Where did the Christmas story really begin? Did it begin with the manger? Did it begin with the promise of a child to Mary?
Or maybe, did it begin with the prophecy God gave Isaiah, that a virgin would conceive and bear a son, and that this child would have the government on His shoulders? Or did it begin way back in the Pentateuch, the first books of the Bible, where we read that one greater than Moses would come? Where did the Christmas story really begin?
To answer that question, look at Genesis 1. There, we have the record of the almighty, sovereign God creating the universe. He created it by speaking it into existence, and it’s apparent that He liked the results very much:
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
Then, in chapter 2, there is an in-depth account of how God created man and woman, and how He gave them dominion over the Earth. They were in full fellowship with God, heirs of the Earth, and bearers of God’s glorious image. They were without sin.
However, when we come to chapter three, it all changes. Adam and Eve rebelled against their sovereign, beloved creator, the one with whom they had intimate communion. They rebelled against Him by disobeying His command and responding to satanic temptation. As a result, chapter three records that they were alienated from God. They were headed for death. Their relationship to Him had been destroyed.
That left God with a damned creation, which was dying in alienation from Him, cut off from the right to call Him Father, and doomed to spend an eternity separated from Him.
And so the question is raised: Will God seek to restore fallen humanity? Would He come up with a plan to restore mankind’s lost inheritance? The answer comes in Genesis 3:15 as He speaks to Satan, who had tempted Adam and Eve to sin:
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.
It was Satan who had led Eve into sin, and by extension Adam as well. And it is Satan who is here cursed. And in these words, we begins to see that God does indeed have a plan to restore mankind.
He says that there will be conflict between Satan’s “seed” and Eve’s “seed.” Now, we really don’t know what He’s talking about yet, because the word “seed” can refer to a singular or a plural subject. And the nature of this conflict, or “enmity,” is not much explained.
But God does imply that Satan is going to come out the loser in this fight. God says, “He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” This seed of the woman is not plural then, but singular. A singular “he” from Eve’s offspring will bruise (or “crush,” as it can also be translated) Satan’s head. And in response, all Satan will be able to do is wound his heel.
So, the seed of the woman will be in conflict with Satan, and when the conflict reaches its apex, the seed of the woman will only have His heel bruised, and Satan will have his head crushed. The curse on Satan, then, is a curse of conflict that will end when one who is the seed of the woman comes to destroy Satan.
A man, then, will be born. A man from a woman will be born to take back the domain of Satan and redeem those that are captive to his power by dealing Satan a fatal blow.
And the question is, “Who is this man?” All we know at first is that he will be a descendant of Eve, but that includes everybody. However, when the flood happens later in Genesis, this search is narrowed down to the family of Noah, because they are the only survivors. And Noah’s son Shem is chosen to continue the line from there.
As we follow that line through the book, we find that Abraham, in the line of Shem, is promised that his seed will bless all the nations of the Earth (Genesis 22:18). So the offspring is going to come through Eve, through Noah, through Shem, through Abraham.
The promise then moves through Abraham’s second son, Isaac (Genesis 26:4). And then it moves through Isaac’s second son, Jacob (Genesis 28:14). From there it moves through Jacob’s son Judah (Genesis 49:10). Then, in 2 Samuel 7, the promise falls to the line of David, king of Judah.
That is where the promise lands. But the beginning of it all is right there in Genesis 3:15. That initial promise flows all the way down until we read the first words of the Gospel of Matthew:
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1).
Jesus Christ was born as the fulfillment of that promise. He came to engage in a fatal conflict with Satan that would result in Satan’s destruction. And in this conflict with Satan, Jesus redeemed many sons of God, restoring people to the relationship they were created for.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1990, titled “A Son To Make Many Sons.”
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