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Volume 4 & 5 - Page 38 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
Shall Antichrist be revived?
"Then the end. . . . when He shall destroy (katarge§) all rule, and all authority, and
power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy
that shall be destroyed (katarge§) is death" (I Cor. 15: 24-26).
Here we have the same word occurring twice, both having reference to the destruction
of enemies. Scripture offers abundant evidence as to the manner in which these enemies
are dealt with, and gives also the end and destruction of death itself. What is meant by
death in I Cor. 15:? "By man came death"; "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is
death"; "Death is swallowed up in victory"; "O death, where is thy sting?" "The sting
of death is sin." It is perfectly clear that every reference other than verse 26 means the
death which passed upon all men by virtue of Adam's sin. They do not go beyond to the
second death--that is quite foreign to the whole passage. What warrant have we then to
assume that verse 26 departs from the consistent meaning of every other passage in the
context, and means the second death? The "destruction" of verse 26 is parallel with the
"swallowing up" of death in resurrection. The subduing of all enemies is balanced by the
"victory" of verse 57.
There is no Scripture which teaches resurrection from the second death; and on such a
tremendous theme as this inference and deduction may be but blind guides which will
only lead us into the ditch. Into the lake of fire, which is the second death, Death and
Hades are cast. Why? To preserve them? to again deliver them up to continue their reign
of darkness? or to destroy them as having no more place in the economy of the ages? Let
it be perfectly understood that the doctrine of the reconciliation of all things is a separate
issue. Its understanding must be the result of prayerful consideration of the passages
which teach the subject. No good, but indeed positive harm, will follow that system of
interpretation which uses the Word as a buttress to support teaching. We must go to the
Scriptures as we would to a well of water, drawing forth its precious teaching, but not go
to it to hang vast issues upon exceedingly slender inferences which will not stand the test
of exegetical criticism.
I Corinthians does not teach anything beyond that which the apostle defined as "milk";
the Corinthians were not able to bear anything approaching the solid meat of the mystery
of the gospel. The words used in the passage under consideration, "firstfruits,"
"parousia," "the end," "all things put under His feet," "destruction of death," are all
perfectly consistent with the limited aspect of the kingdom, beyond which, at the time of
writing, little or nothing had been revealed.
Let us not be in too much of a hurry to see the meeting point of all the doctrines of the
Word. Free will, divine sovereignty, the origin and introduction of evil, and the
destruction of the ungodly, present problems which seem to go beyond the grasp of finite
minds, and are not explained in any fulness in the Scriptures. We feel that a weak point
in the system of interpretation under notice is found in the fact that it consigns ever so
many more to the lake of fire than Scripture warrants, and consequently seeks some way