Jesus Christ As 'The Last Adam' Reverses
The Curse Of The First Adam's Sin
By William Handschumacher
A Rock of Offence Special Commentary
There Will Not Be Another Adam
Jesus Is The Last
There are many aspects to what Jesus accomplished at the cross. Yet, the most astounding is found in two Scriptures taken from the words of Saint Paul. The first is in 1 Corinthians 15:45-47:
"And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."
It is here that Paul refers to Jesus as not only "The Lord from Heaven", but also "The Last Adam". If you understand what's being said here, you can also understand what Paul is saying in Romans 5:17-19:
"For if by one man's offence (the first Adam) death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one (the first Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (the Last Adam) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience (the first Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (the Last Adam) shall many be made righteous."
The New Testament reveals that all of us have sinned - and there are no exceptions. We inherited our sinful condition (and the condemnation and damnation to hell that goes with it) as a free unmerited gift from the disobedience of the first Adam, who is the father of the human race. All of us received this "gift of death" without having to do anything to obtain it. However, Paul tells us that Jesus is the "Last Adam". We find it interesting that he didn't refer to Jesus as "the second Adam". This means there will not be another Adam ... Jesus is the last. Through the obedience of the Last Adam (notice that it's not our obedience), the free gift of righteousness came upon all unto justification of life. This means that the Last Adam completely reversed all the consequences of the first Adam's disobedience. This reversal allows the gift of righteousness to come upon all believers in a similar fashion that sin and damnation originally came upon the human race - as a gift from the devil. According to the New Testament, the only condition to receive this "free gift of righteousness" (as God refers to it) is believing on His Son Jesus Christ. That means we have no excuse for failure ... and any believer in Christ, no matter how weak or deficient in good works, can't be anything but completely righteous because God gives it as an "unmerited and undeserved gift". 1 Corinthians 5:21 calls this unique gift, "God's righteousness", which means it can never originate from human effort. It comes from God as a prepaid, blood-bought benefit of the "New Covenant". This is one of the most amazing truths in the New Testament. Yet, few Christians live in its light ... because they've been spiritually misled by the counterfeit Christian Church.
In John 3:14-16 Jesus said:
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
In the Old Testament (Numbers 21:8-9) we find the story of Moses "lifting up the serpent in the wilderness?" A lethal plague had just started to attack and kill the people of Israel. God instructed Moses to put a bronze serpent on a pole and carry it through the camp compelling those struck with the plague to simply look or gaze upon the serpent....and they would be immediately healed of the plague. All the Israelites had to do was look up and gaze on the serpent. Everyone who performed this simple act of faith was healed. A person's "worthiness", based on their personal holiness or works of righteousness, was not a requirement in this healing miracle.
It's extremely profound that Jesus used
this same story to illustrate that when
He was lifted up on the pole (or the
cross) - as he bore our sins which is
sybolized by a serpent - that whosoever
(that means you and I) looks up and
simply believes (trusts) in Him will
have eternal life. It doesn't get any
easier to understand.
Much of what passes for Christian theology in the modern church is actually out-of-context Bible teaching which contradicts what God actually said in His Word. When God states that both righteousness and eternal life are gifts under the new covenant of Christ (Romans 5:12-19, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 4:4-8, Romans 3:24-26, Titus 3:4-7), that's exactly what they represent ... whether they offend your religious beliefs or not. Contrary to popular church teachings, adding any merit or works to God's gift represents a denial of the finished work of Christ. Our Heavenly Father does not lie. He does not promise gifts then demand that you earn them through work and personal merit - which makes the word 'gift' nonsensical. Paul attempted to address this common and dangerous religious contradiction by saying:
"And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer Grace; otherwise work is no longer work." (Romans 11:6)
This simple truth offends the false religious element of the Christian church, because they wrongly mix together the Old Testament program of the Law involving works (recorded in the Bible) with Christ's New Covenant salvation established on Grace (also recorded in the Bible). Grace is based on our faith in Christ apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:4-8, Titus 3:5-7). This 'mixing together' (or “unified theology” as some refer to it) is often practiced to preserve denominational power structures and traditional church doctrine. Yet, it's a man-made doctrine that God does not honor, which makes it a spiritual disaster waiting to happen. Jesus condemned this practice by saying ...
"...this people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:6-7)
The Rapture is a 'Salvation Event'
Made Possible by Jesus Christ Who
Operates as the Last Adam
The soon-to-occur "departure of the Church" (also known as “the rapture”) is a great blessing for all Christian believers ... but it will be a disaster and a trap for the counterfeit Christian Church. According to the Bible, the rapture (or 'catching away'), which occurs 7 years before the physical Second Coming of Christ, is a future event connected to "the resurrection of the dead" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). For this reason, the New Testament also refers to the rapture (or catching away) ... as a resurrection, where both terms are often used interchangeably to describe the same event. Those who oppose this New Testament teaching of Saint Paul claim that the word "rapture" isn't found in the Bible - and therefore the whole thing is a hoax. It is true that this English word is not used. Yet, the event that the word 'rapture' represents is described using terminology such as; "caught up to meet Christ in the air", which carries a 'rapturous connotation'. For this reason, using the word rapture is totally appropriate.
"For since by man came death, by man
came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even
so in Christ (the last Adam) shall all
be made alive. But every man in
his own order: Christ the first-fruits;
afterward they that are Christ's
at His coming."
(1 Corinthians 15:21-23)
The Last Adam (Jesus Christ - The Lord
from Heaven) is about to perform one of
the final acts involving His great
Jesus completely reversed the dominion
of sin and its curse of death caused by
the disobedience of the first Adam. As
John the Baptist publically proclaimed;
The Lamb of God did indeed take away the
sin of the world through His one
'forever' blood sacrifice.
The only thing that remains is to change the mortal bodies of God's children back to their original immortal state that the first Adam enjoyed before his disobedience and fall into sin. It represents Jesus Christ - as the last Adam - totally reversing death, which was caused by the first Adam's disobedience. Mortal human bodies are subject to and dominated by death ... but immortal human bodies are dominated by God's life and exempt from death.
This 'reversal of death' and the changing
of our bodies from mortal to immortal at
the rapture is a direct result of the cross
of Christ. It's an integral part of
Christ's redemption - and not some kind of
modern false teaching, as some church
leaders would have us believe.
When the rapture finally occurs, it will not be a reward for Holy Living and Christian service as various church leaders claim. It arrives as a fulfillment (and a conclusion) of Christ's Grace-based--prepaid--blood-bought redemption that He initiated at the cross ... for His Church. This means that it includes all believers in Christ; from the least (those who are the most deficient in personal merit and righteous works) ... to the greatest.
Paul describes this event to the Church at Corinth in
the following way ...
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)
(Notice that Paul said that 'we shall all be changed', which means all authentic believers in Christ will be changed. He didn't say that only a devoted few would be changed - who had achieved a high level of holiness and possessed exceptional Christian service.)
Paul describes this event to the Church at Thessalonica
in the following way ...
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Notice that in both Scriptures, directed at two different church congregations, the rapture or 'catching away' involves both a resurrection of Christians who have died and are in the grave ... and a 'catching up' of Christians who are still alive on earth.
It is not the goal of this brief commentary to cover the subject of the rapture in detail. Yet, it must be emphasized that this future event is an integral part of Christ's Grace-based redemption paid for by His blood (and not by us). The rapture is not some arbitrary reward that God provides for good behavior and righteous living - as many are taught. All Christians agree that Jesus bore our sins at the cross. But, many struggle with the fact that His sacrifice as 'the Last Adam' - that reversed the sin of the first Adam - has a practical future fulfillment that will be visible in the physical world. Isn't that strange? Should not those who claim to be believers in Christ ... believe that He will actually do what He said?
Everyone is happy when Christians keep their faith out-of-sight and intangible. But, when our faith in Christ breaks into the natural world - as it does with the rapture - many are offended. During the earthly ministry of Christ - the real trouble started when He performed healings and miracles. These supernatural manifestations take place when faith, which is usually unseen, visibly breaks (or manifests) into the physical world and begins to convince unbelievers that God is real. It's at this point that various ministers and church leaders begin their attacks and disinformation campaign. In Christ's situation, the religious leaders sought to kill Him because His miracles exposed their teaching as being false.
Jesus, as the Last Adam, will soon return to change the believer's mortal body into an immortal body ... and replace death with everlasting life. Bible scholars often refer to this as 'the translation'. The Christian's enemy, the devil, hates this message because it exposes his hidden works of darkness, which has deceived millions of professing Christians down through history. This is one reason the subject of the rapture is under such a vicious attack today from various sectors within Christendom.
Concerning this future 'catching away' of
His Church - Jesus said;
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe
in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s
house are many mansions; if it were not so,
I would have told you. I go to prepare a
place for you. And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again and receive
you to myself; that where I am, there you
may be also." (John 14:1-3)
The 'catching away of the Church'
and the changing of believers from
mortal (death) to immmortal (life)
is the next event to happen on
God's calendar. Nothing else needs
to happen before the rapture occurs.
Grace Does Not Release
Us From Holy Living
In commentaries such as this one, some readers might get the idea that holy living, doing good works and avoiding sin are not important. This is often the result of focusing so much on the initial receiving of Christ's Grace-based salvation (or getting saved) that we inadequately cover how we are to live 'after we are saved'. The following explanation should clear up some of these misconceptions.
Obtaining salvation through the unmerited and undeserved favor of God (called “Grace”) does not release us from the task of avoiding sin, doing good works, adopting Christ-Like behavior and holy living. God instructs all Christians to seek after these things - but for reasons other than obtaining His gift of eternal life. Scripture instructs us to avoid sin because it is inconsistent with our new life in Christ (Romans 6:1-4). Our Heavenly Father also tells His children that seeking these character attributes is the right thing to do - since they represent Christ on earth, which is why the New Testament refers to them as “the body of Christ” (Ephesians 1:15-23). Worldly people often form their beliefs and opinions about God by observing the conduct and behavior of His representatives. If the believer’s conduct involves a sinful lifestyle, it often causes those around them to have an improper or false perception of God – possibly to the point of speaking evil of Him. Yet despite these reasons, our Heavenly Father sternly warns that our attempt to achieve these character attributes (which involves work and effort) is never to be used as requirements or pre-conditions to obtain and keep what Scripture calls, God’s unmerited and undeserved gift of eternal life. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:19-21, Galatians 3:10-12 and Galatians 5:4, Romans 4:4-8, Titus 3:5-7)
we hope you find this brief commentary
helpful in your spiritual walk with
the Lord Jesus Christ.
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