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INTRODUCTION

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he Bible is a unit, and must be understood as such. It is not sixty-six books; it is ONE book having several writers, but ONE author – God! This amazing book is totally unified from Genesis to Revelation around the themes of Christ and covenant. The Bible is not a history book, but it is a book that is entirely about HIS story. It is the progressive unfolding of God’s promise to resolve the sin problem and His plan to restore humanity to Himself. The plan unfolds, generally at first and then becomes increasingly more specific until the promise is completely fulfilled in Christ. Simply stated, the Bible is the story of Christ and how God fulfilled His promise in Genesis 3:15 to bring the Savior into the world to save humankind from sin. GENESIS 3:15 - THE KEY VERSE I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel. This verse is the foundational text for all Scripture. Every event that occurred after Genesis 3:15 is based on this passage. It is literally the entire Bible in seed form. Just as an entire tree is contained in a seed, similarly, the entire Bible is contained in this seed verse. Therefore, in order to have a comprehensive understanding of Scripture, it is imperative that this foundational verse is properly understood. xix


Christ And Covenant: Key To The Scripture

I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed (i.e. seed of the serpent ) and her Seed (i.e. Seed of the woman ). He (Christ) will crush your head and you (Satan) will bruise his heel. This verse is the first proclamation of the gospel – the good news of salvation through Christ. It is God’s announcement to Adam and Eve of His decision to send the Savior to fix the sin problem. Although this prophetic proclamation is symbolic, the symbols are so accurate and so specific that it is absolutely astounding! Genesis 3:15 is a figurative reference to the two unique aspects of Jesus’ life – His virgin birth and His death by crucifixion. Like a Polaroid snapshot, this highly symbolic verse is extremely vague at first, but with continued exposure to light (i.e. time), it becomes increasingly plain until it is fully developed, four thousand years later, in the person of Christ. The remainder of Scripture, between the promise declared and the promise realized, is t he systematic revelation of how God used individuals and managed circumstances to bring His perfect plan of redemption to fruition. PROGRESSIVE REVELATION The systematic unfolding of truth is known as progressive revelation. God consistently and progressively revealed truth from Genesis to Revelation. Simply stated, He does not present truth all at once, rather little by little, precept upon precept, line upon line (Isaiah 28:9-10). As a parent instructs their children, giving them increasingly more responsibility as they mature, likewise our divine parent disclosed more and more details about His plan as His people grew and matured. So in Genesis 12:1-3, He uprooted childless Abraham, moved him to a strange land and divulged more details about His plan – “through you (i.e. your seed) all nations will be blessed.” This blessing was salvation for the world through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Throughout the approximately four thousand years from Genesis to the gospels, the plan developed as God used righteous men like Noah and Abraham, prophets like Isaiah and Micah, good kings xx


Christ And Covenant: Key To The Scripture

like David, wicked kings like Manasseh and risqué women like Tamar and Rahab to bring about His plan. Notice that the New Testament passages, Galatians 3:8 and 3:16, stipulate that the references to the Seed in Genesis, is a reference to Christ. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospelin advance to Abra ham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ …The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but to your seed, meaning one person, WHO IS CHRIST! The Polaroid snapshot of the Seed in the book of Genesis is fully developed in the New Testament in the person of Christ! Any doubt or question is completely removed.

DECODING THE SYMBOLS The symbolic language in Genesis 3:15 effectively illustrates God’s promise to send the Seed of the woman and God’s plan for the Seed of the woman. Let us take a closer look at both parts of this verse – the promise and the plan – and decode the figurative language. THE PROMISE OF THE SEED His Virgin Birth: The phrase, Seed of the woman, is paradoxical. The woman does not carry the seed (sperm); the man does. This paradoxical phrase is significant because it symbolically refers to the virgin birth, the One to be born of a woman without any male seed (sperm). The importance of the virgin birth cannot be over emphasized. In fact, it was absolutely crucial for the plan of redemption to work. Adam is the head of the human race; therefore, it is the man who transmits the seed of sin to all humanity. In order for Christ to be born without sin, there had to be a sinless conception. Accordingly, when the angel appeared to Mary and informed her that she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah, she responded with this appropriate question, “How can this be since I know not xxi


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a man?” (Lk. 1:35). The angel explained that the conception would take place through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit. Since there is no sin in the Holy Spirit, no sin was passed on to Christ even though Mary herself was a sinner (i.e. born of man and woman) and needed a Savior. Science proves this to be true. Every baby who is born carries the blood of the father, not the mother. Therefore a paternity test determines who fathered the child. Everyone born of Adam carries his tainted blood and is born in sin and shaped in iniquity (Ps. 51:5). I Corinthians 15:22, briefly, but graphically describes the horrible result of sin for all of his posterity, “in Adam all die.” Notice the dramatic contrast because of the sinless Seed of the woman, “in Christ, all will be made alive.” All who are in Christ are born again by the Holy Spirit. “Anyone in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). God is his or her Father with the corresponding privilege of sins forgiven and removed as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). Therefore, born again believers are adopted into the family of God and carry the blood of their new adopted Father. The words of this hymn are theologically accurate. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! THE PLAN FOR THE SEED His Sacrificial Death: The purpose of God’s promise to send the Seed of the woman was to resolve the sin problem and redeem humankind. But how was the Seed to accomplish this tremendous task? Our key text, Genesis 3:15, provides the answer with amazing clarity even though it is stated in symbolic terms. The latter part of the verse asserts that Satan shall bruise His heel and Christ will crush his head. The bruising of the heel was a prophesy of Christ’s sacrificial death by crucifixion. Crucifixion was the method of capital punishment used by the Romans. When they nailed a person to the cross, they did so with the knees bent and xxii


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the body weight resting on a small crude seat called a sedulum. With the hands in an outstretched position, the condemned person would soon get tired, the body would droop, causing the lungs to collapse, and making it difficult to breathe. Because the knees were bent, the condemned man could push up with his legs, take a breath and when the pain got too severe, slump again. Since the heel was placed against the vertical bar of the cross, this constant up and down motion to breathe would bruise His heel (David Terasaka, n.d., http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries). The plan for the Seed was to take the punishment for sin God decreed for Adam and his descendants. “When you eat of it, you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The sinless Seed would suffer death in the place of sinners who rightfully deserved to die. In other words, His was to be a sacrificial death as the innocent, sinless substitute for the sin of the world. God gave a snapshot of sacrifice in Genesis 3:21. After they sinned, Adam and Eve clothed themselves with fig leaves. But fig leaves that came from the ground that God cursed (Gen. 3:17) could never cover their nakedness or their sin. As a result God performed the very first sacrifice in the Garden of Eden. Instead of instantaneously carrying out the sentence of physical death on them, God killed an animal – an innocent substitute to die in their place. Therefore, He removed their fig leaves, took the skin of that animal and covered Adam and Eve with it. This blood sacrifice was absolutely necessary for “without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). The shedding of blood represents the giving of a life. The innocent animal gave its life so Adam and Eve could live. This set the parameters for the Seed; He would be the innocent substitute who willingly gave His life so that whoever believes may have everlasting life (John 10:17, 3:16). The plan for the Seed was not limited to His death. Oh no! Genesis 3:15 asserted that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. It is possible to live with a bruised heel, but not with a crushed head! How do we know? After three days, Jesus rose from the dead with all power in His hand (Matt. 28:18). Death was not the final word for Him, but His death was the final word for Satan! In other words, through His death, Jesus dealt a deathblow to sin and Satan – death, hell and the grave. Jesus’ xxiii


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death and resurrection crushed the serpent’s head, and through this magnificent victory, He obtained the keys of death and hell (Rev. 1:18).

THE SEED In Genesis 3:15, God pronounced enmity (hatred) between “your seed and her seed.” Just as her seed is a reference to Jesus, the Seed of the woman, your seed is a reference to Satan, the seed of the serpent. However, both of these terms have a double reference. THE SEED OF THE SERPENT Although the seed of the serpent symbolically refers to Satan, there is a secondary meaning. The seed of the serpent also refers to wicked persons that Satan used to accomplish his evil purposes. Satan’s main strategy was to use the seed of the serpent to destroy the seed of the woman. There are several examples of the seed of the serpent in Scripture as well as in history. We do not have to wait long because the seed of the serpent raises his venomous head in Genesis 4 in the person of Cain. Cain killed his righteous brother Abel, the seed of the woman. The enmity started there and continued in persons such as Pharaoh who drowned the Jewish baby boys in the Nile River, Herod who slaughtered all males two years or less, and Hitler who murdered millions of Jews. In the future, the Anti-Christ will continue Satan’s murderous plot against the Jews during the Great Tribulation. THE SEED OF THE WOMAN There is also a secondary meaning of the seed of the woman (in lower case letters). The seed of the woman is the lineage that God used to bring the Messiah into the world. Many, but not all of those persons, were righteous. And even those who were righteous had flaws. Noah got drunk, Abraham lied, Rahab was a harlot and David committed adultery and murder – nevertheless, God used them all! Why? It was never about them, but about God xxiv


Christ And Covenant: Key To The Scripture

and His determined will to bring the Messiah into the world to accomplish His plan of redemption. The seed of the woman included men like Seth, Enoch, Judah, and Solomon; and women like Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.

TRACING THE SEED Because the Seed is so important and central to God’s promise of redemption, there are many genealogical lists in the Bible. They are given in order to trace the lineage of the Seed of the woman. Genesis 5 Genesis 11 I Chronicles 1 – 9 Matthew 1

genealogy from Adam through Seth to Enoch then Noah genealogy from Shem to Abraham genealogy from Adam to David and the kings, pre and post-exile genealogy of Christ as Son of David, Son of Abraham

Genealogy is critical to God’s program. The writer of the gospel of Matthew knew that he had to prove that Jesus came from the right lineage. If He did not have the right lineage, He could not possibly qualify as the promised Messiah, the Seed of the woman. Through His heritage as Son of Abraham and Son of David, Matthew proves that He is, unquestionably, the One! He passed the paternity test – He has the right parentage. He is God manifested in human flesh, the sinless substitute, born to die so that sinful humanity could live! Consequently, the Bible can be summarized as the story of the Seed.

THE STORY OF THE SEED From Genesis 12 to Revelation , the Bible is literally about God bringing His incredible promise of Genesis 3:15 to fruition through Abraham’s seed, the nation of Israel as follows: Genesis 12 to Joshua: God promised Abraham that through his lineage the Messiah would bless the whole world with salvation. He therefore formed the nation of Israel, delivered them from xxv


Christ And Covenant: Key To The Scripture

slavery, and established them as His chosen people in the Promised Land. Judah, the fourth son of Israel, was destined to become the royal lineage of the Messiah (Gen. 49:10). Judges to Ruth: Boaz, from the tribe of Judah, continued the lineage of Christ. He married Ruth, the Moabitess, becoming her kinsman-redeemer and producing a son named Obed. He became the father of Jesse who had a son named David, the king. Samuel to Esther: The historical books continue the lineage of the Seed with the stories of the kings of Judah, specifically David’s descendants through Solomon . Even though the Jews were disobedient and ended up in Babylonian captivity, God remained true to His promise and returned them to their land after seventy years (Jer. 25:11-12). The Seed must come through the Jewish nation, through the loins of Abraham and David, based on God’s promise to them. Isaiah to Malachi: God gave more details about the life and death of the coming Seed of the woman through the prophets, and especially through Isaiah, the prince of the prophets. These prophecies were essential for positive identification of the Seed. For example, Isaiah identified Him as the Suffering Servant (53:112), the One born of a Virgin (7:14), the One who is both human and divine (9:6). The child who is born speaks of His humanity, but the Son who is given speaks of His divinity, His pre-existence as God. Micah revealed that He would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), and Jonah became a type of Christ who spent three days and nights in the heart of the earth (Jonah 1:17). Matthew to John: The promise was finally fulfilled through the Jewish virgin, Mary. The Seed was born, ministered, died and rose again, satisfying the promises and the prophecies. Acts to Jude: The Seed established the church and functions as Head of His body, giving her instruction for holy living in the epistles and power to carry out the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. Revelation: The Seed will return as King of Kings, establishing His kingdom and reign of peace for one thousand years. After the final conflict, He disposes of Satan in the Lake of Fire, executes judgment at the Great White Throne, and then ushers in eternity with the new heaven and new earth, restoring all that was xxvi


Christ And Covenant: Key To The Scripture

lost through Adam’s sin. From beginning to end, the Bible is indeed about Christ, the story of the Seed of the woman.

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