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Looking for references of the Gospel in the Bible, I found a very interesting text:*

1 Corinthians 15:22-25 (ESV)
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

The Church to which I belong is premillennial, dispensationalist and pretribulationist. Then, the first thing I thought, is that Christ delivered the Kingdom at the end of the thousand years. i.e.:

Revelation 20:4 (ESV)
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

However, the Bible says in another text:

Luke 1:30-33 (ESV)
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

It seems a contradiction. Then, how should interpret the phrase «he delivers the kingdom to God the Father»?

* All the emphasis are mine.

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2 Answers 2

In 1 Cor 15:24, Paul is explaining that Jesus is submitting His power and authority to God the Father. This is not related to reign of Christ on earth.

Even if it were related to His reign, Jesus has always been submissive to the Father. If you keep reading you will see in 1 Cor 15:28

When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

that Jesus is giving all His authority to His Father. Please remember the context of this passage is to prove the resurrection is real, not an explanation of the end of times.


As to the timing of things, (according to the pre-trib/pre-millennial view) this could happen at the end of the tribulation and Jesus is still ruling under the Fathers authority or more likely this happens after the millennium and after the judgement.


The reference to "of his kingdom there will be no end", is either a euphamism for a really long time like the millennium or more likely since Jesus is God and eternal then it a reference to His eternality.

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The Nicene-Constantinople Creed of 381AD states,

"...He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end."

This statement, which has been a fundemental of church belief, was written in opposition to the Modalists, who denied the Trinity, and just saw God 'in the form of' Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and not the Person(s) of. It also rejects "Arianism" or the Gnostic heresy that makes "the Son" a creation of the Father, and not pre-existant with the Father, therefore, "not God".

What was also opposed was "Chiliasm", a Greek rooted word that described the Physical 1000 Year Reign on Earth by Christ in Jerusalem, after the Resurrection of the Just, or the "Rapture". This doctrine was taught by Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Irenaeus of Lyons had devoted 5 chapters in Book V(30,31,32,33,34-Against Heresies). It's main detractor was Augustine of Hippo, who saw the Church "figuratively" representing the "1000 year Reign of Christ on the earth as the "Israel of God", therefore there was no need for any other. According to the account written in the Encyclopedia of World Religions(1999 Merriam Webster),

Augustine went still further, arguing that no historical event or chronology can be interpreted apocalyptically; and that the millennium was not a future event but already in progress, already set in motion by Christ. To explain why the evils of war, hatred, injustice and poverty continued unabated, Augustine used the notion of the Two Cities. There was a "heavenly city," the celestial Jerusalem, where the millennium was already manifest, and a terrestrial Babylon, the time-bound city of violence and oppression in which the millennium was not visible. These two cities would coexist as a corpus permixtum (a mixed body) in every man (even saints) and in every society (even the Church) until the Eschaton. Thus Christian Rome, even the earthy Church, could not represent the perfection of eschatological fulfillment, and their historical fate had nothing to do with God’s plans for human salvation. This teaching radically reoriented Christian eschatology: rather than awaiting the coming Kingdom on earth, one should await it at the very end of time. Augustine basically banned millennialism, or the belief in a coming kingdom of God on earth, from Christian theology (Fredriksen)

This was the view the Counsel of Bishops held at Constantinople in 381AD, which by 451, at the Counsel at Chalcedon was declared "Anathema" by any who opposed it. This view persisted through the Middle Ages; the Westminster Confession of Faith specifically banned "chiliasm", as well as numerous other "confessions of faith".

It wasn't until the 19th century that "chiliasm" would receive a hearing again, this time under the auspices of the Plymouth Bretheren, led by J.N. Darby, who took the view that God's Promises towards Israel were left unfulfilled, and therefore a "literal thousand year reign" must be understood. His Calvinist upbringing however, refused to allow him to reconcile "Law and Grace", therefore he proposed a "dispensation" where the saints would be raptured prior to a time of tribulation, and then Christ would return to Jerusalem to "reign for a thousand years" over the nation of Israel, and any Christians who happened to survive the "Great Tribulation". This view, called "Dispensationalism", caught on in America as D.L. Moody and R.A. Torrey embraced it in their trips to England. It's main proponents are part of the Dallas School of Theology, of whom Dwight Pentecost, and John Walvoord have written extensively.

Another view exists however, and it's one that the celebrated preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon embraced.

Distinctions have been drawn by certain exceedingly wise men (measured by their own estimate of themselves), between the people of God who lived before the coming of Christ, and those who lived afterwards. We have even heard it asserted that those who lived before the coming of Christ do not belong to the church of God! We never know what we shall hear next, and perhaps it is a mercy that these absurdities are revealed at one time, in order that we may be able to endure their stupidity without dying of amazement. Why, every child of God in every place stands on the same footing; the Lord has not some children best beloved, some second-rate offspring, and others whom he hardly cares about. These who saw Christ's day before it came, had a great difference as to what they knew, and perhaps in the same measure a difference as to what they enjoyed whole on earth meditating upon Christ; but they were all washed in the same blood, all redeemed with the same ransom price, and made members of the same body. Israel in the covenant of grace is not natural Israel, but all believers in all ages. Before the first advent, all the types and shadows all pointed one way —they pointed to Christ, and to him all the saints looked with hope. Those who lived before Christ were not saved with a different salvation to that which shall come to us. They exercised faith as we must; that faith struggled as ours struggles, and that faith obtained its reward as ours shall338 [emphasis ours(taken from here)

This is the historist, premillenial position which sees both Israel and the church simultaneously during the Physical Reign of Christ on Earth. Spurgeon was by no means it's chief protagonist, yet he saw the 'fallacy' of Dispensationalism, as well as the inadequacy of the Covenant theology positions. He lived during the time of the awakening of Zionism, and saw it's fulfillment in a Jewish nation.

As to Luke 1:33,

and he shall reign over the house of Jacob to the ages; and of his reign there shall be no end'(Youngs Literal Translation)

we see that He will "rule" over the house of Jacob to the ages to come, meaning that a "Replacement Theology" doesn't explain His rulership to the "ages of the future" reign. However, Rev. 21:1 states,

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Since the promises of Israel's nationhood exist Jer. 33:21-22

"If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.

as long as the earth and heavens exist, and David's son "Christ" will reign until all enemies be put under His feet."(1 Cor. 15:24). After that time, the old earth and heavens will be dissolved, and God's Covenant with Israel will be fulfilled. However, Jesus in Matt. 24:35 says

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

The Eternal Logos, the Word Himself will 'rule' us for all eternity, and the picture we get from Rev. 21, which is paralleled by 2 Pet. 3:13 is in the New Jerusalem there will be perfect righteousness. Therefore, "He shall reign forever" in the hearts and minds of His people, as everything that opposes His reign will be done away with, and God will dwell with His people(Rev. 21:3).

So Luke 1:30-33 will be fulfilled; both by the Millenial Reign, and afterward by the ongoing dwelling of God with His people for all eternity.

.

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