By Peter Wade
For nearly 50 years I have preached on the events of Christmas, and every year I wonder whether there is any new way in which to present this great event to my listeners. I have found that the impact of Christmas spreads much further than the Gospel record. In fact, the story really starts in eternity, before time began.
The first promise that there would be a Christmas was given by God after Adam sinned, and is recorded in Genesis 3:14-20. “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle; and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And 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”‘ (NKJV). There are four great facts in this first promise of Christmas (verse 15), four facts that are foundational to the Christian faith.
Satan and women
The first is: there would be hostility between Satan and women. Throughout history this fact is most evident. Women have always been oppressed, being treated as no more than slaves in most cultures. Only where Christianity has had influence has women’s lot been improved. The women’s liberation movement was first echoed in the pages of the Bible, especially in the New Testament where women are shown to have dignity, self-esteem and great value to the community. Christian liberation of women does not turn them into unisex individuals, but enables them to fulfill their potential as beautiful people loved of God.
Satan’s seed and the woman’s Seed
The second fact in this promise of Christmas is this: there would be hostility between Satan’s seed and the woman’s Seed. Seed refers to offspring, children. Ephesians 2:3 states that at one time we “were by nature children of wrath, just as the others”. We “were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…” (verses 1,2). Jesus stated that some of His Jewish critics .were “of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). The Bible makes it clear that what we call the unsaved, the non-Christians, are Satan’s seed who have Satan’s nature in them.
The Old Testament contains record after record of attempts by Satan’s seed to destroy God’s righteous line and thus prevent Christmas ever happening. First Cain killed Abel, and when Seth was born to continue the righteous line, the attack became intense until only Noah was left. God sent the Flood to preserve the righteous line and later made His promise to Abraham that He would love and look after a new nation to be developed from Abraham’s seed, and that the Redeemer would come from that nation (Genesis 12:7; Galatians 3:16). Later the righteous line was specified to come from one family, David’s (Psalm 89:3-4), of the ruling tribe of Judah. And so the attack intensified.
Let’s go back for a moment and notice that “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20) — or “mother of the Life-Giver”. Adam believed that Christmas would come one day, and that Eve perhaps would give birth to the Redeemer. When Cain was born, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord” (Genesis 4:1), or a better translation “the man”, the Redeemer. But it was not so. Then in Isaiah 7:14 God gave more details of His promise of Christmas to the house of David: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us].” Every woman had the equipment necessary to bring the Redeemer into the world, but only one woman found favour with God (Luke 1:30), and this was because “she… believed” (verse 45).
Even after the birth of Jesus, the attacks continued. Herod killed all the babies under two years old, and the family had to flee into Egypt. The devil tempted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple but to no avail. He tried to drown Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, and eventually the devil thought he had won when Jesus hung on the cross. Yet it was a hollow victory, for what flowed from that death on the cross was of such damage to the devil and his kingdom that “had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8). The hostility between Satan’s seed and the woman’s Seed is clearly seen in the Bible.
Bruising Satan’s head
A further fact from the first promise of Christmas in Genesis 3:15 is that the woman’s Seed will bruise Satan’s head. To “bruise the head” is an Oriental term meaning to break the lordship of another. The Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, would break the lordship Satan has held over the human race ever since Adam committed the sin of high treason and sold out his rights to God’s enemy. Humanity has longed to be free, and the constant heart-cry throughout Old Testament history is for deliverance from the bondage of the devil. The victorious Christ did break Satan’s lordship and all who believe in Christ are now free! Colossians 1:13-14 tells us that “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” One translation of the word “delivered” is “rescued” “He rescued us from the authority of Satan’s dominion and gave us citizenship in the kingdom of His beloved Son”.
Since this is true, then the laws of the old kingdom no longer apply to believers! The old laws of sickness, poverty, defeat are replaced by the new laws of the new kingdom — peace, power, joy. Jesus had to come as a babe in Bethlehem in order to take human form and provide a legal and vital redemption for you and me. Let us remember that Easter starts at Christmas — for without Easter, Christmas would have little meaning to humanity.
Bruising Christ’s heel
The final fact from the promise of Christmas is that Satan will bruise Christ’s heel. The heel speak of the earth walk of the Church and the bruising of the heel is Satan’s attack on the Church from the Day of Pentecost until this current time. The Church Universal has been and still is the subject of vicious and unwarranted persecution throughout the world. Even today in these “enlightened” times, there are countries where the Church is not welcomed and where believers are in gaol for their faith. And the Book of Revelation teaches that persecution will continue to almost the end of time. No wonder the Church epistles encourage believers to remember that they are blessed and not forgotten during times of persecution.
Yes, Christmas was first promised in Genesis and the Bible records the extent of God’s work to make Christmas a reality to you and me. “He is the Reason for the Season”, and we have good reason to make this a season of thankfulness for the unspeakable gift of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that the best way we can show our appreciation is to invite the Babe of Bethlehem to be born anew in us and to experience to the full His gift to us — “Christ in us, the expectation of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Courtesy of http://www.peterwade.com/