This is the third installment in the series, Who is Jesus? If you missed Parts 1 & 2 please click here. The conception of a Messiah in Christianity is predicated on a basic premise: man needs salvation, he can’t save himself. The Messiah in Christianity will save humanity from sin and damnation. This is unlike the conception of a Messiah in Islam, which sees Messiah as a deliverer of the Jews from the Antichrist.
This, it turns out, is based on an incomprehensive consideration of scriptures about the Messiah. As Jesus he saves the Jews from sin, but as Son of God he saves the world from damnation. (Matthew 1:21, John 3:16). It was Jesus himself who said he has come to save the world not just Jews. (John.3:16).
This creates a critical challenge for the Islamic scholar: How do you accept the historicity of Jesus but not his words? For in the words of Jesus in John 3:16, he called himself the Son of God and claims messiahship of the whole world. These two claims of Jesus are repudiated by Islam and form the basis of divergence with Christianity.
The conception of Messiah in Judaism on the other hand is that of a great political and military leader. He will be charismatic, win battles for Israel and will also be a descendant of King David. He’ll also be wholly human. It is for this reason the disciples asked Jesus if he would restore the kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6). They were talking at cross-purpose with Jesus concerning the order of fulfillment of prophecy concerning the Christ.
The Messiah has two programmes concerning Israel: a spiritual programme and a political program. These two programmes are found in the prophecies of Isaiah about the Messiah. (Isaiah 35:4, 5; 61:1). The disciples of Jesus were focused on the political deliverance of Israel but Jesus prioritised on the spiritual programme. This is the spiritual assignment of the Messiah as prophesied by Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because, the Lord has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…” It is why Jesus did all he did.
The political programme of the Messiah on the other hand is contained in this portion of the prophesy: “Behold your God will come with vengeance; with the recompense of God He will come and save you.” This is a reference to the battle at Armageddon when Christ appears and saves Israel from the Beast. The conception of Messiah in both Islam and Judaism is wholly focused on the political programme only.
And the prophecy of Isaiah poses a second critical challenge for Islamic scholar on the deity of Jesus: Concerning the salvation of the Jews Isaiah wrote: “Behold your God will come with vengeance… He will come and save you”. It would seem illogical to lean on the words of Isaiah that Jesus is the Saviour of the Jews, and then reject the words of the same prophet in the same prophecy that this Saviour is God!
Now, in Christianity the need for salvation is not wholly predicated on the proprietary sin of the individual. Progeny is a major factor. Mankind inherited a sinful nature from Adam, the primary man. No one is born sinless as a result. Everyone comes into the world with a sin nature. So there are two levels of consideration with regard to salvation: the inherited sinful nature and individual enterprise. Christianity says we do what we do because of the degenerate Adamic nature. It’s our default status. It’s why the whole world sins. There is none righteous, the Bible says. Romans 3:10 says, “We all start out as sinners.” David lent subscription to this when he wrote: “Behold I was brought forth in a state of iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me and I too am sinful.” (Psalm 51:5). Children escape judgment because of the principle of age of accountability. And the vindicating innocence of children was referenced by Jesus in the gospel of Mathew: “Unless you…become like little children [trusting…forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3).
Christianity in essence is insistent that nature is genetically transmittable and we find corroboration in science. In human genetics there is something called Y–Chromosonal Adam. It refers to the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) from which all currently living people are descended patrilineally. And Y–MCRA reflects the fact that all currently living males are derived from the Y chromosome of a remote ancestor. The analogous “Mitochondrial Eve” (mt–MRCA) relates to common matrilineal ancestry. These scientific facts go to confirm the Genesis story of a common ancestry for mankind and womankind. Man’s common ancestry has been traced back to 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. That’s how far science has gone.
The Bible says the first human to have a Y–Chromosome was Adam. It was from this Adam that humanity inherited what we now refer to as human nature. But why does Christian theology hold us generationally accountable for the sin of Adam though not responsible for it? All three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam are agreed on the facts of creation of Adam. Only that the Quran introduces elements not found in Genesis e.g. a spirit (jinn) named Iblis who refused to bow to Adam But there is a fundamental disagreement between Islam and Christianity on the concept of original sin.
This fundamental disagreement goes to the very heart of the concept of Messiah and the need for a universal Messiah. In Christianity, the word Adam is multidimensional – a type, noun, source code, generational container, political title. The common use of the word in the Hebrew language is “āām”, meaning human. The noun ‘adam’ is also the masculine form of the word, “adamah” which means ground or earth. It is related to the words, “adom” (red) “admoni” (ruby), “dam” (blood) – all intimations of clay from which Adam was made. The word can also be rendered as “mankind”. In other words, mankind was in Adam.
The first use of the word Adam (man) in the Bible was in a collective sense for mankind. (Genesis 1:26). In other words the whole of mankind was in the loin of Adam. This is the spiritual principle of loinage. The principle treats future generations as if in the present, taking up responsibilities or acquiring blessings. For example, Levi paid tithe to Melchizedek while still in the loin of Abraham, yet didn’t emerge until 3rd generation after. Levi was Abraham’s great grandson. (Hebrews 7:9-10).
In the same manner, humanity sinned in the loins of Adam, Adam being the name collective for mankind. It is this principle that brought the blessings of the Christ to us. Three scriptures confirm this: “[God] chose us IN CHRIST BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless in His sight…” (Ephesians 1:4). “IN HIM (the Messiah) we have redemption through his blood, the remission of our sins…” (Ephesians 1:7). And Jesus had prayed: “Father I want these WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN ME to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began.” (John 17:24). In other words, we were already given to Jesus and assigned privileges millennia before we were born! This is in accordance with God’s promise to Abraham: “And in your seed (Christ) shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18).
The principle of loinage has been operational from pre-history to Adam to Abraham to Christ. It is not peculiar to Adam. The principle of loinage is why we will go to Heaven. It is also how we get to access the blessings in Christ Jesus. And the principle of loinage is why we carry on the assignments prophetically designated to the Christ. (Cf. Isaiah 42:6, 7). We are God’s handiwork, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS to do good works, which God prepared IN ADVANCE for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10). This is why Jesus called us his children way back in Isaiah 8:18: “The children whom God had given me…” (Cf. Hebrews 2:13). It is why the Bible calls Christ the second Adam (or last Adam). An Adam is a source code. “The first Adam received life; the last Adam is a life-giving Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45 MSG). We receive life in Christ.
And so the word Adam is also a political title since there is Adam I and Adam II (Last Adam). Both Adams represent the polarity of the origination of sin and redemption of mankind. They form a closed loop. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Sin was efficiently disbursed through the first Adam; salvation was efficiently disbursed through the last Adam. “When Adam sinned, sin entered into the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone… Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners… But because one person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. (Romans 8:12, 18, 19).
We are thus right to conclude that Adam is the natural and spiritual source code for humankind. “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we bear the image of the Man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:49 AMP). We continue the series next week.
If you will like to receive life through the last Adam, please pray this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus Christ died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.
© Leke Alder | email@example.com