Two Orders of Manhood. The first man and the second man are abstract terms that describe two different orders of manhood. The terms come from 1 Cor. 15:46-49:
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
First Man. The first man was Adam, but the term comprehends the entire order of manhood connected with Adam, which is earthy, and natural. The first man (that which is natural) had to come first in God’s dispensational ways, to prove to man that he was utterly bankrupt. The first man was tested under a series of dispensations up to the cross, which was the final test. There the first man and all his worldly wisdom crucified the Lord of Glory, and thereby proved himself to be an irrecoverable failure. All those in Adam’s fallen race take their character from the head of that race… “as is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy”. The only way to escape that order is to be transferred into another race! Read Rom. 5:12-21.
Second Man. The Second Man is a person… our Lord Jesus Christ! He is of a heavenly order and origin, and He has a race which takes its heavenly character from Him; “as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly“. There is no failure there. In the fulfillment of God’s purposes, He will show how Christ, as Second Man, will succeed in all of those principles under which the First Man has utterly failed.
|Dispensational Principle, or Sub-Principle||Fulfillment by Christ, the Second Man, in the Millennium|
|Government||Christ will be “King of kings and Lord of lords”|
Christ will be the center of
|Promise||Christ will be the depository of all the promises of God|
|Law||Christ will be the “mediator of the New Covenant”|
|Priesthood||Christ will come forth as “a priest after the order of Melchizedek”|
|Judges||Christ will come forth as “He that is to be ruler in Israel”|
|Kings||Christ will sit upon the “throne of David”|
|Prophets||Christ will be “that Prophet” raised up unto Israel|
|The Spirit||Christ will “pour out [the] Spirit upon all flesh”|
Confusion between the old man and the first man. The “old man” is not to be confused with the “first man”, which denotes a different aspect of the human race under Adam. The old man denotes the corruption of the race, whereas the first man denotes what is natural, earthy, and soulish in the race, compared to the second man which is Christ; heavenly and spiritual. For example, you wouldn’t say bringing in musical instruments to the remembrance of the Lord was the “old man”, but you would say it was the “first man”. The first man was tested up to the cross, proven bankrupt, but never said to be judged by God. The old man however, is said to be crucified or condemned (Rom. 6:6).