A CHRISTMAS TREASURY
"The Promise to Preserve a Godly line"
Jerry A. Collins
One of the things we enjoy in our family is the anticipation associated with Christmas morning. What is it that we will open up on Christmas morning? I asked our daughter, Haley, what gift she particularly hoped for this Christmas. When she told me, I said, OK I am sure you will have that for Christmas. Then she said, thanks dad, now I have nothing to look forward to on Christmas. There are a lot more important things associated with Christmas, for sure, but one of those is anticipation.
For nearly 4000 years people had anticipated the coming of the Messiah, the deliverer, the Savior. All throughout the Old Testament were prophecies and promises associated with the coming of the Messiah. Today, we look back in adoration since he has already come but for the years before His arrival, the anticipation was constant. There are over 300 prophecies of the coming Messiah in the Old Testament. The probability of all these being fulfilled in one person is incredible. But we can trace these prophecies from their beginning to ending and discover that they narrow the field down to only one person who could have fulfilled all of them and that person we will discover is Jesus Christ. We can break down the anticipation into at least three areas. The first we will look at are the Promises to Preserve a Godly Line from which this Messiah would come.
THE PROMISED LINE
Genesis 3:25reads 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. God spoke to the serpent, 14-15, to Eve, 16, and to Adam, 17-19. Gods word to the serpent included (a) the announcement that the snake, crawling and eating dust, would be a perpetual reminder to mankind of temptation and the Fall and (b) that there would be a perpetual struggle between satanic forces and mankind. It would be between Satan and t6he woman, and their respective offspring or Ďseedsí. The offspring of the woman was Cain, then all humanity at large, and then Christ and those collectively in Him. The offspring of the serpent includes demons and anyone serving his kingdom of darkness, those whose father is the devil (john 8:44). Satan would cripple mankind (You will strike at his heel), but the Seed, Christ, would deliver the fatal blow (he will crush your head). Even though mankind will die and not live forever in this chaotic state of sin, children would be born so that the human race will endure and continue. Ultimately victory will come through Christ, the Seed (Gal 3:16) of the woman. Satanís defeat and that of his seed, the unbelieving world, would come from the seed of the woman. It speaks of her seed and not his seed or their seed because the deliverer would come from the woman without the aid of a man. Later we will learn that this prophecy anticipates the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus Christ through the woman without the help of a man.
So we learn of the promise to preserve a godly line through which a deliverer would come who would be qualified to rescue us from ultimate destruction. Now Eve probably did not know or sense that the enmity in the human race would last so long. It would have been easy to surmise that Cain, her first-born, was the promised seed or the first in the lineage who would crush the serpent and restore what was lost. However, Cain was not a man of faith and we know that he murdered his brother because he belonged to the evil one (1 John 3:12). It is interesting that Cain was so angry at God and Abel that he would not be talked out of his sin--even by God (Gen 4:6-7). Eve, however, had to be talked into her sin by Satan. Here we see the rapid advance of sin band Cain is the first in the ungodly line of the serpent, Satan. His next step is to go out in rebellion to form a godless society, rejecting Godís way. The Ďway of Cainí then in Jude 11 is a lack of faith which shows itself in envy of Godís dealings with the righteous, in murderous acts, in denial of responsibility, and in refusal to accept Godís punishment. In order to keep the promise, God would need a godly line of believers who would believe the promise, proclaim it and became a channel for the seed of the woman. So, God protects this promise, in spite of the continual opposition of the serpent through the birth of another son to the family, Seth.
Genesis 4:25-26 And Adam had relations with his wife again and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, for, she said, God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him. And to Seth, to him also a son was born and he called him enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord. With this statement it is evident that this child becomes the one appointed to be the godly line out of which will come the seed of the woman. So the line has narrowed and we note the phrase then man began to call upon the name of the Lord. This refers to the logical consequences of the birth of Seth and the establishment of the godly line of men in contrast to the ungodly line of Cain who went out from the presence of the Lord.
Several hundred years later we follow this line to the time of Noah in Genesis 6 where we again see the enmity and the path of destruction and deception in human history. Once again Satan attempts to spoil the promise of Genesis 3:15 by stamping out any belief in the promise of a deliverer and blinding mankind with immorality. However, God preserved a man called a preacher of righteousness in his generation, whose name was Noah (Gen 6:8-9). For 120 years his family warned of coming judgment which would destroy the human race. Noah had three sons, Shem, ham, and Japheth who became fathers of the entire human race. Which one would be the godly line, the one from which the seed would come? Genesis 9:26 says, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant. The point is that Shemís good fortune was the product of his relationship to the Lord as Hid God. The blessing was blessed be the Lord the God of Shem. This is not only a prophecy and a pronouncement of blessing upon Shem and his posterity but in it God declares that Shemís descendents would know and serve the one true God. They would continue and become the godly line from which the deliverer, the seed of the woman would come. Two developments follow. (1) Shem also had many sons. Which one do we look to? (2) Enmity again is seen as Nimrod builds the tower of Babel and becomes Satanís first attempt at a one-world system of government by which man can seek unity and prosperity without God. Unfortunately this rebellion included many of Shems descendants and so God once again preserves a godly line in the midst of satans deceptions and enmity with a man named Abram.
Genesis 12:1-3 states that the Lord said to him Go from your country...relatives...fathers house...to a land I will show you and I will make of you a great nation...bless you...name great...you shall be a blessing...in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. The whole world had fallen in with Satanís system but God always has his man and his remnant. He will fulfill his promises so God called Abram. Abram is in the line of Shem and we see new developments added to the promise of a godly line here. (1) a specific portion of land which reveals that the seed of the woman will come out of this special parcel, the land of Canaan. (2) a specific nation is now in view that will come through Abram. So we look for a nation that will arise out of his descendants. (3) universal blessing is promised to nations and Abrams seed would be the channel for it which means looking for the redeemer, the promised seed, to come from Abrams people. We now know in what family and in what land we should look for the seed of the woman who will be the deliverer. Later we learn that we are to look for this deliverer from the descendants of Isaac (Gen 17:19, then of Jacob (Gen 25:22-23), then in the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10).
1. Satans opposition against Godís rule and Godís people continues today until the end of human history. Satans primary method is destruction and deception. His purpose now is to lead an army of evil spirits to defeat God, good angels, and believers by perverting the truth and destroying righteousness. His kingdom is this world, the one in which we live, work and raise our families. He is the originator of evil and demonstrates this by counterfeiting what God has created. For instance, evil exists because good exists. His ultimate counterfeits will be Antichrist.
2. God is still enlarging the godly line of Christ today, called the church. The church today is believers. All throughout the world believers make up the godly line of Christ. It is a spiritual line today not a physical one. the church is believers not buildings, programs or institutions.
3. Our primary concern is to glorify God by participating with Him in the building of His kingdom. This is not heaven yet and we are to live righteous lives.