Archive for spiritual death

Two Births

Each of us is born into Satan’s kingdom of darkness with Adam’s sin stamped indelibly on us (1 Cor. 15:22). We are born fleshly people, and we must be reborn into God’s kingdom of light to become spiritual people. Paul clearly divides all of humanity into these two categories: soulish people and spiritual people. He calls the soulish person a “natural man,” or unsaved.  This natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14). Why? He can’t. He cannot know them! Can’t implies ability! He does not have the ability to know the things of God because spiritual things are foolishness to him, or moronic. But could not this soulish man study and struggle and finally understand God’s truth? No! The fleshly person may study the Bible endlessly, dissecting every noun, verb, adjective and adverb, unendingly pondering over it, reading and rereading it, and still it would make no sense. It would remain folly or foolishness. Why? Because God’s truths can only be spiritually discerned or understood.


It takes a spiritual person, guided by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, to begin to mine the treasures of God’s Word. In fact, the spiritual person rightly judges all things. Paul says the spiritual man – the pneumatikos man, the person having a living spirit – has the correct judgment of everything. He has a spiritual equilibrium. He has what I call the divine viewpoint – God’s viewpoint of looking at the world through the lens of God’s eyes. For this reason, this spiritual person cannot be understood or judged by fleshly people. Spiritual people do not fit in Satan’s world. To the fleshly person, the spiritual person appears to be a spiritual schizophrenic – sick, even from another world, which is absolutely true. We belong to Jesus Christ, who said to a religious crowd, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He,you will die in your sins” (John 8:23-24).


It’s extremely clear! The spiritual person is not of this world. This is why the fleshly person cannot understand the spiritual person. To the earthly eyes of the fleshly person, the spiritual person is just weird, from another planet. They become even more divided as the spiritual person grows in their understanding of scripture. Said simply, the spiritual person and the fleshly person live in the same world, but the spiritual person looks at it through the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said, “We (spiritual people) have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15).


Notice that Paul called Adam a type of Him who was to come (Rom. 5:14) The Greek word “type” is tupos, meaning imprint. It would be like a hammer striking a wooden board. Though the hammer may not be visible, its imprint is there. The imprint reveals that the unseen hammer exists. The truth that the first Adam is a “type of Christ” is hidden in plain sight! The Bible speaks of two Adam’s, not just one (1 Cor. 15:45-49). What makes the first Adam an imprint of the last? They are both progenitors of a civilization of people: one physical, the other spiritual. They produce two different peoples through two different seeds – Adam the first, a corrupt spiritually dead people through his corrupt seed; Adam the Last, a spiritually living people through an incredible miraculous incorrupt seed called the gospel. “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible by means of the word of God which lives and abides forever. By this word is the gospel preached unto you (1 Pet. 1:23-25). God is the ultimate Genius, is He not? 


Through the seminally corrupt seed of the first man, a sinful people are being birthed – called the children of wrath, children of darkness (Eph. 2:1-4; 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5). Adam’s corrupt seed is being passed family to family, generation to generation. Physical death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over all who had not sinned like Adam (Rom. 5:14). This means that death became the indicator that people are spiritually dead. Tombstones remind us! Later, God mercifully added His law through Moses in order that sin might be taken into account before death comes (Rom. 5:13). 


This is a horribly terrifying thought, but we actually live in a sea of living dead people. It sounds like an oxymoron, a self-contradiction, but I assure you it is not! This truth is written into the fine print of an incredible meeting of some wanna-be disciples and Jesus Christ. A zealous young man told Jesus that he would follow Him anywhere. The Lord reminded him that though animals had homes, he didn’t. It would not be comfortable to follow Him: no hotels, or hospitals, or restaurants, no comforts at all. The young man – seemingly interested, asked Jesus what sounded like a very compassionate request. He said, “First let me go bury my father, then I will follow you.)  Christ’s answer is absolutely jaw-dropping. He said to the young man, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:19-22). This does not mean that this man’s father was dead or even at the point of death. The disciple was wanting to return home until his father died and he received his inheritance, and then he would return and follow Christ with a bigger bank account. He was thinking about material concerns instead of his dedication to the Lord Jesus.


But what did Jesus mean by “Let the dead bury their own dead”? How is it possible for dead people to bury dead people? It’s sounds harsh, but it is real. The spiritually dead continue to bury the physically dead all over the world and will continue to do so. Satan is attached to the fallen seed of Adam because he was the culprit who made this death happen. Satan is now using Adam’s fallen seed to erect his kingdom – the kingdom of darkness. Through the seed of the last Adam – the antitype, which is the spiritual seed of the gospel – God is regenerating a new people, a people born dead in sin but who are being reborn spiritually alive. These become the part of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of light, the kingdom of life, real life.




Corrupt Seed

Spiritual death is one of the most difficult Bible truths to understand. It truly boggles the human mind. It is truth that human ears have never heard. To begin to understand we have to go back to the way that God created Adam – technically. I picture this special creation this way. God the Son was the Creator of all things (Col. 1:16). He made everything. He spoke everything into being (Psa. 33:6-9). He made Adam from the dust of the ground. I picture in my mind the Lord Jesus Christ in His preincarnate form working as the divine Potter, beautifully shaping the man – taking care of every detail: his head, torso, arms, and legs, and then the critical part. He bent down over the man and breathed into him the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). It is at this point that God gives another amazing glimpse. The Hebrew words should not have been translated “the breath of life.” That would have been the singular, nephesh chayah. This is the phrase that God used when He created the air-breathing animals (Gen. 1:20). The Hebrew Bible, in a crucial but silent contrast, uses neshima chayyim in reference to Adam. To make an English word plural, you add an “s” or “es.” If you sought to make a Hebrew masculine noun plural, you would add an “im.” For example, one cherub, two cherubim; one seraph, two seraphim, etc.

So, the Lord Jesus breathed into Adam literally breaths of lives – one breath for the soul, connecting Adam to the earth (earthy), and the other breath for the human spirit, connecting Adam to God (heavenly). The Lord Jesus breathed His image into us! This is the major truth that makes human beings different from animals. God equipped people to worship Him. God made man a trichotomy: body, soul, and human spirit. This fact is reflected in Paul’s words to the Thessalonian believers when he prayed that their whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23). The soul and spirit are also divided in the book of Hebrews. The writer says that God’s Word has the ability to separate the soul (earthy) from the spirit (heavenly), “even to the division of the soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12). Though soul and spirit are often interchanged in the Bible, there is a difference – a critical difference. The point? When Adam sinned, both he and the woman died twice – they died spiritually and they began to die physically. All of God’s created order that was attached to Adam began to die. And this death continued because all seed – human, plant, and animal – became corrupt, stained with death.

At the moment Adam sinned, the Bible says that “all sinned.” How was that possible? Remember, every word in the Bible matters. And every word is placed in just the correct order. There are no mistakes. Death passed upon all because all sinned (Rom. 5:12). There are many who want this part of the passage to say “all have sinned.” But the word “have” is not there. All sinned means that all sinned and died in Adam the very moment that he sinned. Being the original father of the human race, everyone’s DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid, the stuff of physical life) was in him seminally the moment he sinned. Thus, we were all there – in the garden – in Adam’s loins. We were all a part of him. The moment he sinned, everyone who would ever live became sinners too. Amazing! Repetition! All humanity was in Adam’s loins: every family, clan, nation, and tongue that would ever live would come from him. Everyone was in his genes, his DNA, at the very instant he chose to rebel against God. If Adam and Eve were truly our first parents – and they were – then we had to be in them. In a rightly mysterious but in a physical way, we were all involved in Adam’s act.

Adam, Eve, and the serpent were not the only ones present. And this death began to spread! At that moment his seed became corruptible seed, stained with death. In fact, all seed of all creation became stained with death. This is how sin and death passed down through the plant world, the animal world, and through us: plants die, animals die, people die. Death was built into Adam’s corrupt seed. This humanly corrupt seed passed from Adam to Cain, to Abel, to Seth, to Enoch, through Noah, through Shem, through Abraham, etc. This would be the seed that – generation after generation – would produce the rest of us. This corrupt seed continues its journey, generation after generation.

But hold it! This is what makes the virgin birth of Christ shout to us. Jesus missed this stain of the sin and the death seed. He was not born a sinner. He knew no sin! This is why He could die for sin. This truth of people being in the loins of another is not strange to the Bible. The Scripture clearly says that all of God’s high priestly line of Levi was in Abram’s loins (his seed, his DNA) when he met and submitted himself to a strange king/priest named Melchizedek. Abraham submitted himself to Melchizedek, symbolized by the giving of an offering.

Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him (Heb. 7:10).

The entire Levitical priesthood, though years from being born, were all in the loins of Abraham when he met Melchizedek. Amazing!