INCARNATION – 1st Promise


With Christmas rapidly approaching, it is only appropriate that we look at the mysterious work of God that made possible our salvation – The Incarnation of Jesus the Christ. We cannot begin to explain the mystery of the Incarnation, we can only marvel at its occurrence. The God-Man, Jesus, 100% God and 100% man fused together into one, continues to be difficult for man to comprehend. It took six church councils (beginning with Nicea in 325AD and ending at the third council of Constantinople in 681AD) to describe the nature of the Incarnation. Without the Incarnation, man would continue to be hopelessly separated from God because man on his own is incapable of accomplishing the righteousness necessary to enter into the presence of God. It took the work of God in the form of a God-man to do what man cannot do. This week we will look at the promise by God of the Incarnation and work forward to the event we attempt to celebrate at this time of the year.

The promise of the Incarnation begins in Genesis. God has created a man (Adam) and a woman (Eve); put them in charge of His creation with one rule by which to live life. When the woman and the man violated His standard, God responded with discipline against the guilty parties. But in His discipline, He provided a promise for the ultimate solution to the human dilemma. The promise is found in Genesis 3:15. The English reads:

NAU Genesis 3:15
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.”

NIV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring {15 Or seed} and hers; he will crush {15 Or strike} your head, and you will strike his heel.”

KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This is the only reference where ‘seed’ is identified with a woman and is introduced in the promise of salvation as coming through the woman in contrast to the man. What is interesting is how Eve understood this salvation. Her understanding is found in Genesis 4 immediately following the promise in Genesis 3. When she gives birth to Cain, she literally says in the Hebrew, “I have gotten a man YHWH!”  But look how the verse is translated in the English:

NAU Genesis 4:1
Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man-child with the help of the LORD.”

NIV Genesis 4:1 Adam {1 Or The man} lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. {1 Cain sounds like the Hebrew for brought forth or acquired.} She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth {1 Or have acquired} a man.”

KJV Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. {Cain: that is Gotten, or, Acquired}

A more proper way of understanding the Hebrew phrase is as the promise of the God-Man later identified as Messiah. While Eve’s theology is correct, her application is incorrect. That she realized her mistaken application is seen in the next verse when she names her second born son Abel which means ‘vanity’ – a statement of application correction by Eve.

The rest of the week will be spent briefly tracing a few of the 350 promises of God leading to the Incarnation event that began with the Genesis 3:15 promise.

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