My paper seeks to answer this question from two angles: exegesis and covenant theology. First, exegetically, I attempt to build upon the work of Meredith Kline’s two articles on Revelation 20:1-6 (“The First Resurrection” and “The First Resurrection: A Reaffirmation“) by asking a question Kline did not ask himself, but hinted toward in another of his writings: Is Jesus’ paradoxical explanation in John 11:25-26 of death being the believer’s resurrection an exegetical parallel to the “first”/”second” eschatological pattern Kline argues for in his two articles on Revelation 20?
Second, theologically, I attempt to explore the implicit covenantal underpinnings of “the first resurrection” in Revelation 20:4-6. In other words, I’m asking how covenant theology–especially the believer’s union with Christ–facilitates understanding what happens to a believer when he or she dies.
Revelation 20 (and the rest of John’s Apocalypse) is not easy to interpret. Accordingly, I attempted to tread lightly. Nonetheless, the truths revealed therein offer the believer amazing promises, and he who hears what the Spirit is saying to the churches in Revelation 20 will no doubt be found in the same worshiping position as the artist Gallerie dell’Accademia depicted John in the painting shown here:
…St. John the Evangelist looks up from his writing to admire the Eternal in glory with the Lamb of God, surrounded by the symbols of the four Evangelists with wings covered with eyes, being worshipped [sic] by twenty-four venerable old men… (from the painting’s description at the Web Gallery of Art)
Read and Respond
The first three pages is my own exegetical outline and translation of Revelation 20:1-6, after which the paper follows.
- Download as a .PDF (187 KB). This is the recommended format.
- Read the paper online (via Google docs); requires these Greek fonts.
I welcome any critiques, comments, suggestions, etc.
(Artwork: Vision of St. John the Evangelist by Gallerie dell’Accademia (1360-90), Venice; © Web Gallery of Art.)