One Man Comes Naked to a Tree

The key to all Scriptures is Christ and the new covenant work of God.  Thus, the story of the Bible is the story of two men.  One man, Adam, is the head of the human race.   That one man comes naked to a tree and in a momentary act of disobedience, spiritually murders the entire human race.  He did this because his wife wanted to be God.  To fix that moral flaw inherited by us all, God became man.  In the person of the Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God took to himself human flesh—uniting forever with all that makes man man.  He lived under his own law, never sinning, not even once, in thought or word or deed.  And then in a massive act of obedience to the Father’s will, first in a Garden, he then comes to a tree.  However, it’s not the living tree of Adam; it’s a dead tree.  And then that God-man is stripped naked.  Soldiers rip up Christ’s outer clothes, and they gamble for his inner clothes. He is stripped naked so that he may clothe his bride in his robes of his righteousness. Adam claimed the right to be king in Eden. He usurped God’s rule. His choice brought the curse, and with that curse came thorns.  God could have stripped away Adam’s fig leaf and punished him openly on the very tree of his rebellion.  But God chose mercy.  The Son of God hangs cursed on the tree (Deut. 21:22-23; Gal. 3:13).  God incarnate allows himself to be mocked as a sham-king with a crown of thorns.  The same God, who at the foot of Mount Sinai in the burning thorn bush, promised to take his people back to the Eden-like land flowing with milk and honey, that same God, who was making that promise from the midst of a thorn bush, to make that promise good, got into thorns a second time.

Christ, the second, super-Adam, by being murdered, un-murders all those who would ever come to him by faith.  The first man’s act was counted as the act of all his natural offspring, and he passed on a corrupting force which meant all his natural offspring would be sinners just like himself. The God-man’s act is counted as the act of all his supernatural offspring (Heb. 2:13; Isa. 8:18), and he too passes on a principle of obedience, the new heart fashioned by God, which will eventually make all his offspring fully obedient to God.

Christ becomes the perfect prophet,  priest and king,  setting right all that the first Adam set wrong.  Christ becomes the perfect Wisdom of God for us because he ever was the Wisdom and Glory of God.

The first man listened to the voice of his wife, and he disobeyed God. She persuaded him to sin.  The God-man is now persuading and enabling his wife, the new-Eve, his bride the Church, to fully obey God.  In the Bible, the kingdom of God is God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule.[1]  Christ is restoring that place for all his followers by forgiving theirs sins and welcoming them back to the restored Eden of perfect fellowship with God. The first man’s wife gives him something to eat which kills. The last Adam becomes something which spiritually and by faith his wife eats and finds life (John 6:53-56; Luke 22:20). Just as the first couple came to a tree, tasted and then lost the ability to see God, now we are invited to taste and see that the LORD Jesus is good (Ps. 34:8; 1 Pet. 2:3), feasting on him by faith. One man comes to a garden and makes it a tomb.  The God-man comes to a tomb and throws open the gates of paradise.

In Eden, God wounded Adam in his side, after placing him in a deep sleep. It was out of that wound that he fashioned Eve.  The super Adam, Christ, fell into the deep sleep of absolute death, and then God orchestrated a wound in his side.  That wound would wash away all the sins of all those who would ever come to him by faith. Out of Christ’s sacrifice, God would fashion the new Eve.  God would make her of the very essence of Christ.  And that redeemed people would together become the new bride of Christ.  With Christ,  they would,  “be fruitful,  multiply,  fill the earth,  subdue it,  and rule over the birds of the air,  and the fish of the sea,  and all those things that creep on the ground” (i.e.,  including the creeping serpent,  Satan).  The whole Bible is a grand chiasm which leads the reader to the bringing of this perfected and untemptable woman back to Eden.  The Bible is a grand Chiasm:  It is God creating an incorruptible people who will delight in his rule forever to the exclusion of all that is remains in rebellion against God.

God intends everything in the Bible as a Christocentric revelation of his goodness and love for his chosen people.  The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible,  and Jesus in his life and death and resurrection is the official interpretation of it all.  His cross is the brutal,  clarion,  and perfect declaration of God’s hatred against all sin and my sin in particular and at the same time the fullest declaration of God’s determination to love me fully.

[1] Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom (New South Wales, Australia: Anzea, 1992),  47.