vivification in three classes29-09-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet
In 1Corinthians 15, Paul explains how fundamental is the resurrection of Christ from among the dead. Without that fact, the Evangel is without content. For in Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee that death (eventually) will be abolished (15:26). In verse 22, Paul writes:
For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified (=made alive beyond the reach of death).
Paul continues to explain that this vivification of all will be brought about in three stages (classes):
Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence;
Christ is the Firstfruit in the vivification classes. Please note: Christ is not the first to rise from among the dead. Even before His advent, people had “received again their dead by resurrection” (Heb.11:35) and during His walk on earth, Jesus also brought back to life a number of people. But all those people who arose, were not vivified; they only returned to their mortal existence, later to die again. Christ, however, is the first Who was vivified, i.e. once, for all time, resurrected; “death has no more dominion over him” (Rom.6:9). Roused in incorruptibility, glory and power (1Cor.15:42,43). The second class that will experience the vivification, concerns those “who belong to Christ”. That will be “in His parousia”, i.e. during His presence. Since His departure to heaven, He is absent, and later, in His return as king, He will be present. His parousia is not just one moment of arrival, but also applies to His further stay. “In His parousia”, all who are His will be vivified. Also in phases, as is evidenced by other Scriptures. First, at the ‘snatching away’, they “who are dead in Christ” will be raised and will meet the Lord in the air (1Thes.4:16.17). Then, 75 days after the great tribulation (= 1260 days plus 75 days = 1335 days; Dan.12:12,13) the righteous will arise, such as, among others, Daniel. And prior to the thousand years will also the martyrs, who died during the Beast’s rule, be resurrected (Revelation 20:4). However that may be worked out further, “they that are Christ’s,” will be vivified in Christ’s parousia. Then there is still one class left. When all those, who belong to Christ, will have been vivified, there then remains (perhaps by far) the largest group, namely, those who are not of Christ. They, also, will be vivified, even as Christ, the Firstfruit. Most commentators then point to the resurrection of “the rest of the dead” (Rev.20:5) at the great white throne (Rev. 20:12). But that’s impossible. Even though there will be a resurrection at the great white throne, it certainly will not be a vivification. It is a “resurrection of judging” and stands, precisely, opposite to a “resurrection of life” (John 5:29). After all, if it becomes evident that those who are there, are not written in the book of life, they will be cast into the lake of fire, “which is the second death” (Rev.20:14). For the second time, they die and that is why it is called “the second death”. Here, death is not abolished, but it continues. There is still another important reason why “the end” (1Cor.15:24), i.e. the last class in the vivification, does not take place at the great white throne. The reason Paul himself mentions:
24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death.
“The consummation”, the last vivification, takes place when Christ will abdicate and when the Kingdom will be transferred to God, the Father. Will that happen right after the “thousand years”? No, for Christ and those who are His, will also thereafter, reign as kings, as we read in Rev.22:5. As a new Jerusalem will come down from heaven, the throne of the Lamb will stand in the center (Rev.22:1). Christ will rule “for the eons of the eons” (Rev,11:15; 22:5), i.e, during the surpassing eons which still are to come. Not “forever and ever” (Rev.11:15; 22:5), as most translation render it altogether wrongly. Christ’s rule has an “until”. His reign lasts until “the consummation”, i.e. the last vivification or until He will have abolished death as the last enemy. These are synonymous terms. Christ abolishes death by vivifying all. In Revelation 21 and 22, Christ has not yet abdicated, and the reason for that, we saw earlier. During the time of the new heaven and earth, as John describes it in the last chapters of the Bible, death is still mentioned (Rev.21:8) and this means that Christ still reigns. All who are not of Christ, will have no part in that Kingdom and rule. They are (for the second time) dead. When they, too, will be vivified (after they have been judged before the great white throne), there is no more death and Christ will deliver the Kingdom to God, the Father. Then His task as King will successfully be completed. No man will then still be missing. No trace of sin and death will still be found. Christ will have subjected all, while death will have been swallowed up in victory (1Cor.15:54). Then is it time for His abdication: a perfect Kingdom He will transfer to His God and Father, “that God may be all in all” (1Cor.15:28).