Bible study series: The Beginning and the End - Genesis and Revelation
The Genesis Promise (the redeemer and the two seeds)
by I Gordon
Last time we looked at the Cosmic Conflict. That is, every day, every week, every year all around us is a cosmic or heavenly conflict going on. Like I mentioned that was a really, really, big picture study requiring a wide angle lens! Well, we'll be narrowing the focus down this time, though we'll still be working our way down through the ages! I want in this study to zero in on what Genesis and Revelation says about the Redeemer.
A promise of a coming redeemer is given in the 3rd chapter of Genesis. Now in this one passage, it doesn't give everything away obviously! But a little clue is given... A seed is sown... the first stroke on the portrait of who this redeemer will be is made. So in this study we'll follow the bread line of clues down through the ages and finish with a heavenly scene of first sadness and then rejoicing. We will also look at what could be called the second seed. That, I'm sure. is clear as mud at the moment, but fear not! It shall soon become clear as a murky glass of water. Along the way I also want to talk about a dream of the rapture my Mother had many, many years ago. But let's start with the Genesis Promise!
The Genesis Promise
As outlined in previous studies, the fall of man was. horrific. Everything changed... and not for the better. It looked like all was lost for mankind. And yet, as God declares what the consequences of the fall will be, there, amongst the gloom of the curse, comes a little ray of sunshine. It only takes up one verse but there it is. A little bit of light to focus on in a very dark tunnel. Speaking to the Serpent God said:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." (Gen 3:15).
This verse is called the 'protevangelium'. If you didn't know what that is you're not alone. Neither did I! William MacDonald in the Believers Bible Commentary writes:
"This verse is known as the protevangelium, meaning "The First Gospel." It predicts the perpetual hostility between Satan and the woman (representing all mankind), and between Satan's seed (his agents) and her Seed (the Messiah). The woman's Seed would crush the Devil's head, a mortal wound spelling utter defeat. This wound was administered at Calvary when the Savior decisively triumphed over the Devil. Satan, in turn, would bruise the Messiah's heel. The heel wound here speaks of suffering and even of physical death, but not of ultimate defeat. So Christ suffered on the cross, and even died, but He arose from the dead, victorious over sin, hell, and Satan. The fact that He is called the woman's Seed may contain a suggestion of His virgin birth."
So here with have the first promise of a Savior! Ok, sure... the details are not clearly established on the who, when and how... and yet there is the promise of 'someone' - the seed of the woman, who shall crush the serpents head! But notice also that just as there will be a specific seed of the woman who will come, so there is the seed of Satan. Some, like in William MacDonald's quote above, take this as a general reference to all of Satan's agents down through the ages. But others, such as Arnold Fructenbaum, take this to mean one specific seed who shall come. He writes:
"The seed of the woman is the Messiah Himself, making this the first messianic prophecy in the Bible. To refer to the Messiah as the seed of the Woman goes contrary to the biblical norm, since in Scripture, the seed is always traced after the male line. The genealogies throughout the Bible, including those in Genesis, always give the male line. However, with the Messiah, this is going to be different... Only centuries later, in Isaiah 7:14 is it made clear that the Messiah will be conceived in the womb of a virgin. Yet from the beginning the seed of the woman implies a supernatural conception... The second seed mentioned in 3:15 is the seed of Satan. Moreover, this will be the anti-Messiah or the Antichrist. The term seed is used twice in the same verse and must be understood in the same way. Just as the seed of the Woman implies a supernatural conception, even so the seed of Satan implies a supernatural conception.... Like the Messiah, the Antichrist will not have a natural human father."
Hmmm... so hold that thought at the moment. So at this stage we have this - there is a promise of a redeemer, someone that will crush Satan's head and hopefully get mankind out of this gigantic mess! We also know that there will be some great conflict between this coming redeemer and 'the seed of Satan', who is likely to be a specific person born in a supernatural way as well. So who is this redeemer? All we know so far is that He would be male and born of a woman. Hmmm... there have been a lot of those! That doesn't narrow our perspective sample down very much... So let's follow this promise thread down through the ages!
Applying the magnifying glass to the redeemer promise
As we move down through the ages, and scripture, the promise of the redeemer becomes clearer. Let's follow the path, simply sampling a few of the many prophecies that paint the full picture.:
|A male, born of a woman
||Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.
||This is the verse previously discussed. It doesn't give the whole game away but the promise of a male child, born to a woman is there. So He will be human. And a man. That rules over 50% of the world population just there!
|One of Abraham's descendants
||Gen 22:18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
||In Galatians 3:16 Paul shows that this promise was to a single 'seed' - Christ. So we have narrowed it down a little. The Redeemer will be a male descendant of Abraham!
|Tribe of Judah
||Gen 49:10 "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
||Narrowed down further - Judah is to be the ruling tribe and Shiloh (a title for the Messiah) shall come from that tribe and rule for all times over all nations.
|Born of a virgin
||Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
||Well... this narrows things down dramatically! The Messiah would be born of a virgin and be 'Immanuel - God with us'.
|Come as a child, yet be God!
||Isa 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
||The Messiah will be born as a child is. And yet He has the title Mighty God! Wow - both man and God!
|Descendant of David
||Isa 11:1-2 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
||Another clue - he Messiah would be the Son of David! And would be full of the Spirit
|Born in Bethlehem
||Mic 5:2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."
||Another clue... The ruler, who 'goings forth' have been from eternity, will be born in Bethlehem.
|Messiah will be rejected
||Isa 53:3-5 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our grief's He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
||All of Isaiah 53 is incredible. It paints a crystal clear portrait all by itself of the Messiah's rejection, death and resurrection! It requires an entire study by itself.
|Messiah would be valued at 30 silver coins
||Zec 11:12-13 I said to them, "If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!" So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them." So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
||The price of the betrayal of the Messiah was even foretold! 30 silver shekels.
|Would come before the destruction of the 2nd temple and die!
||Dan 9:25-26 "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks... the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
||The amazing prophecy of Daniel's 70 weeks pinpointed the timing of the Messiah's coming. Scholars have shown that this prophecy ended on the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem and presented Himself as their Messiah. But this also says that the Messiah will be cut off and die! And that it happens before the city and sanctuary are destroyed!
|Type of death prophesied
||Psa 22:16-18 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
||Wow - Specific details right from the cross are contained right throughout Psalm 22, but none more important than this - The Messiah would die by having His hands and feet pierced!
|The Messiah will return to His place
||Hos 5:14-15 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away... I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
||The Messiah would return to where He came from, Heaven, until the Jewish people acknowledge their guilt and seek Him! (All history is moving towards that now!)
This is simply a small selection of the prophecies that make up the portrait of who the Messiah would be. There is only one candidate. What started in the book of Genesis with a simple promise that the send of the woman would crush the serpents head is expanded and enhanced throughout scripture until a clear picture unfolds... for those who take the time to look!
And what a redeemer He is. Let's look at a few stories...
Salvation and redemption stories
I was reading the genealogy of Jesus in Mathew 1 the other day (as you do!) and noticed again some of the unlikely people and stories that were in Jesus' line. As you read through it is male, male, male, male... female! It is also Jewish, Jewish, Jewish, Jewish... Gentile! Each person has a story but these ones that standout all display a wonderful salvation and point to the coming redeemer. Let's just look at three 'unusual' entries in the list.
Mat 1:5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab
|The first that stood out was Rahab. She is the first female mentioned in a long list dominated by men. And what a story that is. Firstly she's a prostitute. Strike one. Secondly she is a gentile. Strike two. Thirdly the city she lives in, Jericho, is about to be utterly destroyed by the Israelites. Strike three - you are out! And yet, through faith, she, along with her family, were able to be saved. And not only saved, but are found here, in the line of the Messiah! Not bad for a one time gentile prostitute! And what is the mark of redemption in her story? The scarlet thread! She had to tie a scarlet thread outside her home which indicated to the Israelites that her household were to be saved. That scarlet thread weaves itself throughout the Bible story speaks of the coming blood sacrifice of the Messiah - the Passover Lamb.
Mat 1:5 ... Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth
|Argh, Ruth. The next female, the next gentile in the line of the Messiah. And who could forget her story? What a wonderful book that is, full of types and pictures of the coming Messiah and the redemption He would bring. Ruth, you will remember, was a Moabite. Moabites, at the time, were under a curse and were not allowed in the assembly of Israel (Deu 23:3). And yet, in tremendous faith and commitment, Ruth utters those famous words to Naomi, her mother in law - "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God." And in the course of time this gentile cursed widow meets Boaz, a wonderful type of Christ, who becomes her redeemer... he pays the price of redemption and marries our lovely Ruth. And she, as we follow the genealogy down, becomes the great grand-mother of King David! And further down, the redeemer Himself, Jesus.
Mat 1:10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh
|Manasseh! Are you sure? That wicked King? Yep! The same Manasseh that made his sons pass through the fire? Yep. The very same Manasseh who practiced witchcraft, divination, dealt with mediums and spiritists? Yep, that Manasseh! What is he doing in the line of Jesus? Well, he pictures salvation and redemption in a wonderful way - that even the most wicked can turn back to the Lord and find grace. For we read:
2Ch 33:11-13 So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.
Your story? My story? I hope you have a story!
What about you? What is your redemption story? Maybe you think 'well, it's nothing as dramatic as those!' Maybe not. They are amazing stories of salvation to be sure. But realise this - Every salvation is a MIRACLE. And if you have come to know the Saviour then you have experienced the miraculous! You won't in this age even see all that the Lord did for you but one day you will and in that day all the redeemed will fall at His feet in utter amazement and worship - your eyes will be fully opened to what He did, both on the cross and in drawing you to Himself in the course of time.
I haven't got time to go in any depth into my own story but part of it revolves around a dysfunctional father and, because of that, a dysfunctional family. My father had epilepsy all his life since setting himself on fire, accidently, at age 11. The drugs that he was on to try and control his epilepsy had 'psychotic side effects' we were finally told near the end of his life. Thanks for finally letting us know Doc! It certainly helped explain a lot of what we had seen in the previous 30-40 years. I won't go into detail about what things were like growing up, other than to say there were some crazy times. My Mother told me about a time when I was young and she was in the kitchen, in tears, because she didn't know how we could go on as a family. She didn't know how she could cope and how we as kids could cope. But the Lord gave her a promise and a command from the book of Jeremiah. Here it is:
Jeremiah 31:16-17 Thus says the LORD, "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD, "And they will return from the land of the enemy. (17) "There is hope for your future," declares the LORD, "And your children will return...'To make a long story short, this was all fulfilled. It took nearly 20 years later but in 1990, my Father, my brother and I were all saved! We were all living in different areas and didn't really have a part to play in each others salvation. It was just God. It was a miracle that it would happen to any of us, let alone all three! It was the redeemer fulfilling His promise from 20 years earlier, to my Mum!
The Revelation fulfillment - tears, then wonderful joy!
Right... let's look at how this promise of a redeemer is seen in the book of Revelation. It comes in chapter 51. I love this chapter!
Rev 5:1-4 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
It is very important to understand what this scroll with its seven seals represents. John it says he 'wept and wept' because no one was found worthy to open it. Why all the weeping? Why was this experience taking such an emotional toll on John? What did he know and why was it so important that there would be found someone that could open the scroll?
Scripture always interprets scripture and the background to this sealed scroll in found in the book of Jeremiah. I'll quote from an earlier study in the footnotes2 if you want more info on this. The scroll is a title deed to property. Except this one is the title deed to the whole earth and all of creation. And it is stored, as you can see, in a very secure place for it is 'in the right hand of Him who sits on the throne'. No losing that title deed now is there? But who is worthy to take this title deed? Who has the right as the redeemer to open this deed? Who has paid the price to buy back this world and all it contains?
There seems like there is no one... there is none that can step forward to take possession of this world. And the Apostle John, as he sees this, starts to weep. Why was he weeping? Because there seemed like there was no one that could right the wrongs that had taken place on this planet. There was no one that could save it from its fallen lost condition. John would have been thinking 'you mean to tell me that everything just has to carry on like this? With disharmony, despair, destruction & death? Is there no one who can put things back to how they were meant to be?' Is there no one? Adam? Abraham? Moses? David? Is there no one that can redeem this planet?
No wonder John began to cry. And cry.
The Redeemer steps forward
Rev 5:5-7 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
Can you remember the definition of the promised redeemer that we looked at earlier in this study? We followed some of the bread crumbs scattered throughout scripture that help paint the portrait of who the redeemer is. Some of what we saw is that He would come from the tribe of Judah, in the line of David and yet be killed, slain, like a sacrificial lamb.
Well here He comes. Just as John was weeping, with hope all lost, one stepped forward. The lion from Judah! The root and offspring of David! The lamb that had been slain! He came and took the scroll. Do you understand what that means? It means that the earth doesn't have to carry on like it is, in this mess, forever. It means there is a redeemer, the promised One right back from Genesis 3, that was willing to pay the price of redemption to bring all of creation back into His care and rule once again.
And He is the only One that was found worthy! I mentioned earlier a dream that my Mother had. It was along time ago. 1965 to be exact. My mother was seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the time. God gave her a dream. A dream so vivid that she can still remember and see it today like it had just happened. In it she saw a vast amount of people outside, looking up. No one was speaking for they knew that the Lord was coming. They were only looking up. And then she saw the Lord come down through the clouds surrounded by a vast amount of angels on every side. She didn't feel or see herself rise but suddenly the scene changed and she was in Heaven, worshipping, laying at His feet. And she said that she had this overwhelming understanding that He had done it all! He had done it all. It wasn't worthy is the Lamb and look at me as well. It was simply 'worthy is the Lamb'.
Revelation and the second seed
And so we wait for the last days to play out. I mentioned at the beginning that some scholars such as Arnold Fructenbaum believe that the 'seed of the serpent' speaks directly of the coming Antichrist and point to a supernatural birth for him as well. This shouldn't surprise us. Satan is a counterfeiter. He doesn't create...he just deceives through mimicry. So with this 'second seed' there will be
A counterfeit virgin birth of some type (Gen 3:15)
A counterfeit Messiah that the whole world will wonder after (Rev 13:3-4).
A counterfeit trinity in the dragon, the Antichrist and the false prophet. (Rev 13:2,11)
A likely counterfeit resurrection where the beast is said to have come back from a fatal wound (Rev 13:11-14)
And yet all three are no match for the true redeemer!
2Th 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
Rev 5:11-12 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. (12) In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
Here we see that all the angels, along with the ling creatures and elders (likely representing the redeemed church) sing praise to God. Ten thousand times thousand of them! And do you know where in scripture is previously speaks of angels singing? Only once. This is the first time it records angels singing since the day of creation!3 There it says
Job 38:4-7 Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Finally, with the Lamb who is worthy, they have something to sing about again! I hope this is your song?
Let me conclude this study on the promised redeemer by quoting William MacDonald. Using this verse on Rev 5:12 he shows how we can give back to the Lamb who died for us.
'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive:
power - over my life, the church, the world, the universe;
riches - all my silver and my gold;
wisdom - the finest of my intellectual powers;
strength - my physical strength for His service;
honor - a single, pure desire to magnify Him in all my ways;
glory - my entire life devoted to glorifying Him;
blessing' - all my powers of praise for Him.
IS HE WORTHY? HE IS!