Amillennialism and the Age to Come—A Critical Review # 15

by | Jul 18, 2017 | Book Reviews, Eschatology

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14

Waymeyer’s Treatment of 1 Corinthians 15 Continued

Let me repeat the words with which I began my last post.  “The pinnacle of the systemic confusion introduced into plain and literal New Testament passages by Waymeyer is found in his lengthy treatment of 1 Corinthians 15 on pages 147 to 171 of his book. Waymeyer’s argument consists in a number of assertions.  First, there is a sequence of events at the end of Christ’s reign allowed by the use of epeita in verse 23 and eita in verse 24; and this allows for a temporal gap into which a future millennium may be inserted.  Second, the reign of Christ in view in the passage is a future reign which requires a future millennial reign for its complete fulfillment.  Third, “the end” in verses 24-26 includes the resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the millennium.  Fourth, the assertion that death is defeated by the resurrection of believers at Christ’s Second Coming does not refer to a once-for-all defeat of death the last enemy.  There are plain and, in my view, unanswerable responses to each of these assertions.”  I responded to the first two of these assertions in my last post.  The last two will be answered here.

“Third, ‘the end’ in verses 24-26 includes the resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the millennium.”  Here it needs to be said that Waymeyer expresses some reservation about this typical premillennial interpretation of “the end” as the end of the resurrection, that is, the resurrection of unbelievers.  Nevertheless, at the end of his “on the one hand, and on the other hand,” he adopts the traditional, premillennial position that this phrase is a reference, either directly or indirectly, to the resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the millennium.

In response to this little or nothing needs to be added to what I have said in the End Times Made Simple: “Against this theory the following considerations are conclusive: (1) As we have seen, the context makes no mention of the resurrection of unbelievers (vv. 18, 19).  (2)  The statement that all will be made alive in verse 22 is qualified by the phrase “in Christ.”  Without exception this phrase has in the Apostle Paul’s writings a reference to the sphere of salvation.  Unless, therefore, one is willing to adopt the heresy of universal salvation, one must limit the scope of verse 22.  (3)  The phrase “the end” (to telos) is never used of the last segment of the resurrection elsewhere in the New Testament.”  Also conclusive against this interpretation of the end is what was noticed in my previous post.  The time of “the end” is identified by the two “when’s” of verse 24.  As we have seen, the second when clearly identifies the time of “the end” with the destruction of the last enemy, death, by the resurrection of believers at Christ’s Second Coming.

“Fourth, the assertion that death is defeated by the resurrection of believers at Christ’s Second Coming does not refer to a once-for-all defeat of death the last enemy.”  I have already pointed to the explicit statement of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 that at the resurrection of Christ’s people death will be abolished and defeated as one of the conclusive reasons to reject Waymeyer’s reconstruction of the meaning of verses 20-28.  In response to this use of these verses, Waymeyer argues: “The most plausible way to harmonize 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 with Revelation 20 is to see the language of victory over death in this passage as applicable to each stage of resurrection set forth in Scripture.” (166)  Several responses to this innovative reading of these verses may be mentioned.

In the first place, it directly contradicts verses 54-55: “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.’”  Paul says “then”—not “about then.” Nor does he say “sometime after then.”  He certainly does not say “over a thousand years after this.”  He clearly and straightforwardly says: “then will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.’”

In the second place, Waymeyer’s reading is made even more difficult because it is simply impossible to ignore the connection between verses 54-55 and verse 26.  Granting for the sake of argument, that in another context something like Waymeyer’s reading might be possible.  It is not possible in this context, because of the contextual connection between the verses 54-55 and verse 26.

In the third place, the deplorable hermeneutics driving Waymeyer’s reading must be noticed.  For him the question is how to reconcile 1 Corinthians 15 with Revelation 20.  Clearly, the force driving the innovative reading of 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 is the Premillennial interpretation of Revelation 20.  I have pointed out in previous posts just how misguided and backwards it is to allow a highly figurative passage written in apocalyptic language to exercise a normative, hermeneutical influence over a straightforward and literal passage like 1 Corinthians 15.  To introduce an alien universe of discourse into 1 Corinthians 15 from Revelation 20 is destructive of the clarity of Scripture.

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Is the covenant of works biblical? | Tom Hicks

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The Reformed confessions of faith all affirm that God made a “covenant of works” with Adam in the Garden of Eden. For example, The Second London Baptist Confession 20.1 explicitly refers to this covenant: “The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made...

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