Christ the first to be raised out from among the “dead ones” – the first fruit (1 Cor. 15:20)
We clearly know from the Bible itself that Jesus was not the first to be raised physically from the dead (Lazarus raised in John 11:38-44; young man raised by Christ in Luke 7:11-15; little girl raised by Christ in Luke 8:54-55; as well as various OT resurrections). However, the Bible is just as absolutely clear in stating that Jesus was to be the “first to rise from out of the dead ones.” (Read Acts 26:22-23).
- The Bible is truth, and the Bible does not contradict itself. What Paul is declaring is not about a mere physical resurrection like had happened to some in the past –> he is stating that Jesus would be the first to be “raised out from among the dead souls waiting in Hades/Hades” –> to never have to “physically” die again, and to never have to return to Hades/Sheol (Read Rom. 6:9). He would be the first to be raised out from Hades/Sheol because He was without sin.
This is also the exact same meaning of (Read) 1 Cor. 15:20-22 when Paul talks about Christ being the first fruits risen from the dead.
- This passage is not referring to some general statement about the result of Adam’s sin being that all mankind has to “physically” die, because even 1 Cor. 15:51 tells us that not every person will die physically. Also, we know that Enoch and Elijah never died physically.
- No, this is teaching us how Jesus Christ was the “first born, first fruit” raised out from among the dead ones in Hades/Sheol –> never to physically die again, and never to return to Hades/Sheol. And, as a result of Christ destroying the power of death and the condemnation to eternal death –> then all of those who had died in Christ and were waiting in Hades/Sheol were promised to be raised out from there at His Parousia.
Col. 1:18, “…He is the head of the body, the church…the firstborn from out of the dead ones…” (Also Rev. 1:5).
- He was the first fruit, the forerunner, that He would have the pre-eminence in all things. He was the first one to be raised out from among the dead and waiting souls in Hades/Sheol. He was the “beginning” of all those waiting believing souls who would be raised to meet Him in the air at His Parousia. They would never die again, never have to return to Hades/Sheol, they would receive their new immortal individual bodies reserved for them by God in heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-2)…forever to live with Him in heaven.
Rom. 8:29, “…firstborn among many brethren.”
- Clearly speaking of Christ being the first to be raised out from among the dead ones in Hades/Sheol
- –> Never to physically die again or return to Hades/Sheol.
- –> The first one to ascend into heaven and inherit (take possession of) the immortal life in heaven.
Acts 2:22-35 (discuss vs. 24 asking: what were the “pains of death” that were loosed? (Birth pains, labor pains, agony, waiting in Hades/Sheol. Christ was “about to be” the “firstborn” (Rom. 8:29) from “out of” all the dead ones who were waiting in Hades/Sheol.)
- à 3 days Jesus was in the “pains/pangs of death” –> but there are no physical pains in Paradise. Acts 2:24 à God loosed/destroyed/abolished the pains of death/“separation” (God raised Him back out of Hades/Sheol
- Christ was not in any physical suffering – however, Christ was born 100% man, and as a man, He experienced the pains/pangs of physical death –> being disembodied from His physical body in Hades/Sheol (Paradise/Abraham’s Bosom) as all of the other departed believers of old were.
- After 3 days God “destroyed/abolished” the pains/pangs of death because it had “no power” over Him and could not hold Him because He had no sin. Satan had “no claim or right to keep Him in Hades/Sheol,” as he had nothing in Him (John 14:30). And being that He had lived a perfect life of obedience to His Father His body in the tomb “had no sin” and “saw no corruption” and He was resurrected into His same perfect sinless body.
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 3 What Happened in the Garden”]