Ancient Origins of the Advent
The Hope of the Advent is Immanuel “God with Us.” There is an ancient red line traced by the hand of God, which demonstrates his deep desire to redeem his people in a personal way. In the beginning, God made all things out of nothing. Humanity was the crown jewel of his creation. He made them in his image, male and female he created them. Humans were made to honor their creator, have dominion over the earth, multiply and fill it, and to foster peaceful and helpful relationships with each other as brothers and sisters of their Creator. God delighted in his creation and called it good several times. He also loved to be with his creation and often could be heard walking with Adam in the cool of the day. However, Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. The result was consequences for Satan, the deceiver, and Adam and Eve, as representatives of the human race. In Gen. 3:14-15, God delivers damning news for Satan but gives divine hope to humanity through a child born from a woman. The scriptures say, “The LORD God said to the Serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly, you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 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.”
There much we can learn from these two verses. First, we understand that the Serpent was not always on his belly. Any and every snake should remind the covenant people of faith that Satan has been judged guilty and will be eternally punished. Second, we must expect that there will be hostility and division between Satan, the system of the world he is influencing, and the people of God. The seed of Satan is all those who reject the Lord and rebel against his will. Conversely, from the womb of Eve would come a covenant people, kings, prophets, and priests. Eventually, from the seed of the Heavenly Father, under the transformation work of the Holy Spirit, would come Jesus from the womb of a young virgin woman. The peculiar aspect of Genesis 3:15 is that it speaks of the “offspring of the woman”. The NASB reads the “seed of the woman.” Biologically, the woman does not possess the seed for offspring. Spiritually, we consider this to be the first faint mention of the gospel and, more specifically, of the virgin birth. Thousands of years later, it was the Father who miraculously and mysteriously transformed the womb of Mary to produce an offspring that was fully God and fully man. In his article, “The Virgin Birth of Christ,” Norm Geisler explains the significance of this amazing miracle. He wrote, “That the coming Redeemer was to be the “offspring” or “seed” of the woman is important in a patriarchal culture. Why of a woman? Normally, descendants were traced through their father (cf. Gen. 5; 11). Even the official genealogy of the Messiah in Matthew 1 is traced through Jesus’ legal father Joseph. In the unique term, seed of the woman, there is implied that the messiah would come by a woman but not a natural father.”
When Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned these ancient happenings from Genesis chapter three in 1445 BC, he didn’t understand how it would be fulfilled. How could he know that God would appoint a young teenage girl to carry the miracle and mystery of the Son of God in her womb 14 Centuries later? It is an indescribable miracle! Throughout the OT, the triune God sovereignly directed salvation history so that it would find its fulfillment through the Virgin Mary as observed in The Gospel of Matthew and Luke. The Genesis 3:14-15 passage is only the beginning of God’s redemptive plans for Israel and the Church. God worked his personal redemption plan through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, several judges and priests, King David, Solomon, major prophets like Isaiah, and minor prophets such as Micah. He never left or abandoned his people completely and always made way for restoration via repentance and a return to his covenant promises.
As we study the advent in the coming weeks, Pastor Will Soto and I will be unpacking the beauty and necessity of the advent for humanity. Here are a few observations about Genesis 3:15 as it relates to the fulfillment in the virgin birth in the gospel accounts.
God is not surprised by the sinfulness of humanity and has made redemptive provisions for his people in the Old and New Testament.
God is not limited by time and space to accomplish his sovereign plans.
God’s plans and purposes cannot be threatened by human governments, empires, or dictators.
God is just and merciful, even in his consequences for humanity.
The virgin birth is a necessity for humanity to receive atonement for sin. In The Holman New Testament Commentary, Stuart Weber wrote, “The virginal conception has regularly been understood as a way by which Jesus could be both fully human and fully divine. His Father, in essence, was God, through the work of the Holy Spirit; his mother was the fully human woman, Mary. As fully God, Jesus was able to pay the eternal penalty for our sins (v. 21) for which finite humanity could not atone. As fully human, he could be our adequate representative and substitutionary sacrifice.”