14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)
What does the Bible say about who the Messiah would be, His credentials, and how He would come to earth and how we would recognize Him? Most significantly, does Jesus Christ fulfill the qualifications of the Messiah? If He does not, then He is not the Messiah no matter how much we revere Him. However, if He does fulfill these qualifications concerning the Jewish Messiah, then the believer is to share this truth and the unbeliever is challenged to consider this truth.
What are the biblical qualifications, through Old Testament prophecy, surrounding the birth of the Messiah, and does Jesus Christ fulfill them?
To begin with, the Messiah was to be born from the seed of a woman. That is to say, He was to be virgin born. The first biblical text to proclaim this is admittedly rather cryptic. It is found in Genesis 3:14-15 which says, “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.”
The “seed/offspring” mentioned in this verse became the root from which the tree of the OT promise of a Messiah grew. This, then, was the “mother prophecy” that gave birth to all the rest of the promises. Theologian Charles Briggs agreed. He said, “Genesis 3:15 was the germ of promise which unfolds in the history of redemption.”
Strange as it may seem, the history of the human race begins with the sin of our first parents and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. But that is not where it ended, for in the middle of the bleakness and the dark tragedy of God’s curse on the serpent, the woman, and the man came the first rays of light and hope embodied as the gospel of the grace of our God.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “The cattle and all the rest of creation were cursed (see Rom. 8:20–23; cf. Jer. 12:4) as a result of Adam and Eve’s eating, but the serpent was uniquely cursed by being made to slither on its belly. It probably had legs before this curse. Now snakes represent all that is odious, disgusting, and low. They are branded with infamy and avoided with fear. Cf. Isaiah 65:25 and Micah 7:17.”
Dr. MacArthur continues by adding, “After cursing the physical serpent, God turned to the spiritual serpent, the lying seducer, Satan, and cursed him. This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your offspring” (Satan and unbelievers, who are called the devil’s children in John 8:44) and her offspring (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in him), which began in the garden. In the midst of the curse passage, a message of hope shone forth—the woman’s offspring called “he” is Christ, who will one day defeat the Serpent. Satan could only “bruise” Christ’s heel (cause him to suffer), while Christ will bruise Satan’s head (destroy him with a fatal blow). Paul, in a passage strongly reminiscent of Gen. 3, encouraged the believers in Rome, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). Believers should recognize that they participate in the crushing of Satan because, along with their savior and because of his finished work on the cross, they also are of the woman’s seed.”
There are two key Messianic Prophecies from the Prophet Isaiah which parallel Genesis 3:14-15. They are as follows.
- Isaiah 7:13-14 – “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
- Isaiah 9:6 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The question remains as to whether the New Testament proclaims that Jesus Christ met the qualification of being born of a virgin? When next we meet, we will examine the New Testament account of Jesus Christ’s birth to see what the biblical record has to say.
Until then, may the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!