The First Adam and the Greater Last Adam

by | Apr 23, 2011 | Biblical Theology, Eschatology, New Testament, Old Testament, Soteriology

Paul calls our Lord Jesus Christ “the last Adam” in 1 Cor. 15:45. In Rom. 5:14, he says that Adam “…is a type of Him [Christ] who was to come.” Adam is type; Christ is anti-type. But as with all biblical types, Christ as anti-type of Adam is both like Adam and greater than Adam. Just as Adam was a son of God, so Christ is the Son of God. As Adam was an image-bearer, so Christ is the image-bearer. As Adam was placed on the earth as God’s servant-representative, so Christ is placed on the earth as God’s servant-representative. Adam was placed and tempted in a garden without sin and failed. Christ is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1-2) but passed the test. Adam was head of the old humanity and represented it in the garden. Christ is head of a new humanity and represented it in life, death, and resurrection/exaltation. Whereas Adam failed to multiply his seed across the globe as image-bearers in communion with God, Christ succeeds.

However, Christ’s headship is greater than Adam’s in another very important way. Christ as head of all things and the one who sums up all things is given the responsibility to crush the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15), destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8), disarm the celestial rulers and authorities (Col. 2:15) and set free the creation from its slavery to corruption (Rom. 8:21). Christ’s headship brings the entire created realm to a condition it has never been to before – all sons of God are brought to an immutable state of sonship, all sons of God will have glorified souls and bodies, all sons of God enjoy eternal life, all creation shall be set free from bondage and distortion brought in by sin and the curse, and all of God’s enemies (unbelieving men and women, non-elect angels, and the devil himself) are put in their rightful place, away from the favorable presence of the Lord and unable to torment God’s people any longer. Surely the headship of the last Adam constitutes him a much greater Adam than the first man was!

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Implications of Jesus’ Relationship to the Law

Implications of Jesus’ Relationship to the Law

You remember that we are working through Matthew 5:17-20 under the theme we determined at the beginning of this blog series. That theme concerns Jesus’ relationship to the Old Testament Scriptures. Those Scriptures are described in the way typical of the New Testament as the law and the prophets. Jesus’ relation to them is described both negatively and positively. It is not to abolish but to fulfill them. Jesus comes to bring the Scriptures to their intended goal or predestined destination. This relationship of Jesus to the Old Testament is the underlying theme of the entirety of verses 17-20.

The Perpetuity of the Law

The Perpetuity of the Law

This, then, is why Jesus feels the need to issue this warning. A new time—the time of the kingdom—has come. What will this mean for the law and the prophets? Does it mean that their time is over and that their authority has been overthrown? To this Jesus gives an emphatic answer. It does not! He does not overthrow their authority. Rather, the authority of the Old Testament Scriptures remains and must remain inviolate forever. It is not their abolition, but their fulfillment which Jesus brings.

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