REV 20:5 + ISA 65:20 = A 7100 YEAR PLAN?
Do the Scriptures teach a 7000 or a 7100 year plan?
This might seem like a strange question, but for those who have been in the Church of God for some length of time this will be an issue they have had to face.
Rev 20:4-5 mentions the "first resurrection" of saints who will reign "with Christ for a thousand years". This one thousand year period is undoubtedly the seventh one thousand year period since Creation, pictured by the seventh day Sabbath and usually referred to as "the Millennium".
In Rev 20:5 there is also what is considered an insert. It reads "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished". This is usually referred to in the Churches of God as "the second resurrection". The explanation given is that all people who have ever lived will be physically resurrected at the very end of the seven thousand years of man. Isa 65:20 is then quoted as part of this explanation, which is speaking of a time yet future. It states:
"No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed"
Putting Rev 20:5 and Isa 65:20 together, the Churches conclude that after the Millennium, there will be a 100 year period when all who have ever lived will receive their chance to qualify for eternal life. This leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that God is not working out a 7000 year plan with man, but rather a 7100 year plan.
In all my years in the Church, I have never been able to get my head around this. If you read the page "THE SEVEN DAY BLUEPRINT", you'll see no place for an added 100 years in God's perfect Creation week picture. It seems to me totally inconceivable that the Great Mathematician would end up with such an imprecise number. Surely if you come up with a number like 7100 you need to go back to the drawing board? Surely alarm bells would be ringing? No, this theory keeps on being taught as if there is no problem and no alternative.
So is there a better explanation? I think there is a very simple and logical one.
In Rev 20:4-5, God is talking about the first resurrection and the second resurrection. We say that the first is spiritual, but the second is physical. Does this really make sense?
Let me quote these two verses with a simple explanation added in red:
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead (in Christ) did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
This explanation considers both resurrections spoken of here to be spiritual resurrections.
Just prior to the beginning of the Millennium would be the first spiritual resurrection: those we call the firstfruits. At the end of the Millennium would be the second spiritual resurrection. This would mean that the physical resurrections would take place over the course of the Millennium. That's when all people who have ever lived would be given their chance to live a godly life under Christ's rule.
All who qualify during the Millennium would be resurrected at the end of the Millennium.
This would spread the work, with all those who have ever lived, over the much longer time period of a thousand years, which makes much more sense.
And, crucially, it leaves the 7000 year plan intact.