I'm glad you're enjoying that article by a Reformed minister.
Concerning Revelation 20. Here we hae a picture of the believers who are reigning with Christ. Notice that this millennial reign is NOT ON EARTH. They are where Christ is and this is in heaven. "They lived and reigned with Christ..." Where does Jesus live? Yes, he lives in our heart as the hymn says but this text refers to his abode in heaven. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. Revelation 5 and 12 depict Christ ruling over the universe.
Now only those who have been born again are reigning with Christ in their soul existence. Those who have died in the Lord are now in heaven throughout the thousand year period which represents the entire church age. This is not a literal thousand years but figurative representing the entire New Testament period.
The first resurrection is the translation of the soul from this sin cursed earth to the third heaven where Christ dwells. All those who have been born again participate in this first resurrection. Some have died as martyrs for their faith and have overcome the world and the evil one, i.e., Satan. These are those that the Apostle John had primary reference to but it includes all those who have kept the faith regardless of whether they die as martyrs or whether they die of a natural death.
To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The believer on earth must endure persecution, trials and afflictions. Thus the Dispensationalists that think the believers will never go through the tribulation do err not knowing the scriptures.
When have Christians not went through tribulation? They use the verse that says: "He has not appointed us to wrath" as their proof text but this verse is referring to eternal damnation NOT temporal, earthly persecution. The believer will not suffer the wrath of God because his sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ.
Now when it says the rest of the dead lived not again until the
thousand years were finished it means that all the unbelieving dead who were spiritually dead and never became saved will in their soul remain in a sleep until judgement Day which occurs after the thousand years or the completion of the New Testament when God has saved all His elect from the four corners of the earth. There is an O. T. text that says the dead go to a place of silence. This refers to soul sleep. Harold Camping teaches the souls of unbelievers go to a place of silence awaiting their formal judgement. I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Camping. The effect is this. The next thing that the unbeliever upon death will experience is eternal damnation. The soul that is asleep will probably remember nothing since it is in a state
of unconscious existence. Of course their bodies go to the grave
and see corruption just like the bodies of the saved. The bodies of both saved and unsaved will be resurrected at the Last Day which is equivalent to the Second Coming or Judgement Day. Thus while both believers and unbelievers experience physical death only the unbeliever experiences the second death.
Remember the expression that goes something like this: Once
dead, twice alive. Twice dead, once alive. The believer only dies once.
Read Mr. Camp;ings book, "When Is the Rapture?". It is FREE
and you can order it at www.FamilyRadio.com. Listen to the Bible
studies with real audio. Mr. Camping goes through Acts, 1 Corinthians and several other books of the Bible.
Blessed are those who do not have part in the second death. The
second death includes the casting of both body and soul in the
lake of fire. The sould that is spiritually dead remains dead until the second death and then it will be cast into hell along with the resurrected body.
I spoke to Mr. Camping personally on Sunday at the Mission Springs Conference. What a joy to be with like minded believers. Many of my friends remembered me and we ahd some good conversations. Mr. Camping told me he believes Satan is no longer bound. He has been let loose to deceive the nations. If this is true then it means we are very close to the end of time and Judgement Day is coming soon. I asked Mr. Camping when he thought Satan was let loose and he without naming a year said probably sometime in our life time within the last 20 or 30 years.
Tom, you Jan and the kids should visit next year for at least two or three days. Dr. Paul Lindstrom, a home school expert, was the guest speaker. He has a short program in the morning at 9:40 a.m. on Family Radio either 89.1 FM or 88.1.
It was so refreshing to enjoy the cool mountain breeze and view the majestic trees towering high in the sky. Marvelous are God's works and they do praise Him. My only regret was that I had to return to LA to work on this film which was only one day instead of the anticipated three day shoot.