Posts Tagged ‘Revelation 20’

Revelation Chapter 20 – The First Resurrection

“Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven, who had the key to the Abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], and chained him up for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, locked it and sealed it over him; so that he could not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were over. After that, he has to be set free for a little while.”

A messenger comes down from heaven with a key and a chain in his hand. His purpose is to seize the Dragon, one of satan’s demoic forces. According to the prophet Isaiah, the Dragon is Leviathan, the ‘serpent in the sea.’ According to Psalm 74, Leviathan also has many ‘heads’ or ‘leaders’ that need to be judged as well.

“In that day Adonai will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce, great, strong sword, Leviathan the twisted serpent! He will slay the dragon in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1).

You crushed the heads of Leviathan, giving him as food to the desert dwellers” (Psalm 74:14).

In the days of Noach, the angels that left their realm of authority in the heavens and defiled the women of the earth were bound with everlasting chains. According to the Amplified Version, the chains were of gloomy darkness. At this moment in time, the Adversary who began everything in Gan Eden will now be chained and kept in that same darkness.

“And angels who did not keep their own designated place of power, but abandoned their proper dwelling place, [these] He has kept in eternal chains under [the thick gloom of utter] darkness for the judgment of the great day,” (Jude 6, Amplified Version).

‘Abyss’ in Hebrew is tehom and is used for the ‘deep,’ ‘the depths of the seas’ or the ‘primaeval ocean.’ The tehom is the place described as the waters beneath the waters where Leviathan is imprisoned (Job 41:1-3). The word tehom is used in Genesis 1:2 with the tohu v’bohu meaning ‘darkness’ or ‘void.’ The Adversary along with the fallen angels like Leviathan have been in the dark void of the deep waiting for the Day of Judgment.

These enemies of Elohim will be bound for 1000 years or a Millennium. This is when the Millennal reign of King Yeshua will begin. This 1000-year time period will include the restoration of a longer human lifespan as it was in Genesis when Adam and his kin lived nearly 1000 years or ‘one day’ in the time span of Elohim.

“No more will babies die in infancy, no more will an old man die short of his days — he who dies at a hundred will be thought young, and at less than a hundred thought cursed” (Isaiah 65:20).

“For from your viewpoint a thousand years are merely like yesterday or a night watch” (Psalm 90:4).

“Moreover, dear friends, do not ignore this: with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

“Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years.”

Yochanan sees thrones on which are seated resurrected martyrs, those who had been beheaded for their testimony of Yeshua and proclaiming the commands of Elohim. Also receiving authority to rule and reign with King Yeshua are those who had not worshiped the ‘beast’ or its image. They didn’t receive the mark on their foreheads or their hands.

These two groups of people made a stand in the world. They didn’t bow to serve the ‘beast’ or the ‘anti-christ’ in order to save their lives. They refused the ‘mark of the beast’ on their foreheads or hands. Making a stand against this ‘mark’ is not something a person does ‘at the end of their life.’ Someone doesn’t just suddenly stand for Yeshua when faced with a life or death choice; they practice standing for him everyday as they grow in faith and obedience.

This is not the first time a group of people has been blessed because of their faith in Yeshua and obedience to the commands. It is important to realize that having only one part of this two-prong faith walk is not complete. Those who embrace Judaism in its different facets, obey the Torah, but deny Yeshua as Messiah. They live a life of obedience, but do not have the sacrifice for their sin and guilt. There are the Christians who put their faith in Yeshua’s work on the cross, but deny the Torah has relevance to their lives today. They actually believe their faith in Yeshua nullifies Torah commands contrary to Yeshua’s own words in Matthew 5. Each belief system is incomplete and has consequences in the Kingdom.

“Those who are not with me are against me, and those who do not gather with me are scattering” (Matthew 12:30).

One Christian denomination claims that the ‘mark of the beast’ is Sunday worship. What if that understanding of the ‘mark’ is true? How does someone suddenly obey Elohim’s Sabbath when faced with death? Standing for the commandments of God and having a testimony in Yeshua is a lifestyle.

What if the ‘mark of the beast’ demands eating ‘unclean’ animals? For centuries, Jewish people had to convert to Christianity and prove their conversion by eating pork or ham. What if that becomes part of the ‘mark of the beast?’ How will someone suddenly prove they honor the dietary commands of Elohim? Obeying the Torah of God and having a testimony of Yeshua is a lifestyle that strengthens the one who obeys.

“Keep my shabbats holy; and they will be a sign between me and you, so that you will know that I am Adonai your God” (Ezekiel 20:20).

These two groups of resurrected people rule and reign with King Messiah as priests of Elohim and Yeshua. In order to rule and reign, there must be a standard of ‘law’ for ruling and reigning. Yeshua said that Torah would remain that standard for righteousness until there there is a new heaven and new earth. Even to this point in Yochanan’s revelation, this still has not occurred.

The word ‘priest’ in Hebrew is cohen. The cohen includes Zadokite, Levite, and Aaronic priests. Each of these cohanim descended from Aaron who descended from Levi. They will serve the people in Jerusalem in the Millennial Temple.

There will also be cohanim who serve Elohim and Yeshua. This priesthood will be known as the ‘royal priesthood. ‘ Because Yeshua did not descend from Levi, but Judah, their faith puts them in the lineage of royalty. Yeshua’s priestly lineage is of Melchizede who was both King and Priest.

Also, as he says in another place, ‘You are a cohen forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek…’ And after he had been brought to the goal, he became the source of eternal deliverance to all who obey him, since he had been proclaimed by God as a cohen gadol to be compared with Malki-Tzedek” (Hebrews 5:6-10).

“But you are a chosen people, the King’s cohanim [royal priesthood], a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Those who are resurrected to serve Yeshua as the royal priesthood comprise the first resurrection. Those who take part in this resurrection are blessed and considered holy. They will not experience the second death at the end of the 1000 years which includes the lake of burning fire and sulfur. The first resurrection was prophesied by Daniel and Ezekiel and believed by the Pharisees and many of the Jewish people in the first century.

Martha expresses her faith in the resurrection ‘at the last day,’ when her brother Lazarus dies. Yeshua tells her, “I AM the Resurrection and the life” confirming the truth in the resurrection of the dead. Peter and Yochanan annoyed the leadership who denied the resurrection because they used Yeshua’s resurrection as proof. Sha’ul also teaches of his hope in the resurrection and writes to the Thessalonians to continue in that hope.

“Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence” (Daniel 12:2).

“He asked me, “Human being, can these bones live?” I answered, “Adonai Elohim! Only you know that!” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones! Say to them, ‘Dry bones! Hear what Adonai has to say! To these bones Adonai Elohim says, “I will make breath enter you, and you will live” (Ezekiel 37:3-5).

“Marta said to Yeshua, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Marta said, “I know that he will rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.” Yeshua said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world” (John 11:21-27).

“Kefa and Yochanan were still speaking to the people when the cohanim, the captain in charge of the Temple police, and the Tz’dukim came upon them, very annoyed that they were teaching the people the doctrine of resurrection from the dead and offering Yeshua as proof” Acts 4:1-2).

“And I continue to have a hope in God — which they too accept — that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous” (Acts 24:15).

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

The Hebrew word for ‘blessed’ is barak and means ‘to kneel’ and bless Elohim in adoration. This word suggests that those who attain to the first resurrection will bow in worship, glory, and reverence before the High Priest and King, Yeshua.

The Hebrew word for ‘holy is kadosh and means ‘separate.’ It is used in reference to Elohim because He is separate from all other gods. He is unique because ‘He is holy.’ Kadosh is also used for people who are separate from human infirmity, impurity, and sin – the holy ones of Elohim. Accordingly, those who are resurrected lived pure lives, separated from sin and breaking the commands of Elohim (1 John 4:3).

“But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died. For since death came through a man, also the resurrection of the dead has come through a man. For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own order: the Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Not just to the Thessalonians, but also to the Corinthians, Sha’ul reveals the resurrection of the dead in its unique parts. Yeshua was raised from the dead as the firstfruits of those who have died. The word ‘firstfruits’ is plural suggesting there were others who died and raised from the dead. This may include Lazarus and the little girl, but I believe it refers ‘firstfruits’ walking around Jerusalem, the Scripture says, ‘many people saw them.’

“Also the graves were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life; and after Yeshua rose, they came out of the graves and went into the holy city, where many people saw them” (Matthew 27:52-53).

The completion of the first resurrection, the main harvest of souls will be at Yeshua’s coming. “Those who belong to Yeshua” will rise at this time, at the beginning of the ‘last day’ to rule and reign with him on thrones.

While Satan is bound for 1000 years, there will be a duality of mortals and immortals on earth: the resurrected, glorified holy ones and human beings. During this time, there will be no deception from the Adversary to bring the world into chaos. However, there will still be sin in the nations which will bring on the Gog and Magog war. This will be the final battle that reveals mankind needs to be redeemed from sin.

During the Millennial rule of Yeshua, he will use an ‘iron rod.’ The word ‘rod’ is an allusion to a shepherd’s staff as well as a ‘scepter’ that is used by a King. A King holds out his scepter to welcome someone into his throne room. If he doesn’t, the person will face death.

‘Iron’ suggests a strong rule of law.’ Yeshua will not bend to the will of the nations, but will stand for the will of His Father. He will come against the nations and shatter them like a clay pot. This concurs with Revelation 2:26 when Yeshua tells those who overcome in Thyatira that they, too, will rule and reign with ‘iron rods.’ During the Millennium, the nations will gather together to destroy Elohim’s anointed one, Yeshua. Yahweh will look down from heaven and laugh because Yeshua is enthroned on Mt. Tzyion and will have his day with the nations. It is also in Psalm 2 that Yahweh says that the nations will become the inheritance of His Son.

‘You will break them with an iron rod, shatter them like a clay pot” (Psalm 2:9).

“When the thousand years are over, the Adversary will be set free from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for the battle. Their number is countless as the sand on the seashore; and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

When the 1000 years are over, the Adversary will be set free from the Abyss in order to deceive the nations whose peoples will be as great as the sands on the seashore. All nations will come into the Land and surround Jerusalem. when they are at peace. They will be led by Gog and Magog.

Magog was Noach’s grandson whose descendants settled in the north of Isra’el. The prophet Ezekiel describes this group of people as a huge, mighty army led by Gog, the chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval who will attack Isra’el. Meshekh and Tuval were the sons of Japeth, grandsons of Noach. The descendants of Meshekh settled north of the Black Sea in the area known today as the Republic of Georgia. According to Psalm 120:4-6, this area was a war-like land that hated peace. Tuval settled in an area in central Turkey. Both of these men’s descendants will come from the north and attack Isra’el.

““Human being, turn your face toward Gog (of the land of Magog), chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval; and prophesy against him…. You will choose just that time to come from your place in the far reaches of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them on horseback, a huge horde, a mighty army” (Ezekiel 38:2, 15).

There are many scholars who believe there are two Gog/Magog wars with Isra’el. The one described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 occurs mid-way through the Tribulation with a few nations from the north coming against the Land. Months are spent burying the dead. The result of this war will bring Isra’el back to faith in Elohim and to serve Him for 1000 years.

The second Gog/Magog attack 1000 years later is orchestrated by the Adversary himself once released from the Abyss. He is prepared to destroy Yeshua and the people of Isra’el. This time all of the nations will exhibit the same rebellious attitude from the previous Gog/Magog war. The battle between Satan and Yeshua will be quick with fire from heaven consuming the evil one. The ‘beast’ and the false prophet will be thrown into the burning lake of fire and sulfur along with the Adversary. They will spend eternity in torment.

“Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done. The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done. Then Death and Sh’ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire.”

Those who remain alive at the end of the 1000 years will immediately stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment. This is the place of final judgment for those who rejected the offering of eternal life in Messiah. Those who had a testimony of Yeshua and obeyed his commandments were already been resurrected with their glorified bodies and reigned for 1000 years.

“Therefore, whether at home or away from home, we try our utmost to please him; for we must all appear before the Messiah’s court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

The Greek word for ‘judgment’ in this verse is bema and refers to a platform where one stands to receive judgment. In the synagogue, the bimah was the raised platform around the aron kodesh or the holy place where the Torah scrolls were kept. There is also a ner tamid or a lamp that hangs over the area to represent the eternal light of the Word. From the bimah the Torah and prophets were read during the Shabbat and where Yeshua stood for reading from Isaiah (Luke 4:16-17). When it comes to administering punishment or reward, I AM will use Torah, the eternal light, as the plumbline to execute justice at the final gleanings resurrection.

“Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence” (Daniel 12:2).

“Don’t be surprised at this; because the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice and come out — those who have done good to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

The prophet Daniel is given a vision of this final court of judgment. He sees the Ancient One, Yeshua, with clothing white as snow and hair like pure wool. Thousands upon thousands ministered to him while millions and millions stood before him. When the court of justice convened, books were opened – books of individual’s lives, the book of death, and the book of life.

“As I watched, thrones were set in place; and the Ancient One took his seat. His clothing was white as snow, the hair on his head was like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, with wheels of burning fire. A stream of fire flowed from his presence; thousands and thousands ministered to him, millions and millions stood before him. Then the court was convened, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10).

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The ‘sheep’ he will place at his right hand and the ‘goats’ at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” (Matthew 25:31:33).

Heaven and earth will flee from the presence of Yeshua, the I AM. Millions of the dead from the sea and millions kept in Sh’ol are raised up and stand in front of the fiery throne with wheels on fire. There will be no time for repentance as they will be judged by what did or did not do while alive in their flesh.

On Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah, there is the prophetic vision of books being opened. Between the 10 days from Yom Teruah and the Day of Atonment or Yom Kippur called the Days of Awe, each person takes time to repent and ask forgiveness for their sins before the verdict for their life is sealed on Yom Kippur. The prophetic vision for Yom Kippur is the final judgment and the revelation of the books of individuals and their lives. Those whose works fall short will experience the second death and receive the eternal judgment of torture in the lake of burning fire.

“Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed” (Psalm 138:16).

“Then those who feared Adonai spoke together; and Adonai listened and heard. A record book was written in his presence for those who feared Adonai and had respect for his name” (Malachi 3:16).

“I also request you, loyal Syzygus, to help these women; for they have worked hard proclaiming the Good News with me, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers whose names are in the Book of Life” (Philippians 4:3).

“He who wins the victory [in Sardis] will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).

This is the moment when Yeshua will reward his ‘holy ones.’ Those whose names are found in the Book of Life will receive rewards according to how they built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles inclusive of Torah and their faith in Yeshua. How they built on that foundation with precious stones or wood and straw will be revealed at Yeshua’s fiery throne. Some will enter the New Jerusalem by just making it through the fire, others will receive crowns.

“Now every athlete in training submits himself to strict discipline, and he does it just to win a laurel wreath that will soon wither away. But we do it to win a crown that will last forever(1 Corinthians 9:25).

“For when our Lord Yeshua returns, what will be our hope, our joy, our crown to boast about? Won’t it be you? (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

“All that awaits me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, “the Righteous Judge,” will award to me on that Day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for him to appear (2 Timothy 4:8).

“How blessed is the man who perseveres through temptation! For after he has passed the test, he will receive as his crown the Life which God has promised to those who love him(James 1:12).

“Then, when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive glory as your unfading crown (1 Peter 5:4).

Chapter 21 – The Restoration and Renewal

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