This is a Bible study that will focus upon a long neglected passage of Scripture— 1 Corinthians 15:20–28. This passage from the apostle Paul is actually a divinely inspired outline or blueprint of the different “orders” or “companies” of saints involved in the resurrection of the righteous—those who have been saved throughout the ages and in the future as well. Of course, all believers anticipate their personal bodily resurrections from the dead as guaranteed by our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, this passage in 1 Corinthians 15 informs us that the saved of earth will not all be resurrected at the same time and in the same event. Paul revealed that there are three different “orders” or “companies” to be resurrected at three distinct times and in three separate events. Many theologians have shown confusion and hesitancy in their abilities to interpret this passage. Consequently, in the discussion about the soon coming Rapture of the Church, most seem to avoid any careful use of this passage. Sad to say, the passage has literally been “set on the shelf,” as it were, in the discussion of the pretribulational or posttribulational Rapture of the Church. In this study, you will find that this passage is actually far more useful and strategic in the determination of the issues than anyone has ever realized.
We know from the Hebrew Scriptures that God required all Israel to appear before Him three times in the year at what has been designated as the “Three Harvest Feasts.” In a similar manner, the apostle Paul taught that the resurrection (or harvest, 1 Cor. 15:35–38) of the righteous dead to appear before God will be in three distinct stages or “each in his own order” (1 Cor. 15:23). We shall see that these “orders” were designed by the Spirit of God to fit perfectly the parallel of the sequence of the three designated Harvest Feasts.