The Last Day

Paul outlined the events that will occur at the “arrival” or ‘Parousia’ of Jesus in his first letter to the Corinthians. The Greek noun ‘parousia’ is one of several Greek terms Paul applied to the future coming of the Lord. Regardless of which term he used, he always described one “coming,” “appearance,” “revelation,” or “appearance” of Jesus at the end of the age.

The New Testament consistently links the resurrection of the righteous, the gathering of the elect, the final judgment, and the New Creation to the return of Jesus. Peter, for example, described how the old creation would be replaced by the “New Heavens and New Earth” on that day. Jesus taught that his “arrival” would be accompanied by celestial and terrestrial upheaval and the gathering of his elect by angels – (Matthew 24:29-31, 2 Peter 3:10).

twilight - Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash
[Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash]

This is likewise the case in
First Corinthians. However, Paul added important details about the future resurrection.

  • But now has Christ been raised from among the dead, a first fruit of them who have fallen asleep; for since, indeed, through a man came death, through a man also comes the raising of the dead… For, just as in Adam all die, so also, in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own rank: Christ, a first fruit, after that, they who are the Christ’s at his arrival. Afterward, the end, whensoever he delivers up the Kingdom to his God and Father, whensoever he shall bring to nothing all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he shall put all his enemies under his feet: As a last enemy, death is to be destroyed; for He put all things in subjection under his feet” - (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

Paul did not give us a detailed roadmap of future events and prophetic timetables. His purpose was to demonstrate the necessity for the bodily resurrection of the saints since some believers in Corinth denied the necessity of resurrection for believers - (1 Corinthians 15:12).

Paul began by anchoring the future resurrection of the saints in the past resurrection of Jesus. If there was no future resurrection, then “not even Christ has been raised, and if Christ has not been raised…to no purpose is our faith, we are yet in our sins.”

The future resurrection is linked inextricably to the past resurrection of Jesus. Believers will experience a resurrection of the same kind as he did, only at a different time. His resurrection was the “first fruits,” the assurance of the general resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns.

His ‘Parousia’ will mean the final subjugation of “all his enemies,” including the “last enemy, death.” The dead will be raised and believers who remain alive will be transformed and receive glorified bodies. The Kingdom of God will be consummated, and the present age will end.


In the second half of the chapter, Paul explained what kind of body the saints inherit at the resurrection (“How are the dead raised and with what manner of body do they come?”).

Our mortal bodies will be raised “incorruptible, in glory and power.” Thereafter, the resurrection body will be dominated by the Spirit. No longer will our bodies be subjected to death and decay - “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit in-corruption.”

Paul concluded his discussion by demonstrating why men will be transformed. The bodies of both living and dead saints must be changed into bodies dominated by the “Spirit,” as well as ones that are no longer subject to disease, age, decay, or death:

  • (1 Corinthians 15:49-57) – “And even as we have borne the image of the man of earth, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. And this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s Kingdom. Neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, a mystery do I declare to you: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet; for it shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and this mortal clothe itself with immortality…

The resurrection will occur at the Parousia or “arrival” of Jesus when the jurisdiction of death will end, and its sentence will be reversed, at least for men and women who belong to Jesus. After that, there will be no more enemies to defeat.

Paul left no doubt that “resurrection” will mean life in an immortal “body.” While that future life will differ in many ways from the present one, it will be an embodied existence.

Our receipt of an immortal body no longer subject to death will also mean the arrival of the “New Creation” since reconstituting dead men and women as immortal beings is an act of new creation – (Romans 8:20-23).

And so Paul justifiably exalted, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • The Death of Death - (The arrival of Jesus at the end of the age will mean the termination of the Last Enemy, namely, Death)
  • Last Days - (The Last Days, the Age of Fulfillment, began with the death, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son of God)
  • Abolishing Death - (Paul reminded Timothy of Christ’s resurrection since false teachers were denying the future resurrection of believers)



The Word Made Flesh

Language of the New Testament