Christ the first-fruits
1 Corinthians 15:23–26; each in his own order:
Christ the first-fruits,
then at his coming those who
belong to Christ. Then comes the end,
delivers the kingdom to God the Father
destroying every-rule and every
authority and power
For he must reign until he
all his enemies under-his feet
The last enemy to be destroyed is death
After the resurrection of believers
(texts such as Dan. 12:1–2 reveal that unbelievers will be raised as well, but that is not Paul’s concern here), something else will occur.
“Then comes the end,”
the Apostle tells us, when
Jesus hands over the kingdom
"Father after destroying every rule
every authority and power”
(1 Cor. 15:24).
Paul does not mean that Christ will at that point no longer
reign in glory.
He is, after all,
and therefore must reign
Instead, the Apostle is speaking of the cessation of what Reformed thinkers have called Jesus’ mediatorial kingdom. At present, Jesus’ work as Mediator includes saving people from God’s wrath by conquering their enemies:
the world, the flesh, and the devil. One day, however,
the full number of the elect will be in a state of salvation,
and that aspect of Christ’s mediatorial work will end.
Matthew Henry comments,
"This mediatorial kingdom is to have an end,
at least as far as it is concerned in bringing his people
safely to glory,
subduing all his and their
At that moment, death itself will be destroyed
(1 Cor. 15:25–26).
Christ's work of bringing sinners into
will cease at His return
After the destruction of the wicked and the
binding of Satan,
the earth finally rests during the Lord’s thousand-year reign.
But after the Millennium and before the final end,
Satan is “loosed out of his prison”
and is allowed once more to “deceive the nations” (v. 8).
John sees the destruction of one last demonic
army and the final judgment for all of God’s children
(see Revelation 20:9–13).
He hears Christ deliver a message echoing the ones
delivered to the seven churches in Asia:
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things”
Finally he sees the faithful Saints who did
overcome and are dwelling on the earthin heavenly splendor
(see Revelation 22).
Revelation 20:15 declares, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The Book of Life, in this context, is the set of names of those who will live with God forever in heaven. It is the roll of those who are saved. This Book of Life is also mentioned in Revelation 3:5; 20:12; and Philippians 4:3. The same book is also called the Lamb’s Book of Life because it contains the names of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 13:8; 21:27).
How can you be sure your name is written in the Book of Life? Be sure you’re saved. Repent of sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5). Once your name is written in the Book of Life, it is never erased (Revelation 3:5; Romans 8:37-39). No true believer should doubt his eternal security in Christ (John 10:28-30).
The Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15 is a judgment for unbelievers. That passage makes it clear that no one at that judgment has his name in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12-14). The fate of the ungodly is sealed; their names are not in the Book of Life; their punishment is sure.
Some people point to Revelation 3:5 as “proof” that a person can lose his salvation. However, the promise of Revelation 3:5 is clearly that the Lord will not erase a name: “He who overcomes . . . I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.” An overcomer is one who is victorious over the temptations, trials, and evils of this world—in other words, one who is redeemed. The saved are written in God’s registry and have the promise of eternal security.
Another passage over which confusion sometimes arises is Psalm 69:28: “Let them [David’s enemies] be blotted out of the book of the living.” This “book of the living” should not be confused with the Lamb’s Book of Life. David is referring to earthly, physical life, not eternal life in heaven. The same is true of the “book” mentioned in Exodus 32:32-33.
God keeps good records. He knows His own, and He has set the names of His children permanently in His book.