The rest of the dead – Revelation 20:5-6

Save us from the firePreviously: The first resurrection – Revelation 20:4b-5

The scripture

Rev. 20:5 – The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years.

The rest of the dead

John writes, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed” (v.5). He then mentions that their fate is the “second death” (v.6). John tells us in verse 15 that the second death is “the lake of fire” into which death and hades are cast.

More will be said about this subject in our discussion of the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), but it’s important to note that John sees a clear separation between the first and second resurrections and, as we’ll see shortly, different destinations for those who take part in the first and second resurrections.

It’s important to note that the second death has no power over the redeemed (v. 6). The finished work of Christ assures that all who come to Him by faith are released from the penalty of sin. Once they were dead spiritually but now they have everlasting life. They will die physically one day but will be raised and given glorified bodies similar to the resurrected body of Jesus. The lake of fire is not created for them, nor will they experience it.

In contrast, the lake of fire is created for Satan and his demons, and these evil creatures most assuredly spend eternity there. Joining them are those who reject Christ. They have chosen to spend eternity in a place not made for them.

The second death

Unbelievers have made themselves gods. They have rebelled against their Creator, rejected His revelation in creation, conscience, Christ and the canon of scripture. They have crossed a line that only God sees, and having crossed it they have filled up their measure of sin. God gives them over to depravity. They have their own way at last and are free from the grace and mercy of God that is sufficient to redeem them from their sins. They choose hell over heaven, their bonds to sin over freedom in Christ, their fallen nature over new life, and outer darkness over the warmth and light of the King’s banquet table.

Everyone who experiences the second death has chosen it. Like a black hole, the second death sucks in everything in its path and permits no escape. The gentle touch of the Savior’s hand, the still small voice wooing the lost to repentance, the joy of an intimate relationship with the God of the universe – these have been rejected and are not welcome in the second death. Worse, there is no second chance. The second death is final and irrevocable.

Next: Satan will be released – Revelation 20:7-8