Beale: A Response to the Premillennial Interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 – Part 6 of 11

6. The affirmation of the Bible concerning one physical resurrection.

The Bible states consistently that there is only one physical resurrection at the end of history (Isa. 26:19-21; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; 2 Thess. 1:7-10). This final resurrection is mentioned again in Rev. 20:12-15, which includes the physical resurrection of the saints along with that of the unrighteous. [Rev. 20:5a] mentions only the physical resurrection of the wicked in order to stress that they do not share in the first spiritual resurrection. If, as on a premillennial understanding, we take [Rev. 20:4] to refer to a first physical resurrection at the beginning of a millennial period, followed by a further resurrection at its end, the reference would stand in serious tension with the consistent and universal teaching of the rest of the Scriptures that there is only one final resurrection.

Some say there is precedent for several resurrections, since Christ was raised first, and then those who believe in him will be raised later, thus suggesting two resurrections. Even if it is true, however, that the final resurrection was inaugurated in Christ’s resurrection thousands of years before the final resurrection of the saints, this does not count as a separate resurrection followed by a completely different resurrection, since Christ’s resurrection is viewed as part of the later resurrection of His people and not separate from it (1 Cor. 15:20-23). It would be possible but very strange to apply this corporate solidarity in Christ’s resurrection to many subsequent resurrections, so the burden of proof rests on such a position.

-G. K. Beale with David Campbell, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, 445.

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