1 Corinthians 15:25
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) He must reign.—It is a moral consequence. God must triumph, and so the Son must reign and conquer till that triumph be complete. Some suggest that the force of these words is that He must reign, &c., because it has been prophesied (Ps. ex.); but the more obvious truth is that it was prophesied because it is morally necessary.

1 Corinthians 15:25-27. For he must reign — Because so it is written, Psalm 110:1; till he — God the Father; hath put all enemies under his feet — That is, till he hath utterly subdued them to Christ, that he may destroy them. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death — That enemy which continues, in some measure, to hold the subjects of Christ under his dominion, even when the temptations of the world, and the malice of Satan, can hold them no longer, and when every remainder of corrupt nature and human infirmity has long since ceased in the perfect holiness of the intermediate state. Macknight, who renders this verse, the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed, observes, that “the common version of this passage implies that there are some enemies who shall not be destroyed, which is wrong: for all enemies shall be destroyed, 1 Corinthians 15:25.” Nor is it true in every sense, that “because death is called the last enemy, it is to be last destroyed: for if the destruction of death is to be accomplished by the resurrection, the devil and his angels, and wicked men, are to be judged and punished after the dead are raised. In Chrysostom’s opinion, death is called the last enemy, because he entered into the world after the devil and sin entered.” For Satan brought in sin, and sin brought forth death. There is a sense, however, in which it may be affirmed that death is the last enemy that is destroyed; for when Christ engaged these enemies, he first conquered Satan, namely, in his temptation, then sin in his death, and lastly, death in his resurrection. In the same order he delivers all the faithful from them, yea, and destroys their power. Death he so destroys, that it shall exist no more; sin and Satan, so that they shall no more hurt his people. For he hath put all things under his feet — Agreeably to what is said, Psalm 8:6. But — As is sufficiently evident; when he saith all things are put under him — In the last-mentioned passage, and as is implied in many others; he — The Father; is excepted, who did put all things under him — This declaration concerning the Father’s not being subject to the Son, was intended to prevent us from interpreting what is said of the extent of the Son’s dominion, in such a manner as to fancy that he is in any respect superior to the Father.

15:20-34 All that are by faith united to Christ, are by his resurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of the first Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him the same sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ, shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and the spiritual nature, revive, and live for ever. There will be an order in the resurrection. Christ himself has been the first-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raised before others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then will be the end of this present state of things. Would we triumph in that solemn and important season, we must now submit to his rule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall we rejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God may receive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for ever serve him, and enjoy his favour. What shall those do, who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhaps baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom, as Mt 20:22,23. What is, or will become of those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the apostle's argument was understood by the Corinthians. And it is as plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession, if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness to God; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may be everlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do not die like them. It must be ignorance of God that leads any to disbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a God and a providence, and observe how unequal things are in the present life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannot doubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set to rights. Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn all around us, especially children and young persons, to shun them as a pestilence. Let us awake to righteousness, and not sin.For he must reign - It is fit, or proper (δει dei), that he should reign until this is accomplished. It is proper that the mediatorial kingdom should continue till this great work is effected. The word "must" here refers to the propriety of this continuance of his reign, and to the fact that this was contemplated and predicted as the work which he would accomplish. He came to subdue all his enemies; see -Psa 2:6-10; or Psalm 110:1, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Paul, doubtless, had this passage in his eye as affirming the necessity that he should reign until all his foes should be subdued. That this refers to the Messiah is abundantly clear from Matthew 22:44-45. 25. must—because Scripture foretells it.

till—There will be no further need of His mediatorial kingdom, its object having been realized.

enemies under his feet—(Lu 19:27; Eph 1:22).

God hath so decreed, (and what he hath said must come to pass), that Christ should, as Mediator, exercise a Kingdom and government in the world, until he haith subdued all the enemies of his gospel and people; all those who have said, he shall not rule over them; the whole world that lieth in wickedness, the devil, and all his instruments: this he proveth from the words of the psalmist, Psalm 110:1.

The term until doth not signify the determination of Christ’s kingdom then, though his mediatory kingdom on earth will then be determined. He shall still reign, but not as now, in the midst of his enemies, and in the exercise of his kingdom in the conquest and subduing of them.

For he must reign,.... That is, Christ must reign; he is set as King over God's holy hill of Zion; he is King of saints; he is made and declared to be both Lord and Christ; he is exalted at the right hand of God as a Prince, where he sits and rules and reigns; and his sitting at God's right hand is here explained by his reigning, for reference is had to Psalm 110:1 he must reign because it is the unalterable will, and unchangeable decree and purpose of God, that he should reign; and because he has promised it, and prophesied of it; and because the state and condition of his people require it, who otherwise could not be saved, nor dwell safely: and so he must and will,

till he hath put all enemies under his feet; and made them his footstool; meaning either all the elect of God, who in a state of nature are enemies in their minds, by wicked works, to himself and to his Father; whom he conquers by his grace, subdues their rebellious wills, of enemies makes them friends, brings them to his feet, and to a subjection to his sceptre, to his Gospel and ordinances; and he must reign till he has brought every elect soul into such an obedience to himself: or rather antichrist and his followers, and all wicked and ungodly men, with Satan and his angels; who will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming; and will be cast down by him into hell, and there be ever objects of his wrath and vengeance: and till all this is done he must reign; not that he shall cease to reign afterwards, but that he shall reign notwithstanding these enemies of his and his people, who would not have him to reign over them; and will reign until they are subdued or destroyed; and when they are entirely vanquished and overcome, who can doubt of his reigning then? or what, or who will there be to hinder it? The Alexandrian copy, and others, read, "his enemies"; and so do the Syriac and Ethiopic versions.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies {k} under his feet.

(k) Christ is considered here as he appeared in the form of a servant, in which respect he rules the Church as head, and that because this power was given to him from his Father.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:25-28. Establishment of the fact that Christ will not deliver up the kingdom until after the doing away of every dominion, etc. (1 Corinthians 15:25-27, down to πόδας αὐτοῦ), but that then this abdication will assuredly follow (1 Corinthians 15:27-28).

For He must (it is necessary in accordance with the divine counsel) reign (wield the Messianic government) until, etc. The emphasis of the sentence as it advances falls on this until, et.

ἄχρις οὗ κ.τ.λ.] words taken from Psalm 110:1,—a Messianic psalm, according to Christ Himself (Matthew 22:43 f.),—which Paul does not quote, but appropriates for himself. The subject to θῇ is not God (so even Hofmann), but Christ (so Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald, Maier, comp. already Chrysostom), which is necessarily required by the preceding αὐτόν, and by καταργήσῃ in 1 Corinthians 15:24, to which θῇ κ.τ.λ. corresponds.[54] Not till 1 Corinthians 15:27 does God come in as the subject without violence and in harmony with the contex.

ἄχρις οὗ indicates the terminus ad quem of the dominion of Christ, after which epoch this dominion will have ceased; see on 1 Corinthians 15:24. The strange shifts which have been resorted to in order to maintain here the subsequent continuance of the rule of Christ (οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος was added to the Nicene Creed in opposition to Marcellus in the second Oecumenical Council), may be seen in Estius and Flatt. His kingdom continues, but not His regency, 1 Corinthians 15:24. The seeming contradiction to Luke 1:33 (Daniel 7:14) is got rid of by the consideration that the government of Christ lasts on into the αἰὼν μέλλων, and that after its being given over to the Father, the kingdom itself will have its highest and eternal completion (1 Corinthians 15:28); thus that prophecy receives its eschatological fulfilment.

[54] We are not, however, on this account to write πόδας αὑτοῦ instead of π. αὐτοῦ; the pronoun has proceeded from the standpoint of the writer.

1 Corinthians 15:25 sustains the representation of the τέλος just given by prophetic words of Scripture (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3 f.): “For He must needs reign, until He has put all the enemies underneath His feet”. Not till every enemy of God is vanquished can Christ’s existing kingdom reach its end. P. is thinking of the culmination, not the cessation, of Christ’s kingship (see note on παραδιδῷ, 1 Corinthians 15:24).—πάντας is added to the text of the Psalmist, as if to say: “Every one of the foes proscribed in the Messiah’s charter must submit, before He can present to His Father a perfect kingdom”; see parls., for other applications of this cardinal O.T. dictum.—On δεῖ, see note to 1 Corinthians 8:2.—ἄχρις οὗ—radically “up to,” rather than “until, (the time at) which”—in later Gr[2377] takes sbj[2378] of future contingency dispensing with ἄν (Wr[2379], p. 371)—.The words of Psalms 110. are freely adapted: θῇ gets its subject from αὐτόν, viz. Christ—not God, as imported by Est., Bz[2380], Bg[2381], Hf[2382], Gd[2383], to suit the Ps.; it is parl[2384] in tense-construction to καταργήσῃ (1 Corinthians 15:24, see note).

[2377] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[2378]
subjunctive mood.

[2379] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[2380] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[2381] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[2382]
J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[2383] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[2384] parallel.

25. For he must reign] i.e. Christ as Man and Mediator. For at present we can only discern God through the medium of Christ’s Humanity. Cf. St John 12:45; John 14:9. In the end, we shall be able to ‘see Him as He is,’ 1 John 3:2. For the present He must reign in His Church, in His sacraments and ordinances, in His ministers, ecclesiastical and secular (Romans 13:4; Romans 13:6), all of them (see last note) the reflex of His power as He sits at God’s Right Hand.

till he hath put all enemies under his feet] Either (1) the Father, Who put all things under His Son, or (2) Christ, Who puts all things under His own feet. The analogy of Psalm 110:1 (cf. St Matthew 22:44) would cause us to suppose the former; the grammatical construction, as well as the course of the argument, the latter. The enemies are all who ‘oppose and exalt themselves above all that is called God or an object of worship’ (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and therein especially pride of rank, wealth, intellect, reason, whatever casts off or disowns the universal empire of God. Cf. Ephesians 1:21-22; Php 2:10; Php 3:21 (in the Greek); Hebrews 1:4. “This passage,” says Cyril of Jerusalem, “no more implies a cessation of the reign of Christ than the words ‘from Adam until Moses’ (Romans 5:14) imply a ‘cessation of sin after Moses.’ ”

1 Corinthians 15:25. Δεῖ, He must) for it has been foretold.—αὐτὸν, He) Christ.—βασιλεύειν, reign) ררה, reign Thou in the midst of Thy enemies, Psalm 110:2.—ἄχρις οὗ ἄν, until) There will be no further need of the mediatorial reign.—θῇ, He hath put) viz. the Father.—πάντας, all) Paul brings in this, to prepare for a transition to what follows.—τοὺς ἐχθροὺς, enemies) bodily and spiritual, supply His, from that expression, His feet, to wit, the Son’s: but it is now elegantly elliptical; since Christ has long ago destroyed these enemies, in so far as they were the enemies of Christ; He will destroy them [their destruction is still future], in so far as they are our enemies. The remaining part of His victory bears the same relation to His triumph already achieved, as any frontier or corner does to the whole extent of any human monarchy which has been subdued.

Verse 25. - He must reign. He must reign in his mediatorial kingdom as the God Man. He hath put. The "he" probably means Christ himself (comp. Psalm 2:9; Hebrews 10:13), though it makes no real difference in the sense if we understand it of God, as in Psalm 110:1. 1 Corinthians 15:25
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