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Can you explain what is meant by the assertion of Paul when dealing with the eternal day "that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15.28)?

First, it will be good to get the setting of this statement. In the context of vv.20 to 28 Paul gives us a synopsis of God’s prophetic programme. It is important to see why he introduces this at this point in the chapter. The answer is that he desires to show how, if there is no future resurrection, it would disrupt God’s prophetic programme. Note that in this summary we have three great events: the resurrection of Christ, the coming of Christ, and the Kingdom. These events are three great pillars in God’s programme. After the millennial Kingdom, the eternal state will commence. It is this that Paul is describing in v.28. All then will be subdued unto God and God shall be all in all.

The words "that God may be all in all" are not easy to define, but they are without doubt a reference to the eternal state. It shows the purpose in view in the Son subjecting Himself to the Father in order that, not the Father exclusively, but God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity) should be all in all. It certainly includes the thought that God will be supreme in all aspects of the administration of the eternal Kingdom, for the Day of God will commence when the Son has carried out the subjugation of all things to the Father. Then the Triune God will be supreme in all things and to all things.

While this is true, the phrase means more. I do not think that "all in all" means that God in the eternal state will be in all things, i.e. in inanimate things, but that He will be in all persons of the redeemed whether it be Old Testament saints, saved Israel, saved Gentiles of the Tribulation time, or saved believers of the present age of grace. The reason I say this is because the phrase "all in all" is identical with that of Paul’s when he describes Christ in Colossians 3.11 as "all, and in all", meaning Christ indwelling the believer without any distinctions racially or socially. Thus, in the eternal state the Triune God will in reality eternally dwell in all the redeemed without hindrance or any condition to disturb this. How wonderful!

John J Stubbs

What are the differences between the Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper?

References to "the Lord’s table" are found in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. The expression is therefore not limited to Christianity, whereas the term "the Lord’s supper" is. Thus, in the prophecy of Malachi, the altar of burnt offering is referred to as "the table of the Lord" (1.7,12). David, for one, knew what it was to sit at the Lord’s table, in appreciating the provision that the Lord had made for him at that time, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" (Ps 23.5), but he certainly did not have the privilege of partaking of the Lord’s supper.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul contrasts "the Lord’s table" with "the table of devils (demons)" (10.21). The Lord’s table, as presented in this chapter, is expressive of fellowship. Indeed the cup (not the loaf) is mentioned first and this emphasises that the blood of Christ is the basis of that fellowship: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" (10.16). The two words for fellowship, namely "communion" and "partakers", occur five times in vv.16-21.

The Lord’s table, as presented here by Paul, would point to all the good into which we have entered as a result of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. As the table of demons would represent the whole system of idolatry, so the Lord’s table would set forth all the blessings of Christ we now enjoy.

As to the Lord’s supper, the synoptic Gospels tell us of the institution of it by the Lord Jesus (e.g. in Luke 22.19,20). In the book of the Acts we read of the celebration of it by the early disciples, and we learn who are to partake (2.41,42) (there it is spoken of as "breaking of bread" – this is from the human standpoint and brings in our responsibility), and also how often it is to be observed, namely each first day of the week (20.7). In 1 Corinthians we find the explanation of the Lord’s supper by the Holy Spirit through the pen of the apostle Paul. There we read firstly of the Corinthians’ own supper (11.20-22), then he deals with the Lord’s supper itself (11.23-26).

Each week, as we partake of the Lord’s supper, in the act of eating the bread and drinking of the cup, we show (or declare, proclaim) the Lord’s death. However, this is in anticipation of His imminent return - "till he come" (1 Cor 11.26). What a great privilege is ours!

David E West

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