In “the coming reign of Christ” Jefferson Vann explains why Christ must return to earth, and why his restoration does not mean everybody will be saved.
1 Corinthians 15:21-28 JDV
1 Corinthians 15:21 Because since death originated through a human, resurrection from the dead ones will also originate through a human.
1 Corinthians 15:22 Because just as everyone in Adam is dying, in the same way everyone in Christ will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:23 But each crop will be harvested in its own order: Christ, the first harvest, then the ones to be harvested by Christ when he makes his appearance.
1 Corinthians 15:24 Next the end of the harvest will happen, when he gives back the kingdom to God and Father, when he has eliminated every priority and every authority and power.
1 Corinthians 15:25 Because it will be necessary for him to reign until he has put all the hostile ones under his feet.
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last hostile thing to be eliminated will be death.
1 Corinthians 15:27 Because “God has subordinated them all under his feet.” But when it says, “subordinated them all,” it is plain that he who subordinated them all under him is excluded.
1 Corinthians 15:28 When they all have been subordinated to him, then the Son himself will also be subordinated to the one who subordinated them all to him, so that God may be all in all.
the coming reign of Christ
Right in the middle of his resurrection chapter, Paul sort of gets carried away talking about something else. He describes the second coming of Jesus. He explains the order of the resurrections. First, there was the resurrection of Christ himself— the first of those to be raised from the dead.
Our resurrection does not happen until “his coming.” But he also explains that when Christ returns, he will begin a reign as king over the planet.
The reign will not be uncontested. In fact, the reign will continue until all the persons hostile to Christ are eliminated. Each enemy will be subjected to Christ. This will continue until all enemies are under his feet.
There are only two ways to subject an enemy under one’s feet. You may either conquer that enemy, placing that king under your own authority, or you may end the life of that adversary. That is what Jesus will be doing as he reigns.
The last hostile thing to be eliminated is death itself. Death still has a role to play after the return of Christ. The second death, from which there will be no resurrection, will be the fate of all those who rebel against the kingdom of Christ.
Jesus is not divided. You cannot own Christ as Saviour without submitting to him as your king. His reign is a given in the eschatological landscape. It will happen.
The end result of that reign will be a redeemed as restored universe. But his reign is not purgatorial. The only way to be restored by king Jesus is to place your authority under him. The only way to survive his reign is to come over to his side. The time to make that decision is now. When he returns, he will cease to reconcile and begin eliminating.
Now is the time for reconciliation, before the king begins to eliminate the hostile things from his domain.
So that is why Christ must return to earth, and why his restoration does not mean everybody will be saved.
For more on 1 Corinthians 15, see: