All Things are Put Under Him
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is writing this letter to the Christians in Corinth, Greece from Ephesus, Asia (present day Turkey) in A.D. 54-56, during his third missionary journey. These teachings while written to the first century church in Corinth are applicable to all Christians.
In this chapter, Paul is responding to some false teaching in the church in Corinth. The false teaching was that some teachers were denying the bodily resurrection of Christians.
So Paul, in this chapter, is correcting this false teaching. Chapter fifteen is, perhaps, the most comprehensive study of bodily resurrection in the entire Bible.
In this passage, it is written that Christ is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20a). The firstfruits were those grains that ripen first, before the harvest.
The firstfruits are not seeds that must die before they produce fruit. They are the fruit themselves, and will not die. They are a foretaste of what is to come and a guarantee that there will be a harvest.
In the same way, Christ was the first to be risen from the dead who will not die again. All those who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior will follow him in bodily resurrection and be part of the harvest, upon falling asleep, upon their death (v. 20b).
They have a guarantee. They have assurance of eternity in Heaven. They are held in the hand of Christ never to be lost (John 10:28).
Paul then refers to “man”, the first man Adam, and to “Man”, Jesus Christ (v. 21a). “Death” came by the sin of Adam, and “resurrection” came by Christ (v. 21b).
“All” people “in Adam”, born physically, will die physically (v. 22a). Whereas, “all” people “in Christ”, Christians, “shall be made alive”, will be resurrected from the dead (v. 22b).
There will be an “order” to the resurrection (v. 23a). First, the firstfruits, Christ Himself was resurrected. Second, Christians will be resurrected “at His coming” (v. 23b).
Christ returns in two stages. The first stage is when He comes for us Christians at the Rapture. Christians will leave their graves, wherever their ashes exist, and will join with Christ in the sky. Christians who are still alive on the day of the Rapture will also join Christ in the sky.
The second stage of Christ’s coming will be with us Christians, when He returns to earth with us for the Millennial, His thousand-year reign on earth. During this thousand-year period more people will become Christians, die and be resurrected.
During the Millennial “comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God”, the Father (v. 24a). This is a reference to the end of the resurrections. When all Christians are resurrected, Christ will deliver all Christians, resurrected and alive, “the Kingdom of God”, to His Father.
Also, during the Millennial, Christ “puts an end to all rule and all authority and power”, He puts an end to earthly rulers and rules Himself (v 24b). Satan will be destroyed. Christ “must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (v. 25).
“The last enemy that will be destroyed is death”, itself (v. 26). “Death” and Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20).
Thus, Christ “has put all things under His feet”, all things have come under His rule (v. 27a). All things, that is, except the One who gave Christ the authority, and that is God the Father (v. 27b).
So, “when all things are made subject to Him”, Christ, “then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him”, God the Father (v. 28a). God the Father “put all things under Him”, Christ, so “that God may be all in all” (v. 28b).
The phrase “all in all” has to do with God’s perfection. This is a time for, at last, perfection. Everything has been put under the rule of God.
God has always been in control, but He has allowed evil to cause havoc on earth. He has allowed Satan and his followers to roam the earth and do their damage. No longer will God allow this. All things are made subject to God.
We live in a fallen world. Because of the presence of sin, there is evil in the world. Evil exists in many settings, from sickness and disease to persecution to holocausts to sexual immorality, to mass murder, and on and on. There is no end to evil in this world, not as long as Satan exists.
But a better world is coming, a world where sin does not exist, a world where all things are subject to God, a world where all things are put under Him.
I cannot wait for this world to come. Come Jesus, come!
Online Bible Commentary