Lesson 7: The Promised Incarnation (Pastor Barbara Caesar Stephenson)
Introduction – A Brief Review
In our previous lessons we saw the entrance of spiritual death into the life of man. In studying the problems that the Father God faced in order to provide man with a safe-haven from spiritual death, we saw that man’s redemption demanded the union of Deity and humanity in one individual. Man’s need for righteousness, eternal life, and a mediator could only be met by the incarnation of God’s son.
The incarnation of Deity with humanity will provide a suitable substitute. For, deity and humanity will be united on such grounds that the Incarnate One can stand as man’s mediator. Being equal with God on the one hand, and united with man on the other, he will be able to bring the two together.
Again, being deity and humanity united, He will be able to assume the obligations of correcting humanity’s treason, satisfy the claims of justice and build a bridge over the chasm between God and man.
When man committed the crime of high treason, he died spiritually. In his existence of spiritual death, his condition is described as “without hope and without God in the world.”
Immediately God’s love began to work on man’s behalf. The father God raised man’s condition. He knew that man’s needs could only be met on legal grounds by the incarnation of His son. His love counted no sacrifice too great to bring man again into His fellowship.
“Mercy and truth met together …” (Psalms 85:10), and the triumph of love gave to man a promised a Redeemer.
The Incarnation: Promised
In his conversations with Satan, God gives to him the first promise of the incarnation.
Genesis 3: 15 “… and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, he shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.”
Let us notice four remarkable statements in this promise:
- First: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman.” That is, there will be enmity between Satan and woman.
- Second: “I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed.” “Thy seed” is the un-regenerated human race, and the “woman’s seed” is Christ. Christ was hunted from his baby hood by Satan’s seed until they nailed him to the cross; and from the resurrection of Jesus unto this day, the church has been the subject of the bitterest persecution and enmity of the world.
- Third: “The seed of the woman.” Here is a prophecy that a woman shall give birth to a child independent of natural generation. A child is always born of the seed of a man.
- Fourth: “… and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” He shall bruise thy head. That is, the head of Satan. In all oriental languages, the term “bruise the head” means breaking the lordship of the ruler. Man has given Satan his dominion. Satan has just come into the dominion that God has given to man. He is going to exercise that dominion until the seed of a woman comes. A man is going to break his lordship. The heel is the church in its earth walk. The long ages of persecution of the church by the seed of Satan are a fact of history.
This is a remarkable prophecy, and how clearly it has been fulfilled. The incarnate one has come and brought to nought him that had the authority of this world, that is the devil, “And deliver(ed) them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15
This Scripture has also found its fulfillment in Jesus’ bitter persecution, which finds its culmination in his death on the cross; and then, in the persecution of the church, which is the body of Christ, which carried out his will upon the earth.
Genesis 3:20 the man called his wife’s name Eve, “because she was the mother of all living.” The word Eve in Hebrew is “Havvah” which literally means “mother of all living,” or the “life giver.” Here God tells man that his wife shall be the mother of the life-giving-one, our Christ.
The teaching of the incarnation is not out of harmony with human desire or tradition. It has been believed in by all tribes of people in some form.
Universal man has craved for and his spirit hungers for union with Deity because he was created in God’s image with the ability to partake of God’s life. This is proved by man’s drinking the blood of human sacrifices, by the naming of his teams after the titles of his deities, and also making his emperor or king an incarnation of deity. The gods of the Greeks and Romans were supposed to have been divine and human, showing man’s hunger for union with deity. The incarnation is no more difficult to believe then the creation of the first man. Adam was created by an act of divine power, the rest of the human race was generated by natural processes; but this Redeemer, who was to be born of a woman, is to be formed by a special act of divine power. He is God Almighty, and incarnation is a possibility with him.
Satan’s Attempts to block the Incarnation
We do not know how clearly Satan realized the plan of God for man’s redemption that was given in the promised Redeemer. We know that he did not fully understand it, or he would not have crucified Christ. (I Corinthians 2:8). He thought that crucifixion was the disruption of Christ’s life, not knowing that it would mean man’s redemption.
Nevertheless, Satan must have realized the fact that if the Redeemer was common to humanity he could break Satan’s dominion over man. He therefore seeks to destroy the plan of the Father GOD.
The working of Satan to thwart the purpose of God follows two lines:
He seeks to destroy the knowledge of God on the earth and to destroy a Righteous line in humanity.
Through these two lines of attack, he will make it impossible for a Redeemer to ever come through humanity. He desires to separate man from all fellowship with God. Satan’s first attempt to pursue his purpose was in the murder of Abel by Cain (Genesis 4: 1-15).
Abel gave witness that he was righteous by offering a sacrifice in faith according to the revelation that God had given to him. Gen 4:4: “and Able, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof, and Jehovah had respect unto his offering.”
Hebrews 11:4: “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
Satan did not know whether Abel would be man’s Redeemer, therefore he destroyed his life. And doing this he destroyed the righteous line then existing.
Genesis 4:25: Seth was born to Adam and Eve. Eve seemed to realize that a righteous line had been destroyed and that Seth had been given to fulfill Abel’s place. She named him Seth, which means substitute and said God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.
As generations pass, spiritual death is at work within the life of man, causing him to walk alienated from God with his mind blinded. Eph. 4:17-18. Satan is attempting to make the seed of the woman so utterly estranged from God that he will never be able to send a Redeemer through humanity.
The only promise so far given in reference to the incarnation has been very general. Therefore, Satan’s bitter war against the seed of the woman was very general. Later on God makes the promise of the Redeemer more specific and marked; and as we study we shall see a specific working of Satan to the destruction of the righteous line named by God.
Genesis 3:15: think on it – one is called the seed of the woman, a general term.
Genesis 12:3: It becomes more marked and the Incarnate One is specific as being the seed of Abraham.
Psalms 89:3-4: He is termed the seed of David. He shall come from the family of David. Family is marked.
And Isaiah 7:14 makes it still more specific when he says “behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and call his name Emmanuel.” He says, “the virgin,” just as though he had marked her out. An individual is marked.
As we study the history of Israel, we shall see the efforts of Satan directed toward the seed of Abraham, and then the seed of David, and then his bitter hatred and persecution of Jesus Christ, born of the virgin.
Genesis 5 gives to us the genealogy of Noah. As Satan wants to destroy a righteous line, God is preserving the line to which the Redeemer shall come. He is working toward the incarnation.
It is well for you to read chapters 4 and 5, that two things may be noted.
After Cain is brought conspicuously before us by the murder of his brother, his issue is traced just a little way, and ends in Lamech, also a murderer. Gen 4:18-23. The Holy Spirit then seeks to interest us in another man altogether, the third son born to Adam and Eve, named Seth Gen 4:24-26. In this line came Noah, Shem, Abraham, Jacob, and then later on, Jesus himself the seed of the woman who bruised the serpent’s head. In order to fix our attention on Seth, the righteous line, the divine author reiterates at the beginning of chapter 5 the original count of creating man, tracing the history of Adam briefly, and then giving in detail the line of Seth. This shows us his dealings are now with this line.
Genesis 6:1-6: it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took some wives of all they chose.” We notice here the marked distinction between the Canaanites and the Sethites, the righteous line. The Canaanites built cities, invented arts and devised amusement to palliate the curse of sin: Gen. 4:21-22.
The Sethites walked with God Gen. 4:26
In Genesis 4:26 the word LORD put in capitals indicates that in the original the word for Lord used here is Jehovah, the covenant name of God. The Sethites believe in the hope of His promise anew and love that name. It is well to note that the seventh from Adam through the line of Cain, Lamech, was a polygamist murderer, and worshiper of the God of forces: Gen.4:16-24. The seventh in the line of Seth was Enoch, a man who had the testimony, that he pleased God: Hebrews 11:5 and was translated: Gen. 5:21-24.
In the sixth chapter Genesis we see again the working of Satan to thwart the purpose of God. He causes the intermarriage of the line of Cain with the righteous line. This corrupts the line to which the Redeemer shall come to such an extent that only Noah is left in the worship of the covenant God.
Genesis: 6:5 and Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Satan had destroyed the knowledge of God in the hearts of man. The thought of every man’s heart was evil continually. Only Noah knew and walked with the true God Gen. 6:8-9. If humanity was left in that condition, after Noah’s death, the knowledge of God would have been completely lost. The righteous line would have been destroyed, and the incarnation would have been an impossibility.
Seemingly, Satan had experienced success in his efforts, but God’s Almighty purpose was not to be thwarted.
It was a small matter for Satan to bring humanity into its corrupt condition Gen. 6:11-13
If a righteous line were preserved, and the knowledge of himself upon the earth, God must destroy humanity and continue the line to which the Redeemer would come – through Noah.
In the past, if we had not understood the working of the Father God toward the incarnation, perhaps the destruction of humanity has also been hard for us to understand.
Now, in the light of the fact that man’s need could only be met by the incarnation, we can see that the blood was imperative.
Explain the four statements made in Genesis 3:15.
How does history reveal the fact that universal man craves the incarnation?
What were the two means Satan used to thwart God’s plan for incarnation?
Describe Satan’s first attempt to destroy the righteous line.
Tell the distinction between the Canaanites and the Sethites.
Tell what you can of Adam’s descendents through Cain.
Why is special attention given in chapter 5 to the line of Seth?
What was Satan’s purpose in the intermarriage of Canaanites and Sethites as recorded in Genesis 6:1-3.
Why was the flood necessary?
Why does universal man crave union with deity?