The Coming Kingdom 0661 Corinthians 15:23-28 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 17, 2019 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
4-17-19 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 Lesson 66
Let’s look at verses 23-28 this evening. And I think it’s sort of providential that we would find ourselves in this chapter and these set of verses considering the week that we’re in, which is Holy Week. We’ve got Good Friday coming up and of course Sunday morning is Resurrection Sunday. And so this whole chapter, as you probably know, is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And there’s some verses in it that hardly get talked about, it’s the paragraph there, verses 23-28. So let’s take a look at those.
1 Corinthians 15:23, Paul writes, “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,  then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign” that’s probably the key verse there, “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.  For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
So really the battle is there in verse 25, “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” Is that describing a present reign or is that describing a future reign. “Kingdom Now” theologians, as I’ll s how you, basically believe that’s describing a present reign of Christ. But I believe these verses are teaching is a future reign of Christ, primarily during the thousand year reign of Christ. But notice the context of this whole thing first of all. If you look at verse 24 it says, “then comes the end,” the end “when He hands over the kingdom to God and Father.” So it’s pretty clear here that the context is dealing with something that will take place yet future.
And I have this quote here from Alva J. McLain which sort of shows you the context of these verses. Alva J. McLain writes in his excellent book, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God as Set Forth in the Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 435.
He says, “The time of the Kingdom may be ascertained from the main subject matter of the context, which is resurrection. Every man must be raised from the dead, we are told, but each in his own order… This threefold order of resurrection fits the eschatological system of the New Testament; first the resurrection of Christ Himself; second, the resurrection of His saints at the Second Advent (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18); third, the resurrection of the unsaved at the ‘end’ (cf. Rev. 20:11–15). Since the Kingdom is to be established at the second coming of Christ, and it is to be delivered up to the Father at the ‘end,’ the period of the kingdom must be located in the future between the two resurrections, as also indicated clearly in Revelation 20.”
So I think he has it right there and I’m going to try to show you why I think he’s got the right view of verses 23-28. It’s sort of hard to talk about how people are twisting a passage unless we understand what does the passage actually say. So once you understand what it says then you can see how Kingdom Now theologians twist the meaning of the passage. So what is this passage about? Let’s go through this piece by piece before we talk about how it’s being abused.
You’ll notice verse 23, it says, “each in his own order:” now the Greek word for “order” there is tagma, it’s a Roman illustration Paul is using, he’s talking about a Roman parade. So when the Romans conquered a people group they had a parade, they had the conquering general out front followed by the lead officer, followed by the soldiers who were victorious in battle. And then after them would come the captives, those that had been captured in battle, they were in cages or chains, and that’s sort of how a Roman parade took place.
So just as a Roman parade had different phases to it the resurrection program for the believer has different phases to it. Not everybody is resurrected at the same time. So you’ll notice that Christ is the one out front, and He’s called here “the first fruits.” Now He’s using a Jewish analogy; the Jews collected their harvest in three cycles, when you go through the Old Testament. There was something called firstfruits, and that was always a happy time when the firstfruits of the crop and so forth came in because that guaranteed the rest of the crop would come. So that built their confidence.
And then would come the general harvest, and then they were told specifically, I think it’s in Leviticus 19:9-10, to leave some of the general harvest unharvested so the poor could come and participate. [Leviticus 19:9-10, “’Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.  ‘Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.”]
So God always gave the poor dignity, He didn’t just hand them things, they had to work for it like everybody else. And that last phase of the harvest cycle was called the gleanings. And if you know your Bible you know that that’s where Ruth met Boaz, at the gleanings. So just as a Roman parade had different phases to it, just as Israel’s harvest cycle had different phases to it, the resurrection program has different phases to it.
So the first phase is “Christ, the firstfruits,” that’s talking about Jesus Christ resurrection. And His is called “firstfruits” because just as the initial crop guaranteed the rest of the crop would eventually come His resurrection from the dead guarantees everybody else’s resurrection from the dead on the chain. See, everybody is going to be resurrected, Daniel 12:2 tells us both believers and unbelievers’ believers unto life, unbelievers unto damnation. [Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”]
But you’ll notice that Christ’s resurrection is called the firstfruits and that’s what we’re celebrating this Sunday. And usually the way this is taught is we’ve got to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus because it proves He is God, and it does all that, but there’s another angle to it that hardly gets spoken of; it deals with the whole issue of hope. Because He rose from the dead who else is going to rise? We are ! So I’m not stuck in this body that’s decaying. Did you know your body is under a curse. Okay, I just wanted to double check. You say well, you know, I drink all that green stuff in the morning, I’m feeling pretty good. Well, you got a bunch of green stuff going through your cursed body so congratulations. Diet and exercise is important but it postpones the inevitable.
We’re all sort of in a state of decay. What did God say to our forbearers when they sinned? “From dust you are, to dust you shall return.” [Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”] And if you don’t believe me just take out your high school yearbook picture and compare it to your modern day driver’s license and you’ll see validation for that point.
So we are in desperate need of a resurrection body, it’s still going to be you but you’re going to look a lot better, and I’m going to look a lot better because it’s the body that God intended before the curse entered the body. Romans 8 talks about how everything is groaning including our physical bodies. [Romans 8:22, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Would you say that’s true? You guys do any groaning when you get up in the morning? Do you have to drink more and more coffee just to have a certain level of energy?
So anyway, Christ is the firstfruits and that’s what’s spoken of there in verse 23. [1 Corinthians 15:23, “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” And then you’ll go on in that verse and it says, “After that those who are Christs at His coming,” so what would “His coming” there be? It’d be the Second Advent. Now He’s not dealing here with the rapture; the rapture he’ll start talking about in verses 50-51 which He calls a mystery. [1 Corinthians 15:50, “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.”]
So the rapture is the point in time when the church age believer receives their resurrected body and He’s not even dealing with that right now. He’s dealing with the resurrection program as it’s already been revealed. So Christ is resurrected first, then He’s going to return, this is not the rapture but the Second Advent at the end of the seven year tribulation period. And then you continue to look there at verse 23 and it mentions the next resurrection, it says, “after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” [1 Corinthians 15:23, “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.”]
So who would that be? That would be the resurrection of Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs. And there’s two verses that reveal this, Daniel 12:2 talks about a resurrection at the end of the tribulation period as the millennial kingdom is just starting. [Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”] And you’ll also see that in Revelation 20:4-5, [Revelation 20:4, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.”]
So we have Christ’s resurrection, then we have the end of verse 23, Him returning at the end of the seven year tribulation period resulting in the resurrection of Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs. And there’s a nice little graph that we use to describe this, you’ll see a seven year tribulation period, you’ll see Jesus Christ returning that we call the Second Advent at the end of that tribulation period. And then you’ll see the kingdom starting, Revelation 20 and there at the dawn of the kingdom is the resurrection of Old Testament saints, Daniel 12:2 and tribulation martyrs, Revelation 20:4-5.
[Revelation 20:4-5, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.” Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”]
So far so good, right? Well, here’s where it gets a little tricky because it says in verse 24, “Then comes the end,” well the end of what? I believe this is talking about the end of the thousand years. So what it did there is just jumped a thousand years at the end of verse 23 into the beginning of verse 24. [1 Corinthians 15:24, “then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.”]
And you say well, that’s really weird, how can you just throw a thousand years like that in between those two verses? Well, by the way, here’s our graph again, we have the second coming, we have the resurrection of tribulation martyrs and Old Testament saints, and then a thousand years pass and then comes the end. So how can we just throw a thousand years in between those verses?
Michael Valch of Master’s Seminary, whose writings I’m going to quote a lot in this presentation, I think he’s done a really good job with this passage. He writes this: ““a considerable gap of time certainly exists between the first and second resurrections,” isn’t that true, wasn’t there a big gap of time between, oh, I don’t know, Christ the firstfruits and then the rest of the verse, “those who are Christ’s at His coming,” I mean, there’s at least 2,000 years that is happening between those two. Blach’s point is what’s the problem with having another 1,000 years after the end of verse 23 and into the beginning of verse24. He says, “a considerable gap of time certainly exists between the first and second resurrections, which makes a gap between the second and third possible. From our standpoint in history, at least 2000 years separates these events.” [Michael J. Vlach, Premillennialism: Why There Must Be a Future Earthly Kingdom of Jesus (Los Angeles, CA: Theological Studies, 2015), 96.]
So don’t let prophetic gaps like this bother you, they’re sort of common in the Bible, particularly when you get into prophetic material. It’s sort of like, I guess I would analogize it this way to a [can’t understand word]. You guys ever skip stones on a pond, and if you’re really good you can get it to skip 3, 4, or 5 times? I can only get it to skip twice but I’ve seen people just hit it right and it will skip three or four times. That’s sort of what prophetic material does, it’ll give you a prophecy, and then skip to another part of the prophecy in the distant future, and another part, and sort of the fun thing to do is to take all of these pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and put them together. And say that piece goes there, and that piece goes there, and that piece goes there, and you can’t really do that unless you have the box top that tells you what the picture is supposed to look like when the jigsaw puzzle is assembled. The box top is the Book of Revelation; it’s the only book that puts everything in chronological order. What you have in the rest of the Bible is just scattered prophetic data. So using the Book of Revelation to help you, you can kind of see which piece goes where.
And there’s something else going on here that’s very interesting; there’s a Greek construction after that, verse 23, “then.” “After that” is the Greek word epeita, and then “then” is the Greek word eita, so you’ve got an epeita eita construction here and if you go back to verse 7, same chapter, you see that exact same Greek construction. This is speaking of Christ’s appearances to various parties or groups after He rose bodily from the dead. He says in verse 7, same writer, same chapter, “Then He appeared to James, then He appeared to all the apostles.” [1 Corinthians 15:7]
So the first “then” is epeita, the second “then” is eita, just like what we have in our verses, verses 23 and 24. And I would think that between those two appearances there could have been some time. Now maybe not a thousand years but days or hours or whatever. So that Greek construction epeita eita basically shows you that you can have some kind of time gap. And so when that identical Greek construction appears in our verse, verse 23 and into verse 24 you can also, I believe, have a time gap, in this case the time gap is a thousand years.
So Michael Valch puts it this way: “Paul’s use of the words epeita and eita, which are related to ‘after that’ [v. 23b] and ‘then’ [v. 24a]. . . This understanding is also supported by a similar epeita . . . eita formula earlier in the chapter. In 1 Corinthians 15:5–8, Paul lays out a chronological order of events concerning Jesus’ resurrection appearances. After stating that Jesus was raised on the third day (v. 4) he says, ‘and that He appeared to Cephas, then [eita] to the twelve. After that [epeita] He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;” sidebar, very quickly, that’s one of the reasons you know that 1 Corinthians has to be an authentic book, because Paul is saying don’t believe me, He appeared to these five hundred eyewitnesses, go check out their stories. Most of whom are alive right now, Paul says. So just think if what Paul was saying wasn’t true? Would 1 Corinthians ever be accepted and revered and passed down through the generations? Absolutely not, it would have been discredited right out of the gate. It would be like me writing a book saying J. F. K. died of natural causes when there are people alive that saw that he did not die of natural causes, he was assassinated. So if my story doesn’t check out with existing witnesses my book would be discredited just like that.
And here 1 Corinthians was never discredited, it was passed down in church history as a respected canonical book. And so the Bible has these little built-in proofs to sort of authenticate its message. But that really wasn’t where I was going with all of that. No extra charge for that by the way. These are just good things to know on resurrection Sunday, amen! Because the world system doesn’t think the resurrection happened and we’re trying to explain why it did happen. It’s one of the most well-known, well documented historical events of world history and I’m going to try to talk about that on Sunday morning.
“…After that [epeita] He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then [epeita] He appeared to James, then [eita] to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.’” [Michael J. Vlach, Premillennialism: Why There Must Be a Future Earthly Kingdom of Jesus (Los Angeles, CA: Theological Studies, 2015), 97-98.]
Michael Vlach says, “No doubt that Paul is offering a chronological progression of resurrection appearances, and he uses epeita and eita to reveal a progression of appearances. Verse 7 is particularly significant since, like 1 Corinthians 15:23b–24a, this verse also offers the epeita and eita formula and shows chronological progression with a time gap. Jesus appeared to James and then appeared to all the apostles. In both cases the formula indicates a similar time gap: 1 Cor. 15:7: epeita . . . eita indicates a gap of days in verse 7. First Corinthians 15:23b–24a: epeita . . . eita indicates a time gap of which we know includes thousands of years (at least two thousand).”
And then he says, “The fact that the epeita and eita formula indicates a gap of similar time in 1 Corinthians 15:7 (days) reveals the likelihood that the formula in 1 Corinthians 15:23b–24a also indicates a gap of similar time (many years) in this case. Remember, that the main issue is whether the epeita and eita formula allows or indicates a time gap of time, between the resurrection of those at the time of Jesus’ coming and the ‘end.’ The evidence indicates that it does, not only from the immediate context “ remember this is all dealing with the end, “but from a similar grammatical construction in 1 Corinthians 15:5–8.”
So what am I trying to say? What I’m trying to say is the end of verse 23 is the second coming of Christ; “then comes the end” is the end of the thousand year kingdom. That’s the point. And the epeita eita grammatical construction used earlier in the chapter will allow that meaning. So far so good? So we just went from resurrection of Christ in the first century, second coming of Christ at the end of the seven year tribulation period, resurrection of tribulation… Old Testament saints and Tribulation martyrs, at the beginning of the millennial kingdom and then we just went a thousand years into the future to the end of the millennial kingdom. So when it says “then comes the end” it’s the end of the thousand year kingdom.
So what’s going to happen at the end of the thousand year kingdom? Ever ask yourself that? Well He (who would that be) Jesus, who has been ruling the world for a thousand years, He will hand over the kingdom to the God and Father when He has abolished all rule and authority and power. So basically what’s going to happen is the Son has been ruling the world for a thousand years is going to take His kingdom and He’s going to hand it over to God the Father. In other words, the kingdom of God the Son is going to merge into the kingdom of God the Father. And what else is going to happen once that takes place? The last enemy that will be abolished is death. Once that happens and the eternal state begins death won’t exist anymore in the universe. And you’ll find that in… remember Revelation 21 and 22 is the eternal state, Revelation 21:4 specifically says that in that day, glorious day which will last forever death won’t exist anymore. [Revelation 21:4, “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”]
So it’s the world that God intended before death entered the picture in Genesis 3, due to the fall of man. Now death is still going to exist in the thousand year kingdom because there’s going to be a group of people called tribulation survivors who are believers. And you see that in Matthew 25:31-46 and other places.
[Matthew 25:31-46, “‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”]
They’re going to actually enter the millennial kingdom in non-resurrected bodies, have children, their children are going to have children, their children are going to have children, the earth will be repopulated, and the curse will get passed down through the genetics. So the curse is restrained during the thousand year kingdom but it’s not eliminated yet. And there will be people that die during the millennial kingdom, that are descendants of the believing tribulation survivors. And you might want to jot down Isaiah 65:20 because it says, “For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will wear out the works of their hands.’ Actually verse 20 and then verse 23 of Isaiah 65 talks about when someone dies at the age of 100.
[Isaiah 65:20, “”No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.” Isaiah 65:22, “They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.”]
Now today if you make it to the age of 100 you’re considered lucky. I as just in the dentist’s office and they were doing their thing on me and they were telling me that my teeth are kind of worn because I’ve always had a problem with grinding my teeth, (don’t worry, it’s not something that started when I came to Sugar Land Bible Church, it’s because of all the stress, it’s just a problem I’ve had for my whole life. And every time I go in there they want to make sure I’m wearing this night guard thing (at night I wear it) and so I just said well, you know, when they started giving me my bad report on my teeth I just said well, I just need them to last another fifty years because I’d like to make it to 100. And everybody in the room, the dentist, the what do you call those ladies that help the dentist, dental assistant, in unison they all started laughing all at once, like there’s no way your teeth are going to make it another fifty years. So if I do make it to100 I’ll just drink a lot of milkshakes, and stuff like that I guess.
Anyway, today if you make it to 100 you’re considered fortunate and in the millennial kingdom if you die at the age of 100 people are going to kind of sit around and say wow, what a tragedy, such a young person died. So it shows you that death is still going to exist in the millennial kingdom, it’s just the curse is sort of restrained, it’s not completely eliminated. But once the thousand year kingdom is over and God the Son turns His kingdom over to God the Father, and the thousand year kingdom merges into the eternal state, Revelation 21 and 22, death is a thing of the past, totally. In other words, you’re not going to have people dying at age 16, you’re not going to have people dying at age 100, you’re not going to have death at all. So it’s the world that God intended.
And then it says in verse 28 when this happens, “When all things are subjected to Him,” in other words when the Son, Jesus, turns His kingdom over to God the Father “then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” In other words, the Son will live in perfect submission throughout the ages, as He’s always lived, to the will of God the Father. So this is a wonderful chronology that we have here.
So we have the resurrection of Jesus in the first century, and then Jesus is going to come back at the end of the seven year tribulation period and He’s going to rise from the dead, Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs, and then a thousand years will pass and then comes the end and when you get to the end of the thousand years you’ve got the Son turning the kingdom over to God the Father, meaning that death will be a thing of the past. And that’s what Revelation 21 and 22 is all about.
So the story of the Bible is from a garden to a city with a cross in between. Isn’t that a great way to summarize the Bible. Why doesn’t God just put us back into a garden? Well, because in Eden man was on probation, he was being tested. There’s a tree of knowledge there for man to rebel should he want to. But by the time you get to the end man has been put through, humanity has been put through all their tests. And so by the time you get to the eternal state humanity is not on probation any more and so that’s why the eternal state kind of looks like the Garden of Eden in some respects but it’s also very, very different. In Eden it was probation; the eternal state there is no probation, what is will always be at that point.
And then what does it say here? “For He,” now who’s “He”? Jesus, “must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” [1 Corinthians 15:25] In other words, before this happens, before the Son takes His kingdom and turns it over to God the Father, you have to have an earthly reign of Christ and I believe that earthly reign of Christ is described in verse 25 and verse 27. And this is my difference of opinion with the Kingdom Now theologians. They’re putting verse 25, and I’ll show you the quotes if we have time tonight, into the present. [1 Corinthians 15:27, “For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”] That completely and totally violates the chronology of the passage.
So what he’s getting at here is before all these wonderful things can happen in verse 24, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He has abolished all rule, authority and power, before that can happen, before the last enemy called death is to be abolished, before He subjects all things to the Father who originally subjected the kingdom to the Son, before that can happen there has to be a successful reign of Christ on the earth for a thousand years. And that successful reign of Christ on the earth before the end, before the merger of the thousand year kingdom into the eternal state, is described in verse 25 and verse 27 and what you’ll see is a tremendous appeal to two Old Testament passages to describe that reign.
So notice verse 25, “For He must reign,” now what reign is it talking about? It’s talking about before the end. I mean, the reign of the Son must happen before the end when He hands His kingdom over to God the Father. How can He hand His kingdom over to God the Father when He’s never had a kingdom. Do you see the issue there? And so His kingdom (we know from the Book of Revelation) will last a thousand years. It is the earthly reign of Christ. It’s not Jesus reigning from heaven, it’s Jesus returning to planet earth at the end of the seven year tribulation period, taking His seat on David’s throne, ruling from Jerusalem for a thousand years. That has to happen before He can take His existing kingdom and turn it over to God the Father.
And Paul is demonstrating that through two Old Testament passages, one he is referencing in verse 25 and the second he is referencing in verse 27. So as Paul describes this earthly reign of Christ before the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God and Father, there’s going to be an earthly reign of Christ and Paul starts to get into that in verse 25, “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” Now what Old Testament verse, some of your Bible translations may have that in italics, mine it’s all in caps, verse 25 is in… actually verse 27 is in caps, verse 25 is not, so he’s just alluding to Psalm 110, maybe not quoting it directly.
But when it says, “For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet,” any ideas what Psalm he’s referring to? We’ve referred to it many times in this class. Psalm 110. What does Psalm 110 say. Psalm 110:1-2 says this: “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand” now the “right hand of the Father is where Jesus is now. How long is He there for? Forever? No, look at the word “until,” “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” So once Satan is deposed from the earth during the seven year tribulation period then Jesus will no longer have a ministry as high priest at the Father’s right hand. He will then return to the earth and have a ministry as King over the earth. And where is that kingdom going to take place? Verse 2, “The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from…” what’s the next word, “Zion,” where’s that? That’s Jerusalem. “… saying ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”’ Where are His enemies right now? On the earth.
So the reason Paul is quoting, or at least alluding to Psalm 110:1-2, he’s really just quoting verse 1 but you’ve got to look at verse 2 to get the whole flavor of it. He’s saying that when the thousand year kingdom takes place a lot of Old Testament passages are going to be fulfilled, including Psalm 110 and you look at Psalm 110:1-2 and there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s talking about an earthly reign of Christ. It’s not talking about some indirect reign of Christ from heaven somewhere the way Kingdom Now theologians are, I believe, abusing the passage.
Now we know about Psalm 110:1-2, the Book of Hebrews uses this psalm quite frequently to describe Christ’s present session, not as King but as high priest after the order of Melchizedek. So He’s in a priesthood now. And people say well if you don’t believe He’s reigning now you don’t believe He not doing anything now. Nonsense, there’s a whole section of Christology describing what He’s doing today. It’s called His present session of Christ. He’s doing a lot of things. It may not be the millennial kingdom but there are many, many things He’s doing. You can make a whole list of things He’s doing. I mean the Book of Colossians tells us one of the things He’s doing is He’s keeping the universe moving. I mean, He’s the one that’s preventing the planets from colliding with each other.
So the Book of Hebrews is there primarily to describe His present session as high priest after the order of Melchizedek. So His priesthood is much higher than Aaron’s priesthood, that’s the author’s point. So the author of Hebrews does a lot of quoting of Psalm 110 and he says there in Hebrews 10:12-13, “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down” where? On David’s throne? It doesn’t say that, “at the right hand of God,” and is he up there forever? Verse 13 says, “waiting,” waiting for what? “that time onward until” key verse “His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. So His present session is a wonderful session but it’s just temporary. One day that session will be over and His regal kingship will start. So that’s the significance of Paul quoting that particular Psalm or at least alluding to it in verse 25. See, during that thousand year kingdom Psalm 110:1-2, particularly verse 2, will be in fulfillment.
And then Paul, to continue to describe this thousand year kingdom before the last enemy called death is abolished, [1 Corinthians 15:26, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”] quotes another Old Testament Psalm in verse 27. [1 Corinthians 15:27, “For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.”] Now is yours all capitalized, in your Bible translation? See what he’s doing is he’s making a direct quote to Psalm 8 and I want to say he’s quoting verse 6. Notice what it says, “For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”
He’s quoting there Psalm 8:6 so look, if you could, at Psalm 8:4-6 to get the whole context, just as we looked at Psalm 110:1-2 to get the whole context. This is one of the most theologically rich Psalms in the whole Psalter. It says this, verse 4, “What is man that You take thought of him,” boy, that’s a great question, why does God care about people? I mean, people are such an annoyance, aren’t they? Why does God care about people? Ever asked yourself that question? It relates to God’s original purpose for man. “What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him.”  Yet You have crowned him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!  You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,” aha, that’s why God cares about humanity, because of God’s original purpose for humanity.
What was His original purpose? To rule over our forbearers, Adam and Eve and their descendants, which would be us. And what are we supposed to be doing? Under His authority we were to govern the whole earth for who? For ourselves? No, for God. Whenever you get down on yourself or people start to kind of annoy you we kind of have to step back and remember God’s purpose for people. God’s purpose for people is authority. I mean, they were supposed to… we were supposed to rule the whole planet on God’s behalf. And boy did we mess up, didn’t we, by listening to talking snakes and listening to creation rebelling against God allowing Satan to come in and assert authority over the earth. But as now we’re being under Satan’s bondage we have to be reminded of what our original purpose was.
So why did Jesus come into the world? I know what you’re going to say, to die for our sins so we can go to heaven, right? Yeah, that’s about 75% right but why did He die on the cross for our sins so we could have a relationship with Him? What’s the end game here? His whole point is to restore Psalm 8, is to set things back as to how they originally were, to put us back into the position that He had for us initially. And that’s why the Christian is destined for what? Authority!
That’s why Paul says things to the Corinthians who are bickering with each other, don’t you know you can’t work out your differences? Don’t you know that we’re going to judge angels one day? I don’t know what that means “judge angels” don’t ask me what that means, I have no idea, but I know this much, it’s authority because Jesus came into the world to restore the broken relationship between God and man and that’s all true, and that’s about as far as evangelical teaching goes today. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. That’s all true, but why? It’s to restore the original purpose that He had for us at the beginning. That’s why people count. That’s why people matter. That’s what Psalm 8 is describing. [Psalm 8:6] You make him rule over the works of your hands, you have put all things under His feet.”
Now you can see the design right in the first chapter of the book, right? Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule” see that? “rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” you mean women are supposed to rule alongside men over all creation? I thought women were to be kept pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. Well, according to the Bible man and woman together are to be joint rulers. Now I understand male headship in marriage, that’s all true but I think sometimes we’ve forgotten that woman are destined for authority just like men are. Verse 28 “God blessed them;” who’s the “them”? Male and female, “and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it;” it’s not a command to Adam, it’s a command to Adam and Eve, “subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
So God’s original purpose was for God to rule over man and woman and they were to govern creation for God. That’s what we call the office of theocratic administrator. That’s God’s original purpose So this is why Jesus had to become a man. Why did Jesus have to take on humanity at the virgin conception. He always… eternal deity always existed but at the virgin conception humanity, this is very important to understand, was added. The virgin conception was an addition, not a subtraction. The virgin conception was not an exchange where Jesus said okay, I’m going to take off my divine jacket and put on my human jacket. There’s no exchange, there’s no subtraction, it’s an addition. So at the virgin conception eternally existent humanity was added to eternally existent deity. Why did Jesus have to become a man to restore God’s original purpose for man? You can’t restore God’s original purpose for man unless you become a man. So you see the richness of Psalm 8? And the two of them, man and woman, are to govern creation for God.
So verse 27 is a citation of Psalm 8 which is describing that Jesus will succeed in ruling the present world where the first Adam failed. In every area where the first Adam failed in this regard Jesus will succeed. That’s why He’s called the last Adam. Are you with me so far? So verse 25 and 27 is two Old Testament Psalms, Psalm 110 and Psalm 8, to describe the inner reign of Christ on the earth before He takes His kingdom and turns it over to God the Father.
And then when you go down to the second part of verse 27 it says, “But when He says, “All things are put in subjection” it is evident that he is accepted who put all things in subjection to Him. All that’s saying is all things will be subjected to the Son during this thousand year time period, except the Father who originally delegated to the Son his kingdom authority. So Jesus, during this thousand year time period on the earth is going to be ruling over everything except the Father who gave Him the authority to begin with.
Then we go to 1 Corinthians 15:24, 26 and 28 which we’ve already looked at, what’s going to happen once this thousand year kingdom is over? [1 Corinthians 15:24] “Then He,” that’s Jesus, “will hand over the kingdom to the God and the Father when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.” Verse 26, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” As Christ’s kingdom is handed over to God the Father and the eternal state begins death will be a thing of the past. And then verse 28 is just kind of a summary statement,  “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God will be all in all.” So basically what you have being described in these verses and the box top is Revelation 20-22. See, I’ve got the box top and all I’m doing with the box top is going back to the jigsaw pieces and putting them in the right place.
So what’s being described here is after Jesus Christ’s earthly reign the Son will hand over the kingdom to the Father. In other words, at that time in history the Son’s kingdom will then become the Father’s kingdom. The Son’s kingdom, Revelation 21:1-10, the Father’s kingdom, Revelation 21 and 22. The Son’s kingdom, a thousand years; the Father’s kingdom forever. The Son’s kingdom, the curse is restrained; the Father’s kingdom the curse is totally removed. So the Son’s kingdom will merge into the Father’s kingdom; the millennial kingdom will merge into the eternal kingdom. Revelation 20:1-10 will become Revelation chapters 21 and 22.
[Revelation 21:1-10, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.  “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.  But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,.”]
So the point is you need, for this to work, all these details, you need that thousand years. Michael Vlach says this: “It is during the Son’s reign that Jesus, the ultimate man and king, fulfills all the prophecies, covenants, and promises concerning God’s mediatorial kingdom program.” You’ve got to have that thousand year kingdom or you’re not going to have a fulfillment of Psalm 110 or Psalm 8 or countless other Old Testament prophecies and promises that we could go into. I mean, when is Genesis 15:18-21 going to be fulfilled? [Genesis 15:18-21, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:”]
I mean, Abraham was given a tract of real estate from basically the Nile to the Euphrates; where are you going to put that? People say well, I’ll put that in the eternal state. It doesn’t fit the eternal state. First of all in the eternal state there’s no more ocean and those verses describe rivers flowing from oceans, the Nile and the Euphrates. And even beyond that Genesis 13:17 Abraham actually walked on the ground that he would inherit. [Genesis 13:17, “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”] Does that fit the eternal state? No, the eternal state exists after this current world is destroyed by fire, 2 Peter 3:10 and replaced with the new heavens and new earth. [2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”]
See, Abraham walked on the ground he would inherit; it doesn’t fit today, Israel doesn’t have that territory today, she has but a small sliver of it. It doesn’t fit the eternal state. The only place it fits is in this thousand year kingdom. I was listening to someone the other day and he was saying you guys that believe in this thousand year kingdom, you only have one verse, Revelation 20, and I screamed at the device I was listening on which was this one, and I yelled at the top of my lungs, I think I was so loud that [can’t understand name] wanted to know if I was asking a question. I said, (I won’t do it) but as loudly as I could I said NONSENCE! Complete lunacy, they think our only verse is Revelation 20:1-10. We’ve got the whole Old Testament, I’ve given you several verses tonight, two of them in the Psalter that Paul uses. The only thing Revelation 20 does is it just describes the duration, that’s it!
But the whole intermediate kingdom before the eternal state is all laid out and there’s only one time in history where those prophecies can be fulfilled. This is Block’s point. It is during the Son’s reign that Jesus, the ultimate man and King fulfills all prophecies, covenants and promises concerning God’s mediatorial kingdom. When this occurs THEN the eternal kingdom of the Father commences. See this earth, you know, you go to movies and the planet blows up and all these kinds of things, the death star. The fact of the matter is this earth can’t go out of existence until the thousand year kingdom because if this earth goes out of existence prior to the thousand year kingdom you have no logical place in history for all of these Old Testament prophecies to be fulfilled, unless you don’t care about details and just want to allegorize them. If you want to allegorize them you can come up with any theology that you want but if details matter the thousand year kingdom becomes a big deal.
“When this occurs then the eternal kingdom of the Father commences. This truth again indicates the need for an era that is distinct both from this present age and the eternal kingdom. One should not simply assume that unfulfilled promises awaiting fulfillment will be fulfilled in the eternal state. In doing so this would put fulfillment outside of the reign of Jesus the Messiah to whom the task of fulfillment belongs.” [Michael J. Vlach, Premillennialism: Why There Must Be a Future Earthly Kingdom of Jesus (Los Angeles, CA: Theological Studies, 2015), 102.]
So what’s the bottom line to all of this? The bottom line is given this epeita eita construction, the reign of Jesus will not take place until after the Second Advent. It’s not the rapture, we’re not dealing with the rapture. After the Second Advent at the end of the seven years then the thousand year kingdom will take place. AFTER which time the Son will turn the kingdom over to the Father at the conclusion of the thousand year kingdom. That’s what this whole chronology that we’ve been working through demonstrates.
So now we know what the verses say how do Kingdom Now theologians manipulate the verse? Well, obviously I can’t talk about that because it’s 8:00 o’clock and you guys probably feel like the thousand year kingdom is finally over, maybe not the thousand year, maybe just the seven year tribulation period is over. So now that we know the correct understanding I’ll show you the manipulation of these verses by Kingdom Now theologians next week. So did you all find this helpful?
Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for the future, help us to be good students of details and we’re mindful of this time of the year that it was Your bodily resurrection from the dead of Jesus that set the whole thing in motion; it made this tremendous hope that we have possible. So help us to think about these things this particular Sunday, first of all Good Friday as we recognize the death of Your Son but then this coming Sunday where we celebrate His bodily resurrection from the dead. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said… Amen!