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. ~Genesis 3:15
Have you ever been studying the Bible and felt that it was one big puzzle? You read a passage and then become frustrated and scratch your head just to what it means. You drudge through the seemingly never ending hard to pronounce list of names in those numerous genealogies. Or muster the exhaustive and extensive details of how the tabernacle or Temple should be built and wonder just what is the point. You know that All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) but you struggle with how that passage fits with the others or what it has been intended to teach you. You wind up with all of these puzzle pieces without any idea how they all fit together. When you put together any puzzle, you need to look at the picture on the top of the box to understand each piece’s meaning and how they fit together in light of the painting. The same can be said of Scripture. To understand each individual puzzle piece that we encounter, we need to first recognize the overarching picture of the Bible. Due to neglecting that overarching picture, far too many people today actually miss the Bible's point. Many treat the Old Testament historical accounts as if they were Aesop's fables. Always looking for the "moral" of the story. For a specific lesson to be learned. The way to correct such a faulty view is to recognize the picture all of it paints. We find that picture in one verse, Genesis 3:15.
In the midst of announcing specific judgments, God provides hope in a precious promise. Adam and Eve have just committed cosmic treason by disobeying God’s clear command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent had talked Eve into the treacherous act and her husband, Adam, followed suit. Now God delivers punishment to each of the participants in the great sin. While cursing the serpent, God states that there will be enmity between his seed and the seed of the woman. Basically, that the descendants of the serpent and the descendants of the woman will not get along but constantly be at odds with one another. In fact, one of these seeds or descendants of the woman will bruise the serpent on the head. The idea is that of a crushing defeat; a knock out in a boxing match. The serpent will bruise the seed on the heel but will not be successful in defeating him. A bruised heel can be recovered from but a bruised head cannot. Thus, God promises One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be born of a woman who will completely defeat the serpent, who is Satan himself (Revelation 12:9). The Deliverer who would defeat the deceiver.
This one verse serves as the picture of the entire Bible. It would be what you would see on the top of the box of the puzzle. The One who serves as the Savior of His people by defeating Satan and the powers of sin and death that he holds. All of Scripture basically serves as the unfolding of this promise. It can be described as the thesis or purpose statement for the entire Bible. Throughout Scripture, we find the battle raging between the descendants of the woman and those of the serpent; between the children of God and the children of Satan. Over and over again, we see the serpent attempt to destroy this promised Seed. His descendant, Cain, who John tells us was of the evil one (1 John 3:12), kills Abel to ensure that he could not be this Seed who would defeat him nor could he bring about this Seed that God spoke of (Genesis 4:8). He seeks to corrupt the godly line of Seth (the sons of God) through convincing them to intermarriage with his descendants of Cain (the daughters of man) (Genesis 6:1-12). Twice he attempts to have Sarah raped in order to hinder the coming of this Seed (Genesis 26:1-18) and once with Rebekah (Genesis 26:1-18). He influences Esau to vow to kill his brother Jacob, who is a child of the promise who would ultimately bring about this Seed (Genesis 27:41). He has all the male children murdered in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-22). Saul tries to murder David, another child of God who will be an ancestor of this Seed (1 Samuel 18:10-11). Queen Athaliah plans to destroy the royal seed which would put an end to the coming Seed (2 Chronicles 22:10). Haman worked to slaughter the Jews from which the Seed would come (Esther 3-9). There are several attempts from the Israelites themselves to murder their own children for pagan sacrificial purposes (Leviticus 18:21; 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3; Psalm 106:37-38; Ezekiel 16:20). But God triumphed in having this Seed still arrive at His appointed time in spite of all of the wiles of the serpent and his children. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). Even after the Seed's birth, Herod orders the slaughter of all the male Jews 2 years old and younger (Matthew 2:16-18). And when he finally bruises the heel of the Seed through entering Judas' heart for him to hand Jesus over to the authorities (John 13:2), the one identified as a devil (John 6:70), he faces his defeat with the Seed bruising him on the head through conquering him, sin, and death.
The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and the historical books reveal God’s working to bring this seed through the chosen lineage as well as providing previews of the salvation that the seed will accomplish through dying in the place of those who will trust in Him. The tedious genealogies trace the Seed’s coming and the numerous animal sacrifices indicated that someone would die in the place of the people for their sins. The heroic deeds of the men and women of faith point to the Ultimate Hero to come. (After all, these "men and women" were flawed sinners so such deeds must be recognized as a result of God's grace and not of themselves.) The Law points to the need of the Seed since it reveals that none of us are perfect and thus cannot save ourselves since we all fall short of it. The judges served as types of the Seed who will serve as the Ultimate Deliverer. (In fact, these judges are often referred to as saviors.) The fact that every judge went from bad to worst (just compare Othniel who served as a pretty decent judge to Samson who broke every single vow that he made) shows that none of these judges could be their Ultimate Savior. The prophets provide further information regarding the Seed’s birth and work, indicating that He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and be God Himself (Isaiah 9:6). The entire purpose of the priesthood, the kingship, and the office of prophet was to point to the One who would be the great High Priest of His people (Hebrews 4:14), the ultimate King to sit on David's throne and rule over God's everlasting kingdom, and the ultimate Prophet to proclaim God's words (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37).
In a sense, we should think of the Old Testament as being on a long journey. Just as you know the destination where you are going and eagerly anticipate your arrival, the authors know that the destination is this coming Deliverer and eagerly anticipate His arrival. As the kids kept asking the questions, "Are we there yet?" and "How much longer?," the Israelites found themselves with similar questions regarding this promised Seed to come. "Is He here yet?" "How much longer until He arrives?" Throughout your trip, you will encounter several signs that direct you regarding different things about the destination itself. It also is filled with signs of what the Messiah will be like and how He will arrive. All of it points to Him and His work of deliverance.
The Gospels and New Testament letters reveals this Seed to have arrived and be named Jesus (Matthew 1:1-16, 21; Galatians 4:4-5). It is the very reason that Matthew begins his gospel with Jesus' genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17) and why Luke includes it as well (Luke 3:23-38). They show how the Seed defeated the serpent through His death on the cross and bodily resurrection. They also indicate the change that the Seed brings when one truly has embraced Him and trusted in Him and His work for their salvation. The book of Revelation reveals the final victory the Seed has over that serpent. As Alistair Begg has so succinctly put it, "In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted, in the Gospels Jesus is revealed, in the Acts of the apostles Jesus is preached, in the Epistles, or letters Jesus is explained, and in the Book of Revelation Jesus is expected."
So the next time that you are perplexed trying to make sense of a certain passage of Scripture that you are studying, consider how it contributes to the greater picture of God’s salvation through Christ and His death on the cross. This war between the children of God and the children of the devil, the bruising of the Seed's heel and the bruising of the serpent's head. The intended meaning may then become clear. You may see how the puzzle indeed fits after looking at the top of the box.
"Read the Bible with Christ continually in view. The grand primary object of all Scripture, is to testify of Jesus! Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ. Old Testament judges are types of Christ. Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s sufferings, and of Christ’s glory yet to come. The first coming and the second; the Lord’s humiliation and His glorious kingdom; His cross and the crown shine forth everywhere in the Bible. Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright!" ~ J.C. RyleLove in Christ,