Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 29
I CORINTHIANS 15:24-34
I know that we’ve been in this chapter for a long time, but there is a lot of material that we need to dig out. So let’s continue on with this line of thinking that Paul is giving here that Christ is going to be all in all, King of Kings, and He will reign, and rule until everything has been defeated, even death itself which came when Adam sinned. Now we talked a little bit about His reign and ruling during the thousand years of His Kingdom rule, but now let’s come back to I Corinthians 15:25, and as I’ve said before, we’re going to take this slowly.
I Corinthians 15:25-27
“For he (Christ) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.”
Verse 27 sounds confusing doesn’t it? Remember that even though Christ rules and reigns, especially over this 1000 year Kingdom here on the earth, yet we have the rest of the Godhead still sitting back there in the background, and we can’t just forget that. We just can’t cancel out God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, because when we’re dealing with God, we’re dealing with that Triune, Spirit, Godhead, and I don’t want to lose that. Now let’s turn to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 1 verse 17. This is more or less a prayer that Paul is praying on behalf of these Ephesian believers, and the Book of Ephesians takes us into a deeper realm of teaching concerning the Church, The Body of Christ. You’ll find truths in this Book that you won’t even find in Romans and I Corinthians. Here as Paul prays on behalf of these believers we find:
“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; (remember these are prayer requests that Paul is petitioning) that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
Now right there I’ll have to stop for a moment. We ran across this in one our classes in Oklahoma a few weeks ago and I had never noticed it before. We always speak of Christ as our inheritance don’t we? That’s the normal nomenclature, that we are co-heirs with Him. In other words, we’re going to be inheriting what He has, and what’s His. But this is exactly opposite, and this is hard to comprehend. Look at it again:
“…that we may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
Now that’s past human understanding that God, because of our position in Christ, actually puts us on such an even keel with Christ that as He is our inheritance we are His inheritance. Remember that the members of the Body of Christ are the complement, the fullness of Christ which is the same word that was used concerning Eve when God presented her to Adam. That she might be the complement, the help meet of the man. Well this is beyond human understanding, but we take it by faith. This is our glorious position as members of the Body of Christ. You know I think the average member thinks that he’s saved to escape hell fire, and that’s about as much as they put on it. Hey, listen, it’s so far beyond that, that it’s beyond comprehension. We aren’t saved just escape hell fire, we are saved to come into this tremendous relationship with Christ Himself. Now reading on:
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who (have repented and been baptized, walk the aisle, and join the church? No, but rather) believe,” Now there’s nothing wrong with those things in their rightful place. I’m merely saying that that is not the way of salvation. The way of salvation is to believe. Put our faith and our trust into what God has said. Reading the verse again:
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” Oh don’t ever sell the power of God short. Now verse 20. And this power, this tremendous all consuming power:
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,…”
Now do you see why I came back here? What’s the 15th Chapter of I Corinthians all about? Resurrection! And resurrection is the high point of every thing that God has accomplished. And as we’re going to see a little later in Chapter 15, we’re going to get to those verses that say, “If there is no resurrection then everything else falls apart.” But there is resurrection power. Now reading on:
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead (and now look at His position) and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly…” Now look at the pronoun usage here.
“Which he wrought in Christ (Who? God the Father up there in verse 17) when he (God the Father, and God the Spirit, and again the Triune God) raised him (Christ) from the dead and set him (Christ. That’s being done by an outside Personage. Jesus Christ didn’t come up and say, `I’ll set myself down,’ because that’s not the way the Scripture says, but rather that God)set him at his own right hand in the heavenly…” And we just saw that in Hebrews Chapter 1 in the last program. Now look at His position in verse 21.
“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:”
Now do you know what’s in that list of names? All the gods of mythology, all the gods of the far Eastern religions, all the gods of the New Agers, all the gods of whatever you can dream up. Oh, He’s going so far above and beyond them. Do you see that? And then the verse I alluded to a few moment ago.
“And hath put all things under his feet,…”
That’s exactly the picture of total dominion. I know I’ve heard people refer to someone with power, and do you know how they like to picture it? Hey look out he’ll put his feet on your neck. Well what does that mean? He’s got you where he wants you, and he’s got total control over you. That’s what Christ is going to do with His enemies. He’s going to have them under His control feet, so to speak.
“…and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. (And who’s the Church? You and I.) Which is his body, the fullness (the complement, the completion) of him that filleth all in all.”
Another Scripture keeps ringing in my mind as I’ve been reading these verses. So let’s go to Daniel Chapter 7. Here we have this same idea of God the Father on the supreme area of the Throne, and God the Son comes before Him, and let’s begin with verse 9.
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands (or millions of the angelic hosts) ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: (and then time leaps thousands of years to the great White Judgment throne with just a colon) the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Now come down to verse 13.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, (the same we read about in verse 9) and they brought him near before him.” (This Ancient of days, I have to look at being the Godhead again) And there was given him (Who? God the Son, The Lord Jesus) dominion and glory, and a kingdom, (this earthly 1000 year reign of Christ) that all people, nations, and languages, (see that separation of the nations?) should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Remember the thousand years doesn’t end time as we know it, but rather the thousand years is just an introduction to eternity. It’s just that elementary phase that gives us a limited view of the eternal state of our ruling and reigning with Christ over the heavenlies. Remember, there’s going to be a new Heaven and a new earth. Now back again to the Book of Ephesians, Chapter 1 verse 10.
“That in the dispensation (or the administration) of the fullness of times (well that’s the Kingdom, the thousand years; that compiles the final 7000 years of human history.) he (God)might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
Everything is going to be brought together in Christ, but the whole Godhead is involved, we can’t leave the Godhead out of the picture. But Who is the manifestation of the Godhead? The Lord Jesus is! Come back to the Book of Isaiah. Let’s read verses 6 and 7. These are fabulous verses. Normally we just think of them at Christmas time with Handel’s Messiah, but there’s much more than that to it.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government (that reigning and ruling of that thousand years) shall be upon his shoulder: (now here’s the part that I want you to see.) and his name (remember we’re talking about the Son Who was born in Bethlehem) shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, (here’s He’s called the Father, and we know it’s talking about the Son. Now that makes the Gospel of John a little easier to understand.) The Prince of Peace. Now these are all wrapped up in the Son, we know it’s talking about Christ. And in verse 7 here we come back to His rule over the Kingdom again.
“Of the increase of his government (as He rules and reigns) and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever….”
Remember we can’t comprehend eternity. I may have mentioned before that Iris and I were someplace and a fellow was sitting in front of us had writing on the back of his shirt that said, “eternity, have you thought about it.” Boy I thought, how apropos. How many people right here in Oklahoma in the Bible belt do you meet day in and day out, that ever stop, even for five seconds to think about eternity. But they had better, because it’s out there, and they’re going to be there one way or the other. But most don’t even want to think about it. I’ve got a friend who works in a bank, and he can see how all this new technology is moving us toward the end-time scenario. And I said, “Well how about the people who work with you?” He said, “They don’t want to listen to me, they have their heads in the sand and they don’t want to pull them out, they just want to be left alone.” Hey, that’s typical, that’s where most people are today, they just want to keep going, and as long as the checking account is healthy and they’re driving a nice car, and they’ve got a nice home, who cares about eternity. But they’d better because it’s coming, and no bank account is ever going to help you escape it. Now reading verse 7 again:
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. (it’s going to go right on into eternity under a new Heaven and a new earth.) The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Let’s return to I Corinthians 15, and now we come into a verse that is hard for me to put the whole thing together. I think I have put it together, but I certainly don’t claim absolutely. Now verse 28: Now this is mind-boggling if you really analyze the verse. And every word of this Book is the Word of God so we can’t just slough it off.
I Corinthians 15:28
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him, (as we’ve been seeing now. All principalities, and powers, kingdoms, and even death are going to come under His supreme rule) then(there we have another time word. There’s coming a point in time which I think is at the onset of eternity, but whatever there’s still coming a point in time when) shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
Now you can just about wake up in the middle of the night and consider that verse can’t you? That after He has put everything under Christ’s feet, and He has become all and all, yet there’s coming a day when even Christ evidently gives everything up to the Godhead. I have be careful because I know I’ve got highly educated theologians listening to me, and I don’t want to get into hot water unnecessarily, but I’m also not going to compromise. But I have to believe that somehow or other when we go on into eternity, and the thousand years of Christ’s King of Kings, and His absolute rule has been fulfilled, then somehow or other He’s going to give everything up to the Triune God, which will then be the consummation of the whole; everything from the beginning in eternity past when THEY first called creation into being, until we now go into that new eternal state with a new Heaven and a new earth, new everything. Nothing has been touched by Satan or the things that defile, and under those circumstances then I have to think according to a verse like this that God will be consummate. He will finally come to the place where even The Lord Jesus will be under the power of that Godhead.
Now verse 29 is a verse that I wish I could do like most commentators usually do with a verse that I want to know something about. They usually go over, or around or skip it, but I can’t do that, because people are going to hold my feet to the fire, and if I just skip this verse they’re going to call and want to know why I skipped it. Well I’m not going to skip it but rather walk in where angels fear to tread, and verse 29 is a tough one. I don’t claim to have it but I think I’ve got the answer, and it’s a confusing statement.
I Corinthians 15:29
“Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”
I do not feel that we are talking about water baptism, and I do know that there are groups that baptize by proxy. I suppose they do that on the basis of this verse, but what the Holy Spirit is really telling the Apostle Paul and he is really telling us is, “Why would God do anything on behalf of the believer if there is no resurrection from the dead.” Remember that God does everything in the light of resurrection. I think the baptism that Paul is referring to here is in Chapter 12. Paul tells us in Ephesians Chapter 4 and verse 5 that there is only one baptism:
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,”
In I Corinthians Chapter 12 he tells us about that baptism we read about in Ephesians. Let’s look at verse 13, a verse we’ve used often.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, (The Church, The Body of Christ) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
In other words, we know that as believers we have been placed into the Body of Christ by an act of God. Now come back to I Corinthians 15:29. Why should God even bother to place us into Body of Christ if there is no resurrection. See that’s the point that Paul is making here. Why are they baptized for the dead? And also verse 30:
I Corinthians 15:30
“And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?”
If there is no resurrection from the dead then what’s the use. Everything becomes vanity, everything becomes futile, and we of all people, the Scripture says, are most miserable.
I Corinthians 15:19,20a
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead,…”