The times of restoration of all things
God Jehovah, our Saviour, would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:3,4.) The faith in the Ransom of his Son, Jesus Christ, is a basis of the salvation: "He that has the Son has the life." (1 John 5:12.) God's enemy, Satan, had spread over all nations the curtain of darkness and made it for majority of mankind impossible thing to know this truth. (Isa. 25:7.) Few ones, who looked for God and desired to serve to Him at all costs, only they managed to force their way through the such curtain in the Gospel Age. Only such exceptional people, therefore, only Little Flock, has benefited from offer of gaining eternal life in this first stage of the salvation. The second stage of the salvation, happening during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, will include whole mankind, because Jesus "is the propitiation for our sins [his Church]; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:2)
This is God's purpose to guarantee for the all people a clear understanding of the rules of Salvation Plan being based on the sacrifice of Ransom of his Son, and thereby to make possible for everyone to fully take advantage of the new offer of eternal life. The aim of the Christ's kingdom was first of all to bound Satan (to remove all bad external influences) and then to free all the people from their blindness; as it is written: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened." (Isa. 35:5.) For the same purpose God planned the thousand years long period for the restitution work, a trial for life or death, being proceeded gradually, in the most favourable way for each member of human race.
The bounding of Satan, immediate or gradual?
During the reign of papacy, when only clergy had the access to the Scriptures, in the whole Christendom prevailed thick darkness. The power of the prince of this world was threatened with nothing. The progress of Reformation however had lighted the light of truth, which the God did not let to blow out (Rev. 3:8). Since then a zone of the light widened continually, whereas a zone of darkness started retreat. When the Time of End came (1799), the supremacy of the papacy was crushed and the Scripture was given to reading for the ordinary men. The spreading of the Bible stimulated people to thinking. From then on, a hitherto existing fetters of ignorance and superstition began to press heavily on them. As the knowledge and enlightenment, religious and secular, were spreading more and more, the number of the conscious people increased continually. The whole world was getting awake, not necessarily to the light of truth, but getting awake to the chains of darkness which are upon them. "Whatsoever does make manifest is light" (Eph. 5:13); and that which makes manifest is a "chain," a restraint upon that which is darkness.
This process began systematically to diminish the range of the devilish power being based on the general ignorance. The biblical bounding of the Satan reached the climax at present, when the entire world is being overwhelmed with anarchy. All human ideologies disappointed and the people will let no more to be deceived by them.
The second presence of Jesus Christ began in 1874. Then the period of six thousands years has ended, and the rightful King, Jesus Christ, started establishing of his kingdom on the earth. This event produced some kind of a spiritual diarchy, because until now the world was ruled by usurper, "prince of this world," Satan. The Prince of Light has invaded the land of the prince of darkness to commence his work. Our Lord, however, has been taking over the power from Satan in the gradual process. It would not be the reasonable thing to think that the devilish order of the world will turn into righteous Kingdom of God immediately. From the dawn of the second presence of Christ various biblical parallels point out at several landmarks which are highlighting the beginning of the Millennium era. It was there four of a such beginnings manifesting the progressive increase of the power of our Lord.
First beginning of the Millennium – 1874, has been set as the end of sixth and the beginning of seventh millennia. Standpoint which takes 1874 for the date of the Millennium is Scriptural one, as shown by the Jubilee cycles and various other prophecies. Since then on, the Lord Jesus, (1) has stood at the door of Laodicea church, he knocked and gave to spiritual Israelites "their food in due season. (Rev. 3:20; Matt. 24:45); (2) has ordered them to announce to Israel according to the flesh that God’s favour is returning to them (1878) and that God called them on to return to the Holy Land. (Isa. 40:1,2; Ezek. 37:4-6); (3) has announced a recruitment into his earthly army and He has called on all the oppressed people to take up arms. (Isa. 13:3)
Second beginning of the Millennium – 1914, has been derived from so-called "The Dominion Parallels." The Millennium is viewed as beginning with the end of the Gentile Times. From the beginning of his second presence, for forty years (1874-1914), our Lord had been organizing his earthly communist army to direct it against ramparts of Babylon the great, or Christendom, as soon as "the Times of the Gentiles" are expired. (Luke 21:24.) Since 1914 a process of overthrowing this power by war, revolution and anarchy started (three woes; Rev. 8:13).
Third beginning of the Millennium – 1980, appeared, when was understood the date of taking up of the whole Church of Christ to the glory. When key of 3960 years, well-known in days of pastor Russell (see commentary to Gen. 15:9), was used once again lately, it showed a parallel between marriage of Isaac and Rebecca (1980 B.C.) and the marriage of the Christ and his Church in 1980 A.D. The glorified Church became then the symbolic stone from the Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which "in the period of those" ten socialist kings struck the gentile powers' image and brought about its overthrow. An effort of the uniting of tottering socialist powers and Roman Catholic church in close cooperation (1977-1980) was last desperate attempt of Satan to stay still in power. It was pictured by the feet of the image of iron-clay mix. In a result of the breaking the feet to pieces, that is an abrupt ceasing of cooperation of opposite ideologies, communism and papacy, the world lost its balance. In a word, triumphal march of the new King brought about the kingdom of the prince of this world to the fall. If the empire of Satan is in a state of anarchy, it means that process of downgrading of his power reached climax. The great tribulation, third woe, began.
Fourth beginning of the Millennium – 1984, is showed by so-called "The David Life's Parallels" and the parallel of edict of Cyrus. Within years 1980-1984, political cooperation of communist powers and the Roman Catholic church was broken. In such a way the last major stronghold of the devilish power ceased to exist. From now on, the Lord Jesus Christ is sole ruler, David son, second Adam. Came to being the dynasty of the invisible Great Cyrus, before whom God Jehovah "subdues nations and looses the loins of kings." (Isa. 45:1.) All earthly kings are perplexed, they are overwhelmed more and more with horror and powerlessness in the face of the raging human masses; their thrones fall one by one. The increasing anarchy proves that nations ceased to recognize any earthly powers and they are subconsciously longing for righteous reign of "Cyrus."
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Beside dates, 1874 and 1914, well-known previously, the farther unfolding of God's Plan after opening of seventh seal (1967) showed two additional dates, 1980 and 1984. All these dates are well-founded to regard them as the beginnings of the Millennium Age. Three from four the above-mentioned beginnings of Millennium have their ends reaching beyond period of 7000 years from Adam fall, 2914, 2981 and 2984. What does it mean, we don't know.
Let's remind: the dawn of the Lord second presence (1874 + 1000), the expiring lease of Gentiles power and the beginning of their eviction (1914 + 1000), the exalting of the Church to a glory at the time of Epiphaneia and the binding of Satan (1980 + 1000), the beginning of ruling the nations with a rod of iron by "Cyrus" (1984 + 1000).
All these dates (from 1874) show better and better noticeable track of our Lord's steps "coming down from heaven." (Rev. 20:1). According to the Scripture: "every eye shall see him." (Rev. 1:7). Our Lord is the invisible monarch, nevertheless He step by step is implementing on the earth a program of "the times of restitution of all things", ultimately perceptible to all the people.
The matter, from since one should count the beginning of the Millennium, it absorbed minds of brothers from the very beginning of Lord presence.
Question (1900): I understand from Rev. 20:4-6, that Christ will reign one thousand years, and from verses 2 and 7 that Satan will be bound during that period. If Christ began to reign in 1878, and Satan will not be bound until 1915, the two periods do not seem to synchronize; and furthermore, both extend beyond the seventh-thousand year period which, according to our Bible chronology, began in the Autumn of 1872. How is this? Can you assist me?
Answer: The Lord has evidently arranged for the gradual closing of the Gospel age and opening of the Millennial age, in such a manner that the one laps upon the other, with some particular purpose in view; but just what his purposes are he has not been pleased to inform us: and since this extends into the future we may reasonably suppose that it is not now "meat in due season for the household of faith." When the end has been reached and accomplished, we have no doubt whatever that it will be manifested to all of the Lord's people that his Word has been accurately fulfilled. Until then a certain amount of faith is required and expected from those who have so many evidences of the Lord's wisdom and exactness in the features of his plan already accomplished. "We can trust him where we cannot trace him." Apparently this matter of when the thousand-year period should be reckoned as fully beginning and fully ending will be an open question until the close of the Millennial age. It is our expectation, from Rev. 20:8, 9, that the obscurity of this question will have something to do with the final test of loyalty and obedience to God, which will come upon the whole world of mankind who will have enjoyed the blessings of restitution throughout the Millennial age, and have attained perfection at its close.
The indefiniteness of the end of the period would appear to be an important feature of their testing. Apparently they will think the period of Christ's mediatorial reign ended before the Lord's time; and some of them, impatient of delay, will make a demonstration, and demand of the earthly representatives of the Kingdom that full dominion be at once restored to perfect man, according to their understanding of the divine plan and its times and seasons.
In so doing these will be demonstrating their own unworthiness to enter the age of perfection which will follow the Millennium, and will be destroyed in the Second Death. For, while such an attitude of mind may be forgivable in imperfect men of today, those perfect beings who shall have had a full restitution and large experience will be required to exercise a full faith, an unwavering confidence in the wisdom, love and promises of the Creator. And their failure to manifest implicit faith and obedience to the divine program after all their experience will be proof sufficient that they are unworthy of the eternal state.
If permitted to go beyond into the full liberties of sons of God they would always be liable to sin and its consequences; and God's promise is that there shall be no more sighing, no more dying, no more crying, no more pain there, the equivalent of a promise that there shall be no more sin.
Hence all who shall not have developed characters in full accord with, and fully submitted to the divine will, will be esteemed as having enjoyed all the blessings and privileges divine mercy has to offer. The fire, the judgment from heaven, will destroy such from among the people, in the Second Death, as unworthy of Life-eternal.
The Scripture declaration respecting the saints, the "overcomers" is, "They lived and reigned a thousand years." The reign of the saints cannot be properly said to begin before all the "jewels" have been gathered, nor before "the times of the Gentiles" end, in 1914. Nor is it said that their reign will be no longer than a thousand years. After the thousand years' reign Satan shall be loosed and the above trial shall ensue; but the reign of Christ and the Church will evidently continue long enough after the thousand years to destroy all found unworthy in that final trial, and to thus complete the work for which this reign is instituted." (R2739)
The “Angel” to bind Satan
(1) And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (3) and cast him into the abyss, and shut [it], and sealed [it] over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time.
Angel coming down … The word angel signifies messenger. Here Angel has authority and power to subdue Evil – the adversary of truth and right. It is our Lord Jesus, at his second advent. He is the "Messenger of the Covenant whom you delight in," and who "has the keys of hades and death." (Mal. 3:1; Rev. 1:18.) Activity of Jesus Christ from the dawn of his second presence (1874) is aimed at establishing of God's Kingdom on the earth. When the whole world has been by Him enlightened, trained and disciplined for a thousand years, all will have had full opportunity to reach actual perfection, and therefore actual perfection will be required of them. At the end of the thousand years Christ is to deliver up his finished work to the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24, 25.) And when his work is finished, it must be complete and perfect, lacking nothing – otherwise, it would not be acceptable to God.
"Our thought is that the Christ will be very closely associated with the earth, just as Satan’s kingdom is. Satan’s seat of government is in Tartarus – the atmosphere. [2 Pet. 2:4.] He and his associates, the fallen angels, are near the earth, whither they were cast down, separated from their own plane because of sin. They are invisible to mankind, however, amongst whom they have done an evil work. Satan has also his human agents – wicked men and women, who are under his control, sometimes through ignorance and superstition, and sometimes through mesmeric influence. The Scriptures inform us, however, that shortly Satan is to be bound for a thousand years; and the place which he occupied will then be vacant. (Rev. 20:1-3)” (R5182:1)
A great chain … It is very meaningful presentation of a complete restraint of Satan and all his powers of evil. But the truth which is to accomplish the binding of Satan is described by the Revelator as "a great chain" in the hands of earth’s new and rightful King. Not only the truths directly relating to the plan of God constitute this chain, but to these are linked every feature of truth related to human rights and privileges. Soon this mighty chain will so thoroughly compass the devil’s dominion and influence, and the Lord’s great army will draw it so tightly, that the great enemy will lie prostrate in the dust. And the Lord will cast him and all his wicked deceptions into the pit of oblivion, sealed for a thousand years. Satan's power to deceive and enslave men will be completely stopped by the clear knowledge then prevailing. The seal upon it represents divine care that none shall interfere with God’s arrangement, but that it shall be carried out strictly in accordance with the divine pre-arrangement. The great King, who is now about to take control of the world, He has full power to bind, to restrain Satan and every evil power and influence, that nothing may hurt or injure that, which is good throughout the Millennial Age.
Satan … The power of Satan is the power of darkness, of ignorance and superstition. As the light of truth advances, the power that can only work in darkness is to that extent curtailed. Hence it is that truth, on every subject, but especially divine truth is the great agency which is eventually to accomplish the complete binding of Satan. The old Serpent symbolizes the Devil's ability to deceive the people by blinded servants and false systems, whereas the Dragon represents secular powers as his tools to exerting strength and violence.
The Government of the Millennial Kingdom
(4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
They sat, to whom judgment was commited … The glorified Christ, Head and Body, will conduct in the thousand-year-Day the trial of the all people. (Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:31-40; Rev. 3:21; 1 Cor. 6:2.) The Greek word krima signifies the authority of conducting a trial and to pass final sentence.
[The meaning of three Greek words relating to a judgment: krino – to conduct a trial; krisis – a trial, investigation leading to decision (for example: "the just judgment be you judging" – dikaian krisis krinete; John 7:24); krima – to pass a sentence, a final decision (for example: "sentenced to death" – krima thanatou; Luke. 24:20)]
Souls of beheaded … Each individual (soul), to be acceptable as member of the figurative Body of Christ, must be will-less, headless; must be beheaded for himself, and must be individually united to Christ, the Head of the Church. When he was in such symbolic manner beheaded, he can no more to say: I have a mind of my own, I do my own thinking.
"The Apostle gives us the key, saying, 'The head of every man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.' (1 Cor. 11:3) As a woman who becomes a wife accepts her husband as the head of the family, so the church accepts Christ as its Head, and each member of the church thus comes into relationship with the Lord as a member of his body – not the Head; and all of these, to be acceptable as members of the figurative body of Christ must be will-less, headless: their own wills must be surrendered, so that, like their Lord, they can say, 'Not my will, but thine, be done.' They must be headless in the sense of ignoring their own wills, being dead to self and actuated henceforth by the will of the head of the body, Christ Jesus. His will, his mind, his Spirit, must dwell in each member of the body, and abound, if it would abide a member of his body, the church. Thus, as the wife loses her own name, and accepts the name of her husband and his headship, so each member of the bride of Christ must lose his or her individuality in order to be accepted as the bride of Christ. It is this self-surrender to Christ on the part of his church that is represented in the symbolism of the text before us." (R2844:6)
But we reflect that our Lord was not beheaded and, so far as history shows, few if any, of the apostles were literally beheaded; indeed, very few, if any, of the Lord’s saints from Pentecost to the present time have died by decapitation. We are to remember, however, that this statement is from the symbolical book, and is, therefore, a figure of speech, a word picture and its meaning must be sought for accordingly.
For the testimony of Jesus and word of God … "The testimony of Jesus [particularly the understanding of book of Revelation] is the spirit of prophecy," and it was fidelity to this spirit of truth, that is the Word of God, that worked upon the members of the Church to effect the change from their own wills to the will of Christ.
Worshipped not the beast, its image, and received not the mark … It signifies to get free from the binding and blinding influences of these systems. These were such as were never in accord with; or in response to the call, “Come out of her, my people," had become separated from; the systems here called the "beast" (the Papacy), and its "image" (the Protestant Federation), and thus were not marked in their "foreheads" (intellectually) with fear, sympathy or worship of these systems, nor had they borne in their "hands" their merchandise; but who, because of their faithfulness unto death in the matter of their covenant relationship with Jehovah God, were now exalted to the royalty of the Kingdom to reign with Christ Jesus, a thousand years!
Worship of symbolic Beast and its Image, powerfully influential religious systems, became a great trial upon nominal Christians of symbolic Babylon in the end of the Gospel Age, when the High Calling ceased. Then God has permitted those babylonian anti-Christ systems, to gain great influence in the world. Just at that time, in 1977, the pompous propaganda's appeals of "room and safety" was spread from Moscow. In such joint peaceful politics were involved both papacy (the scarlet beast) and Protestant churches (the image of the beast). It was a special danger to the church of the firstborn of worshipping of those systems.
The Great Multitude do not overcome the Beast, Image and mark, but are subject to their power, until the Beast, etc., is overthrown in the time of great trouble already commenced.
They lived, and reigned with Christ … The glorified Church, the Kingdom class. The rulership of earth is handed over to the saints. Invisible to the world, these with their Lord and Head set up the Kingdom of God, the Messianic Kingdom.
There was a time that Christians tried to think the Church was reigning now, but it was untrue belief. The Kingdom cannot come until the Church has been completed. All members of this Church had to first suffer and die, because "flesh and blood" cannot be a part of that Kingdom. That is why they all had to be changed. Therefore, they had to wait for the second coming of Christ and the time of the first resurrection, because there can be no Kingdom until the King comes.
"To him that overcomes will I give to sit with me in my throne." (Rev. 3:21)
"If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." (2 Tim. 2:12)
"He (the Christ, Head and Body) must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet." (1 Cor. 15:25)
Reigned … Christ, Head and Body, is the seed of Abraham who is to bless all the families of the earth. These are the kings and priests who will carry out the work of the restitution of the world. The whole mankind had to wait almost two thousands years, until members of this class are chosen, because Christ ransom was continually necessary for their justification. Only after this period is over, the ransom can be paid to deliver mankind from the death. "He is the propitiation for our [of the firstborn church] sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:2). When two classes of the firstborn church (Little Flock and Great Multitude) are taken from earth, the ransom-price can be formally delivered over to Divine justice. From then on, Adam and his race will be immediately transferred by the Father to the Son that his Millennial Kingdom, the blessing of the world, the times of restitution of all things, may begin!
Our Lord and his Church will be spirit beings, and their rule or dominion will be only through the earthly Kingdom class, their earthly representatives. Upon the ashes of the time of trouble Messiah's Kingdom will be established with full power and glory.
A thousand years … The achieving of such complete victory over death and the grave will be the very object of the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ, and will require symbolic day of thousand years. When Peter wrote prophetically about the Day of the Lord he explained that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years with men, and a thousand years with men as one day with the Lord. (2 Pet. 3:8) It will not be until the thousand years are finished, that the race will have fully attained to the complete measure of life lost in Adam.
"The first resurrection glorifies the kingdom class; and forthwith the kingdom will be set up – 'The mountain [kingdom] of the Lord’s house' will be established in the earth. This agrees with the statement of the prophet from which the Apostle quotes, 'In this mountain [Millennial kingdom] shall the Lord of hosts make to the people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refinded; and he will destroy in this mountain [kingdom] the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.' (Isa. 2:2; 25:6-8)" (R3175:5)
(5) The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The rest … The first portion of this fifth verse – “but the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” – seems to be spurious, for it does not appear in any manuscript prior to the 5th century. Leaving out these words, the remainder reads more smoothly than with them in. However, the repudiation of this clause is not essential. Why? Because perfect life without weakness or dying is the only sense in which God recognizes the word life. From such point of view, the rest of the dead – the world at large, will live again in the full sense, in the perfect sense that Adam lived before he sinned and came under the sentence "dying thou shalt die," only at the end of Millennium. Now, all the world, who has lost life, is dying, and might now be more properly described as dead than as alive. (2 Cor. 5:14; Matt. 8:22.) Consequently, it will not be until the thousand years are finished that the race will have fully attained the complete measure of life lost in Adam.
This is the first resurrection … Not only first in order of time, but first in the sense of first in importance, that is chief. The first resurrection includes our Lord Jesus and all the overcomers of this Gospel age. Chief, in that it is a resurrection of perfection of being on the highest of all levels, the divine level. They received glory, honor and immortality, and were exalted far above angels and granted the divine nature. There are really but two resurrections: the "first" or chief, and the general. In a sense, therefore, even the Great Multitude, though they will be raised spirit beings, are partakers in the general resurrection; for only those who share the "first" resurrection are free from the second death’s power. These latter, in their glorification will have been made partakers of the divine (immortal) nature (2 Pet. 1:4); and sharers with Christ Jesus in his Millennial reign (2 Tim. 2:12), for a thousand years.
The Lord Jesus said that in the hour of Resurrection will come forth from the tombs both those "that have done good" and those "that have done evil." (John 5:29.) The resurrection of the "good" includes the Church of the firstborn (the Little Flock and the Great Multitude) and the Ancient Worthies. All the remainder of mankind will come forth unto "judgment-trial" of Millennium.
In the first resurrection only the Bride has part with her Lord, the Lamb of God.
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The change of nature from human to divine was given as a reward only to those who, within the Gospel age, sacrificed the human nature, as did our Lord, with all its interests, hopes and aims, present and future – even unto death. When they had been awoked in the first resurrection, they will not to share with the rest of mankind in the blessed restitution to human perfection and all its accompanying blessings, but to share the likeness and glory and joy of the Lord, as partakers with him of the divine nature. (Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12) (A196)
"The great company [Great Multitude], although they cannot be counted in as participants of the First Resurrection, and sharers of its glory, honor and immortality, nor counted in with the Ancient Worthies, must, nevertheless be counted as overcomers even though the overcoming be through great tribulation. And as overcomers, they must be esteemed to pass from death unto life and, therefore, to be subjects of an instantaneous resurrection, and not a gradual one, as in the case of the world, whose trial is future." (D707)
The declaration that spiritual bodies of members of Church shall be incorruptible, immortal, is a most momentous one, because we are distinctly informed that this quality of immortality belongs inherently to Jehovah alone; while it is declared of our Lord Jesus that, because of his faithfulness, his high exaltation consisted in part in his being granted life in himself, as the Father has life in himself. The thought there is the same – that the glorious Head of the Church experienced just such a 'change' to immortality, to incorruption, to participation in the divine nature. It does not amaze us that the plan of God should be thus liberal toward our dear Redeemer; but it surely does astonish us that this quality of the divine nature, given to none other than our Master, should be promised to the members of his body, who walk in his footsteps, and seeking for glory, honor and immortality. (2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 2:7) (F727)
Blessed and holy … The Lord Jesus promised to his followers that in their changed condition, when they "shall see him as He is," they "shall be like him." He is a Spiritual Being, who is the image of God, "the exact impress of his [the Father's person] substance," "far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named," and hence, far above perfect human beings. If his Church is like Him and shares his glory and his nature, it means that the members of her also are images of the Father's person, "whom no man has seen nor can see, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto;" but to whom they can approach and whom they can see as He is, because they have been "changed." (1 John 3:2; 1 Tim. 6:16; 1:17; Exod. 33:20.). It’s indeed inconceivable condition of happiness and glory.
The time of the First Resurrection
"And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads." (Rev. 14:1)
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The resurrection of the members of the Church class and complete change of nature has begun in them through the begetting of the holy Spirit. From then on they were reckoned as "passed from death into life" figuratively, but the real passing into life happened at the close of the Gospel Age, at the time of epiphaneia of second presence of Christ.
From the beginning of the second presence of our Lord the symbolic Mountain Zion (Kingdom) is being established in the top of the symbolic earth mountains. (Isa. 2:2.) At the dawn of the presence God has set his "king upon his holy hill of Zion." (Psa. 2:6.) The vision of Rev. 14:1 was fulfilled in 1977, when the end of the High Calling took place. Since then began the First Resurrection. Our Lord who entered his Kingly office a hundred years before and took unto himself his great power and began his reign, He is, at this moment accompanied by his entire victorious Church, of "kings and priests." The sleeping saints from all the Gospel Age has been raised (1977), whereas saints living still on the earth, being sealed, were from then on changed "in the twinkling of an eye" to a glory. Thus in spring 1981 the First Resurrection was accomplished and the then complete Church began her Millennial rule (1980 + 1000).
This time of Resurrection was announced by the truth in due season, or symbolic voice of the last trumpet, which sounded after the opening of seventh seal (1 Cor. 15:51,52; Rev. 8:1). These two events, namely, the end of the High Calling (1977) and the time of the First Resurrection (1977-1981), they were recognized by faith, nevertheless they were accompanied by appropriate prophetic events. At that time came to power the papal beast in its final form. There was established close political co-operation between Roman Catholic church and socialist powers. That scarlet beast was staying at the power for prophetic 42 months, from autumn 1977 to spring 1981 (Rev. 13:5). First Resurrection happened to these rules simultaneously, and that is why then, when a worshiping of the beast and its image became particularly real danger, John class received an order: "Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth [from 1977]..." (Rev. 14:9,13)
Thus the Body of Christ was raised to perfection by a sudden resurrection change. The world in general are to stand at trial and to get life step by step as a reward for obedience.
Death hath no power … There are several expressions in the Scripture, which are characterizing the standard of the spiritual life in heaven promised to Little Flock: "the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4), "incorruption, immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53), "life in himself" (John 5:26). It is life liable not to death, it is life entirely independent of conditions, needing not any food.
Others shall come forth to a resurrection over whom the second death may have power. The possibility of penalty of second death will always exist, nevertheless test of Millennial judgment will be such thorough that cases of such death in the future will be excluded. (Rev. 21:4).
They shall be priests … The elect 144,000 – Kings and priests – rulers and instructors. In typical Israel, the priestly office was kept distinctly separate from the kingly office, but in Christ the two offices combine, illustrated in the double office of Melchisedec. The priesthood of glory is not the Aaronic, but the Melchisedec priesthood, typifying the glorified Priest, Head and Body. It will be the Kingdom of the saints, in that they as "a Royal Priesthood" shall reign and judge and bless the world in conjunction with their Lord, Jesus.
The mission of the Church during Gospel Age was the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to prepare to be kings and priests in the next age. Who would be prepared to teach the world meekness, patience, brotherly kindness, long-suffering, love, without first of all developing these qualities of character in himself?
The Great Multitude will not be priests, but Levites.
Reign with him … To the Royal Priesthood, under Christ as King of kings and Priest of priests, shall be committed the full control of earth. These are to reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10) over the world of mankind. They will be bless the world by a righteous judgment. A such just, wise, paternal government, which will continue wholesome restraints and incentives, while at the same time protecting each class, is suggested nowhere except in the Bible. There it is accurately described and waited only the selection of God's Church.
A thousand years … This will be the thousand years of Messiah's reign, the thousand years of the world's uplift, the thousand years in which Satan will be bound, the thousand years in which knowledge shall fill the whole earth, the thousand years in which the earth shall be brought to the Paradisiac condition. R4973:5
Chamber's Encyclopedia says: "In the first century of the church, Millennarianism was a widespread belief." R1093:4
Added by: Andrzej