1st Thessalonians 4:16 says that those Christians who have already died when Christ returns, will rise first

For 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:

In the Revelation 20:4 and 5 it tells us that that will not take place until after the thousand year reign, if I understand it correctly;

Verse 4 as I read it says that those who were martyred for Christ will resurrect and reign with him, but the rest of us will not resurrect until after the thousand years.

Or am I misreading 1st Thessalonians, and it is referring to only the martyrs?

Revelation KJV

20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

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.

  • 2
    According to whom? There are several views on how the end-times will roll out. We do our best to try to understand the Scriptures and what they say about the end times, but remember that Christ was predicted and they were expecting one thing and got another. Who's to say who's right now? It would be helpful if you could narrow this down to a specific view. The truth is that there is no unanimous agreement, making this an "opinion" question as it stands. Nov 23, 2013 at 22:19
  • @ David Stratton I did not and still do not feel that this is an opinion question. Those Scriptures are really not ambiguous to me, they seem pretty straight forward. This would not be the only Scripture to be skewed to back one's personal opinion.
    – BYE
    Nov 24, 2013 at 2:27

3 Answers 3


A premillenialist would say, "No."

Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling Left Behind series of novels, wrote a book called Revelation Unveiled, a commentary on the book of Revelation from a premillenial, pre-tribulation viewpoint. The book essentially provides a scriptural basis for the Left Behind series.

There are several chapters in the book devoted to the first few verses in Revelation 20, discussing different viewpoints and defending the premillennial view. In a chapter titled "The First Resurrection," he talks about this "believer's resurrection" occurring in three phases.

Phase 1 is the resurrection of the church age saints. These are Christians who have died from the time of Jesus through the time of the Rapture (which he places before the tribulation). This is the resurrection described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, with the Rapture happening immediately after.

Phase 2 is the resurrection of the Old Testament saints: those who were servants of God before the time of Jesus. Based on Daniel 12:1-2, he places this resurrection at the end of the tribulation (still before the millennium).

Phase 3 is the resurrection of the tribulation saints. These are the people described in Revelation 20:4: those that had lived during the tribulation, but were martyred and did not worship the beast. This occurs shortly after Phase 2.

These three groups, which together make up all believers of all time, are all considered part of the "first resurrection" described in Revelation 20:6. Mr. LaHaye places the timing of all of these within a 7 year period.

The "rest of the dead" mentioned in Revelation 20:5 are the unbelievers of all ages. They are not resurrected until after the millennium, when they are judged (Revelation 20:11-15).


I believe that 1Tthessalonians 4:14-17 and Revelation 20:5-6 refers to after the millennial reign of Christ and after the battle at the end. But it will be before the great white throne Judgement. However the martyrs are the ones who reign with Christ 1000 years. At the end of the millennium we will be raised from the dead, judged and taken to heaven to be with God-Father, son, & Holy Spirit forever. This is what Revelation 20:5-6 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 refers to. Tell me if you agree please, and thank you.

  • @ Jennifer Hi I do believe that that the return of Christ as described in 1st Thessalonians and the millennial reign of Christ(1000 Year) will take place before the first resurrection, but not that the battle of Armageddon will take place at that time. I believe that the battle of Armageddon will take place immediately before the Great white Throne judgment. I also believe that the battle of Armageddon will be the final battle of the war begun in Heaven when Lucifer and 1/3 of the Angels rebelled. Then all those destined for the lake of fire will be thrown in.
    – BYE
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:36

*The title asks: Does The Revelation chapter 20 tell us that the Rapture will take place after the millennial reign of Christ?

*The answer is YES.

*Revelation 20:9 (KJV) reads AFTER the 1,000 years: And they (the bad guys) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints (the good guys) about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them (the bad guys).

*Fill in the blank. What happens to the living saints?

*There are 3 choices: a) The bad guys kill all the Saints; b) The Saints are burnt up with the bad guys; c) God evacuates the living Saints just before the earth is destroyed by fire.

*The Evacuation has been misnamed the Rapture.

*Why don't you hear this from the pulpit? It is still a mystery to them (1 Cor. 15:51)

*More on this subject can be found at my website.

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. When you have a chance, be sure to check out the site tour and read up on how this site is a little different than other sites around the web... I see that you've linked to your own website. That IS allowed, but you must disclose your connection. I have edited your post accordingly.
    – ThaddeusB
    Oct 1, 2015 at 14:26

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