As suggested by the title, this is installment #5 of this fantastic series by William Bell. This series has definitively and irrefutably place 1 Corinthians 15 in the proper context for correct interpretation, and demonstrated the fallacies in the traditional views. Be sure to begin reading with part one here.
Who Inherited the Kingdom?
It is obvious that the living saints were already inheriting the kingdom. Since this is the eschatological action that is completed in AD 70, why is it not the case that these saints were being lifted from the earth in a rapturous escape? Their inheritance of the kingdom, being a progressive action should mean being progressively raptured should it not? Does the IBD rapture advocates accept such an implication? No.
Moroever, not only do the living saints receive the kingdom, the dead saints also receive it. Do they receive a different kingdom from that of the living? Not according to Christ.
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 8:11, 21:43; Luke. 13:28)
Therefore, the dead saints would receive the same kingdom/inheritance as the living saints. It is not a separate individual body for each of the living nor of the dead ones, but the very same “one” kingdom of God!
This explains why it was necessary for the dead ones of 1 Corinthians 15:35 to die (even after they were biologically or physically dead). They died under Adam/the Law, neither of which could take away sins. Thus, they were yet under the “transgressions of the first covenant.” This is why they were yet in Hades at the time Paul wrote. They were “alive to sin” and thus yet held under the power of death through sin and condemnation of the Law, that which Paul in Romans 8:21 refers to as the “bondage of corruption.”
Hence, Paul, in answering the objections to the resurrection of the dead ones offers the seed analogy in direct response to how are the dead ones raised up, and with what body (kingdom) do they come? Also, remember, there were two houses or kingdoms of Israel, a problem which had yet to be resolved by completing the mystery of God. God would make one new covenant, under one new King David, with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. (Ezekiel 37:15f, Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:7-13).
But back to our point. Paul offers the seed analogy to speak of the dead ones. He said, “‘that which “you sow is not made alive unless it dies.'” That means in order for the dead to “die to sin” (remember they had already physically died, thus, they could not die that death again) they had to be first sown in Christ. But when did this sowing occur?
It could not have occurred at any time prior to Jesus’ own death and resurrection because he is the firstfruits of those that slept, i.e. of the dead ones. Therefore, at some point and time during Jesus’ resurrection or shortly thereafter, the dead ones were sown, i.e. began the process of dying to sin. That explains the present passive verbs used for their condition. I would venture to say either on Pentecost or during the time Christ preached to the Spirits in Hades.
Hosea, the prophet assures us that God would sow those who were ‘not his people’ and upon whom he no longer had mercy, to him in the earth. “Then I will sow her for Myself and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy. Then I will say to those who were not My people, you are My people! And they shall say, ‘You are my God!” (Hosea 2:23) In chapter 13:14, he promises to ransom them from the grave (Sheol/Hades).
In Isaiah 26:19, God says “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
Israel’s dwelling in the dust here is their national captivity among the graves of Gentile dominion. This is evident from verse 18. “We have been with child, we have been with pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.” The inhabitants of the world were the Gentile rulers who held them captive.
At the time, Israel was in Babylonian captivity subject to their captors. Their national deliverance is their resurrection. When their rulers are punished and defeated, Israel is delivered from death. See 26:12-15. More to come! Be sure to get a copy of the McDurmon-V-Preston debate, in DVDs, MP3s or, on Kindle (with a book forthcoming). McDurmon made the astounding claim that there was a fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15 in AD 70, yet, we are still waiting on the “final fulfillment.” You simply must read (or watch) the debate