All Made Alive

A querist wrote:
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Does the word “all” in the first part of that verse mean something different from the word “all” in the second part? We know that all men DO die in Adam but we do not believe that ALL men will be made alive in Christ. We believe only some will be made alive. Can someone reconcile this for me, please. I know verse 23 says “they that are Christ’s at his coming.” So maybe that modifies all being made alive. But if that can be modified, then can’t the first part be modified too and all do NOT die in Adam?

James replies:
To be baptized is to be put into Christ (Rom 6:3, Gal 3:27). Those “in Christ” are Christians (Rom 8:1, 2). When Paul says that those in Christ will all be made alive, I take it to mean that all Christians are promised the resurrection of the dead, even if their bodies do not make it into a grave (Jn 5:28). Many Christians have been burned or eaten by wild beasts or lost at sea or in war and their bodies never came to a grave, but God will raise them anyway.

All people are not in Christ and do not have the promise to be made alive unless they are buried and stay buried. From what I read in Enoch and infer from such passages as Ezek 39, Zech 14 and others, I find that not every person will be raised. I think the evidence demands that some people will not be raised and will appear at the Judgment as ghosts. Everyone that is raised, whether they are a Christian or not, will be raised through Christ. Because Christ has the power of death, God can raise the dead through Christ.

The reader may at this point wonder why “all” means all in the first part of I Cor 15:22 but does not seem to mean “all” in the second part. To clear up this point, let us notice the actual text in I Cor 15:22. It says, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Co 15:22).

Since everybody but Christ was in Adam, it is the universal experience of men to die (Heb 9:27). However, only the redeemed are in Christ, and all of these in Christ will be raised. The ones in the nations that are raised are not “in Christ” and they do not have a promise to be raised based on I Cor 15:22. The nations participate in the resurrection by being included in the promise of “all that are in the graves” (Jn 5:28). It is through Christ’s possession of the keys of Death and Hades that these people are raised, so the resurrection is through Christ, but these in the nations are not “in Christ”, and not everyone in the nations rises (Ezk 39:15).

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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