Sunday, January 6, 2019

The First Prophecy

This year is the 28th anniversary of the publication of John Walvoord’s classic book “Major Bible Prophecies.”  In the book, Dr. Walvoord details 37 crucial prophecies that affect you today. Since the publication nothing has changed, sin and Satan still dominate world events, death, destruction and misery still dominates life around us. Yet with all the problems and conflict, God is still the sovereign of the universe, He is still in control, and He still saves today. This year Dr. Walvoord’s classic work will be the focus of each month’s article – starting from the first prophecy that promises victory over sin and death by our Savior, and ending with the great prophecy of our destination – the new heaven and new earth.

Our first prophecy found in the Bible is in Genesis 3:15. There, the context is Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience to eat freely of any tree of the garden, but not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As the Lord gives the serpent his consequences for his role in the great deception which Satan appearing as a serpent played, God proclaims,

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.  15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."  16 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you."  17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.  18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.  19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Gen 3:14-19 NKJ)

Not only did that greatest destructive event in history bring a fundamental change in the human race as all sin in Adam, but as Dr. Walvoord wrote, “The entrance of sin had changed God’s beautiful creation into a world of conflict, sorrow, and death.” It is most important to understand that since this great destructive event of the fall, there required, as the prophecy of 3:15 declares, another great destructive event that must take place in order to bring a final end to the works of the devil by means of his head wound, the greatest event in all of history – the heel wound of the promised One. 

The curse on Satan affected the world. Dr. Walvoord wrote, “The original sin of Satan in heaven, when as a holy angel he rebelled against God, now spread to the world of Adam and Eve, the result was that both Satan and the created world came under God’s curse.” This curse upon Satan and the ground means that Satan’s battleground moved to the ugliest spiritual warfare imaginable. Not only is the battle between the unseen powers, Satan and his demons against Michael the archangel and his angels, but between the seed of Satan – those unsaved humans who are sons of the devil. Again Dr. Walvoord wrote, “Spiritual warfare continued not only in that which is visible between the righteous and the evil but also in the unseen contest between the demon world led by Satan and the holy angels led by Michael.”

Yet there is hope because God Himself will deliver us victory. God provided a proper blood sacrifice covering to Adam and Eve. Dr. Walvoord wrote, “God promised salvation. To replace Adam and Eve’s self-made garments of leaves, which were now inappropriate and inadequate, God provided for them garments of skin.  This provision involved the slaying of an animal and the shedding of blood. In this way, salvation and redemption by blood was symbolized as being the only way by which human sin could be temporarily covered or the victory could ultimately be wrought.”

Indeed this initial prophecy of the Bible deals with sin and the Savior’s victory over Satan’s works and sin’s dominion. It involves a work of the Only Begotten of the Father, as the triune Godhead planned, executed, and applied the blood of the Son of God in the greatest legal transaction in history where Jesus Christ redeemed mankind from the slave market of sin and conquered the last enemy death. Dr. Walvoord wrote, “Victory over sin and death is promised. In His final pronouncement upon Satan, God said, ‘He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel’ (Gen. 3:15). Through the preceding verse referred to individuals in the plural, the final victory will be caused by one who is declared here to be the seed of the woman, anticipating the Virgin Birth. ‘He,’ referred to Christ, ‘will crush your head’ – that is, inflict a mortal wond on Satan that will be devastating and lead to his ultimate judgment. This first promise of the Redeemer and Savior begins the long line of prophecy through the Scriptures of the godly seed leading to Christ, including Abel, Seth, and Noah (Gen. 4:4, 25; 6:8-10); Shem (9:26-27); Abraham (12:1-4); Isaac (17:19-21) ; Jacob (28:10-14); Judah (49:10); David (2 Sam. 7:5-17); and Christ as Emmanuel (Isa. 9:6-7).”