Jan Lambrecht, «Final Judgments and Ultimate Blessings: The Climactic Visions of Revelation 20,11-21,8», Vol. 81 (2000) 362-385
Rev 20,11-15 and 21,1-8 contain the last two vision reports. The first does not deal with a general resurrection followed by a general judgment with respectively reward and condemnation. Attention is negatively focused on the final judgments of Death and Hades, as well as of those whose names are not found written in the book of life. In the second vision John sees a new heaven and a new earth and, more specifically, the new Jerusalem, i.e., the church universal of the end-time. The voice from the throne and God himself climactically proclaim final blessings. The covenant formula announces God's dwelling among the peoples, the adoption formula even a divine filial relationship: these are the main content of the ultimate blessings. Hermeneutical reflection on annihilation or transformation, on theocentrism versus human responsibilty and on the expectation of Christ's imminent parousia conclude the study.
resurrection like the one mentioned in Dan 12,1-2, a resurrection of the dead as a precondition to be present at the judgment. Eternal life and eternal punishment are the alternatives after the judgment according to anyones works15.
Yet text and context force us to correct this initial picture. If with 20,11-15 John means the second resurrection but the expression is not used one must not forget what he has written in 20,4-6: the martyrs (cf. 6,9-10), probably all Christians, come to life before the millennium; this is the first resurrection. The rest of the dead do not come to life before the end of the millennium. Are, in Johns opinion, the still living future martyrs (and other Christians) also standing before the throne of judgment (v. 12a)? This is not evident.
The question arises whether the second resurrection of v. 13, suggested by the first mentioned in vv. 5-6, could be that of the unbelievers alone and whether the books (v. 12b) only contain their evil works16 and have to be properly distinguished from the book of life (v. 12c) in which the names of the believers are written (v. 15a). This view is supported by the fact that in 20,11-15 attention appears to be given to punitive judgment alone, not to reward and salvation17. What John narrates here seems to be different from the twofold judgment mentioned in 11,18: the time for judging the dead, for