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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 15 - Verse 24
Verse 24. Then cometh the end. Then is the end; or then is the consummation. It does not mean that the end, or consummation, is to follow that event; but that this will be the ending, the winding up, the consummation of the affairs under the mediatorial reign of Christ. The word end (telov) denotes, properly, a limit, termination, completion of anything. The proper and obvious meaning of the word here is, that then shall be the end or completion of the work of redemption. That shall have been done which was intended to be done by the incarnation and the work of the atonement; the race shall be redeemed; the friends of God shall be completely recovered; and the administration of the affairs of the universe shall be conducted as they were before the incarnation of the Redeemer. Some understand the word "end" here, however, as a metaphor, meaning "the last, or the rest of the dead;" but this is a forced and improbable interpretation. The word end here may refer to the end of human affairs, or the end of the kingdoms of this world; or it may refer to the end of the mediatorial kingdom of the Redeemer— the consummation of his peculiar reign and work resulting in the surrender of the kingdom to the Father. The connexion demands the last interpretation, though this involves also the former.
When he shall have delivered up. paradw. This word means, properly, to give near, with, or to any one; to give over, to deliver up. —Robinson. It is applied to the act of delivering up persons to the power or authority of others—as, e.g., to magistrates for trial and condemnation, (Mt 5:25; Mr 15:1; Lu 20:20; ) to lictors, or soldiers, for punishment, (Mt 18:34;) or to one's enemies, Mt 26:15. It is applied also to persons or things delivered over or surrendered, to do or suffer anything, Ac 14:26; 1 Co 13:3; Eph 4:19.
Here the obvious sense is that of surrendering, giving back, delivering up, rendering up that which had been received, implying that an important trust had been received, which was now to be rendered back. And according to this interpretation it means,
(2.) that he had executed the purpose implied in that trust or commission; and,
(3.) that he was now rendering back to God that office or authority which he had received at his hands. As the work had been accomplished which had been contemplated in his design; as there would be no further necessity for mediation when redemption should have been made, and his church recovered from sin and brought to glory, there would be no further need of that peculiar arrangement which had been implied in the work of redemption, and, of course, all the intrustment of power involved in that would be again restored to the hands of God. The idea, says Grotius, is, that he would deliver up the kingdom as the governors of provinces render again or deliver up their commission and authority to the Caesars who appointed them. There is no absurdity in this view. For if the world was to be redeemed, it was necessary that the Redeemer should be intrusted with power sufficient for his work. When that work was done, and there was no further need of that peculiar exercise of power, then it would be proper that it should be restored, or that the government of God should be administered as it was before the work of redemption was undertaken; that the Divinity, or the God-head, as such, should preside over the destinies of the universe. Of course, it will not follow that the Second Person of the Trinity will surrender all power, or cease to exercise government. It will be that power only which he had as Mediator; and whatever part in the administration of the government of the universe he shared as Divine before the incarnation, he will still share, with the additional glory and honour of having redeemed a world by his death.
The kingdom. This word means properly dominion, reign, the exercise of kingly power. In the New Testament it means commonly the reign of the Messiah, or the dominion which God would exercise through the Messiah; the reign of God over men by the laws and institutions of the Messiah. See Barnes "Mt 3:2".
Here it means, I think, evidently, dominion in general. It cannot denote the peculiar administration over the world involved in the work of mediation, for that will be ended; but it means that the empire, the sovereignty, shall have been delivered up to God. His enemies shall have been subdued. His power shall have been asserted. The authority of God shall have been established, and the kingdom, or the dominion, shall be in the hands of God himself; and he shall reign, not in the peculiar form which existed in the work of mediation, but absolutely, and as he did over obedient minds before the incarnation.
To God. To God as God; to the Divinity. The Mediator shall have given up the peculiar power and rule as Mediator, and it shall be exercised by God as God.
Even the Father. And (kai) the Father. The word Father, as applied to God in the Scriptures, is used in two senses: to designate the Father, the first person of the Trinity as distinguished from the Son; and in a broader, wider sense, to denote God as sustaining the relation of a Father to his creatures—as the Father of all. Instances of this use are too numerous to be here particularly referred to. It is in this latter sense, perhaps, that the word is used here—not to denote that the second person of the Trinity is to surrender all power into the hands of the first, or that he is to cease to exercise dominion and control; but that the power is to be yielded into the hands of God as God, i.e., as the universal Father, as the Divinity, without being exercised in any peculiar and special manner by the different persons of the Godhead, as had been done in the work of redemption. At the close of the work of redemption this peculiar arrangement would cease; and God, as the universal Father and Ruler of all, would exercise the government of the world. See Barnes "1 Co 15:28".
When he shall have put down. When he shall have abolished, or brought to nought, all that opposed the reign of God.
All rule, etc. All those mighty powers that opposed God and resisted his reign. The words here used do not seem intended to denote the several departments or forms of opposition, but to be general terms, meaning that whatever opposed God should be subdued. They include, of course, the kingdoms of this world; the sins, pride, and corruption of the human heart; the powers of darkness-the spiritual dominions that oppose God on earth and in hell, and death and the grave. All shall be completely subdued, and cease to interpose any obstacles to the advancement of his kingdom and to his universal reign. A monarch reigns when all his enemies are subdued or destroyed; or when they are prevented from opposing his will, even though all should not voluntarily submit to his will. The following remarks of Prof. Bush present a plausible and ingenious view of this difficult passage, and they are, therefore, subjoined here.
"If the opinion of the eminent critic, Storr, may be admitted,
that the kingdom here said to be delivered up to the
Father is not the kingdom of Christ, but the rule and
dominion of all adverse powers,—an opinion rendered very
probable by the following words: 'when he shall have
put down (Gr., done away, abolished) all rule, and all
authority and power' — and 1 Co 15:25, 'till he hath
put all enemies under his feet,'—then is the passage of
identical import with Re 11:15, referring to precisely
the same period:' And the seventh angel sounded; and there
were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of the
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ;
and he shall reign for ever and ever.' It is therefore, we
conceive, but a peculiar mode of denoting the transfer,
the making over of the kingdoms of this world from
their former despotic and antichristian rulers to the
sovereignty of Jesus Christ, the appointed heir and head of
all things, whose kingdom is to be everlasting. If this
interpretation be correct, we are prepared to advance a
step farther, and suggest that the phrase,
he shall have delivered up, (Greek,
be understood as an instance of the idiom in which the verb
is used without any personal nominative, but has reference
to the purpose of God as expressed in the Scriptures; so
that the passage may be read, Then cometh the end, (i.e., not
the close, the final winding up, but the perfect development,
expansion, completion, consummation of the Divine plans in
regard to this world,) when the prophetic announcements of
the Scriptures require the delivering up (i.e., the making
over) of all adverse dominion into the hands of the
Messiah, to whose supremacy we are taught to expect that
everything will finally be made subject."—
Illustrations of Scripture. A more extended examination of this difficult passage may be seen in Storr's Opuscala, vol. i., pp. 274—282. See also Biblical Repository, vol. iii., pp. 748—755.
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