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Archive for August 15th, 2013

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 15, 2013

1Co 15:20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep:

(Such, then, being the absurd consequences of the denial of Christ’s Resurrection), we must firmly believe that Christ has arisen, as the first-fruits among the dead, both in time and dignity, and thus consecrating, by his Resurrection, the general resurrection of all.

“The first-fruits of them that sleep.” The common Greek has, απαρχη εγενετο, became the first-fruits, &c. The word, became, is cancelled by the best critics on the authority of the chief MSS. The fact of his being “the first-fruits” supposes, that others will follow, whose resurrection is consecrated by his—as “the first-fruits” among the Jews consecrated the rest of the harvest.

QUESTION—Did not the dead, who arose at Christ’s death, arise before him?

RESPONSE—The common opinion is, that St. Matthew, in recounting the several phenomena that occurred at Christ’s death, mentions by anticipation, that “the bodies of the saints arose … and appeared to many.”—(Matt. 27 verses 52, 53). It is commonly held that there is an inversion of the order of time in the account left us by St. Matthew, and that the dead arose, only at Christ’s Resurrection.

1Co 15:21  For by a man came death: and by a man the resurrection of the dead.

And that our resurrection should be consecrated in his merits, is quite congruous; for, as by one man came death; so by one man, the destruction of death, which is effected by the resurrection.

1Co 15:22  And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

And, as in Adam, all die; so also in Christ, shall all who are vivified, be vivified.

1Co 15:23  But every one in his own order: the firstfruits, Christ: then they that are of Christ, who have believed in his coming.

But each man shall rise in the class to which his merits during life will have entitled him; a greater degree of glory shall fall to the lot of certain saints beyond others. Christ shall be first; next, those who are of Christ, who have believed in his visible coming to judge mankind—a truth intimately connected with the resurrection.

The Apostle does not treat of the resurrection of the wicked, which is unto eternal misery, and is rather a curse than a blessing. It was sufficient for his purpose to prove the resurrection of the just. Besides, all the inconvenient consequences resulting in the mind of the Apostle from a denial of the Resurrection of Christ, regard the good. The words, “who have believed,” are not in the Greek, which runs thus: ἔπειτα οί τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσία αὐτοῦ.

1Co 15:24  Afterwards the end: when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father: when he shall have brought to nought all principality and power and virtue.

Afterwards, the end of all things, when, after having triumphed over the different orders of devils, he will present to God the Father, the whole assemblage of his elect, and refer to him all the glory of his triumphs.

1Co 15:25  For he must reign, until he hath put all his enemies under his feet.

But in the mean time, even while his enemies are not perfectly subdued, he shall reign until God the Father shall have placed his enemies under his feet, that is, until the end of the world.

The Apostle adds this, lest it might be imagined for an instant, that Christ would not reign in the interim; for, that he would afterwards reign, there could be no doubt whatever.

In this verse is adduced a new argument in proof of the resurrection, grounded on the supreme dominion of Christ, and the absolute subjection of all things to him; hence, death is subject to him; it shall, therefore, be vanquished as one of his enemies, and its power destroyed by the resuscitation of all men, with their souls and bodies reunited.

1Co 15:26  And the enemy, death, shall be destroyed last: For he hath put all things under his feet. And whereas he saith:

And the last enemy whom he shall vanquish is death. For, that death shall be vanquished is clear from the Psalmist:—He hath put all things under his feet, which words mystically refer to the total subjection of all things to Christ.

“He hath put all things,” &c. The 8th Psalm, from which these words are taken, literally refers to the benefits conferred on Adam and his posterity, and to the dominion which man enjoys over all terrestrial creatures. In its mystic signification—which is employed here—it refers to the total subjection of all things to Christ, which subjection shall be perfected in the General Resurrection.—(See, also, Hebrews, 2:8).

1Co 15:27  All things are put under him; undoubtedly, he is excepted, who put all things under him.

But by saying, all things are put under him, the Scripture cannot, surely, include God the Father, by whom all things were subjected. He must be excepted from the term, all things.

1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then the Son also himself shall be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

For, when all things are subjected to Christ, then Christ, as man, will himself be subjected to God the Father, to whom all things else are subjected, so that God may become all in all, and by this universal dominion be acknowledged as sole master and universal ruler of all things.


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