An excerpt of Chapter 11 of The Second Coming by Dr. Brian J. Bailey
Those Christians who will rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Millennium are called blessed and holy in Revelation 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.” These saints will be kings and priests with the Lord.
This truth concerning kings and priests is first developed in Exodus 19:6, where the Lord said to Moses, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” God’s original plan for the nation of Israel was for them to be a kingdom of priests unto the Lord. However, because of their disobedience, the nation of Israel did not fulfil their destiny. Only the tribe of Judah received the throne rights, and only the tribe of Levi became priests.
In order to reign in life, we must receive the abundance of grace (for the abundance of trials) and the gift of righteousness, which God’s imparted righteousness worked out in our lives.
However, the Lord’s plans are never thwarted in the end. The Church has now been given those privileges. The Apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:5, 9: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ… But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
First of all, we must consider that Melchizedek and his priesthood were a forerunner of Christ and His priesthood (Heb. 6:20). Paul described Melchizedek, who was the king of Jerusalem (Salem) and the priest of God, in Hebrews 7:1-2, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace.”
Being a New Testament king means that we reign victoriously over all things in this life, as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:17, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” In order to reign in life, we must receive the abundance of grace (for the abundance of trials) and the gift of righteousness, which God’s imparted righteousness worked out in our lives.
Through the abundance of grace and God’s righteousness we can be “more than conquerors” in every situation (Rom. 8:37). By drawing upon the grace of God in every situation in our lives, we can reign over our circumstances, instead of having them reign over us.
To be a New Testament priest means to offer up the sacrifice that the Lord Himself offered when He was upon earth. Hebrews 10:5 says, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.”
In like manner, the Apostle Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
We must offer up our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. We must do all things for the glory of God, at all times praising and worshipping Him and doing everything without complaining. We must see everything as either coming from the Lord or being permitted by Him for our benefit.
The First Resurrection
Those who rule and reign with Christ in the Millennium will have part in the First Resurrection. However, first of all, let us briefly consider what the First Resurrection is. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10-11: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
The deepest heart cry of the Apostle Paul was that he wanted to qualify for the First Resurrection spoken in Revelation 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.”
Those two specific resurrections of the saints: the First Resurrection, which takes place at the Second Coming of Christ, and the General Resurrection, which takes place after the thousand-year reign of Christ upon earth.
Not all Christians will have part in the First Resurrection. This is only for the overcoming saints who will be resurrected and receive their glorified bodies to live and reign with the Lord during His thousand-year reign upon earth.
The word that Paul uses in Philippians 3:11 for “resurrection” is a compound Greek word. It means the out-resurrection from among the dead. This implies that only some of the dead are raised at this time, not all of them. Paul wanted to be in this special, select group of “called out ones from among the dead.” Obviously, if it could be automatically assumed that one will be resurrected at this time just because one is a believer, Paul would never have sought to qualify to be in this group.
Thus, only a select group of believers who are holy will be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming. They will receive their glorified bodies and rule and reign with Christ during His millennial reign. They will be kings and priests who teach the Lord’s statues to the nations.
The rest of the saved and unsaved will not be resurrected until after the Lord’s thousand-year reign, when all will appear before the Lord to give an account of their lives (Rev. 20:12-15).
In Philippians 3:10, Paul gives us four qualifications that must be worked out in our lives in order for us to have a part in the first resurrection:
That I may know him
That I may know the power of His resurrection
That I may know the fellowship of His sufferings
That I may be made conformable to His death
Let us briefly consider these four qualifications for having a part in the First Resurrection and being kings and priests with Christ during the Millennium.
That I May Know Him
The first qualification is to know the Lord. To really know the Lord, we have to know what He is like. This involves knowing His attributes. Five of the Lord’s attributes are mentioned in Exodus 34:6, “And the LORD passed by before him and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” In Matthew 11:29, the Lord Jesus mentioned two more of His attributes – meekness and lowliness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” For us to really know these attributes, they must be worked out in us. The more of the nature of God that is worked out in our lives, the more we can know Him.
The Power of His Resurrection
The second qualification is knowing the power of the Lord’s resurrection. Paul says in Ephesians 1:17-22, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” Thus, we believe that in these last days God will cause His people to experience and manifest His resurrection power!
The Fellowship of His Sufferings
It is also necessary to experience the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. The Bible tells us that if “we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:12). In the measure that we suffer, to that same degree shall we reign with Christ. Below I have listed some of the sufferings of Christ that we will experience as we follow on to know Him.
He suffered in the area of bodily appetites (Mt. 4:3)
He suffered in His soul (Mt. 4:6)
He suffered in His spirit (Mt. 4:8)
He suffered in His body (Isa. 50:6; 52:14)
He suffered reproach (Psa. 69:20)
He suffered in the area of His will (Lk. 22:42)
He suffered in the area of His reputation (Jn. 8:41)
He was forsaken by loved ones (Jn 6:66)
He experienced betrayal (Mt. 26:48-49)
We must daily carry our cross, as Jesus said, and “die daily”
Being Made Conformable to His Death
This means that we experience the crucified life. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” We must daily carry our cross, as Jesus said, and “die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31).
Beloved, if we strive by the grace of God to live this kind of life, we shall indeed qualify to have a part in the First Resurrection and be kings and priests with the Lord in the Millennium. Let us, therefore, concentrate on these four qualifications so that we might rule and reign with Christ in the Millennium!
The above material has been printed with covering permission from the late Dr. Brian J. Bailey. You may purchase a copy of the book from Faithworks Bookstore.