Few, if any, futurist commentators posit “the end” of 1 Corinthians 15:24f as anything but the end of the Christian age– the “final end.” They see “the end” as the termination of Christ’s rule on the throne. This is so widely accepted I will not take the time to document it with extensive quotes. Until the advent of the modern Dominionist theology, no one suggested “the end” had “a fulfillment” in AD 70, which was in Paul’s mind preliminary to “the real end.” However, in my July 2012 formal debate with Joel McDurmon, he argued that that there was in fact “a” fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15 in AD 70, but that we are still looking for the “real” fulfillment of the text. Be sure to order your copy of that debate, either in book form, DVDs, or MP3s.
Of course, the question under review here is whether Paul anticipated a preliminary, typological “the end” pointing to the “real,” real end, or, whether he believed “the ‘real’ end” was truly in view. A related question of course, is whether Paul even envisioned an eschatology at “the end of time.” Be sure to get a copy of my book AD 70: A Shadow of the (Real) End? for a devastating critique of the Dominionist claims that AD 70 was a type of the end of the world. There is not another book like it, anywhere!
The term “the end” is used 19 times in the NT, (NKJV) from Romans – Revelation. Paul speaks of death being “the end” of sin (Romans 6:21-22). Christ is “the end of the law” (Romans 10:4; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:13, where Moses could not see “the end” of Torah). In Revelation, God is “the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (1:8; 22:13).
In the majority of occurrences there are definite eschatological overtones to the context. This is especially true in Hebrews (3:6, 14; 6:11; 9:26) as well as James (5:11) and 1 Peter (1:9; 4:7; 4:17).
“The end” in 1 Corinthians also has definite eschatological connections.
1 Corinthians 1:4-8– The Corinthians possessed the charismatic gifts. Those gifts had confirmed them, and those gifts would continue to confirm them “until the end,” the Day of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 10:11 – The end of the ages, i.e. the goal of the previous ages, was even then falling on them. As we have seen, the consummative nature of this end of the age cannot, in any sense, be labeled as a mere type. It is in fact, contrasted with the Old Testament events that were typological, but, those types pointed to Paul’s generation.
When we come to “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15 there is no contextual reason whatsoever to delineate between the anticipated end there, and that mentioned earlier in the epistle. Remember that Joel McDurmon agreed there was in fact a fulfillment of “the end” of 1 Corinthians 15, in AD 70. This admission nullifies any other, future fulfillment.
Several factors militate against defining “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15 as a referent to the end of time, or the end of the Christian age. We will present just a small amount of that material in upcoming articles, so stay tuned!