1 Corinthians 15:24-26 and the Reign of Christ by Jack Kettler
Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
Is this passage dealing with a present reality of Christ's reign or is it foretelling a time in the future? If Christ's reign is happening now, it has significant implications for Christian living and Church missionary activity. Asked another way, is the kingdom of God a present reality or something to break into human history in the future? In this brief devotional study, we will see what the Scriptures say about the inauguration of Christ's Kingdom in history.
First, what Scriptural evidence is there concerning the present reality of Christ's kingdom?
“…the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matthew 12:28)
“Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28)
“Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)
It is clear from the above texts that Christ's Kingdom is a Present Reality!
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,” (Acts 7:55) Christ has risen from the dead victorious and is now seated on the heavenly throne at the right hand of the Father.
As an aside, for those who would object and say the “Kingdom of God” is something different from the “Kingdom of Heaven” should consider that:
Whenever Scripture speaks of “the Kingdom of God,” “the Kingdom of Heaven,” or “the Kingdom of Christ,” it is speaking of the same Kingdom. These different uses of “Kingdom” are synonyms for the same Kingdom.
To prove this; an examination of the Gospels demonstrates that whether the “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of God,” are being referred to, only one Kingdom, namely, Christ's Kingdom is in view. For example, see Matthew 4:17 and Mark 1:14-15; or Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20.
Consider the following passages about the limitation of Satan's power, which are relevant to an understanding of Christ's present reign:
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)
“Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.” (Matthew 12:29)
“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)
Because of the glorious fact of Christ's victorious resurrection, we can now say that Satan's power has been broken!
For those surprised by this assertion, how is this binding of Satan to be understood?
That Satan has been bound does not mean that all his activity has ceased. The New Testament tells us explicitly that the demons have been disarmed and bound (Colossians 2:15; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6) - yet they are still active. It is just that their activity is restricted. Moreover, as the Gospel progresses throughout the world, their activity will become even more limited. Satan is unable to prevent the victory of Christ's Kingdom. (1)
In the Old Testament, God only worked with Israel in a special way. All nations except Israel were in total darkness. In the New Covenant, the gospel is going out to the whole world. Christ's Kingdom is conquering the nations.
In the book of Daniel we see that Christ's kingdom will defeat all human kingdoms:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest until that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)
Consider two parables that explain the growth of Christ's kingdom, and support the ongoing reality of Christ's present reign and growth of His Kingdom:
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field.
Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Another parable spake he unto them, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (Matthew 13:31-33)
These parables teach the same things concerning the expansion of Christ's Kingdom as the passage from Daniel.
So far, we have seen that
1. Christ's kingdom is a present reality, and
2. Satan's power has been broken, and
3. The gospel of the kingdom is growing and influencing the whole world. Moreover, when the apostle says, “For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor. 15:25)
In (1 Corinthians15:25), we see a connection between the Corinthians passage and “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool” in (Psalm 110:1). It is significant that the apostle uses the word “reign” in place of “sit at my right hand” and pictures Christ as progressively active in subjugating His enemies.
Furthermore, the apostle Paul says, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10)
Moreover, “Since then the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Hebrews 2:14) that Christ has officially abolished death at His resurrection. Therefore, Christ's reign occurs between His resurrection and at the time that the abolishment of death occurs, which the apostle says is the last enemy.
In conclusion, Christ’s kingdom will grow in history, as His parables make clear. His reign prevails “For he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). Christ will reign until all opposition is defeated, and “Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24) at His second coming, which is “the end” of history.
Then comes the Great White Throne Judgment; “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
And, the Final Eternal State; “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)
See the helpful Partial-Preterist / Postmillennial Eschatology Chart, compiled By Brandon Vallorani at http://undergroundnotes.com/graphics2/postmill-preterist_chart.pdf
Let it be widely proclaimed:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
1. David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, (Horn Lake, MS: Dominion Press, 2006), p. 503.
The Postmillennial View of the Kingdom of God by Sam Storms
Princeton & the Millennium - A Study of American Postmillennialism by Kim Riddlebarger
The Puritan Hope: A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy by Iain Murray
The Beast of Revelation by Kenneth Gentry
Confessional Postmillennialism by Andrew Sandlin
Postmillennialism by Lorraine Boettner
Notes on the Apocalypse by David Steele, Sr.
The Beast of Revelation Identified by Kenneth Gentry
He Shall Have Dominion by Kenneth Gentry
Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope by Keith Matthison
Myths “Against” Postmillennialism from the Reformed Reader
The Covenantal Kingdom: A Brief Summary of The Biblical Argument for Postmillennialism by Rev. Ralph Allan Smith
The Biblical Basis of Postmillennialism - Based on Keith Matthison's Book by Ross A. Taylor
Always Victorious! The Earliest Church not Pre- but Postmillennial by Dr. F.N. Lee
The Triumph of the Church: A Biblical Defense of Postmillennialism by William Einwechter
Are We Just Polishing Brass Fixtures on the Titanic? By Tom Albrecht
Postmillennialism: Wishful Thinking or Certain Hope? By Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.
Apocalypse Then by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism by Greg L. Bahnsen
Objections to Postmillennialism by Greg Bahnsen
*Most of these titles should come up when doing an Internet search. In addition, this list is far from a comprehensive list.
“Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:12)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. He served as an ordained ruling elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He worked in and retired from a fortune five hundred company in corporate America after forty years. He runs two blogs sites and is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com