"THEN THE END."
--1 COR. 15:24-28.--
A few words upon this topic are requested by several readers. We will be brief, as the subject has already been touched upon in "The Plan of The Ages" and in the TOWER, and will be thoroughly dealt with under the topic of "The Resurrection" in Vol. IV. of MILLENNIAL DAWN.
The Apostle's theme is the resurrection of the dead. He declares the resurrection to be the very essence of the Gospel (good-tidings)--the great result which our Lord Jesus died to secure; the great object for which he has promised to come a second time. He declares that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is itself a first-fruit and a pledge of the resurrection of those whose resurrection God has promised. He shows (verse 21) that since by a man (came) death, by a man also (is to come) the resurrection of the dead; that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; God having arranged, through the ransom which Christ Jesus gave for all, that all who come into relationship with Christ the Redeemer may inherit lasting life, even as all by relationship with Adam the transgressor inherited his condemnation to death.
But, the Apostle explains, while all those who come into relationship with Christ shall receive lasting life, all will not receive it at the same time. There is to be an order in Christ's work of life-giving. And (verse 23) every man who receives life from the Life-giver will belong to one or another of these orders. As our Lord himself is head and chief of all, so those of the little flock counted worthy to constitute the body of Christ will have preeminence over others and will constitute the first order or rank in resurrection --"The Resurrection"--"the first resurrection" (Phil. 3:10-11; Rev. 20:6). And after Christ and his little flock have thus been resurrected as a first-fruits, the work of resurrecting men shall continue--every man in his own order, until ALL WHO ARE CHRIST'S at (or during) his presence, during his Millennial reign, until all who under the full light and privilege of the Millennial age come into him by faith and become inheritors of the life which he gives shall have availed themselves of the privilege. This will be at the close of the Millennial Age; for he shall reign a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6). "Then the end, when he shall have delivered over the Kingdom to God, even the Father." --1 Cor. 2:24.
The thought is this: The earth as a province of God's Kingdom got into a state of rebellion and alienation from God through the disloyalty of its first king, Adam. The entire province was therefore justly placed under interdict of the King, and its prince, Adam, and all his house, sentenced to death--destruction.
Yet the great King, Jehovah, was full of compassion for such of the culprits as were repentant and who desired to return to harmony and obedience. He therefore arranged a gracious plan for the recovery of such: a plan by which his justice and the original law of his empire--death to all unholy traitors--should remain, and yet these repentant ones be released from the penalty of this one transgression. He gave his Son to be their Redeemer.
The redeeming of some meant the redeeming of all; for all were under the one sentence through the one king's rebellion; hence he redeemed all and proposed to give an equal opportunity to all, to return to the Lord and be abundantly pardoned, by arranging that the Son who performed the redemptive work should establish a Provisional Government among the degraded rebels, in and under which all should be compelled for a time to witness and share the operation of laws of righteousness and love, and be made aware of the cause of their degradation and of the plan of reconciliation held out. This reign will be so ordered as to give to all the fullest knowledge and opportunity of reconciliation, and each one who accepts the conditions obediently, and proves his fellowship with this kingdom of God, shall receive its blessing, and be enabled to progress onward to the full perfection of life and manhood lost by Adam. This new king of earth, deputized for this very purpose, shall effectually put down all misrule, and all authority and power opposed to the law of the great Jehovah. Every enemy shall be trodden under foot,--destroyed. Even death, the penalty or wages of sin, in the sense that it is an enemy, when it would destroy those under its power, who have come back into the family of God through the Redeemer, is to be "rendered powerless." It shall no longer have any power as an enemy, to triumph over those whom Christ has redeemed and reconciled. But death as an enemy will be the last enemy to be set aside or rendered powerless. The Redeemer and King will subdue the various other enemies of his ransomed people first; and even those who fully return to allegiance to God during that Millennial reign will be subject or liable to this enemy's power in a limited degree, down until the full close of his reign, when evil doers shall all have been "cut off" from all hope of life in "the second death," the penalty of their own wilful sins. And when the Lord's redeemed ones shall have been brought to full perfection, moral and physical, under his care and tuition, the death which came upon all through Adam's disobedience--which was the enemy or opponent of such as desired harmony with God, the enemy from whose dominion and power Christ died to redeem such--shall no longer exist in any degree.
The rebellious province having thus been redeemed and conquered by the Prince and Savior, in the Father's name and as his representative, establishing his laws and obedience thereto (every enemy to righteousness and truth having been either corrected by a fuller knowledge of the truth or "destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23), the Lord Jesus will deliver up the then rectified and peaceful province, henceforth to be a portion of the one kingdom of God under the one Sovereign--Jehovah--that God may be the recognized head over all --the All over all.
What the Lord Jesus and the glorified "body," his "bride" and "joint-heir," are to do, after the Millennial reign, is not clearly revealed. But of this we may rest well assured, that the Almighty Jehovah's plan, hitherto so grand and so far above all that we could have asked or thought of, has with equal bounty arranged for our future work in his service.
Continuing his argument (v. 27), the Apostle recapitulates the case thus:--
"For he [Jehovah] hath [promised to] put down all things under his [Christ's] feet [to make him Lord of all], yet, when he [Jehovah] saith [of Christ] that all things are put under him [or are to be subject to him], it is manifest [that Jehovah did not mean by that promise of the high exaltation of Christ that he would exalt him and his authority superior to himself and his own authority] that he [Jehovah] is excepted which [by his plan and power, by promise gave to [R1204 : page 4] Christ this high station and] did put all things under him."
"And [hence] when [i.e. after] all things shall be subjugated unto him [Christ], then shall [Christ] the Son also, himself be subject unto him [Jehovah] that [by promise as well as by delegated authority and power] did put all things under him [Christ], so that * the God [Jehovah] may be the All in all--[the supreme over all]."