The Resurrection and the 1000 Year Reign of Christ

The Christian Mark of the Beast Survival Manual Copyright © 2014 by Erik K. Olinger All rights reserved.

READERS: This is a rough-draft of the manuscript.  It is unedited and contains errors that will be corrected at the final release.


The Resurrection and the 1000 Year Reign of Christ


I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years (NIV Rev. 20:4-6).

Thousand” in the text above comes from the Greek word chilioi, which means the numerical value of a thousand. In this special future age, the saints will rule with Christ (Mt. 5:5; 2Ti. 2:12; Rev. 5:9-10, 20:4-5. The thousand year reign is preceded by a resurrection of the righteous to life, the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4). Pre-tribs expect the first resurrection to start during the rapture at the beginning of the tribulation, while mid-tribs expect it during a mid-trib rapture, and post-tribs believe it occurs at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns. All Christians do not meet eye-to-eye about a literal thousand year reign, nor about where Christ and the saints will reign. A portion of theologians support that the reign is one in heaven, however the leading interpretation is that the reign of Christ is one on earth. A thousand year reign on earth is sensible and in harmony with Scripture. This view will be proven in this chapter and throughout the manual.

Changed Bodies

There are at least two resurrections, and dispensationalists separate the first resurrection into three. The first resurrection is for those who had been both beheaded and had not worshiped the beast or received its mark (Rev. 20:4). If the reign is on earth and John intended to communicate that one must be both beheaded and had not received the mark in order to be resurrected in the first resurrection, then the beheaded mark-free saints will live and reign with Christ on the earth during the millennial reign. Those raised in the first resurrection can no longer die, and they will be like the angels (Lk. 20:36; Rev. 20:6). They will no longer be subject to pain or disease, and will be glorious and powerful (1Co. 15:42-44). Their bodies will be in union with the Spirit and image of the heavenly “man,” Christ (1Co. 15:44, 49). Their changed bodies will also be like Christ’s glorious body (Php. 3:21). The current earthly bodies we have will be redeemed (Ro. 8:23) and raised like Christ was in His resurrection from the dead (Php. 3:10-11). When Christ was resurrected from the dead, He had nail marks on His skin and His side was pierced (Jn. 20:27), and He ate food with His resurrection body (Lk. 24:30, 42-43; Jn. 21:12-13; Ac. 1:4). Although our bodies will become imperishable (1Co. 15:42) and heavenly (1Co. 15:40, 42), the extent to which our bodies will be changed beyond the limited Scripture about the topic is unknown. Our current bodies are mere “tents” compared to the heavenly building God will clothe us in (2Co. 5:1-5).

Surviving Redeemed

Dispensational pre-millennialists usually come to the conclusion that surviving Jews and Gentiles from the tribulation that are redeemed, enter the millennial Kingdom in their mortal bodies. Surviving redeemed who enter the Millennium in their mortal bodies continue to age, have babies, and die. The people of the Millennium will live long lives (Isa. 65:20). Those participating in the Millennium in mortal bodies, will have to be resurrected at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:4-5), a view that some pre-millennialists hold. The rest of the dead not raised in the first resurrection, “did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.”

The Second Resurrection Only for the Wicked?

The second resurrection must be for all other dead whom were not beheaded, but this may not be the case. The Greek text has an ambiguity about who are raised in the second resurrection. Many hold to the idea that the second resurrection is only for the wicked, yet some translations are worded so that the first resurrection is for those who were beheaded for their testimony and for those who refused the mark, that is both requirements need be met together, negating the likelihood that all righteous people were beheaded and refused the mark and resurrected in the first resurrection. The KJV and NIV are two examples of this ambiguity, but they really can not be blamed because the Greek is not very clear about the topic. What happens to those who were not beheaded? Did they miss their chance for life?

Although the most widely accepted translation at least in number of Bible’s sold, is the translation of Revelation 20:4-6 written in the beginning of this chapter from the NIV, a more prudent translation that yet remains plausible from the original Greek is presented below. The following translation is as written in the footnote in the NIV (emphasis added),

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God; I also saw those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years (NIV Rev. 20:4).

This translation does not link being beheaded and not worshiping the beast or receiving its mark as a requirement for one to take part in the first resurrection. Respectively, those who were beheaded and/or those who did not worship the beast or receive its mark, may both partake in the first resurrection. The Greek conjunction kai is responsible for the range of options in translation. This alternate translation is an observation for those that are interested, one that translators have taken note of in their works. Bill Mounce, an expert who served on both the ESV and NIV committee, said of the variation in translation of this passage,

It is a rather important distinction as it identifies those who inhabit the millennial kingdom, and it all hangs on the καὶ οἵτινες.

Both translations are possible. The first is more word for word and leaves interpretation up to the reader, although it would most naturally lead the reader to see two groups.1

When Is the Second Resurrection?

The second resurrection is only hinted to in one part of prophecy, but an exact time is not given. Only that it will occur after the thousand year reign of Christ has ended is indicated. Two possible suggestions are that it may commence immediately at the close of the thousand years, or it may co-occur with the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:12 when the dead are judged according to their works, which is also after the thousand years. For it, the dead were standing before the throne (please see Satan’s Final Battle and the Great White Throne Judgment). Were they raised already in the second resurrection at the close of the thousand years? It seems a likely case.

Righteous and Wicked Raised

In the resurrection from the dead, the righteous will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to condemnation. Everyone will be raised this way,

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt (NIV Da. 12:2).

…for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned (NIV Jn. 5:28-29),

First the Dead Raised, Then the Living

The dead in Christ are to be judiciously raised first. They came before those alive, and Christ acknowledges that. Then those alive will be caught up in the air and will be with the Lord forever,

According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (NIV 1Th. 4:15-17).

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (NIV 1Co. 15:51-53).

A New Body

Scripture allegorizes the type of body the redeemed righteous will be raised in. The bodies are compared to a seed that is sown. When planting seeds, one doesn’t plant the already grown fruit, vegetable, or grain of the plant because it first must come to life and grow from the seed. God gives the plant a body as he has determined after a seed is planted. First a body is sown perishable, then it is raised imperishable and spiritual,

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body…So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (NIV 1Co. 15:35-38, 42-44).

Christ will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body,

He will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (NIV Php. 3:21).

Christ guaranteed that whoever believes in Him will not die, and that He will raise them up in the end. Anyone who does His will and the Father’s will, will have eternal life in a resurrection body,

I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die (NIV Jn. 11:25).

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day (NIV Jn. 6:39-40).

…and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (NIV Lk. 14:14).

An interesting reality about the children of the resurrection is that not only will they not be able to die again, but they will not marry anymore because they will be like the angels in some way. People postulate the bodies are unisex, however this is speculation of the following verse,

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection (NIV Lk. 20:34-36).

Hope in the Resurrection

The resurrection was not a new concept when Jesus came, however not every Jewish sect believed in the resurrection. The early Christians rightly so, had their hope in the resurrection,

My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead (NIV Ac. 23:6).

…and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (NIV Ac. 24:15).

When dealing with naysayers who were struggling with hope in the resurrection and belief in Christ, Paul said that if there is no resurrection then Christ was not even raised, and that then our faith is useless. The resurrection and Christianity are a package-deal. Everyone knows the story of Christ crucified, and then three days later rising again. The resurrection of the believers is not a new and difficult idea,

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him (NIV 1Co. 15:12-13).

The author of Hebrews urged the readers of the letter to accept the elementary teaching of the resurrection, and to move on toward more advanced teachings. Hebrew’s readers seemed to not be progressing to full Christian maturity. Once a Christian is established with the basics, such as repentance and the resurrection, he or she should advance in question to other teachings,

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (Heb. 6:1-2).

Greek Analysis

Studying the Greek behind the text that concerns the resurrection bodies we will receive, can reveal more about the nature of the bodies. It is important to understand that when we read the Bible, that it is a translation. Beyond that, there are even multiple versions of the original texts, although research has proven that the differences in the original manuscripts are minor and only amount to a small percent of change over thousands of years. This exposition is a simple study of the Greek words and definitions that will give a fuller understanding of the way the words were originally used in context.

Natural (psychikos) bodies (sōma) that we are sown in before the resurrection of the dead are unspiritual (1Co. 15:44). The definition of psychikos taken from a work by Kohlenberger and Goodrick is:

pertaining to the natural sate: physical, unspiritual, without the spirit.2

Sōma is one of the Greek words for “body” used in the New Testament to refer to physical bodies, or the body of Christ (the church), or to reality or substance (Col. 2:17), and also even to things that are not physical (Col. 2:23). The definition of sōma is:

body, the mass of anything, usually a corporeal tissue, human, animal, or plant, though it can also refer to a heavenly body; the church is said to be like a (human) body, emphasizing its essential unity with very important diversities of function within the unity.3

We currently have unspiritual mortal bodies (sōma). The spiritual (pneumatikos) bodies (sōma) that we will be raised in will be spiritual (1Co. 15:44). The definition of pneumatikos is:

spiritual, pertaining to the Spirit; (n.) spiritual person.4

The natural (psychikos) body (sōma) is not “pertaining to the Spirit” and stands in contrast to the raised body (sōma) that “pertains to the Spirit.” In First Corinthians 15:40, we learn that there are heavenly (epouranios) bodies (sōma) and that there are earthly (epigeios) bodies (sōma) and that, “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead” (NIV 1Co.15:42). Epouranios is defined as:

heavenly, celestial; heavenly realms.5

The context in which eupouranios is used is to refer to the heavenly realms, but is even used to describe a heavenly calling on earth (Heb. 3:1), or a heavenly gift a person has tasted briefly on earth (Heb. 6:4). The heavenly (epouranios) bodies (sōma) that are given in the resurrection are superior to the earthly (epigeios) bodies we currently have. Epigeios is defined as:

being on the earth, earthly, that which is inferior when in contrast to heavenly or divine things.6

Throughout the Bible and in First Corinthians 7:34, the body (sōma) is used separately from describing the spirit (pneuma). They are completely different words. Pneuma is usually used to indicate the Holy Spirit but can be used to refer to the soul, however the soul (psychē) is a separate word that denotes the “self.” The spirit (pneuma), soul (psychē), and body (sōma) seem to be all three what composes a living mortal person (Not specified in Scripture, but see 1Th. 5:23.). Pneuma is defined as:

wind, breath, things which are commonly perceived as having no material substance; by extension: spirit, heart, mind, the immaterial part of the inner person that can respond to God; spirit being: (evil) spirit, ghost, God the Holy Spirit.7

The soul (psychē) is not the breath of life (Ge. 2:7—ruwach in Hebrew) or the Holy Spirit, but is defined as:

life, soul; heart, mind; a person; the immaterial (and eternal) part of inner person, often meaning the animate self, which can be translated by pronouns: “my soul” = “I, myself”.8

The soul (psychē) stands in contrast to the body (sōma—Mt. 10:28; etc.), however both life and soul are translated from psychē. In Romans 8:9-11 one can see that our mortal bodies (sōma) are given life from God by the Holy Spirit (pneuma) who lives in us. Those who have the Holy Spirit (pneuma) already are waiting for the “redemption of our bodies [sōma]” (NIV Ro. Ro. 8:23). When we are resurrected, we will be composed of the Spirit (pneuma), and the animate self (psychē), and our bodies (sōma) will also be redeemed like Christ in death and resurrection (Php. 3:10-11). The bodies (sōma) will not be the same perishable corporeal body (sōma) that we lived our mortal life with. They will be connected with the Spirit (pneuma) as a spiritual (pneumatikos) and heavenly (epouranios) body (sōma), completely unlike the flesh we have today. They will be changed and clothed with the immortal (1Co. 15:50-53) and glorious (Php. 3:21), but they do not seem to be disembodied souls. They will be spiritual (pneumatikos) in the sense that they are in union and submission to the Spirit (pneuma).

A Reign on Earth or in Heaven?

Where does Scripture ultimately reveal as the location of the thousand year reign of Christ? The O.T. and N.T. are both harmonious that the thousand year reign is on earth, where Christ will set His kingdom in place and rule from Jerusalem forever. His kingdom will never end,

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land (NIV Jer. 23:5).

He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever, his kingdom will never end (Lk. 1:32-33).

The Lord will be king over the whole earth, and Jerusalem will be inhabited and forever secure,

A day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem…On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem…The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name…But Jerusalem will be raised up high…It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure (NIV Zec. 14:1, 4, 9-11).

The kingdom of God will fill the whole earth and will endure forever,

…But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth…”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces (NIV Da. 2:35, 44:45).

Repeatedly we see that Jesus will rule from Jerusalem and Mount Zion in the last days,

In the last days…”In that day,” declares the LORD…The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever (NIV Mic. 4:1, 6-7).

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it…The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations… (NIV Isa. 2:2-4).

The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”…The LORD is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth (NIV Ps. 110:2, 5-6).

I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery” (NIV Ps. 2:6-9).

See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it…The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory (NIV Isa. 24:1, 23).

Christ will not be alone in ruling Mount Zion. The saints will reign the earth with Christ and serve God,

…and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve God, and they will reign on the earth (NIV Rev. 5:9-10).

…if we endure, we will also reign with him (NIV 2Ti. 2:12).

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (NIV Mt. 5:5).

The Heathen on Earth

In the chapter Christ’s Second Coming and the Tribulation, the possibility of heathen remaining on earth after the return of Christ was proposed. In this chapter it is appropriate to investigate this further, although please refer to Christ’s Second Coming and the Tribulation for the initial conflict between the O.T. and N.T. The O.T. definitely has the stance that Jerusalem will be restored and rule in the age to come, and that heathen will be in submission to Zion. This heathen seems to be those who survived the day of the Lord, and they will be burdened by the Lord. For instance, the heathen on earth during the thousand year reign will have to worship the Lord or they will not receive any rain. The following passage is a prophecy regarding the Millennium, and appears to confirm that there will be unsaved people present during that time,

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles (NIV Zec. 14:16-19).

Israel will already have been restored to their own land will take possession of the nations, ruling over their oppressors,

The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners will join them and unite with the descendants of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And Israel will take possession of the nations and make them male and female servants in the LORD’s land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors (NIV Isa. 14:1-2).

Undoubtedly, the heathen will be under total control of Israel as opposed to Israel in slavery to other nations as has been in the past. There are other passages scattered throughout the O.T. concerning this topic.

Sinners Given One-Hundred Years?

Some pre-millennialists maintain that sinners will be given one-hundred years to receive Jesus in the Millennium. This is based on the following,

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed (NIV Isa. 65:20).

The footnote in the NIV alters the text above (closer to other major translations) to read as, “the sinner who reaches a hundred will be considered accursed” (NIV Isa. 65:20). What this passage means in relation to the age to come is unknown.

Temple Cultus Restored?

Debatable among pre-millennialists is whether or not the old covenant rites and rituals will be restored in the Millennium. A dispensational premillennial idea is that Jerusalem will be fully restored, Jesus will sit on the literal throne of David, the Levitical priesthood will be restored, animal sacrifice will be restored, circumcision will be restored, and the observance of new moons, feast days, and Sabbaths, will be reinstated. This is based on O.T. prophecy and does not seem to maintain the redemptive work of Christ, but does uphold O.T. Scripture and Israel. This is a topic worthy of debate.

Final Remarks

If Scripture identifies a thousand year period of time and describes it without imagery and metaphorical inclination, then one should be able to confidently put one’s hope in a literal resurrection and reign of Christ and the saints, as did the early Christians. The passages that describe a future reign on earth can not be substituted or overlooked for a reign in heaven. The apostles believed in a future appearance of Christ, a future resurrection of our bodies, a transformation to glorious bodies, and a future reign with Christ on earth, why shouldn’t we? And why should Israel, God’s holy nation, not have their rightful part in the prophecy? Israel and Christians both are going to be one fold in God’s plan, and somehow all prophecy will come together and both Israel and Christians are going to experience a new age in Christ. That is worth every ounce of faith and hope one has. The trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised, and we will be changed!

Chapter Summary

  1. The word from which “thousand years” is derived means the numerical value of a thousand in Greek.

  2. In the thousand year reign, the saints will rule with Christ.

  3. The thousand year reign is preceded by the first resurrection.

  4. The attributes of the resurrection bodies are:

    a. They are immortal and imperishable.

    b. They are like the angels, eternal and in other ways.

    c. They are no longer subject to pain or disease.

    d. They are glorious and powerful and heavenly.

    e. They are in union with the Spirit and image of Christ.

    f. They are like Christ’s glorious body.

  5. Our current earthly bodies will be redeemed and raised like Christ was in resurrection.

  6. The possibility of surviving Jews and Gentiles of the tribulation who are redeemed, entering into the millennial reign in their mortal bodies and continuing to age, have babies, and die, was discussed.

  7. The original Greek warrants that the first resurrection may actually not be for those who simultaneously were both beheaded and had not received the mark or worshiped its image, but instead those who were beheaded and also those who had not received the mark or worshiped its image may most likely both partake in the first resurrection, that is the two groups individually can partake in the first resurrection.

  8. The exact chronology of when the second resurrection will take place is unknown. Two suggestions are:

    a. Immediately after the thousand year reign ends as Scripture says.

    b. Or at the Great White Throne Judgment after the thousand years, less likely and may not be what the Bible intended.

  9. In the resurrection the righteous will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

  10. In the first resurrection the dead in Christ will rise first, then those alive will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord.

  11. The Greek text concerning the type of bodies given in the resurrection was explicated.

  12. Earth was substantiated as the location of the thousand year reign of Christ based on both the O.T. and N.T.

  13. The heathen on earth during the thousand year reign will be in submission to Israel.

  14. Israel will be settled in their own land and will rule over the nations.

  15. A passage about sinners who reach a hundred in the Millennium becoming accursed was shared as an interpretation some hold.

  16. A dispensational pre-millennial idea that old covenant rites and rituals will be restored in the Millennium was related.