Following is a brief summary of a more complete article from Unsearchable Riches magazine, the January 2010 issue. (Available from Concordant Publishing Concern, at www.Concordant.org).
Before reading what follows, take a few minutes to read 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.
“All in all” is the goal of God! He will yet be everything to every one of His creatures. Nothing less will satisfy His heart of the heart of our Saviour. Nothing less will vindicate His love or form a fit conclusion for the tragedy of the eons. Let us with joy believe it. Let us exult as we receive it!
The vivification of all, the abolition of death, the abdication of the Son – these truths are too much for the mortal whose heart is still confined in the confessions of human theology.
Every creature of His will find in Him its all.
Referring to the 1 Corinthians 15 passage … Christ has been roused from among the dead. We need only look at Christ to see what God’s heart has in store for all the creatures which His hands have made. His vivification is the sample and gives certainty to all the rest.
God did not say to Adam, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). If He had, Adam would have died the very day in which he was judged. He might then have had no progeny of sinners. In the precise language of the Hebrews, He said, “to die you shall be dying.” That is, there would be dying as well as death.
All are dying, even while they are alive.
Thus we read (in the 1 Corinthians 15 passage), “shall all be vivified.” The contrast is not between the crisis of actual death and the resurrection, but between the dying process and a life process, beyond the touch of death. The contrast is between mortality and immortality … not only the resurrection but the life (see John 11:25).
Not only could He call back Lazarus from the tomb to life as He did before, and thus be his Resurrection, but in the days to come He will call Lazarus once again to a life incorruptible, and thus become his Life.
For death the cure is resurrection, but for dying we need life beyond the touch of death.
The 1 Corinthians 15 passage speaks of three classes in the process of vivification (the giving of life).
1. The Firstfruit; Christ. But Christ was not the first to be raised from the dead. He was not the Firstfruit of resurrection or rousing, but of those who are vivified. No one previous to Him was clothed with incorruption and immortality.
2. Those who are Christ’s will be vivified at His presence (1 Corinthians 15:23). This is broad enough to include all that is written elsewhere concerning the coming of Christ to Israel (Acts 1:11) and, before that, to us within the body of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
3. The Consummation: This third class is not named, but we are simply told that after the vivification of the second class there will be a consummation.
The three classes of the vivified are distinguished from each other in character and time. Christ is a class by Himself. Then there is the group of faith; those who are His. Thereafter, to complete the “all” come the remainder, who have no special designation, except that, at present, they may not be called His, hence do not believe.
When we see the great goal which God has set before the universe, to which all things tend, for which all are but the preparation … I am heartily sorry for all His saints who have never had their eyes opened to see the end – the purpose of the Lord for all creation.
The consummation consists in subjection. Christ, Himself, will be subject when He has subjected all. Here we have a key to all the evil in the world. It is due to insubjection to God.
Man was made by his Creator for subjection to the Deity. This is his normal condition. Christ is about the purpose of making the creatures of God not only obedient, but adoring children of the Father … children to whom He is everything.
The end (consummation) cannot come so long as there is such a thing as reigning. The interval between the second class (those who are His) and the third class (Consummation) consists largely in Christ, with His saints, taking over the government of the universe. No rule, however, can exist where there is no insubjection, for no one who is subject to God needs any intermediary sovereignty or authority or power.
Almost all rule tends to draw men away from subjection to God. Christ’s rule will be devoted to restoring them to the normal. It will continue until all rule is concentrated in His hands. All enemies will be put under His feet. All of this will be done with the cooperation of the saints, in whom death no longer operates, for they will have been vivified.
What is needed to restore all to more than normal perfection is to stop the activity of death. This is done, at the last, by the vivification of all.
At the consummation, our Lord’s work is finally finished. And God will have achieved His goal of becoming All in all.