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Sabbath School Insights
2016 Quarter 3: July-Sep
Insight #2 July 9, 2016
Third Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
July 9, 2016
July 9, 2016
This has been a rough week. Tuesday night when I went to feed our horses, I noticed our mare, Kelsee, wasn't hungry. Wednesday morning she ignored her hay. That day she showed other signs of distress, pain, and dehydration, prompting a call to our local horse vet, who recommended we take Kelsee to an emergency clinic. Colic (abdominal pain) is one of the major causes of death in horses. Thankfully, Kelsee is recovering, but it's hard to watch animals suffer. The Sabbath School lesson this week, "Restoring Dominion," invites us to take a deeper look at why "the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now" (Rom. 8:22).
In our Sabbath School Insights, we want to focus especially on the biblical "In Adam, In Christ" motif as a framework for understanding the dominion that was lost in Adam and what Christ came to restore.
When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them employment. All creation was placed in their hands to tend, nourish, and keep: the ground, the plants and trees, the animals, water, air, others, and themselves. Upon Adam in particular was this responsibility enjoined. The health and well-being of our planet was dependent upon the choices that Adam would make.
God had warned Adam, "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" Gen. 2:17.
Adam's sin brought death not only to himself, but to all the dominion given to him by God. Much is enjoined in Paul's statement "For as in Adam all die," (1 Cor. 15:22). Everything in his dominion would experience the consequence of Adam's choice -- death. How tragic!
Adam was warned, but who could have imagined? Death had never been witnessed in the history of the universe. The principle of God's government of self-giving love in contrast to self-centered grasping would be unfolded to a depth never conceived by any created being.
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" John 1:4. The light had been shining in the darkness, but the darkness had not comprehended it. Sin often lurks in the shadows. Now it would be brought into the light in order to reveal its true character.
Adam had imbibed of death. Thus separating himself and all creation from God, there was nothing left for him but instant, eternal death.
Enter Jesus, the second Adam, who from the eternal ages past had made a solemn covenant with the Father to save man at any cost to Himself. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22).
This plan involved Christ, the Lamb, "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).
Years ago we were traveling down the highway when a mother duck followed by perhaps a dozen ducklings made an ill-advised journey into the path of our rapidly approaching vehicle. My children cried out, "Mom, the ducks, watch out!" Realizing her danger, the mother duck hurried her ducklings along. I tried to avoid them, but alas, not all escaped. In my rearview mirror, I saw some of the ducklings strewn across the road while the mother gathered those that were left on the side of the road. I felt sick inside. My kids cried, "Mom! Why did you do that?" It was really awful.
When the first Adam sinned, Jesus enfolded him in the shadow of His wings. His wings were broad enough to encompass the entire human race -- in the second Adam -- so that not one child of God was left to perish eternally from Satan's cruel blow. The fatal assault that by all rights should have fallen on the head of Adam fell on Jesus. The Scripture says, "You have seen . . . how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to Myself" (Ex. 19:4).
The human race would have a second chance. As children of the first Adam we struggle with the pull of our fallen, sinful nature. Outside, our world is groaning under the weight of sin. Innocent animals suffer and die. The ground produces poisonous plants. People get cancer. Flowers wither and die. All of this because of Adam's sin.
These tragedies point us to Jesus, the second Adam, who took upon Himself the eternal consequences of our sin. The death that we deserved, He died on the cross as us.
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned --
"Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life" (Rom. 5:12, 18).
There are many people in this world who are unaware of what Christ has done for them. Instead of blaming Satan for the entrance of sin into our world, they blame God! This is a challenge for God, because by all rights we should be dead! According to the laws of the universe it is not possible to sin and continue to live. God, in Christ, has in a sense suspended this law enabling we who sin to continue to live. That gives many the illusion that we can sin and live throughout eternity! Not so! The only reason any person, plant, or creature is alive on this earth today is because their lives were purchased by the blood of Jesus, the second Adam, on Calvary! The Bible tells us that the beasts "perish," but that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16.
The earth as we know it will pass away. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. In the home God is preparing for all those who identify with Jesus, the Second Adam, we read that "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:4)."
Adam's dominion will at last be restored. "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together. The lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,' says the Lord" (Is. 65:25).
In becoming the Second Adam, the new Father of our race, Christ restores us in His image, giving us a new identity in Him, a new mind (His), a new heart (of agape love). The saved of all ages, children of the Heavenly Father and Second Adam, will again find joy in pursuing care of our newly restored dominion: "They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit." "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind" (Is. 65:21, 17).