Week 9, Friday: The Reign of the Saints
Remember: Images and numbers in the book of Revelation are not to be taken literally. They point to realities beyond themselves and symbolize aspects of reality which are or are to be. We do not insist on taking the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14 literally, so we should not take the 1,000 years mentioned here as indicating anything other than a fixed time, a complete or perfect time, a time, which Jesus reminds us (Acts 1.7), is known only to the Father.
Read Revelation 20
Meditate on Revelation 20.4-6
1. Let’s get some background before us. Meditate on Matthew 19.28 and Luke 22.28-30. Jesus says that the period when He sits on His throne in heaven is called “the regeneration.” Why? He also says that all who follow Him during this period have a part in His rule (cf. Matt. 6.33; Heb. 12.28). At this same time, those who believe in Jesus will “eat and drink” at His table – presumably, the table of the Lord’s Supper (note the context of Luke 22), where saints gather to anticipate and prepare for the marriage supper of the Lamb. OK. What is the “first resurrection” mentioned in Revelation 20.5 (cf. Jn. 3.16; Eph. 2.1-6)? To what does this compare in Matthew 19.28?
2. Verse 4 should be read as John receiving a glimpse of saints in glory and saints pursuing the Kingdom on earth. Keeping in mind Matthew 19.28 and Luke 22.28-30, how can you see that? If this is the case, how should we understand the “thousand years”?
3. It’s not that every saint lives for a thousand years. That’s obviously not true. But during “the regeneration”, that “thousand years” when people are coming to the first resurrection, judgment is committed to the saints continuously, as a people. What kind of judgment? For what purpose?
4. We note that, when the “thousand years” is over, “the rest of the dead” come to life again. To what does this seem to refer?
5. Those who have attained to the “first resurrection” have overcome the “first death”? What is the “second death” mentioned in verse 6, and who has “overcome” it, and how? What is the effect of that overcoming on them – in terms of the kind of people they are and what they are doing?
Complete the following: “Since I have a ‘part in the first resurrection’…”
The Glory of God
For “a thousand years” the devil is restrained and the saints reign in glory, united as one people, living and departed. We are a kingdom of priests and kings, as John reminded us in Revelation 1.6. Judgment is committed to us, and we are called to lay down our lives and keep the testimony of Jesus and the commandments of God. We ride out each day with the Rider on the white horse, seeking to advance the rule of Christ in a world of tribulation and woe. How are the grace, wisdom, and power of God evident in this arrangement?
Glory to Glory
How will it be evident today that you are a priest to God and rule in His Kingdom?
Review Revelation 20.6. Write a prayer based on this verse.
Pray the prayer you wrote from your memory verse. Write it on a card and carry it with you to pray it over and over today. Pray it and keep praying it, until joy wells up within you and boldness moves you to fulfill your calling as priest of God and ruler in His Kingdom today.
T. M. Moore
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The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.