Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.Revelation 20:4(NASB)
The most amazing revelation of Jesus Christ was given to the apostle John, when he was banished to the inhospitable Isle of Patmos.
The final chapter in God's plan of redemption is played out in graphic detail, until the Lord Jesus, the supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, bursts through the clouds accompanied by the armies of heaven, with "King of kings and Lord of lords," written on His robe and on His thigh.
Once the evil Beast and blasphemous False Prophet have been cast alive into the fire burning with brimstone, and Satan is bound and thrown into the bottomless pit, John turns his attention to the people he sees, enthroned in heaven. These people are the Church age saints of God (the Bride of Christ).
"Then I saw thrones," John wrote as he recorded the awesome scene, "and those who sat on the thrones, were given the authority to rule and to pass judgement." The Church, which is the Body of Christ, are to be kings and priests who rule and reign with Him on earth, for 1000 years.
After describing these Church-age saints, John then sees a multitude of Christian martyrs. These were people who were saved in the Tribulation Period. They refused to take the 'Mark of the Beast' and they were martyred for their faith: "And I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast, nor his image, nor had received his mark upon their foreheads or on their hands."
Following the Rapture of the Church, the wrath of God will be poured out in full measure on a God-hating, Christ-rejecting, Jew-loathing, sinful world. This is the 70th week of Daniel's prophetic vision. It is the start of the 'Day of the Lord' which covers the seven year Tribulation period and the subsequent thousand year Millennial Kingdom, when God Himself, rather than fallen man, will rule and reign on earth through Jesus Christ, the righteous God-Man.
Peter tells us that the Lord does not with that any perish, but that all come to repentance. Even in the terrible Tribulation period, God's offer of salvation is open, and many will be saved during this time.
As John watched the awesome scene in heavenly places, he saw countless martyred, Tribulation saints resurrected to life. It was a multitude which no-one could number, and they came from every tribe of Israel and from all the nations of the world. They were made up of every people group and they spoke every conceivable language.
John records that, like the Church-age saints, this group of martyred, Tribulation saints will also reign with Christ for a thousand years. They will take part in the FIRST resurrection – the resurrection of all believers. However, all those who rejected God’s offer of salvation before the Cross and throughout the Church-age, as well as during the 7-year Tribulation, will be confined in hell for a further 1000 years and must partake in the SECOND resurrection – the terrible resurrection of all unbelievers at the Great White Throne of the living God, which will result in eternal separation from God.
Let us increase our efforts to tell the good news of the gospel of Christ to as many as we can, before the great and terrible Day of the Lord, for the Word of God through the revelation of Jesus Christ will not fail. All who believe will not be condemned BUT those who do not believe, will be eternally condemned because they have not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You that after the Rapture of the Bride of Christ and during the Tribulation period, many more people will be saved. Thank You for these Tribulation saints and for their faithfulness unto death for You. Thank You that with the Bride, they will also reign with Christ for the thousand year Millennium. But Lord, how much better it is to be saved before the Rapture and escape the wrath to come. Use me to spread abroad the wonderful truth of salvation and the serious consequences that await those who reject Your offer of redemption. In Jesus' name, AMEN.