COVENANTS PART 6: THE ADAMIC COVENANT
A dispensation can be defined as a particular system God uses to deal with his people during a certain period of time. Each dispensational period starts with a distinct COVENANT and ends with a JUDGEMENT.
The first 2 dispensational covenants are as follows:
The Dispensation of INNOCENCE was ushered in by the EDENIC COVENANT and ended with the JUDGEMENT OF THE SERPENT AND MAN.
The Dispensation of CONSCIENCE commenced with the ADAMIC COVENANT and terminated with the FLOOD JUDGEMENT.
WHAT WAS ADAM AND EVE’S SIN?
Gen 2:15-17 (ESV) … And the LORD God commanded the man, saying: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Some have suggested that the sin in Eden was sexual, with Adam and Eve committing the “sin”.
But this makes no sense as God had already instructed the man and woman to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth” (Gen 1:28). God created them not only with the ability and freedom to have sex, but with the instruction to do so!
WAS IT SEXUAL?
When God first made Eve and “brought her to the man” (Gen 2:22), Adam appears to be in awe at God’s handiwork (v. 23). We then read in v. 24:
(ESV) Therefore a man shall leave his father
and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
This is the passage Jesus uses to illustrate
the divine institution of marriage (Matt 19:4-6,
Mark 10:6-8) in his argument against
divorce. Paul also quotes it in Ephesians
5:31 in the context of marriage.
SEX IN MARRIAGE IS APPROVED BY GOD
While the two becoming “one flesh” might have a secondary meaning of unity in purpose, it clearly has a sexual connotation as well. In fact, Paul applies it this way in his condemnation of unchastity.
1 Cor 6:16 (ESV) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”
So even before the Fall there’s no implication that sex was inherently evil. God created sex and - within the context of marriage - it is ordained and approved of by God. Thus it has nothing to do with the sin of Adam and Eve.
Adam was forbidden by God to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Although traditionally the fruit has been identified as an apple, the Bible does not actually say what kind of fruit it was.
But from the text of Genesis, every indication is that it was a literal tree with a literal fruit.
Why would God place a tree in the garden only to forbid Adam to eat from it? It was simply placed there as a test of man’s obedience.
A MORAL CHOICE
It was not something in the fruit that
gave them the knowledge of good
and evil (conscience) – it was the
act of disobeying God’s direct
command to abstain from
eating that tree’s fruit.
Adam’s decision to eat of
the tree was the first human
moral choice ever made.
DISPENSATION OF CONSCIENCE
With the judgement of God, not only does the Edenic Covenant terminate (it is a conditional covenant) so does this period we call the Dispensation of Innocence.
Formerly Adam and Eve were innocent (uncorrupted by evil or malice). Innocence, once lost, cannot be regained.
The knowledge of good and evil is what we call conscience. A new dispensation of Conscience begins, ushered in by the Adamic Covenant. Rather than having a single command, they would now be governed by conscience (the moral sense of right and wrong, acting as a guide to their behaviour).
CURSE, STRUGGLE, LOSS
While the Edenic Covenant defined the parameters of Adam’s existence in the garden of Eden, the Adamic Covenant, which was given after the Fall of man, defines the parameters of man’s existence outside the garden, including the curse, struggle and loss of all three parties.
Serpent cursed to earth, doomed to a struggle with the woman's seed that he will lose.
Woman’s curse in childbirth, doomed to a struggle with man that she will lose,
Man cursed with labour to provide for woman and children, will struggle (with the ground) to live but will lose and die eventually (returning to the ground).
A BLOOD COVENANT
Gen 3:21 (NIV) The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
The shedding of the blood of an animal (implied by “garments of skin“) to provide a covering for their nakedness was God’s way of teaching them about the necessity of blood to atone for sin. That they
understood this and taught it to their children is
apparent in God’s handling of Cain and Abel, where
only the blood sacrifice of the firstborn of Abel’s
flock was acceptable. The blood was also the
seal or signature on this first blood covenant.
THE PROMISED SEED OF THE WOMAN
Gen 3:14-15 (NASB) The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you … And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
THE CONTRACT TERMS
God and mankind
Royal Grant (Unconditional)
Serpent’s head would be crushed by the Seed of the Woman (Messianic)
Reason for grant
Future faithfulness of the Seed of the Woman (Jesus)
Reference to the “seed”
The “Seed” is promised
Animals killed for garments
NO REDEMPTION FOR ANGELS
When God judges Adam and Eve he immediately follows with a promise of the redemption of mankind by the Seed of the Woman. Yet God’s curse of the Serpent leaves no room for his redemption. Throughout the Bible, the judgment of God often seeks to bring about restoration with fallen man. Yet, it appears that God makes no similar offer for the restoration of Satan and his cohorts and there is no atonement for angels.
Heb 2:16 (ESV) For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.
Why were Satan and the fallen angels not shown grace? We can only speculate.
Angels have greater knowledge than man. The Bible implies that the severity of God’s judgment varies according to how much knowledge you possess.
Luke 12:48 (ESV) “But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
SATAN SINNED OF HIS OWN ACCORD
Some believe it was because man was tempted to sin while Satan sinned of his own accord. Irenaeus seems to be of this opinion:
For this cause also God has banished from His presence him who did of his own accord stealthily sow the tares, that is, him who brought about the transgression; but He took compassion upon man, who, through want of care no doubt, but still wickedly [on the part of another], became involved in disobedience; and He turned the enmity by which [the devil] had designed to make [man] the enemy of God, against the author of it, by removing His own anger from man, turning it in another direction, and sending it instead upon the serpent. *
ANGELS ARE NOT A RACE
Due to their intrinsic nature, angels cannot be redeemed in a similar fashion as was the case with humans. Angels are a company and not a race to which genuine additions may enter. As such, each angel is an individual separate creation of God, and being an immortal being they are not intended to procreate. This also means that they sinned individually, and not in some federal head of the race – as was the case with Adam. Therefore, Christ could not become a kinsman-redeemer by birth or creation and thereby represent angels as a class before God – as he does with humankind.
SHAME AND GUILT
Adam and Eve were ashamed of their sin and hid from God’s presence, while Satan was proud and unrepentant. After his expulsion from heaven in Rev 12:12, Satan is not penitent, but remains bitter and hostile to God. Neither is he reformed by spending 1000 years incarcerated in the Abyss (Rev 20).
GRACE TO THE HUMBLE
Likewise, proud and unrepentant men have no redemption because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, ESV)
1 John 1:8-9 (ESV) If we say
we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not
in us. If we confess our sins, he
is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.
The Garden of Eden
The Garden of Gethsemane
First Adam vs Last Adam
COVENANT BREAKER vs COVENANT MAKER
Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 portray Adam and Jesus as 2 covenant heads for mankind.
Adam broke his covenant.
Hos 6:7 (NIV) Like Adam, they have broken the covenant— they were unfaithful to me there.
Jesus made a New Covenant.
1 Cor 11:25 (ESV) In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
CURSE vs NO CURSE
Adam’s sin brought the Curse:
Gen 3:17 To Adam he said, “…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”
Jesus freed us from the curse of the law;
Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
and ultimately the original Curse:
Rev 22:23 (NIV) No longer will there be any curse…
THE TREE OF LIFE
Adam’s sin deprived us of access to the Tree of Life.
Gen 3:22 (NIV) … “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
Jesus restores this access in the Millennium.
Rev 22:2 (ESV) through the middle of the street
of the city; also, on either side of the river,
the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit,
yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of
the tree were for the healing of the nations.
A BRIDE FROM ADAM’S SIDE
Adam’s bride came from his side.
Gen 2:21-24 (ESV) So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of
his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
And the rib … he made into a woman
and brought her to the man …
Therefore a man shall leave his
father and his mother and hold
fast to his wife, and they shall
become one flesh.
A BRIDE FROM JESUS’ SIDE
Jesus bride came from his side.
John 19:34 (ESV) But one of the
soldiers pierced his side with a
spear, and at once there came
out blood and water.
His blood that was shed would
Rev 5:9 (NIV) … because you
were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
ADAM - A FAILED REDEEMER
The Bible indicates that Adam was with Eve when she was tempted, but didn’t intervene.
Gen 3:6 (ESV) … she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
When she offered him some of the fruit, he ate it – not as a result of being deceived (1 Tim 2:14), but seemingly to please her.
Gen 3:17 (ESV) And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ …”
ADAM BLAMES HIS WIFE
It is quite likely that Adam could have “redeemed” the woman - had he not sinned. But the same man who held out his hand to his wife
to welcome her, exclaiming, “At last!” (Gen 2:23)
points the finger of blame in her direction.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just
as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
- Jesus loved the church redemptively and husbands
are instructed to love their wives in the same way.
While Adam blamed his wife for his sin; Christ loved
his bride and redeemed her from her sin.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil
The tree of Calvary (Gal 3:13)
After the Fall, the death sentence was passed on to all
Adam’s descendants (what Augustine called Original Sin).
Rom 5:12-14 (NIV) … just as sin entered the
world through one man, and death through
sin, and in this way death came to all men,
because all sinned… Nevertheless, death
reigned from the time of Adam to the time
of Moses, even over those who did not sin
by breaking a command, as did Adam,
who was a pattern of the one to come...
Were we born sinners, or did we choose to become sinners after birth?
We are not sinners because we sin – we sin because we are sinners,
i.e. we are born sinners. We are all “were by nature children
of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Eph 2:3, ESV)
Ps 58:3 (NIV) Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
Ps 51:5 (NIV) Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful
from the time my mother conceived me.
Did any of you have to teach your children to lie or
MANY MADE RIGHTEOUS
Adam as the covenant head of the human race, made all his descendants sinners through his wilful act of disobedience. But Jesus makes his spiritual seed righteous and alive again.
Rom 5:19 (NIV) For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so
also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
CONDEMNATION vs JUSTIFICATION
Judgement and condemnation (legal sentence) came from Adam; the gift of grace and justification (legal pardon) from Christ.
Rom 5:16 (NIV) Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
Rom 5:18 (NIV) Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
GUILT vs NO GUILT
Adam’s sin brought guilt:
Gen 3:10 (ESV) And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
There is no guilt in Christ:
Rom 8:1 (ESV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:31-34 (ESV) If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? …
DEATH vs LIFE
Death came through Adam; life came through Christ.
Rom 5:17 (NIV) For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
DEATH vs LIFE
YOU WILL DIE THAT DAY
Why didn’t Adam and Eve die when they ate the fruit?
God told man “in the day [beyôm] that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
In contrast, Satan told Eve, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So who was correct (God or Satan), considering that they didn’t die on the day they ate of the fruit?
Gen 5:5 (NASB) So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
NOT A LITERAL DAY
Some use the 1000 year-day analogy to explain the seeming anomaly. Only sometimes (not always) does beyôm refer to a literal day. Irenaeus writes:
And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since “a day of the Lord is as a thousand years,” he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin. *
But God said, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17, NASB) and the context seems to suggest a 24-hour day. So why would there be a delay of over 900 years?
NO MORE ACCESS TO THE TREE OF LIFE
Another option is that from that day onward, man was denied access to the Tree of Life which appears to have been the source of his immortality.
Gen 3:22 (NIV) And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
DYING A PROCESS
Some believe that God’s prediction was fulfilled in that man became mortal when he sinned and would eventually die.
In Irenaeus’ words “[we consider] that, on account of that, they were delivered over to death, and made debtors to it”. *
Irenaeus writes that man became subject to “disobedience, which is death.” * Death in the Bible never means extinction; it means separation:
Physical death: separation of the body and soul/spirit.
Spiritual death: separation of man from God.
Adam didn’t die physically on that day but he was separated from God. Since the Fall, man is spiritually dead i.e. the part of man that connects to God - has died. God’s words, “You shall surely die” – referred to
spiritual death i.e. separation of man from God, as they
were driven from God’s presence when “the Lord God
banished him from the Garden of Eden” (Gen 3:23).
The death of man is both spiritual death (which
happened immediately) and physical death (a
process that was set in place after the sin).
A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING
Jesus said of Satan, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Why did Jesus call Satan “a murderer from the beginning”?
Man’s death was an act of murder perpetrated by Satan. Satan was the murderer of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and of every human being who has come into existence ever since. The death of all mankind stems from the Garden of Eden where Satan lied as to what would result from Adam and Eve’s disobedience. *
Man’s has a threefold nature.
BODY: makes us conscious of the world (through the 5 senses)
SOUL: makes us conscious of self (Mind, Will, Emotions, Memory)
SPIRIT: makes us conscious of God (Fellowship, Intuition, Faith, Conscience)
When your BODY is dead, you are no longer conscious of the world through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
When your SPIRIT is dead, you are not conscious of God – you lose your Faith, Conscience, Fellowship and Intuition.
LOST FAITH & CONSCIENCE
As we are dead spiritually because of sin we have lost:
Faith: We no longer have faith and rely only on what we can see with our physical eyes. This is why saving faith is a gift from God.
Eph 2:8 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
Conscience: Our consciences have been seared and we do not realise we are sinners. This is why God has to bring conviction of sin by his Holy Spirit.
John 16:8 (NASB) “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”
LOST FELLOWSHIP & INTUITION
Fellowship: our relationship with God has been severed.
Ps 5:4 (NIV) For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome.
Isa 59:2 (NIV) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Intuition: we have lost our spiritual discernment.
1 Cor 2:14 (NIV) The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
Through Christ the spirit, soul and ultimately the body is made alive through renewed relationship with God:
REDEMPTION OF OUR SPIRIT
Rom 8:10 (NIV) If Christ is in you… the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (NASB)
REDEMPTION OF OUR SOULS
1 Pet 1:9 (NIV) for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
OUR ADOPTION AS SONS
REDEMPTION OF OUR BODIES
Rom 8:23 (NIV) … we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
As physical death (of the body) was a result of Adam’s sin so the resurrection of the body is a promise based on what Christ has done.
1 Cor 15:21-22 (NIV) For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
SEPARATION vs RECONCILIATION
Adam’s sin resulted in separation from God (spiritual death).
Gen 3:23-24 (ESV) therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden ... He drove out the man …
Jesus’ death on the cross brought reconciliation with God (spiritual life).
Col 1:20 (ESV) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Eph 2:18-19 (ESV) For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
A NEW FAMILY
We are born into Adam’s family and receive a sinful nature. We need to be born again into the family of the last Adam (Jesus) to receive a new nature.
John 1:12-13 (ESV) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of
the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? [John 3:3-6, ESV]
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
BORN OF THE SPIRIT
We need to be born of water (not baptism, but natural birth from Adam) and born of the Spirit (spiritual rebirth through Jesus)
John 3:5-6 (ESV) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
NO LONGER DEAD IN SIN
When we accept Christ we are no longer spiritually dead.
Col 2:13 (NIV) When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins
Rom 5:15 (NIV) But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
THE FALL vs THE NEW BIRTH
At the Fall:
Man’s spirit died immediately – when he was driven from God’s presence.
His body died many years later also as a result of the Fall.
At the New Birth:
Man’s spirit is made alive immediately – when our relationship with God is restored.
Our bodies are restored and made immortal many years later at the resurrection of the righteous.
BEAR HIS LIKENESS
As Adam’s descendants we bear his likeness (image).
Gen 5:3 (ESV) When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
When Jesus returns, we shall bear his likeness.
1 Cor 15:49 (NIV) And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
1 John 3:2 (ESV) … we know that when he appears we shall be like him…
PHYSICAL BODIES THAT ARE IMMORTAL
After his resurrection, Jesus had a physical (but immortal) body – we will too, at the resurrection.
Luke 24:39 (ESV) “… Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! … [Rev 1:18, NIV]
WE WILL BE CHANGED
Even those who are alive at the resurrection will receive transformed bodies.
1 Cor 15:50-52 (NIV) … flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep [die],
but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
IN HIS IMAGE
Our transformed bodies will no longer bear Adam’s image, but Jesus’ likeness.
Imperishable instead of perishable
1 Cor 15:42 (NIV) So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;
Glory in place of dishonour
1 Cor 15:43a (NIV) it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory;
Strength replacing weakness
1 Cor 15:43b (NIV) it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
A SPIRITUAL BODY
A spiritual body instead of a natural body
1 Cor 15:44-48 (NIV) it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?
Death – brought by the Curse – is vanquished at the resurrection!
Immortality in place of mortality
1 Cor 15:53-55 (NIV) For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Death – brought by the Curse – is vanquished at the resurrection!
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