“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”
And in John 5:39 and 46 Jesus says this:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me…For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.”
According to Jesus the entire Old Testament is about Him. The Old Testament was written to tell us about Jesus. If we are to grasp and appreciate the richness of the Old Testament we must be diligent to look for Jesus in its pages. How does the Old Testament reveal Jesus? First it tells us of the numerous promises made by God concerning the coming of Jesus. Next it tells us how God prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. And finally it provides us with vivid pictures of what Jesus would be like and what He would do when He did come. In this series of posts I will turn to the pages of the Old Testament in the hopes of finding Jesus.
For a study like this the best place to begin is at the beginning. The first chapters of Genesis reveal God’s power in the creation of all things. Chapters 1 and 2 focus in on the creation of man. Here we learn that man was created in the image of God and was thus the pinnacle of God’s creation. Man was given a unique place in creation and was invested with a special purpose. We also learn that man was given one instruction—he was forbidden from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He was also told that the penalty for disobedience was death; both spiritual and physical. I think that we all know what happened next, Adam and Eve ate from the tree and fell under the curse of death. At that moment Adam and Eve became aware of their shame, guilt and separation from God. This manifested itself in their recognition that they are naked; prior to this they were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25).
Once they recognized their nakedness (guilt and separation from God) they do two things; they hide and they try to cover their sin and shame. Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness by sewing fig leaves together for clothes. This act is humorous, pathetic and overwhelmingly instructive. Leaves don’t make good clothing; but it was their best attempt at self-salvation. But these “clothes” did not cover anything and they certainly did not wash away their guilt. Adam and Eve were still naked and they couldn’t undue what they had done. Their guilt and sin now defined who they were and it destroyed the relationship with God that they once enjoyed. But the story doesn’t end with the sin of Adam and Eve.
In Genesis 3 God speaks. He begins by revealing to Adam and Eve the extent of this curse. What God reveals in the first few verses of Genesis 3 is the law. This law revealed their sin and it made perfectly clear that Adam and Eve could not save themselves. But in the midst of giving a curse God speaks a word of promise, a word of Grace. God preaches the gospel to Adam and Eve. The promise is found in Genesis 3:15. God is speaking to the serpent, revealing his condemnation, but He does it in earshot of Adam and Eve. God says to the serpent:
“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.”
As important as what God says is what He doesn’t say. He doesn’t turn to Adam and Eve and say: “Well you’ve blown it and now you need to get yourself out of this mess. Here is a list of rules that you need to follow in order to free yourself from this oppression.” No, God tells the serpent what He is going to do to free Adam and Eve from bondage. Adam and Eve had joined with Satan in rebellion against God but God was going to act and undue this fellowship by creating enmity between Satan and the woman which would ultimately result in the serpents demise. This enmity would be manifested throughout history in an ongoing conflict between Satan and his offspring and the woman and her offspring. But this enmity would not last forever, God would send one who would wage and win one final and definitive battle with Satan. In that final battle Satan would take his best shot at victory and attack the heel (yes heel, not the most strategic maneuver) of this promised one. The promised descendant of the woman would return fire and strike a blow at the head of the serpent. This blow to the head would be definitive and would in fact crush the serpent; ensuring that mankind could indeed be freed from the bondage of Satan, sin and death.
It shouldn’t be all that difficult to see how Genesis 3:15 speaks of Christ; in fact throughout history it has been called the proto evangelum or first gospel. Christ is that promised one, the one who was struck (literally on the cross) on the heel. But in being struck Christ struck back, crushing the head of the serpent. The sin of Adam was defeated, not by the efforts of Adam and Eve, but by Christ. But there is more in Genesis 3 that points to Christ.
God had promised to destroy the serpent, but Adam and Eve were still naked. But in Genesis 3:21 we are told that…
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”
God literally covered the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve and He does it with the skin of an animal. While it is not explicitly revealed in the text I believe that the implication is that a sacrifice was made. God took away the leaves of their own attempts at righteousness and sacrificed an animal in their place so that Adam and Eve could be clothed. That animal died so that they could live. It should not come as a surprise then that the New Testament says this about believers in relationship with Christ; in Galatians 3:26, 27 the Apostle Paul says:
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Christ is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:21, He is the sacrifice which covers our unrighteousness so that we might stand before God holy and blameless. In Him we are clothed and our sin is forgiven.