Do you remember when you were a small child exploring a storybook? Before you could read, your understanding of the story was limited to the pictures you saw. There were no words to give the story context. Not until the story was read to you could you completely understand the information relayed through the images. You can think of the Old Testament as a book offering us pictures of Christ and the New Testament as providing us the words which give the story its context and deeper meaning.
Pictures of Jesus
The Old Testament is filled with pictures of Jesus that we call types. A type is a person, event, or ceremony recorded in the Old Testament foreshadowing a future person, event, or ceremony. Types are shadows of things to come. Through types, we can better understand Jesus. In Genesis, we are introduced to Adam, the first man. Then we skip ahead to the New Testament and see that Jesus is the last Adam (1st Corinthians 15:45). Why? What does this mean?
Adam as a Type of Christ
On the last day of creation, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27) and called the first man “Adam” (Genesis 5:3), which means humankind in Hebrew. As you read further into Genesis, you will find similarities and differences between Adam and Jesus. Adam is considered a “type of Jesus” (Romans 5:14), a shadow of things to come.
Adam represented the entire human race. God created him to have dominion and authority over all His creation (Genesis 1:26). However, Adam lost that dominion and authority; when he disobeyed God and sinned. Adam’s one act of disobedience brought death, guilt, and condemnation to the entire human race (Genesis 3, Romans 5:18).
Jesus, the Better Adam
Then there was Jesus; He came to earth to take the place of Adam, both fully human and fully God (Hebrews 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-20, John 1:1-5). He took back the authority Satan had stolen from Adam, and His obedience to God brought life, righteousness, and justification to all who believed in Him.
We can also see other differences between Adam and Jesus.
- Adam was tempted by Satan and surrendered (Genesis 3:1-7). Jesus was tempted by Satan but stood firm (Matthew 4:1-11).
- Adam put himself in place of God. Jesus put Himself in place of man.
- Through Adam, sin entered the world. Through Christ, salvation entered the world.
- Adam became a living person. Jesus became a life-giving spirit (1 Cor. 15:45-47).
- In Adam, all die. In Christ, all live (1 Cor. 15:22).
As he was writing Genesis, Moses did not know Christ by name, but he wrote of Jesus as this promise of salvation that was to come. By the Holy Spirit, Moses was moved to write of this shadow of Christ in Adam, a shadow that was given substance 2,000 years later through the person of Christ. Moses realized that his message was not for himself to understand but for future generations to understand, for us to understand.
Next time we will continue to discover how Adam is connected to Christ.