Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

And for this cause – the surrounding verses speak of the duties of the great high priest and the offering made with blood and how our high priest is entered into heaven itself to appear in the presence of God for us.  As the perfect sacrifice, Jesus is the mediator of the new testament – the only one qualified, the only pure and sinless being that could fulfill that position as mediator.  That by means of death – death was part of the requirement, not only was death required of a blood sacrifice, it was also a representational death – he tasted death for each of us –for the transgressions that were under the first testament  - our sins under the law, and our sins as a result of Adam – that they which are called – and you know whom the called are – those chosen in him before the foundation of the world in eternal covenant – might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  That verse says “might.”  It doesn’t mean “maybe” as we would use the verb, but in the Old English, it is a synonym for “may.”   Today we would say “will.”

It’s hard to talk about death without some sadness pouring over into the conversation, and it’s even harder to deal with the reality of death.  Paul calls death an enemy.  It plagues us still today.  It’s common to us all, just like Adam’s sinful nature, which brings that death.  No one is getting off this planet alive unless the Lord returns in your lifetime.  We only have record of two in history not tasting death:  Enoch, who was not because God took him.  Enoch underwent a change in his physical body before he entered the glory world – the scriptures say he was translated.  The other case is Elijah, who was caught up in a whirlwind into heaven.  We conclude he didn’t die either, but his sinful body had to be transformed to be made ready for heaven’s glory world.

Death is the enemy of all flesh.  It seems undefeatable; it has conquered mortal man for 6000 years.  You won’t find anyone alive over 120 years anymore as death continues to take its toll.  Modern medicine and science claim to be able to lengthen your days, but it’s really an illusion.   The Lord says to honor your mother and your father and your days will be long on the Earth – and you have the promise of 70 years, 80 if you are healthy, but those years eventually end in death.

My dad loved to talk scripture with folks from all religions and discuss the doctrines of grace.  No matter what the subject matter, he always found a way to take them back to the garden.  How do you know where you are if you don’t know where you’ve been?

For mankind, our troubles started in the garden.  It began with Adam’s disobedience when he followed Eve in the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  While Adam showed great love for his bride in the garden, willing to follow her, and die for her, we still need to be careful about our reckoning of what took place there.  Some say Eve wasn’t guilty as the commandment was not given to her directly from God.  (1 Ti 2:14) I say Eve was a part of, i.e. “in Adam,” and furthermore, God called their name Adam.

Most denominations stop their study at the comfort level of their doctrine.  That forces them to ignore Ephesians and Romans chapter 8 and John 5:25 and 6:37 and 6:44 and Titus 1:2 and Matthew 1:21 and anything else that conflicts with what they’ve been taught. Even though Old Baptists aren’t generally afraid to dig into a subject and go deep and discover what’s being taught, we must proceed cautiously. 

If we don’t rightly divide what took place with our federal head, we could find ourselves off a cliff on our doctrinal positions.  We need to be correct in what we teach about the fall of man in the garden.   Many groups teach that God put the tree there as a test of loyalty and faith for Adam.  But let’s look carefully at the consequences of such a test.  It places in mortal man – I won’t call Adam sinful before the fall – but it places in mortal man an incredible responsibility, or opportunity, to bring corporeal death to ALL mankind with one act of disobedience.  It creates the greatest enemy the world has known and pronounces judgment unto all mankind, and all whom would ever be born, dooming them to not only death, but eternal separation from God, and an eternal hell.  Whatever our understanding of the fall of mankind, we must take great care in not calling this event an act of chance or an act of testing of Adam by God.  This was a direct commandment and a direct disobedience.  It wasn’t a test to “see what Adam might do.”

Jas 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

Jas 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Jas 1:15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Getting this garden scenario wrong puts the burden of one bite of fruit bringing down all of mankind with a horrible punishment.  Adams’ act was of lawful disobedience and not a test of faith or “let’s see what happens.”  Let’s look at this logically – Satan is the enemy, and he’s reported as having been in the garden previously – he may have been there admiring God’s handiwork when his pride brought about rebellion.  Satan created sin, but sin entered the world through Adam.  Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We know, as old Baptists, there are several things – the list we often report is seven, undoubtedly there are more – seven things God cannot do.  It’s a good list, and it’s good that God, who knows all, sees all, is everywhere present and nowhere absent cannot do some things.  You’ve heard the old question:  Can God create a rock so heavy He Himself cannot lift it? I heard a preacher answer that “yes, but then being God He would lift it anyway.”  Can I tell you that’s wrong? 

The instant Adam fell, God, who created both the universe and Adam, could have stepped in and said – “oh well, everyone gets one pass.  Try to do better next time.”  Can you imagine?  No harm, no foul, we’ll just start over.  But look – God’s own holiness and righteousness prohibits it.  Because He created and holds himself to standards, because He cannot lift the rock He created as too heavy for Himself, we can take comfort in his promises that He cannot lie and will do as He said He would do.

Satan’s part begins as the creator or originator of sin – and sin is simply defined as a transgression against divine law.  Satan’s pride caused his rebellion and fall, and he brought mankind into the program through deceit.  

From the fall of Adam, Satan has had dominion or rule over the flesh. We know this because of the type of creatures we are when born into this world:

Rom 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Rom 3:10- 18  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

At the end of time, these bodies will be changed and adopted into the family of God  – and join our eternal souls which have been granted the new birth.  I know a little about adoption – when you are adopted into a family, you are adopted OUT of a family.  One parent’s rights have to terminate before they are granted to the new parents.  As flesh and blood sinful unchanged creatures, we belonged to Satan before the intervention.

Hos 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Satan rules over flesh in this lifetime and has the power of death.  Hebrews 2:14 tells us clearly.  Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Preachers love to proclaim how we have been saved from an eternal hell, but in a sense, we’ve been saved from an eternal death.  Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.  The translators of the King James bible put this alternative wording in the margin to suggest a better understanding:  “in dying, thou shalt die.”

These bodies will die, and had there not been a price paid to redeem them, and had our souls not been quickened in the new birth, we would have remained in a state of eternal death.  Christ tasted death for his elect. Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

And the scriptures actually report he was afraid – in his human side – to face death.  He wasn’t afraid of dying, he was afraid of death. Today, we’re okay with death because we understand it’s temporary until these bodies are raised – it’s the dying and how it happens that worries us.  Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

And Jesus rising up the third day, never to die again, has conquered death, hell and the grave.  Yet we still die.  Death still plagues us.  And these bodies continue to sin.  But in the mind and purpose of God, the debt has been paid, the bill satisfied, and in the fullness of time, we’ll understand that the last enemy to be defeated is death. 1Co 15:26

Rom 4:17  (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

Here are some closing verses from scripture to consider about this enemy, death:

1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Rom 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Bro. Royce Ellis