Jesus in the Old Testament: Adam

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As our families and churches prepare for the Christmas celebration, many are seeking to emphasize the biblical expectation of the promised Savior, rather than the commercial and sentimental emphasis of our society.  One way to do this is to walk through the Old Testament, following the centuries-long expectation of God's people for the promised Messiah.  This spirit is found in one of our advent hymns: "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus."  It reads:

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art,

Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

In this spirit, I would like to offer a series of brief meditations on how the Old Testament anticipates Jesus' coming and in which Christ appears prior to his incarnation.  If these direct our thoughts to Christ during the holiday season, and especially if these meditations prove suitable for parents to read to their children, I will be greatly rewarded.


Jesus and Adam

Did you know that Adam knew Jesus?  Adam was the first human being, made by God's special creation in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7).  Jesus was there, with the Father, as they fashioned the first man and breathed into him the spirit of life.  John 1:2-3 says that Jesus "was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."  This means that Jesus was working with God the Father in creating Adam. 

Adam got to know Jesus better in those glorious first days of creation.  Genesis 3:8 says that Adam and Eve "heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day."  That is referring to Jesus, prior to his birth, who took a visible form and was a divine friend to his most beloved creatures.  Imagine what it would have been like, before there was sin or anything bad in the world, when Adam and Eve were still righteous and upright in their hearts, for them to walk through the Garden talking with God's Son!  Jesus wants this same kind of friendship with us.  He wants us to know him.  He wants to be our divine friend.  He wants to teach us the glory of God in the beauty of holiness.

But Adam and Eve sinned.  Sin made them hide from Jesus because they were afraid to be punished.  God found them, however, and taught them to trust in Jesus, who would now be their Savior.  In Genesis 3:15, God gave the first salvation promise and it was all about Jesus.  He cursed Satan, who had tempted Adam and Eve into sin, by foretelling that Jesus would someday defeat him.  God promised: "He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."  It would hurt to have your heel bruised, and Satan was able to hurt Jesus by causing him to die on the cross.  But Jesus would crush Satan's head - that is, he would cause his complete ruin and defeat - by taking away the guilt of our sins.  God pictured for Adam and Eve how Jesus would save them, and when they believed in him they were saved from their sins: "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21).  Can you see what this pictures?  God had the lamb die in the place of Adam and Eve, showing how Jesus would die for our sins so that we can be forgiven.  God then clothed Adam and Eve with the innocence of the lamb, just as Jesus would clothe us in his own perfect righteousness.  We call this message the gospel: the good news that God forgives our sin through faith in Christ and clothes us in his righteousness.  If you believe this, you will be saved by the same faith that made Adam and Eve the first Christians.

There is one last thing to say about Jesus and Adam.  Did you know that Adam was a type of Jesus Christ?  This means that Adam was himself a picture of what Christ would come to be.  Adam pictured Christ in one way: by being the covenant head (or leader) for all who belong to him.  When Adam sinned, he acted as our representative, since all of us are born from his line.  The New Testament says, "In Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22).  This means that because of Adam's sin - both the guilt of what he did on our behalf and the sinful nature we gain from him - we all must suffer death as the punishment for sin.  But because of his love and grace, God sent Jesus to be a new Adam.  By trusting in Jesus, we gain him as our covenant head and we are saved because of what he has done for us.  Though by nature we are joined to Adam and his death, through faith we are instead joined to Jesus for his salvation.  The Bible says that while sinners are joined to Adam for death, believers "in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22).  Where Adam failed us by sinning, Jesus saves us by fulfilling God's covenant of salvation.  We are no longer just members of Adam's sinful race, but by trusting in Jesus we have joined his new righteous people.  Jesus was born to start a new human race made up of those who believe in him, are born again, and live forever in the joy of God's grace.

Don't you think that Adam and Eve would have been looking forward to Jesus' birth?  They were made by him, he was their divine friend, and he was the Savior they were trusting for salvation.  All these things are true of us as well if we believe in Jesus!  We should be looking forward to Christmas as a way of thanking God for the wonderful salvation he has given through his Son.

 "In him was life, and the life was the light of men" - John 1:4

Posted December 5, 2014 @ 10:38 AM by Rick Phillips

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