Scripture Readings: Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:1–3; Deuteronomy 11:1; Exodus 32:7-8; 2 Samuel 7:11–13; Isaiah 53:5–7; Matthew 1:1; Hebrews 2:14–18; Ephesians 1:7–10
Put yourself in Adam and Eve's situation. Disobeying the very command God had given you to not eat of the forbidden tree, you glance down at your hands holding the fruit that bears your bite. You have just disobeyed the very One who created you, thinking you knew what was better. "He was keeping something from me", you had thought, "Perhaps what this serpent says is true", you wondered.
The effects of that decision immediately enter the world, and the relationship between man and God, which was perfect and intimate, becomes dead and distant. We no longer are considered innocent in God's eyes, but rebels partaking in the greatest blasphemy of the universe.
What if the story stopped there?
What if God, in His justice, struck Adam and Eve dead immediately after partaking? Surely He would be right to do so- He gave a command, it was broken, and now someone had to pay.
The question is... who?
God, in His infinite wisdom, was working towards something so much more. He would use this seemingly hopeless situation that we have created as a canvas to ultimately display His glory to all nations.
God's plan for a redeemer of mankind begins to unfold right after the fall in Genesis with the protoevangelium- the first mention of the Gospel:
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
- Genesis 3:15
A glimmer of hope has already been revealed! Here God speaks to the serpent and says that there will rise an offspring from Eve. The serpent will bruise His heel, causing Him to suffer, but the offspring shall crush his head, killing him with one fatal blow. However, throughout the chapters, we see Adam and Eve's children fall into the same cycle of rebellion. They are unable to prove themselves worthy of combatting such a problem of sin when they have allowed sin to dominate their own flesh.
We then see a further unraveling of this "offspring prophecy" in the covenant God made to Abraham:
"'Now the LORD said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'”
- Genesis 12:1–3
Keywords: "of all the earth". God promises Abraham that through his family, goodness and blessing will be restored to all of the earth, not just Abraham's descendants. Therefore, whoever this "offspring" is, He must be one not dominated by sin, and of great Divine authority to establish such hope for a fallen world.
“You shall, therefore, love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always." Deuteronomy 11:1
When Abraham's family becomes the nation of Israel, God establishes through Moses, The Mosaic covenant. This was after God had led them out of captivity from the Egyptians, and called the Israelites to remember how He freed them from those who held them captive. God presented a series of guidelines, or laws, on how they as God's people should therefore now act. By acting in obedience as God's people, He would in return bless them and make them His own nation- defending them from their enemies and being merciful and forgiving of their sins. However, shortly after the Israelites made the covenant with God, the Bible says that "they have turned aside quickly out of the way" and made for themselves an idol to worship and give thanks to for leading them out of Egypt (Exodus 32:7-8), rather than giving God Himself the deserved praise.
This law God gave to Moses, as epitomized in the Ten Commandments, showed us God's standard of Holiness.
Not to act as a means of how to gain salvation, but to act as a highlighter that would ultimately reveal our inadequacy of redeeming ourselves. Though called to be faithful, the Israelites were more in love with their sin than the God who set them free and did not obey the law He had commanded them to follow.
We still needed a Redeemer. One who is not tainted by their own sinful desire, of Divine authority, and who is able to obey the law God commanded.
"'When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.'" -2 Samuel 7:11–13
Here the tribe of Israel has become a great nation and is ruled by King David. God begins to tell David that this offspring, the one talked about in Genesis and the one mentioned in the Abrahamic Covenant, will also come through David's royal line and establish a kingdom that will reign forevermore. However, King after King, Israel is captured and taken over by Babylon and there is no one else to take over.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth."
- Isaiah 53:5–7
During these dark times, God would speak through prophets about this coming Messiah that would redeem His fallen people. Those who have rebelled and have been unfaithful, He would make a way for them to be reconciled to Him. In this passage, the prophet Isaiah speaks about why the offspring in Genesis 3 was bitten, and why He had to suffer.
"By His wounds we are healed"
This coming King would bring blessing to the rebellious nation, and redeem us from our sinful ways. Giving us hope and a new life as God's chosen people.
Oh, how we need a redeemer to free us from our continuous cycle of disobedience!
After many prophecies about this coming Offspring, the Old Testament ends. Leaving us on the edge of our seat waiting.
But if there is one thing we know about God, is that He is ever faithful and keeps His promises!
"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
- Matthew 1:1
The very first verse of the New Testament should bring a smile to your face. We are introduced to a man named Jesus Christ, who is from the line of David and is a descendant of Abraham. Throughout the Gospel's of the New Testament, we don't see this man getting swallowed up in evil, but rather confronting evil by healing those around Him who are oppressed and forgiving people of their sins. Surely this is no mere Human, but rather God who became human.
"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."-Hebrews 2:14–18
Jesus came to this earth to die, and by dying He claimed power over death by resurrecting. With one fatal blow, Jesus Christ renders Satan powerless and extends this hope to all who believe and follow Him.
The Offspring of Abraham, the faithful Israelite, and the King that reigns forever- Jesus Christ was the faithful covenant partner we failed to be and extends those blessings to all who repent of their rebellious ways and follow in His righteousness.
Through Jesus, we are now able to partake in a partnership with God.
At the beginning, when I asked you to put yourself in Adam and Eve's situation, did that scenario feel a little too familiar? The whole thought of you being disobedient to the very One who created you- I know for me I felt uneasy typing it and felt conviction on my own part. We will never be perfect, and although God conquered the power Satan had over us, it doesn't mean we won't struggle in this world. We still have our sinful flesh, and there is still a battle to be fought.
But we aren't fighting alone. The same power that rose Christ from the dead is now at work in those who believe in God and call upon His name. We now have the power to say no to what is dominating us and run with open arms to Jesus.
Our story doesn't end in guilt but in grace.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."