Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 20:5

The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Millennium;   Resurrection;   Righteous;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Resurrections;   The Topic Concordance - Government;   Resurrection;   Suffering;   Worship;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Millennium;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Resurrection;   Second Coming of Christ;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Croisade, or Crusade;   Hell;   Millennium;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Amillennialism;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Millennium;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Canticles;   ;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Eschatology;   Millennium;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chiliasm;   Millennium;   Parousia;   Resurrection;   Revelation, Book of;   Time;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ascension of Isaiah;   Day of Judgment;   Eschatology;   Heaven;   Hymenaeus;   Immortality;   New Jerusalem;   Resurrection;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Dispensation,;   Millennium;   Prophets, the;   Resurrection;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Feasts;   Fire;   Gog;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Millenarians;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Hades;   Print;   Resurrection;   Revelation of John:;   Satan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The rest of the dead lived not again - It is generally supposed from these passages that all who have been martyred for the truth of God shall be raised a thousand years before the other dead, and reign on earth with Christ during that time, after which the dead in general shall be raised; but this also is very doubtful.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But the rest of the dead - In contradistinction from the beheaded martyrs, and from those who had kept themselves pure in the times of great temptation. The phrase “rest of the dead” here would most naturally refer to the “same general class” which was before mentioned - the pious dead. The meaning is, that the martyrs would be honored as if they were raised up and the others not - that is, that special respect would be shown to their principles, their memory, and their character. In other words, “special” honor would be shown “to a spirit of eminent piety” during that period above the “common and ordinary” piety which has been manifested in the church. The “rest of the dead” - the pious dead - would indeed be raised up and rewarded, but they would occupy comparatively humble places, as if they did not partake in the exalted triumphs when the world should be subdued to the Saviour. Their places in honor, in rank, and in reward would be “beneath” that of those who in fiery times had maintained unshaken fidelity to the cause of truth.

Lived not - On the word “lived,” see the notes on Revelation 20:4. That is, they “lived” not during that period in the special sense in which it is said Revelation 20:4 that the eminent saints and martyrs lived. They did not come into remembrance; their principles were not what then characterized the church; they did not see, as the martyrs did, their principles and mode of life in the ascendency, and consequently they had not the augmented happiness and honor which the more eminent saints and martyrs had.

Until the thousand years were finished - Then all who were truly the children of God, though some might be less eminent than others had been, would come into remembrance, and would have their proper place in the rewards of heaven. The “language” here is not necessarily to be interpreted as meaning that they would be raised up then, or would live then, whatever may be true on that point. It is merely an emphatic mode of affirming that “up to float period they would not live” in the sense in which it is affirmed that the others would. But it is not affirmed that they would even then “live” immediately. A “long” interval might elapse before that would occur in the general resurrection of the dead. See the Analysis of the chapter.

This is the first resurrection - The resurrection of the saints and martyrs, as specified in Revelation 20:4. It is called the “first” resurrection in contradistinction from the second and last - the general resurrection - when all the dead will be “literally” raised up from their graves and assembled for the judgment, Revelation 20:12. It is not necessary to suppose that what is called here the “first resurrection” will resemble the real and literal resurrection in every respect. All that is meant is, that there will be such a resemblance as to make it proper to call it a resurrection - a coming to life again. This will be, as explained in the notes on Revelation 20:4, in the honor done to the martyrs, in the restoration of their principles as the great actuating principles of the church, and perhaps in the increased happiness conferred on them in heaven, and in their being employed in promoting the cause of truth in the world.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-20.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But the rest of the dead,.... Meaning not the dead saints, for they will be all raised together, but the wicked dead; and not them as morally or spiritually, but as corporeally dead: these

lived not again until the thousand years were finished; so that there will be such an exact term of years between the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of the wicked; nor will there be any wicked living upon earth, or in bodies, during that time; for the wicked dead will not be raised with the saints at Christ's coming, and the wicked living will be destroyed in the conflagration of the world, and neither of them shall live again until the end of these years. This clause is left out in the Syriac version.

This is the first resurrection; which is not to be connected with the living again of the rest of the dead at the end of the thousand years, for that will be the second and last resurrection; but with the witnesses of Jesus, and the true worshippers of God living again, in order to reign with Christ a thousand years; for this resurrection is not meant of a resurrection from the death of sin to a life of grace; though the work of grace and conversion is sometimes so represented, it cannot be designed here; for such a resurrection the above witnesses and worshippers were partakers of before their sufferings, and which was antecedently necessary to their witness and worship; besides, this resurrection was future in John's time, and was what was to be done at once, and was peculiar to the commencement of the thousand years; whereas the spiritual resurrection was before his time, and has been ever since the beginning, and is successive in all ages, and not affixed to anyone period of time, though there may be more instances of it in one age than in another; nor is this ever called the first resurrection, nor can any reason be given why it should; for though one man may be converted before another, his conversion cannot be called the first resurrection, since there are many instances of this nature before, and many more after; besides, at this time, there will be none of God's people to be raised in this sense; they will be all quickened and converted before; the nation of the Jews will be born again, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in; to which may be added, that if the first resurrection is to be understood in a spiritual sense, then the second resurrection of the wicked dead, at the end of the thousand years, must be understood in like manner: nor is a reviving of the cause of Christ and his interest here intended, particularly through the calling of the Jews, and the numerous conversion of the Gentiles; for though the former of these especially is signified by the quickening of the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision, and is expressed by bringing the Jews out of their graves, and is called life from the dead, Romans 11:15 yet that cannot with any propriety be called the first resurrection; for there was a great reviving of true religion in the time of John the Baptist, Christ and his apostles, especially after the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, both among Jews and Gentiles; and there was a revival of the Christian religion in the times of Constantine, and again at the reformation from Popery; and as for the conversion of the Jews and the Gentiles in the latter day, that will be the last reviving of the cause and interest of Christ, which will usher in his spiritual reign, and therefore should rather be called the last, than the first resurrection; besides, this affair will be over before this time; this is signified by the marriage of the Lamb in the preceding chapter; and the kingdoms of the world will become Christ's under the seventh trumpet, and both will be in the spiritual reign: moreover, this does by no means agree with the character of the persons who shall share in this resurrection, they are such who shall have lived and suffered, at least many of them, under Rome Pagan and Papal, Revelation 20:4 and therefore can never be understood of Jews and Gentiles in the latter day, when neither one nor other shall be any more. To which may be subjoined, that if this was the sense, then this cause must revive also among the wicked at the end of the thousand years, whereas when they are raised, they will attempt the very reverse. It remains then, that by this first resurrection must be meant a corporeal one; for as some of those that will live again were corporeally beheaded, and all of them corporeally died, they will be corporeally raised again; and in such sense will the rest of the dead be raised at the end of these years; with respect to which this is properly called the first resurrection; it is the first in time, it will be at the beginning of the thousand years, and the second will be at the close; the dead in Christ will rise first in order of time; see Gill on 1 Thessalonians 4:16; they will have the dominion in this sense over the wicked in the morning of the resurrection: Christ's resurrection is indeed first, but that is the cause and pledge of this; and there were particular resurrections both before and after his, but they were to a mortal state; and there were some saints that rose from the dead immediately after his resurrection; but these were but few, and were designed as an earnest of this; besides, though it was a resurrection, it was not the resurrection; and it may be further observed, that the resurrection of the righteous will be the first at the coming of Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:22 there will be none then before theirs; theirs will be the first; the resurrection of the wicked, to which this is opposed as the first, will not be till a thousand years after: add to all which, that this resurrection will be, η πρωτη, "the first", that is, the best, as the word is used in Luke 15:22 the chief, the principal; the resurrection of the wicked can hardly be called a resurrection in comparison of it, and in many places theirs is not taken notice of where this is, as in 1 Corinthians 15:12 the righteous will be raised by virtue of union to Christ, in consequence of his having the charge both of their souls and bodies, and in conformity to his glorious body, and to eternal life, which will not be the case of the wicked,

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

10 But the rest of the dead 11 lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

(10) Whoever shall lie dead in sin, and not know the truth of God.

(11) They shall not be renewed with newness of the life by the enlightening of the gospel of the glory of Christ. For this is the first resurrection, by which souls of the dead do rise from their death. In the second resurrection their bodies shall rise again.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

But — B, Coptic, and Andreas read, “and.” A and Vulgate omit it.

again — A, B, Vulgate, Coptic, and Andreas omit it. “Lived” is used for lived again, as in Revelation 2:8. John saw them not only when restored to life, but when in the act of reviving [Bengel].

first resurrection — “the resurrection of the just.” Earth is not yet transfigured, and cannot therefore be the meet locality for the transfigured Church; but from heaven the transfigured saints with Christ rule the earth, there being a much freer communion of the heavenly and earthly churches (a type of which state may be seen in the forty days of the risen Savior during which He appeared to His disciples), and they know no higher joy than to lead their brethren on earth to the same salvation and glory as they share themselves. The millennial reign on earth does not rest on an isolated passage of the Apocalypse, but all Old Testament prophecy goes on the same view (compare Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 35:8). Jesus, while opposing the carnal views of the kingdom of God prevalent among the Jews in His day, does not contradict, but confirms, the Old Testament view of a coming, earthly, Jewish kingdom of glory: beginning from within, and spreading itself now spiritually, the kingdom of God shall manifest itself outwardly at Christ‘s coming again. The papacy is a false anticipation of the kingdom during the Church-historical period. “When Christianity became a worldly power under Constantine, the hope of the future was weakened by the joy over present success” [Bengel]. Becoming a harlot, the Church ceased to be a bride going to meet her Bridegroom; thus millennial hopes disappeared. The rights which Rome as a harlot usurped, shall be exercised in holiness by the Bride. They are “kings” because they are “priests” (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10); their priesthood unto God and Christ (Revelation 7:15) is the ground of their kingship in relation to man. Men will be willing subjects of the transfigured priest-kings, in the day of the Lord‘s power. Their power is that of attraction, winning the heart, and not counteracted by devil or beast. Church and State shall then be co-extensive. Man created “to have dominion over earth” is to rejoice over his world with unmixed, holy joy. John tells us that, instead of the devil, the transfigured Church of Christ; Daniel, that instead of the heathen beast, the holy Israel, shall rule the world [Auberlen].

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-20.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The rest of the dead (οι λοιποι των νεκρωνhoi loipoi tōn nekrōn). “All except the martyrs, both the righteous and the unrighteous” (Beckwith). But some take this to mean only the wicked.

Lived not until the thousand years should be finished (ουκ εζησαν αχρι τελεστηι τα χιλια ετηouk ezēsan achri telesthēi ta chilia etē). See Revelation 20:4 for the items here. “To infer from this statement, as many expositors have done, that the εζησανezēsan of Revelation 20:4 must be understood of bodily resuscitation, is to interpret apocalyptic prophecy by methods of exegesis which are proper to ordinary narrative” (Swete). I sympathize wholly with that comment and confess my own ignorance therefore as to the meaning of the symbolism without any predilections for post-millennialism or premillennialism.

This is the first resurrection (αυτη η αναστασις η πρωτηhautē hē anastasis hē prōtē). Scholars differ as to the genuineness of this phrase. Accepting it as genuine, Swete applies it to “the return of the martyrs and confessors to life at the beginning of the Thousand Years.” According to this view the first resurrection is a special incident in the present life before the Parousia. It has no parallel with 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where the dead in Christ are raised before those living are changed. Some think that John here pictures the “Regeneration” (παλινγενεσιαpalingenesia) of Matthew 19:28 and the “Restoration” (αποκαταστασιςapokatastasis) of Acts 3:21. No effort is here made to solve this problem, save to call attention to the general judgment out of the books in Revelation 20:12 and to the general resurrection in John 5:29; Acts 24:15.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Lived - again ( ἀνέζησαν )

Read ἔζησαν livedas in Revelation 20:4

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

The rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years — Mentioned, verse4.

Were ended — The thousand years during which Satan is bound both begin and end much sooner. The small time, and the second thousand years, begin at the same point, immediately after the first thousand. But neither the beginning of the first nor of the second thousand will be known to the men upon earth, as both the imprisonment of Satan and his loosing are transacted in the invisible world. By observing these two distinct thousand years, many difficulties are avoided. There is room enough for the fulfilling of all the prophecies, and those which before seemed to clash are reconciled; particularly those which speak, on the one hand, of a most flourishing state of the church as yet to come; and, on the other, of the fatal security of men in the last days of the world.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-20.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

first resurrection

The "resurrection of the just" is mentioned in Luke 14:13; Luke 14:14 and the resurrection of "life" distinguished from the "resurrection unto damnation" in John 5:29. We here learn for the first time what interval of time separates these two resurrections.

(See Scofield "1 Corinthians 15:52")

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 20:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-20.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Ver. 5. But the rest of the dead] Dead in Baal worship, as Ephraim, Hosea 13:1; dead in sins, as Sardis, Revelation 3:1.

Lived not again] By repentance from dead works, or they recovered not the life and immortality that is brought to light by the gospel.

Until the thousand years] Until, being taught better by God’s faithful witnesses, they abjured Popery.

This is the first resurrection] From Romish superstitions. Mr Fox tells us that by the reading of Chaucer’s books, some were brought to the knowledge of the truth. (Acts and Mon.) But here it must be remembered that a Papist must have two resurrections or conversions ere he can come to heaven. First, of a Papist he must become in judgment a true Protestant. 2. Of a Protestant at large, he must become a zealous practitioner of the truth he professeth. Like as corn must be first thrashed out of the straw, and then winnowed out of the chaff.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-20.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

By the rest of the dead, understand the subdued enemies of the church in their successors, who are said to be dead politically, in respect of their outward condition, which will now be very low; they lived not again a political life; that is, they did not regain or recover that power to persecute the church, which once they had, but are now divested of in great measure, namely, until the thousand years are finished; then they shall have liberty again to vent their enmity against the church, joining with Gog and Magog, as their predecessors, the worshippers of the beast, did combine together before them.

This is the first resurrection, that is, the living again of the saints, in that glorious manner before described, in holy societies, with greater degrees of purity and peace.

Learn, That the reformation of the church, after the ruin of its Pagan and Papal enemies, is as a splendid and glorious resurrection to her; and accordingly such as are sharers in this political resurrection are pronounced blessed: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, that is, blessed are they that shall have their lot to live in this happy time, when the means of holiness will more abound, and the measures of holiness be more extensive and universal.

The second death shall never affect them: everlasting misery shall be escape of them; and they shall be priests unto God, to offer up, not expiatory, but gratulatory, sacrifices of prayer and praise unto him; and as the priesthood is spiritual, so is the kingdom also.

They shall reign spiritually over their lusts and corruptions, and have greater power to overcome temptations, and this for a thousand years; that is, during the time of their living here, in that part of the happy millenium in which they shall live, they shall in that time enjoy a more holy, happy, peaceful, and flourishing condition, than the church of God did ever so long enjoy in former times.

Some will have all this to be understood concerning a spiritual resurrection from the grave of sin to a life of holiness and grace; over such indeed the second death or everlasting misery shall have no power: but though this may be alluded to, yet a political, not a spiritual, resurrection seems here to be principally intended.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-20.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 20:5. πρώτη, the first) Many, even of the ancients, have admitted this first resurrection. Within an age of a thousand years is concluded the resurrection of the saints, who rise again at an earlier or a later period, according to their merits.—Tertull. l. iii. c. Marcion, c. 24. Ambrose, on Luke 17:4, speaks to the same purport, but not so in lib. i. de Interpellatione, c. 7, wherefore I do not quote his words. The remarks of Augustine de Civ. Dei, l. xx. c. 7, do not at all touch upon the first resurrection of bodies itself, but on the errors with which some had contaminated it. In later times great numbers have again defended this resurrection, and especially P. Crugotius, in his Notes on the Apoc., ch. 20, also in his Apology for the Confession of the Remonstrants, p. 209.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

By the rest of the dead, some understand all except martyrs; only that party who adhered to antichrist. Those who by the rest understand all the dead, both good and bad, (the martyrs alone excepted), judge that there will be two resurrections: the first more particular, of those that have suffered death for Christ; the second general, of all the rest of the dead. I must confess I find a difficulty to allow this; it is too great a point to found upon a single text, in a portion of holy writ so clouded with metaphors as this, and I know no suffragan text. Those who understand by the rest of the dead, only the wicked, understand by this living again, a politic life, that is, recovered not their former power, continued as dead men, able to do no mischief, till the thousand years of the church’s peace and tranquillity were expired. May this sense of living, and living again, be allowed, it will deliver us from almost all our difficulties about the sense of these verses; for then, by living, in the foregoing verse, is signified a political living, not a resurrection from a natural death. But then ariseth a question: If these beheaded saints did not rise from their natural death, how could they be restored to places of dignity with Christ in the church? To which they auswer: That those formerly suffering for the name of Christ, and all the saints upon the earth, are to be considered as one church; and so those formerly beheaded, lived and reigned with Christ in their successors in the same faith; that is, those alive at that time, being restored to their peace, and liberty, and reputation in the world, the martyrs, who were members of the same body, are also said to live. This appears to me the most probable sense: for that the glorified saints should leave heaven (as to their souls) to be again clothed with flesh, and in it to live a thousand years, and be concerned in the following troubles the church should meet with after these thousand years, seems to me to be utterly improbable, and to lay a foundation for so many difficult questions, as will pose the wisest man to answer to reasonable satisfaction. But yet there remains a difficulty, how this restoring God’s holy ones to a better state can be called

the first resurrection. That it may be called a resurrection is plain, as the conversion of the Jews, and restoring them to their former state as the church of God is called life from the dead, Romans 11:15; and the restoration of the witnesses, Revelation 11:11, is called so; though neither the one nor the other were naturally dead. Nor is it unusual in Scriptural and prophetical writings, to speak of people recovered to their former and better state, as being risen from the dead. It may be called the first, with reference to that far more excellent state which they shall be put in after the last judgment, when they shall live and reign with Christ in a more happy and glorious manner. If this may not be allowed as the sense of these two verses, I must confess this such a dusnohton, or difficulty of Scripture, as I do not understand. I shall proceed with the following verses upon this hypothesis, that this is the sense, though I dare not be positive in it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-20.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

прочиеиз умерших Тела неверующих всех возрастов не будут воскрешены до великого суда у белого престола (ст. 12, 13).

первое воскресение Писание учит о двух видах воскресения: «воскресение жизни» и «воскресение осуждения», или «воскресение поругания, посрамления» (Ин. 5:29; ср. Дан. 12:2; Деян. 24:15). Первый вид воскресения описан как «воскресение праведных» (Лк. 14:14), воскресение тех, кто «Христовы в пришествие Его» (1Кор. 15:23), и «лучшее воскресение» (Евр. 11:35). Оно касается только спасенных времени церкви на земле (1Фес. 4:13-18), ветхозаветных святых (Дан. 12:2) и святых от великой скорби (ст. 4). Они войдут в Царство, имея прославленные тела, и потом объединятся с верующими, которые пережили великую скорбь. Второй вид воскресения будет воскресением неискупленных, которые обретут свои тела, чтобы мучиться в аду.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-20.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The rest of the dead lived not again; those who were put to death for their opposition to Christ being destroyed by him, chap Revelation 19:20-21, there would be none to persecute the followers of Christ till the close of the thousand years; then such men would again be found, as described in verses Revelation 20:7-9.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-20.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection.

The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished ... This is the passage upon which some fasten their interpretation of Revelation 20:4 as a literal resurrection; but there is ample Scriptural authority for words having both a figurative and a literal meaning in the same passage. Christ himself told us exactly what the first resurrection is:

The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live ...

Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in their tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25-29).SIZE>

An analogy of the above passage inevitably leads to the conclusion that the conversion of sinners by the gospel is the first resurrection. Significantly, this was recorded by John; and it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to believe that he here advanced some other conception of what the first resurrection is. Also, both the spiritual resurrection in conversion, and the literal resurrection at the last day are presented here, side by side, in the teaching of Jesus. Thus, there is no impediment to seeing the "first resurrection" here as spiritual and the second as literal. "There are few that would agree that the resurrection of the witnesses" (Revelation 11:11) was literal - the passages are parallel."[30] "There is no reason for restricting resurrection to a literal meaning."[31]

Therefore, we confidently affirm that the "first resurrection" here is a spiritual resurrection, having reference to the conversion of sinners through the preaching of the gospel. Some dispute this, because, they say, "the second death" has no power over them who had the first resurrection; but this is no better proof of the impossibility of apostasy than John 8:51,52. Impossibility of apostasy is not in either passage.

The rest of the dead ... These are the rest of the "dead" humanity "in sin," the remainder of the total humanity dead in trespasses and sins. That portion of the dead race (in sin) who heard and obeyed the truth "live" (spiritually) in the first resurrection; but the rest of the "dead humanity" enjoyed no such resurrection; for them, following their physical death, "they lived not again until the judgment day," explained here as "till the thousand years were finished."

Many concur in this interpretation:

There is no adequate reason to assume that this first resurrection is physical.[32] The first resurrection verily is first.[33] These were sinners who will not experience a resurrection of any kind until the end of time.[34] We tend to forget that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.[35] The New Testament places the bodily resurrection of both saint and sinner at the same time (John 5:28,29); and until that passage is proved false, that point is settled.[36] The rest of the dead means all those who died in unbelief.[37]

The rest of the dead ... They did not live, that is, they did not inherit eternal life through their obedience of the gospel. Thus the "souls" of verse 4 are the martyrs and others who like the rest of the dead "left their bodies on earth when they died."[38] John tells us here that the wicked dead "did not live" until the thousand years were finished, at which time, all people, good and bad alike, will physically rise from the dead to face the final judgment.

[30] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 174.

[31] W. Boyd Carpenter, Ellicott's Bible Commentary, Vol. VIII (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), p. 624.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Frank L. Cox, Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 116.

[34] Ibid.

[35] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 624.

[36] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 287.

[37] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 584.

[38] Ibid.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The "rest of the dead" evidently refers to the wicked who are physically dead whom God will raise at the end of the Millennium ( Revelation 20:12).

The "first" resurrection refers to the first of the two resurrections John spoke of in the context ( Revelation 20:4-6; Revelation 20:12). This includes the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs at the second coming of Christ ( Revelation 20:4) and other believers resurrected at the same time (i.e, Old Testament saints; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23). The second resurrection in this passage is the resurrection of the wicked at the end of the Millennium ( Revelation 20:12-13). [Note: Smith, A Revelation . . ., p273.] Other names for this "first" resurrection are the resurrection of the just ( Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15), the resurrection from among the dead ( Luke 20:34-36), the resurrection of life ( John 5:29), and the resurrection to everlasting life ( Daniel 12:2). This verse clearly opposes the view that there is only one resurrection at the end of history, which amillennialists and postmillennialists prefer.

The "first" resurrection cannot be first in temporal sequence since God has already resurrected Jesus Christ ( Matthew 27:52-53). Furthermore, Christians will have experienced resurrection by this time ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16). Various groups of the righteous will experience resurrection at various times. However, God will raise all the wicked at one time, namely, at the end of the Millennium ( Revelation 20:12-13).

The times when God will raise the righteous are as follows. First, He raised Jesus Christ who is the firstfruits of those who sleep ( 1 Corinthians 15:23). Second, He raised some saints near Jerusalem shortly after Jesus" resurrection ( Matthew 27:52-53), though this was probably a temporary resuscitation like that of Lazarus. Third, He will raise Christians at the Rapture ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Fourth, He will raise the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation ( Revelation 11:3; Revelation 11:11). Fifth, He will raise the Tribulation martyrs at the beginning of the Millennium ( Revelation 20:4-5). Sixth, He will raise the Old Testament saints at the same time ( Isaiah 26:19-21; Ezekiel 37:12-14; Daniel 12:2-4). Seventh, He will apparently raise the saints who die during the Millennium (cf. Revelation 20:12-13). The idea that the resurrection of believers takes place in stages also finds support in 1 Corinthians 15:23. Many premillennialists believe that the first resurrection refers to the resurrection of the righteous and the second resurrection refers to the resurrection of the unrighteous. [Note: E.g, Roy Aldrich, "Divisions of the First Resurrection," Bibliotheca Sacra128:510 (April-June1971):117-19; and Newell, p330.]

Historic amillennialists usually take the first resurrection as a reference to spiritual regeneration (i.e, salvation). They believe the second resurrection describes a general physical resurrection of all the dead at the end of time. This view takes "resurrection" figuratively in one case but literally in the other.

"If, in a passage where two resurrections are mentioned ... the first resurrection may be understood to mean spiritual rising with Christ, while the second means literal rising from the grave;-then there is an end of all significance in language, and Scripture is wiped out as a definite testimony to any thing." [Note: Alford, 4:732.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-20.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 20:5. The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. If the view taken of Revelation 20:4 be correct, the ‘rest of the dead’ spoken of in Revelation 20:5 can signify none but the ungodly. Believers without exception have been included among those enumerated in the previous verse. There remain only those who have rejected the Lamb, and have given themselves to the service of the beast. Apart from this consideration, we are led by the Apocalypse itself to interpret the word ‘dead’ of the ungodly (comp. on chap. Revelation 11:18). No doubt it is difficult to say why in this case we should read of ‘the rest of the dead’ rather than of ‘the dead.’ May it be that they are viewed as the counterpart of the faithful remnant which we have met in chaps. Revelation 2:24 and Revelation 12:17? At the point now reached by us the resurrection of all men, both good and bad, has taken place.

This is the first resurrection. The word ‘this’ with which the last clause of the verse begins is to be understood as bearing its common acceptation ‘of this nature.’ The writer refers not to the word ‘lived’ alone, where it first occurs in his previous description, but even more particularly to the word ‘reigned;’ or, rather, he refers to the whole account which he has given of the blessedness of the righteous. He is thus, it will be observed, speaking not of an act, but of a state. He is not thinking of any first act of rising in contrast with a second act of the same kind. He is describing the condition of certain persons in comparison with others after an act of rising, predicable of them both, has takin place. Hence the fact, so different from what we should naturally, on first reading the words, expect,—that there is no mention of a second resurrection. Nor can it be for a moment pled that the first resurrection implies a second. The Seer chooses his words too carefully to leave room for such an inference. The contrast that he has in view is not between a first and a second resurrection, but between a ‘first resurrection’ and a ‘second death.’ In the first of these two the rising from the dead may be included, but the thought of the condition to which that rising leads is more prominent than the act.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-20.html. 1879-90.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

All of the rest of the dead that did not obey the Lord and worshipped the beast willnot experience the first resurrection. The first resurrection is here described as the souls of the faithful reigning with Christ until they receive their immortal body and he puts down his reign.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-20.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

But. The texts omit.

the rest, &c. The texts read "the rest of the dead lived not until (i.e. again until)", which presumes that "the rest of the dead" are not living during the thousand years.

the rest. App-124. Occurs: Romans 11:7. 1 Corinthians 15:37 (other). 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (others); &c.

the dead. App-139.

were = should be.

finished. See "fulfilled", Revelation 20:3.

is. No verb.

resurrection. App-178.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

But. B, Coptic, Andreas, 'and;' A, Vulgate, omit.

Again. A B, Vulgate, Coptic, Andreas, omit. Lived is used for lived again, as in Revelation 2:8. John saw them not only when restored, but in the act of reviving (Bengel).

First resurrection - `the resurrection of the just' (Luke 14:14). Earth is not yet transfigured, so cannot be meet for the transfigured saints; but from heaven they with Christ rule the earth, there being a much freer communion of the heavenly and earthly churches (a type of which is seen in the forty days during which the risen Saviour appeared to His disciples); they know no higher joy than to lead their brethren on earth to the same salvation as they share themselves. The millennial reign on earth does not rest on an isolated passage, but all Old Testament prophecy goes on the same view (cf. Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 35:8). Jesus, while opposing the Jews expectation of a carnal kingdom, confirms the Old Testament view of a coming earthly Jewish kingdom of glory: beginning from within, and spreading now spiritually, the kingdom of God shall manifest itself outwardly at Christ's coming again. The papacy is a blasphemous anticipation of the visible Headship which Christ shall then assume. It is reigning as kings without Christ (1 Corinthians 4:8; Irenaeus, 5:, 36, 1; 35:, 1, 2; Justin Martyr, 'Dial.,' 51:, 80). Melito and Tertullian ('Adv. Marcion'), in the age next after John, held that Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and the saints enjoy the sight of the Lord in various degrees in the holy city for a thousand years, and in heaven; and that this is part of the entireness of sound Christian faith. 'When Christianity became a worldly power under Constantine, the future hope was weakened by joy over present success' (Bengel). Becoming a harlot, the Church ceased to be a bride going to meet her Bridegroom. The rights which the harlot usurped shall be exercised in holiness by the Bride. They are "kings" because "priests" (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10); their priesthood unto God and Christ (Revelation 7:15) is the ground of their kingship toward men. Men will be willing subjects of the transfigured priest-kings, in the day of the Lord's power. Their power is that of attraction, winning the heart; not counteracted by devil or beast. Church and State shall be co-extensive. Man, created 'to have dominion over the earth,' is to rejoice over his world with unmixed joy. John saith that instead of the devil, the transfigured Church-Daniel, that instead of the paganish beast, the holy Israel-shall rule (Auberlen).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) But the rest of the dead lived not again . . .—Rather, The rest of the dead lived not (we must omit the word “again”) until the thousand years be finished. This is the first resurrection. In those words we meet one of the keys to the controversy respecting the millennium. What is this resurrection? Is it the resurrection at which the saints shall assume the glorified bodies, and their perfect consummation and bliss? It has been argued that the word must be understood literally as of a bodily resurrection. It is further said that the contrasting words (“the rest of the dead lived not”) necessitate this literal interpretation. But there is no reason for restricting the word Resurrection to a literal meaning. The sacred writers frequently use the idea figuratively. They speak of a resurrection which is spiritual; the dead in sin are summoned to rise from the dead that Christ might give them light (comp. Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 5:14); indeed, the figure often underlies the language and arguments of New Testament writers (John 5:24-25; Romans 6:5; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Colossians 2:12). But do the words, “the rest of the dead lived not,” force upon us so sharp a contrast that we must understand the first resurrection literally? Undoubtedly the words are in contrast. If the words “lived not” necessarily mean that the rest of the dead did not enjoy physical life on earth, then the living with Christ of the saints and the first resurrection must be understood as giving physical life on earth to the saints. But are we bound to thus understand literally the “lived” of Revelation 20:4 and the “lived not” of Revelation 20:5? There are two or three considerations which will be enough to show that they need not be understood thus. (1) The word “to live” is used about sixteen times in the Apocalypse. On nine of these it is applied to the eternal life of God the Father or God the Son; it is twice used in the passage before us (Revelation 20:4-5). Of the remaining five occasions where the word is used, it is four times employed in what can scarcely be other than a figurative sense (Revelation 3:1; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 13:14; Revelation 19:20—some might doubt the figurative use in this last passage), but only once is it employed in a sense which can fairly be defended as literal (Revelation 16:3). (2) There will be faithless people during the millennium—the nations to be deceived (Revelation 20:8). Are we then to picture saints with glorified resurrection bodies living on the earth, which at the same time is tenanted by men and women still in the natural body? (3) There is a resurrection, which surely is the second resurrection, described in Revelation 20:12-13 : this last is a general resurrection of the dead, small and great. There seems no adequate reason to affirm that this first resurrection, then, must be physical. Our notions of life and death are so circumscribed by the geography of earth, that we seldom give to the word “life” in our thoughts its true richness and fulness of meaning. We fail to remember that the faithful ones who live, because Christ lives, have the promise of the life that now is, as well as that which is to come; we forget that God is not God of the dead, but of the living.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-20.html. 1905.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

4. The rest of the dead. "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection"--20:5.

The rest of the dead lived not--since the only ones who are said to have lived were the souls of the slain martyrs, and the rest of the dead lived not, but judgment was given to them--whom did they judge, and how? And if "lived" means that they were given literal bodies, then when the rest of the dead "lived not" until the thousand years was finished, it meant that the rest of the dead would be given literal bodies at the end of the thousand years. That consequence forces the resurrection of the wicked too early; before the little season; and before the time for the resurrection and the judgment in the millennial order of things.

So their theory bogs down again.

The rest of the dead here simply referred to the persecutors whose oppressions had been overcome, just as Isaiah 26:13-14 referred to the wicked lords who had dominion over Israel as being dead and should not live, deceased and should not rise.

The statement until the thousand years were finished did not denote that the figuratively deceased persecutors would be revived afterward. The preposition until denotes end or termination, for which there are numerous exemplifications. In Hebrews 9:10 the "carnal ordinances" of the Mosaic order were "imposed on them until the time of reformation"- but this does not mean that after the present gospel dispensation the ordinances of Judaism will be imposed again.

In 1 Samuel 15:35, after Saul's disobedience in the expedition against the Amalekites, it is said that "Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death." This could not mean that Samuel continued to visit Saul after his death. The use of until expressed end or termination.

In Luke 16:16, Jesus said, "the law and the prophets were until John"- -that is, until John's order ended, but the Lord did not imply that "the law and the prophets" would be re-inaugurated afterward.

In Galatians 3:19, the apostle said the law of Moses "was added because of transgression till (until) the seed should come," but the statement assuredly has no implication that the Mosaic law will be reconstituted after the dispensation of Christ.

In Luke 21:24, in foretelling the fall of Jerusalem, the Lord said, "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." On the premises of these passages the Lord's statement in Luke 21:24, means that the old Jerusalem was trodden down permanently--the end of the apostate harlot Jerusalem.

In the light of these examples it is patent that the statement of verse five, "the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished," did not imply that the figuratively dead persecutors would come to life afterward. The symbolic statement declared the end of the imperial persecutors of the church, just as Isaiah 26:13-14 meant the end of the dominion of the wicked lords over Israel after deliverance from the Babylonian exile. The imagery was parallel, and the language was figurative in both passages.

This is the first resurrection--just as Israel's deliverance from the bondage of Babylon was referred to in Ezekiel 37:1-28 as a resurrection out of their graves; and the broken dominion of the lords was a resurrection from oppression, of Isaiah 26:1-21; so overcoming these persecutions, triumphing over death and martyrdom, in a victorious cause of Christ, was called a resurrection in Revelation 20:1-15. The visional procedure of taking the souls of the martyrs out from under the altar in chapter 6, and elevating them to thrones in chapter 20, was symbolized as a resurrection; as in Ezekiel 37:11-14 the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity was a symbolic resurrection. In the symbolic picture of Revelation 20:5, the martyrs of the altar in chapter six were raised to the thrones of chapter twenty, and were pictured as living and reigning with Christ. It was the resurrection of the cause for which they died. The fact that they had to be told that it was a resurrection is proof that it was used in an unusual sense of the word; it was a figurative, metaphorical use, not a physical employment of the word.

The "first resurrection" was therefore spiritual--the resurrection of the cause for they had passed through tribulation and for which the martyrs died.

The passage in Revelation 20:1-15 described no period of blessing to be enjoyed at the close of this dispensation. It will not bear the literal construction and the theorists themselves will not accept the conclusions and consequences of it. But as a practical lesson to us, the derived application is this: It is the portion of every true believer in any age who shares the life of the risen Lord through obedience to his commands.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-20.html. 1966.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
the rest
8,9; 19:20,21
This
11:11,15; Ezekiel 37:2-14; Romans 11:15
Reciprocal: Psalm 49:14 - upright;  Isaiah 26:14 - dead;  Isaiah 26:19 - dead men;  Ezekiel 37:10 - the breath;  John 11:25 - I am;  1 Thessalonians 4:16 - and the;  Revelation 11:18 - and the time;  Revelation 20:6 - Blessed

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-20.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE REST OF THE DEAD.

Revelation 20:5. — "The rest of the dead did not live till the thousand years had been completed." That a literal resurrection and a literal reigning are meant seems unquestionable. Why depart from the simple and obvious meaning of the words, and suppose a resurrection and a reign of principles? It is persons and not principles which are before us in the text. It is surprising that such a far-fetched and unnatural theory should find support in certain quarters generally considered sober and orthodox.

The doctrine of a general resurrection, of good and bad alike, of just and unjust, is disproved in our text. It must be frankly conceded that the Lord's words in John 5:28-29 seem to teach a general resurrection: "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation" or judgment. The "hour" referred to embraces a thousand years, at the commencement of which the righteous are raised, and at its close the wicked. We are not giving an arbitrary force to the term hour, as in the very chapter quoted from, the hour of spiritual quickening, that is, of the soul, has already lasted nigh two thousand years (v. 25).

Between the resurrection of those "that have done good" and those "that have done evil" a thousand years transpire. "The rest of the dead" are the wicked raised to judgment (Revelation 20:13). Not one saint of God will be found in this last closing scene of resurrection and consequent judgment, which is final and eternal. There is a resurrection of the just, effected at different times, commencing with Christ the firstfruit (1 Corinthians 15:23), "afterward they that are Christ's at His coming" into the air{*At the death of Christ "the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many" (Matthew 27:52-53). We have no reason tosuppose that those saints died again and were buried. It is appointed unto men to die once (Hebrews 9:27). We question if the Jerusalem martyrs (Revelation 11:11-12) are raised simultaneously with the general body of martyrs. In our judgment the time, occasion, and circumstances are different. The Jewish witnesses perhaps take precedence.} when the living are changed and the dead in Christ of all ages raised (1 Thessalonians 4:16).Then on the eve of the introduction of the millennial kingdom we have the resurrection of the apocalyptic martyrs (Revelation 20:4-6). Thus from the resurrection ofChrist till those of Old and New Testament times we have a period of nigh two thousand years; again, between the raising of those latter and that of the martyrs several years, at least seven, transpire. But with the wicked dead it is far different. From Cain onwards all remain in their graves till after the millennial reign, when they are raised — the last act in time — and then judged in eternity (vv. 12, 13). All such are raised at one and the same time, and find themselves after judgment in the lake of fire with the devil, the Beast, and his Jewish associate in crime, the False Prophet. Then the curtain closes only to be drawn aside once more (Revelation 21:8) for a passing glance.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-20.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Rest of the dead is symbolical or figurative and refers to people who did not "have enough life" or interest to be active in defense of the truth. Until the thousand years were finished. When that bright period of the Reformation (here called the thousand years) was over and the former defenders of truth began to lag, then the enemies of the Bible "came to1ife" and became active in opposition to the Word of God, acting under the influence of Satan who was now loosed in that the Bible was not binding him as it did. Such a movement stimulated the former "dead" ones to action and then was begun the conflict between the friends of truth and its enemies, a conflict that has continued to our day. This is the first resurrection. The pronoun does not refer directly to what has been said but to what is yet to be said, and it refers to the subject as a whole. John 11:25-26 should be considered in connection with the first resurrection, also read the note to which reference was made.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-20.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 20:5

Revelation 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

By

the rest of the dead,

here we may understand (per antithesin, and in contradistinction to them that had been killed, martyred, and slain; into whom the spirit of life from God had again entered) all those dead souls, who had worshipped the beast and his image, and had received his Mark, whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life,

until these thousand years were finished, (or ended.) This is the first resurrection.

That Isaiah, the raising of the slain witnesses. { Revelation 11:7-11} See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:7 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:8 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:9See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:11{ Revelation 20:6} Five things are here said of this first resurrection, viz. first, they are holy, that Isaiah, sanctified persons, who lived godly in Christ Jesus, in times of persecution. { 2 Timothy 3:12} Secondly, they are blessed, { Matthew 5:8} with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things, in Christ Jesus. { Ephesians 1:3} Thirdly,

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-20.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.The rest of the deadThe rest are those who live not in this first resurrection life.

Lived not again—The word again must be stricken out as a false reading. It is unquestionably spurious. We have then only the rest of the dead lived not.

This—The Greek for this grammatically agrees with resurrection. So that, literally, we have: this (resurrection) is the first resurrection. Or, (as Alford,) making this the predicate, the first resurrection is this (resurrection.) In either case this resurrection refers to the living of the souls. This imparadised life is the life of the first resurrection. This circumscribes and fixes the meaning of the word lived. It was not merely the soul’s regenerate life in this world, or the soul’s life of the dead, who are not in this first resurrection. It is the soul’s first-resurrection life. The life of souls is the first resurrection; the added life of bodies is the second.

Until the thousand years were finished— This does not imply that the rest of the dead did live after the close of the thousand years. The Greek words and both signify until, but with a difference. The latter would determine that the not living (or any other affirmed condition) ceased at the end of the period. The former only affirms that the said condition lasted for so long, without affirming whether it lasted longer or not. It is the former that is used here. The not living of the rest lasted for a thousand years; and then—he will tell us what happened. Namely, they were put into a condition by which they never could attain the first resurrection life, but did remain under the power, and finally sink into the condition of, the second death.

There are numerous instances of this use of the word until. Psalms 90:1: “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool,” and then sit there forever. 1 Samuel 15:35: “Samuel came no more until the day of his death,” and no more after that. Romans 15:13: “Until the law sin was in the world,” and after the law also. And so, the rest lived not until the millennium ended; nor then either.

Our note here thus far assumes the genuineness of the sentence. But the rest’ finished; but Glasgow shows that the entire sentence is spurious. For, 1. It is wanting in the oldest New Testament manuscript, the Sinaitic, and in the Syrian version, dated from commencement of sixth century. 2. There is a suspicious number of variations in copies containing the sentence. There are three variations in the Greek of the words but the rest; three variations of the word for lived; two for until. These indicate that the words were interpolated in the copies containing the sentence, not wrongly omitted in those not containing it. 3. The sentence, like an interpolation, interrupts the current of the style. It breaks in between the next word, this, and the antecedent to which its affirmation refers. The sentence reads like an explanatory note by some copyist, which has been wrought into the text, and that in a very awkward position. We may add, that until the discovery of the Sinaitic Codex, this sentence has been considered by the corporeal interpreters of the lived of Revelation 20:5, as their stronghold. But no sound biblical scholar will now consider it worthy reliance as a main proof of so stupendous a theory.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 20:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-20.html. 1874-1909.