|By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. Renald Showers: It is very important to note that right after the Fall of man took place in Genesis 3, when God came to man and to Satan to confront them with their roles in the Fall, God made a significant promise, and it’s recorded for us in Genesis 3:15. This is what He said, and please note, He’s saying this directly to His enemy, Satan: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed. It, [referring to the woman’s seed] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This is what God was doing. God was giving the very first promise of a man child Redeemer who would be born of woman during the course of world history. This is what He means by "the seed of the woman": that sometime during the course of world history there would be a unique man child Redeemer, born of woman into the world, and God says to Satan, "That man child Redeemer will crush your head."
Now, God was using language here that fit the serpent or snake form that Satan had taken upon himself when he came into the Garden of Eden. What God was saying to Satan was this: "The whole key to My defeating you and thereby accomplishing My purpose for history will be the coming and work of this man child Redeemer born of woman during the course of world history. That man child Redeemer will be my instrument to crush you and get rid of you and your forces and your kingdom rule from planet earth altogether."
But now God went on to say to Satan that Satan would bruise the heel of the Redeemer. Again, using language that fit the serpent form that Satan had taken upon himself there, this is what God was saying. Just as a poisonous snake, if it sinks its fangs into the bare heel of a human being, if that human being doesn’t get help in a hurry, that human being will die; so Satan, as a result of his work in the world would cause the man child Redeemer’s death.
Why would this man child Redeemer die? Well, God made clear through a revelation He gave after Genesis 3 why the Redeemer would die. If God is going to accomplish His purpose for world history, some time during the course of world history He must get rid of the cause of the terrible predicament that man got himself into by rebelling against God in the Garden of Eden. The cause of the mess that the human race has gotten itself into is human sin. And so sometime during the course of world history God must get rid of human sin. But how could He do that?
Well, again, through later revelation God made it very clear the only way He could get rid of human sin is through death. "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin", the Scriptures say. "The soul that sins shall die," we’re told in the prophets. Paul, in Romans 6 says, "The wages of sin is death." A death penalty had to be paid for the sin of mankind. But the problem is, sinful man cannot offer up an acceptable sacrifice by himself unto God to cancel out his sin.
God, through further revelation, made it very clear that this man child Redeemer who would be born of woman into the world would be a completely sinless, spotless human being. And, when that man child Redeemer would die, He would die as a substitute for the human race. He would die to pay the penalty for man’s sin. This is why, when the Lord Jesus was first pointed out by John the Baptist to John’s disciples, that John said of Jesus in John 1:29, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
So God here, in this first promise of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15, was saying to His enemy Satan, "the whole key to My crushing you and accomplishing My purpose for history will be the coming and work of this man child Redeemer born of woman into the world."
Now, if you were Satan and God had just told you this would be His key to defeating you, and you wanted to prevent God from crushing you, what would you do? You would try to prevent that promised man child Redeemer from coming into the world and doing the work that God sent Him to do. And I would point out to you, that ultimately is what all the rest of Old Testament history is about. As Satan throughout the course of Old Testament history used angels, used nations, used human beings, used institutions and events as his means of trying to prevent the Redeemer from coming into the world.