There are a (very) few things on
which all points of view agree:
• There is at least one bodily resurrection of
• The saints are to be a kingdom of priests,
reigning with Christ.
• The millennium is generally associated with
the golden ages described in the Old Testament.
• The saints are to judge (in the sense of the
Old Testament judges) the world with Christ.
Other than those general statements,
there is no great agreement here.
Premillennialists take this passage most literally. Most commonly, they see five resurrections of the dead:
• Christ, the first fruits
• The rapture of the church
• The raising of the Tribulation martyrs and
Old Testament saints at the end of the Tribulation
• The raising of the Millennial saints at the
end of the Millennium
• The raising of the wicked.
Most also see a number of other
phenomena, based upon various traditional theories:
• Smith sees a world with “no sin
allowed” -- with the Christians as
• Evidently basing himself on Scofield’s
theory about “no rain before the time of Noah” he sees a reversion to the world before the curse. (This makes the return of Satan somewhat of
• Talbot sees us in the “Resurrection body” ,
parallel to that of Christ after the Resurrection.
One thing sticks out here: the absolute definiteness with which they
speak, and the thundering condemnation of
anyone who disagrees. Anyone who does
not see this is a deceiver, an apostate, a
heretic -- though in truth I’ve yet to see them called Antichrist. Everything short of that, however.
Amillennialists generally point to the large number of Scriptures which
point out that we are now a kingdom of
priests, etc. Basing themselves upon
this, they then conclude (parallel to the idea
that the binding of Satan was at the Resurrection of Christ) that the first
resurrection is actually the new life of
the the believer in Christ.
There is ample Scriptural support for
this. Against this there is a “feeling”
-- an artistic point, really -- that this
is future tense; prophecy in every
sense of that word. In other words, it
hasn’t happened yet.
The Postmillennialists generally
agree that it is future; there argument
is quite different. They note that “souls” -- not bodies -- are mentioned
here. Citing the passages where Christ
goes to prepare a place for us, they
conclude that Christ does not return until the White Throne Judgment (which, as a matter of fact, is the conclusion
you would reach if you did not have the book
of Revelation). They argue that if
Christ is bodily returned to reign, how could Satan possibly be loosed?
Hence the idea that the reign is a spiritual one, a golden age in which
the Church is triumphant -- and then the
(It should be noted that there is
considerable variation in thinking, and that, for example, historicist is not necessarily synonymous with