Dr. James T. Naismith of Scarborough, Ontario, a physician and Bible Teacher, continues his series on Genesis.
Copyright by Everyday Publications Inc.; used by permission.
It has been truly said that if we “take away Jesus from the Book of books,” we have “a casket without a jewel, an envelope without a letter, a scaffolding without any superstructure, a frame without a portrait.” Both Old and New Testaments are dark to the reader who does not look for Christ in all the Scriptures.
“Behold the Book whose leaves display
Jesus, the Life, the Truth, the Way!
Read it with diligence and care;
Search it, for thou shalt find Him there.”
As we approach the Word of God, we do well to pray:
“When we look within Thy Word,
Show Thyself to us, O Lord;
In its pages may we see
That every lesson points to Thee.”
In John 5:39, the Lord Jesus presented Himself as the key to the understanding of the Scriptures. Search the Scriptures, He said, for they are they which testify of Me. He was, of course, referring to the Old Testament, which, if less obviously than the New, none the less really speaks of Him. In particular, on this occasion He selected the writings of Moses — the first five books of the Bible — for He went on to say, Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me, John 6:46.
It was with sadness that Cleopas and his unnamed companion pursued their journey to Emmaus on the first day of the week after the crucifixion of their Lord, Luke 24:13-32. As they discussed the shattering events of the preceding days, a Stranger accosted them, listened to their sad story, then guided them through the most wonderful Bible exposition of all time: “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself,” v. 27. The Teacher was the Lord Himself; the subject — Himself; the textbook —“all the Scriptures,” “Beginning at Moses.” We can readily understand that their hearts burned as He opened the Scriptures, v. 32, and opened their eyes, v. 31, to behold Him, and that they were anxious to lose no time in communicating their thrilling experience to the eleven disciples in Jerusalem, vv. 33-35. While they were gathered, “Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them,” v. 36, and again He unfolded to them from the 15same textbook — “the law of Moses … the prophets and … the psalms” — the same sublime subject — “concerning Me,” v. 44. Thus was their understanding opened “that they might understand the Scriptures,” v. 45. In subsequent days and years, the revelation given to them by their risen Lord was reflected in the preaching and writing of some of these men and recorded in the Acts and the Epistles of the New Testament.
We have, therefore, the supreme authority of the Son of God when we look for Him in the books of Moses — including, of course, the first book, Genesis. While we were not privileged to listen to His exposition of this book, He has given to us His Spirit to teach us all things, John 14:26, to guide us into all truth, John 16:13, and, in particular, to glorify Him and show Him to us, John 16:14, 15.
Although His New Testament name is not mentioned in Genesis, it is not difficult to find in the book many unmistakable references to Him. There seems no doubt that, with the Holy Spirit (and the Father) He is referred to in the first verse of the book in the plural name, God — Elohim — which occurs 32 times in the first chapter, and frequently throughout the book. Similarly, the plural pronouns us and our in such passages as Genesis 1:26; 13:22; 11:7, would also seem to include all three Persons of the Godhead. In addition, however, our blessed Lord Himself is frequently presented to us through the fifty chapters of Genesis: 1. in Prophecy; 2. in Picture; 3. in Person.
1. Prophecies of Christ in Genesis
One of the most convincing proofs of the divine origin of the Scriptures is the number of remarkable prophecies contained in them that have been fulfilled to the letter hundreds of years later. Some of these refer to the Jewish people, others to the Gentile nations; but the most significant and most precious to the believer are those that found or will find their fulfillment in the first and second comings of the Lord Himself. Beginning as a tiny stream early in the Bible, these prophecies seem to increase in force and frequency throughout the Old Testament, becoming like a rivulet, and ultimately swelling to a mighty, flowing river in the prophetic books. We can trace this stream to its source in Genesis 3, in the garden of Eden, when the darkest hour of human history was lighted by the ray of a glorious prophecy.
The Seed of the Woman
This verse, the first prophecy in the Bible, is the germ of all prophecy. “This text,” said Martin Luther, “embraces and contains within itself everything noble and glorious that is to be found anywhere else in the Scriptures.” Henry Law described it as “the first word of grace to a lost world.”
The speaker was God Himself. The words were addressed to the serpent, the agent in bringing about the tragedy of the fall and so introducing sin into the sphere of God’s creature, man. The context (vv. 14,15) was the judgment pronounced by God upon the serpent because he had “done this.” This judgment consisted in
1. cursing of the serpent, v. 14;
2. crushing of Satan, v. 15, which would be accomplished by “her seed,” that is, the seed of the woman.
Verse 15 evidently predicts a mighty conflict (“enmity”), commencing in the garden between Satan and the woman; continuing through the centuries of human history between Satan’s seed and the woman’s seed; and culminating in a particular descendant of the woman. This is indicated in the very personal and individual description of this seed—“He (it) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” These words have been called “The Protevangelium”—the first preaching of the gospel, and there seems no doubt that the Person about whom Jehovah God was speaking was none other than the Son of God, and that this is the first Messianic prophecy. We cannot fail to observe that, in the second part of the verse, the conflict predicted in the first part narrrows down to involve two individuals: “He” (“it” in the KJV) —the Lord Jesus, and “thou” —Satan.
In its reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, this basic prophecy anticipates:
1. His Coming as the seed of the woman — a certain reference to His humanity, (compare Gal. 4:4 — “made” or “born of a woman”), and a possible allusion to His virgin birth, for it is the woman’s seed and not the man’s that is mentioned.
2. His Cross. “Thou shalt bruise His heel.” This was fulfilled literally when His feet were nailed to the tree; metaphorically, embracing all the physical sufferings inflicted by men at Calvary; and spiritually, for “He was bruised for our iniquities,” Isa. 53:5.
3. His Conquest. “He shall bruise thy head.” Compared with the bruising of the heel —a lesser injury, the bruising of the head is a capital blow, which was inflicted upon Satan as a result of the death and resurrection of the Lord. “Through death,” He destroyed — rendered powerless — “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Heb. 2:14. Satan was crushed, though not annihilated at Calvary. He is still active, but he is a conquered foe, and his doom is sure. The ultimate effect of Calvary’s triumph will soon be seen, for “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly,” Rom. 16:20, and he will be cast into the lake of fire for ever, Rev. 20:10.
“His be the Victor’s fame
Who fought the fight alone.
Triumphant saints no honour claim:
Their conquest was His own.”