Will Christ Reign Forever?

By Wayne Jackson

In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul affirmed that Christ must reign “till he has put all his enemies under his feet,” the last of which will be death (15:25,26). When this time of “the end” arrives, the Lord will deliver up the “kingdom” to the Father (v. 24), and the Son Himself will be subjected to God (v. 28). This seems to imply a time when the reign of Christ will be terminated.

By way of contrast, there are passages which appear to suggest that Jesus will reign forever. Concerning Christ, it was prophesied:

“[H]e shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1:33).

Again:

“He who overcomes, I will give to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21; cf. 11:15).

Clearly, there is some sense in which the Son of God will reign eternally.

How is this seeming difficulty to be resolved? There is no problem if we recognize that the term “reign” can be employed in different senses. In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle is discussing the Lord’s present reign as mediator between God and man — His redemptive reign.

On the other hand, other passages address Christ’s regal glory as a divine being. In that sense — as deity — He will forever reign.

“[T]o him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever” (Rev. 1:6).

Thus acknowledging the different senses in which the term “reign” may be used, there is no conflict in the New Testament record. Underscore “reign” in 1 Corinthians 15:25, and in your margin note: As mediator; yet see Revelation 1:6; 3:21.

Then, beside these passages in Revelation, note: As eternal deity; yet see 1 Corinthians 15:25. These references will give you balance on this topic.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.