Revelation 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
[The Great Controversy pp 548>549] When about to leave his disciples, Jesus did not tell them that they would soon come to him. “I go to prepare a place for you,” he said. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” [John 14:2, 3.] And Paul tells us, further, that “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.” And he adds, “Comfort one another with these words.” [1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.]
How wide the contrast between these words of comfort and those of the Universalist minister previously quoted. The latter consoled the bereaved friends with the assurance, that, however sinful the dead might have been, when he breathed out his life here he was to be received among the angels. Paul points his brethren to the future coming of the Lord, when the fetters of the tomb shall be broken, and the “dead in Christ” shall be raised to eternal life. Before any can enter the mansions of the blest, their cases must be investigated, and their characters and their deeds must pass in review before God.
All are to be judged according to the things written in the books, and to be rewarded as their works have been. This Judgment does not take place at death. Mark the words of Paul: “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained: whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” [Acts 17:31.] Here the apostle plainly stated that a specified time, then future, had been fixed upon for the Judgment of the world.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
May God add His blessing to the study of His word. “Good night” and God bless!