Jesus Christ: The New Adam


Adamic Typology in the New Testament


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Apocalypse of John



Another place where Adamic typology is found in the New Testament is the final book of the canon: the Apocalypse of John. This book, structured around the liturgy, gives visions both of heavenly worship and persecutions of the church on earth, using extensive Old Testament imagery (cf. Hahn 79ff). Part of the imagery found in this revelation is from the Garden of Eden, with allusions to paradise, the serpent, and Eve.

In chapter 12, John sees a vision of a "great red dragon" attempting to devour the child of a "woman clothed with the sun" (Rev. 12:1-6). John describes the dragon as "that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). With the use of the term "serpent" as well as calling him a "deceiver," John is clearly linking this dragon to the original serpent of Genesis 3:1 (LXX) who deceived the woman Eve. Reversing the events of Genesis 3 - and fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 - John witnesses the forces of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, defeating the forces of this great serpent. Thus Christ reverses the curse of Adam. The result is a return to the paradisiacal state:
Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 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; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him (Revelation 22:1-3).
As Collins notes, "this eschatological vision incorporates the original bliss of Eden (Gen 2:9)" (Collins 1016). One of the specific results of the defeat of the serpent is restored access to the "Tree of Life," access to which God removed after the fall (Genesis 3:22). Like the Jewish apocalyptic literature of the time, John's vision of the final restoration of the world uses imagery from the original Paradise, and it is the Lamb who is the new Adam who reverses the curses wrought by the first Adam. In fact, this passage shows a remarkable resemblance to the contemporary Apocalypse of Moses, which states, "And the throne of God was fixed where the Tree of Life was" (Apocalypse of Moses 22:4). For the Apostle John, this "throne of God" was also "of the Lamb," and Christ thus restores the access to the Tree of Life which was lost by Adam.


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