By Pastor K. Kirkland


My two previous articles, “The Past-Trib Blasphemy” and “A Closer Look at Past-Trib” were written for a newsletter that is explicitly Post-trib. A newsletter put out by Pastor Brigmond of Kissimmee, Florida. Thus, my articles are written assuming the first resurrection of Rev. 20 in line with the Post-trib view. Some Pretribs,  Amillennialists, and Preterists seem upset over my comments about the first resurrection (Rev. 20) in those articles. It is time we do a study on this subject, contrasting the Post-trib view of the First Resurrection to these other views.

A special note of appreciation to the following people from our church. To Bro. Jeff Vincelette for his computer expertise. And, to my wife Jeannie for the excellent charts you see in this study. She put a lot of work into it. And to both her and Sis. Judy Perry, for their encouragement to incorporate them in my website studies. Sis. Perry said that the timelines I often use in my teaching are a great help towards being able to understand and differentiate between the different systems of prophetic interpretation. A picture can sometimes be worth a thousand words.   




The Post-trib view is the non-theory view. It is the normal way someone who had never heard of Pretrib theory or Amillennial theory would understand the word of God. It is the view of someone who reads the story-flow, or narrative, of Revelation at its face value. It is not a theory that is read into scripture, but is what scripture actually SAYS.

The theme of Revelation is announced at the outset, “Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, amen,” Rev. 1:7.  The book flows to that event, the second coming of Jesus Christ. The event announced in 1:7 takes place at Armageddon in chapt. 19. At which time the antichrist, the beast, the persecutor of the saints during the tribulation, is defeated, and, along with the false prophet, cast alive into the lake of fire, 19:20. The events of chapt. 20 follow naturally and chronologically after the second coming events described in 19:11-21.

There is no coming of Christ mentioned prior to Chapt. 19. Neither is there a resurrection prior to this event! (It is presupposed in 11:15-18 where it is described as the last trump, and in 14:14-16 where it is described as a harvest, more on this later.) Rev. 20 describes the resurrection that takes place at the second coming, it is called the “First Resurrection.” Read the following Rev. 20 passage carefully, every word is very important.

4    And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5   But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. THIS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION.

6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such 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 text plainly says that those martyred by the antichrist in the tribulation are among those resurrected (v. 4). The millennial reign is then described, “they shall…reign with him a thousand years” (v. 6). “The rest of the dead” (v. 5), the unsaved, are resurrected, judged, and sentenced at the end of the millennial. Sent to the lake of fire along with the devil – where the beast and false prophet had been for a thousand years (20:10).  Please note: the text does not say “the dead,” but “the rest of the dead.” The text says there are two resurrections that lie ahead of us, a resurrection of the dead in Christ, and one of “the rest of the dead.”

This, then, is the natural sequence of events that anyone, with only the bible in hand, assuming he has not been influenced by a theory to “read into” Revelation, would see:

1)     The beast, his image, his mark, and the false prophet, during the great tribulation,

2)     Armageddon,

3)     The second coming (when the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire),

4)     The first resurrection (when the saints and the martyrs of the tribulation are resurrected),

5)     The millennial reign (with the devil incarcerated - chained and sealed, 20:1-3),

6)     The resurrection of “the rest of the dead” at the end of the millennial,

7)     The great white throne judgment (when the devil and the unsaved are cast into the lake of fire – where the beast and false prophet had been cast a thousand years prior).  


1 Cor. 15:21-26 is a companion passage. It gives the sequence of resurrections. “Every man in his own order” (v. 23). It’s scope is all inclusive, that is, the  resurrections that the apostle Paul outlines includes everyone, since ALL die in Adam ALL will be resurrected through Christ. Adam is the head of the old creation, but Christ, as the head of the new, is the “firstfruits of them that slept,” i.e., he is the prototype, he begins the resurrection sequence that ultimately will include everyone.

1 Cor. 15

23  But everyman in his own order (sequence): Christ the firstfruits; afterward (next in sequence) they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24  Then (next in sequence) cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death 

  1. Christ the firstfruits;

The term “firstfruits” is an identification with Israel’s harvest sequence. The firstfruits harvest was the first event of Israel’s agricultural year. Paul’s sequence of resurrections parallels Israel’s harvest sequence. “Christ the firstfruits” begins the sequence. 

And begin the sequence he should, because he is “the first begotten of the dead” (Rev. 1:5).  For others: various ones in the  OT (the widow’s son, etc.), and in the NT (Lazarus, Jarius’s daughter, those in Matt. 27:53) could not truly be said to be  begotten from the dead, but rather were temporarily revived, or resuscitated, only to die again. To be “born, or begotten” from the dead means everlasting freedom from the power of death. Thus, “Christ the firstfruits.”

  1. Afterward (next in sequence) they that are Christ’s at his coming

The NEXT resurrection to occur happens at Christ's coming. "Coming" is singular. Paul is teaching only one coming of Christ here. “They that are Christ’s at his coming” is the post-trib coming and is the first resurrection of Rev. 19 & 20. "They that are Christ’s at his coming" is the only resurrection before the millennium. This one coming encompasses the  totality of resurrection and rapture before the millennium.

 In Israel, as we have mentioned, there was a “firstfruits” harvest at the beginning of the agricultural year, but there was also an ingathering harvest at the end of the year. The ingathering harvest is identical to the first resurrection of Rev. 20, and “they that are Christ’s at his coming.”  It is also identical to the harvest at the end of the world in Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13), and to the harvest alluded to in Rev. 14:14-16, both of which depict a post-trib harvest, a one resurrection event at Christ’s coming at the end of this age. No other resurrection is in view in Paul’s sequence (1 Cor. 15:23), in Revelation, or in the harvest parable of Matt. 13.

 What about the resurrection of the two witnesses in Rev. 11? This writer believes that the two witnesses belong to Christ, hence, “they that are Christ’s at his coming” includes their resurrection. It happens at the same time. 

  1. Then (next in sequence) cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

 ONLY “they that are Christ’s” are resurrected at his coming. NOT the unsaved. They are excluded. Thus, the ones Paul depicts resurrected next are the “rest of the dead” of Rev. 20:5, the unsaved. They are resurrected at the “end,” the end of the kingdom reign, the millennial reign (20:12, 13). At which time the kingdom is delivered up to God, even the Father; when all rule and all authority and power is put down (the rebellion at the close of the millennial, Rev. 20:7-10); and the last enemy, death, is destroyed (death is cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:14). ONLY those who belong to Christ are resurrected at his coming, the rest are resurrected at the end of the millennial reign.

 In Paul’s sequence “they that are Christ’s at his coming” is followed by the kingdom reign. Rev. 19 & 20 has the same sequence.

 In verse 23 Paul gave little detail on “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” he was only listing sequence, however, later in the chapter, verses 50-57, he gives us plenty of detail about that same event. In verse 52 he says it happens at the LAST trump. This ties “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” the singular, one event at the end of this age, to the last trump in Rev. 11:15-18, and to “the great sound of a trump” in Matt. 24:31 when the elect are gathered (everyone must surely admit that this trump is the “last”), and to the “trump of God” in 1 Thess. 4:16. The “last” trump, and the “first” resurrection, are the same event.

 In verses 50-52 Paul said a bodily change is necessary to inherit the kingdom of God, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God:"

 "Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 

 These verses place the arrival of the kingdom, or millennial reign, at the same point in time as the bodily change, or the first resurrection. Rev. 20:4-6 has the millennial reign beginning at the first resurrection (see also 2 Tim. 4:1, 8).

 Paul confirms this in verse 54 by his application of an OT passage, "THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." The saying that is written is Isa. 25:8. The context of Isa. 25:8 is the day of the Lord (cosmic calamities in the sun and moon), and the joyous ushering in of the kingdom reign. This tells us precisely when the kingdom arrives. It arrives when “death is swallowed up in victory” at the last trump. Thus, it is the great single event at the last day of this age (John 6:44, 11:24), dividing this age from the age to come (Luke 14:14, 15; Mark 10:30 with Luke 20:34-36 & Eph. 1:21). The “age to come” is the millennial reign.


1 Cor. 15 describes two, and ONLY two, resurrections before the millennial: Christ the firstfruits, and they that are Christ’s at his coming. “They that are Christ’s at his coming,” and the first resurrection of Rev. 20, are one and the same. No pre-tribulation coming, rapture, or resurrection in any of these important, key passages. So, how do pretribs get around such formidable evidence? Here comes theory. Enter the  pretrib “taffy stretch” of the first resurrection.

Pretribs theorize the first resurrection of Rev. 20 as a series of resurrections. The first resurrection, they say, is not one event, rather, it is composed of “phases.” The first resurrection is stretched backwards, like taffy, some 2000 years to include Christ’s resurrection, the first “phase.” Thus, by this remarkable feat they hope to defeat the single post-trib event in Paul’s sequence. And, since the first resurrection is stretched that far back they slip in a pretrib resurrection as another “phase.” A far stretch indeed. We say this is a case of stretching the truth if ever there was one!



The taffy stretch of the first resurrection won’t stretch for the following reasons: 

  1. 1 Cor. 15:23 says “they that are Christ’s at his COMING.” One coming! This is when the first resurrection takes place. This rules out a stretch backwards in time to include another resurrection at a prior coming before the tribulation. Alas, if Paul had only said comings, plural, the pretribs would have a case.
  1. Christ said absolutely nothing about an additional harvest (resurrection), a pretrib one, in his parable of the wheat and tares. Just one harvest (resurrection) at the very close of this age, “the harvest is the end of the world (aion – age),” Matt. 13:39. Which is the first resurrection of Rev. 20.
  1. The same harvest is in Rev. 14:14-16, when Christ comes in the clouds to reap the harvest. Only one harvest is alluded to in the book of Revelation – and it is post-trib (clearly post-trib, see the context in Rev. 14). Since it happens after the tribulation it is the first resurrection.
  1. In Israel’s yearly agricultural harvest-feasts, firstfruits and the final harvest, the harvest in Revelation does not correspond to  the firstfruit harvest, but to the ingathering harvest. Thus, the first resurrection does not stretch backwards 2000 years to include Christ’s resurrection ("Christ the firstfruits)."         

  1. Paul has three resurrections in 1 Cor. 15:23, while Revelation 20 has only two. Revelation 20 does not mention Christ’s resurrection. Why? Because 1 Cor. 15 and Rev. 20 are from two vastly different kinds of books. Paul and John were dealing with two very different subjects. The scope they were each dealing with is very different. Corinthians is epistle-teaching, Revelation is apocalyptic. The viewpoint of the book of Revelation is the endtime. Christ’s resurrection is not the subject at all, it was in the past. It has to do only with the second coming and the millennial reign.

The book of Revelation is prophecy. It is prophecy awaiting future fulfillment. From the perspective in time of John, writing some 60 years after Christ's resurrection, and from the perspective of the seven churches of Asia, to whom he wrote, the seals, trumpets, vials, the tribulation, the beast and his mark, Armageddon, the second coming, the first resurrection, and the millennial, all lay in the future. Other resurrections, whether of Lazarus, Christ, or those of Matt. 27:52, 53, were not in the prophetic future, they were already fulfilled events from the perspective of John and the seven churches of Asia to whom he wrote.

  1. The ones Revelation was written to, the seven churches of Asia, and John himself, would be concerned with the NEXT resurrection, the one that they would participate in – to them it would be the FIRST resurrection.

Anything “first” means nothing precedes it. For instance, in baseball when one thinks “first base” they don’t imagine a base lying somewhere on the path before you get to first base. The “first” base you expect after leaving home plate is first base. Likewise, when we read “first” resurrection we should not imagine a prior resurrection. First means first. From the prophetic expectation of the seven churches, if there was a pretrib resurrection/rapture, then it would be the first, and the one Rev. 20 calls the first would actually be the second. It would say “blessed and holy is he that hath part in the second resurrection." 

  1. The first resurrection of chapt. 20 is anticipated and intimated as far back as the events under the last trumpet in chapt. 11. Chapt. 11 has a wider context than Rev. 20, it gives us more detail than Rev. 20.  By the time we get to chapt. 20 the reader of Revelation should know that the first resurrection described there is when the last trump takes place, and the time of the dead to be judged and rewarded, and when the kingdom arrives (see 11:15-18). These things had already been described, they were presupposed. The “last” trumpet and the “first” resurrection are one and the same. If last trumpet events in Rev. 11:15-18 are a one time event at the very close of this age, then so is the first resurrection. Thus, the first resurrection can no more be “stretched” than the events under the last trumpet. 
  1. A “taffy stretch” to include Christ’s resurrection as part of the first resurrection is completely out of context with the story-flow, or narrative, of Revelation. The narrative has the martyrs of the beast who refuse his mark and image followed by their resurrection at the second coming. Such sequence is clearly stated in 20:4, 5. Christ’s resurrection, some 2000 years prior to this, has nothing at all to do with the tribulational endtime setting of Revelation. The setting is his descent at Armageddon, not his ascension. To interject Christ’s resurrection into this convolutes the narrative.
  1. Christ’s resurrection is most definitely not part of the first resurrection in Rev. 20. Here’s proof. 20:4 depicts those of the first resurrection, they have just been judged and enthroned to rule during the 1000 years. Christ is no part of this! Who would dare to say that Christ is being judged along with this group at this time? Absolutely not, he is the one who DOES the judging. In contrast to this group, Christ was resurrected to his throne over 2000 years ago. The ones Revelation says that partake of the first resurrection only begin their enthronement at the second coming - which excludes Christ.
  1. Christ’s resurrection is most definitely not part of the first resurrection in Rev. 20. Here’s more proof from 20:4. The only other definition given who participate in the first resurrection are the martyrs of the endtime tribulation. Christ was not beheaded for the witness of Jesus - he IS Jesus. Nor was he beheaded because he had not worshipped the endtime beast, nor his image, neither because he had not received the mark of the beast in his forehead, or in his hand.

How can people allegedly resurrected before the great tribulation be martyrs of the great tribulation? Their enthronement begins the 1000 years. The text says 1000 years. If their enthronement took place 7 years prior, the length of their enthronement would be 1007 years, not 1000. The first resurrection marks the point the millennial reign begins. It happens here, not seven years prior at an alleged pretrib resurrection, else it would say 1007 years. If human language means anything, the period of time between the first resurrection and the second is 1000 years not 1007.

Both Old and New Testament confirm our position on the first resurrection: Isa. 25:8, 26:19; Dan. 12:2,3,13; Matt. 13:39; John 6:39, 40, 44, 54, 11:24, Luke 14:14, 15; Mark 10:30 with Luke 20:34-36 & Eph. 1:21 (this age and the age to come); 1 Cor. 15:23-26, 50,54; 2 Tim. 4:1,8; Rev. 11:15-18, 14:14-16, & chapt. 20.  An event defined with such exactitude as these passages define it, a one time event at the last day of this age ushering in the kingdom reign, cannot be stretched.  

The book of Revelation differentiates very plainly between two resurrections, one before the millennial, one after it. Now, if pretrib were true, it would differentiate just as plainly between two resurrections, one before the tribulation, one after it. The very fact that IT DOES NOT, places a pretrib resurrection in the category of esoteric mysticism, i.e., it is non-biblical, not in the word of God, but something that has to be read into it. It is theory, not the word of God. 

The contrivance of a first resurrection “taffy stretch” to include a pretrib resurrection, and even further back some 2000 years to include Christ’s resurrection, serves to divert one’s attention away from what the bible actually does say. The first resurrection, taken in context and from a futurist standpoint, does not allow a taffy stretch.


Amill (Amillennialism) is a very different animal from pretrib. Amills do not believe that Jesus Christ will return before the millennial reign – he returns after it. They interpret the millennial reign of Rev. 20 figuratively, we are in the millennial now, they claim, and have been so since the first advent. This means the first resurrection, and the chaining and sealing up of the devil in the bottomless pit of Rev. 20:1-3 occurred some 2000 years ago. And the saints have been ruling on heavenly thrones with Christ for the last 2000 years. 

We believe this is bizarre, and is a far worse distortion of the word of God than Pretrib. To deal with all the points of their doctrine is not going to be our focus. We are going to focus mainly on their interpretation of the first resurrection. The first resurrection is foundational to their doctrine, so much so if their interpretation of it is wrong, the entire structure of Amillennialism falls with it.

The Amills, like the pretribs, also do a taffy stretch of the first resurrection. Amills have several ways of interpreting the first resurrection, some interpret it figuratively as the new birth, others interpret it figuratively as saints “going to be with the Lord” at the point of death throughout the duration of the church age. They have no choice but to place the beginning point of the first resurrection at the start of the millennial, because Rev. 20 places it there, thus, from Pentecost onward it is stretched to include all who enter the new birth throughout the duration of the church age, or, to some Amills, those who have “gone on to be with the Lord” at the point of death throughout the duration of the church age.

But their “taffy stretch” won’t stretch either. Here’s why: 

1.    The text says the saints and martyrs (20:4) are resurrected, and then, at that point, begin to reign with Christ for a thousand years. The Amills claim the thousand years is figurative of the entire duration of the church age. But how can someone who experiences the new birth, say, a year or so before Christ returns, be said to have ruled with Christ throughout the duration of the church age? The same thing applies if they interpret the first resurrection as “going to be with the Lord” at the point of death. Rev. 20 does not say those resurrected lived and reigned for the last 10 years of the thousand years period, but they, all of them, lived and reigned for the entire thousand years. Thus, the first resurrection cannot be spiritualized, nor stretched. It can only mean AN EVENT OCCURRING AT A SINGLE POINT IN TIME. The fact that those who are raised in the first resurrection ALL rule for a thousand years proves the event to be a single point in time. The first resurrection is indeed a “going to be with the Lord,” but it is said to occur ONLY AT THE START of the thousand years in one event, not continuously through its duration.


2.    If ever there was a place to find an Amill resurrection taught in the bible, 1 Cor. 15 is surely the place. 1 Cor. 15 is considered the bible’s resurrection chapter, the subject of the entire chapter. Something as significant as a spiritualized, continuous resurrection, if it were true, should be taught there. But the Apostle Paul said absolutely nothing about it. Zero. Paul's resurrections throughout the chapter are all bodily resurrections. This fact is very telling, it tells us that the Amill resurrection is is but a theory of men.


3.    There is no Amill sort of continuous, spiritualized resurrection depicted in Israel’s yearly harvests, the firstfruit harvest and final harvest. Nor in its parallel, Paul’s “Christ the firstfruits” and “they that are Christ’s at his coming.” The two harvests are discrete, separate events. Thus, “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” Israel’s harvest at the end of the agricultural year, cannot be stretched all the way back at the start of the church age. It is the endtime harvest and no other. 





4.    Such passages as John 5:24, 25 should be understood with 1 Cor 15:23. Both passages have the same meaning: Christ’s resurrection is the prototype for those who will be Christ’s at his coming. A pledge or guarantee.  


5.   All three resurrections in Paul’s sequence (1 Cor. 15:23-26), including the one after the millennial reign, are separate, discrete events. And all three are physical, bodily resurrections. When Amills spiritualize the first resurrection they are spiritualizing Paul’s “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” for they are one and the same. By this, they interject something completely foreign into Paul’s orderly sequence of separate, discrete events. 


6.    The NT Epistles consistently, with one voice, point our hope towards a bodily resurrection. Revelation 20, in harmony with the NT, firmly places that hope at the second coming, where it is called the first resurrection. Why wouldn’t this be the BODILY resurrection that the whole NT points to? And since Revelation is written to the seven churches of Asia, wouldn’t it be THEIR hope? It’s the only resurrection mentioned in Revelation, thus from their perspective it is the NEXT resurrection, the FIRST one. No other resurrection had taken place, so, to the church, to whom Revelation is addressed, it is our FIRST one. The same one as Paul’s “they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Which is a bodily resurrection. Thus, the first resurrection is a bodily resurrection, not a spiritual one.


7.    Amills spiritualize the first resurrection, but have the second one (after the millennial) physical. But this can’t be. The phrase “the rest of the dead lived…again” in Rev. 20:5 means the dead physically live again after having been physically dead. It is applied to ALL of the dead, both saint and sinner in Verses 4, 5. It depicts both saint and sinner as physically dead, with the saved being physically raised FIRST, out from among the  “rest of the dead.” The “rest of the dead,” the unsaved, are physically raised after the thousand years (20:12). Amills admit that the second resurrection is physical, but you can’t have one physical and the other one spiritual, the language of these verses won’t allow it. BOTH “live again” in the same manner - physically. This fact refutes a spiritualized first resurrection.


8.    The Amills read such passages as Dan. 12:1,2; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15 as the righteous and the wicked being resurrected and judged at the same time, in one event. However, in the light of  Paul’s sequence in 1 Cor. 15:23-26, and Rev. 20, the righteous and wicked are resurrected and judged separately. The very fact that there IS a sequence (1 Cor. 15:23-26) defeats their interpretation.


       Paul said ONLY “they that are Christ’s” are raised at the second coming, the “rest of the dead” (Rev. 20:5) are raised at the “end” (the end of the kingdom reign).


      Rev. 11:15-18 depicts only the righteous raised and rewarded at the last trump, and at the inauguration of the kingdom reign:             

a)     “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come (Armageddon and the day of the Lord),

b)     and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, that thou should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, (the word ‘dead’ here, as in 1 Cor. 15:42, means only the righteous dead. Only the redeemed are given rewards, see Rev. 22:12).

c)      and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”  (the destruction of the antichrist and his armies, Rev. 19:20, 21)

d)     “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (The government of the world is taken over by  Christ, the millennial reign begins)


       “For thou shalt be recompensed AT THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.,” Luke 14:14, 15 Here we see Christ distinguishes only the resurrection of the just, followed by a statement saying those who heard him understood this to take place at the beginning of the kingdom. The unjust are raised after the millennial reign as per 1 Cor. 15 and Rev. 20.


9.   The fact that Rev. 20 is related to the events of the previous chapter is fatal to Amillennialism. It should be easily seen by any honest soul that the events of chapt. 20 do indeed follow naturally after the events of 19:11-21. The first resurrection takes place in immediate association with the destruction of antichrist, and the establishment of the millennial kingdom. Christ appears from heaven (19:11-19). He destroys the beast and false prophet (19:20, 21), and then he deals with Satan by binding him and casting him into the bottomless pit (20:1-3). The first resurrection occurs, which includes the martyrs of the tribulation (20:4). Not a resurrection that includes all the dead because the “rest of the dead” resurrect a thousand years later (20:5). Then Satan is destroyed (20:10).  

      Here’s more proof of continuity between the two chapters. The beast and false prophet being cast into the lake of fire (19:20), but not the devil. Followed by a description of an interim period, the thousand year kingdom reign. Then at the end of the thousand years, the devil is thrown into the lake of fire “where the beast and false prophet are” (20:10). The Amill insertion of a spiritualized millennial stretching back to the first advent is foreign to what Revelation depicts. It breaks the continuity of events. It doesn’t belong there. It is out of context. This renders it false and invalid.


    10.   Matt. 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,”

           1 Cor. 6:2,Do ye not know that the saints shall judge (rule) the world?”

Rev. 5:10, “we shall reign upon the earth,”

Rev. 2:25,26  “hold fast until I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works until the end, to him will I give power over the nations,”      

These passages refute the Amill notion that the reigning with Christ for a thousand years in Rev. 20:4 is a spiritualized reigning with Christ in heaven in the present church age. These texts say the reign over the nations is future, and on earth (not heaven).

Amills spiritualize the kingdom reign, but Rev. 19 & 20 is very physical, very earthly. Rev. 19 & 20 prove the nations reigned over are on earth. The entire context of Rev. 19 & 20, Armageddon through the thousand years, is earthly:

1)      The nations are gathered at Armageddon on earth (16:14-16, 19:19)

2)      They are defeated by Christ’s return to the earth

3)      The devil is prevented from deceiving them on earth (20:3)

4)      They are reigned over by Christ and the saints on earth (20:4,6)

5)      And the same nations a thousand years later, still on earth, are once again deceived, “and when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to deceive the NATIONS WHICH ARE IN THE FOUR QUARTERS OF THE EARTH” (20:7,8).

      Does Christ now rule? Yes, but only over his subjects in the inward aspect of the kingdom (see Luke 17:21), not outwardly over the nations. Not yet anyway, it is only after the “kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord" (Rev. 11:15) at the last trump, that they are put under subjection and He takes rule over them.

            Christ said in Matthew 19:28 that the Apostles will sit on thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel when He sits in the throne of His glory. In Matthew 25:31 He says He will sit on the throne of His glory when He comes in His glory with all the holy angels. In Revelation 20:4, John says he saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. All three passages are consistent with what occurs when Christ returns from heaven. A kingdom reign that is yet future.

      History refutes Amillennialism. Christ has not yet taken his outward rule over the nations, and the saints have NOT been ruling over the nations during the last 2000 years, on the contrary, the nations have been the persecutors of the saints.


11. Amills remind us of the symbolic nature of Revelation. Everyone recognizes the usage of symbolism in prophecy, but Amills take it to point which is beyond the limits of acceptability. Symbolism is one thing, radical spiritualization is quite another. What they have done to Rev. 20 is ludicrous and absurd. For instance, the text says “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded.. which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads…this is the first resurrection.” Plainly, the beheaded martyrs of the tribulation are raised in the first resurrection. Then the tribulation must precede the first resurrection. By spiritualizing the first resurrection, claiming it is the new birth, which began at Pentecost, they have got the impossibility of the tribulation, the beheaded martyrs, the beast, his image, and his mark, preceding Pentecost! And they actually expect people to believe this? Is the new birth a spiritual beheading? Amillennialism is one of the most gross examples of convoluted biblical interpretation known to man . 


12.  Satan, according to the Amills, is supposed to be spiritually bound, chained, and sealed during this alleged millennial that we are in. Prevented from deceiving the nations. This is important to our discussion on the first resurrection, because Rev. 20 ties them both together. Thus, if one admits that the devil has NOT been prevented from deceiving the nations during this last 2000 years ago, then, he must admit that an Amill spiritualized first resurrection cannot be true either.


Rev. 20 states that Satan is incarcerated in the pit to keep him from deceiving the nations. When the last part of chapt.19 is read right into chapt. 20, without a chapter break, it clearly gives us the point in time  when the devil is prevented from deceiving the nations, the second coming. The second coming, not 2000 years ago! Follow the continuity of the word “nations” from Armageddon throughout the thousand years. It is the nations who live in the endtime era that Satan is prevented from deceiving, not nations 2000 years previous.


The following progression is contrary to Amillennialism, but it is the story Rev. 19 & 20 really tells:


1)           Satan presently deceives and rules the nations.

2)           The saints cannot rule or reign until something is done with the  


3)           The rule of the nations is ended at the second coming, at which  

         time Satan is incarcerated and prevented from deceiving the 


4)           The reign of the saints can only then begin, only AFTER Satan is   

         dealt with.


               For Amills to claim that Satan has not been consistently deceiving the nations during this last 2000 years is contrary to scripture (1 Pet. 5:8, and many other NT texts), and is SHEER FOLLY. What kind of bamboozle is this, a dramatic description of the close of this age (Armageddon and the second coming), immediately followed by a description of something that is supposed to have happened two thousand years earlier? Having absolutely nothing at all to do with Armageddon or the second coming.  How out-of-context can you get?


               Is Rev. 20 some kind of divine mind game? We think not, God does not play games! Serious business. Neither does He purposely confuse. According to Isa. 28:13, He takes a mighty dim view of  people who twist the word of God and make it say something it doesn’t say. Beware, you do so at your own peril. For those who do, God says, the word of God itself becomes a snare to them (Isa. 28:13). Especially does this seem to apply to Amills who so carelessly and flippantly promote a lie about the crucial doctrine of the first resurrection and the kingdom reign of Jesus Christ. Dangerous stuff this is!




Recently an Amillennial Preterist made the following boast:

“The Catholic Amillennialist view (the longest lasting dominant view in Church History that held total dominance for 1200-1400 years), is partial preterist and doesn't get into too many specific details.  However, one of their most beloved writers and defenders of the Faith has recently put out a tape series that views all of Revelation chapters 1-19 as entirely in the past and mostly centered on 66-70AD... The reformers, however, were also strict Amillennialists… the reformers were typically mild partial preterists.” (My comment, KCK: when the Protestant reformers came out of Catholicism they brought Trinitarianism and Amillennialism out with them.) 

So, he says the Amill/Preterist doctrine is Catholic. Moreover, he says partial preterists are the classic Amillennialists. Not something to boast about I would think! It is not the kind of doctrine I would want historical identification with. No sir. But it doesn’t seem to bother the recent plague of Amillennial Preterists in our Oneness movement. 


As we have proven in this study, the first resurrection is a future bodily resurrection. Amill Preterists, of course, vehemently deny this. They prefer to stretch the first resurrection back to the first advent. They prefer a first resurrection that is in the past, to a future one.


Now, despite all their attempts to deflect Paul’s charge of blasphemy (the blasphemy of Hymenaeus, the placing of the resurrection in the past, see 1 Tim. 1:19-20, 2 Tim. 2:16-18) with talk about total preterists vs partial preterists, and Paul writing the Timothy letters before 70 AD (Larry T. Smith's recent book, p. 7,8), the facts remain, the word of God condemns ANY doctrine that teaches the first resurrection in the past. Scripture doesn’t give us a full description of what Hymenaeus believed, except that he believed the resurrection was in the past. We know the "resurrection" Paul condemned Hymeneaus over was the first resurrection. Paul did not call it the "first," as that is a term from the book of Revelation, and the book of Revelation had not yet been written. As we have seen in this study, the resurrection that Paul taught everywhere is identical to the first resurrection in Rev. 20.


This we also know from our examination of the first resurrection, the historical doctrine of Amillennialism is not Apostolic. Who started it then? All evidence points to Hymenaeus. After many years of historical research, it is this writers opinion that the historical roots of Amillennialism can be traced to the spiritualization, or allegorizing of the first resurrection. The Gnostics of Paul’s day were mystics and allegoricists. He names a few of them in his epistles to Timothy – Hymenaeus, chief among them. The descendants of which eventually became the leaders of the Gnostic-allegorical school at Alexandria, Egypt. Which produced such infamous allegoricists as Origin. Who played a major role in the development of Trinitarianism, and the spread of Amillennialism (two of a kind these two). Later, Augustine (supposedly a  converted Gnostic) became the chief name associated with Amillennialism. The Roman Catholic Church followed his teachings.


As if Amillennialism is not bad enough, the Amillennial-Preterist combo is worse yet. The things we have said about Amill in the previous section apply equally to its Preterist variety, however, Preterism convolutes the truth even more. For instance:


The Amillennial Partial Preterist doctrine is, like pretrib, a “two second comings” doctrine. Christ came in 70 AD, they say, plus, he comes again at the end of the supposed millennial that we are in. They say there was not a bodily resurrection at the alleged coming of Christ in 70 AD, they say it is to occur at the end of the allegorical millennial. Now, what is wrong with this picture?


It is totally unscriptural. It is impossible. There is no such thing as two second comings of Christ in the Bible. The Preterists love to do a lot of gerrymandering of OT prophecy and Matt. 24 to fit in a coming of Christ in 70 AD, but it won’t fly. We emphasized in our section “The Order or Sequence of Resurrections” that Paul taught only ONE coming of Christ in his sequence - at which time the bodily resurrection would take place, “they that are Christ’s at his coming" (‘coming’ is singular, not plural). He said nothing about another coming at the “end” of the kingdom reign. He taught only one coming, only one bodily resurrection for those who are Christ’s.


If there is only one coming at which time the bodily resurrection takes place, the partial preterists are not going to get away with two, one coming in 70 AD (minus a bodily resurrection), and another coming at the end of the millennial (a bodily resurrection). Paul said the bodily resurrection happens at that one coming. If the partial preterists are going to claim Christ came in 70 AD, they have no choice but to admit that the bodily resurrection must have happened then too. There is no such thing in the bible as a coming of Jesus Christ without a resurrection!


Now, there is way out of their dilemma. They can join in with the full preterists. The full preterists recognize the impossibility of the partial preterist position. They hold to one coming, “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” which they say happened in 70 AD, the bodily resurrection happened then. Since there is only one coming, which will it be for the partial preterists? Join in with their allies, the full preterists? Or face the truth and admit that Christ did NOT come in 70 AD. And admit that the first resurrection of Rev. 20 is a bodily, not a spiritual, resurrection. And admit that the one coming, “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” is yet future.  





The Preterists use the word “futurists” as if it has a bad connotation. Not so. What is the opposite of past, but the future? Paul condemned Hymenaeus doctrine as blasphemous for placing the resurrection in the past, not the future. Seems to me if there is a term with a bad connotation in the bible it is “past,” not future. Even their label, “Preterist” reflects this, a Latin word for "past." Those who place the first resurrection in the past deserve, with Hymenaeus, such an evil label.




The Second Coming and the First Resurrection is the most momentous event in the whole of the human race. It is the pinnacle of Prophecy, the entire book of Revelation flows to that high point. When Christ comes, and what the Bible teaches about the First Resurrection are incredibly important.


Only the belief which men have labeled “Post-trib” holds the following paragraph to be absolute truths of the word of God: 


The First Resurrection occurs at the last day of this age. It is not something to be spiritualized, it is not figurative, or an allegory, thus it cannot be stretched to include a 2000 year period. Thus, it is not a "past" event, but a future one. It is a one-time event. It does not have "phases." An event so important that it, and it alone, divides this age from the age to come (the millennial reign). It occurs at the one, and only one, Coming of Christ. The last trump and the first resurrection occur at this one Coming. 


The First Resurrection thus defined is absolutely fatal to the following prophetic doctrines: Pretrib (Midtrib, Prewrath), Amillennialism, and Preterism. It is the key to Bible prophecy. A standard to measure all prophetic doctrines by.


Note: some may feel we have not been fair to the “rapture,” since we have barely mentioned it. Our study brings to light that the modern emphasis on the “rapture,” is misdirected. The actual “catching up” to meet the Lord in the air is in only one place in the bible, 1 Thess. 4. But there are many, many passages about the resurrection. The resurrection and the “catching up” are simultaneous. We have not left the rapture out, for “whithersoever the resurrection be, there the rapture be also.”  


Note: we have not mentioned Postmillennialism in this study. Due to its similarity to Amillennialism the things we have said about Amillennialism applies to it also. Moreover, it being such an obtuse doctrine, with very few now days even knowing what it is, we felt it unworthy of separate treatment in this study.

K. Kirkland, Pastor - This article is Copyright © 2002, All rights reserved.


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