--this realization of their hope is depicted in Revelation 20:4-6. St. John shows us the tribulation saints co-raised and co-enthroned with Jesus, realizing the full hope of St. Paul's teaching on the saints' reign and resurrection in the reign and resurrection of Jesus.

In sum, Revelation 20:4-6 is a narrative depiction of the saints' realization of the glorious promise Paul held out for them in his teachings--the saints are depicted as having attained the goal for which they all strove. As Paul taught, their resurrection and reign was "in Christ," and their sufferings and martyrdoms were honored by God with the reward of partaking in Christ's own resurrection, enthronement, and reign. They realized the promise of Paul's teaching that the saints were truly to take part in the first resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Truly, on these the second death has no power (Rev 20:6).

Views: 998


You need to be a member of Sovereign Grace Preterism to add comments!

Join Sovereign Grace Preterism

Comment by Steven McInerney on September 29, 2011 at 3:04pm
Hello, first time back after a long sabatical.

Good post here. When I'm talking to folks who have the eyes to see, I suggest a look from the 'present' view. What happens now when a saint of God dies and goes before the throne of Judgement and Grace. On a personal note what will happen to you after your last breath. Luke 16:19-31 is difficult for futurist, they refuse the light of prederism. It is obvious in the account of the rich man and Lazarus there were at that time two possible places, Hades in torment as for the rich man, waiting the future great white thrown judgement and the bosom of Abraham for Lazarus, allow me the liberty, he was in a paradise waitng the judgement along with Abraham (the first judgement). No man could have entrance into the holiest of holys' on earth except the high priest once a year by the shedding of blood and ceremonial washings and preparations. No man could enter the holy of holies until the blood of Christ covered them from the rightiousness judgement of God. When Christ died the temple cloth was torn in two signifying restored relationship between God and man through Jesus Christ. A Pastor friend of mine (not a prederist) stumbled in a sermon on Matt. 27:51-53. I took him through the Scriptues and showed him what happened. He is still stunned. Jesus Christ now sits at the right hand of God no longer judging the living and the dead (as the Creed says) but the living. Either you stand before God trying to justify yourself or knowing by God's grace you are one of His elect saved by the blood of the Lamb and nothing of yourself. Jesus is your high priest, (Hebrews Chap 9). And you having been given the righiousness of Christ and Christ taken the penalty for your sins God pronounces you holy and blameless. You do not have to wait like Lazarus did, you enter the Kingdom of our Lord and King as a "Son of God". That is what this prederism stuff is all about. If that doesn't make your day---what could. Amen!Delete Comment.
Comment by Brandon Littlejohn on July 11, 2011 at 10:10pm
Hello Mike,
Thanks for turning me on to this stuff; this article expresses exactly what I have been getting at lately concerning the resurrection. The phrase in Christ is said so many times that we just can't see our own personal experience apart from Jesus. It is like Paul has a honing beacon on Jesus and follows him into his death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and finally descension. If good for Jesus, then good for Paul!
Comment by Jason King on July 11, 2011 at 9:13pm
Mike, this is EXCELLENT! I don't think it was Jesus' Resurrection that was "the first resurrection" being that they "came to live and ruled" with Jesus with authority to Judge. Jesus told his apostles that THEY would be with Jesus "on thrones" judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matt 19:28 "Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Luke 22:29 "And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Rev 3:21 "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."

As tedious as it may sound, there is a difference between the "Firstfruits redeemend from among mankind on the earth" and the "Firstborn from the dead".

Jamse 1:18 "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

Rev 14:4 "These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb."

So the point is, being that the bible speaks of two different "kinds" of "Firstfruits":

1) The First is from the grave (Jesus Christ)
2) The Second is from the earth (no physical death needed to be "raised" this way; 30-70 AD church)

Jesus is literally the firstfruits of those that died. Only he can lead them out of Hades/Sheol/grave and he did. The Firstfruits church is literally the firstfruits of... US - you and me today under the New Covenant. You and I today can NEVER be part of the OT group that Jesus rescued from the grave because we today do not die under the Law and therefore we today do not die without Jesus' perfect sacrifice if we are faithful. No matter how faithful to the Law a Jew was before Jesus, it still accused him because he could not keep it in perfection. We have no such penalty or deck stacked agaisnt us today or since 30 AD. This is how we today are brought into the New Covenant, just like the Firstfruits symbolized us living by it. The point of all this is that the groups of "Firstfruits" are not uniform and logically cannot be based on their contexts. Rev 20 is the confirmation that the Judgment seat he promised to the apostles was coming to its fulfillment as they sat on "his throne" "with him" as martyrs/witnesses against the Jews - the same Jews that martyred their Lord as well so they shared the judgment that was delayed no more...

© 2016   Created by Michael Bennett.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service