OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew

            In the Old Testament, God was preparing His people for the coming Messiah.  He made His people to become a great nation.  He settled them in the landCanaan.  He sent prophets unto them with a message about His coming Servant.  He also tried to develop their knowledge through the use of types and shadows.  It was the writer of Hebrews who said that the law contained “a shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1).

            There is a plethora of people, things, and events that fall into the category of types in the Old Testament.  Some are very obvious (e.g., Moses as a type of Christ).  Some are more obscure.  In this article, we want to examine one of the more obscure types.  In fact, this type is so obscure that we would have missed him.  Fortunately, Paul revealed him unto us.  In Romans 5:14, the apostle refers to Adam as a type of Christ.  “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  When something is a type of something else, there are always similarities between the two.  When we compare the two, there are some striking likenesses that exist between the type and the antitype.  Let’s look at some of the likenesses that exist between Adam and Jesus Christ.

            First, Adam and Jesus are both “sons of God” in very unique ways.  Luke’s genealogy refers to Adam as “the son of God” (Luke 3:38).  Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that the child which she would bear would be “called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  Adam was unique because he had no family background.  He was created by God from the dust of the ground.  “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).  In like manner, Jesus became the Son of God in a unique way.  He was born by means of the virgin birth.  Mary conceived Jesus without having known a man (Luke 1:34).  She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35).  The prophet Isaiah had so declared it in the days of old.  “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14).

            Second, Adam and Jesus both bear the image of God the Father.  When Jehovah was about to create man, He said:  “Let us make man in our image after our likeness…” (Gen. 1:26).  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).  Being made in the image of God is what set man apart from the animal kingdom.  Man possessed self-consciousness, free will, and a conscience.  He could love, communicate, and have intimate relationships with God and other human beings.  Jesus, too, bears the image of God.  He does so in absolute perfection.  The writer of Hebrews describes Him as “the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3).  Other passages make this claim as well (II Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; John 1:18).  Jesus so completely resembles the Father that to see Him is to see the Father.  During His earthly sojourn, one of His disciples said to Him:  “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8).  Jesus responded with these words:  “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?  He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Fther?” (John 14:9).  With this concept in mind, we are to imitate Jesus Christ (I John 2:6; I Pet. 2:21).  When we do, we become like God, or “God-like.”

            Third, Adam and Christ were invested with power and dominion.  Adam’s power was over the earth and animal kingdom.  After creating the first couple, “…God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:  and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28).  This concept was known and appreciated by King David.  In Psalm 8:6-8, he wrote:  “Thou madest him (man) to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:  all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea.”   This thought was one of the things that caused David to exclaim:  “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8:9).  Jesus, too, was given dominion and power.  His power, however, was not limited to this earth.  “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18).  Paul declared the preeminence of Christ with these words:  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church:  who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:16-18).

            Fourth, Adam and Jesus both brought something to man.  Perhaps it might be better to say that both of them committed acts that had a tremendous impact on man.  Romans 5:18-19 reveals each of their actions and the consequences thereof to man.  “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  Adam sinned and brought sin, death, and condemnation to man.  Jesus died and brought forgiveness, life, and the reward of heaven to man.  “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 shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:21-22).

            Fifth, the final comparison that we will mention involves the brides of Adam and Jesus Christ.  The bride of Adam was Eve (Gen. 2:18-24).  The bride of Christ is the precious church for which He shed His blood (Acts 20:28; Rom. 7:4; II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 21:2).  Each one of these brides wore the name of her husband.  Eve wore Adam’s name.  “This is the book of the generation of Adam.  In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him:  male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (Gen. 5:1-2).  In like manner, the church bears the name of her husband.  “…And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).

            Who would have ever thought that Adam could resemble Christ in so many ways?  Had Paul not told us that Adam was a figure of him who was to come, we many have never considered the likenesses.  From the very beginning of the Creation, God was preparing man for His Son.