Since we are approaching the Christmas season it is appropriate to begin a discussion of the hope of the first advent of TLJC according to the Scripture that is celebrated at Christmas. Isa 9:6;
The early church and the writers of the New Testament referred to a number of things to establish faith in Christ as the Messiah, our Savior the Son of God who is the only hope for mankind.
They referred to his miracles and wonders as signs Acts 2:22; Heb. 2:3-4;
They referred to his resurrection as the climactic event of Christ's earthly life in His first coming that truly marked Him out as Son of God and Savior of all mankind Acts 2:23-24; and they referred to the way his life, from his birth to his death, resurrection and ascension that was an amazing and incredible line of evidence that fulfilled prophecy.
The Old Testament was written over a period of 1000 years and contains some three hundred prophecies of the coming Messiah.
It can be proven that these prophecies were written at least two hundred years before Jesus' birth because the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was written in 200 B.C., and by the Dead Sea Scrolls, some of which are dated over 200 years before Christ include them.
All of these ancient prophecies were fulfilled in the one unique person, TLJC, and they provide solid confirmation for His credentials as the Messiah, for His claims as the Son of God and Savior, for His unique life, and for our hope and confidence that He and He alone is the one to whom we must look for salvation and meaning in life.
The probability that all of the OT prophecies could be fulfilled in one person and be mere coincidence is beyond comprehension and, for all practical purposes, mathematically impossible.
The entire Old Testament, discusses the history of Israel as related to the surrounding the nations speaks of the Messiah, the Redeemer who would come as shown in the following passages that refer to the Old Testament.
Matt 5:17; "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill."
Luke 24:27; "And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures."
Luke 24:44; Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
John 5:39; "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;
It is appropriate to investigate in order to determine that this Jesus of the New Testament is this Deliverer to whom we are to look, that He is the right one and not an imposter and that there is some way we can clearly identify Him.
We can know this because the Scripture not only promises the Messiah, but it does so in such a way that he can be precisely identified. This is important because many have come along and claimed to have the political and social answers for society and the Bible warns us that many more will come and falsely make these claims.
The Bible gives us dozens of ways to accurately identify the promised Deliverer.
Using the Bible as our map, we will begin by going back to the Garden of Eden and from there travel forward through time with the Word of God as our guide and illumination for our path.
With the light of the Word, we will look for signs and marks of identification that can be used to find and identify this person of whom the Scripture speaks, the one promised to the human race as the only solution to the problems of the world who at the same time is the one the world resists.
As we look at these signs that are scattered along the highway of history, we need to note that each sign is an identifier. Many of them are also predictions, and in some cases they are warnings, but there are also promises that become the basis of our confident expectation or "hope".
In Rom 15:4; Paul said, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope"
The scriptures become the basis of our confident expectation of Divine Good.
The Scriptures we will examine in this study are those that specifically deal with the lineage of Christ and the prophecies of His birth. These prophecies, as a part of that hope, form an incredible line of truth and overwhelming evidence that will authenticate the claims of Christ and show us the real meaning of Christmas.
We will look at only those prophecies that focus primarily on his birth or lineage, even though many more focus on His life and his works and serve to further identify and prove the identity of the only one in whom we must place our trust for the salvation that is offered freely, without cost by Grace through Faith alone.
We begin with Adam and Ishah in the garden and each new sign or prophecy will add more detail. This will constantly narrow the field of possible candidates until all the important factors of identification are revealed. As a result, there will be no doubt about God's plan of salvation for mankind as well as where and in whom it is found.
The Garden of Eden where the Fall of Mankind occurred was designed by God as a paradise with a single volitional test. Adam and the Woman were told not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if they did, they would immediately die spiritually and that would result in their subsequent physical death.
After some unknown amount of time under the deception of the serpent, the woman, Ishah, ate of fruit and gave it to the man, Adam, and he also ate. In doing this, Adam and the woman who was renamed Eve after the fall, chose to live independently of God and sin entered into the human experience.
Where man and woman had previously had life, now they have death. Where once there was joy and pleasure, now there is pain. Where there was a happy occupation with abundance, now a meager subsistence by toil and the sweat in work has become the rule along with pain in childbirth.
Where there was once perfect fellowship with God and each other, now we see alienation, fear, blaming, hiding, and an attempt to cover their nakedness with fig leaves.
In the midst of this despair, God provides the solution of the Promised Seed in Gen 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."
In this verse, we have the prophecy of the promised seed. This is often called the protevangelium, that means the " first reference to the gospel message".
It is only a broad generalization with very little detail, and, though only in embryonic form, Gen 3:15; is simultaneously a prophecy, a warning, and a promise.
But it is also the foundation for the many promises and the beginning of many signs that will be subsequently revealed in Scripture that identify the promised Messiah.
The prophecies that follow will clarify and develop many of the details as God's revelation progresses. These added details will point us clearly to the one who is to come and reveal what we can expect to happen.
Since passage this is the foundation of all the subsequent promises, it is important to note a number of details:
The promise of Gen 3:15 is addressed to the serpent, not to mankind. The discussion begins in Gen 3:14; it is part of a sentence of judgment that is issued against the one who is the enemy of both God and man.
It contains, the beginning of a promise for mankind, but it is more directly a sentence of judgment on the serpent that is clear a reference to Satan. This teaches us that God's plan is about God's sovereign rule over all creation as much as it is about man's need for a Savior.
Though Gen 3:15; contains great hope for mankind as a promise, it is also a prophecy of hostility and struggle.
The word translated "Enmity" comes from a Hebrew word "aybaw" that means, "to hate."
So this first prophecy includes a warning of great conflict and foreshadows the perpetual struggle and incessant activity of satanic powers which will oppose mankind and God's plan of salvation through the One who would come.
We see from this that Satan hates all mankind and especially those who are linked in some way with the promised Deliverer.
"Enmity" is a term that is not applicable to dumb animals. Its scriptural use limits it to enmity between persons or morally responsible agents. This fact, and the revelation of the New Testament reveals Satan's function through the serpent. Rom. 16:20; Rev 12:9;Rev 20:2;
This rules out the idea that what is being referred to is simply hostility between mankind and snakes.
What is identified is a struggle is between the serpent and the woman, between his offspring and her offspring, and between a single individual that is specifically identified as "her seed"and the serpent.
The text says, "And I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman (Eve), he (the seed of the woman) shall bruise you (the serpent) on the head, And you (the serpent) shall bruise him (the seed of the woman) on the heel."
At this point Adam's involvement is completely ignored. The reason for this is not given here, but as we travel through history the light of God's revelation will not only identify the serpent but also show why Adam is passed over.
The reason is the virgin birth that we will see is prophesied in Isa 7:14; and fulfilled in Matt 1:20: Though perhaps not understood at the time, we have in Gen 3:15; the anticipation of the virgin birth. Satan's defeat and that of his seed in the form of the unbelieving world would come from the seed of the woman.
It speaks of her seed, not his (Adam's) nor theirs (Adam and Eve's).
Deliverance would come from the woman without the aid of a man. The seeds referred to here are not defined at this point. Later revelation will do this, but the text is itself suggestive in several respects:
First, The seed of the serpent is a collective noun meaning "offspring," and must refer to the children of the evil one, those who are in a spiritual sense the children of the devil.
John 8:44; records TLJC referring the Pharisees in this manner when he said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
We see from this that the text is obviously not talking about an offspring of snakes.
Second, if "seed" must refer to a whole class and is used in the collective sense in the first half of the statement, then "seed" in the second half of the statement must be used collectively for the descendants or posterity of the woman. The enmity is one that will exist between two groups throughout history, the serpent's seed and the woman's seed.
Third, in the last part of verse 15, the seed is narrowed to the singular "he" and the singular "you" which anticipates a person or a particular seed who does battle with the serpent who is Satan. Gal 3:16,19 refer specifically to seed of Abraham, but is still applicable since we will find that Abraham is in the line. We also see this in Rom 16:20; and Heb 2:9-14;
Two things are stated about the two seeds and their enmity:
First, her seed would bruise, or crush the serpent's head. This clearly portrays a mortal wound that means her seed would be victorious and deliverance is anticipated.
Second, the serpent would bruise her seed on the heel. Her seed would suffer, but it would not be a mortal wound or one that would lead to defeat.
The deliverer suffers, but as promised is ultimately victorious.
We see from this that there will be a struggle and a deliverer but we do not yet know what form the struggle will take nor who the deliverer will be. Eve, the mother of all living, would have many sons and daughters who would eventually spread out all over the entire earth.
In Gen 4:1-2; we find the first mention of birth. Could the promised seed be Cain which is probably best understood to mean, "acquired" or "gotten." "Cain" sounds like qana, the Hebrew verb used here means "to get or to acquire"
Literally the Hebrew reads, "I have gotten or acquired a man with the Lord." This was apparently a cry of faith, an expectation from Eve. It is likely that she thought this was the promised seed.
Eve probably did not know or sense that the enmity and struggle in the human race would be so long. She may have thought Cain was the promised seed or at least the first in the lineage of the seed who would crush the serpent and restore what was lost.
But the passage shows that Cain was not a man of faith because he brought a bloodless offering. Gen 4:3; His brother Abel, however, brought a blood offering which was accepted by God. Gen 4:4; In his offering, Abel displayed his faith in the coming Redeemer, perhaps even with the understanding he was one who must suffer.
At this point, Able represented the godly seed, the line of the Savior, while Cain represented the ungodly seed, the line of Satan.
But we immediately see that Cain murdered Abel. Gen 4:8; This is the first illustration of the enmity between the two seeds that occurs among humans.
Almost immediately there is a trail of destruction and deception.
Cain shows that not all would believe and the promise of Gen 3:15; became ignored or distorted by the ancient mysticism of Babylon and a religious system that has been called "the mother-child cult." This was a clever counterfeit of the promise of Gen 3:15; that would flourish all over the world and rise again in the last days.
In order to keep the promise pure, God would need a remnant, a line of believers who would believe the promise, proclaim it, and become the channel for perpetuation of the seed of the woman.
So, in the lineage of the seed we will see how God protected the promise and eliminated millions so that we can know just where to look for the Messiah. We will see how God identifies the seed and fulfills His promises to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, and to others in spite of the continued opposition of satan as he is represented by the serpent.
The line of prophetic revelation regarding the birth of the seed of the woman becomes more and more amazing and miraculous. The signs will enable us to pinpoint with great accuracy just who this Deliverer is, when, where and how He would be born, and other amazing details that are foretold by the Scriptures hundreds of years in advance.
Here stands an impressive line of evidence for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. The evidence demonstrates that He is not just another of the leaders of the world's religious, but that truly He and He alone is the promised seed, the answer to mankind's needs, and through the nations would be blessed.
The second Prophecy is where the line of Seth, becomes the source of "the seed of the woman".
Gen 4:25-26; And Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, "God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him." And to Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.
"Seth" a transliteration of the Hebrew word that means "to set, to place, or to appoint." With this name and Eve's statement in verse 25b, it is evident this child becomes the one appointed to be the godly line, the line out of which the seed of the woman will come.
Eve's name for this child illustrates her faith. The mention of "another offspring" in place of Abel, literally, "another seed," takes up the promise of Gen 3:15; and announces from which of Eve's sons the seed would come.
The line to the promised one is narrowed, in verse Gen 4:26; where we read, "Then, men began to call upon the name of the Lord." The "then" refers to the logical consequences of the birth of Seth and the establishment of the godly line of men from which the seed of the woman would come.
This stands in contrast to the ungodly line of Cain, who we see from Gen 4:16; "went out from the presence of the Lord into the land of Nod" that means wandering.
We now move forward several hundred years to Genesis 6 and the time of Noah that is at least 1656 years following creation and maybe more if the recorded list of the sons of Seth is not exhaustive and there are gaps in the record.
Here we again see the enmity and the path of destruction and deception in human history. Gen 6:5; Once again Satan attempts to stop the promise of Gen 3:15;
In Gen 6:2; we have Satan's attempt to destroy the human line to the "seed of the woman" that was in the prophecy of Gen 3:15; by corrupting "the daughters of men" with the "the sons of God" who are the fallen angels.
But God raised up a descendent of Seth, a preacher of righteousness, whose name was Noah. Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives believed God and for 120 years Noah warned of a coming judgment which would clearly prove that these heroes or "men of renown” who even though they were giants were still flesh, and would die under God's authority and control, which occurred in the flood.
The fact that no one joined Noah and his family on the ark indicates that the entire human race except for Noah's family had been corrupted.
Because of this, God destroyed the entire human race except for Noah and his family with the flood. It is obvious the seed of the woman would come through Noah. But Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth who subsequently became the fathers of the entire human race.
One of which one would be the godly line and the source of the "seed of the woman"
The next prophesy is found in the Blessings on Shem Gen 9:26; He (Noah) also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.
The wording here is unexpected. In Gen 9: 25; Noah said, "Cursed be Canaan," but here, rather than "blessed be Shem," he said, "blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem." The point is that Shem's blessing was the result of his relationship to the Lord as his God.
This is not only a prophecy and a pronouncement of blessing upon Shem and his posterity, but in it God declares that Shem's posterity would know and serve the one true God. His descendents would become the godly seed or line. From Shem would come the Deliverer, the seed of the woman and the means of blessing to the other brothers Gen 9:27;
We see two key developments as we continue to look for the seed of the woman.
Shem's descendants became the Semitic people, many of whom lived in the east around the land of Shinar or Babylon. As time progressed, the people formed up under the leadership of a man called Nimrod, whose very name can mean "let us revolt" Gen 10:8-10.
There is no doubt that name Nimrod suggested to the Israelites the idea of a rebel against God. Nimrod's Tower of Babel became Satan's first attempt to achieve a one-world system of government whereby man sought unity, security and prosperity apart from God. It was clearly an anti-God, humanistic kingdom and the first try at a one-world government that God restrained when he introduced different languages and caused the people to separate into nations.
This rebellion included the Semitic people, many of whom lived in Babylon, most of whom became involved in this Babylonian system of idolatry.
History records that Nimrod had a wife by the name of Semerimus who established the worship of what may be called "the mother-child cult." This became Satan's clever counterfeit to the promised "the seed of the woman". Here was the beginning of the worldwide secular religion that is described as "Mother of Harlots” in Rev 17:3-6;
So again we see enmity at work, the trail of blood and deception that was first prophesied in Gen 3:15;
The next prophesy is The Call of Abram and the Abrahamic Covenant Gen 12:1-3;
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
The whole world had fallen in with Satan's system just as it will again in the last days and the days of the Great Tribulation as described in the book of Revelation.
The world lay in humanism, pantheism, idolatry, and unbelief. But God always has his man and His remnant and, as faithful and sovereign God, He will fulfill His promises and purposes.
Because of this, God called a man by the name of Abram. We are not told how, but while Abram was in Ur of the Chaldeans, a wealthy, populous, and sophisticated center of pagan idolatry, Abram heard the call of God, believed Him and left for Canaan with his family.
As foretold in Scripture, Abram is in the line of Shem from whom the seed would come. In this text, some additional information is given.
A specific portion of land is now comes into view, one that will become the center of the world as God views it. The seed of the woman will come out of a special parcel of land, the land of Canaan, later to be known as Palestine.
Abram is identified as the source of the nation from which the "seed of the woman" would come.
We also see that universal blessings are promised for all the nations. Abram's seed would become a channel of blessing to the entire world. This means we look for the Redeemer and promised Seed to come from Abram's family.
In subsequent passages in the Book of Genesis, God amplifies and enlarges the promises, but we now know in what family and in what land we should look for the seed of the woman.
We won't look in China, or Babylon, or Assyria, or India, or Western Europe, or Italy, or Turkey, or in North or South America. We are to look for this Deliverer, this promised seed of the woman, from a small area along the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea that is now called Israel.
As we continue to travel through the prophecies that are recorded in pages of Scripture, we soon learn that Abram would be the father of a multitude of nations so God changed his name to Abraham.
Gen 17:4-7;"As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. "No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. "And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.