First Adam and Last Adam

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English Service on May 21

Messenger:Pastor Jim Allison

Title: "First Adam and Last Adam"  Bible passage: Romans 5:12-21


Last month when we were here together, we learned that after Jesus came to life again, He guided His disciples to start looking for Him in the Bible.  For them at the time, that was the Old Testament.  When they dug a little deeper there, they began discovering treasures about Him that they had not found before.  I want to explore some of those with you, beginning in today’s message.  There are far too many to see in one sermon, but let’s get a start today.  In that way, we can encounter Christ through God’s word and come to know Him in a deeper way, as His first disciples did.  That is the goal we have in all our learning here at church.  We want to come into closer relationship with God through His Son, Jesus.  Without that, we cannot hope to understand our world or ourselves fully and clearly.  So let’s begin our journey here.

As we do, we will be learning both the New Testament and the Old Testament.  Christians who look at them both find some amazing links between the two.  In fact, no matter what book of the Bible we study, we find that it points to Christ.  It’s like Jesus in the New Testament is a person standing in the sunlight, and the Old Testament is His shadow.  The shadow isn’t exactly the same as the person Himself, but it’s awfully difficult to separate the two.  They really go together, and you can see some very important things about a person by looking at His shadow.  

Bible teachers call these images of Christ in the Old Testament types.  Some of us are not too young to remember typewriters.  In them there was the shape of a letter.  When it hit the ink ribbon, it would put that shape onto a paper behind it.  It was like the process of making the imprint in the picture you see on the screen.  I used to see on TV the images here on the screen when I watched a police drama called Dragnet.   


Types are (a) patterns.  They show things that are linked or related between the one that comes first and the one that follows.  They may show something that is important because it is similar or specifically because it is different and contrasts.  Types are (b) historical.  They are actual people or events that take place in the real world.  Types are (c) prophecies, special words from God, for example showing something important that is going to happen in the future.  God gives prophecies to help His people be ready when He is going to do great things.  Types are (d) first steps.  They are not complete.  The completion comes later and is called the anti-type.  That does not mean it is against the type, like anti-Giants means against the Giants.  It just means it is different from or in contrast to the type.

We get an example in today’s Bible reading.  Paul teaches that Christ is the “last Adam.”  Let’s look closer to see what He means.  In doing that, we will discover that there are very deep and important teachings linked with this image of who Christ is.  In fact, there are answers to all of the basic questions that people answer in some way as we form our view of the world, whatever it is: (a) Who are we?  (b) Where did we come from?  (c) Why are we here?  (d) What’s wrong with us?  (e) What can help us?  (f) Where are we going?  In other words, understanding Christ as the “last Adam” will help us form a Christian way of viewing the world.  

1. The first group of images are about creation and destruction.   

A. Let’s look first at light and darkness.  Genesis 1:2b-4 tells us that before God made our world, “. . . Darkness was over the surface of the ocean. . . .”  Then “God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light. God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness.”  Into this world Adam was placed.  

Fast-forward to the day of Jesus’ death.  A similar thing happens.  Mark 15:33 tells us that “At noon, darkness covered the whole land.”  When Jesus, the “light of the world” (John 8:12) is killed, the light goes away.  In the dawn of a new day the followers of Christ discover the good news that He is alive again.  Now we can “walk in the light” (I John 1:7) because He is with us.  Then in John’s vision of our life with God in heaven one day (Revelation 22:5), “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun. The Lord God will give them light.”  I’m glad to bring you that part of the Good News today.


The second image is a garden.  In Genesis 2:8 we read that “The LORD God had planted a garden in the east. It was in Eden. There he put the man he had formed.”  Then jumping from the time of Adam to the time of Christ’s death, we see Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He could still run away at this point and not go to the cross, but He chose instead to obey His Father and go to the cross.  The first Adam lost the battle with temptation in a garden and chose to eat the fruit God had told him not to eat.  The Last Adam won the battle with temptation in a garden.  Through that, you and I can have hope as we fight from day to day with the temptations that are real parts of our lives.

Then in John 19:41-42, “At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden. A new tomb was there. No one had ever been put in it before. . . . They placed Jesus there.”  When Mary Magdalene saw the risen Christ (John 20:15), she mistook Him for the gardener.  That is fitting in one important way.  Christ is the new and better keeper of God’s garden.  And through His body and blood, He brought back what the first sin took away.  We are here to praise Him for that today.

B. Then there is the breath in both Adam’s story and Jesus’.  Genesis 2:8 says about God, “He breathed the breath of life into him. And the man became a living person.”  The life-giving work of God was thrown into reverse on the terrible day when Jesus was killed on the cross.  Luke 23:46 tells us that then “Jesus called out in a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my very life.’ After he said this, he took his last breath.”  Yet through this awful time, the resurrection became possible.  It brought back to Jesus the breath of life, and not long later (John 20:22), when He was together with His disciples, “He then breathed on them. He said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”  The spirit of life was restored, and with God the Spirit living inside us, we can have power and guidance for each day. 


C. The contrast between Adam and Jesus as the created and the creator can teach us many things.  Though they both were born through the miraculous work of God, Adam was from earth.  Jesus was from heaven.  The first Adam tried to become like God (by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).  The Last Adam was the God who became a man.  Jesus was perfect and sinless.  Adam, on the other hand, was sinless only when he had not yet met temptation.  He was innocent then but not strong morally or spiritually.  He gave in when the snake tempted him.  Christ was different, making many choices to obey His Father rather than letting Himself do wrong.   

Because of this, He was able to bring to completion God’s work of salvation.  Genesis 2:1 says that God “completed” His work of creation.  Yet Adam’s (and Eve’s) sin brought brokenness into our world, and we all have it still in our lives each day.  Christ’s death made restoration possible so that people could go back to a completeness that Jesus announced when He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  Through that, we have a way to go back into fulfillment and wholeness, what the Bible calls the shalom that God wants for His world. 


2. Another set of links between First Adam and Last Adam relate to community and separation.  God created human beings for community, saying (Genesis 2:18), “It is not good for the man to be alone.”  

A. Maybe all of us know that one name for Jesus is the Son of God.  But do you remember reading Luke 3:38, where it says about the first human being, “Adam was the Son of God”?  That was God’s design, for all of us to live as His children, as family.  In another sense, Adam was to be the head of a great family of human beings to follow him in living together in God’s love and peace.  But when sin came into the world, it broke the community, the right and healthy relationships that God desired.  It separated the man and woman from Him and from each other.  Genesis 3:8 says, “They hid from the Lord . . . .”  (We are still trying to do that.)  Then when God came to them, Adam blamed his wife for their troubles and even suggested that God was at fault for giving her to him (3:12).  


So when Jesus came into this world to take on our sin and defeat it, He had to overcome the separation that was killing human community.  He did this by dying alone—deserted, betrayed, and forsaken.  The first Adam hid from the face of God, but the Last Adam begged God not to hide His face (Matthew 27:46).  And through His death, Jesus created a new family of faith.  Through the cross, a restored community with Christ as its head became possible.  It was not like First Adam’s family, which only held together well until temptation came.  Jesus made a family based on grace.  We all enter it by admitting that we have made the wrong choices and asking Him to help us change and act more like the children of God that we actually have been made to be.       


B. The Bible uses two more images related to community.  One is food.  In Jesus’ culture, eating together was a sign of acceptance.  People shared the food that supported physical life also as a sign of support for each other.  That was part of God’s design for human society.  But the first Adam brought sin into the world by listening when the snake said in effect about the fruit, “Take this and eat it.”  The Last Adam brought His followers together just before going to die and gave them food, saying “Take this and eat it. This is my body.”  In teaching them to hold “The Lord’s Supper” together, He was re-forming the community that sin had separated.  He still uses it to call us together with Himself and with each other.


Do you remember how, when Mary Magdalene saw the risen Christ, she mistook Him for a gardener?  Through His body and blood, the Last Adam re-built the community that the forbidden fruit destroyed.  He invited His followers back to a restored Garden-City in the New Heavens and Earth.  There the tree of life grows around the throne of God, and the fruit is free for the taking (Revelation 22:2).


C. And one more thing about Jesus’ community: the Bride and Groom.  We’ve already noted how the first Adam blamed his bride for their bad choices.  God had created First Adam to be “joined to his wife” (Genesis 2:24), but sin was beginning to separate him from her.  Last Adam, on the other hand, took the blame for His bride.  “The bride of Christ” is a name the New Testament uses to talk about the Church, Christ’s community (Revelation 21:2).  The cross made possible the deeper restoration of the relationship between Christ and the Church.


3. The last group of images centers on the blessing and the curse.   A. One relates to the sides of the bodies of First Adam and Last Adam.  Genesis 2:21 tells us that God made the first woman, Adam’s partner, from “the opening that was in his side.”  Eve was God’s wonderful gift, His blessing, but when she and Adam chose to say no to God and eat the fruit, they put themselves in a position so that they would not receive His blessing.  They came under the curse.  That is, the natural and proper thing would be for them to receive God’s punishment.  That is because God is holy and punishes sin in order to uphold justice. 


The good news is that that is not the end of the story.  Because of God’s deep love for people as His creations, He made a way for us to be made right, even after we make bad choices and sin.  When Christ was on the cross, John 19:34 tells us, “. . . One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus' side. Right away, blood and water flowed out.”  That showed Jesus was dead.  Through this second opening in the side, God was making a way to take away the curse that human beings are under without Him.  In other words, the first Adam received a blessing when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gave a blessing when man (humankind) opened God’s side.


B. Next is the trees.  In the garden where First Adam lived was “the tree that gives life forever” (Genesis 2:9).  John 19:18a tells us about Jesus’ death, “There they nailed Jesus to the cross.”  Crosses were wooden, made from trees, and this one became the tool God used to conquer sin and so make possible for the world’s people life forever.  


Another way to say it is this: when Adam in Genesis 3 ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he brought death into the world.  But when Jesus died on a tree, He put the curse in reverse.  First Adam tasted death from a tree.  Last Adam tasted death on a tree.  In so doing, He gave the gift of life.  That is how much God loves you and me: enough to provide for our salvation.  He deserves our praise!


C. Then there are the clothes.  Originally (Genesis 2:25) “The man and his wife were both naked. They didn't feel any shame.”  But when they sinned, it brought shame into our world, and people feel ashamed to be naked because of that.  Adam and Eve made clothes for themselves, out of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7).  God had a better idea, and it showed the pattern of work He would continue, then bring to completion in Jesus.  He made clothes for them out of animal skins (Genesis 3:21).  That meant a sacrifice—blood was shed to cover the sin of human beings.  


The system of animal sacrifices was put in place and continued until, for Christians, Jesus took away the need for it.  On the cross, He became the perfect sacrifice for all people, all sins, all time.  He was stripped of His clothes and hung on the cross.  There was shame in that, especially in that culture.  But through His sacrifice, we are covered.  Our shame is taken away.  We are free to be our true, natural selves, the people God has made us to be.  No matter how many foolish, shameful choices we have made, thanks to Christ, none of them is greater than the forgiving love of God!  Praise God for that wonderful gift!


D. Finally, we see in both Adams’ stories the thorns.  When First Adam disobeyed God, He was told he would have to work hard to grow food, and the ground would produce “thorns and thistles” (Genesis 3:18).  The punishment was not only for him.  Eve would have pain in childbirth, and all the people born after them would sooner or later die as a result of sin.  “Sin entered the world because one man sinned. And death came because of sin. Everyone sinned, so death came to all people” (Romans 5:12).  


But though the first Adam earned thorns, the Last Adam wore thorns.  Matthew 27:29 tells us that the people putting Jesus on the cross “. . . twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head.”  They did it to make fun of Him, but through His death, “Those who receive the rich supply of God's grace . . . have received God's gift and have been made right with him.”  And Christ’s “one right act made all people right with God. And all who are right with God will live” (Romans 5:18).  Through the cross, God kept the promise that He made to the snake in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  Christ, the King who wore the crown of thorns, was that “offspring.”  That’s the curse in reverse!  The first Adam brought a curse.  The Last Adam became a curse.  Adam brought death; Jesus brought life.  That’s Good News!  So let’s walk in that truth every day.  


Today we have seen a remarkable number of images of Christ way back in the Old Testament.  Who could arrange things so that light, darkness, breath, gardens, brides, food, the sides of two men’s bodies, trees, clothes, thorns, and more would all match in events that took place thousands of years apart?  Who do such a thing?  It takes God to do something like that.


To sum it all up, “Sin ruled because of death. So also grace rules in the lives of those who are right with God. The grace of God brings eternal life because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done” (Romans 5:21).  It’s all about grace, the love of God that overcomes even our sin.  That’s what Christ’s story, our story, the story are all about.  Let’s go to Him in prayer.  


Lord, when we see what amazing things you have done over so many years to show your love for the world’s people, humble thanksgiving and commitment of ourselves to your leadership seem like the only appropriate ways to respond.  Thank you, Father, for the incredible gift of your life-giving love.  We live by your grace.  That is what holds us and moves us ahead from day to day.  Help us to walk in its power today, tomorrow, and every day.  In this way, help us to offer you hearts full of gratitude for your great goodness to us.  In Christ’ name we ask it, amen.




Stonestreet, J. (April 13, 2017). Breakpoint. Retrieved April 14, 2017 from

Stonestreet, J. (April 18, 2017). The Point. Retrieved April 19, 2017 from













今日の聖書箇所の中に良い例があります。パウロはキリストが『最後のアダム』であると教えています。彼が言いたいことを知るためにもっと詳しく見ていきましょう。そうすることで、キリストとはだれなのかというキリストのイメージに関わる深くて大切な教えを見つけることができるでしょう。事実、基本的な質問の全てに対する答えがあります。それは私たちが自分の世界観を作るときに抱く質問であり、人々が何とか答えているものです。(a)私たちは誰なの?(b)どこからきたの?(c)なぜここにいるの?(d)自分たちはどこが間違っているの?(e)何が私たちを助けてくれるの?(f)私たちはどこへ行くの? そのどれであってもです。言い替えるなら、キリストを『最後のアダム』として捉えることがキリストを信じる者として世界観を作るのを助けてくれます。





























































Stonestreet, J. (April 13, 2017). Breakpoint. Retrieved April 14, 2017 from http://www.breakpoint.          org/2017/04/breakpoint-jesus-last-adam/

Stonestreet, J. (April 18, 2017). The Point. Retrieved April 19, 2017 from http://www.breakpoint.            org/2017/04/jesus-last-adam/