The very first prediction of the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures is found in Genesis 3:15, a verse that has historically been called, The First Good News.” Since advent season began yesterday, I thought we should take a look at it. And surprisingly, it does NOT predict the birth of the Messiah, but something quite different.
You would think that the first messianic prediction of the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament, would be about the birth of the Messiah. Not so! When we look at the Hebrew Scriptures and discern what the prophets foretold about the coming Messiah, we see that the very first prediction of Messiah’s coming is about His death.
After Adam and Eve succumbed to the Serpent’s temptation, God gave the very first promise of the Messiah. In Genesis 3:15, speaking to the power behind the Serpent, God says, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel.” This predicts that one day, a descendant of the woman, the Messiah, would strike that Serpent on the head, delivering a death blow. At the same time, the Serpent would strike the Messiah on the heel. The kind of serpent described in this passage always bites with a deadly blow. This verse is saying that in defeating Satan, the power behind the serpent, the Messiah would also die. And that’s exactly what happened.
When Jesus died for us, not only did He take the punishment we deserved, but in dying, He also defeated the enemy of our souls. Hebrews 2:14-15 says that Jesus became a man so that “through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death–that is, the Devil–and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.” Because Jesus died and rose again, we don’t ever need to be fearful, either as we live life in difficult times or even if we are facing death.
This Christmas season, let’s remember that Jesus was born to die. The good news is that in His death, He defeated death and in His resurrection, He gave us new life. For those who trust in Him, that is the best Christmas message ever.