The Memory Page Online Study Bible added footnote (supplementing The New Defenders Study Bible footnotes)

rest of the dead

Revelation 20:5

The whole sentence, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished," should be in parentheses. This is because the next verse makes it clear that those of the first resurrection will reign with Christ 1,000 years, so obviously those resurrected after the thousand years are not part of the "first resurrection." What we learn, then, from this verse is that not everyone is resurrected at the same time.

Who are the participants of the resurrections?

First Resurrection
Believers who were martyred during the tribulation (verse 4)
Second ("Rest of the dead")
Nonbelievers (verse 13 & 15)
At this point we are curious: What about the Old Testament Saints (e.g., Moses and David), and what about New Testament Believers (e.g., Paul, you [hopefully], and me)? If you look at some of the commentaries, you will see that almost everyone has a different answer. We just don't know for sure. Most who follow a literal interpretion of the Bible would say that New Testament Believers are raised at the time of the Rapture shortly before the seven year tribulation. Since believers then will "ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess 4:17), it is assumed that we will join Christ in His Second Coming and will also participate in the 1,000 year reign in some way.

In any case, rather than speculating about what isn't talked about, what is the main point to be learned here? In this part of Revelation, John is focusing on just the people going through the seven year tribulation. This will be a terrible time when most people will be killed, either as a martyr or as a result of God's judgement. But all these people will be raised again and have to face Christ. Those who trusted in Jesus as their Savior, and proved their faith by not receiving the Mark of the Beast (verse 4), will be resurrected right away and have the reward and honor of reigning with Christ 1,000 years. Those who did not will be resurrected later, and will be judged, and will be cast into the Lake of Fire (verse 15).

What about us New Testament Believers today, who most likely won't have to go through the seven year tribulation? Our schedule is different, but we all:

  • must make a decision about our faith (2 Cor 6:2) to trust Jesus and not the world
  • will still face trials to prove the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:7)
  • will have to die (Heb 9:27) (unless we are living at the time of the Rapture)
  • will get raised again at some point
  • will be judged at some point (2 Cor 5:10) and get either reward or punishment
The devil will lie and try to tell us there is no God, no resurrection, and/or no judgement. God makes it clear over and over in the Bible that these things are certain! Let's live with these truths in mind, and let's make sure we are right with God before death and judgement happen.

   This Page Last Updated: 2024/02/29