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Is Genesis 3:15 Messianic?

By Joseph D. Meador

religion, articles, christianity


Question: I am taking a university course titled: The Bible as Literature. Our professor teaches there is nothing prophetic or Messianic about Genesis 3:15. However, I have been taught from my youth that this passage has something to do with Jesus Christ. Which view is right?

Answer: Genesis 3:15 is both prophetic and A Messianic in its teaching. Traditionally, Genesis 3:15 has been viewed by Christians as the first word of promise-in a future prophetic sense-of man's deliverance from sin.

In this verse, God speaking to Satan declares: "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."

This verse proclaims that this future confrontation is not an accident of history, but that God is the producer of putting enmity between Satan and the woman's seed.

The prophesied hostile opposition was to characterize the relationship of the "seed" of Satan and the "seed" of the woman. The word translated "seed" is an interesting Hebrew word, and can be used to designate an entire lineage of descendants, or it can be used to denote only one person out of a specific lineage. In Genesis 3:15 that one seed, the Messiah, is from the line of woman (Isa. 7:14), as contrasted with the opposing seed which is the line of Satan's followers. These followers of Satan would include the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus' day (Matt. 3:7; Mark 7:6-7).

Genesis 3:15 is a direct prophecy of the virgin birth.

While this seed prediction could have been fulfilled in the first generation to be born, its consummation was, in the plan of God, to be realized only after at least four thousand years of human history. The line of the seed was forecast and is traced faithfully through the genealogies recorded in the Bible.

Special importance is attached to five men in this Messianic line: Abraham, to whom the promise of a

glorious seed was given (Gen. 12; 15; 17); Isaac, the firstborn of Abraham and Sarah, pointing toward the Messianic line; Jacob, the progenitor of the 12 Bribes; Judah, the chosen of the twelve sons of Jacob, through whom the Messiah was to come (Gen. 49:10); and David, to whom was covenanted an everlasting kingdom, an everlasting throne, and an everlasting kingly line (2 Sam. 7:16; Psa. 89:2-37; Jer. 33:17).

In this prediction, it was asserted that when Christ crushes Satan's head, Satan would also crush Christ's heel. This prediction relative to the crushing of Satan's head is an anticipation of that judgment which Christ secured against Satan by means of His death on the cross (cf. John 16:11; Col. 2:14-15). When God declared that Satan's head would be crushed, that prediction was fulfilled perfectly in Christ given victory over sin and death. When God foretells that Satan will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), that, too, will be perfectly accomplished.

Published December 1996