Part 3: The 1,000 Years and the Return of Christ
The subject of the 1,000 years is like a great puzzle. Let’s see if we can put a few more pieces together. It is clear from Revelation 20:4-6 that the resurrection of God’s people occurs at the beginning of the 1000 years. In vs. 4, concerning the resurrection of the martyrs, the Bible says, “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Then vs.
6 says, “Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection. On such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Both of these passages reveal that the first resurrection marks the beginning of the millennium.
This “first resurrection” is a resurrection of those who have previously died in Christ. The next question is, When does the “first resurrection” take place, and what event brings it about? The Bible is equally clear about this, revealing that it is the return of Jesus Christ which leads to the resurrection of the saints.
In 1 Corinthians 15:23, 51-55, Paul tells us plainly that it is at “His coming,” when “the trumpet sounds,” that “the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 is the clearest of all. Paul wrote, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort with another with these words.” When “the dead in Christ rise first,” this is the same as “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6).
In summary, Revelation 20:4-6 definitely begins the 1000 years with the resurrection of the saints. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17, also tell us plainly that the resurrection of the saints, who are called “the dead in Christ,” occurs at the coming of Jesus Christ. Thus the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the saints marks the beginning of the 1,000 years.