As the book of Revelation comes to an end, we are nearing the end of the ages. But there is more to come! The crowning event of the ages is found in 1 Corinthians 15, the consummation of the ages. Here God reveals what happens when the ages have concluded.
Revelation is the last book in the Bible, but to the apostle Paul were revealed things that had not been revealed to any other. Paul reports that the message he brings was not taught to him by other men (not even the apostles) but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12-13).
Consider the following portions of 1 Corinthians 15.
Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. (v 20)
Those who die are reposing (sleeping) as they await the resurrection. When Christ was raised from the dead, He was “the Firstfruit” of those who are dead and who await the resurrection. Some in Paul’s day were teaching that the resurrection of the dead had already occurred (see 2 Timothy 2:18), but this was not the case.
For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man also, comes the resurrection of the dead. (v 21)
Death entered the world of man through a single man; Adam. Life, or the resurrection of the dead, also comes through a single Man; Christ.
For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. (v 22)
It is a fact that all men die. Paul reports in Romans 5:12 that “through one man (Adam), sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned…” But it is a corresponding fact that in Christ all will be vivified (made alive). This does not pertain only to believers. All died in Adam … believers and non-believers alike. Correspondingly all will one day be made alive in Christ.
Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence; thereafter the consummation… (v 23)
All will one day be made alive in Christ, but not at the same time. There is an order to the resurrection. First is Christ … and this event occurred over 2000 years ago. Next are those who are Christ’s … those who believe. And then all others will also be made alive at a time here referred to as the consummation (the end, or the completion).
… whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. (v 24-25)
Some think Christ will reign forever. But here we see that Christ will only reign until He accomplishes the things His Father have assigned to Him. Even at the end of the book of Revelation Christ is reigning, and there are still sovereignties and authorities and powers in the world. But when these things fulfill their purpose, and when Christ achieves His purpose, and when all enemies are under His feet, there will no longer be a need for Him to reign.
The last enemy is being abolished: death. (v 26)
We note that the lake of fire that is referred to in Revelation is called “the second death” (Revelation 20:15). As long as the lake of fire remains in existance, there remains the second death. But one day there will no longer be a need for the lake of fire, and it too will be abolished. We know the lake of fire must be abolished because it is called “the second death,” and we are told that death is being abolished.
For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. (v 27)
There is no longer a need for death, or the lake of fire, or sovereignties, or authorities or powers because these things have fulfilled their purpose, and all is now subject to God.
Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all. (v 28)
So Christ reigns until all has been subjected to God. Christ also is then subjected to God, and God now becomes All in all. Think about what it means for God to be ALL IN ALL. There are no more enemies. All is subjected to God. This being the case there is no longer a need for a King to reign, or sovereignties or powers. Today there is a need for these things … but no longer when God becomes ALL IN ALL. This is perfection! The existance of a lake of fire or of an eternal torment, as many within the church teach, is impossible. How can God be all in torment? The lake of fire has served its purpose as a means of bringing all things into subjection to God.
Ephesians 1:20-23 provides a similar message.
… rousing Him from among the dead and seating Him at His right hand among the celestials, up over every sovereignty and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this eon, but also in that which is impending: and subjects all underHis feet, and gives Him, as Head over all, to the ecclesia which is His body, the complement of the One completing the all in all.
Christ has been raised from the dead … and He is about the business of subjecting all under His feet. He (Christ) is the One completing the all in all. That is His purpose … to bring all into subjection to God to the end that God becomes All in all. And we, His Body … the ecclesia (church) … serve as Christ’s complement in this work. Our part is to proclaim the evangel (gospel) and to serve as Christ’s Ambassadors, as if God was entreating through us. (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
And so 1 Corinthians 15 tells of the time when this comes to pass. Today all things are in process. Christ is in the process of bringing all into subjection to God. There are sovereignties, authorities, powers and lordships that help to bring this about. And, at some point in the future, when the process has been completed and all have been subjected to God, the climax of history will occur … and God will become ALL IN ALL.
To recap our comparison of Revelation to 1 Corinthians …
Ø In Revelation, the slaves of God are reigning (22:5) and there are “kings of the earth.” (21:24)
Ø But in 1 Corinthians all sovereignty, authority and power are nullified. (15:24)
Ø In Revelation, Christ is seated on the throne. (21:5)
Ø But in 1 Corinthians we read that Christ must reign until He places all enemies under His feet, and when all is subject He will subject Himself to God. (15:25,28)
Ø In Revelation the lake of fire (second death) still exists. (21:8)
Ø But in 1 Corinthians the last enemy (death) is abolished. (15:27)
Ø In Revelation there are leaves on the tree for “the cure of the nations” – which would seem to imply corruptible bodies needing the leaves to sustain life. (22:2)
Ø But in 1 Corinthians we read of incorruptible, spiritual bodies. (15:42-44)
Ø Revelation is concerned with Israel, for we read of the twelve tribes (21:12), the twelve apostles (21:14), and the nations are found outside the city. (21:24)
Ø But in 1 Corinthians there is no special mention for Israel, and in Paul’s writings he states that in the body of Christ there is no barrier between Jew and Greek.
Ø Revelation tells of events occuring upon the earth, with mortal bodies. This is much like our present world, except with Christ reigning and keeping evil outside the kingdom. (22:14-15)
Ø But 1 Corinthians tells of a spiritual realm, with no corruption, no reign, no power. All are subjected. There are no enemies, no death, no sin, no rebellion. The purpose of the ages has been achieved, and God is All in all. How can God be All in all with death (the enemy) present?
Ø Revelation is a description of the final eon, or age.
Ø 1 Corinthians is a description of the consummation, or the end, after the eons have been completed.
The culmination of God’s Word, then, is found in 1 Corinthians 15 when God becomes All in all. The book of Revelation does not take us quite this far.
With God All in all, all things have been reconciled to God, despite the plans of the enemy and the rebellion of the flesh which have seemed to triumph at times. Corruption is eliminated, and even our bodies are now incorruptible, not even needing the leaves from the tree of life to sustain life. The worst enemy of all, death, has been abolished.
In 1 Corinthians 15 we finally see every knee bowing before the Lord. The Salvation of all has not meant the ignoring of sin. The lake of fire, the second death, has accomplished its work. All men now recognize the wondrous ways of God, and His grace as expressed through the work of Christ.
The Salvation of all does not negate or minimize the work of the cross. The work of Christ upon the Cross, and the power of God as displayed through the resurrection, were both very necessary. But now, at the end of the ages, we see the true scope of God’s work. Despite the sin and rebellion of humanity, God has found a way to bring every soul to the point of acceptance, and every knee now bows before Him.
The ages have ended. The purpose of the eons has now been fulfilled; to reconcile all to God. Wickedness and evil are gone. Death is no more. God is love, and He is All in all. Eternal life in perfection has begun!
Study and think for yourself!
Don’t take my word for these conclusions. Do not take the word of scholars, teachers, or pastors. They do not even agree amongst themselves.
The most common teachings within the orthodox church today are based largely on traditions and teachings passed along through the church since the 5th century. These teachings are not based upon the word of God, but upon the fallible traditions of men and the fallible translations of Scripture which are confused and which are strongly influenced by the biases of the organized church.
In the realm of science, theories are proposed and then tested to detect error. Corrections are then made to the theory. It is the same with theology, which is simply mankind’s “words about God.” Do not simply accept the theory (theology) that has been handed to you. Study and think for yourself!
Your current beliefs about God, and about the destiny of mankind after death, have been shaped by things you have been taught since childhood. I’m not asking you to throw out your beliefs and accept mine. I am asking you to consider what I am presenting as a theory to be tested. The old theory I was always taught, with an endless torment for the wicked, has many defects that cannot be reconciled. There were many things that appeared to be contradictions in God’s Word under this old theory.
Consider the evidence. Study God’s Word. Think and pray, and come to your own conclusions.