This month we are looking at I Corinthians verse by verse. In January, we looked at the Book of Romans verse by verse. Last month, we looked at Salvation in order to get background to better understand this month's topic. Throughout this month, I will be referencing both of these series. Please take the time to review both of these series if you aren't familiar with them.
In the previous post, we saw that I Corinthians 15 concerned Topic #11: The Resurrections. This chapter addressed the Resurrections of Christ and others. It was a long chapter and we are covering it in three posts. Here is the summary for I Corinthians 15:1-19, the first of the three posts:
Paul stated The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Paul stated our ability to be resurrected is COMPLETELY tied to whether Christ was Resurrected (which is the third part of The Gospel).
It is time to cover the second of these three posts...
I CORINTHIANS 15:20-34
"20 But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep."
In the previous post, Paul focused on how Jesus' Resurrection was connected to our resurrection. In this post, he was going to contrast Jesus with people who are fully man and AREN'T also Fully God...us!
Paul began this process by pointing out that Jesus was the FIRSTFRUITS of them that are asleep (dead). Jesus was the FIRST to be "permanently" risen. Paul was also referencing his understanding of the Old Testament because Jesus' Resurrection also occurred on the Feast of "Firstfruits"!
Jesus was the FIRST to be risen and "go to heaven". Before Jesus' Resurrection, people who "qualified" for Eternal Life still went to hell because they didn't have the ACTUAL value to make it to heaven. Satan is legalistic...he is going to make sure the law is followed.
When Jesus died, He had infinite value...enough value for everyone who died before Jesus was born and everyone who would ever live after Jesus died.
I don't want to delve deeply into this Doctrine because it could result in several points. I'd like to reference a couple of scriptures to give a GENERAL background...
1. Hades has AT LEAST two compartments:
"22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom: and the rich man also died, and was buried.
23 And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted and thou art in anguish.
26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us." (Luke 16:22-26, ASV)
One compartment was where people who were "saved" (not open to facing Eternal Punishment) resided. This part was called "Abraham's Bosom".
The other compartment was where people who were going to face Eternal Punishment resided. Before Jesus died, EVERYONE went to Hades.
2. Some experts believed EVEN Jesus went to Hades.
"18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
19 in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison,
20 that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water:
21 which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;
22 who is one the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." (I Peter 3:18-22, ASV)
Verse 19 stated that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison...which has caused some experts to come up with a third compartment of Hades that holds spirits in cages.
"8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)" (Ephesians 4:8-10, ASV)
Verse 9 spoke of Jesus "also descended into the lower parts of the earth".
When people ask me how did those who lived before Jesus get Resurrected, I use the following analogy. I state that IF Jesus did descend into Hades, then imagine Abraham in hell with a "check". He had a "check" that gave him enough value to go to heaven, however, he couldn't "cash the check" because there was no value in the "account". Abraham had to wait until value was put into the account he was going to withdraw from...
Jesus' death filled up the account. Once the account was filled, people could cash their checks and get out of Hades...they could be resurrected to Eternal Life...they could be "fruit". However, ALL of that happened AFTER Jesus because He was the FIRSTFRUITS. (Next month we will go through the seven Biblical feasts to show how they pointed towards Jesus and future events...)
For now, Paul was making the case that Jesus' Resurrection was different from ours because His was first AND made ours possible.
"21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."
Next, Paul was going to a "global" comparison and he was using Adam and Jesus. Adam represented all of us, but Paul wanted to show us believers WHY Jesus' was TRULY the REDEEMER. Jesus COMPLETELY undid EVERYTHING Adam did wrong. Jesus was "Profitable". Adam was "Unprofitable".
First, Paul stated that death entered the world by ADAM...NOT EVE! However, the OPPOSITE (Eternal Life) came to us by Jesus through His Resurrection. (If sin entered the world through a woman, then Jesus couldn't have entered the world unless He was a woman.)
Second, since there were a lot of other examples of contrasts between Adam and Jesus, I'd like to offer one you may not have heard before...
Adam began in a Garden with his bride and ended up in a wilderness. Jesus began His Ministry in the wilderness (baptized by John the Baptist) and will end up in a Garden with His Bride (Revelation) for eternity.
Adam was tempted by the enemy and failed. Jesus' first act of His Ministry was to be led of the Holy Spirit into the desert in order to be tempted by the enemy. He succeeded. Let's look at this more closely...
One of the posts from this blog that gets "googled" several times every week (from all over the world) is "Masculinity and Pornography". I wrote about this topic in-depth in The Sequel. Men are PERMANENTLY breaking addictions to pornography by reading these posts. Recently, a local speaker told a group of about 200 men that pornography is an addiction they will live with the rest of their lives. I reached out to him and made the following information available. He stated he would look at it. It is now five months later and he NEVER looked at the information. This is a shame...What is his objective?
This information is covered in Chapter 14 of The Sequel. Here are the links to this information in order:
1. The Opposite of Pornography
2. Jesus' Baptism
3. Jesus' Points
4. Jesus' Response
5. Masculinity and Pornography
7. Manly Thrills
8. Emotional Risk
Notice, the post people read is Section 5: "Masculinity and Pornography". However, there was a Biblical explanation to this strategy and it had to do with Jesus being tempted. In the section covering Jesus' temptation, we find that the devil can ONLY tempt you in areas that could POSSIBLY work on you. The devil isn't going to tempt you to play too much golf if THAT isn't going to work on you.
The three things that Jesus' was tempted in were three things that could have POSSIBLY caused Him to fall. And Jesus' response was to do the OPPOSITE of these three things throughout His time on earth. The point of the posts is to show you what is the OPPOSITE of being addicted to pornography. When people do the opposite, they permanently break the addiction to pornography...
Getting back to Jesus, the three things that Jesus could have POSSIBLY have fallen in temptation were: eating, leading, and not trusting God. (Again, if you have ANY problem with this conclusion, please read Chapter 14 from The Sequel and then comment...)
What were the three things that Adam did wrong in the Garden?
1. Adam ate the fruit. This one comes to mind first.
2. Adam didn't lead his wife. We already made this point when we covered I Corinthians 14: Adam didn't teach his wife the Word of God. The Word of God came to man (Adam) BEFORE Eve was created! Adam was a bad leader.
3. Adam didn't trust God...he trusted Eve. In fact, this gets back to the Word of God...Adam didn't make the Word of God pre-eminent during his temptation. Jesus responded to ALL three temptations with the Word of God. (In fact, the devil quoted the Bible to Jesus during the third temptation! Again, in I Corinthians 14 we saw that a TRUE prophet knows the WHY behind the WHAT. IF they don't, they are like the devil...they know the WHAT but the WHY is ACTUALLY deception and destruction.)
Adam's mistakes were the SAME things that Jesus was tempted in!
Jesus' FIRST act of Ministry was to UNDO Adam's errors!
"23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.
27 For, He put all things in subjection under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him.
28 And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all."
Notice, Jesus gave EVERYTHING to the Father...including Himself. Jesus continually recognized the Source. When Jesus was Resurrected, He still had to go to the Father to "deliver the infinite value". Jesus told Mary NOT to touch Him because He hadn't returned to the Father.
Likewise, Paul was speaking about the VERY END...after Final Judgment, Jesus delivered EVERYTHING to God. At this point, death was permanently conquered in His Kingdom and Jesus could TRULY undo Adam's missed opportunity: a Bride, a Garden, a Tree...for eternity.
"29 Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?
30 Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by that glorifying in you, brethren, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
Paul referenced causality to make his point: WHY are we doing the things we are doing AND experiencing the things we are experiencing if we aren't going to be resurrected? Paul then made the profound declaration: I die daily.
Paul killed his flesh EVERYDAY. Salvation is NOT a one-time event that can be ignored after it is received...it is a continual battle. It requires us to continually kill the flesh. We already covered in-depth with the post titled, "I Corinthians 8:1-3 how the four God-given principles are used to kill the flesh. This is the responsibility of the individual. It is a work. When the flesh is killed, then God can flow through you. This is NOT us controlling God. This is us NOT hindering God's Will (which we can do). God WANTS to flow through us, so our responsibility is to get the flesh out of the way...to die daily.
"32 If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die."
Paul took causality further and got contrastive: if there is no profit to any of this, then let's have fun...let's eat and drink. (Next week, we will be covering this fleshly perspective and how several churches actually ENCOURAGE people to operate with this mentality AND tell others to help these people stay in this mentality!)
"33 Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals."
Paul was clear...this is deception: to believe that being friends with people who are destructive is NOT going to affect someone who has good morals (causes).
We saw in I Corinthians 5, Paul said to interact with unbelievers who state they are unbelievers. So, how do we know when to interact with unbelievers and when not to? I always ask my kids if they are becoming more like these unbelievers or if these unbelievers are becoming more like them. People who bar their kids from interacting with ALL unbelievers are stating their kids aren't strong enough to be a positive influence on unbelievers...
"34 Awake to soberness righteously, and sin not; for some have no knowledge of God: I speak this to move you to shame."
Paul stated that if none of this is true and we can't be profitable then we should just have fun. Then he warned us NOT to be deceived in thinking that being friends with unprofitable people (and allowing them to stay unprofitable) isn't going to affect us. Finally, he mentioned that there were some that were companions who have NO knowledge of God...that weren't believers. Taking these three verses together, Paul was making the point that BOTH pursuing fun and NOT THINKING are WRONG.
Paul BLATANTLY appealed to shame to conclude this mini-section with the point: there are some people among you who have NO knowledge of God.
Remember, Paul believed love is more to be desired than knowledge. However, that doesn't mean we ought to have NO knowledge. Paul began this letter (and continually stated) that this Church of God in Corinth OUGHT to be mature...they OUGHT to graduate from "milk" to "meat". Next, Paul was stating SOME couldn't even handle "milk" and others weren't having a positive effect on them. Paul BLATANTLY stated this was WRONG...it was something a person OUGHT to feel shame for.
However, again next week, we are going to see that there are some pastors and teachers in the church today who intentionally tell people they can't have knowledge of God!
Paul had gotten more specific about Jesus' Resurrection and ours.
Jesus was the OPPOSITE of Adam.
Jesus was the FIRSTFRUITS and the ONLY reason we are able to be resurrected is because of Jesus.
Paul stated that if this weren't true, people ought to NOT think and focus on fun.
Paul stated it was SHAMEFUL that there were people who had no knowledge of God and the believers weren't positively affecting them.
On Monday, we will look at the powerful conclusion of I Corinthians 15...Paul was going to share a mystery!