This is a very interesting question and opens a lot of windows. Rabbi Shaul was one of the best so called “Christian theologians” and I say this with tongue in cheek since at his time there was no Christianity nor was there theology; however this is how he is referred to by Christianity. You see this if you read his letter to the Romans and the other letters that he supposedly wrote. I was just listening to a debate between Bart Ehrmann who is an ex-Baptist preacher and Dr. Evans from Canada about the reliability of the Gospels. Bart now is totally agnostic. We confuse scholarship and try to mix beliefs from the Scriptures. If you have core beliefs and doctrines it is very difficult to change these and we can react to anyone who questions them. One of the beliefs in the Christian Church is to expel those who disagree. They use the verses that describe those who went door to door to preach the gospel and if they do not receive you to shake the dust of your sandals and go someone else. We have inherited writings which have been manipulated or have their own agenda to force their own understandings upon the Scriptures.
There was an abundance of books written during the period between the closing of the old canon and the new, and one of these was the Book of Adam, also Enoch. There was the idea of the Tikkun Olam where man was lost and needed to be repaired. This idea fits in well with the second Adam and Yeshua would be the one doing that. In this view, we need to be careful not to fall into Christian theology where I can jump to conclusions already knowing who Jesus is as the Saviour of the world who died for my sins and is bringing me back to Paradise. Let’s understand what our own Rav Shaul was saying in the first century. He wasn’t in the middle ages or after Constantine with gentile understanding. He was thinking as a Jew within his own culture. There were already many ideas in the apocryphal writings of who the Messiah was going to be. There were various pictures of his function, his rejection, etc. not just one just as there are still today in the Jewish community.
The Messiah was coming from three prongs: one from the line of Levi, another from the line of Judah and the third from the line of Joseph. We have dealt primarily with the two lines, Joseph and Judah where we have the idea of ben Joseph, the suffering Messiah and ben Judah, the triumphant Messiah. Where did the idea of the second Adam come from? This is a more spiritual analogy in comparison with the concrete analogy of the first two which define his character and what he will do when he comes. What is the representation of the Levites and Cohanim? Cohanim are Levites but not all Levites are Cohanim who are not a tribe. The Levites had no inheritance and were given fully to the service of God. The Garden of Eden was as the Temple of God. Adam would perform there to take care of the Creation of God but he failed. Now God had first chosen Israel as a nation of priests, they also failed. The priesthood now would be reduced to the tribe of Levi and specifically from the line of Aaron. This is the idea of selection by God.
What was the function of the Cohanim and Levites…to serve God in the Temple? They would be in a certain way as an analogy, the perfect people who would be the example to the rest. The High Priest would be the go between humanity and God Himself. These ideas were transmitted to the idea of Messiah. When we speak about the second Adam, we see a renovation of what was wrong. Here what God is doing, He is allowing human beings to work on the Tikkun Olam. There was a related question yesterday from the last parashah about God hardening the heart of Pharaoh. If Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, where does his free will come in? If man would do the reparation where does God come in? If God does the reparation why does He need man? God indeed does the reparation but He uses man to accomplish His plans. Did He need Moshe to bring the people out of Egypt? He doesn’t need anyone so why did He use Moshe. This gives us the indication that there is a partnership. He is the one who wants this partnership and He is the one who calls us. Adam would name all the animals and care for His creation. This idea of God hasn’t changed. It is through man that the Tikkun Olam will be realized.
The one who will be the epitome of this Tikkun Olam is Messiah. We are expecting a Messiah from the line of Judah and that is true however in Hebrews we see that Yeshua is a priest from the order of Melchi-tsedek. In 1947 archaeologists discovered the Gospel or the Writings of Melchi-tsedek in Qumran, Cave 11-4 and for the first time the scholars who had said that Hebrews was a later Gentile edition had to admit that they were wrong and that is was a book written by the Essenes. Rav Shaul was trying to teach a group of people who consisted mostly of Gentiles with some Jews that the tikkun olam or reparation of the world would be done through human hands. God will use humans to do it.
Again going to back to Pharaoh, when we take things literally we lose the message. If God gave us free will how could God judge Pharaoh if He didn’t allow him to change? It is in the language that we see the meaning. At the beginning, it said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart and later that God hardened his heart. Pharaoh was stubborn. The understanding is simple…God allowed Pharaoh to continue on in his own free will. God had the plan that Messiah would come to fulfill a role. They think it all happened at the same time. The anti-missionaries say Yeshua is not the Messiah because there were certain things that he didn’t fulfill. Christianity says that this will happen at his second coming but I see that the plan of God has not finished. It is a continuous process.
When Israel came to the point when they had to leave Egypt, God had already planned this. Did Israel ever plan to leave Egypt on their own? No, it was God who provided the way for them to get out almost even against the will of the people. They didn’t want to leave; they only wanted things to be more comfortable for them. Each of us wants God to perform according to what we want but that is not how God works.
So back to the idea of the second Adam, it is fulfilled in Yeshua who is a priest in the order of Melchi-tsedek. This is where Yeshua can be related to the tribe of Levi for he is the acting High Priest who goes before our heavenly Father to intercede for Israel. His heart was always to bring our people back to the principles that God gave us at Mount Sinai. Adam was given the task of caring for the Garden of Eden and we see Yeshua wanting to cleanse the Temple that had been desecrated the Jews who had sold themselves to Rome. What Adam failed to do, Yeshua will complete in the end as he helps to bring tikkun olam to the world. He is a man as Adam was a man and will succeed where Adam failed. All this is according to God’s plan for humanity.
Yeshua the Second Adam
I recently received this question: Something which crops up occasionally (though less often than of yore) is that of Messiah as a second Adam. It seems quite logical to me that the damage done by a human needs to be repaired by a human – in a sense an extension of what was said last week: If you break the window, it’s your responsibility to replace it. Or another way of looking at it, through an analogy: when I was a child it was possible to get a worn or torn garment ‘invisibly’ (well – almost!) mended. The seamstress carefully drew threads from inside the hem, from the seam allowance or other less visible places in the garment to use for the repair of the damage, because mending a garment with its own threads – plus the skill of the seamstress – made the mend less visible. Tikkun olam???? How accurate is the concept of ‘a second Adam coming to the fight and to the rescue’? Or have such as Romans 5 (esp 12 and ff) and 1Cor 15:45 been thoroughly tampered with and altered to fit accepted doctrine?