Then comes the end, when He delivers the Kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:24-26)
As we saw in the last post, the Kingdom of God has a present tense and a future tense, the “now” and the “not yet.” The present tense refers to the reign of Jesus in the hearts of His people whom He has chosen to be HIs witnesses, His ambassadors. Through us the gospel of the Kingdom is to be proclaimed until the message has been heard among all ethnic groups.
When the task of the witnesses has achieved its final result — the salvation of the whole number of the elect — the end will come. Jesus will appear in glory; the dead in Christ come with Him. He will send His angels to the ends of the earth to gather His elect people. The final resurrection of the body takes place. The new heavens and earth appear. Then comes the “not yet” of the Kingdom.
Jesus delivers the Kingdom that He has won to the Father as a gift. But this only comes when Jesus has defeated and destroyed all His enemies (“every rule and every authority and power”) because Jesus must reign until they are all destroyed.
Then the last enemy to be destroyed is death. Yes, death will be destroyed, done away with forever. In the future aspect of the Kingdom, God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away as Revelation clearly states (Revelation 21:4). The death of death will be occur which is why Paul ends his resurrection chapter with these words:
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:54-57)
Until Jesus comes and destroys death, we are to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your label is not in vain” (v. 58).
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