I Corinthians 15:21-26

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 15:21-26



In Corinth the local church had all kinds of problems. There were contentions in the church. There was immorality in the church. There were abuses of the Lord's Supper.

There were abuses of the gift of tongues. There were even questions regarding the resurrection. In I Corinthians 15:21-34 we see the universality of the resurrection and the order of the resurrections.

In I Corinthians 15:1-11 we saw the Proof of Christ's Resurrection.

1. He was seen of Cephas

2. He was seen of the Twelve

3. He was seen of above 500 brethren at once

4. He was seen of James

5. He was seen of all the apostles

6. He was seen of Paul

We also saw the Importance of Christ's Resurrection.

Without it there is no resurrection at all.

Without it our preaching is vain, i.e, empty of content.

Without it your faith is vain, i.e. worthless.

Without it we are false witnesses, i.e. liars.

Without it you are yet in your sins.

Without it we are of all men most miserable.

I Corinthians 15:20 - But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Now is an emphatic form used to introduce the real situation which exists in contrast to the unreal conditional clauses in verses 13-19. It is used in the sense of as a matter of fact.

Now is Christ risen is Christ has been raised (up), and its tense indicates that its action has been completed in the past and that its result has continued to the present.

(Is) become is became, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes its existing result.

Firstfruits is first portion. It means that Christ is the first one raised from the dead Who is no longer subject to death and is the promise that there are more to come, i.e. people who will likewise be raised from the dead and no longer subject to death. All others in the Bible, who were raised from the dead, died a second time.

Of them that slept is of the ones who have slept, i.e. of the ones who have died.

In I Corinthians 15:21-34 , there are some difficult verses: verse 29, verse 31, verse 32, and verse 34. I would like to try to help straighten these out for you.


I Corinthians 15:21-22 - 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Death came as a result of one man's sin (i.e. Adam's sin), and the resurrection of the dead will come as a result of one man's obedience (i.e. Christ's obedience) in dying on the cross and God's subsequent resurrection of Him from the dead (15:21). In Adam all persons die, but in Christ all who receive Christ as Savior will be made alive (15:22).

I Corinthians 15:21 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

Since is because

The first by man is through man (a human being), i.e. through Adam. In verse 22, Adam is identified as this man.

Came death indicates that death resulted from Adam's sin in eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. It is significant that death came through Adam rather than through Eve.

Romans 5:12 - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

The second by man is through man, i.e. through Christ. Christ is identified as this man in verse 22.

Came also the resurrection of the dead indicates that Christ had to be a man, a human being, in order to die, and He had to die in order to be raised from the dead.

I Corinthians 15:22 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

As a result of their descent from Adam, all die, i.e. all human beings die (or are dying). Both physical and spiritual death were passed on to all humanity from Adam as a result of Adam's sin. All means all without exception.

All in Adam die, but all in Christ shall be made alive. In Christ shall all be made alive means that all believers will be made alive, i.e. resurrected from the dead. Whereas all without exception die as a result of sin, all those who trust Christ as Savior, but only those who trust Christ as Savior, will be made alive as a result of Christ's death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead. It means that those who do not trust Christ as Savior will not experience this same resurrection.


I Corinthians 15:23 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

All should desire to be part of a part of this resurrection.

But every man in his own order = but every man (will be resurrected) in his own order

The order is as follows:

1) Christ the firstfruits - This happened in AD 29.

2) Afterward they that are Christ's at his coming - Later those who belong to Christ - This has not yet happened. For believers during the church age, this will occur at His coming, i.e. at the rapture.

I Thessalonians 4:13-17 - 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

3) The Tribulation martyrs and Old Testament Saints will be resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ.

Daniel 12:1-2 - 1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

There is another resurrection mentioned in the Bible. It is the resurrection of the unsaved dead. No one should desire to be part of this resurrection.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11-15 - 11 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.

12 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.

13 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.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Thus, everyone will eventually be resurrected from the dead. Saved people will be raised and will experience eternal bless in heaven. Unsaved people will be raised and will experience eternal hell in the lake of fire.

I Corinthians 15:24 - 24 Then cometh 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.

Then cometh the end refers to the end of the millennium just prior to eternity future.

When is whenever. He (i.e. Christ) will definitely deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, but its time is uncertain.

He shall have delivered up, which speaks of Christ, is He delivers up (i.e. hands over, gives, or gives over).

What Christ will turn over to God the Father is the kingdom, which speaks of Christ's rule over the entire creation. By this time, the Great White Throne judgment will have taken place; and all the unsaved will have been cast into the lake of fire where they will spend eternity.

I Corinthians 15:25 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

Christ must reign, until God the Father has put all enemies under Christ's feet, i.e. until God the Father has subjected them to Christ.

I Corinthians 15:26 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Shall be destroyed is shall be abolished or shall be wiped out.

Death will be destroyed with the resurrection from the dead. Those resurrected will no longer be subject to death. They will at that time be immortal. There will be no more death.