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No wilful misreading, honest.

There is no explicit statement of a 1st century resurrection for the martyrs.

Well, Revelation 20:4-6 seems to me to be a perfectly explicit statement about a resurrection of the martyrs in conjunction with judgment on Rome (not first century) and prior to the thousand year period. There are lots of things in Revelation that it would be hard to find precedent for in the rest of the New Testament.

I am inclined to say that it is not the first resurrection of the martyrs that is the innovation in Revelation 20 but the final resurrection of all the dead. The first resurrection of the righteous as part of the vindication and restoration of Israel following judgment is a well attested theme biblically.

I don’t understand why my argument about 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, say, is a matter of “inference”. It seems pretty clear to me that Paul expected the dead to be raised when Jesus “came” to deliver the Thessalonians from the wrath to come and from their persecutors. Those still alive would be “caught up together with them in the clouds” in order always to be with the Lord. Paul expected this to happen within a lifetime, in the context of the crisis that they faced, and he says nothing to suggest that he was thinking of a final judgment, renewal of creation, etc.

If “they lived” in verse 4d does not mean “they were raised” from actual death, how do you account for 5a: “the rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years might be finished”? Surely this looks forward to a “coming to life” after the thousand years at a final judgment of all the dead? Do the rest of dead humanity only metaphorically “come to life” at the final judgment—and wouldn’t that mean, by your account, that this is a new life in Christ?

The obvious way to read verse 6, too, is that a particular group reigns throughout the thousand years with Christ because they have overcome death—not that the church in the abstract reigns, one generation after another.

Sorry Andrew, there is in my Greek New Testament. The verb is anazaō - “to live again”.

What Greek New Testament is that? Nestle-Aland (26th edition) does not even have that as a textual variant. According to BDAG the verb literally means to “be resurrected… of the dead”, but gives Revelation 20:5 as an Erasmian reading “without known ms. evidence”; it is also given as variant in Romans 14:9 for Christ’s resurrection. So there is no distinction between the two uses zaō.

It probably does, but in the immediate context there is no dispute: it refers to those who died in a state of non-belief at the time the passage refers to.

That’s not quite what I’m saying. I suggested that John refers specifically to those who “worshipped the beast or fought against Israel’s God”. Not simply those who died at that time.

This depends how you read Daniel, and especially how Daniel is understood in the light of events as they transpired.

As far as I’m concerned, that is not a good way to do biblical interpretation.

Daniel 12:2 only says “many (polloi) of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”. No “multitudes”. In any case, “many” is not all.

Finally, you haven’t really addressed my point that the structure of the use of kai in Revelation 20:4 suggests that there are three groups in view in the passage.

Kai occurs ten times in Revelation 20:4. Everything is connected by kai in this book—that’s how John writes. It’s also not correct to say, as you did in your original comment, that this first supposed group is introduced by kai: it’s the “I saw” that is introduced by kai, just as it is in 19:11, 17, 19 and 20:1. It would be remarkable if he hadn’t linked the martyrs and those who refused to worship the beast together with kai. The supposed “structure” proves nothing.

Notice that kai hoitines occurs in Revelation 1:7 where it clearly does not introduce a separate group: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and whoever (kai hoitines) pierced him…”. Those who pierced him are included in the first group, perhaps with some emphasis (ESV has “even those who…”). If we took Revelation 20:4a-c in the same way, we would have:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them and judgment was given to them, and the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus and on account of the word of God, even those who did not worship the beast, not even his image, and did not receive the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand.

I’m leaning towards the view that those seated on the thrones give judgment on behalf of the souls of the martyrs, etc. (see my response to Doug). But it still seems to me more likely that John sees one group of the dead (contrasted with the “rest of the dead” in verse 5)—the ”the souls of those beheaded…, who did not worship the beast”.

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