From Plainer Words

Every Man In His Own Order

Posted in: 2006
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 28, 2008 - 5:15:41 AM

Friday, March 10, 2006


The title of this study addresses the issue of an orderly resurrection of mankind. Also, it will be found that the “every-man-resurrection” is one that dramatically re-populates planet earth when the Lord Jesus Christ assumes authority as the absolute Sovereign of the world, to wit, when the Kingdom of God comes.

The context of the title is found in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.

20. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21. For since by man [Adam] came death, by Man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead.

22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his [Parousia] coming.

In verse twenty, the Apostle Paul uses “the firstfruits” as a figure from the Law of Moses and applies it to the Personal resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ becoming “the firstfruits of them that slept” seems peculiar to the English ear, inasmuch as, His resurrection was singular, not plural, as “firstfruits” would seem to indicate. In plainer words, other “fruit” was not raised from the dead along with Him.

His resurrection was the first of its kind. The rest of its kind will come about when “every man [is made alive] in his own order” as verse twenty-three states. The idea of Christ’s resurrection being the first of its kind is substantiated by the Old Testament phrase, “the first of the firstfruits.”

“The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.” (Exodus 23:19; & 34:26).

According to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, the word translated as “first” is the Hebrew word, “re’shiyth,” which means, “the first of its kind.” This certainly describes the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as found in 1 Corinthians 15:20.

In plainer words, 1 Corinthians 15:20 could be read as; But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first of the firstfruits of them that slept.

The crucial point to this is that the rest of the “firstfruits” were left asleep, or in the state of death, when the Lord Jesus was raised. These will be Christ’s firstfruits of verse 23. This will be during the Kingdom of God.

It should be noted that in 1 Corinthians 15:23, two separate and distinct resurrections are mentioned. Neither of them have a reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ since He had already been raised as “the first of the firstfruits” (v. 20). Now, consider verse 23.

But every man [is made alive] in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

We supplied the Ellipsis, “is made alive,” and indicated it by placing it in brackets.

“Every man” certainly does not apply to the Lord Jesus. It refers to every man who is to be made alive. This is to say, that “every man” according to who Jesus Christ deems worthy to live during the Kingdom of God Dispensation will live again in resurrection, from Adam onward. From all past dispensations there will be those who will be deemed worthy live during the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Jesus Christ will “judge the quick and the dead at His Appearing and His Kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1). Every man will be made alive in his own order. The word, order, is “tagma” (NT: 5001). According to Thayer’s Lexicon, tagma is a military term, “for a body of soldiers, a corps, hence, a band, troop, class. Paul specifies several distinct bands or classes of those raised from the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:23.” Jesus Christ cannot be in this “order.” Therefore, to equate “Christ the firstfruits” as Christ’s Own resurrection is not logically consistent with the meaning of the text. However, this is the standard interpretation of “Christ the firstfruits.”

The Interlinear Bible – New Testament indicates that “the” was not in the Greek text. It was added by the translators. If the phrase was literally translated it would read, “Christ firstfruits.” To get the sense of this, if an apostrophe “s” were added to Christ then it would clearly indicate it was not referring to the Person of Christ, but to His firstfruits.

But every man [is made alive] in his own order:

Christ’s firstfruits;

afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

The word for Christ is christos, meaning, anointed, an epithet of Jesus: i.e. Christ (Strong’s Concordance).

Some might suggest that it could be “the anointed firstfruits,” since christos means “anointed.”

The adverbial conjunction, afterward, establishes a relation between the two clauses, but they remain independent and are joined by a semicolon. The adverb, afterward, is used to state relationships of time. Every man [is made alive] in his own order: Christ’s firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His Coming (Parousia).

Of course, when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, the Church which is His body, was not in view. The truth of the Mystery had not yet been revealed. For the sake of this article, we will not consider our relationship to the resurrections as found here. Except to say, ours will be a prior resurrection [exanastasis] as mentioned in Philippians 3:11.

The believers to whom Paul wrote during the Acts of the Apostles understood many things which present day dispensationalists don’t. One thing being, they knew what their hope was. Their expectation was the coming of the Kingdom of God, not the Parousia of Jesus Christ (the 2nd Coming). He will not return until long after His Kingdom has been established in the earth.

When the Kingdom comes, every man will be made alive in his own order. This begins an orderly succession of resurrections. One of the chief characteristics of the Kingdom of God will be RESURRECTIONS. It will not be a general resurrection, but it will be each man in his own order, or class, or troop. They will live under the Government of the Lord Jesus Christ as He rules from heaven.

The consummation of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:3) will be the return of Jesus Christ (i.e. the Parousia). Then, the “afterward” of 1 Corinthians 15:23 comes into play; “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His Coming [Parousia].”

“Afterward” means after a long duration of time under the rule of Jesus Christ from heaven, will He make alive those who died in Christ, as martyrs, during the Kingdom era.

If all of the above is not true, then, when will “every man” be made alive in his own order? It has to be before the 2nd coming. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, or 1 Thessalonians 4:16 refers, to an orderly succession of resurrections at Christ’s Parousia.

In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:52 states that it will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 states;

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

These two do not describe “every man” being made alive in his own order, as 1 Corinthians 15:23 does.

Consider this question in closing. If the “every man” resurrections do not take place during the Pre-Parousia Kingdom of God when can you find a place for them to occur?

Tom L. Ballinger

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