Who Will Be Resurrected—Why?
“Now if Christ is being preached that he has been raised up from the dead, how is it some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?”—1 Cor. 15:12.
1. (a) How did Jesus speak of the death condition of his friend Lazarus? (b) According to 1 Corinthians 15:20, on what does the awakening from death depend?
WHEN Lazarus of the town of Bethany died in the year 32 of our Common Era and was buried in a tomb before which a big stone was rolled, his friend Jesus Christ was about four days’ journey distant. On hearing the sad news, Jesus said to his disciples: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” How did Jesus do this? On the fourth day of Lazarus’ death, Jesus reached the tomb and resurrected Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:1-44, RS) Now, just because Jesus Christ used such language, we cannot take up the language of some religious clergymen of Christendom and call Jesus a “soul sleeper.” It is a fact that the Holy Bible repeatedly speaks of those dead persons who are in line for a resurrection as being asleep. Their resurrection or awakening from the sleep of death in Haʹdes or Sheol depends upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For this reason it stands written in 1 Corinthians 15:20, Revised Standard Version Bible: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” This is why many will be resurrected. But who?
2, 3. (a) What hope of a future does God’s Word hold out for those executed in the battle of Armageddon? (b) Concerning his coming to this executional battle, what did Jesus say in Matthew 24:36-39?
2 Those whom Almighty God destroys, both body and soul, are not spoken of as asleep in death in Haʹdes, for there will be no awakening of them out of their destruction. (Matt. 10:28) Hence God’s written Word holds out no hope of a resurrection for those fighters against God who are executed in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” at Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) Concerning the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to the executional battle of Armageddon, Jesus spoke in his prophecy on the conclusion of this wicked system of things. Jesus said:
3 “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”—Matt. 24:3, 36-39.
4. At the Flood, what happened to the people outside Noah’s ark?
4 At the Flood all those people outside Noah’s ark, namely, the men, the women, the children and babies, the Nephilim or the hybrid offspring from the marriage of disobedient angels and human daughters of men, all such then living were suddenly executed by God’s direct act and were thus destroyed forever. So it will be with all persons on earth who are not in harmony with God’s kingdom at the fast-approaching battle of Armageddon.
5 Speaking of Noah’s day, 2 Peter 3:6, 7 says: “The world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word [of God] the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” Apparently there is no hope of a resurrection for those dying in that executional flood. Hence, when Revelation 20:11-13 is fulfilled, such destroyed ones will not be given up when sea, “death and Haʹdes” give up those dead in them who will be judged before the “great white throne” during Christ’s thousand-year reign over our earth.
6. How was Methuselah distinguished, and what hope of a resurrection is there for him?
6 Noah had a grandfather by the name of Methuselah. This Methuselah was the son of Jehovah’s prophet Enoch. (Gen. 5:21-24) Methuselah had the privilege of living longer than any other man on earth, as far as Bible records indicate. Methuselah’s son, Lamech, died five years before the great flood. By living nine hundred and sixty-nine years, Methuselah outlived his son Lamech and died in 2370 B.C.E., the very year that the Flood began. The Flood began in November, but the Bible says that Methuselah “died,” not got drowned in the Flood and suffered execution by this “act of God.” (Gen. 5:25-32) There is therefore hope of a resurrection out of Haʹdes or Sheol for Methuselah, and also for his forefathers back to Seth and the other antediluvians who died before the Flood broke. But does that include Adam and Eve and Cain?
7. Why is Abel the brother of Cain certain of a resurrection?
7 Hundreds of years before the Flood executed the “world of ungodly people,” Cain the first son of Adam died. He was “cursed in banishment from the ground” because he had murdered his godly brother Abel out of jealousy at God’s approval of Abel’s sacrifice. (Gen. 4:1-24; 2 Pet. 2:5) Abel is certain of a resurrection to life on earth under God’s Messianic kingdom, for he died as one of the “so great a cloud of witnesses” that included such others as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Samson and David and other persons of faith who proved worthy of a “better resurrection.” (Heb. 11:4 to 12:2) But as regards Cain we read:
8 “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother. And for the sake of what did he slaughter him? Because his own works were wicked, but those of his brother were righteous.”—1 John 3:10-12.
9 Cain is thus classed as one of “the children of the Devil,” and, as such, Cain “originated with the wicked one.” So he was one of the seed of the great Serpent, Satan the Devil. (Gen. 3:15) As such, Cain deserved to suffer the same end as his spiritual father, the Devil, who will be hurled into the symbolic “lake of fire and sulphur,” where he will stay forever in “second death.” (John 8:44; Rev. 20:10) Thousands of years after Cain died the hypocritical Jewish scribes and Pharisees were called “serpents, offspring of vipers.” Thus Jesus Christ warned them that they were liable to the “judgment of Gehenna,” and he spoke of the murders that they would yet commit. He also linked up their spilling of righteous blood with the “blood of righteous Abel.” (Matt. 23:33-36) As Cain was the murderer who spilled the “blood of righteous Abel,” Jesus thus classed Cain in with those scribes and Pharisees who were liable to the “judgment of Gehenna.”
10. May Christians who become like Cain hope for a resurrection?
10 So Cain would not be among those whom death and Haʹdes will give up during the thousand-year Judgment Day. (Rev. 20:11-13) All those Christians who become like Cain may not hope for a resurrection from the dead to a heavenly inheritance.—Jude 11.
WHAT HOPE FOR ADAM AND EVE?
11. What questions arise as to Adam and Eve and a resurrection?
11 The Sacred Scriptures hold out no hope of a resurrection for Cain the murderer, but what about Cain’s father and mother, Adam and Eve, our own first human parents? This is a much discussed question today. Do Adam and Eve deserve a resurrection? Do they come within the loving provision of God for the resurrection of the human dead? What, if anything, stands as an irremovable bar to their being raised from the dead under God’s kingdom? Since Jesus Christ “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all,” do not our first human parents have a right to some benefit from that “ransom for all”?—1 Tim. 2:5, 6.
12. To whom does Adam bear a resemblance, according to Romans 5:14?
12 In Romans 5:14 the Christian apostle Paul writes: “Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.” That is to say, Adam the first man on earth bears a resemblance to Jesus Christ, whose coming had been promised in the garden of Eden when Jehovah God the Judge was about to sentence Adam and Eve for the transgression in which both of them were sharers.
13 Pointing further to that resemblance between Adam and Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul writes in his matchless chapter on the resurrection: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.”—1 Cor. 15:45, 21, 22.
14 So, just as all of us humans had to depend upon the first man Adam for the earthly life that we enjoy today, so now all of us who are dying have to depend, one and all of us, upon Jesus Christ, “the last Adam.” There will not be another person on earth like Adam; so, if we desire to gain everlasting life on earth, we shall have to gain it through this “last Adam,” Jesus Christ.
15. How do Adam and Jesus resemble each other as to sonship?
15 When on earth, as previously in heaven, Jesus Christ was a Son of God. Adam, to whom he bears a resemblance, also started out as a “son of God,” but an earthly son. When it traces the earthly descent of Jesus Christ back through King David and the patriarch Abraham and the prophet Noah, the genealogical table given us in Luke 3:24-38 ends up by saying: “The son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Like Jesus Christ, Adam was created a perfect son of God almost six thousand years ago.
16, 17. How was a wife provided for Adam, and what was God’s stated will for them?
16 In order to provide a suitable earthly companion for Adam, Jehovah God created a wife for Adam by using a rib taken from Adam’s side as a basis from which to proceed. So the resulting woman Eve was bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of Adam’s flesh. In fact, just as Jesus Christ himself said concerning other human married couples, Adam and Eve were not two, but were “one flesh.” (Gen. 2:7-23; Matt. 19:4-6) Then God their Creator-Father stated his will for them, just as we read it, in Genesis 1:28:
17 “God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.’”
18. According to God’s will, what was not to spread from Adam and Eve to all the world of mankind?
18 Thus a world of mankind was to be produced. Not sin and imperfection, but righteousness and human perfection were to spread from this first couple to all mankind. If they did not sin, then death, which is the penalty for sin, would not enter into the world and spread to all their offspring. God had warned Adam, when still a single man in the garden of Eden: “As for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”—Gen. 2:17.
19. What penalty for sinful disobedience was held out to Adam, and, if he sinned, would it be due to ignorance?
19 Here is a fact not to be overlooked. God did not tell Adam that, if Adam disobeyed this divine command and died, he did not have to worry, inasmuch as God his heavenly Father would provide a ransom for Adam and resurrect him from the dead to another opportunity to gain everlasting life on earth in the garden of Eden. What if God had held out such an expectation to Adam? Well, then, it would have been an encouragement to sin when Adam was tempted. It would weaken the force of God’s warning about the death penalty for the sin of disobeying God. In harmony with that fact, the Bible shows that only death, without any hope of relief, was held out to Adam if he sinned. His sin would be without excuse. Sin by him would not be a sin of ignorance.
20. Why could sin become chargeable to Adam, and what would be the proper penalty for this?
20 In Romans 5:13 the apostle Paul writes: “Sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law.” But back there, in the garden of Eden, there was a plainly stated law given by the Supreme Lawgiver. Hence, if Adam broke that law, he became a sinner. Sin would have to be charged to him, and he would properly pay the penalty, eternal death, nonexistence in the ground from which he had been taken.
21. (a) What two possibilities were set before Adam? (b) If they sinned, what kind of death could it have been for Adam and Eve?
21 Accordingly Adam had two possibilities set before him, one of eternal life on earth, and the other of eternal death in the dust of the ground. (Gen. 3:19; 2:7) Furthermore, if Adam and Eve sinned before they had any children, there was no promise held out to them that they would be spared from an immediate death but would be allowed to live long enough for them to bring children into existence and thus give a start to the human family. So the death of Adam and Eve for sin could have been even a childless death, no promise being made to them of a prolonged life in prison of nine months or more until children should be born to them under the condemnation of death.
22. Did Adam plan his sin, or how did Adam come to sin, and that willfully?
22 Adam did not plan his sin. The Bible shows that. The Great Tempter, a fallen angel of the invisible heavens, was the one who prevailed upon Adam to sin. First, by deception, he misled Eve, Adam’s wife, into transgression. Then by means of the now sinful Eve, the Tempter induced Adam to transgress, joining his wife Eve in sin and consenting to her sin. When Adam stood before the Supreme Judge to answer for his sin Adam said: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate it.” (Gen. 3:12) Adam, created in God’s image and according to God’s likeness, was intelligent enough to know that he was sinning against the plainly stated law of God. He was willful.
23. According to 1 Timothy 2:13, 14, why did Adam justly deserve eternal death?
23 As a proof that Adam’s sin was willful, the apostle Paul wrote: “Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and came to be in transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:13, 14) Therefore Adam justly deserved death, eternal death, without any hope of a resurrection.
24. According to Genesis 3:17-19, what was the sentence pronounced upon Adam, and did it offer hope of a resurrection?
24 When God the Supreme Judge sentenced Adam, he did not soften down the sentence with the hope of a resurrection, but said to Adam: “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. And thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”—Gen. 3:17-19.
25. Was any hope offered to Adam by what God said to the serpent, in Genesis 3:15?
25 What God meant by what he said to the serpent, Adam did not understand and never learned to understand. Apparently to just the serpent alone God said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Gen. 3:15) So Adam, not understanding, looked forward to eternal death.
26. (a) How did God clothe the sinful Adam and Eve, and what about a symbolic meaning to this? (b) Why did God drive Adam out of the garden of Eden?
26 The sinful Adam and Eve now felt shame at being naked in God’s presence and before each other. So it was a merciful act on God’s part when he did what is described in Genesis 3:21: “Jehovah God proceeded to make long garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them.” This substantial clothing replaced the less durable fig-leaf coverings. There is no need to put a symbolic meaning on God’s clothing them with the skins of some animals (deer, bear, goat, sheep, or other large animal), as if God were prophetically picturing that he would cover over their willful sin by a propitiatory sacrifice, the blood of which would be shed. God merely clothed Adam and Eve more properly before he drove them out of the Paradise garden of Eden, away from the “tree of life.” God drove Adam out “that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also of the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite.” (Gen. 3:22, 23) So evidently God drove Adam and Eve out that they might die “to time indefinite.”
27. (a) What is there to show whether Adam died as a forgiven sinner? (b) At his death, did Haʹdes or Sheol come into existence?
27 In the garden of Eden, did Adam repent and ask forgiveness from God for himself and his wife? If not, why would God cover over Adam with skin clothing in order to picture a sin-atoning covering? There is not even a suggestion in the Bible that Adam repented and asked for divine mercy for himself and his wife, even with some faith in the promised seed of the woman that was to bruise the serpent in the head. After Genesis 3:20 tells us that “Adam called his wife’s name Eve,” there is no record of anything that Adam said thereafter or of how he felt, except that he called a son of his by the name Seth. In the account of Adam’s history, it merely says: “So all the days of Adam that he lived amounted to nine hundred and thirty years and he died.” (Gen. 5:1-5) No Bible record being to the contrary, Adam died a willful sinner. When he died, Sheol or Haʹdes, which is the common grave of dead mankind in the ground, was already in existence, but did it receive Adam?
28. (a) When did Sheol or Haʹdes come into existence? (b) At that time did Adam speak as Jacob did later on, in Genesis 37:35?
28 Sheol or Haʹdes came into existence at the latest eight hundred and one years before Adam’s death, since Adam’s son Seth was born when Adam was a hundred and thirty years old and since Seth was conceived shortly after the death of Abel, who was killed by his older brother Cain. (Gen. 4:1-11, 25, 26; 5:4) Unless deaths from various causes occurred prior to Abel’s martyrdom, Sheol or Haʹdes came into existence at Abel’s death. Abel died as a faithful worshiper and witness of Jehovah God, and the Bible promises him a resurrection from the dead. (Heb. 11:4 to 12:3, 24) But there is no record that at the death and burial of Abel, Adam his father said what the patriarch Jacob said at the disappearance of his dear son Joseph: “I shall go down mourning to my son into Sheol [Haʹdes, LXX]!” (Gen. 37:35) True, at his martyr’s death righteous Abel went down into Sheol (Haʹdes), but his father Adam did not join him there eight hundred years later, for Adam as well as his wife Eve went into total destruction, pictured by Gehenna.
29. How may someone argue on the basis of Eve’s words in Genesis 4:1, but why were those words only appropriate?
29 In objection to Eve’s destruction, someone may refer to the sayings of Eve in which she spoke of God as acting in favor of her. For example, when her first son was born, she spoke of God’s name and help. Genesis 4:1 says: “Now Adam had intercourse with Eve his wife and she became pregnant. In time she gave birth to Cain and said: ‘I have acquired a man with the aid of Jehovah.’” But it was proper for Eve to say this on the basis of the words of God’s sentence upon her because of her sin: “I [Jehovah] shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.” (Gen. 3:16) Jehovah did not pronounce those words in a blessing upon Eve; and certainly it was not in her own power, by an evolutionistic development, that Eve brought forth her first son and later other children.
30. In agreement with Eve’s words then, what had Jehovah God permitted, and what was he fulfilling upon her?
30 Certainly, too, if God had at once executed Adam and Eve instead of letting them die gradually over many years of time and of pregnancy by Eve, she could never have brought forth even that first son Cain. And if, by her words at Cain’s birth and at her naming him, she betrayed any idea of her being the woman whom God mentioned to the serpent, Eve was greatly mistaken. (Gen. 3:15) God was merely fulfilling his words of sentence upon Eve, that is, to increase the pain of her pregnancy.
31 As to Eve’s words after the death of Abel, we read in Genesis 4:25: “Adam proceeded to have intercourse again with his wife and so she gave birth to a son and called his name Seth, because, as she said: ‘God has appointed another seed in place of Abel, because Cain killed him.’” It was hardly likely that Jehovah God was using Eve here as his first prophetess, inasmuch as she was a sinner under sentence of death and inasmuch as she was a deceivable woman, as the apostle Paul said, in 1 Timothy 2:12-14: “I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam [the man] was not deceived, but the woman [Eve] was thoroughly deceived and came to be in transgression.” When Eve ate the forbidden fruit, she rejected God’s first prophet, Adam.
32, 33. (a) Since all mankind’s line of descent runs back to Seth, does that prove Eve’s words regarding him prophetic? (b) Was Eve alone in naming Seth, and do her words show her to be in line for future salvation?
32 It is true that mankind’s line of descent runs back to Seth rather than to Abel; but that is no proof that Eve was uttering an inspired prophecy as God’s prophetess at Seth’s birth and naming. By being permitted to live longer and by not losing her reproductive powers at a hundred and thirty years of age, Eve could properly attribute to God her bearing of Seth, especially in the light of God’s words of sentence upon her.—Gen. 3:16.
33 Very properly Eve could accept the boy who was born right afterward as a replacement for Abel and accordingly call his name Seth, which means “Set; Put; Appointed.” We must bear in mind also that Genesis 5:3 says: “And Adam lived on for a hundred and thirty years. Then he became father to a son in his likeness, in his image, and [Adam] called his name Seth.” Hence Eve’s words at the naming of Seth cannot be used in an absolute way to argue that Eve spoke as a prophetess and thus showed herself to be in line for future salvation by God’s provision and not destruction.
34 It is true, as the apostle Paul says, that Eve was “thoroughly deceived” by the serpent in the garden of Eden, but that does not excuse her, for Paul goes on to say that Eve “came to be in transgression.” She was still a transgressor against God’s law, which law her words to the serpent prove that she well knew. (1 Tim. 2:14; Gen. 3:1-3) But what about Paul’s next words? Do they not prove that at least Eve will yet be saved, if not also her husband Adam? Paul says: “The woman was thoroughly deceived and came to be in transgression. However, she will be kept safe through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and sanctification along with soundness of mind.” (1 Tim. 2:14, 15) Here, though, when Paul says: “However, she will be kept safe [or, shall be saved, AV] through childbearing,” Paul does not mean Eve. Why not?
35. By using the pronoun “she” there, why does Paul not mean Eve?
35 Paul had just been discussing the place of woman in the Christian congregation. So only in that connection he made a reference to Eve, in order to show why he did not permit a woman to be a teacher in the congregation. Paul said: “Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence.” So after using Eve to illustrate his reason for debarring a woman from teaching in the congregation, Paul refers back to the debarred “woman” or womankind and says that she will be kept safe spiritually “through childbearing,” through motherhood, rather than by teaching in the congregation.
36, 37. What modern Bible translations show that the reference in 1 Timothy 2:15 is not to Eve?
36 In harmony with that we note the following modern translations of 1 Timothy 2:15: An American Translation renders the verse: “But they will be saved through motherhood, if they continue to have faith and to be loving and holy, and sensible as well.” A New Translation of the Bible, by Dr. James Moffatt, reads: “However, women will get safely through childbirth, if they continue to be faithful and loving and holy as well as unassuming.”
37 The Holy Bible Revised Standard Version reads: “Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.” The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, by George M. Lamsa, reads: “Nevertheless, if her posterity continue in faith and have holiness and chastity, she will live, through them.” The New Testament A Translation in the Language of the People, by Chas. E. Williams, reads: “But women will be saved through motherhood, if they continue to live in faith, love and purity blended with good sense.” The New Testament in Plain English, by Charles Kingsley Williams, reads: “But woman shall be saved by child-bearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty.”—1 Tim. 2:15.
DOES THE RANSOM APPLY?
38. What question in relation to Adam and Eve arises from 1 Timothy 2:5, 6?
38 It is plain that the above-discussed Bible texts that have been applied in behalf of Eve and her salvation under God’s kingdom give no definite proof of another opportunity for everlasting life for Eve. Hence Adam does not stand to benefit from any attempted arguments in favor of Eve. However, do not both Adam and Eve stand to benefit from the ransom sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, “the last Adam”? In 1 Timothy 2:5, 6 the apostle Paul says: “A man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” So do not Adam and Eve, about whom Paul speaks later in 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verses 13 and 14, justly have a right to a share in the benefits of that “corresponding ransom”? Many persons argue Yes.
39, 40. (a) What is a ransom, and what did Jesus say about it in Matthew 20:28? (b) With what law given by God through Moses concerning ransom was Jesus acquainted?
39 A ransom is something of value that is delivered or paid over to a person or organization that is holding something captive, subject or in possession, in order to gain the release of what is thus held. As regards the Lord Jesus Christ, in giving himself in sacrificial death he gave a “corresponding ransom,” which means that the valuable thing given corresponds exactly with the thing held, the thing that is to be freed, released or bought back. According to Matthew 20:28, Jesus said: “The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” Jesus was fully acquainted with God’s law given through his mediator Moses to the nation of Israel, namely:
40 “If a fatal accident should occur, then you must give soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, branding for branding, wound for wound, blow for blow. . . . if a bull [not kept under guard] . . . did put a man or a woman to death, the bull is to be stoned and also its owner [who heeded no warning] is to be put to death. If a ransom should be imposed upon him, then he must give the redemption price for his soul according to all that may be imposed upon him.”—Ex. 21:23-30.
41. What did the Son of God have to do in order to get into position to furnish a “corresponding ransom”?
41 To furnish a “corresponding ransom” for mankind, the Son of God from heaven had to become a perfect man exactly like or corresponding to the perfect Adam in Eden’s garden. To this end he was born as a human child of a virgin Jewish girl, Mary, Jehovah God continuing to be his Father. He was thus miraculously born perfect and sinless; and the sin from Adam did not spread to him. As a man of thirty years of age, when he got baptized in water by John the Baptist to symbolize his dedication to God to do the divine will, Jesus was the full equivalent in a human way of the sinless, perfect Adam in the garden of Eden. He was thus in a position to offer his human life or soul as a “corresponding ransom” for the release of humankind from sin and its penalty death.
42. Are the many descendants of Adam and Eve to benefit from Jesus’ “corresponding ransom,” and does this ransom not apply first to Adam and then to Eve?
42 That the many descendants of Adam and Eve are to benefit from this “corresponding ransom” of Jesus Christ and are to have a resurrection from Sheol or Haʹdes to an opportunity to gain human perfection on a Paradise earth, the Bible plainly teaches. But what about Adam and Eve? Since Jesus’ human body and soul corresponded exactly to that of the perfect Adam in Eden, would not the “corresponding ransom” paid by Jesus apply first of all to Adam himself and secondarily to Adam’s wife Eve? Not necessarily!
43 To illustrate: In Jehovah’s law given to the nation of Israel through the prophet Moses, He made provision for six “cities of refuge,” at strategic or convenient locations throughout the land of Israel. These were for the man who became guilty of manslaughter by sheer accident. The accidental manslayer could escape the death penalty by beating the avenger of blood to the most convenient city of refuge and remaining inside until the death of the Levite who was then serving as Jehovah’s high priest. (Num. 35:9-29) But what about an intentional or deliberate manslayer, a murderer, an assassin? On this, God’s law of refuge cities says:
44 “Without fail the murderer should be put to death. The avenger of blood is the one who will put the murderer to death. When he chances upon him he himself will put him to death. And if in hatred he was pushing [the man murdered] or he has thrown at him while lying in wait that he might die, or in enmity he has struck him with his hand that he might die, without fail the striker should be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood will put the murderer to death when he chances upon him.” “Every fatal striker of a soul should be slain as a murderer at the mouth of witnesses, and one witness may not testify against a soul for him to die. AND YOU MUST TAKE NO RANSOM FOR THE SOUL OF A MURDERER WHO IS DESERVING TO DIE, for without fail he should be put to death. And you must not take a ransom for the one [the accidental manslayer] who has fled to his city of refuge, to resume dwelling in the land before the death of the high priest.”—Num. 35:18-21, 30-32.
45. How should we view Jehovah’s refusing to accept a ransom for the willful manslayer?
45 Jehovah God the Giver of all life was within his right and also within the limits of justice in refusing to accept a ransom for the willful manslayer and refusing to let him live on under the protective shadow of the Jewish high priest.
46 Likewise in the case of God’s dealings with Adam and Eve. Concerning Adam as the main responsible one, Romans 5:12-14 says: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—. . . . Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam.”
47 Through Adam sin and its penalty death entered into the world of mankind. Adam thus became responsible for the sinfulness and death of all his descendants, with all the reproach that this has brought upon the holy name of his Maker, Jehovah God. This was not accidental on Adam’s part; “Adam was not deceived.” (1 Tim. 2:14) He knew that he was breaking God’s law against the eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. He knew that he was taking the course that meant his death at God’s hand, and he might have expected that his death by execution would take place on that very twenty-four-hour day before he had the opportunity to become a father. He might thus have killed all opportunity for life, or even a start in life, for all his offspring. When, by God’s undeserved kindness, Adam did start off his family, he started all of them off in sin and under the condemnation of death and with no right to life.
48. (a) What can be said about God’s refusing to accept any ransom in Adam’s behalf? (b) What about this with regard to the offspring of Adam and Eve?
48 Because Adam, despite God’s full warning, willfully brought death upon all his offspring, he was a willful murderer, and Eve shared with him in this willful transgression. So Jehovah, acting in harmony with his later law concerning the Israelite “cities of refuge,” would refuse to accept any ransom in Adam’s behalf and in Eve’s behalf, not letting them come under the ministration of his High Priest Jesus Christ. But as regards the human family that descended from them, God could justly accept the ransom sacrifice of his High Priest Jesus Christ in their behalf, because their sinfulness that merited death was only accidental, it not being willed by them but being due only to birth from Adam.
49. What about the ransom benefits and Cain the son of Adam?
49 In the case of Cain, the first son of Adam, God justly withholds the benefits of Christ’s ransom sacrifice from Cain because Jehovah God directly warned Cain and yet he wickedly assassinated his godly brother Abel. For Cain as well as for his parents Adam and Eve we reasonably expect no resurrection from the dead.
[Picture on page 169]
Adam and Eve driven out of Eden