Friday, April 12, 2013
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
What makes Genesis 3:15 such a remarkable passage is the fact it contains the Bible's first promise and first prophecy. The promise within Genesis 3:15 is about the Gospel. In fact, theologians and Christians of ages past have nick-named Genesis 3:15 the proto-evangelium (pro-to-e-van-gel-eeum), which translated means: the first announcement of the Gospel. The Prophecy within this same text has to do with the triumph or expected outcome of the Gospel. Truly Genesis 3:15 is an acorn that contains the Biblical oaks of redemption and eschatology (study of last things, prophecy).
In today's post we want to consider Genesis 3:15 and the attending verses of Genesis 3:16-21 with regards to what God predicted about history, salvation and last things. Consider the following ideas about this first of top Bible prophecies:
Conflict. Genesis 3:15a
Genesis 3:15a records - And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed..". Following the rebellion in the garden of Eden, God pronounced a curse upon Satan the serpent, Adam and Eve and the rest of creation. In Genesis 3:15 we see portrayed the personal, historic and cosmic conflict that would ensue between God's Kingdom and satan's lesser kingdom of darkness. We note firstly the personal conflict between Eve and Satan. God made it clear: Satan and Eve were to be enemies. God's promise and plan of salvation that was to be revealed in the Covenant of Grace issued forth to Eve would run counter to Satan's agenda.
God drew the battle lines that would not only characterize the personal animosity between humanity and Satan, but secondly the historic conflict. We see the historic conflict in the words "his seed" and "your seed". What is meant by those terms "seed"? "Seed" refers to two bloodlines, two groups of people, two spiritual categories of people that would exist throughout human history. The seed of Satan refers to unbelievers, and the seed of the woman would refer to believers. For example, Jesus perfectly summarizes this point in Matthew 13:36-40 -
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
Many other passage reveal the two different types of seed as referring to believers and unbelievers. (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:1-2) The historic conflict would entail Israel and her enemies, the apostles and their foes, and of course all subsequent generations of Christian people and unbelievers. So we see conflict in this text of Genesis 3:15. How will the conflict be resolved? Where is such a conflict going to lead? That leads us to the second thought in this grand passage of Genesis 3:15, namely...
Coming Redeemer 3:15b
The Holy Ghost says in Genesis 3:15b - "He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” The text goes from personal conflict between Eve and Satan, to historic conflict between unbelievers following satan and believers saved by grace through faith in Christ to the Cosmic conflict of the Coming Redeemer and Satan. The fact that the text says "He" tells us that God has not only got a plan of salvation, but a Person who will accomplish salvation. The Coming Redeemer was the entire focus of Old Testament revelation. The "Seed" of Eve revealed in this verse would be the "Seed" promised later to Abraham. (Genesis 12,15,17,22) Furthermore, this coming Redeemer would be progressively revealed over the centuries in greater and greater clarity. King David was told that He would have a descendant sitting on the Throne of Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 7:13-16) In as much as David was going to have royal descendants sitting on the throne of Jerusalem, God had also in mind One Ultimate Ruler, the Coming Redeemer. Psalm 132:11 states - "The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne."
We know by the time of the New Testament, Jesus Christ would end up fulfilling the promises made to Abraham and David. Through Israel the nation the redeemer would come. Once the Redeemer came, he would live, die on the cross and be raised from the dead. After Christ's ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, He inaugurated His reign on David's throne to rule over His church. (Acts 2:33-36) This Redeemer who came is coming again. Passages such as Romans 11:25-26 and Revelation 19-20 unfold the glorious Second Coming of this Redeemer. When He returns, Christ will restore the nation of Israel as a nation and His church will reign with Him for 1,000 years.
Now did Eve and Adam know all of these details? No. Their level of understanding was in seed form, whereas our understanding is comparitively speaking a mature oak. God progressively revealed His prophetic truth to each generation. And so we see a conflict and a coming redeemer, but notice a third idea revealed in Genesis 3:16-21, namely....
Conquest. Genesis 3:16-21
When you compare Genesis 3:16-21 to the last two chapters of Revelation, you find some amazing contrasts. In fact, the darkness of Genesis 3 was pre-known by God. God knew man was going to sin, it was no suprise. God willed to permit the fall so as to show in ways we don't grasp the glories of His grace as well as to let man exercise his capacity as a responsible, moral being.
So did the fall jeopardize God's plan for creation? When you compare Genesis 3:16-21 to Revelation 21-22, you discover God's purpose in conquering satan, sin and death..
Genesis 3:16-21 vs Revelation 21-22
-God & man separate -God & believers together
-Death & Pain -No Death & Pain
-Exile -A New Home
-Curse -No Curse
-Night is setting in -No more night
-Long History ahead -History alomost over
-Paradise lost -Paradise rescued
-Blood of animals -Based on Christ's blood
-Old Adam & Eve -New Adam & Bride
Truly God's purposes and plans are not thwarted. The glorious truth is that in the end God wins! All who by grace through faith believe will be saved. Right now is the time of salvation, the perfect time to escape the wrath to come. This is the wonder of prophecy and redemption, centered in the chief work of salvation and the chief end of God's glory in Jesus Christ.