Paul said, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s offense, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Rom.5:14).
Paul is revealing that the Adam from the Garden of Eden is a picture of the other Adam that was to come. Now, Paul calls Jesus Christ the last Adam (1 Cor.15:45). Would Paul be revealing that the Adam who fell in Paradise be a picture of Jesus Christ? Every picture is an image of the original. In order that Adam could be a picture of Jesus, he should exhibit traces of the character of Jesus. Let us compare the two of them to see if Adam is really a picture of Christ:
1. Adam sinned, that is, transgressed, as we read in Rom.5:14, but Jesus never sinned, as Peter said,“Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (1 Pet.2:22). We read in the letter to the Hebrews: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb.4:15). In regard to sin, Adam has never been a picture of Jesus Christ.
2. Adam left us a cursed legacy: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom.5:12). Jesus, on the contrary, takes us out from death and sin. Let us read his words, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). And the apostle of the Gentiles declares, “and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom.6:18). And the apostle of love concludes, “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him” (1 John 3:6). In regard to the legacy, Adam is not a picture of Christ, either.
3. Adam, by his disobedience, deprived us all of the Tree of Life. Jesus transforms us in the branches of the vine, for in this way separation will be impossible, and also it is impossible not to bear fruit. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in Him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
4. We were created in the image and likeness of God. Adam caused us all to lose this grace, to such extent that we all ended up assuming the likeness of brutes. “For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they have all the same breath” (Eccl.3:19). Jesus takes the Christian in his hands and makes him a new creation, and men returns again to the image and likeness of God (Col.3:9-10). It seems impossible to find any likeness between Adam and Jesus so as to make the first a picture of the last. But let us go on trying to find it.
5. Satan, the old serpent, led Eve to eat of the tree of Science, and Eve talked Adam into eating from it. The serpent, then, made Eve fall, and Eve made Adam fall (Gen.3:1-6). Jesus forms his Church, that is, his Eve, with fallen sinners, and causes them all to stand; and along with them, he causes his bride to stand.
6. Adam is the father of the carnal men subject to sinful passions (Rom.7:5). Jesus is the father of all that crucify the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal.5:24).
7. Eve became the head of Adam, for she decided to eat of the forbidden fruit, and afterwards gave it for Adam to eat, too (Gen.3:6). Jesus is the head of the Church, being submissive to Him (Eph.5:23).
8. Adam, when Jehovah reproved him, blamed Eve saying: “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Gen.3:12). Jesus took the blame of all, for the love of the lost, and in order to save them. “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2) “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet.2:24).
9. We will write a portion of the letter of Paul to the Romans that makes it very clear the contrary aspects in the persons of Adam and Jesus: “For if by the transgression of the one many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many” (Rom. 5:15). “And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification” (Rom.5:16). “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17). “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).
It is more than proven that Adam is not a picture of Christ, but Paul affirms that he is a picture of someone who is to come, and has not yet come. Israel waited for a deliverer in the days of Christ who would reign over the nations with a rod of iron, after delivering Israel from his captivities. Now, Adam could only be a picture of a human warrior deliverer, capable of elevating Israel to the headship of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus saves all, and takes them into the kingdom of his Father, which is not of this world.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira