2018 Advent – Prophecy
Prophesy includes prediction as well as prescription. The first explicit prophesy of Christ’s coming to deliver us, often termed the proto-evangelicum, meaning the first or original Gospel, is found in Genesis 3:14-15*. “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. 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 Lord cursed our enemy through Jesus Christ…
The LORD God is the speaker giving the final word. Notice, the serpent is completely silent throughout this promise or proclamation! This sermon is entitled Christmas Curse because that is the first word God gives in light of the serpent’s poisonous rhetoric. The LORD God curses the serpent. This is the canvas upon which He paints this glorious and splendid picture of the Good News of the coming Redeemer.
What on earth did Satan do that demanded this cursing? He deceived our first mother and lead our first parents to rebel against the LORD their God! He preached another “gospel” to them. The way he did this was by attacking God’s being and God’s work. This attack can be seen in 7 ways:
Satan attacked how we are called to function, as a team, a body or one person. Notice the context and proximity of Genesis 2:15-17 and verse 18. We need covenant relationships to help us faithfully live in covenant with the LORD. Notice also how the LORD called Adam to lead his family, Gen. 2:15-17 and yet Satan bypasses and excludes Adam and his call to shepherd and speaks directly to the woman. This also reminds us how the devil often seeks to separate us from our Head, Jesus Christ as well as separate the desires of our body from our thinking. We also isolate ourselves from others who were created to help us.
Satan attacked our foundation, by refusing to fixate us on the being and beauty of the LORD and His Gospel capsulized in His covenant name, Yahweh.
Satan attacked our focus, by amplifying the prohibition given us as if the LORD’s generous gift is meaningless and what He prohibits is actually the way to life and happiness, the answer and key we need to live.
Satan attacked our faith, by directly contradicting the LORD’s word as if to throw doubt on its reliability. Ultimately, he attacked the LORD’s character.
Satan attacked our future felicity, by persuading us to believe our rebellion would go completely unpunished but instead be rewarded with the ultimate blessing.
Satan attacked our freedom, by promising total autonomy and equality apart from God and with God respectively. In reality, seeking autonomy inevitability leads to enslavement to sin and destruction.
Satan attacked our fellowship and friendship with the LORD, by calling us to live independent of Him as if we could successfully exist without His revelation and guidance.
All these things are ultimately an attack on the LORD God and His sovereign establishment, ordering, interpretation and purpose of all things. This is why Satan is rightfully cursed by the LORD. Compare how the Apostle Paul cursed any who would preach a false gospel that ultimately called man to self-reliance and self-salvation, Gal. 1:6-9. This is the same thing Satan is doing here. He is cursed because he proclaims that we don’t need the LORD God, His revelation or His shepherding to live and be successful. We can be gods ourselves! We can be law makers if we just become law breakers!
Because of this, the LORD God makes Satan/the serpent the most cursed of all! The serpent is made to grovel and daily eat dust. The serpent’s objective was a total takedown of humanity. That every man, woman and child would be subject to his will and anti-God in their every endeavor. This is proven by his aim to take Jesus down, which if successful, would in fact seal the fate of every human being to eternally remain hostile to and alienated from the LORD.
Instead, the LORD God caused the serpent to daily be reminded of its impending doom by eating dust and intensifying his damnation by completely and irreversibly giving him over to his hostility to humanity, which is dust according to their Creator, 3:19. The fact that any person believes in Jesus proves undeniably what an utter failure Satan has been in reaching his objective!
Therefore, we must recognize Satan is damned, doomed and the chief loser eternally. He cannot and will not win! Nothing he does will succeed! Every strategy he has will self-destruct because he is Divinely cursed! Do not fear him but be aware of his strategies and even more aware of the LORD God’s promises, 1 Cor. 10:13. His strategies have been destroyed, for sin, which is the sting of death, has been destroyed and the fear of death has been overcome with the Lord’s perfect love, 1 Cor. 15:56; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 4:17-19.
The Lord combats our enemy through Jesus Christ…
Not only is he cursed but his desire to form alliances against the LORD God by turning all of humanity against Him will fall flat because the LORD God promises enmity! From the very beginning, the woman Satan initially deceived will be delivered from his grip for the LORD promises her release and confirms it by clothing her nakedness with the skin of an animal symbolizing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sinners yet to come, Gen. 3:21.
Moreover, the LORD God promises a company of people, later revealed as a nation, a race and a great multitude of people no one could count who will gladly submit to, adore, boast about, love, hunger for, follow and recognize the true and living LORD God! What was to be a total takeover is now exceedingly reduced as God sovereignly and successfully seeks a people from every nation who will worship Him in spirit and in truth!
This company is not only positively disposed towards the LORD but also positively hostile to the serpent, frustrating his every strategy as they rely on God’s heavenly wisdom hidden in Christ Jesus. They triumph over his desire to takedown humanity as they wrestle against him victoriously (2 Cor. 2:14-17; Eph. 6:10-20), demolish all his strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-5) and plunder him of his people (Matt. 12:29-30 with Matt. 16:16-18)!
The Lord crushes our enemy through Jesus Christ…
In the first advent of Christ, the LORD God promises not only enmity, not only an army auspiciously antithetical and audaciously antagonist to the serpent but also a Redeemer who is strong, a Warrior who will win and a Seed who will crush his head thereby short-circuiting all the serpent’s plans. No matter how skilled or smart you are, you simply cannot make successful plans if your skull has been crushed, 1 John 3:5, 8!
In God’s grace, He plans to use the very race of people who rejected Him and rebelled against Him to bring forth a Savior, Christ the Lord! This Seed of the woman (salvation without the power of a man) will crush the cursed serpent by being crushed, cut off and cursed for His people’s sins!! The sermon is called “Christmas Curse” because Jesus came to be cursed, cut off and crushed for our salvation. Although we have disobeyed the Lord and have fallen under the curse of God (Gal. 3:10), we have a sacrificial, loving and gracious Savior – Jesus Christ who was crushed that we might be complete, cut off that we might be reconciled and cursed that we might be blessed (Gal. 3:13)! Christmas, the coming of Christ is about Jesus coming to be crushed, cut off and cursed for your sins to be cleansed, your life to be created new and you might experience eternally the blessing of God Himself!!
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! Cf. Rom. 11
Because Jesus’s heel was crushed on the Cross, Satan has now been bound and he can no longer hold the nations in darkness (Rev. 20:1-2), not when the Gospel is preached to God’s Elect. They must be released from his grip but for them to be released we must open our mouths and tell the story of a Savior who came to be cursed, cut off, and crushed for those who were cursed, cut off and crushed because of sin, so that we through His sacrifice and suffering might be blessed as we look to Him and turn from sin and follow Him! God’s promise to crush Satan under Jesus’s feet is true also for those who follow Christ (Romans 16:20), for greater is He (Christ Jesus) who is in us than He who is within the world, 1 John 4:4!