Summary: The destiny of Christians is bound together with the destiny of Christ. The Resurrection of Jesus foretells that death is not the end of man, but that life persists through death & emerges from it. But not only does it foretell it is also the source of ou
[RESURRECTION REALITIES SERIES]
I CORINTHIANS 15: 20-28
THE RISE AND FALL OF DEATH
[Revelations 20: 6-14/ Ps 110, 8]
This passage begins with the triumphant ringing out of the great fact which changes all the darkness of an earthly life without a heavenly hope into a blaze of light. Christ is risen from the dead! Because He is risen, the Christian also will rise from the dead. The Christian lives between two resurrections. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of themselves, of the redeemed.
The destiny of Christians is bound together with the destiny of Christ. The Resurrection of Jesus is a prophecy foretelling that death is not the end of man, but that life persists through death and emerges from it, like a buried river flashing forth again into the light of day. But not only does it foretell our resurrection, it is the source or cause of the Christian’s resurrection as well.
Many aircraft display a screen for passengers. This map traces the point of lift off, where the flight presently is, and destination of the flight. Verses 20–28 display where history has come from, where it is going, and who is in control. This history, however, is not about the rise and fall of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, British or other empires. Rather, it is a short history about the Rise and Fall of Death.
I. THE FIRST BORNS, 20-23.
II. THE LAST ENEMY, 24-26.
III. THE ETERNAL SOVEREIGN, 27-29.
Paul had been conveying the dismal consequence of life with out the resurrection of Christ. With a swift revulsion of feeling, he turns away from that dreary thought of the preceding verses, and he breaks into a burst of triumph in verse 20. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
But now turns us around from suppositions to things as they actually are. Speculation gives way to confirmation. Christ indeed has been raised from the dead! Christ being raised from the dead made Him the first fruits of all who will be raised. [first fruits: initial yield or produce, inaugural result, original production; return, outcome, effect, archetype, pattern, prototype, forerunner, model]
Before Israelites harvested their crops they were to bring the first of the crop, called the first fruits, to the priests as an offering to the Lord. [When the priest waved the sheaf of the first fruits before the Lord it was a sign that the harvest was God’s (Lev. 23:9-14).] The full crop could not be harvested until the first fruits were offered. [That is the point of Paul’s figure here. Christ’s own resurrection was the first fruits of the resurrection "harvest" of the believing dead. In His death and resurrection Christ made an offering of Himself to the Father on our behalf.] [When the priest waved the sheaf of the first fruits before the Lord it was a sign that the harvest was God’s (Lev. 23:9-14).]
The first fruits not only preceded the harvest, they were a first installment of the harvest. The fact that Christ was the first fruits indicates that the rest of the harvest is to follow. Christ’s resurrection is the first part of the larger resurrection of God’s redeemed.