The Meaning of Revelation 20:6 Explained

Revelation 20:6

KJV: 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.

YLT: Happy and holy is he who is having part in the first rising again; over these the second death hath not authority, but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Darby: Blessed and holy he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power; but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

ASV: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

What does Revelation 20:6 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Revelation"s fifth beatitude reveals that those who participate in the first resurrection are blessed and holy. The "second death" is final death beyond physical death (cf. Revelation 20:14; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 21:8). It involves death of the soul (whole person) as well as the body ( Matthew 10:28). Specifically, the first resurrection involves deliverance from the lake of fire. Those who participate in the first resurrection are also blessed because they will be priests of God and Christ, and they will reign with Christ for1 ,000 years. Priests have unlimited access to and intimate fellowship with God. Exactly how they will reign remains to be seen, though the extent of their authority under Christ seems connected with their previous faithfulness (cf. Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27).
Note that many of the promises to the overcomers in the letters to the seven churches find their fulfillment in the Millennium (cf. Revelation 2:11 with Revelation 20:6; Revelation 2:26-27 with Revelation 20:4; Revelation 3:5 with Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:15; and Revelation 3:21 with Revelation 20:4). This seems to indicate that the rewards Christians receive from the Lord at the judgment seat will also involve serving under Him in the Millennium (cf. Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27) and beyond ( Revelation 22:3; Revelation 22:5).
The phrase "a thousand years" occurs six times in this chapter ( Revelation 20:2-7). Since God revealed that events will occur both before and after Christ"s thousand-year reign, we should interpret this number literally (cf. Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 13:5; Revelation 20:3). John specifically located this reign yet future in this verse. This is a strong argument against interpreting it simply as Jesus Christ"s present reign in human hearts, or His reign throughout eternity, as many amillennialists do.
John gave us no information here regarding what life will be like on earth during the Millennium, but many Old Testament passages provide this revelation. [1] The main point here seems to be that the Millennium will follow Jesus Christ"s second coming, the main event in the Book of Revelation.
There are three major schools of interpretation that deal with millennial prophecies. Amillennialists interpret the Millennium figuratively and believe it does not correspond to any specific era. Some of them teach that it refers to Jesus Christ"s rule in the hearts of His people presently living on earth. For example, Arthur Lewis wrote that the Millennium of chapter20 is not a perfect state, but the future messianic kingdom is a perfect state. Therefore the Millennium of chapter20 cannot be the future messianic kingdom, but it is the present age. He believed the kingdom age is really the eternal state of chapters21,22. [2] Other amillennialists teach that the Millennium refers to Christ"s rule over His people in heaven throughout eternity. Berkouwer articulated the view of many amillennialists regarding this pericope.
"This vision is not a narrative account of a future earthly reign of peace at all, but is the apocalyptic unveiling of the reality of salvation in Christ as a backdrop to the reality of the suffering and martyrdom that still continue as long as the dominion of Christ remains hidden." [3]
Postmillennialists hold that Christ will return after the Millennium. Some of them believe we should interpret the thousand-year reign of Christ figuratively as referring to the present age in which we live. Others believe it is a literal thousand-year period yet future. Postmillennialism has not been very popular since the First World War. Since then it has become increasingly clear to most people that the world is not getting better and better but worse and worse. While there has been progress in many areas of life, it seems clear that worldwide peace and the other millennial conditions that the prophets described will never come without divine intervention that will change the course of history. Postmillennialism teaches that world peace and all millennial conditions will precede the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Premillennialists take the revelation in these passages more literally as a description of events that will proceed chronologically in order. We believe the Second Coming will precede a literal earthly millennial reign of Jesus Christ. [4] Among premillennialists there are two main groups. "Historic premillennialists" (Covenant premillennialists) believe that God will fulfill His promises to Abraham ( Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 12:7; et al.) through the spiritual seed of Abraham, namely, believers whom the Old Testament writers called Israel and the New Testament writers called the church. "Dispensational premillennialists" believe that God will fulfill His promises to Abraham through the physical seed of Abraham, namely, the Jewish people whom the writers of both testaments referred to as Israel.
Jesus Christ"s earthly reign will be the fulfillment of many prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the reign of a completely faithful descendant of David ( 2 Samuel 7:10-16; et al.). God promised David that one of his descendants would reign over the Israelites forever, that His kingdom would have no end. Most dispensationalists have believed that this reign will begin after Jesus Christ returns to earth at His second coming, and it will continue through the Millennium and on into eternity forever. We believe that since David"s kingdom was an earthly kingdom and since David and his successors ruled on the earth, the coming fulfillment of Davidic kingdom promises will take place on the earth. Progressive dispensationalists, on the other hand, believe that Jesus" rule as David"s successor began when He ascended into heaven following His resurrection and that it will move to earth at the second coming and will continue throughout eternity. They view the promised Davidic kingdom as having heavenly (already) and earthly (not yet) stages. Almost all dispensationalists believe that what is in effect now is some form of God"s kingdom program (cf. Matthew 13). The difference of opinion is over whether the present form of the kingdom, the church, is a stage of the Davidic Kingdom or distinct from it.

Context Summary

Revelation 20:1-6 - The Millennial Reign
In the preceding chapter the beast and the false prophet are depicted as meeting their punishment in the lake of fire. In this, the devil, death, and Hades are consigned to a similar fate. The imagery is apparently drawn from that fearful tragedy which left so deep an impression on the ancient world. See Genesis 14:10; Genesis 19:24; Judges 1:7. The last reference is especially interesting, because there the fate of the cities of the plain is quoted as an example of eternal fire. May it be ours to participate in the first resurrection!
Let our loins be girded and our lamps trimmed, that we may be found of Christ in peace, at our posts, and prepare to enter with Him into the bridal feast. This is a more solemn and critical consideration than the majority of Christians seem to suppose. In fellowship with their Lord, His people are to exert in a godly direction the same kind of influence over the affairs of men, as the rulers of darkness in an ungodly sense now exercise. Thank God, every morning brings that blessed day nearer. [source]

Chapter Summary: Revelation 20

1  Satan bound for a thousand years
6  The first resurrection;
7  Satan let loose again
8  Gog and Magog
10  The demons cast into the lake of fire and brimstone
11  The last and general resurrection

Greek Commentary for Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy [μακαριος και αγιος]
A fifth beatitude (Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9) already and two more to come (Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14, seven in all). Here αγιος — hagios is added to the usual μακαριος — makarios The second death The spiritual death of Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8 in contrast to the first or physical death. This language raises a question about the interpretation of the first and the second resurrections, whether both are of the body or one of the spirit. There seems no way to reach a solid conception about it. In 1 Corinthians 15:23 there is no mention of the resurrection of any save “those of Christ” However, Paul elsewhere (Acts 24:15) speaks of the resurrection of the just and of the unjust as if one event. [source]
Priests of God and of Christ [ιερεις του τεου και του Χριστου]
As in Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 22:3, Revelation 22:5.Shall reign with him (βασιλευσουσιν μετ αυτου — basileusousin met' autou). As promised in the same passages. The servants of God are to be priests with Christ and to reign with him (Matthew 19:28). In Revelation 5:10 επι της γης — epi tēs gēs (upon earth) occurs, but this item does not appear here. “No hint is given as to where this service is to be rendered and this royalty to be exercised” (Swete). [source]
Shall reign with him [βασιλευσουσιν μετ αυτου]
As promised in the same passages. The servants of God are to be priests with Christ and to reign with him (Matthew 19:28). In Revelation 5:10 επι της γης — epi tēs gēs (upon earth) occurs, but this item does not appear here. “No hint is given as to where this service is to be rendered and this royalty to be exercised” (Swete). [source]
Hath part [ἔχων μέρος]
A phrase peculiar to John as referring to a person. Compare John 13:8. [source]
Second death []
See on Revelation 2:11. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Revelation 20:6

Revelation 2:11 Second death []
An expression peculiar to the Revelation. See Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8. In those two passages it is defined as the lake of fire. The death awaiting the wicked after judgment. [source]
Revelation 1:6 Kings [βασιλεῖς]
The correct reading is, βασιλείαν akingdom. The term King is never applied in the New Testament to individual Christians. The reigning of the saints is emphasized in this book. See Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:5. Compare Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:22. [source]
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief [ιδου ερχομαι ως κλεπτης]
The voice of Christ breaks in with the same metaphor as in Revelation 3:3, which see. There comes one of seven beatitudes in Rev (Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14). For γρηγορων — grēgorōn (watching) see Revelation 3:2, and for τηρων — tērōn (keeping), Revelation 1:3. [source]
Revelation 2:11 Of the second death [εκ του τανατου του δευτερου]
Εκ — Ek here used for the agent or instrument as often (Revelation 3:18; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 18:1). See Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8 where “the second death” is explained as “the lake of fire.” The idea is present in Daniel 12:3; John 5:29 and is current in Jewish circles as in the Jerusalem Targum on Deuteronomy 33:6 and in Philo. It is not annihilation. The Christians put to death in the persecution will at least escape this second death (eternal punishment). [source]
Revelation 20:4 Judgment was given unto them [κριμα εδοτη αυτοις]
First aorist passive of διδωμι — didōmi Picture of the heavenly court of assizes.The souls (τας πσυχας — tas psuchas). Accusative after ειδον — eidon at the beginning of the verse.Of them that had been beheaded Genitive of the articular perfect passive participle of πελεκιζω — pelekizō old word (from πελεκυς — pelekus an axe, the traditional instrument for execution in republican Rome, but later supplanted by the sword), to cut off with an axe, here only in N.T. See Revelation 6:9; Revelation 18:24; Revelation 19:2 for previous mention of these martyrs for the witness of Jesus (Revelation 1:9; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 19:10). Others also besides martyrs shared in Christ‘s victory, those who refused to worship the beast or wear his mark as in Revelation 13:15; Revelation 14:9.; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20.And they lived (και εζησαν — kai ezēsan). First aorist active indicative of ζαω — zaō If the ingressive aorist, it means “came to life” or “lived again” as in Revelation 2:8 and so as to Revelation 20:5. If it is the constative aorist here and in Revelation 20:5, then it could mean increased spiritual life. See John 5:21-29 for the double sense of life and death (now literal, now spiritual) precisely as we have the second death in Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14.And reigned with Christ Same use of the first aorist active indicative of βασιλευω — basileuō but more clearly constative. Beckwith and Swete take this to apply solely to the martyrs, the martyrs‘ reign with Christ. [source]
Revelation 20:4 Of them that had been beheaded [των πεπελεκισμενων]
Genitive of the articular perfect passive participle of πελεκιζω — pelekizō old word (from πελεκυς — pelekus an axe, the traditional instrument for execution in republican Rome, but later supplanted by the sword), to cut off with an axe, here only in N.T. See Revelation 6:9; Revelation 18:24; Revelation 19:2 for previous mention of these martyrs for the witness of Jesus (Revelation 1:9; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 19:10). Others also besides martyrs shared in Christ‘s victory, those who refused to worship the beast or wear his mark as in Revelation 13:15; Revelation 14:9.; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20.And they lived (και εζησαν — kai ezēsan). First aorist active indicative of ζαω — zaō If the ingressive aorist, it means “came to life” or “lived again” as in Revelation 2:8 and so as to Revelation 20:5. If it is the constative aorist here and in Revelation 20:5, then it could mean increased spiritual life. See John 5:21-29 for the double sense of life and death (now literal, now spiritual) precisely as we have the second death in Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14.And reigned with Christ Same use of the first aorist active indicative of βασιλευω — basileuō but more clearly constative. Beckwith and Swete take this to apply solely to the martyrs, the martyrs‘ reign with Christ. [source]
Revelation 20:4 And they lived [και εζησαν]
First aorist active indicative of ζαω — zaō If the ingressive aorist, it means “came to life” or “lived again” as in Revelation 2:8 and so as to Revelation 20:5. If it is the constative aorist here and in Revelation 20:5, then it could mean increased spiritual life. See John 5:21-29 for the double sense of life and death (now literal, now spiritual) precisely as we have the second death in Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14. [source]
Revelation 20:14 Were cast [εβλητησαν]
As the devil (Revelation 20:10) followed the two beasts (Revelation 19:20) into the same dread lake of fire. Death is personified and is disposed of, “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26) and Paul sings the paean of victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:54., from Hosea 13:14). Hades has no more terrors, for the saints are in heaven. There is no more fear of death (Hebrews 2:15), for death is no more (Revelation 21:4). The second death (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 21:8) is here identified as in Revelation 21:8 with the lake of fire. [source]
Revelation 21:8 Their part shall be [το μερος αυτων]
In contrast to the state of the blessed (Revelation 21:3-7) the state of “those who have disfranchised themselves from the Kingdom of God” (Charles) is given. They are with Satan and the two beasts, and are the same with those not in the book of life (Revelation 20:15) in the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:14.), that is the second death (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14). See also Revelation 14:10. There are eight epithets here used which apply to various sections of this direful list of the doomed and the damned, all in the dative (case of personal interest). [source]
Revelation 22:5 They shall reign [βασιλευσουσιν]
Future active of βασιλευω — basileuō Reign eternally in contrast with the limited millennial reign of Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:6. This glorious eternal reign with Christ occurs repeatedly in the book (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10) as in Luke 22:30. Christ‘s Kingdom is spiritual (John 18:36.). “The visions of the Apocalypse are now ended; they have reached their climax in the New Jerusalem” (Swete). Now John gives the parting utterances of some of the speakers, and it is not always clear who is speaking. [source]
Revelation 22:5 They need [εχουσιν χρειαν]
Present active indicative, “They have need,” though A has εχουσιν — hexousin (shall have), future like εσται — estai Here again there is repetition of part of Revelation 21:23, but for the purpose of showing the delightsomeness of the New Jerusalem with no need of lamp or sun (change to πως — phōs with ηλιου — hēliou instead of πωτος — phōtos “they have no light of sun”).Shall give them light (πωτισει — phōtisei). Future active of πωτιζω — phōtizō while aorist επωτισεν — ephōtisen in Revelation 21:23.They shall reign Future active of βασιλευω — basileuō Reign eternally in contrast with the limited millennial reign of Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:6. This glorious eternal reign with Christ occurs repeatedly in the book (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10) as in Luke 22:30. Christ‘s Kingdom is spiritual (John 18:36.). “The visions of the Apocalypse are now ended; they have reached their climax in the New Jerusalem” (Swete). Now John gives the parting utterances of some of the speakers, and it is not always clear who is speaking. [source]
Revelation 5:10 A kingdom and priests [βασιλειαν και ιερεις]
As the correct text in Revelation 1:6.They reign (βασιλευουσιν — basileuousin). Present active indicative, futuristic use, though Aleph P have the future βασιλευσουσιν — basileusousin (shall reign) as in Revelation 20:6. [source]
Revelation 5:10 They reign [βασιλευουσιν]
Present active indicative, futuristic use, though Aleph P have the future βασιλευσουσιν — basileusousin (shall reign) as in Revelation 20:6. [source]

What do the individual words in Revelation 20:6 mean?

Blessed and holy [is] the [one] having a part in the resurrection - first Over these the second death not has power but they will be priests - of God of Christ will reign with Him a thousand years
μακάριος καὶ ἅγιος ἔχων μέρος ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῇ πρώτῃ ἐπὶ τούτων δεύτερος θάνατος οὐκ ἔχει ἐξουσίαν ἀλλ’ ἔσονται ἱερεῖς τοῦ Θεοῦ Χριστοῦ βασιλεύσουσιν μετ’ αὐτοῦ τὰ χίλια ἔτη

μακάριος  Blessed 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: μακάριος  
Sense: blessed, happy.
ἅγιος  holy  [is] 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἅγιος  
Sense: most holy thing, a saint.
  the  [one] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μέρος  a  part 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: μέρος  
Sense: a part.
ἀναστάσει  resurrection 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀνάστασις  
Sense: a raising up, rising (e.
τῇ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πρώτῃ  first 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: πρῶτος  
Sense: first in time or place.
ἐπὶ  Over 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐπί  
Sense: upon, on, at, by, before.
τούτων  these 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
δεύτερος  second 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: δεύτερον 
Sense: the second, the other of two.
θάνατος  death 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: θάνατος 
Sense: the death of the body.
ἐξουσίαν  power 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ἐξουσία  
Sense: power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases.
ἔσονται  they  will  be 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ἱερεῖς  priests 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἱερεύς  
Sense: a priest, one who offers sacrifices and in general in busied with sacred rites.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
Χριστοῦ  of  Christ 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Χριστός  
Sense: Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.
βασιλεύσουσιν  will  reign 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: βασιλεύω  
Sense: to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign.
χίλια  thousand 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: χίλιοι  
Sense: a thousand.
ἔτη  years 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ἔτος  
Sense: year.