God created us in His image, male and female; He created us, then blessed us, and told us to rule and reign over the earth (Genesis 1:24-31). However, Satan, a once beautiful angel created by God, had other plans for us. Satan had been “a seal of perfection,” living in Heaven with God until he started thinking he deserved more, that he deserved to rule and reign. Seeking power, he led a rebellion in Heaven against God and lost. As punishment, God cast him and the other rebellious angels from Heaven to earth (Ezekiel 28:12-17, Isaiah 14:12-15), the same earth that God gave man dominion over. Threatened by God’s perfect creation, Satan sought to destroy it.
Satan used the same lie against Adam and Eve that caused him to fall from Heaven in the first place: the lie that God cannot be trusted, that He is withholding the good stuff, and that we deserve more. From the moment that Eve bit into that lie, the entire earth has been cursed. But no sooner than the curse arrived did God promise us a way out – a godly seed, a Savior who would crush the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15).
This Messianic promise of a godly seed that would destroy Satan’s power is the first of 333 Messianic prophecies. As revelation unfolds throughout the Old Testament, it becomes clear that the prophesied Messiah, the godly seed, can only be Jesus Christ. In this article, we will explore the Messianic Seed line and how God sovereignly determined who this line would pass through, and the promises that would accompany it.
Temptation in the Garden
God created us pure and innocent, and He wanted us to remain unstained from sin, knowing no shame, and enjoying life to its fullest. He gave Adam and Eve full access to everything they needed in the Garden of Eden, including the Tree of Life. There was only one prohibition; they weren’t to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if they did, they would surely die. This tree was a test of Adam and Eve’s trust in God and their obedience to Him; they failed.
Satan knew what would happen if they ate from that tree. There was nothing he wanted more than to taint God’s beautiful creation. Through twisting God’s Word, he convinced Eve that she was missing out, that God didn’t have her best interests at heart. Satan dangled enough of the truth in front of Eve to cause her to doubt God. He tricked her into biting into the lie.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree, shame immediately fell on them, and sin entered the once-perfect world. Satan thought he’d won, that he had defeated God. But in the same breath that God pronounced His curse on Satan, He also promised us a way out. He said:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15
The First Messianic Prophecy
Theologians refer to Genesis 3:15 as the proto-Evangelium, the first Gospel. This verse is the first Messianic prophecy of the Old Testament and was written thousands of years before Christ was born and died on the cross. It foretells the enmity between Eve and Satan’s seed, which helps explain the spiritual warfare that still continues today between Satan and Christ and those that follow them.
Genesis 3:15 also creates an expectancy that one of Eve’s seeds (descendants) will deliver humanity by defeating Satan. During biblical times, a person’s lineage was traced through the father, not the mother. Yet, Genesis 3:15 clearly states that Eve’s seed will bruise Satan’s head. Man’s seed is not mentioned. Looking back through the lens of history at this prophecy, we see that it refers to the virgin birth, a birth with no human father. Christ partially fulfilled this prophecy in His first coming and will ultimately fulfill it in His second. The serpent bruised Christ’s heel on the cross, but Christ will deliver the final blow to Satan’s head when he throws Satan in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10).
Satan understood the promise of Genesis 3:15 and did everything in his power to cut off the godly line so that his rule and reign could continue. The Bible is full of Satan’s attempts to destroy the line of Messiah so that God’s promise could not materialize. But, what Satan meant for evil, God turned to good (Genesis 50:20). God concealed and preserved the godly seed until the mystery hidden from the beginning of time could be revealed through the person of Jesus Christ.
Starting in Genesis 4, God begins to pass His promise of the coming Messiah through the lineage that He selected, the righteous bloodline that would culminate in Jesus Christ.
After Adam and Eve’s fall, they had two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel made a pleasing offering to God, and God looked on Abel with favor. Upset by this, Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4:1-8). Because of Cain’s sin, the Redeemer’s lineage could not pass through him. But later in Genesis 4:25-26, we find out that Seth replaced Abel as God’s favored son, the son through whom Jesus’ bloodline would continue to flow.
We continue to trace Jesus’ bloodline through Noah, “a righteous man, blameless in his time,” a man who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9) Because the “wickedness of man was great on the earth,” God decided to “blot out man from the face of the land,” except for Noah who had “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:5-8). Because of Noah’s righteousness, God determined to save him and his family from a worldwide flood that wiped out the earth’s population.
After the flood, Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, repopulated the entire world. The flood wiped out most of humanity, but it didn’t wipe out humanity’s sinful nature. Not too long after the flood, Noah became drunk, and Ham, his youngest son and Canaan’s father, evilly disrespected him. Because of this, Noah cursed Canaan, the people whose land Israel would eventually conquer. Noah then determined that the righteous line would continue through his son Shem, whose descendants were Israel’s ancestors. He also blessed Japheth, the father of the Gentile nations. Noah said, “May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem” (Genesis 9:27). This blessing foreshadowed the spiritual blessings that would come to the Gentiles through their faith in Christ.
The righteous line then continued through Shem’s descendants to Abraham. In Genesis 12, in addition to the promise of a Redeemer, God makes further promises to Abraham, set out in the Abrahamic covenant. These promises pass from Abraham to the tribes of Israel, not according to man’s will but according to God’s will. We see this when God made it clear that His promises would pass to Isaac and not to Ishmael, Jacob, and not to Esau (Genesis 28:1-5, 10-15 and Genesis 35:9-13). God had predetermined which son would carry the bloodline of the coming Messiah and the Abrahamic Covenant promises. God’s will prevailed, although human will tried to thwart His predetermined plan at every turn.
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and each of Jacob’s 12 sons became a tribe of God’s chosen people. Jacob prophesied that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. He said, “the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Genesis 49:10). As he prophesied, the bloodline of Jesus and the Abrahamic covenant promises continued to pass through Judah’s descendant.
King David, son of Jesse, a descendant of Judah, received additional promises from God; these promises are what we call the Davidic Covenant. They were unconditional, meaning that their fulfillment did not depend on David’s or any of his descendants’ obedience to God.
This covenant centered on several promises God made to David. First, God promised David that Israel’s people would possess their land and live undisturbed. Second, God promised that He would establish a Kingdom for David’s descendant. Third, God promised David that his descendant would build a house for God’s name and rule over this Kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:8-17).
God spoke to David through the Prophet Nathan, telling David that “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). The keywords in this prophecy are “house,” “kingdom,” “throne,” and “forever.” The term “house” indicates that there will be a lineage of kings that come from the line of David; the word “kingdom” shows there will be people ruled over by a King; the term “throne” underlines the legal right of the King to rule, and finally, the word “eternal” specifies the eternal nature of this rule.
These promises are significant because they demonstrate that the Messiah will come from David’s line and that this Son will establish an eternal kingdom. David’s son Solomon partially fulfilled this prophecy. He built the Temple, a house for God, and ruled over the Kingdom of Israel during his lifetime. However, his throne was not eternal; it ended when he died. This partial fulfillment showed that there would be another Son of David, a Son who would completely fulfill this prophecy.
When we look at Christ’s genealogy, we see that He descended through David through both Mary and Joseph. Additionally, recognizing that the Messiah would be a Son of David, Jesus is referred to as the “Son of David” throughout the New Testament. Jesus completely fulfills the prophecy that Solomon and no other son of David could. He is the Messiah! In His first coming, He established a spiritual, eternal kingdom of believers. During His second coming, biblical prophecy will be completed when He establishes His physical kingdom and rule forever!