WHAT IS PROTOEVANGELIUM? Genesis 3:15



This as the great PROTOEVANGELIUM of the Old Testament

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.”

Genesis 3:15 RSV

The key to understanding the Old Testament is Jesus Christ!

(2 Corinthians 3:15,16)

Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed.

2 Corinthians 3:15‭-‬16 RSV

The terminology of this verse is such that it cannot apply to anything in Heaven or upon Earth except the long spiritual conflict between Christ and Satan.

Woman here stands for the whole of Adam’s race, a point emphasized a little later in Genesis 3:20, where it is stated that Eve is the “mother of all living.”

Enmity indicates the hostility of Satan toward humanity.

God’s statement here that he would “put enmity” cannot mean that it did not exist previously, but that it would be intensified and continued, a fact mentioned in Revelation 12:12.

Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Revelation 12:12 RSV

It is vital to understand the “short time” or “little time” mentioned here.

The temptation to literalize everything in the book leads to some bizarre conclusions.

Some see this as a very few years, months, or even days, just prior to the Second Advent, as Satan “sees his time running out.”

This has to be wrong, because Satan is not going to see his time running out.

No angel of God, much less Satan, knows the day nor the hour of the Second Advent (Matthew 24:36).

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Matthew 24:36 RSV

But the maximum intensity of Satan’s wrath crested to its full tide on Calvary, where it contained and defeated, where its fullest fury was spent and beyond which there could never be any greater intensification, just as no army deploying its maximum force and suffering a disastrous defeat can ever regain its original effectiveness.

In similar fashion, think about the conflict in Ukraine at this very hour. Putin’s forces have met considerable resistance from a much smaller military.

From the moment Satan was cast down to earth, the moment of his defeat, the short time begins.

This short time is the period of the world’s existence from the advent of Satan until the final judgment.

As for the exact time of Satan’s advent on earth, how could we know that?

He was certainly in Eden where the great progenitors of the human race were attacked and defeated by him.

There may possibly be another thing intended by a subsequent mention of the “loosing of Satan” in Revelation 20:7ff, at a time when the dispensation is coming to a close, when the human race in large part shall have finally and irrevocably chosen to serve the devil.

The disastrous consequences of that event shall usher in the end itself; but the wrath of Satan, his ongoing spiritual warfare against all mankind, especially those who live in Christ, shall be no greater than it already is.

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However, this warfare is more than Satan’s campaign to destroy humanity; it also includes the warfare between:

“Thy seed …” that is, the followers of Satan, and “her seed …” that is the seed of woman.

  • Note the singular here, a …,” that is the seed of woman.
  • Note the singular here, a characteristic continued in the pronoun he: “He shall bruise thy head.”
  • Now, the only “seed of woman” ever known upon earth was and is Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul’s statement to the effect that Christ was “made to be of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) implies not only the virgin birth of Christ but his pre-existence also.

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:4‭-‬5 RSV

“He shall bruise thy head” is a promise of ultimate and complete victory over evil by the Lord Jesus Christ.

This, of course, took place on Calvary, where Christ slew him “that had power of death” (Hebrews 2:14).

The Charter of Redemption was achieved on the Cross, and full rewards of it will be bestowed upon the righteous at the time of the eternal Judgment.

“Thou shalt bruise his heel” is undoubtedly a reference to the Crucifixion.

One should not be surprised by the fact of so terrible a death being compared to a mere heel-bruise, because, the comparison is valid when contrasted with the casting of Satan into the lake of fire.

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SARAH

Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

Genesis 23:1‭-‬2 RSV
  • The history of redemption is focused right here in the record of Sarah’s precious life.
  • It started with the great Protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15, where the “seed of woman” was promised who would crush the head of the serpent (Satan), a promise which by no stretch of imagination can be a reference to Jews racially.
  • It appears again in the supernatural birth of Isaac from the womb of Sarah.
  • It culminates finally in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ our Lord, from the womb of Mary.
  • God put more honor upon these two women, Sarah and Mary, than upon all the daughters of Eve besides.

While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6‭-‬8 RSV

The visit of the Dayspring from on high was nothing impromptu, but was the fulfillment of God’s purpose of the ages.

Even before the foundation of the world, the plan of redeeming men through the death of Christ was clearly formed in God’s eternal purpose, which purpose he, in fact, declared in the great protoevangelium of the Bible (Genesis 3:15).

When even an earthly king visits a place, he announces his purpose in advance, displays his royal credentials to prevent misunderstanding, and, in due course, arrives “as planned”; thus it was with the coming of the Son of God into our poor world (for more, see Romans 3:21).

Great typical men in the extensive history of Israel were laid under the burden of setting forth the nature, character, attitude, mission, and even the name of Christ.

  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob
  • Judah
  • Joseph
  • Moses
  • Joshua
  • David
  • Jonah
  • Aaron
  • Melchizedek
  • To name only a few…

All of these were typical, in one way or another, of Jesus Christ, and all reflected in one degree or another the coming glory of Messiah!

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JONAH & JESUS

Take, as an example, one of the very least of those men, Jonah, will show the wealth of particulars by which each one of them bore witness to Christ.

  • Both Jonah and Jesus were asleep in a ship at sea in a storm, and both were awakened.
  • Both were involved in the safety of the vessel, though in opposite ways, Jesus being responsible for the safety of his, and Jonah for the danger to his.
  • Both produced a great calm, Jesus by fiat, Jonah by being thrown overboard.
  • Both willingly consented to die for the salvation of others.
  • Both came from approximately the same spot on earth, Gath-hepher, the home of Jonah, being less than three miles from Nazareth.
  • Repentance of the Gentiles resulted from the mission of both.

SUMMARY OF THE PROTOEVANGELIUM

This 27-word promise of healing for the sins of Adam’s race conveyed limited information, but the significance of it is unlimited.

In the light of subsequent events, it comprises as comprehensive and definite a statement of God’s Plan of Redemption as could have been devised in so few words.

Here is a summary of what was included:

  • It outlines the doctrine of the Incarnation.
  • Of the Virgin Birth.
  • Has a prophecy of the crucifixion.
  • Of the final overthrow of Satan in Hell.
  • Announces the ultimate overthrow of evil.
  • The long agony of the human race.
  • Provides a message of hope.
  • Salvation for fallen humanity.
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It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2:2‭-‬4 RSV

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