"A thousand years"

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The Book of Revelation refers to the first and second death and to the first and second resurrection. Imagination has run wild concerning these terms and given birth to a wide variety of illusions concerning the Last Times. The language of the Book of Revelation is symbolical language which must be interpreted according to the rest of the Bible. This applies also to the two deaths and to the two resurrections.

"Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin" (Rom. 5:12). This death, caused by original sin, is not the termination of earthly life, but is rather spiritual death. All those physically alive people who do not believe in Christ are spiritually dead. Paul, referring to the Ephesians who had become believers, writes: "You were dead in your tresspasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). Jesus says: "An hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall live" (John 5:25). The first death, therefore, is spiritual death caused by original sin. The first resurrection is spiritual awakening through faith in the grace offered in the Word and Baptism. "Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power" (Rev. 20:6).

These believers are the "priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years". This reign is not an earthly reign. It is spiritual. "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). This time of grace will continue for the symbolical thousand years, in other words for a long time - from the time of the Apostles to the end of the world. The "little while", the time of great tribulation will be at the very end of time, when the "camp of the saints and the beloved city" will be surrounded. That camp and beloved city is Christ's Church, "the Jerusalem above" (Gal. 4:26).

Speaking of the Last Day, Jesus says: "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds, to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28,29). All the dead will be raised at the same moment. To some it will be a resurrection to life, to others, the second death or the "lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14).

Trust in Christ, and you will live eternally!