Lesson 1 Introduction
These Bible studies are meant to be a simple straightforward presentation of Bible truths as a tool to help you to understand the Word. It is, however, only by the Holy Spirit who leads us into the truth that you will be able to see the extent of what is here. Religious traditions make the word of God ineffective, so the Word is my focus rather than a particular denominational doctrine (Mark 7:13).
I am so blessed that He has enabled me to see the part that I do. I believe the Father would have me to share these delights with others who seek to closely know Him as well. These lessons are to encourage you on into a deeper relationship with God.
[Bracketed words within verses are my comments inserted to add clarity. I have also CAPITALIZED some words in the verses for emphasis.]
These lessons are not for sale for profit but otherwise may be freely copied and distributed.
Beginning of Lesson 1
God’s overall plan is to display His character, nature, love, and glory to all of Creation. He wants to do this through a man made in His image. But one man is not enough because Creation is so vast. So God created man, made him male and female, and told them to multiply until men would cover the earth.
God is Spirit (John 4:24) but intends to be seen in the flesh. Through men, the creation is to be covered, husbanded, nurtured, and loved as a gardener cares for a garden. Then, the life of God will be seen and experienced throughout creation. This framework is laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis, the first book in the Bible.
But in Genesis 3, we find that man through disobedience withdrew from God’s covering. What went wrong? Was the devil able to outsmart God? No! The serpent in the garden was part of God’s plan which we’ll see as these lessons unfold.
For a better understanding of how God’s plan proceeds, look at 1 Corinthians 15:42-58. This tells us that God works first in the natural realm, symbolized by “the earth.” Then, He completes the work in the spiritual realm, symbolized by “the heavens.”
Now, take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:45. Here you’ll see that there are two Adams!
All men except for Jesus find their origin in the first Adam. God is starting with the first Adam in the natural realm but will end up with a people of the last Adam in a higher realm. But didn’t God say in Genesis 1:27 that He made the first Adam in His image? And in Verse 31 that His work was very good?
The word “image” here in the original language (Hebrew) means image in the sense of “the shadow” or “illusion.” The word translated, “likeness,” from Hebrew means “resemblance,” “model,” or “shape.” In other words, the first Adam was in the image of God in the same sense as a photograph or stature is the image of the real thing, but it is not the real thing.
Note, however, that the last Adam, (Jesus), in his resurrection was in the express (exact) image of God, as shown below from Hebrews 1:3:
“Who [God’s son] being the brightness of his glory, and the EXPRESS IMAGE of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” – Hebrews 1:3
In summary, the last Adam is the real thing of God in the flesh. This is emphasized in the verse below. The first Adam was necessary in order for the last Adam to come forth, but it is the last Adam that is the goal.
First, the natural. Then, the spiritual. This principle reoccurs throughout the Bible.
“Hereby know ye the SPIRIT OF GOD: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come IN THE FLESH is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world.“— 1John 4:2-3
When God said that the first Adam was very good, it was as a man declares it is very good when he sees a foundation is complete and ready for the building. Note also that God sees the end from the beginning and knew that in the end there would be a man in His EXACT image. The first Adam was just the beginning of building God’s house.
In future lessons, we will see how this new spiritual man will multiply to become a great company to cover the earth, all just like Him in nature. How else do these two Adams differ? The verses below show a clear difference.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.“— Isaiah 46:10
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a LIVING SOUL.“— Genesis 2:7
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a LIVING SOUL, the last Adam was made a QUICKENING SPIRIT.“— 1 Corinthians 15:45
The first was made a living soul while the last was made a quickening spirit. We can now add that to our graphic illustration. Quickening in the original Greek means “make alive, give life.”
The last Adam can impart life to others because he is an “exact copy” of the Father. He is one with the Father, the source of life. Both Adams were sons of God as is mentioned in Luke 3:38 for the first Adam. Then, in John 20:31 for the last Adam.
God spoke that He was well pleased with His last Adam son, Jesus. He spoke this when Jesus was baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit at the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 3:17) and again at the end of his ministry (Matthew 17:5). This was 3 1/2 years later, right before his crucifixion.
During these 3 1/2 years:
- Jesus had the FULL measure of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34).
- The Holy Spirit did miracles through Him for He was the Spirit in flesh.
- God was well pleased with Him. This was declared when Jesus began his walk in the Spirit, then, confirmed when he had faithfully completed that walk.
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God. FOR GOD GIVETH NOT THE SPIRIT BY MEASURE UNTO HIM. The Father loveth the Son, and HATH GIVEN ALL THINGS INTO HIS HAND.“— John 3:34-35
The next illustration will compare the three parts of the life of Jesus. Note that, until Jesus was resurrected, His physical body was mortal. It was for this reason that he was born of a woman as the “Son of Man” so that he could die.
This was so that his life, a perfect life, could be sacrificed to atone for the natural man who had fallen from perfection. No greater love can be found. These three parts of the life of Jesus are added to our teaching.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.“— John 15:13
“NOW [after the Resurrection] unto the King eternal, IMMORTAL, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.“— 1 Timothy 1:17
Jesus was not born perfect but was made perfect. He learned obedience by the things that he suffered as shown in the verse below. During the first 30 years, he grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). My next lesson will show how we too may grow into full stature because of Jesus being the forerunner for us.
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. And being MADE perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.“— Hebrews 5:8-9
Until his death, Jesus was corruptible in that he could choose to disobey. As was the first Adam, but Jesus was faithful to the end, His death on the cross. This is pointed out in Hebrews 2:17-18:
“Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he HIMSELF HATH SUFFERED BEING TEMPTED, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” – Hebrews 2:17-18
The next diagram adds the term “Christ” since this is a very important concept to understand. “Christ” is the Greek term for the Hebrew word, “Messiah.” Both words mean “the anointed one.” This means someone who is consecrated, set apart from the common to be like a king or priest in God’s service. The prophecies, especially, in the books of Daniel and Isaiah, indicate that the Messiah is the promised seed of Adam, then, Abraham, then, David, who will set creation free from death as shown in Genesis 3:15.
“And I will put enmity between thee [the serpent, who represents sin and death, but that’s a study in itself for another time] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15
Jesus as the Christ is in the express image of God (Hebrews 1:3). His position as the Christ was prophesied in Luke 2:25-32 when Jesus was a baby. Jesus was born to be revealed as the Christ. He was not empowered as the Christ until he was filled with the full measure of the Holy Spirit. That is when the Father first proclaimed that Jesus was His son in whom He was well pleased.
Now, let’s go back to our comparison of the two Adams, then, expand upon their differences. This time we’ll be focusing on each in their maturity. We’ll look at the first Adam after his “fall” and the last Adam as the resurrected Christ.
We will add the words “death” and “life” because the first Adam has a mortal body destined to die (Hebrews 9:27). Meanwhile, the last Adam is no longer subject to death but is a life-giving spirit. Note the other words of contrast in the illustration below which I then go on to explain.
“Carnal” in Greek means “unregenerate, pertaining to the flesh.” Since each seed reproduces after its own kind (Genesis 1:12) all of those descended from the first Adam are of his nature. All those found in the first Adam are said to have fleshly natures, not all that different from the beasts of the earth since they all were made from the earth.
Both men and beasts tend to be focused on their needs, especially their bellies, and don’t think much about God (Philippians 3:18-19). Being focused on the affairs of the natural life is called being earthly-minded, which is another way of saying “carnally-minded.” Doing what comes naturally, (flesh nature), may seem “harmless or bad,” but either way it is centered on man and not God, so it ends in death.
When man ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he acquired that nature, which was to try to determine his own destiny, make his own decisions, do it his way, and be the ruler of his life apart from God. It is a mindset of being opposed to going God’s way. In contrast, to eat of the Tree of Life would be to partake of Christ, which ends in life.
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH, BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE.“— Romans 8:5-6
The first Adam puts his trust in himself, to decide what is right in his own eyes. The last Adam puts his trust in God the Father, being concerned about what the Father would have him to do or not do. Continuing with the next two verses you can see that the two Adams are opposites.
“Because the CARNAL MIND IS ENMITY AGAINST GOD, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh [first Adam nature] cannot please God.“— Romans 8:7-8
“Enmity” in Greek means “opposition, hatred.” You can also look at 1 John 1:5-7 to see that the first Adam nature is darkness and the other is light. In the next diagram, I will list examples of those with the nature of each Adam.
God gives examples in many different ways. He often uses natural, visible things to explain spiritual things. Even the natural heavens help to explain spiritual things.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse.“— Romans 1:20
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.“— Psalm 19:1–6
God not only uses people but also things, places, and events in the Old Testament as examples of spiritual truths. These examples are shadows, types of spiritual realities. This is emphasized in 1 Corinthians 10:11, Colossians 2:17, and Hebrews 8:5 among many other verses.
Understanding this concept is important to see beyond the literal, natural understanding of the carnal mind when reading the Bible, and in following these lessons. Without the mind of Christ, you would miss vital truths and misinterpret much of what you read. Here are just some samples of contrasting people of the Bible who represent the two natures. They are all examples for us today.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has some fruit that looks very good and some that look very bad, but every fruit has a serpent inside. This “bad side of good” comes out of the heart sooner or later. Jesus said that there were none that were truly “good” but God (Matthew 19:17). The only tree that bears truly good fruit is the Tree of Life, which represents Christ.
Those in the first Adam cannot change their nature. They may be able to change their behavior somewhat, but not their nature. Only God can bring us out of darkness into the light.
Without God’s intervention, the natural man just does what comes naturally resulting in vanity. There is hope, though. God takes notice of us out of love and draws us to Him.
“We love him because he first loved us.“— 1 John 4:19
Besides examples of spiritual truth, the Bible also has many places where there are layers of truth, “wheels within wheels.” Just as there are people who contrast as being in the first Adam and in the last Adam, the deeper truth is that ALL of those found in the last Adam (Christ), were first found in the first Adam. Each person is called to strip themselves of their former nature and to put on the new nature.
This is not changing bad behavior to good behavior but leaving one nature and acquiring another. Not only does this translation from one kingdom to another happens through a process, but as long as a person is in a mortal body that person is capable of shifting back and forth between the two natures. Our full salvation comes with the resurrection of our bodies.
“That ye PUT OFF concerning the former conversation THE OLD MAN, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye PUT ON THE NEW MAN, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.“— Ephesians 4:22–24
In the next lesson, we will start to look at the process of growing in the mind of Christ. Meanwhile, here are two examples below where each person had a change in nature. This was symbolized by a change in their name once they became a new person. “Name” in the Bible typically refers to “nature.”
Jacob’s nature changed dramatically once it was proven that he would not let go of God when going through his trials. His walk was never the same after that. He was given a new name to reflect a new nature.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:9 that he was the least of the apostles. He was from the tribe of Benjamin which was the smallest tribe. Many promises are given to the tribe of Benjamin, but most of them are hidden in types and shadows.
As for Saul, he was a religious man but operated in the carnal mind. He knew a lot about God but did not know God until He brought him into the light. God translates us from the kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of light, life, and love because of the redemptive work of His beloved son.
“[Give thanks to the Father] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of HIS DEAR SON [Jesus] in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, WHO IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD. The firstborn of every creature [the first man to truly be in the exact image of God]“— Colossians 1:12-15