The Last Day and the End of Humanity

From David Chilton’s Paradise Restored, page 145-146

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The Kingdom and the Resurrection

The most detailed Biblical teaching on the Resurrection is found toward the close of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The heart of that chapter reads:

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; after that, those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the End, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death (1 Cor. 15:20-26).

This text gives us a great deal of information about the Resurrection. In the first place, we are assured of the inseparable connection between Christ’s Resurrection and ours. The Resurrection takes place in two stages: first Christ is raised, and then we are resurrected – firstfruits, then harvest. (Note well: no other stages are mentioned.)

Second, we are told when the Resurrection takes place: “at His coming.” Since we already knew that the Resurrection coincides with the Last Judgment, we now know that Christ’s Second Coming will be on the Last Day, at the Judgment.

Third, the text also informs us that these events occur at “the End.” The end of what? Much needless debate has focused on this phrase. Paul goes on to tell us that the End comes “when He shall have delivered the kingdom to the God and Father, when He shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power.” The End here is, simply, the End – the end of time, of history, and of the world. This follows, of course, from the fact that this is the last Day; moreover, this is the end of Christ’s conquest of the earth, when He shall have established His total rule over all things, destroying all His enemies. It is the end of the “Millennium,” the consummation of the Kingdom – the precise moment when the Book of Revelation, in complete harmony with 1 Corinthians, places the Resurrection and the Last Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).

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I had always considered the era beyond the Last Day as the end of humanity, when we will no longer actually be human, anymore.

Not the men who go up.

And not the men who go down.

But this isn’t entirely true. To the extent that humanity truly reflect God, to that extent humanity will continue.

So the post-human era will still retain some ties, some echos, back to the days when we were sinners, weak, flawed, dying even as we lived.

But for those who go up to reign with Christ, to serve Him forever, it will be the times when we defied sin and Satan, when we stood with the Lord and upheld His Law-word even under great stress: that facet of our old humanity will endure. It may be in a somewhat difficult-to-recognize shape – completely free of the slight corruption that soils even the best of our actions – but our victories in Christ will endure forever.

And those who agree with the Old Adam’s defining act as a human – defying God – can live with their chosen Lord, the Snake, in his final abode.

The Lake of Fire was never meant to be inhabited by men.

But people naturally become what they always were.

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