Feast of the Harvest Part 2

“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)

We have been discussing the relationship of the Feast of the Harvest and the Resurrection of the dead to new life in the power of Jesus. We look again at our text from the Gospel of John who recorded these words from his Master Jesus. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29) In this passage it is clear that there will be a future resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. Last week we looked at the resurrection of the righteous with Jesus being the first fruit of that resurrection. Today we are looking at the second resurrection of the unrighteous and we see that there is a large amount of time, as we know it, between the two resurrections. In our text this morning we see that there is a period of 1,000 years between these two resurrections. The righteous are resurrected at the return of Jesus and the unrighteous are resurrected at the end of His millennial reign. The righteous will reign with Jesus here on earth for the 1,000 year reign.

During this millennial reign of Jesus those who died in their sin will remain in the grave until this period of time has passed. In verse 5 of Revelation chapter 20 we see the break between the first resurrection and the second. “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.” The first resurrection is completed when those who are Jesus’ own join Him in His millennial reign. As we look further to verse 6 we see the promise that the second death has no power over those who have reigned with Jesus. “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

The Christians, the Church, the Bride of Christ, will reign with their King here on earth with Him for a thousand years. “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)

When the thousand year reign of Christ has been completed Satan who has been bound will be let lose for a season of time. Satan will again return to his rebellion against God. Satan will lead those whom he can deceive against God and the saints of Christ in the battle of Armageddon. Fire will come down from Heaven and devoir those who have come to destroy and God will finally put an end to Satan for eternity. “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:9-10)

Unfortunately this is not the end of God’s dealings with unrighteousness in His creation. There is yet the question of those who died in rebellion or rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we read on we see that a Great White Throne has been erected where the judge of mankind will sit. The Judge is the Lord Jesus Christ, as God judges no man. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22) It is here that the despised Nazarene will sit and deliver righteous judgment upon all who had refused to recognize His Messiahship and see Him as their Savior. This will be the darkest hour for that part of the human race who rejected the love and grace of God and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. This will be the time of the second resurrection. The resurrection of those who died in their sins. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) Even as they are spiritually dead they will be physically alive in their resurrected bodies. They will be resurrected to face their final banishment from the presence of God and to join Satan in the lake of fire for eternity.

It is then we see the second resurrection. “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12, 14-15)

There are those who say that a God of love would not condemn creatures of His creation to such an eternal fate. The truth is that they are not cast into the lake of fire by God’s desire. They are cast into the lake of fire by their own choice. It is not the will of God that any man should receive this fate. “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11) It is the will of God that no man should perish. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

All of mankind has had their opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. But they rejected Him, crucified Him, and chose for themselves an eternity of torment. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:17-18)

There are those who have no belief in the resurrection of the physical body. Yet the proof of God’s power to raise the body from the dead to new life is found in the resurrection of the first fruit, Jesus Christ. His resurrection is undeniable The Apostle Paul testified to this very fact at Mars Hill when He warned the people there that God has anointed one to judge them and the one who judges them has been risen from the grave. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

After the second resurrection of the unrighteous the last judgment is seen in the Bible. All the unsaved dead will stand before the Great White Throne and be judged for their deeds in the flesh by the Lord Jesus Christ. The One whom they rejected. This will not be a judgment to see if they are sinners, as all of mankind are sinners. It will not be a judgment to see if they are lost for they are lost already. “He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) These will be the unrighteous whose bodies have been resurrected from the dust and their spirits have been brought out of Hades. There only destination is, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 11, 2017

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