4:16the dead in Christ will rise first. For Paul, those “in Christ” constitute a subcategory of those “in Adam” (the whole human race), and comprise all who participate in the salvation of Christ (1 Cor. 15:22, 23), whether they lived before or after Christ. Therefore, this rising of the “dead in Christ” is a resurrection of all the righteous dead, and not merely of New Testament believers, at the time of Christ’s return (as in 1 Cor. 15:23; cf. John 5:28, 29). The resurrection of the unrighteous is mentioned explicitly by Paul only in Acts 24:15, though he also presupposes it in his warnings of a universal judgment of individuals at the time of Christ’s return (Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5–16). See theological note “The Return of Jesus Christ” on previous page.
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