In 1 Corinthians 15:25, Paul refers to Psalm 8:6. The Psalm says that God gave authority to man to rule over everything. The first man, Adam, had that authority, but he handed it over to the devil. The perfect man, Christ, regained that authority, and he is using his authority to defeat all Godís enemies. In ancient times, rulers sometimes put their feet on their enemiesí necks in order to show that they had completely defeated them. That is the word-picture here. Christ will completely defeat the devil and death.
The Bible often uses the harvest as a word-picture for these events at the end of our present age. In 1 Corinthians 15:23-25, Paul reminds us that the harvest in ancient Israel was not just one event, but several events. They began, each year, with the harvests of grain and ended with the fruit harvests.
The first grain that people harvested each year was called the first-fruit. Paul has used that word about Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:23. When Christ became alive again after his death, that was the first event in his defeat of death. In his own body, Christ had defeated death.
Most of the grain, however, was not ripe until a few weeks after the first-fruit. Jesus often used the grain harvest as a word-picture for Godís work in the lives of his people (John 4:35-36; Mark 4:1-20). At some future time, he will return to rescue them from this world (Matthew 13:37-43). He will cause them to live again (15:23). So he will defeat death in the lives of his people.
The last event is the final defeat of all Godís enemies, including death. Psalm 8 is a song for the fruit harvest (see my notes on Hebrews 2:5-8). After the workers had collected the fruit called grapes, they squeezed out the juice under their feet to make wine. This was a good time to remember that, in the end, Christ will defeat all his enemies to establish Godís rule.
Next part: Death: the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.