The Promised Messiah
“Born of a woman”
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
These words from Genesis 3:15 are words I memorized as a young child. They are words which I have heard recited and read throughout my lifetime. They are words we hear repeated each Christmas season and also during the season of Lent. But what do they really mean?
As a child and young adult I had difficulty understanding the meaning of these words. I was taught that this was God’s promise to send a Savior to sinful mankind, but many times I thought to myself; how does one get the promise of a Savior out of these words – enmity? Crushed head? Bruised heel? How does that translate into the promised Savior? I never fully understood it until I became an adult. One evening at a Sunday school teacher’s meeting, my pastor explained it and it was like a light came on in my head. It finally clicked! I finally got it!
Because it has been difficult for me to understand even though I grew up in the faith, it occurred to me that maybe others have struggled with it also, especially those who may be new to Christianity. So I am here to explain to you the Messianic Promise.
God gives us many promises in His Word. His promises are sure. They never fail. Those of us who have grown up in the Christian faith hear them so often that we tend to take them for granted. We sometimes forget just how precious they are. I honestly wouldn’t be able to list them all without a good amount of research, but there is one promise I know for sure and will never forget. It is a promise that has already come to fulfillment. It is the promise that God would send His holy Son to earth as the sacrifice for sin for all mankind. He would suffer and die taking on the punishment which all sinners deserve, and triumph over Satan by rising from the dead. This promise of a Savior is referred to as the Messianic Promise or in simpler terms, thePromise of the Messiah to come. The word Messiah means anointed one. Jesus is God’s anointed one.
God created humans holy and without sin. In the beginning Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with God, but since their fall into sin, all people have been born sinful. The result of, and punishment for sin is death and eternity in Hell. God had warned Adam and Eve; you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die. They disobeyed Him and at Satan’s prompting, ate fruit from the forbidden tree. As a result they became sinners, and all people after them have been born sinful also.
Along with sin came death. Every living thing born into this world, both human and animal will die someday. But God loved His people. Because of His deep love for them He promised to send them a Savior – someone to rescue them from death and eternal punishment. He told Satan; I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
This may seem a little obscure and difficult to understand, especially for those who have not studied the Bible in depth. The word enmity as described in Webster’s Dictionary means; a positive, active or mutual hatred or ill will. Satan hates God and all that is good. God hates Satan, and all that is evil. God is holy and expects His people to be holy also. He says; be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy (Leviticus 19: 2).
The enmity, or hatred God placed between the devil and his seed (his evil angels), and man is Jesus, His perfect and holy Son. Jesus (the seed of the woman) paid the debt all sinners owe to God. He is our go-between. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). He suffered our punishment. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53: 5, 6). His blood, shed for us on the cross makes us holy in God’s eyes. It makes us right with God. His blood covers our sins.
The bruise or strike of the heel refers to Jesus suffering, and death. He suffered physical pain, He suffered being forsaken by God (Hell), and He suffered physical death, but He didn’t stay dead. Jesus crushed the head of Satan and destroyed his power when He rose from death. In simpler words; a crushed head results in death, but a bruised heel will soon mend and be as good as new.
|He suffered our punishment|
Going to the cross was merely a bruise for Jesus. It caused Him pain and suffering, but He overcame it and triumphed over it. Satan still has limited power here on earth, but when Jesus returns on the last day to judge the world Satan will be history! He will be completely stripped of his power and thrown into hell for eternity.
God placed Jesus His holy and perfect Son between Satan and sinners. Jesus took the punishment that all people deserve for sin upon Himself and in exchange He gave us His holiness. It is often referred to as God’s Great Exchange. Yes, it was painful. It caused Him to suffer, and even to die. He was nailed to the cross and forsaken by God the Father. He expressed the deep agony of Hell (separation from God) as he cried out on the cross; my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?(Matthew 27:46)But He rose triumphant from the grave three days later. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 56, 57)
God represents all that is good. He is light and love. Without His presence here on earth there would be none of that. There would be no sunshine or warmth. There would be no laughter or joy. We would be consumed by complete and utter darkness both physically and spiritually. His presence here in this life is shared by all people, even those who don’t know Him or love Him. In Hell He will not be present; therefore there will be no light or love. There will be nothing but deep darkness. The Bible describes Hell as a place where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:48). All those who go there will live forever in bodies which are decaying. There will be no relief from their suffering.
|Thank you Jesus!|
All who believe in Jesus and have faith in Him will pass from death directly into eternal life. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15: 21, 22). When we die our bodies will be buried in the ground for a time, but when Jesus returns He will raise our bodies just like He raised His own body. Our souls and bodies will once again be reunited and we will have physical bodies which are perfect in every way. There will be no disease. There will be no one with handicaps or disabilities. There will be no sadness, pain or despair. We will live in perfect harmony with God, just like Adam and Eve did before the fall.
|“You will not abandon me to the grave”|
Jesus, the promised Messiah is our hope for eternity. He came to earth in human flesh and rescued sinners from an eternity in Hell. Because of Jesus, all who come to the foot of the cross with a repentant heart will live with Him forever in heaven when their life here on earth is over. This life is not all there is. The best is yet to come. God has promised it and His promises never fail. In faith we can live to serve God and our fellowman without fear because we know our future is in His loving, gentle and caring hands.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. (Acts 2: 26-28)