Do you ever think about your own death? Even though it's not an easy or palatable subject, I think it's a good thing to think about, because we don't know when or where death could happen.

In Revelation 20, we see two separate scenes that take place 1,000 years apart with two different groups. But this chapter describes what we all experience: We live. We die. And we will be raised.

1. Everyone lives. In verse 4, we read that believers lived and reigned with Christ for 1,000 years, during the millennial kingdom. The rest of the dead did not live again until the 1,000 years were finished. But both groups of people had physical life followed by death followed by a resurrection. Even so, they lived very different lives. The Greek word for life that's used to describe believers in this chapter is zóé (see vv. 4, 15). Zóé refers to a spiritual quality of life that starts now and lasts into eternity (see John 5:24).

2. Everyone dies (see Hebrews 9:27). At the very least, we should be prepared for it and ready to meet our Creator. Because once you die, it's not over; it's just the beginning. Every person lives forever somewhere—the question is where.

3. Everyone rises. Revelation 20 shows us two resurrections separated by 1,000 years: one of life and one of condemnation. As Jesus said, "The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28-29).

First is the resurrection of life for the believer. One day, a believer's soul will be reunited to their physical body, which will be restored and given new capabilities, like Jesus' own body. This is to reverse the effects of original sin and to provide the kind of body needed for eternity.

But there's also the resurrection of condemnation for the unbeliever. Verses 11-15 describe the great white throne judgment. It's a courtroom scene, but there will only be a judge and a verdict. Just as believers will require a resurrected body to enjoy the eternal kingdom, unbelievers will be raised into a physical body to endure eternal punishment in hell.

This is the most sobering scene in all of Scripture to me. Notice it says they "were judged according to their works" (v. 12). Why will unbelievers be judged by their works? Because they wouldn't let God judge them by Jesus' work on the cross.

Believers are saved because they believe that Jesus' work on the cross was enough for them (see John 5:24). That's how you get your name written in the Book of Life (see v. 15). God sent Jesus to take your place in punishment so He could give you the free gift of heaven and everlasting life. Now, that's something to rejoice about.

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