Advent 2022 – The Protoevangelium

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 3:15

Many times we read through a book of the Bible and take no time to dwell upon the words. All too often this is the case with Genesis 3:15. We read it, know what it says, but then do not live in the life of such a glorious truth. This is not just God speaking to Adam and Eve, but it is God proclaiming the birth of Christ AND sharing the message of the Gospel for the first time. It is the beginning of the redemptive message sewn throughout Scripture. Very rarely, if ever, do we consider what this truly means. It is the very first prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah, or what we call “Christmas” and it is also the first time in which his work is announced. It is quite literally the gospel in 2 verses! The word “protoevangelium: translates directly into “first gospel.” While it is not as direct a proclamation as we usually think of, it is just as powerful: one would come that would conquer sin and death forever. The difference is where we sit in the storyline of redemption, Adam, Eve, and the serpent all sat at the beginning of the redemptive tail and were awaiting this promised one. You and I sit somewhere after the events prophesied and look back upon the one that was promised. Regardless of where in the story one sits, the story is the same; the Son of God utterly destroys sin and death thus winning and purchasing the salvation of his people.

While it seems odd to discuss a prophecy about the death (and resurrection) of Christ during the Christmas season, it is much more relevant than most realize. Genesis 3:1-13 is the exact reason why Christ even had to come to die in the first place. Through Adam all were doomed to a fallen life of sin and so only through his offspring could a deliverer be born. The promise made to Eve as a mother is an encouraging one; through her offspring the one that would deliver his people would be born. In the same way the angel declares to Mary and Joseph the purpose of their son, God is declaring to Adam and Eve that there will be deliverance for mankind delivered through their future descendants. Christ did not come to the earth so that we might have an excuse for time off of work, for the giving of gifts, for silly songs, or for eating copious amounts of fattening food. He came so that he could fulfill God’s plan through dying upon a cross and paying the debt for our sins. While his birth in Bethlehem is certainly miraculous in and of itself, it is merely a foreshadowing or a taste of the ultimate power and miracle on display in Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

As we commemorate his birth this holiday season we must also give thanks and stand amazed at what was accomplished. The Son of God became the Son of Man, born of a virgin with the entire purpose of redeeming his people. His birth that night was not just the birth of the Messiah, but it was the beginning of the end of sin and death holding any sway upon mankind. His birth not only ushered in the beginning of his life on Earth, but began his purpose: to put death to death and to provide the way in which his people would truly be redeemed. No more need for sacrifices, no more need for rituals, no more need for priests and prophets. The plan was coming to fruition and his people would be redeemed. Now, as we celebrate Christmas we can do so knowing that our salvation is secure in who he is and what he accomplished and that is indeed a wonderful reason to celebrate!

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