Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Everlasting Gospel, Part 2

Certain sites on the internet proclaim that there was no gospel prior to Jesus Christ crucified. While it is fine to pose such a question, to confirm this without searching diligently for the truth reveals a deliberate ignorance. To answer the question, we must look back to the beginning. The gospel was proclaimed in Eden as soon as mankind fell.

God states, “I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman (Eve), and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel,” Genesis 3:15. This is the first mention of the gospel in the Bible. We learn numerous things from this snippet of prophecy. There will be a general enmity between the ungodly children of Satan and the children of God; this prophecy especially holds in view Messiah. While all the godly are at enmity with the ungodly, Jesus in particular embodies the Seed of the woman, who was at odds with those that served Satan’s selfish ambitions rather than God’s will, John 8:44.

Jesus was also uniquely the Seed of the woman, Isaiah 7:14. Typically in the Old Testament the word seed (meaning descendant or descendants) was used when describing the offspring of a man; see Genesis 13:15 for an example. Yet this mysterious Seed would be born of a woman, implying from the first that He would not be born due to man’s desire or industry; He would be born solely by God’s sovereign will and pleasure. Yet the coming Seed would bruise the serpent’s head (destroying him) while having His heel bruised in the process. The picture of having one’s heel bruised is lost to today’s crowd; we do not clearly perceive the imagery invoked by this description. In modern lingo it might be stated that the Seed would destroy the serpent while receiving a mortal wound in the process. Ancient writers knew this well; tales such as Achilles are rife with the kernel of knowledge about a great hero who saves many at the cost of his own life. For more on the ancients and the symbol of bruising one’s heel see The Two Babylons by Alexander Hyslop.

The damage of the Fall had been done. God immediately promised a Coming One who would destroy the one who led mankind into transgression. He told our first parents that this Seed would be human; He would be born of a woman. Yet He would also be divinely born, born ONLY of a woman; this glimmer of truth again sparked a grossly abused mythology of gods coming into women and making them pregnant with “demigods” and the like.

The promise had been made. How much did the ancients know? We know from Jude that Enoch, seventh from Adam, was a prophet who warned his fellow men about the impending wrath of God. Though Enoch may have thought his prophecy was of days not far off (the Flood) they were truly a testimony of the end days, or the Day of the Lord as it is often spoken of in the Old Testament. We read, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him,” Jude 1:14-15. Likewise Noah, who lived some generations after Enoch prior to the Flood, was a preacher of righteousness, 2nd Peter 2:5. What was Noah preaching? It was clear that Enoch had received a revelation that God was coming to perform judgment on men for their ungodly lives and rejection of Him. Could it be that the Coming Seed spoken of to Adam and Eve was also the coming Lord from Heaven from Enoch’s prophecy?

In Abraham’s day criteria began to be laid down, layer by layer, as God prepared mankind for the reception of divinely revealed truth. Why not give it to us all at once? “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept must be upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,” Isaiah 28:9-10. Like children, we are hard of hearing when it comes to instruction, so it must be repeated often, and slowly. “For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe,” Philippians 3:1.

By Abraham’s day God had chosen a specific people: the Jews. Namely He chose Abram of Ur to father the people of the Jews, from whom Christ would come according to the flesh, Romans 9:5. God wanted a specific people separate from the world, and so sanctified (or separated) the Jewish people from all nations and made them His own people, unique and privileged with the reception of the Law, the priesthood, and the prophets, Romans 9:4. Abraham was promised a land and blessing; this promise was not conditional, see Genesis 15:4-6; 17-21. God especially promised that all families of the earth would be blessed in Abraham, Genesis 12:3. This blessing would eventually be revealed in its fullness as God incarnate, come as a man to redeem men, Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-16.
To be Continued.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for sharing a timeless message in this series (The Everlasting Gospel). God has always known this message which he revealed to us throughout time by the mouth of His holy prophets.

    It is the message of restoration, hope, and redemption.

    Blessings and peace.

    MTJ

    ReplyDelete

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