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.