The Primeval Prophecy
The enduring historical record documented in the Bible begins at the dawn of time when God made a promise to Adam and Eve, the parents of the human race. Christians know the story and likely heard about the first recorded prophecy in Sunday school. Yet at least in my experience, it would be safe to say that we didn’t connect the dots to the primeval prophecy as recorded in the book of Genesis to our celebration of Christmas.
The Garden of Eden Was the Setting
Adam and Eve knew they were guilty of disobeying God when He spoke with them in the Garden of Eden. Even though they used evasive language to excuse their behavior, our ancestors knowingly disobeyed God’s specific command.
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17 cf . 3:1-24).
Having chosen to listen to Satan, Adam and Eve may have been unaware of the scope of their actions. Sadly, they and their posterity would suffer the ongoing consequences of failure to obey God.
Standing before God, the progenitors of humanity and the deceiver Satan heard the penalties for their willful disobedience. Speaking first to Satan embodied in the serpent, God, said,
“I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15).
God’s curse pronounced against Satan contained a message of hope for humanity. The primeval prophecy was a glimpse of God’s plan for a Savior—not months, years or decades, but— millennia before the Nativity.
A Crushing Blow Was Predicted
God’s pronouncement that there would be “enmity between . . . your seed and her seed” meant more than a predictable revulsion or aversion between the serpent species and Eve’s descendants. The conflict between Satan and God, in which man was now a participant was included. But the next phrase, “He shall bruise your head,” speaks of the Redeemer who would personally deal the crushing blow sealing Satan’s demise.
Ironically Satan, who was responsible for man’s fall in deceiving Eve, would meet his own downfall through her Seed, the promised Savior born of a virgin. Although bruised in the process, the prophesied One would crush Satan with deadly force providing hope for all humanity.
The Actualization Was Revealed Through Hebrew Prophets
During the ensuing centuries, God consistently sent Hebrew prophets to reiterate His promise of a Savior foretelling details of the expected fulfillment.
- God’s prophets confirmed that He would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14).
- God’s prophets foretold His birth in Bethlehem more than 700 years in advance (Mic. 4:8; 5:2).
- God provided a time frame for His revelation (Dan. 9:24-27).
The apostle Paul links the Nativity with the primeval prophecy saying,
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5 NIV).
And that’s the profound truth! At the set time in God’s plan, the primeval prophecy was fulfilled and the promised Savior was none other than God’s own Son. Born under the Law of Moses, He lived within the context of Jewish culture.
- He was born of a Jewish virgin.
- He was circumcised according to Mosaic Law.
- He became bar mitzvah (son of the covenant) at age 13.
- He made the required pilgrimages to Jerusalem with His family.
- He ate a kosher diet and attended synagogue.
He lived a perfect life as a man within the stringent context of Judaism. His purpose was not to free man from moral accountability to God, but rather to free man from the curse imposed on man’s inability to keep the law.
The babe lying in the manger on the outskirts of Bethlehem was none other than the fulfillment of the primeval prophecy. (Jn. 3:16). The Nativity was the crushing blow God guaranteed to defeat Satan and the evil world system he governs. Sending a human baby into the time space continuum of our existence was inseparably linked in God’s plan to the substitutionary death of His Son as the perfect sacrifice required on behalf of a sinful humanity (Isa. 53:1-12; Rm. 8:3).
It is little wonder, then, that on the night of our Savior’s birth two thousand years ago, the hills of Bethlehem reverberated with the angelic announcement,
“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2).
The Christmas season celebrates that our promised Savior came! Take time to offer praise and thanks that the primeval prophecy was fulfilled and that Satan’s demise is assured by the very Creator of heaven and earth. Then, spread the Good News!
1) Adam and Eve and the Snake in Kibutz Eilon, Israel. (Photo credit: By Avishai Teicher/Wikimedia/Public domain/Enhancements, MKM Portfolios)
2) The Temptation of Adam and Eve. (Image used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: By Selbymay (Own work)/Wikimedia Commons/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
3) The Temptation Shared. (Photo credit, image and details: Pixabay/[Public domain]/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
Copyright © 2017 Charles E. McCracken, text content. Repost/Reprint with permission. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.