The Promise

God never fails to fulfill His promises. Even though many people today reject the literal-historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture, the Bible teaches that God fulfills His promises literally, as He did His promise to bring a Redeemer.

In fact, had God not fulfilled the promise literally, there would be no such thing as Christmas.

Even as God pronounced the devastating consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, He provided hope for humanity when He told Satan, “I will put enmity between…your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15).

Over more than four millennia, God meticulously implemented His redemptive plan to bring forth the Savior. From Adam’s family God chose Abel, rather than the first-born, Cain. After Cain murdered Abel, God provided Seth in the line leading to the Redeemer (4:25). The chosen line threaded its way through Seth’s descendants Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and then Noah (Gen. 5).

By Noah’s day the world was filled with corruption, demonic influence, and unrestrained violence. God reiterated His promise of a Redeemer and established His covenant with Noah (6:18). Announcing His intention to destroy the rest of humanity with a global flood, God gave Noah a blueprint-like plan for an ark. At the appointed time, Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives went into the ark; and for more than a year, they floated on the waters of the Great Deluge.

Unbelievers like to claim the Bible’s account of a universal flood is fiction. However, thousands of worldwide flood legends are embedded in the folklore of cultures across the globe. Wrote Jonathan Sarfati for Answers in Genesis: “It is common to make legends out of historical events, but not history from legends.”1

Then Came Abraham
After the flood, God chose Noah’s son Shem and his descendants (9:26). The line of the promise wove through Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and onto Abraham (11:10–27).

With Abraham God entered into a unique relationship, making four unconditional promises, including the Messianic hope that through Abraham’s descendants all families of the earth would be blessed (12:1–3).

When Abraham was 99 years old, God confirmed an earlier promise to give him a son through his barren and elderly wife, Sarah, instructing him, “You shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants [seed] after him” (17:19). One year later, when Abraham was 100, God made good on His promise.

God then chose Isaac (26:3). And before Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, gave birth to twins, God revealed His sovereign choice of successor to the promise. It would not be the elder, but the younger twin (25:23). Thus the promise passed to Jacob.

God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, who became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jacob’s blessing on his son, Judah, distinguished Judah’s descendants as the line through whom the Savior would eventually come (49:10).

About 640 years later, God further narrowed the Messianic line to one descendant of Judah: David, the king of Israel. To David God promised, “I will set up your seed after you. Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever….Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:12, 16).

The prophets narrowed the description of the promised Redeemer even further. Through Isaiah God said He would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) and would be none other than God Himself: “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).

Micah prophesied His birthplace as Bethlehem of Judea (Mic. 5:2). And the last prophetic revelation of the Hebrew Scriptures assures, “The Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come…even the Messenger of the covenant….Behold, He is coming” (Mal. 3:1).

Four hundred years later, God’s ancient promise became a reality. He fulfilled—literally—a promise made to Adam and Eve about 4,000 years earlier. In Bethlehem, as Micah had prophesied, a young Jewish virgin named Mary (Miriam, actually), from the tribe of Judah, gave birth to the Son of God.

With all the genealogies, covenants, and prophecies of the promised Redeemer converging in the infant lying in a manger, God celebrated the event with a spectacular announcement, as the night sky suddenly exploded into dazzling light. An angel, accompanied by the heavenly host, proclaimed the good news: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David [the] Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:10–11).

ENDNOTE
  1. Jonathan Sarfati, “Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic,” March 29, 2004 <answersingenesis.org/docs2004/0329gilgamesh.asp>.

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