“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” -John 1:14
In all of eternity past, such a thing had never been done; nor will it ever be done again in all the ages to come… “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons…” -Galatians 4:4-5. “… once now in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” -Hebrews 9:26b
More than two thousand years ago, God’s plan to redeem mankind from their sins and certain destruction, a plan that was put into place “before the foundation of the world” itself, was at long last revealed to the World. This plan was first declared in the Garden of Eden, as the Creator Himself explained the awful consequences that would come as a result of the rebellion that day of both man and angels. The pre-incarnate Son of God made this particular declaration to the Devil, who had just brought sin into God’s perfect creation…
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” -Genesis 3:15
This amazing prophecy is known as the Protoevangelium, which means “First Gospel.” The Creator Himself declared that one day, a man, made of a woman, but not of a man, would come and make right what the Devil had made wrong that awful day in the Garden. In the process, this man who would come would be bruised, but the Devil himself would be crushed.
The fulfillment of that prophecy began some four thousand years later when the Son of God also became the Son of Man. Surely, the incarnation (God becoming flesh) is both one of the most beloved and belittled doctrines found in God’s Word; the reason being it is one of the most vital doctrines… What we believe about this prophecy will affect what we believe about every other prophecy concerning Jesus Christ. The apostle John declares just how important the doctrine of the incarnation is to Christianity:
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world” -I John 4:2-3.
These are harsh words for those who say that the virgin birth of God’s son is not central to the doctrine of Christ. Rather, we must understand that the incarnation is absolutely essential; even vital to a true profession of faith in the record that God has given us concerning His Son. No one but He who had made that prophecy and pronouncement to the first man and woman and the Devil, could actually fulfill it. And only if the Son of God became flesh could He fulfill it… if perfect God did not become perfect man, then God’s Son could not have accomplished what He promised our ancestors so long ago…
For the Believer, the blessed hope of the future begins with that promise made in the garden. It became manifest in a child born in Bethlehem under the most unlikely circumstances some four thousand years afterwards. That same child would fulfil hundreds more prophecies made about him, including his death on a Roman cross, where he was “bruised for our iniquities, just as He had told Adam and Eve. Three days later, He would fulfill the most remarkable prophecy of all, that “God hath raised (Jesus) up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” -Acts 2:24. And so today we await the complete fulfillment of the promise made; as the Apostle Paul declared,
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” -I Cor. 15:22-26.
At that time, the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 will be completely fulfilled. The Devil will be crushed under Christ’s foot, and the curse of death that resulted will also be destroyed, forever vanquished! No more sin, no more curse, no more death… That world which will come as surely as ever other thing that God has promised, will be what He intended from the beginning; one of perfect fellowship between God and Man, forever…
As we celebrate Christ’s first coming this Christmas, let us be careful to remember why He came, and the “great and precious promises” He has made concerning the future of those who “love his appearing.” And with the Apostle Paul, may we declare to all “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” -II Corinthians 9:15.