Adam was the head of the human race and in the Scriptures, he is compared and contrasted with Messiah. Do humans sin because they are sinful, or are they sinful because they sin? Adam sinned and the consequences were catastrophic and the repercussions of that continue today. In his famous prayer of repentance King David readily acknowledged that he was brought forth in iniquity and in sin his mother conceived him (Psalm 51:5). Multitudes of seemingly unanswered questions concerning the character of the Creator fail to recognise that the world was created perfectly, and it was humans that rebelled against God and the result is a broken world. In stark contrast, Messiah is sinless, can forgive sin and heal a broken world.
Death through Adam and Life through Messiah
Although through Adam, sin entered the world and consequently death through sin; there was always hope because Messiah is able to forgive sin and bring life. God made a covenant with Adam including the promise of a Redeemer who is the second Man and the last Adam. Messiah would suffer though would triumph over Satan. Her “Seed” refers to Messiah.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (Genesis 3:15).”
Adam is a type or forerunner of Messiah. David Stern notes that Adam prefigured the One to come, namely Yeshua (Jesus), that there are major differences between the two men which are explained through kal v’chomer arguments[i] (in other words what applies in a less important instance will certainly apply in a more important one). Through Adam’s offense many people died but by the grace of God through Messiah, grace abounded to many. The offense resulted in condemnation for everyone but the free gift which Messiah offers resulted in justification (Romans 5:15-16). Furthermore through one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
The Resurrection of the Dead
One Corinthians 15 is known as the “resurrection chapter’. Paul encourages the reader that Messiah died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, was buried, that He rose again the third day and was seen by Cephas and then by the disciples. He continues explaining how the resurrection of Messiah relates to our resurrection.
Paul describes the body as sown in corruption though raised in incorruption, sown in dishonour, and raised in glory and sown in weakness and raised in power. The natural precedes the spiritual as the natural body will be raised as a spiritual body. He helps us to make sense of that by citing Genesis 2:7 and contrasting that with Messiah. “And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:49).”
Why is Messiah referred to as the last Adam? Messiah brings salvation and no one compares with Him or is needed to complete or add to His finished work since He restores that which Adam lost. The name Adam appropriately means “man, earth, red, dust”. Adam was the first man made from dust and everyone that has ever lived also bears the image of Adam or dust. But those trusting in Messiah will bear the image of the heavenly Man and enjoy life eternal with Him and will be free from condemnation and judgement.
From Adam to Moses
God gave us the Torah through Moses and the law is like a mirror which shows us exactly how we have sinned. Why was the law added? The law was added so that the offence might abound, though where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20).
Nevertheless we have already considered a plan of redemption in the Adamic Covenant which was set in place immediately following Adam’s sin. Genealogies in Scripture are important and if we look at the family line from Adam to Noah and consider what their respective names mean, it is evident that there was a plan for Messiah to bring peace and restore Adam’s transgression from the outset.
Mahalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The despairing
Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring the despairing rest.[ii]
[i] David Stern Jewish New Testament Commentary (Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc, 1992; Clarksville), p358-359