of the Everlasting Covenant was not in precisely the same context as
it was in Heaven. In the Covenant, as one equal with God, Christ
made a promise to redeem mankind. That covenant was not made again
when He became man, rather it was actualized. He performed His
promise within the context of sin and redemption. [return to
Adam was the first of
the Savior's types. Both were tested as representative men. Each
stood for others as well as for themselves. Upon the conduct of each
depended the condemnation or the justification of the human
race—either the malediction and misery or the acquittal and
happiness of the race. Adam was not merely the human race's father.
He was also our representative. He was the representative man. When
God told Adam to not eat of the forbidden fruit He spoke to the
entire human family in Adam. That command embraced humanity as can
be observed by hindsight—all are fallen. That fall goes back to
our first representative, our procurator. When he acted it was not
merely for himself, but it was for us and as us. He was invested
with full authority and responsibility with accountability to
conduct important matters—of life and death—for himself and for
all future generations.
Adam's sin and condemnation was imputed to us, legally. Christ's
righteousness, likewise was imputed to us, forensically. We all
share in the fruits of the failure of Adam and in the triumph of
Christ. Ruined by the first head of the race, God gave us another.
Christ had certain requirements of righteousness to meet on
condition of which the whole human race would become entitled to
justification and thus acceptance with God.
The two Adams are compared as the two common heads, or two roots, of
mankind. Both communicated their conditions to the human race. And
yet there is a vast difference between them. Christ's power is far
more active and effectual for the human race than was Adam's. Christ
communicated abundantly more to the race than we lost in Adam.
Christ's blood is not only sufficient to redeem all those who
believe, but even the whole of the fallen race. The blood of Christ
purchased (1) legal acquittal (i.e. forensic justification) which is
acceptance by God, a restoration of favor for the whole race; and
(2) personal forgiveness of sin when one believes (i.e.
justification by faith.) [return to
God dealt with Adam as
the representative of the human race as well as a separate
individual. That first sin was generic as well as personal and
particular. He involved himself and his posterity in his
disobedience; mankind thus fell into bondage to sin and death. That
was a legal condemnation and penalty of death. As the representative
of mankind, Adam's act of disobedience was binding upon all those he
represents. Then and now in mankind's guilt, the love of God appears
as wrath and judgment. The law given as a guide, became a curse. In
Adam mankind, legally, shared his sin, guilt, and condemnation. This
was not guilt in a literal sense as partners with Adam in his
transgression, but rather guilt in the legal sense of exposedness to
penalty. The race has no guilt in the sense of culpableness, on
account of his sin. There is no deserving of blame or censure as
being wrong from personal involvement. It is exclusively a legal
liability to the penalty of that offence, by reason of the
representative relation established by God. It is a legal
responsibility. Thus there is need of a legal Redeemer. [return
Christ represents not
only the individual believer, but the entire fallen human race. It
is written that Christ is the head of every man (1 Corinthians
11:3), and thus represents all human beings as members of his body,
even those who withhold from Him the recognition that He is their
rightful Head and Savior. Christ's life represented a perfect
manhood, a perfect Adam, a perfect race in Him.
The second Adam occupies a status above all principalities and
powers, and every name that is named. He has been lifted up to the
throne of the universe. And mankind is there represented by Him.
In Romans 5:14 we learn that the first Adam was the figure of Christ
and in 1 Corinthians 15:45 He is called "the last Adam."
Adam was a figure of Christ in that what Adam did he acted for
others as well as for himself, and through his transgression the
race was condemned. Likewise with Christ. What He did, He did for
the same ones Adam ruined. Adam brought condemnation to
"all"; Christ brought "justification of life" to
that same "all."
Jesus assumed the position of Adam condemned under the law. Leslie
Hardinge put it this way: As the Sin-offering, "He deliberately
laid it [His body] on the altar to die for all mankind. And because
He took man's place on the cross, humanity was executed in
"[W]hen He became man, it is still true that we, including
every man and woman who has ever lived, are 'in Him.' Because Jesus
is free from all guilt, He was entitled to pay man's ransom. On the
cross humanity died in Him." Leslie Hardinge, With Jesus in
His Sanctuary, pp. 361, 362.
"When Jesus died, humanity died in Him. When He arose, mankind
again lived in Him. As Jesus ascended to His Father, redeemed
humanity ascended in Him. In the heavenly Sanctuary Christ's blood
is representative of the human race. And when Jesus is ultimately
glorified, the race will be glorified in Him." Ibid. p.
122. [return to text]
"Here was the
assurance to the Son of God that his Father accepted the fallen race
through their representative, and that he had granted them a second
"But few have a true sense of the great privileges which Christ
gained for man by thus opening Heaven before him. The Son of God was
then the representative of our race; and the special power and glory
which the Majesty of Heaven conferred upon him, and his words of
approval, are the surest pledge of his love and good will to
man." ST Aug. 7, 1879.
"And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, 'This is
My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,' embraces humanity. God
spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and
weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. 'He hath made us
accepted in the Beloved."' Ephesians 1:6. DA 113. [return
"At the Saviour's
baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father's glory
overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to
the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam's sin, the human race had
been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between
heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had
come 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' (Rom. 8:3), the Father
Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through
Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan
had hoped that God's abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal
separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that
the connection between God and man had been restored" DA
116. (Emphasis original). [return to
word means order, such as people ranked and arranged in groups. Paul
used a metaphor drawn from the military, of companies appearing in
their proper position and order. Here he distinguishes three
classes, or groups, of persons resurrected: Christ the first-fruits,
next are believers raised to life at His second coming, and finally,
the rest of humanity—the lost—when death, the last enemy, is
destroyed. Christ is the first-fruit of ALL who die. All shall be
raised because of Christ.
"According to 1 Corinthians 15:23f the gift of life is given to
various ones in turn. ... One view is that in this connection Paul
distinguishes three groups: Christ, who already possesses life, the
Christians, who will receive it at his second coming, and the rest
of humanity (telos), who will receive it when death, as the
last of God's enemies, is destroyed." Arndt and Gingrich, p.
While it is true that the primary issue in this chapter is the
resurrection of Christ and Christians who receive immortality at His
Second Advent, it is likewise true, in the immediate context, Christ
is presented as the One "in" whom even the lost will be
resurrected. This will take place at the end of the 1,000 years when
death, "the last enemy" is destroyed.
These groups are enumerated, according to their places of
importance, using the particles "afterward" and
"then." Under the figure of speechprotimesis (description
of order), E. W. Bullinger places verses 22-24 along with verses
5-8. He wrote, "The figure is employed when things are
enumerated according to their places of honour or importance, using
the particles 'first,' 'again,' 'then.'....
"This figure, therefore, increases the emphasis of a particular
statement by setting forth the order in which the things treated of
stand, or take place."
He next quotes verses 5-8 emphasizing the terms "then,"
"after that," "after that," "then,"
and "last of all." Following this he comments on verses
22-24: "Christ the first-fruits;" "afterward
they that are Christ's at His coming." "Then cometh
the end"; or "then, to telos, the end," or the
last final rank of this great army of raised people. So that, there
is no such thing as what is called a "general
resurrection"; for as nearly nineteen hundred years have
elapsed between the 'first-fruits' and 'them that are Christ's,' so
there will be a thousand years between then and the last or second
resurrection (Rev. xx. i-6)"—Figures of Speech Used in the
Bible, p, 457. [return to
"then the end (telos)."
This has been touched on in the above endnote. Of what, or what end,
can only be determined by the context. The subject here is the
various ranks of persons in their proper resurrection group in
ranking order. A third and final order of resurrections ending with
the lost when the last enemy is destroyed. The word "then"
permits an interval between the resurrection of the group of
believers at Christ' s coming and the final consummation at the end
of the millennium.
The resurrection of the wicked dead terminates the devil's power
over the lost. It had been demonstrated, previously, that he could
not keep Christ in the tomb. It will be demonstrated that Satan will
not be able to keep Christ's followers in the grave, at the time of
the Second Advent. Finally, at the end of the millennium by the
resurrection of the lost, the demonstration reveals that Satan is
not even ruler of those who chose him as their head.
Christ is the "first-fruits" of the harvest of believers.
He is likewise the "first-fruits" of the harvest of the
damned. It was the harvest of the lost that Christ reaped when He
died and then was raised from the dead.
Ellen White understood the meaning of Paul's use of the universal
adjective "all." "In consequence of Adam's sin, death
passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the
grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all
are to be brought forth from their graves"—GC 544
The two Adams were not merely individuals; they were representatives
of the fallen race. Both their actions affected mankind in the most
profound ways. In this passage Paul reveals the final triumph of
Christ over death and over sin as sin draws death after it. The
fundamental point is that universal death came because of Adam's
sin; but further: because of Christ's resurrection all shall be
resurrected in their proper rank and place. Christ's death was a
representative one. Christ led the way in resurrection, just as Adam
did in death.
In this place Paul presents the concept that we do not die merely
because of Adam, but "in" him. Paul included all of us in
Adam. To be "in" Adam means to be a part of the fallen
race. To be "in" Christ means to be a part of that same
race, but much more: a fallen race redeemed "in Christ."
Likewise, everyone shall be resurrected from the grave, not merely
"because of" Christ, but "in" Him. Christ rose
not merely for Himself, but as the Head of the race.
The acts of Adam and of Christ are public representative acts, done
in their capacity as heads of the human race. All who die, die
through the sin of Adam. All who are raised, arise through the merit
and the power of Christ. All without exception and without
distinction shall arise by virtue of Christ' s resurrection. Christ
more than undoes what Adam did to us. Death is canceled by
resurrection. [return to