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Adam

The journey to Emmaus would seem long that day, for hearts were sad through disappointed hope, until the Stranger drew near and went with them, soon gripping their interest and stirring their heart as He opened to them the Scriptures. They longed then for His further company, and graciously He became their Guest awhile, still further revealing Himself to them. Under the impulse of reawakened hope, how eagerly now they hastened back to spread the tidings of a resurrected Lord! As we too pursue our pilgrimage past the milestone of another year, are we in close fellowship with Him? Amidst so much to weary and sadden, our step may sometimes feel heavy. It is the daily enjoyment of" the things concerning Himself" which will take the loneliness from many a mile of the way.

"Beginning from Moses ... He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." As they listened to the Master's unfolding of Old Testament type and shadow, their heart burned within them. These things concerning Himself drew out their wonder and affection. So much that had been familiar to them from early years now flamed with new light, showing up the beauties of His Person and work. To successive generations of devout believers there has been a similar unfolding of the Old Testament in its revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Truth has taken of the things of Christ and declared them to receptive hearts. Heart-warming it is to trace the miracle of divine inspiration which has enshrined the glory of the Son of God in the Sacred Writings. As the Lord began from Moses, so may we, searching reverently for those foreshadowings of the divine purposes to be fulfilled through His incarnation, suffering and triumph. To discover in the early chapters of Genesis so much which has its answering reflection in Christ and His work, stirs the heart to adoration, and confirms the conviction given by so many other infallible proofs that the written Word has God as its Author. We see as its pre-eminent theme from the beginning the incomparable Person of our beloved Lord, the Image of the invisible God, who has so perfectly declared the Father.

We may well ponder the glories of creation as Adam enjoyed the unspoiled handiwork of God. We realize that through the outworking of sin's corrosive power down the ages, "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8.22). In spite of this, our spirits are awed by reflecting upon God's everlasting power and divinity in the things that are made. How much more would Adam himself have cause to marvel at the Creator's handiwork in a Paradise as yet unspoiled by sin! To him God brought the animal and feathered creatures to see what he would call them, and gave him dominion over every living creature: as the Psalmist put it, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands." Adam's privileged dominion over creation prefigures delightfully the far vaster divine purpose in Christ. For while the words quoted from Psalm 8 are true of Adam, they are also applied by the Spirit of God to our Lord Jesus Christ: "Thou crownedst Him with glory and honour, And didst set Him over the work of Thy hands: Thou didst put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He subjected all things unto Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we see not vet all things subjected to Him" (Hebrews 2.7, 8). Fell result of man's rebellion that insubjection should be shown to Him who is verily the Head of all principality and power! When that authority is asserted, and all things are subjected to the Lord Jesus, the word will be fulfilled that "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb ... and the lion shall eat straw like the ox... they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain." Then also shall the earth be "full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." So that what found early expression in Eden, the harmony of an unspoiled creation under the dominion of man in fellowship with his Maker, will find a more glorious counterpart in a restored millennial creation under the dominion of the last Adam, the Lord from heaven. Well might that future era be described in Ephesians 1.10 as "a dispensation of the fulness of the times".

Yet the Holy Spirit leaves no doubt as to the contrast between Adam as a created being, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God. Adam was made in the image of God and after God's likeness; he was endowed with the spiritual and moral capacity to respond to God, and bear responsibility in obedience to His word. With penetrating contrast, however, we read:

"The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.... The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second Man is of heaven" (1 Corinthians 15. 45, 47).

The LORD God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. From everlasting ages the Lord Jesus, God the Son, was the Effulgence of God's glory, and the very Image of His substance. Through Him the worlds were made. By virtue of incarnation, He is rightly described as "the last Adam," "the second Man," and elsewhere, "Immanuel, God with us." If we think with wonder of Adam's creation from the dust of the ground, how much more do we feel the narrow limit of reason's power as we contemplate the overshadowing of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, through which a body was prepared for the Lord Jesus! Faith thankfully accepts the divine word, "That which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God." In John 5.26 the Lord Himself declares: "As the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself," a declaration borne out by the power of His deeds, and yet more powerfully to be demonstrated when through His resurrection we who have borne the image of the earthy, shall also bear the image of the heavenly (see 1 Corinthians 15.49).

Most remarkable it is to have a glimpse in Eden of God's "eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." It is true that the mystery of Christ and the Church which is His Body was not made known in earlier generations, as it was revealed to the New Testament apostles and prophets in the Spirit. Nevertheless, we can look back in the light of New Testament revelation, and marvel that the purpose which was in God's mind should be shown out in the manner chosen to form the woman from the man. Adam's deep sleep; the opening of his side, and removal of his rib; the formation of the woman from the rib; her presentation to Adam as an helpmeet for him; each detail of the inspired narrative is in suggestive parallel with what our Lord Jesus undertook for the salvation of the Church which is His Body. He loved the Church and gave Himself up for it, involving the "'sleep of death"; witness the spear wound in His side, from which came out blood and water. Through such suffering He has made possible the eternal union with Himself of every believer of this dispensation. As Adam said of woman, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh," so the Lord declares each individual believer to be a "member of His Body"; He the Head and we the members! As Adam found in Eve an help meet for him, or answering to him, so the Church which is His Body is described as "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1.23). In the gracious sovereignty of divine purpose, the myriads of the redeemed of this dispensation are seen as sanctified and cleansed by Christ, and will be presented to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish. Thankfully we behold the manner of love bestowed upon us, that we have been brought into this uniquely favoured relationship with the Lord Jesus. A marvel it is, that despite the tremendous scope of His creative work, the heart of the Son of God should find no delight comparable to that of having blood-bought sinners brought into close and glorious companionship with Himself through eternal ages. Infinite love rejoices in the responsive affection from redeemed hearts, an affection which could never have been awakened apart from appreciation of the atoning sacrifice of their now exalted Head.

What hallowed fellowship with God would be enjoyed in Eden! Amidst the perfection of the garden, with all its natural delights, unfallen man would find his chief pleasure in spiritual communion with his Maker. We look back to the deep peace of that scene, as to the perfect calm of some sequestered lake, as yet undisturbed by the restlessness of human rebellion or the savage tempest of Satanic power. There we see mirrored so clearly the principles of communion with God, and of acceptable service to Him, principles which run on through every dispensation and must guide us still. For has it not been God's delight to reveal Himself to His creature, committing to favoured men the guardianship of that revelation, and prescribing according to His own wisdom the limits of their responsibility in service? So it was with Adam. Had he remained obedient to God's Word all had been well. Satanic subtlety exploited the weakness of failing to realize the importance of even the jot and tittle of divine revelation. Eve's misquotation of God's instructions in Genesis 3.2 3 betrays her carelessness in adding to, and taking from, and altering the Word of God Disaster followed, for disobedience meant the forfeiture of so much privilege and entailed the groaning and travailing of the human race through succeeding ages of man's sorry history There is an application of this lesson to which we do well to take heed as believers today. For obedience to the truth of God for our time brings us within churches of God, according to apostolic precept and practice. Where God's children have been united in this way, they answer to the figure of "God's husbandry" or tilled land (see 1 Corinthians 3.9). This metaphor implies orderly arrangement according to the will of God, and separation from others who are not prepared to accept what they often choose to term the " limitations " of such a position. Within the enclosure of God's tilled land, the revelation of His will may be thankfully enjoyed, while there will be as much service to engage the hands as there is revelation to rejoice the heart. It will always be characteristic of disciples so separated, that they recognize the first importance of careful obedience to the Word of God. Otherwise, how well they know that their privileges will in due course be forfeited! May we be taught of the Spirit to find our place within God's tilled land, and then enjoy its fruits to the full, in happy fellowship with the One who has graciously made such communion and service possible to us!

In quite a remarkable sense, Romans 5.14 speaks of Adam as "a figure of Him that was to come." The figure is by comparison between Adam's one act of disobedience in partaking of the forbidden fruit, and the Lord's one act of righteousness in yielding Himself as the propitiation for sin. The failure of the first Adam, with its resulting legacy of sin, death and condemnation to his descendants, is five times compared with the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this series of comparisons between verses 15 and 19 of Romans 5 we have a brilliant vindication of the ways of God towards men. Unbelief may cavil at God's permitting the entrance of sin, with so much of consequent suffering for Adam's race; but the believer finds here an answer to the problem. For the entrance of sin with all it entailed, is shown to have been in the wisdom of God to produce the circumstances in which divine grace could find unparalleled expression. Had many died through the trespass of the one? Then much more did the gift by the grace of the one Man abound unto many. Did the judgement come of one that sinned unto condemnation? Then the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification. Did death reign through the one? Then much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace reign in life through the One, even Jesus Christ. So that however much sin may abound through human transgression, divine grace abounds more exceedingly, and grace will reign through righteousness unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All this, and much more, we see emerging from the Spirit-breathed history of Adam's fall. With what profound accuracy God's judgement on the man and woman has been wrought out in every generation from that day to this! With what divine precision is foretold the provision of a Saviour through the Seed of the woman! As we witness the clothing of Adam and Eve with skins, implying the shedding of the victims' blood, we recognize a ray of light for guilty men which is magnified through succeeding ages until the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ once for all. Nor do the discarded fig leaves escape our notice as fitting emblems of man's own righteousness, so utterly inadequate for the presence of Him with whom we have to do.

Blessed be God, whose grand designs so far excel our natural thought! With humbled spirit we admire the magnitude of this vast expanse of divine purpose, stretching from one man in Eden, through millenniums of human experience with God, to the soul-stirring consummation of infinite, eternal enjoyment in the new heavens and new earth.