The First Messianic Prophecy
Messianic Prophecy is prophecy about the coming of the Messiah (Anointed One). The very first instance in the Old Testament occurs in Genesis chapter 3. They occur in many other locations as we shall see as we continue to study. These prophecies constituted the record by which the Jews came to expect the arrival of Messiah, an expectation that reached a climax just before the birth of Christ.
The sentence for sin Genesis 3:14-24
1. Punishment of the Serpent 14-15
The serpent is the first to be condemned, and the condemnation pronounced is direct and without mercy. He would be cursed above all other creatures, even the lowliest of creatures. There is some disagreement about the expressions ‘eat dust’ and ‘crawl on your belly’… you can read the various opinions elsewhere; here is my take on it:
To ‘eat dust’ in the ancient Hebrew is an idiom (sorry for the grammar bit here but it’s necessary). The idiom means to be reduced to the most despicable level, utterly beneath contempt. (cf. Mic. 7:17; Isa. 65:25) Consider the plight of the great Lucifer, the most beautiful and powerful of the angelic beings of Heaven who thought he would be like the Most High being reduced to utter garbage before all of Creation! A fitting punishment, indeed! Following his period of debasement, the serpent will be crushed by the woman’s offspring.
2. Punishment of the Woman 16
For the woman, the consequences of sin are threefold:
a) She would experience great physical pain from childbirth. She who sought delight and joy from sin would receive pain and difficulty instead.
b) She would desire her husband. Eve had acted independently of Adam and had enticed him into sin, and now she would desire he who could cause her great pain (through childbirth).
c) She would be subjugated to her husband. She who had acted to control him through temptation would be the one controlled. Let’s face it; women have suffered much through the ages because of sin.
3. Punishment of the Man 17-19
Man’s punishment would also be severe. He had succumbed to temptation, he had followed his delight, and the result would be toil, sweat and difficulty. The earth over which he had been given dominion would revolt against him, as he had revolted against God. Food would be difficult to obtain. Edible plants would be overcome by inedible, and man would have to toil every day of his life. In due course, the earth would reclaim his body, for it would return to the dust from whence it had come. Finally, he was driven out of the Garden, and he could never return.
The Hope that Remained 15; 20-21
In the midst of the gloom, hope remained for the ultimate outcome. The first Messianic prophecy in the Bible is found in v. 15.
a) God gave the woman enmity for the serpent. She would never again be the pushover she had been in the Garden. Satan would have a fight on his hands!
b) The battle would continue through the serpent and the seed of the woman. As time went on, Satan would never be able to dominate all of humanity, for there would be those who were righteous in God’s sight. Those would continue to resist the Devil.
c) This battle would come to a climax when a particular representative of the seed of the woman would battle Satan. Satan would strike at His heel, but that heel would ultimately crush Satan once and for all. This representative of course would be Messiah: Jesus.
d) In v. 20 Adam demonstrates repentance when he renamed his wife Eve: ‘one who gives life’. This demonstrated his faith in the promise of God for the continuance of mankind. God, in turn, accepts this act of repentance by clothing them in skins, requiring the shedding of blood. Now, we have the first Covenant: the Adamic Covenant.
For the Jew, history began with Abraham, and the covenant that God made with him. (Gen, 15, 17) This is because it established the “seed” or descendants of Abraham as God’s people. From this “seed” came Israel, God’s Nation, and out from Israel came the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus, by His work on the cross, and the establishment of a New Covenant changed the nature of things from the physical to the spiritual, thus all peoples who are in Christ are “Abraham’s seed”. (Gal. 3:29 context: Gal. 3:26-4:7).
Chapter 12 opens with a scene in which we have three characters; a woman, a child and a dragon. The woman represents the people of God, both Old and New Testament. (Is. 50:1; 54:1; Hos. 2:1; Eph. 5:32) The child is nothing less that the Christ; the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4;4) The dragon of course is Satan (Rev. 20:2) The crowned heads represent his world dominion (Eph. 2:2; 6:12).
The dragon takes up his place in front of the woman when she is ready to deliver the child so as to devour it at once. A male child is born, he is to rule all nations. Before he can be devoured, he is snatched up to Heaven… to the throne of God to rule. The dragon, very angry makes war on Heaven and is cast out and down to the earth, where he makes war against the woman (church). The woman is protected by God, while she is in a dangerous position in the midst of spiritual battle, she is not destroyed, and the chapter closes with a very angry dragon at the seashore, ready to continue the fight. No doubt, recalling the story of Jesus contained in the Gospels, and along with the story of the church in the book of Acts, you can easily see how this is playing out.
Back in the Garden, God Himself foretold of the seed of the woman, later the seed of Abraham that would ultimately crush the head of the serpent (Satan). Revelation 12 provides us with a Heavenly view of this struggle in which the woman (Israel) gives birth to the Messiah, and the dragon’s reaction: war. War fought against God, war against the people of God, and ultimately in Revelation 14 the destruction of the dragon (Satan) and all of his followers and allies. Remember that the Genesis 3 pronouncement of God occurred at the time of mankind entering into rebellion against God, and the son was the one who brought the end to rebellion and victory over the one who caused the rebellion.