The Generic Use of “Adam”: Humanity

In the early chapters of the book of Genesis it uses “Adam” to refer to ‘humanity’: When humankind [Adam] began to multiply on the face of the earth (NET Gen. 6.1). This then is what people are: Adamites. Acts 17.26 records Paul address to Greek philosophers at Athens where he claims this same idea of the unity of all people: and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth (ESV).

Sometimes a person will say they never asked to be born or that they had nothing to do with Adam’s sin, and that God should deal with them apart from other’s failures (Adam’s). But this is not the case in point. The bible teaches that we participated with Adam in the fall in Rom. 5.12: So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned. The verb “sinned” is aorist in the Koine Greek indicating point-in-time action. So all of humanity at the same time participated with Adam in his fall. A similar concept is found in Heb. 7.9-10:   And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s body when Melchizedek met him. The writer of Hebrews affirms action of Levi before he was born: paying tithes! This is how we are to count our situation now since the bible clearly presents humanities’ predicament as prior action while either genetically participating, or as the ancestor (Adam) as representative for the whole. In theology this study is called the Headship of Adam with the two major views: natural (genetic) and Federal (representative).

My view is that the sin was actual and not representative. To me this takes Rom. 5.12 normally which mentions nothing of putting forth a representative but attributes the fall to everyone. This view is also harmonious with the concept of Levi paying tithes before he was born. The remedy of course is the second and last “Adam” (Jesus):  So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven (NET 1 Cor. 15.45-49).

Will the Return of Jesus be “Soon” or “Sudden”?

The last chapter of Revelation records Jesus saying three times that His return will be with “quickness” (tachu). This is the best translation of this Greek word to English. The angel also says those things revealed to John and Jesus’ servants will happen “quickly” (vs.6). The angel uses the same stem of the Greek word: takei.

The Greek word tachu is used only 12 times in the New Testament and every time the best rendering to English is “quickly” or “suddenly.” The English word tachometer indicates an instrument measuring speed and is derived from this Greek term. So the three repeated statements in the last chapter of the bible is telling us the nature of His return: it will be speedily when He does return. The second advent will be sudden and not gradual.

The disciples asked the resurrected Christ when He will restore The Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1.7). Jesus clearly told them that the timing was not theirs to know but was solely the prerogative of the Father. So, the Patmos vision given to John in Rev. 22 did not change this mystery. It is still the Father’s prerogative to set the duration of the age. Jesus will return the second time to save His people and he will do it suddenly and without delay when the time is right. He was not telling John that the return will happen shortly time-wise.

So those who mock the bible and think Jesus promised to return “soon” and now a long time has passed, they think he was wrong, mock in ignorance. Jesus, as clear as possible, said His return would be suddenly and dramatic (and universal from other statements). Yes, many early Christians thought Jesus would return in their lifetimes but they were mistaken more probably from enthusiasm than what the text said.