1 Corinthians 15:20-28. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
The resurrection, like the whole life of Christ, is an apocalyptic event. That is, God broke through into human history in an unnatural way, a way beyond what would normally happen in creation. At the incarnation God broke into history and became the man Jesus. And at the resurrection the man Jesus, became the cosmic Christ.
In Jewish thinking, the resurrection would not happen until the end of days, just before the judgment and the new creation. Jesus’ resurrection proves that he has already been judged and he has already been re-created. The apocalyptic age has begun. And it has begun inside of us. We who are in Christ are already counted as justified and already considered to be the new creation. Christ is the firstfruits, we are the harvest yet to come. How? Because we are in Christ (v.22). We are no longer in Adam. We have solidarity with Christ and each other. We share all of Jesus’ advantages and none of Adam’s liabilities.
The resurrection also previews an apocalyptic age yet to come. God will break through again and put all things in subjection under Jesus’ feet. Christ will annihilate every rule and every authority and power. Even death, the last enemy, will be destroyed. This is the final judgment. And this is the great enthronement of Christ. Just as Christ was enthroned and lifted up on the cross, he will be enthroned and lifted up in the last days over all of reality, both seen and unseen. All things will be in subjection under his feet. The destiny of humanity will be fulfilled. Christ, the final Adam, will finally rule the earth and have dominion over creation just as man was created to from the beginning (Gen. 1:26-27). This truth was prophesied Psalm 8:6 and 110:1, both of which Paul quotes in our passage above.
Psalm 8:6. You [God] have given him [man/Jesus] dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
Psalm 110:1. The LORD [God] says to my Lord [Jesus]: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
We are living in the “already but not yet” of this apocalyptic age. We are living in the process of Christ’s victory. There is still death. There is still evil. There are still authorities and powers, both earthly and supernatural, that oppose the reign of Christ. But the resurrection of Christ proves the final victory of Christ. He will defeat all rulers, authorities, and powers that oppose him, and his love and justice will prevail. The resurrection of Christ proves that God will win, and we will win with him.
“To live is Christ” is our internal proof that Christ has resurrected and God has already won. The apocalypse is inside each of us who trust in Christ for forgiveness and redemption. Christ reigns in our spirits and is enthroned on our hearts. One day, God will turn everything over to Jesus as the judge of all the earth, and then Christ will turn it all back over to God. And we will survive that judgment gloriously and reign with him. How? Because we have already been judged and we have already been made new in Christ. To God be the glory!
How aware are you of the apocalypse inside of you? Do you see Christ as reigning over your life? What might you need to submit to his reign today? How does the resurrection prove the final victory of Christ? How does Christ in you testify to the truth of the resurrection in your heart?