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“The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45)
When our Lord Jesus Christ is called “the last Adam,” a twofold relation between him and the first Adam is implied. By giving him the name of “Adam,” the Holy Spirit implies a typical relation between “the last Adam” and “the first man Adam.” And by prefixing to the name the term “last,” he tells us that our Savior is another Adam.
The Relation Between
Christ and Adam
The fact that our Savior is given the name “Adam” in the Book of God tells us that the relationship between the “first man Adam” and “the last Adam” is clearly a typical relationship. Names are often used this way in Scripture. In Revelation 11:8, the world is called “Sodom and Egypt,” telling us that Sodom and Egypt were types of the world. In Revelation 17:18, the apostate church is called Babylon; telling us that Babylon was a type of the apostate church. In Hebrews 12:22, the Church of God’s elect is called “Mount Sion,” telling us that Mount Sion typified the Church. John the Baptist is called Elijah because he was typified by that prophet. And we find our Lord himself called both David (Ezekiel 34:23, 37:24, 25; Jeremiah 30:9) and Solomon (Song of Solomon 3:7-11), telling us that these great kings were types of him as our great King.
The application of the name of Adam to our Lord Jesus is to be regarded as a declaration that Adam was typically related to Christ. As Paul put it, he “is the figure of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14).
Adam was a type of Christ. — He prefigured and foreshadowed our Savior. In his life, circumstances, and position as the father of mankind, there were things arranged by the hand of God to present a picture of great and vital, wonderful and glorious realities in connection with “him that was to come.”
Holiness of Nature
Adam typified our Lord Jesus in the holiness of his nature. Of all the human race there have been two men, and only two, who were free from every taint of sin when they came into the world. Two men were holy, harmless, undefiled, at the very outset of their earthly existence, just two. — “the first man Adam” and “the last Adam.” In the Word made flesh, the woman’s promised seed, we see the one; and, looking across the intervening ages, back to the day when God made man in his own image, we see the other, “a figure of him that was to come.”
Adam was also typical of our Lord in his dominion. The dominion God gave Adam over all things prefigured, and was intended to prefigure the dominion he has given to Christ over all things as our God-man Mediator.
In Psalm 8:4-8, we read, — “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him
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, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”
All this dominion is ascribed to man. We read in Genesis 1:26 that God said concerning “the first man Adam,” with the decree that accompanied his creation, — “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
But the first man is not here alone. A greater than he is in the words. If we read Paul’s exposition of these words in Hebrews 2:8-9 we see that this dominion is ascribed to “the last Adam,” our Savior, the Man of God’s right hand. — “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” That is what Paul says, quoting Psalm 8. — Then he explains, — “For in that he put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him; but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.”
The grandeur of the position of Adam as the lord of this world, and the creatures contained in it, symbolized the grandeur of that King who has on his head many crowns, and in his hands all power in heaven and on earth, with the keys of hell and of death, and of whom it is written that God has highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth!