One insight:

  1. This morning I was reminded of those who have been beheaded because of their testimony, their refusal to deny Christ. I often wonder if I would pass this test. Here today, we read words that I pray are on their lips when the knife is drawn, “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God…They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years…blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:4-6). Lord be with those who stand this test and breathe into them these words as their mortal bodies are killed. Their ultimate example gives me no joy, but the knowledge that you will honor them in the end is a great hallelujah.

    Chapter 20 presents 1,000 year periods which divide the church (for some) these days.
    [From the NIV Study Bible notes (though you can read about this at length in many places):

    There are three basic approaches to the subject of the millennium:

    1. Amillennialism: The millennium describes the present reign of Christ in heaven over his realm (Matthew 18:18-20), along with the souls of deceased believers, and in the hearts and lives of living believers on earth (see 1 Corinthians 15:25). The present form of God’s kingdom will be followed by Christ’s return, the general resurrection, the final judgment and Christ’s continuing reign over the perfect kingdom on the new earth in the eternal state.

    2. Premillennialism: The present form of God’s kingdom is moving toward a grand climax when Christ will return, the first resurrection will occur and his kingdom will find expression in a literal, visible reign of peace and righteousness on the earth in space-time history. After the final resurrection, the last judgment and the renewal of the heavens and the earth, this future, temporal kingdom will merge into the eternal kingdom, and the Lord will reign forever on the new earth.

    3. Postmillennialism: The world will eventually be Christianized through the preaching of the gospel, resulting in a long period of peace and prosperity called the millennium. This future period will close with Christ’s second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment and the eternal state.

    Amillennialism (Greek: a- “no” + millennialism), in Christian eschatology, is the rejection of the belief that Jesus will have a literal, thousand-year-long, physical reign on the earth. This is in opposition to premillennial and some postmillennial interpretations of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation. –Wikipedia

    Which camp do you fall into? Whichever is chosen, this is the truth that I take from chapter 20: “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” (20:15). Lord, you have invited me to your wedding feast and have assured me of a life eternal with you, of this I am confident. Help me this Christmas season to reach out to others who do not have this confidence to invite them into your presence. Clothe me with your righteousness, kindness and humility for the benefit of others and for your glory. Amen.

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