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A question on Revelation 20:4

April 15, 2012

A question about Revelation 20:4 is discussed at this site.

Question: I have a question re- the beheading reference in rev 20:4.

I am new to bible study, I had read the bible 4 times before but since June the words have different meaning to me. I do not now know if my new interpretations are in the correct direction or indicative of a misunderstanding. Or each person interprets the word differently, based on their experiences and stage in life.

I was studying Ephesians 1 and was then drawn to the letters addressed to the churches in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 the letters seem to represent a systematic progression towards the kingdom of God while on earth.
then i was led to read Revelation 20:4

I have quietly approached people during conversation at my church to gauge their abilities or interests in bible interpretation, but it is hard to ask in-depth questions to people of differing backgrounds, everyone has their own opinion.

rev 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Here are my questions –

  1. “beheaded because of their testimony” – is this the when a person surrenders completely to God and have died in the flesh, to be reborn in the spirit. the word (sword) of God has severed the spiritual head from the physical body. the person has passed through the inner door to the kingdom that exists within. The person then arrives at the realization that the kingdom inside, outside and the kingdom of heaven are one and the same.
  2. “They had not worshiped the beast” – is the beast our “flesh body” that the holy spirit lives within. We die in the flesh , meaning give up wants, desires, defects, …
  3. “They came to life” – a person dies to the body of flesh and awakens to the spirit within. we still walk the earth but our perspective has changed. like when the blind are given sight, it is the people blind to the kingdom of God are given sight and not blind to the kingdom of Gd
  4. “This is the first resurrection” – is this a reference that some people enter the kingdom of God while alive as they have surrendered fully without reservation to the will of Gd. the 2nd resurrection is for others who remain blind spiritually to the kingdom of Gd. These blind people do not enter the kingdom until they die physically and are buried.
  5. “they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” – a person that has entered the kingdom while alive in the physical body. This person while dead in the flesh but alive in the spirit is given tasks to perform. Tasks/functions/callings (refer to Ep 4:11) while completing the will of Gd. while some people remain blind to the kingdom. The thousand years refers to the rest of the physical life which will be a period of time.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
al

On question #1 above, Shad Sluiter responded:

This means there will be believers in the Tribulation that will be executed for disobeying the antichrist’s decree to worship his idol.
There is nothing in the context of Revelation about surrendering oneself to God.

No doubt Shad feels confident that he understands what John’s prophecy really meant, but I think there is more light and truth and understanding in Al’s questions, than in Shad’s response. We could turn this around, in fact. Suppose someone were to ask, “Does Revelation teach that one needs to surrender to God?” A thoughtful reading of Al’s questions might point to another answer; perhaps it is true that those who are figuratively beheaded reign with Christ, and share the blessing that Jesus promised. The meaning of beheaded is explained in Al’s question.

How can any Christian resist, and not yield himself in surrender, to him who is Lord of all? Jesus has unlimited understanding, and Paul tells us in Ephesians 1, he now sits at God’s right hand, in the heavenly places, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.” Paul said, God has put all things under his feet, and has made him “the head over all things to the church.” In the presence of him who reigns over all things, wouldn’t it be folly to resist his wisdom, and rely upon one’s own opinion instead? Evidently Shad has yet to learn this proverb:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Jesus blinds the horses who are in the siege against his holy city, [Zechariah 12:4] and sends a plague upon them. [Zechariah 14:12, 15] In prophecy, horses and mules represent people who lack understanding.[Psalm 32:9]

 

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