“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
I like to get to the end of things. I try, as much as possible, to consider what the end of a thing will be before I do it. I try to consider what the end of my words will be before I speak them. From her earliest childhood, I taught my daughter never to think about her actions and words for the immediate time, but to consider what the end will be. I think she learned the importance of that instruction even as a child.
Immediate gratification often ends in pain and destruction. Immediate pain may in the end preserve life and give gratification. The dope addict finds immediate gratification in his needle; but pain and destruction are sure to follow in the end. The cancer patient finds immediate pain in his surgery and treatments; but life and gratification in the end make the pain insignificant.
In the natural world, nothing is more important than a thoughtful consideration of and regard for the end of things. All our words and deeds, even all our thoughts and attitudes have certain, inevitable consequences. If you take fire to your bosom, you are going to get burned. If you sow to the wind, you are going to reap the whirlwind. The end of anything is far more important than its’ beginning.
In spiritual matters, too, the end of all things is far more important than their beginning. When everything has run its predestined course, when time shall be no more, when this earth is dissolved in a ball of fire, the resurrection is past, and the judgment is over, we read, “Then cometh the end!” The text might better be translated -- “Then, the end!”
Though creation has revolted against God and sin has marred his handiwork, though it appears that everything here is in utter chaos, though antichrist seems to reign among men without rival, though Babylon (the great whore of free-will, works religion) has made all the earth drunk with the wine of her fornications, there is a day coming called “the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).
Though today all the world, all men, and all events appear to be set in direct opposition to Christ, there is a day coming called “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” in which the Lord God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him” (Eph. 1:10).
Though all men by nature despise his rule, there is a day appointed by God, in the which “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).
Though all men by nature are the enemies of God, though Satan and all the demons of hell oppose his purpose, though men and devils unite as one, in thought, word, and deed, to rob the triune God of his glory, in the end, through the blood of his cross, by our Lord Jesus Christ, almighty God shall “reconcile all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).
In Isaiah 45:20-25 the Lord God himself tells us how things will be in the end. We would be wise to hearken unto the gracious counsel he gives in that place.
"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."
In the end, every creature in heaven, earth, and hell, every deed performed in God’s creation, by men, angels, devils, and Satan himself, (every deed!) great and small, good and evil, and every event of providence shall magnify, honor, exalt, and praise our great and glorious God.
As we come now to the end of this study of Bible doctrine, I think it will be helpful to conclude the study by seeking to know and understand the teaching of Holy Scripture regarding the end of all things. May God the Holy Spirit graciously turn our hearts and minds away from the cares and burdens, heartaches and sorrows, trials and temptations, difficulties and disappointments of this world of time and sense. May he even take our hearts away from the pleasures, joys, and comforts of this world and this brief existence. Come, O Spirit of God, come! Sit our hearts and minds this hour, and sit them permanently, upon “THE END.”
When everything that shall be has been, when everything that must be has come to pass, when all the will, purpose, desire, and pleasure of the triune God has been perfectly accomplished and fulfilled in all things and by all things, the Scripture declares, “Then cometh the end!” Let me show you five things from the Word of God about “the end.”
If we would apply our hearts to wisdom, we must learn and constantly remind ourselves of this first fact: -- everything in this world is temporal and must soon come to an end. “The fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Cor. 7:29-31).
I wonder if we will ever learn that everything here is just temporary. Time is not endless. This world is not eternal. Everything in this world had its beginning and shall have its end. And both the beginning and the end of all things has been ordained and fixed by God’s unalterable decree from eternity. God made you and me for a specific purpose. When God’s purpose for us, and concerning us has been perfectly and completely accomplished, “then cometh the end.” Then our end shall be either eternal bliss or eternal woe. Will you think about that fact?
We live in a world in which all things are temporal and passing away. Everything around us is decaying, dying, and coming to an end. That man must be truly blind who does not see that everything here is only momentary. We are creatures created by God with immortal souls in a world where everything is mortal, temporal, and perishing. All property, all talents, all relationships, all evil, all good, all opportunities, all things in this world are temporary! And nothing temporal can ever satisfy our immortal souls.
We are all moving rapidly to a world in which everything is eternal. As was just stated, you and I are men and women with immortal souls. We live in a world where everything constantly changes. But we are going, and going rapidly, to a world where nothing changes and nothing ends. That great, unseen world which lies beyond the grave, whatever else it is or is not, it is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Hell is eternal. Heaven is eternal (Mark 8:36-37. Everything here is vanity. Only that which is eternal is of any real meaning, significance, consequence, and value. I urge you, for your soul’s sake, count nothing on this earth more valuable and precious now than you will in that day when you must leave it.
All things here will soon be past.
Heaven and hell alone will last.
Will you, for trinkets of a day,
Eternally be cast away?
Immortal souls, can’t you see,
All things here are vanity?
Should you gain the world’s store,
Is it really worth your soul?
Set your heart on Christ alone
Trust the work which He has done;
And when this world has passed away,
You’ll never miss the melting clay.
The Lord Jesus Christ alone can prepare us for eternity. Our happiness or misery in eternity depends entirely upon and will be determined entirely by our relationship with the Son of God now (John 3:36; 6:47; 1 John 5:10). Only the blood of Christ can wash away our sins. Only the righteousness of Christ can give us acceptance with God. Only faith in Christ can fetch the merits of his blood and righteousness to our souls. Only the Spirit of God can give us faith.
I cannot press with sufficient urgency the need ever to beware of “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things (which) entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
Second, if we would live peaceably in this world, we must learn that the beginning, the accomplishment, and the end of all things are of God. -- “All things are of God” (2 Cor. 5:18). All things in heaven, all things in earth, and all things in hell, -- all things good and all things bad, -- all things pleasant and all things painful ,-- all things temporal and all things eternal, -- “All things are of God” (Isa. 14:26-27; 45:2-13; 46:9-11; Rom. 8:28; 11:36).
God predestinated all things according to the good pleasure of his will. God created all things according to the good pleasure of his will. God rules all things according to the good pleasure of his will. God disposes of all things according to the good pleasure of his will. God shall have the praise of all things according to the good pleasure of his will (Ps. 76:10; Pro. 16:4; Eph. 1:11).
Third, I want you to see that the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our dear Savior must reign until the end comes. – “He must reign” (1 Cor. 15:24-26). That Man who lived and died for us, as our Mediator, Surety, Representative, and Substitute, that he might save us and bring us to heaven is himself God almighty, who rules all things. He earned the right to reign over all things as a Man, as our Mediator and Surety, to be the sovereign Governor of the universe, by his obedience to his Father. And he forever possesses the power of absolute, unrivaled, sovereign dominion because he is God the Son. Observe what the text says.
Our Lord Jesus Christ must reign because he is God. A god who does not reign is no God at all (Ps. 115:3; 135:6). He must reign because his dominion is the reward of his obedience (Ps. 2:8; 14:9; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:9-11). He must reign because the salvation of God’s elect and the glory of God depend upon it (John 17:2-4). He must reign because no one is able to stop him!
Our great and glorious Savior shall soon put down forever all rule, authority, and power: -- All civil rule, authority, and power, -- All domestic rule, authority, and power, -- All ecclesiastical rule, authority, and power, -- All satanic, demonic, hellish rule, authority, and power.
The Lord Jesus shall soon put all enemies (his and ours) under his feet. He will graciously, effectually conquer the hearts of all his elect, bring them to his feet, make them willing in the day of his power to be there, and cause them to bow in subjection to him, to his scepter as their King, and to obey his gospel and his ordinances.
Those he does not conquer by his grace, the Son of God will conquer by his wrath. All will bow to him, either as willing servants saved by his grace, or as conquered vassals compelled to acknowledge the dominion, the rightful dominion of that King whom they despise.
He shall put our enemies under his feet, too; and if they are put under his feet, they are put under our feet. Sin, with all his misery, shall soon be put under our feet. Soon, the world, with all its influence, shall be put under our feet. Death, with all its fear and in all its forms (Judicial Death, – Spiritual Death, -- Physical Death, -- The Second Death), shall be put under our feet. Even Satan, shall soon be bruised beneath our feet by the God of all grace (Rom. 16:20).
Fourth, when the end comes, the Lord Jesus Christ shall deliver up the kingdom unto God the Father. -- "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power…And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24, 28).
What do those two verses mean? First, let me show you what they most certainly do not mean. When the Scriptures here declare that the Son shall deliver up the kingdom unto the Father, they do not teach, suggest, or in any way imply that Christ is not God (1 Tim. 3:15), or that the Son of God is in any way inferior to the Father (1 John 5:7), or that Christ will cease to be Prophet, Priest, and King over his Church and Kingdom (Heb. 1:8).
What does Paul mean, then, when he tells us that Christ shall deliver up the kingdom unto God, even the Father, and shall be subject to him? When the resurrection is over, when the great white throne judgment is done, and all things are created new, when all God’s elect are saved, there will be one final work to be done by our Lord Jesus Christ as Jehovah’s Servant, as the Surety and Mediator of the covenant. He will present all the elect unto the Father, holy, unblamable, unreprovable, and perfect (John 10:16; Eph. 5:25-27; Heb. 2:13; Jude 24-25). -- The Shepherd will present his sheep. -- The Savior will present his Church. -- The Son will present his brethren. -- The King will present his Kingdom to God, even the Father.
“I take the kingdom to consist of that innumerable company whose names were written in heaven; and which, when their numerical fulness is completed, the Son of God, who graciously consented to become the Son of Man for their sakes, will present in one, entire, and glorified body to the Father.” -- (Augustus Toplady)
In that great day, in the end, Christ will stand before his Father and our Father, with all his elect by his side in the perfection of his holiness, and say, “Lo, I and the children which thou hast given me. All are here. Not one is lost!” -- “All, my Father, you chose and gave to me, all you trusted me to redeem, here they are, just as I promised, holy, unblamable, unreprovable, washed in my blood, robed in my righteousness.” -- “All that I redeemed, every blood bought soul is here.” -- “All those who have been regenerated, called, and sealed by the blessed Holy Spirit are here.”
He will, no doubt, go on to say. “Now, my Father, all the purpose of grace is fulfilled. All the counsel of peace is accomplished. All that we agreed upon in the covenant is done. In all things, our great purpose in predestination is now fully accomplished. Now grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life!”
Fifth, this is the end of all things: “that God may be all in all!” God Almighty has from eternity ordained everything that comes to pass in time to make himself an everlasting and a glorious name (Isa. 63:12, 14), that in all things Christ might have the pre-eminence (Col. 1:18). And in the end, God, the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as he is revealed, known, loved, and worshipped in the Person and work of Christ, our God-man Mediator, shall be “all in all.” There are three things in this last phrase of 1 Corinthians 15:28 I want you to see.
1. The works and purpose of the triune God shall be perfectly accomplished (Eph. 1:3-14; 2:4-7).
2. God in Christ shall be all. The Lord Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior, shall be all meat, clothing, and shelter for our bodies, all life, joy, peace, glory, and satisfaction for our souls, all sun and moon and light forever!
3. God in Christ shall be all in all. God, the triune God, shall be all in all things. God, the triune God, shall be all in all his people. God, the triune God, shall be all in all the praises of all saints and angels forever!
The delivering up of the kingdom to the Father will not put an end to it, but eternally establish it in a new and more glorious form. Christ shall not cease to reign, though the mode of his administration will be different. As a divine Person, he will always be one with the Father. Even as the incarnate God-man, he will continue forever. It is only in Christ the Word that we can see and know God. The effects of his mediatorial kingdom will abide forever. There will never be a time when the God-man will be cast aside, or hidden in the shadows. Our Lord Jesus Christ will never be less than he is now: The Image of the Invisible God!
Is this the goal for which we labor? Is this the burden, care, concern, and prayer of our hearts? – That our “God may be all in all.” Do we not, from the depths of our souls, pray, as our Savior taught us, “Our Father, which art in heaven, ‘Hallowed be thy name. “Thy kingdom come…Thy will be done”? If this is indeed the thing for which we most ardently labor, the thing we desire, for which we earnestly pray, then we have every reason to take heart and be of good courage. -- "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."