1 CORINTHIANS 15: 23-38 Print E-mail

1 CORINTHIANS – 15: 23-38

            Sunday Evening Service – May 12, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Paul takes us out into the deep in the balance of this chapter.  I am going to back up to verse 23 and take another running start at verse 29.  (See teaching 5/5/12 on exegesis of  verses 23-28).


Warning the balance of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 15: 29-58 is not for the faint-hearted, or those looking for easy believism.  I am not one to follow every wind of doctrine as I teach and preach directly from the Word of God.  If  what is taught and preached does not line up with the “Word of God”,  teachers and preachers are at risk of preaching heresies.  Any truth stretched too far out is heresy.



Overview from verse 23:

Paul is speaking of the resurrection of the dead, “every man in his own order”.  The word for “order” is “tagma” and is a military metaphor suggesting companies appearing in their proper order and position.


(See teaching on website “Parousia” 8/21/2011 by: Carolyn Sissom

They that are Christ’s at His “coming”.  The word for “coming” is  Parousia”.  This is used of Christ’s second coming.  His “Parousia” suggests not merely His arrival, but also His continued Presence. (Mt. 24:3, 37; 1 Th. 4:15; 5:23; 2 Th. 2: 1, 8; James 5:7; 8:2; 2 Pet. 3:4).


“1 Thess. 3:13: “To the end He (The Lord) may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming (“Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”


Parousia (Par- u- se- ah) Strong’s #3952 – “Presence; the coming, arrival, advent, and return from heaven of Jesus.”  I believe the word translated in English as “coming” also means the manifest Presence of the Lord by visitation and habitation.   Parousia literally means “presence”.   It is used 17 times in the New Testament referring to the Second Coming.


In verse 23, Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord.  He uses the Greek word, “Parousia”  which means “being beside” or “personal presence”.

Unblameable:  The holy ones include all His saints who have yielded to be established in holiness.  (1 John 2:28) “And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.” (Parousia)”)


Continued Verse 1 Cor. 15:24:

Then the end will come.  The absolute end---the termination of world history---rather than a third order.  Then” permits an interval between Christ’s coming and the final consummation; a period for destroying all opposing powers; a period which culminates in His delivering the kingdom to God (2 Th. 1: 7-10).


When” denotes indefiniteness of time.


The Kingdom preached by Jesus, by the Apostles and by the Church is for the purpose of establishing the reign and sovereignty of God.


This sovereignty, a commission granted to the Son, will be fulfilled when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father.  Jesus will and has  destroyed (rendered inoperative), liquidated, all opposition, all rule, all authority and power of the enemies of the Kingdom.


Jesus’ resurrection terminated death’s power for those who are Christ's.   All power in Heaven and earth was “Then” given to Jesus.


Rev.5:8: “Thou (the Lamb) are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation…(Vs.12) “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing…(Vs 18b) “Blessing, honor, glory and power be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”


 The state of the unbelieving dead is not mentioned in these verses as Paul is concerned only with conditions as they affect believers.


Just as the incarnate Son was subject, or subordinate to the Father to effect eternal redemption at His first advent, and to that extent owned Him as greater, so coming again the second time for the final accomplishment of that commission the same relationship continues.  The task completed, the Redeemer, man’s Mediator, surrenders the kingdom to Him who sent Him.  Their essential equality and unity remain, "God…all in all”, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


“The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will reign together throughout all eternity (for ever and ever- Rev. 5:18b)  as before the rebellion which made it necessary for them to take separate parts in creation and redemption of all things.” (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible).


Until this point in 1 Corinthians, Paul has been establishing foundational doctrine.   I was cruising along with Paul nice and easy.  Now I will have to take these next scriptures carefully and prayerfully to be able to follow him.  Not that I expect to bring forth any “great revelation”.  I am only hoping be found a worthy teacher of Paul’s epistle.


The reason I backed up to verse 23, was to take a running start at Verse 29.  It is problematic at best.  I can tell you what I think, but I cannot tell you what it means.  Also, none of the commentaries have a clue and are honest enough to say as much.


1 Cor. 15: 29:  Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?


Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible:  Baptism of the Dead (15:29):


7 reasons Why Baptism of the Dead is Unscriptural and an Erroneous Practice:


  1. It is a law of Scripture that every doctrine must be proved by two or more scriptures (1 Cor. 13:1; Mt. 18:16; Dt. 19: 15-18) but this verse is the only one casually mentioning the subject.
  2. The Corinthians were in many errors and heresies (11:19).  Baptism of the dead was only one of them.
  3.  Mt. 4:13: “I (John) indeed baptize you with water to repentance; but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire..  (Vs. 13) Then comes Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John, to be baptized of Him But John forbad Him, saying I have need to be baptized of You, and come You to me?  Jesus answered, “Allow it to be so now; for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.”  Water baptism could not save a dead man who did not meet conditions of repentance while he was still alive.  Luke 13:3:  I (Jesus) tell you that except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”
  4. Salvation is a personal matter and cannot be obtained by proxy (Mk. 16:16; Lk. 12: 1-5; Jn. 3:1-20).
  5. There is no command or example of baptism of the dead in Scripture.
  6. The simple truth is that Paul is here showing the inconsistency of false teachers at Corinth in denying the doctrine of the resurrection and yet accepting the fallacy of baptism for the dead.  He does not sanction such a doctrine or practice just because he makes one passing reference to this error.
  7. One might as well believe there is no resurrection of the dead on the basis of false teachers saying there is none (vs. 12), as to believe in their practice of baptism for the dead.


(End of Quote from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible)


F., F. Bruce Bible Commentary (Paul W. Marsh):


Baptism of the Dead:  “One of the most difficult phrases in scripture.  Of the many interpretations offered, the most plausible is perhaps that which views the practice as an irregular type of baptism, probably by proxy (Moffatt) for those who died un-baptized.  This is what the text appears to say.  However, no such baptisms are recorded before Tertullian’s time (165-225).


  The obvious futility of such a practice, if the dead are not raised, would greatly strengthen Paul’s argument.  Would he reason from so heretical a practice without condemning it?  He does not identify Himself with the practice is clear from the pronoun “those”, whereas in the next verse he reverts to “us”.  Others view it as regular Christina baptism and translate as, “with an interest in the resurrection of the dead’, i.e. expecting to be raised.  Still others suggest a baptism of suffering or death…”  (End of Quote from F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary)


There are as many other views, suggestions and opinions.  As a Christian, it is my view that in this life, we must accept and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and be “born again” into His Kingdom in order to receive eternal life.   I believe in “water baptism” because Jesus was baptized that “all righteousness might be fulfilled”.


In the Methodist church where I grew up, baptism was considered an outward show of an inward cleansing.  Sprinkling for the dedication of children was a commitment of the parents to raise the children in the church and admonition of the Lord.


As I have grown in the Lord, I consider baptism in water as the first of three spiritual sealing’s in the Lord and a paradigm shift in the Spirit in our Christian walk.  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the second sealing.  The baptism of fire and subsequent sealing of the Mind of Christ is the third.

 Baptism in water has been a source of doctrinal dispute for many years.  Let each of us settle it in our own Spirits without judgment.  I was immersed in a South East Missouri "river" by a Methodist preacher and "count it all joy".


From the earliest centuries of the Church this verse (1 Cor. 15:29) has posed a constant problem.  I find it honorable that no one decided to change the verse or eliminate it simply because theologians cannot explain it.


I don’t want to overly spend time on this, but I am an honest broker.  I can’t skip a verse just because it is difficult, nor can I give a “pat” answer to some of these verses where “deep calls to deep”.


It is my logical conclusion that Paul is proving his argument of the Resurrection of the Dead:   “If there is no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, what’s the point of all those proxy baptisms? Why would people do such a thing unless they believed their dead would one day rise again”? 


1 Cor. 15: 30-33: “Why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me, if the dead rise not”. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.  Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.”


We Christians live in a world that hates God.  We have been protected in the United States from persecution, but that window of time is fast closing. Persecution of Christinas was especially true in Paul’s day.   Paul is asking, “Why would men join such a dangerous religion; if death was the end of everything”?”  The answer is: most wouldn’t unless they believed in the resurrection to eternal life.


However, it is my faith statement that I would die for the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the Word of God, whether I was promised eternal life or not.


Paul says, “ I face death all the time”  He was never out of danger.  Enemies followed him everywhere.  “Why would I stare death in the face every day,” he asks, “if there were no resurrection?”


Once we have died to our carnal soul, then death holds no fear for us.  What is there to fear for a dead man?


In the closing verses of this chapter, Paul defines and describes the body, soul and spirit in the Resurrection


Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  For those who do not know Christ in the power of His resurrection, then all life has to offer is the creature comforts of eating and drinking.


Don’t allow yourselves to be led astray by those who think that way.  If you are friendly with people of that sort, break off the relationship right now, for evil associations’ corrupt straight thinking.


Beasts in Ephesus refers almost certainly, not to any encounter in the arena—such would surely have been recorded in the Acts, or in 1 Co., but to the fierce struggles with Jews and Gentiles in Ephesus where his life was gravely threatened.


 1 Cor. 15: 34-38:  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame. Some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body they come?  You fool, that which you sow is not made alive, except it die.  That which you sow, you sow not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it is very different from that which you planted.  What you put in the ground is a mere kernel of grain or seed of some kind.  But when it comes up, God sees that it arises with a body as it has pleased him, and to every seed its own body.”


Now Paul turns them to the resurrection of the body.  The resurrection is well illustrated in the things with which they are most familiar.  The quickening, germinating process is of God and is contingent on the death of the grain---it dies.  Both are fundamental to the resurrection.


Again we go off into the “deep” --- we will continue this awesome revelation of the resurrection of the body next week.


There are remarkable truths in the Apostle’s statements.  As star differs from star, so will Christians differ from each other in the resurrection.


To be continued….


Taught by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


< Prev   Next >
RocketTheme Joomla Templates