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15. Resurrection of Christ and the Dead
1Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, 2by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; 5and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; 6then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; 7then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; 8and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. 9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11Whether then it be I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 12Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised: 14and if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain. 15Yea, we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised: 17and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. 20But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming. 24Then 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. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be abolished is death. 27For, 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. 28And 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. 29Else 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? 30Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? 31I protest by that glorifying in you, brethren, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32If 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. 33Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals. 34Awake to soberness righteously, and sin not; for some have no knowledge of God: I speak this to move you to shame. 35But some one will say, How are the dead raised? and with what manner of body do they come? 36Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die: 37and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind; 38but God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. 40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? 56The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: 57but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.
20. But now hath Christ risen. Having shown what dreadful confusion as to everything would follow, if we were to deny that the dead rise again, he now again assumes as certain, what he had sufficiently established previously — that Christ has risen; and he adds that he is the first-fruits, 4848 “Although the resurrection of Christ, compared with first-fruits of any kind, has very good harmony with them, yet it more especially agrees with the offering of the sheaf, commonly called עומר, omer, not only as the thing itself, but also as to the circumstances of the time. For first there was the passover, and the day following was a sabbatic day, and on the day following that, the first-fruits were offered. So Christ, our passover, was crucified: the day following his crucifixion was the Sabbath, and the day following that, he, the first-fruits of them that slept, rose again, All who died before Christ, and were raised again to life, died afterwards; but Christ is the first-fruits of all who shall be raised from the dead to die no more.” — Lightfoot. — Ed. by a similitude taken, as it appears, from the ancient ritual of the law. For as in the first-fruits the produce of the entire year was consecrated, so the power of Christ’s resurrection is extended to all of us — unless you prefer to take it in a more simple way — that in him the first fruit of the resurrection was gathered. I rather prefer, however, to understand the statement in this sense — that the rest of the dead will follow him, as the entire harvest does the first-fruits; 4949 “The first-fruits were by the command of God presented to him at a stated season, not only as a token of the gratitude of the Israelites for his bounty, but as an earnest of the approaching harvest. In this sense he is called the first-fruits of the dead. He was the first in order of time, for although some were restored to life by the Prophets, and by himself during his personal ministry, none came out of their graves to return to them no more till after his resurrection; and as he was the first in respect of time, so he was the first in order of succession; all the saints following him as the harvest followed the presentation of the first-fruits of the temple. The interval is long, and the dreary sterility of the grave might justify the thought, that the seed committed to it has perished for ever. But our hope rests upon his power, which can make the wilderness blossom as the rose; and we wait till heavenly influences descend as the dew of herbs, when the barren soil shall display all the luxuriance of vegetation, and death itself shall teem with life.” — Dick’s Theology, volume 4 — Ed. and this is confirmed by the succeeding statement.
21. Since by man came death The point to be proved is, that Christ is the first-fruits, and that it was not merely as an individual that he was raised up from the dead. He proves it from contraries, because death is not from nature, but from man’s sin. As, therefore, Adam did not die for himself alone, but for us all, it follows, that Christ in like manner, who is the antitype, 5050 “Le premier patron de la resurrection pour opposer a la mort d’ Adam;” — “The first pattern of the resurrection, in opposition to the death of Adam.” did not rise for himself alone; for he came, that he might restore everything that had been ruined in Adam.
We must observe, however, the force of the argument; for he does not contend by similitude, or by example, but has recourse to opposite causes for the purpose of proving opposite effects. The cause of death is Adam, and we die in him: hence Christ, whose office it is to restore to us what we lost in Adam, is the cause of life to us; and his resurrection is the ground-work and pledge of ours. And as the former was the beginning of death, so the latter is of life. In the fifth chapter of the Romans (Romans 5) he follows out the same comparison; but there is this difference, that in that passage he reasons respecting a spiritual life and death, while he treats here of the resurrection of the body, which is the fruit of spiritual life.
23. Every one in his own order. Here we have an anticipation of a question that might be proposed: “If Christ’s life,” some one might say, “draws ours along with it, why does not this appear? Instead of this, while Christ has risen from the grave, we lie rotting there.” Paul’s answer is, that God has appointed another order of things. Let us therefore reckon it enough, that we now have in Christ the first-fruits, 5151 “Les premices de la resurrection;” — “The first-fruits of the resurrection.” and that his coming 5252 “Quand il viendra en jugement;” — “When he will come to judgment.” will be the time of our resurrection. For our life must still be hid with him, because he has not yet appeared. (Colossians 3:3, 4.) It would therefore be preposterous to wish to anticipate that day of the revelation of Christ.