We have explored one of the great passages of the Old Testament, written centuries before the Christ child was born in lowly estate in the beginning of the 1st Century, which predicted in great detail this man, Jesus. (Isaiah 53) Isaiah 53 is one of many predictions, prophecies, of the coming of a Messianic one who would be the Savior of the Jews, and of the world.
We will explore a sampling of other foretelling passages of the Old Testament in future installments, including today’s segment. Many of them are stunning in their accurate, specific and sometimes obscure detail. Not so today.
But the passage we will review today is central to the story. We go all the way back to Genesis for this one – Genesis 3:15 to be exact. This is considered the first prophecy in the Bible:
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.
In this passage, God is speaking to Satan in the garden (of Eden). After Eve was tempted to take the forbidden fruit and convinced Adam to share it with her, God found them hiding from Him, ashamed of their nakedness. God addresses both the tempted, fallen couple and the Tempter of them and declares that Eve’s offspring will “bruise the head” of Satan’s offspring.
The main theme of the Bible is redemption. “We” were tempted and failed to honor and respect the boundaries God set. This led to a long disassociation between God and man. Slowly, over man years, God found people who were sensitive to His voice, and He slowly established a relationship with him and his descendants, setting the stage for the penultimate redemptive act of God.
When the time was right, God became a man, fulfilled the requirements of God, and sacrificed His Self, in the form of a man, to redeem mankind and re-establish the association between God and man. In the process, the Tempter was put in his place by this man, this offspring of Eve. Satan was bruised (crushed) by this sacrificial act, and the partition that separated man from God (sin) was removed.
Never mind whether you believe the story of Adam and Eve is fact or fiction. The Genesis story sets the stage for the rest of the 66 books that we call the Bible, comprised of the Old Testament (BC) and New Testament (AD). This story was written by about 40 different people over 1900 years.
Let’s focus on that a second before getting back to the point. We think of the Bible as a singular book, but it’s really a collection of writings authored over two millennia! Imagine a story that is written over the period of 1900 years by 40 different authors! In spite of the common (and shallow) claim that the Bible is full of contradictions, it is a finely woven tapestry with intricate harmonies and themes.
Frankly, any compilation of writings from 40 people over 1900 should be full of contradictions! How could it not? The absolutely stunning and remarkable thing about the Bible is the cohesive harmony of the entire text taken together. It’s as if some Master Author orchestrated the whole thing.
Most remarkable of all, the earlier writings, the ones that predate the birth of Jesus, point toward, speak of and predict his coming. We see this looking backward at the writings that authored hundreds of years before the life and death of this Jesus from Nazareth. Jesus famously explained that the entirety of the Scriptures (the writings that make up what we now call the Old Testament) are all about him.[i]
I start with a fairly obscure and veiled prophetic statement. Over the next number of posts, I will get into some of the more specific and unmistakable predictions of a future “savior” that were written before Jesus and were perfectly fulfilled in him, not the least of which are the predictions of his birth that we celebrate at Christmas.
[i] That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:13-27