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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Aspects of the Resurrection of the Saints, #15
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
Nowhere else in the Scriptures is the expression "the first resurrection" employed. We pointed out previously that the Greek word translated "resurrection" in Philippians 3:11 is a special term for resurrection and should be translated out-resurrection (implying the first resurrection). The resurrection of Revelation 20:4-6 is the resurrection the Apostle Paul was striving to attain. The mark, the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ, is the first resurrection from the dead.
Let us fasten our gaze on this goal.
What kind of people will arrive at the first resurrection from the dead?
If we attain to the first resurrection by refusing to participate in the world spirit, and if we stand true to death for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God, we will be eternally free from the authority of the second death, which is the Lake of Fire. We have the assurance in writing from God that we never again can be in jeopardy of the white throne judgment. The maximum penalty given at the white throne is eternal separation from our Creator in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.
The resurrected saints will be gloriously alive forever and will rule and judge on the thrones that govern the nations of the earth. Can you think of anything more wonderful than to be a coheir, an heir of people, with the Lord Jesus Christ?
The stipulation is that we be "beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God," and also that we do not worship the beast, neither his image, nor receive his mark on our forehead or in our hand.
The term "beheaded" may include physical martyrdom. But this would limit the participants in the first resurrection to those who have been decapitated. Literal "beheading" is not nearly as important in the Kingdom of God as the "beheading" of the saint so he no longer is governed by his fleshly mind but by the will of God in Christ. The change from self-will to the will of Christ is the key transformation governing our eligibility to rule with Christ.
Only the personal cross of the disciple can cure the malady of self-will. Until self-centeredness is healed thoroughly we are worthless to God as a ruler or a priest.
The worshiping of the beast and his image has to do with our participation in the world system—particularly in the system of commerce. So great is the love of money in the Christian churches that it is being preached today that the sign of God's blessing is material prosperity. The love of money is the root of all evil and the basis of Antichrist's empire.
Hoarding money is man's way of refusing to acknowledge that he lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. The true saint gains, through Christ's grace, total victory over the love of money. It is impossible to serve both God and money. The believer will eventually hate the one and love the other. It is inescapable.
To be continued.