In Revelation 20:8, John says those who have part in the first resurrection are blessed, and holy; he said that "they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." [Revelation 20:6]
A question for many is, does this refer to a future resurrection, or to the present state of believers? Do the saints now reign with Christ?
Jesus promised the disciples that they would sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." [Matthew 19:28]
The apostle Peter wrote that the saints are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." [1 Peter 2:9-10]
Peter referred to the light of the Gospel.
In the first chapter of Revelation, John says of Jesus, "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." [Revelation 1:5-6]
These scriptures connect reigning as kings and priests with the present era. James identified the church with the tabernacle of David, the royal line. [Acts 15:16]
Why did John say that the saints reign for a thousand years, in Revelation 20:8? Perhaps it is because this period corresponds to the time when Satan is bound with a chain, and confined in a bottomless pit. [Revelation 20:2]
Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven," [Luke 10:18] referring to his own victory over Satan. He is the "strong man" who binds Satan. [Mark 3:27]
Paul said believers have been translated into Christ's kingdom. He connected Christ's kingdom with light, and contrasted it with "the power of darkness." He wrote: "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." [Colossians 1:12-14]
He said the saints are "children of the day"--"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." [1 Thessalonians 5:5]
Jesus spoke of the eye as the "light" of the body, and he said, if our eye is single, the whole body is "filled with light." [Matthew 6:22-24] He used the eye figuratively. "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" The New Testament shows that while the saints are citizens in the kingdom of light, some become seduced, and turn aside. For them, Satan is no longer bound.
Copyright © 2011 by Douglas E. Cox
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