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Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is Death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.(1Corinthians 15:24-28)

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The hermenutical approach is to deal with the words and context of the verse in question. It is verse 24 (which you quote) that gives the answer. After Christ has come for the second time, and 'the end' has come, he has "destroyed all dominion, authority and power". That, of course is all dominion, authority and power that resisted the total dominion (sovereignty), the total authority, and the total power of the Lord's Christ. All such resistance is antagonistic to God, to Christ, and to the people who belong to God and Christ by faith. Once those three things have been destroyed, then death is destroyed as the last enemy. It's worth adding that this concept is in the Hebrew scriptures, in such prophesies as Isaiah 9:7; 25:8; 52:7 and Daniel 2:44; 7:14,27, all of which was well known to Paul.

To destroy is to render useless, or even to annihilate. The Greek has a variety of words that can be rendered 'destroyed' and one meaning includes "to abolish". As the verse in question speaks of inanimate things (not of persons, or buildings, but concepts to live by) the sense would be of crushing, then annihilating ungodly dominion, authority and power. This takes us into the realms of satanic dominion, authority and power, which is what lies at back of ungodly human dominion, authority and power.

As for "abolish" καταργέω Strong 2673 that is in 2 Timothy 1:10 where we learn that, "at the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ" he has abolished death. That happens after he has abolished all [ungodly] dominion, authority and power by conquering all on the Day of Resurrection and Judgment. We learn much more about the details of that in the last book of the Bible, written after the epistles to the Corinthians and to Timothy. However, I won't go there, but just recommend that you study the chapters in Revelation that depict the sudden appearing of Christ, to crush the vine of the earth, and to cast Satan and his followers into the eternally burning lake of fire, for after that is done we read of death joining them (chapter 19: verses 11 to 21 and chapter 20 verses 6 to 14.)

All that is left is eternally, gloriously, willingly and radiantly reflective of the supreme glory of God, who 'owns' all of that by being "all in all".

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  • Up-voted +1. I just edited to reference καταργέω. Please rollback that edit if you wish.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 18:29
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    @Nigel - your edit appreciated (and needed!)
    – Anne
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 18:38
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    Nicely done! Not sure if you would like to add that at 1 Cor 15:54 Paul quotes Isa 25:8 that Death is "swallowed up".
    – agarza
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 17:56
  • @agarza I've taken that point up, thanks.
    – Anne
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:19
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    I think maybe the OP was asking for literal enemies who willingly choose to oppose God. He asked, "WHO are the enemies before the last enemy." Not "WHAT are the enemies..." But I could be wrong, either way, great answer, and have a great day! :)
    – Rajesh
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 0:15
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I begin my answer with a question... How can death be destroyed? Death is an abstract entity; it's not something you can see or touch or hear, nor is it a sentient being. So how do you destroy it? Simple. Death is defined as "the ceasing of life." So, when is death destroyed? When the last person who will ever die, dies! That is, death is destroyed when every single person currently living, will live for eternity, because if everyone alive will live forever, then no one will ever die(cease to live) again, and if no one ever dies again, then death(the ceasing of life) itself is made entirely and permanently obsolete; you can't have the ceasing of life if life itself never ceases to be. Following this, the only way to have a universe consisting solely of eternal sentient beings is to get rid of everyone else who doesn't have eternal life in them, i.e. to destroy those who have willingly forfeited their right to eternal life by choosing to oppose God.

So, to answer your question, the enemies that are destroyed before death are ALL of God's sentient enemies(those who have chosen[you need a conscious will to choose] to actively oppose God). You see, final judgment has a twofold impact; at the final judgment, ALL who oppose God will be eternally destroyed, and as a result, death itself is eternally destroyed. The two events are causally related(a causal relation between two events exists if the occurrence of the first[total destruction of all God's living{in a broad sense to include the devil and demons} enemies] causes the occurrence of the second[total destruction of death itself]).

So, when is this? Well, at the end of the 1000 years. Let's read about it at Revelation 20:7-15;

"When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. 8 He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. 9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. 10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire."

Final judgment happens twice; in verse 9 and verses 13-15. It doesn't actually happen twice in reality; the entirety of Revelation 20 does not happen in chronological order(obviously some parts do, such as v. 9-10, but the chapter as a whole, from beginning to end, is not written in chronological order). The final judgment is being recorded from two perspectives. This, however, is irrelevant to the question.

Verses 9 details how the devil and his army, who are about to attack God's people, are wholly consumed by fire from heaven. Who is left after this? These are ALL of God's enemies, gathered into one place, and they are ALL destroyed in an instant. The only people left are God's people; those who have eternal life in the City of God. Final judgment has occurred, and it is peace and life everlasting; death, the final enemy, has been completely annihilated, because all of God's living enemies have been completely annihilated.

In conclusion:

The enemies destroyed before the last enemy(death) is destroyed, are ALL of God's conscious enemies(all the humans who choose to rebel against God by seizing autonomy for themselves and establishing their own corrupt power structures, as well as the spiritual hosts, the principalities and powers[i.e. the demons, the fallen sons of the Yahweh] who are behind-the-scenes, influencing these humans whether they know it or not; and finally, the one who started it all by initiating the intertwined humanly and spiritual rebellions, this one is "the original serpent, the one called devil and Satan[Revelation 12:9]"). In one short expression, all those who have made their clear choice to be on the side that opposes God, subsequently making themselves marked by Him for inevitable, eternal destruction.

Hope this helps! Have a good day. :)

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  • Please note the format style encouraged here. I have done one for you as an example.
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 6:36
  • Oh, you'll have to forgive me, as I am new here and thought that other format is just as fine. I see the user "Dottard" using it all the time as opposed to the one you showed me, so I assumed it was alright, but I guess not. Have a great day! :)
    – Rajesh
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 0:13
  • No worries, welcome! It makes it much easier to read and focus on the content - not the wall of words (like David below). All the verses when quoted should be preceded by the >. Dot points are fine also for shorter quotes or other brief points.
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 1:28
  • Ahhhh, ok, I see. Well thank you for that! Have a wonderful day! :D
    – Rajesh
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 1:30
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Scripture tells us how death is made inoperative, and is gone. Look at Corinthians 15:55

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1Cor. 15:55

And how does this happen?

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

When death is asked this question "death where is your victory?" What will it's reply be? I have billions that are in my hold. Or will it see that Jesus emptied its grave along with the whole creation that had been in bondage to it because of corruption.

Death has been operating not only in man but in the whole creation. The whole creation too will be free set from death.

the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

There is an order for the three different resurrections. Death is being swallowed up in each case.

He became the first-fruits of those sleeping, 21for since through man [is] death, also through Man [is] a resurrection of the dead, 22for even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all will be made alive, 23and each in his proper order: Christ, a first-fruit, afterward those who are the Christ’s in His coming, 24then—the end, when He may deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when He may have made all rule useless, and all authority and power.

25For it is necessary for Him to reign until He may have put all the enemies under His feet.

Gods enemies are all those who have been opposed to him not only on earth but as well as in the heavens.

So ALL His enemies will have become reconciled to him in the heavens as well as on the earth.

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20

The time when all is subjected to Christ is very telling. When all bow before Jesus Christ it will be done in worship. Those who have been his enemies and opposed his rule now come to bow before him.

€That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in the heavens and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

"The reign of Christ has brought Mankind to such a state of perfection, that all further need of the restraints of government vanishes. Rule implies insubordination, and is unnecessary where there is perfect subjection. Rule is a temporary expedient to cope with evil. When evil is banished rule also retires. The effects of evil for mankind are concentrated in death. When the universe has been purged of all other evil, then death itself he comes inoperative and yields up its victims. Not till then is it true that all are made alive in Christ." Concordant commentary

All the works of the devil, which includes all the rebellion in the heavens as well as on the earth, all the corruption and death and hatred and jealousy and pride will all be undone.

for this [reason] the Son of God appeared, that He may undo the works of the Devil; 1 John 3:8

All lies will be replaced by the truth.

who wills all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth; I Tim. 2:4

Death His last enemy is now gone and He becomes all in all.

And when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.

Love never fails!

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  • Sherrie: May God our Father expand the boundaries of His Kingdom in your whole being, for LOVE NEVER PERISHES, Amen, Hallelujah!
    – david
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 3:15
  • Thanks David, Welcome to the site and asking a good question.
    – Sherrie
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 4:45
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The TEMPTER came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Mat.4:3) For this cause I, also, not waiting any longer, have sent to know your faith, lest by some means THE TEMPTER HAS TEMPTED YOU and our labour is in vain.(1Thessa.3:5) Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person WILL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. THEN, AFTER DESIRE HAS CONCEIVED, IT GIVES BIRTH TO SIN; AND SIN, WHEN IT IS FULL-GROWN, GIVES BIRTH TO DEATH. (James1:12-15) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebr.2:14-15) so that, JUST AS SIN REIGNED in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Rom.5:21) but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, WHO HAS DESTROYED DEATH AND HAS BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL. (2Tim.1:10) AND HAVING DISARMED THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.(Colo.2:15) who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—WITH ANGELS, AUTHORITIES AND POWERS IN SUBMISSION TO HIM.(1Peter3:22) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the word that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.(1Corint.15:53,54) The expression lords (thrones), dominion and powers has great significance. 1)-Thrones-John 12: 31,14: 30,16: 11.= The Tempter, SATAN. 2)- Principalities-Romans5: 21,6: 6,12,14.the reign or dominion of SIN. 3)- the power of DEATH-Heb. 2:14,15 2 Tim.1: 10. These are the three enemies under whose rule, dominion, and power was the Adamic race. Disobedience of man = First the acceptance of the TEMPTER, then the birth of SIN, then the departure of the Spirit of life that is the coming of death. Man's obedience leads first to the victory over Satan then the forgiveness and removal of SIN then thirdly and the LAST ONE the victory over death by entering through the gate in the Garden, into the CITY to the TREE OF LIFE. The victory over death (the Spirit of LIFE) is the LAST ENEMY for before entering to the tree of life, which is in the midst of the city, man must be delivered from the bondage of Satan first, then second, forgiven and washed of sins and only pure holy and without any stain can enter through the veil of the holy of holies in the presence of the glory of the face of God Hallelujah! “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WASH THEIR ROBES, THAT THEY MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE AND MAY GO THROUGH THE GATES INTO THE CITY. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.(Revel.22:14,15)The washing of all sins is done outside the city in the death and sacrifice of Jesus and only after that you can receive the right to enter through the gate to the tree of life (Holy Spirit, Spirit of Life) Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. AND (only after that) YOU WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.(Acts2:38) In the midst of the city square and on the two banks of the river was the TREE OF LIFE, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and bearing fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the Gentiles.There will be nothing more cursing there. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it. His servants will serve Him.THEY WILL SEE HIS FACE, and his name will be on their foreheads.(Revel.22:2-4)

If the short version of the word salvation contains these three missions: victory over Satan and deliverance from his bondage, then forgiveness and remission of sins, then victory over death by opening the locked gate and entering to eat from the tree of life, how, when, who and with what could mortal man defeat Satan by freeing himself from long bondage? Since man has sinned against God, what can man do, who can guarantee that God will forgive the guilty man? Because the gateway to the tree of life has been locked by God and He alone has the keys, how and who could persuade God to open the door to eternal life and to the throne of His glory? What religion, what saint or demon, how many good deeds, or what moral law, could bring and guarantee the Salvation, Redemption of man, and his return home again?

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    I have edited your post in the hope of showing what might actually be the answer to this question. As for the rest of the wall of text it is in need of editing by you.
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 13:23
  • Please consult our Tour with regard to editing: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Lesley
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 13:25
  • Thank you, Lesley I appreciate your help.
    – david
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 3:37

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