Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters. We are preparing to dive into the ocean of truth right now and as it is, we are swimming in the Trinity ocean. We’ve reached some great depths and we’re about to finish this tour. Before tonight’s text, I do ask for your prayers concerning my Christlikeness and that I will not resist the will of the Potter but will rather submit to him in all things. The second request is in the area of my financial well-being. Third, I ask for prayers in a third related area I choose to not discuss at the moment. For now, let’s go to the text. It’s Revelation 20:4-6.
4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
Readers know that we don’t touch eschatology in this blog. Whatever your view is of the millennium, and I do have my own view, that is up to you to figure out. We want to look at this passage and just see what it says about Jesus.
One thing we notice is that the reason people are slain is because of their testimony of Jesus. This tells us that the martyrs have on their lips the name of Christ. He is the focus of the gospel that they proclaim and because of that, they are martyred. (I ask readers to realize the tense of my verbs is just one I think I have to use. I don’t want to imply anything about the timing of these events.)
The Word of God is also cause for their death. They will not repent of their view of the Scriptures. If only we would have such passion in the church. The Bible is the most bought book and it is the least read book. (Interestingly, it’s also the most shoplifted book.)
These are ones who will reign with Christ. What Christ does by nature, they do by being united in him. We must learn what this means as we are said to be in Christ. This is what is meant by being a partaker of the divine nature. Not that we become gods, but that we possess holiness and righteousness by grace then.
Finally, they’re said to be priests of God and of Christ. Note the idea of being a priest of Christ. The significance is strong for who Christ is. You would not be a priest for anyone less than deity and the context of a monotheistic Jew makes it clear how he viewed Christ.
Your view of the millennium here? It’s a non-essential. Your view of Jesus here? It means everything.