National Church Establishments
(Christ and the Nations 1—Second Adam)
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. (1 Cor. 15:45-47)
Question.—How does the New Testament teaching that Christ is the second Adam reflect the national character of His work?
Answer.—The national, not merely individual, character of Christ’s work is set forth in the consideration of His work as the second Adam:
First, It must be observed that His work was unquestionably that of One acting in the capacity of a second Adam, Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22.
Second, In the creation, as well as redemption, it appears that God’s design was to make a marriage for His Son so that we might rest in his house, Heb. 3:6; 4:3, 4; Ruth 1:9; 3:1. From the fourth commandment, we can infer that in Adam’s marriage union with the woman was to be found the intended bride, cf. Gen. 1:28; 3:20; 4:1 with Ex. 20:11. Thus, as becoming a potential bride for the Son, Adam must exhibit possession of a perfect love and absolute devotion during the time of his betrothal, Gen. 2:16, 17. Should he prove to be constant in the keeping of that positive law grounded upon the tenth commandment, Rom. 7:7, 8; Adam, as father of fathers and kings would have been required to seek to enforce the fourth commandment upon his subordinates, Deut. 5:14. Adam was created to be qualified as a king, in which respect his outward kingdom would be subservient to his functions in the spiritual kingdom, Ps. 8:4-8. This development is displayed in the intention of the kingdom of Christ, Rev. 21:24, 25.
Third, In Christ manifesting Himself to accomplish the work and responsibilities of the second Adam, we see Jesus presents Himself in His maturity as the second Adam, Luke 3:21-23. When He prays, the heavens are opened, rent asunder, at His call, Mark 1:10, 11; Ps. 24:7-10. Accordingly, He is given that subjection that was held in promise to the first Adam, Ps. 8:6-8; and demonstrates His mastery over the creation, whether over winds, Matt. 8:26; waves, Matt. 14:25; or making the fish of the sea and beasts of the fields to serve Him, Matt. 17:27; Mark 11:2-7. In His acceptance as the second Adam, He was specially invested with that covenant Sonship in respect of which Adam was the son of God, and into the promise, standing, and privileges of which Sonship Christ was now taken, Ps. 89:26, 27.
Fourth, Christ, as the second Adam, was next required to fulfill the probation of Adam, which He does in the wilderness, Mark 1:12, 13. Whereas the first Adam fell from the promise, the second Adam successfully maintained His standing in that promise, and that against the disadvantages wrought by the first Adam, Rom. 5:18.
Fifth, Laboring now under the disadvantage of the Fall, the second Adam must travail in birth on behalf of His children to accomplish their birth into the kingdom of God, Isa. 53:11; Gal. 4:19. So, immediately consequent to His temptation, He is found engaged in this work, Luke 4:14, 15.
Sixth, Having fulfilled that keeping of the law required by the first Adam, Christ, the second Adam, satisfied, by His active obedience that precept as covenant Head, Heb. 4:15; it also behooved Him to satisfy the penalty of the law as broken in the first Adam, Phil. 2:8; Gal. 3:13. All of this He accomplishes as the second Adam, setting the house in order again, Heb. 2:6-10.
Seventh, From this it is pretty evident that the constituency of the first Adam, or those for whom he was called on to stand, was not a constituency of individuals merely, but a constituency of families, and ultimately of nations, Acts 17:26. This may also be inferred from the analogy of the promise made to Abraham, or Jacob, Gen. 35:11. God shows that He regards them as of Adam’s constituency as families and nations, as well as individuals, by exacting of them the righteousness of which they are destitute as a result of Adam’s sin, Jer. 10:25; Rom. 5:15. God has dealt with Adam’s constituency as nations and families, Amos 3:2; thus, in Noah himself the safety of his family was committed, Heb. 11:7. So, too, when Achan sinned, he perished together with his family, Jos. 22:20. Likewise, the history of the Jewish nation shows that they stood or fell, were prosperous or otherwise, according to the conduct of their kings, cf. Deut. 28:36.
Eighth, The second Adam, then, was sent to correct, or rectify, that which was set at naught by the first Adam, Rom. 5:19. Who were the “many” in view? Is this speaking of individuals merely? Or, perhaps, it bespeaks families and nations, the very “ones” ultimately made sinners by and through Adam’s fall, Isa. 52:14, 15.