The First Christmas Promise

The First Christmas Promise

The First Christmas Promise is a sermon teaching us that the promise of a Redeemer was written thousands of years before any other religious writings.

Reference: Genesis 3:1-15

The first part of Genesis, chapters 1-11 are foundational on which the rest of the bible is based on.

Genesis 3:14: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Celebrating the Birth of Jesus

This sermon is to help you get a stronger faith and foundation. Every December, the Christian world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Some debate as to whether Jesus was born on December 25th and some debate if he was born in December at all. Regardless, it is proper that we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into this world. Even though you may want to debate what month He was born, we agree that He was born. Some say Jesus is a myth and that He never came into existence, but there’s too much historical evidence to the contrary. One piece of evidence, it is the year 2020 A.D., anno domino, in the year of our Lord. It may have been a Latin construct, but the world came to accept that.

The bible declares to us that Jesus was born and that there were several celebrations that were about His birth. We heard of angels celebrating and shepherds and wisemen as well. There were several celebrations of Jesus’ birth. There was the celebration of Anna at the temple and other celebrations in the bible of His birth at the time. So, it is not wrong that we should celebrate His birth.

Bible Predates Other Religious Writings

Some would object that Christianity and the worship of Jesus is only a variation of other religions. That objection is not valid. The promise to mankind of a Redeemer is many centuries older than what we call the world’s major religions. To be fair, there have been many religions that people do not count as major religions because they are no longer influential at least not as they once were. For example, the Egyptian religion is very old but not many people hold to the ancient Egyptian religion today. The Greek, Roman, and Norse gods are not generally considered to be real at all but considered to be mythology.

But we will look at things more pertinent to the times in which we live. The bible was written over a period approximately between 1,500 to 2,000 years. That is from the writing of the first book to the last book. Approximately 40 different writers penned the bible. They wrote in the Middle East, Europe, and they wrote in Asia Minor and Anatolia. It is impossible for us to have the New Testament without having the Old Testament. The New Testament is based on the Old Testament. Without an “old” testament you can’t have a “new” testament. The New Testament is the realization of the Old Testament. Take the bible as a whole and you must go back to the beginning to understand how ancient these scriptures are.

To understand the bible, we have to take it as a whole. Our faith must be based on both testaments and the bible as a whole. What about the other world great religions? Don’t they have sacred writings? Yes, they do, it is an undisputed fact. But the bible in its historical narrative, in the stories that it tells, predates all the other religious writings. Not only does the writings of the bible predate the oldest we have found, the Gilgamesh Epic, but the Gilgamesh Epic is basically the retelling of the story of Noah. It was back in the Sumerian civilization. The bible predates all of the religious writings if you go back to its beginning of the stories that it tells. Moses himself lived and wrote approximately 1400 to 1500 B.C. There is a portion of the book of Numbers in chapter 6 that is still in existence and was written in 700 B.C., almost 3,000 years ago.

The Hindu religion is said to date back to 1700 B.C. but the Vedas, the collection of the oldest Hindu writing known to exist, only date to 750 A.D. Almost 1,500 years later than little section of Numbers we just read. Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, is said to have lived approximately 500 B.C. to about 400 B.C. But the earliest Buddhist texts date to 100 B.C., about three centuries after the death of Buddha and about three centuries after the close of the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament.

The Islamic texts, the Koran, is said to have been written circa 600 A.D., so that would be 500 years after the close of the New Testament with the book of Revelation. There are in existence a number, not one or two, New Testament texts that are documented to be at least from the first half to the second century A.D., that would be from 250 A.D. or earlier and are very possibly much older than that, as much as 150 A.D., that’s at least 350 years before Muhammed lived. The bible predates all the other religious writings.

The First Promise

The first promise of a Redeemer is many, many centuries older than what we call the world’s oldest religion. Even if we can trace back Hinduism to 700 B.C., the first promise of a Redeemer for mankind predates that by about 2,300 years. We need to take a fresh look at Genesis chapter 3, because there is a first promise of a Redeemer, a Messiah, a Savior of mankind. And when we get down to December and we have numerous celebrations, but we get down to the major one, what are we really celebrating? The coming of the Redeemer.

Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Some mock Christianity because we are supposed to take the bible literally and it mentions a talking snake. But was this a serpent in the sense that we know what serpents are? Yes and no. That serpent represents:

Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Do you think there is any connection with the serpent mentioned here? Scofield has a note on Genesis 3:1 that says, “the serpent in his Edenic form is not thought of as the writhing reptile, that is the effect of the curse.”

Genesis 3:14: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

Apparently, prior to this, the serpent did not go on his belly. Scofield notes mention, “the serpent in his Edenic form is not thought of as the writhing reptile, that is the effect of the curse. The creature that lent itself to Satan, may well have been the most beautiful and the most subtle of all creatures less than man.” Where did he get that it was beautiful? It does not say that in Genesis 3:1. He got it from Ezekiel where God speaks of Satan:

Ezekiel 28:17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”

God is saying Satan was created in beauty. So not only a beautiful creature, but a subtle creature. Scofield notes say, “The creature that lent itself to Satan, may well have been the most beautiful and the most subtle of all creatures less than man. Traces of beauty remain despite the curse. Every movement of the serpent is graceful, many species are beautifully colored. In the serpent, Satan first appeared as an angel of light. Ref. II Corinthians 11:14” What he’s talking about serpents are graceful in their movement and can be beautiful, even after the curse.

Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Being subtle means to be undercover, not in the open. When he speaks to the woman, there are a couple of things to think about. 1) Is it a stretch to think a serpent could talk to a woman? If God could create the heavens and the Earth and all plant and animal life in it, do you suppose that same God could make a snake that talked? 2) Looking at it another way, perhaps God did not make a snake that talked, perhaps this serpent that didn’t crawl on its belly yet is possessed of a spirit. Do you think spirits can possess animals? Yes, there is biblical evidence of that other than this. Suppose it was possessed of a spirit and that spirit being Satan himself. Do you suppose that spirit can talk? Yes. The “talking snake” is not a very strong argument against this story.

There is more than one scenario other than these two where this can be possible. 3) The third scenario might be that the word “serpent” is symbolic and not meaning a literal serpent, but Satan is called the old dragon, the serpent mentioned in Revelation 12:9. So there are three possible explanations for a talking snake or talking serpent. I do think it is a literal serpent because there is no indication in the text here, otherwise. But in any case, there are three distinct possibilities.

The Great Lie

So, he said to the woman and this is where it begins in Genesis 3:1, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Can you not hear him ask this question? “Did God really say that? Did He really tell you, you can’t eat of the tree in the garden? Do you think that’s what He meant?” The woman, Eve, gave an answer.

Before we get to that, do you suppose that sometime in ancient history, a first human man existed? The likely answer is “yes.” Do you suppose that sometime in ancient history, a first human woman existed? The likely answer is “yes.” So why could it have not been Adam and Eve? By the way, “Adam” means “man,” and “Eve” means “woman.” We are talking about the first man and first woman.

Genesis 3:2: “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:” Yes we can, God did say that.

Genesis 3:3: “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

If God said, do not eat of the fruit of that tree do you suppose that she could logically conclude that she shouldn’t touch it? Yes. But back in verse 1 where Satan says if God really says that. And we look at verse 4:

Genesis 3:4: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”

First, Satan is questioning what God said, planting a seed of doubt as to what God said. But then in verse 4, he is flat out denying what God said, that it is not true that she would die. That had to seem logical to Eve. Think about it. The first woman living with the first man, no children yet, there are animals and plant life. Realize in that framework that nothing had ever died. She had never seen a person die, it was only her and Adam. She had never seen an animal die, nor a plant die. God told them about death, but they had never seen it.

People are still largely that way today. A lot of people think death is going to happen but not to them. Death will not happen to them and they continue living on. They live that way like it is never going to end. One small proof of that is people say, “well there’s always tomorrow.” But for some people, tomorrow does not come. Do not blame Eve for listening to Satan on this when he said that she would not die. She had no death experience to relate to. There was not any.

Genesis 3:4: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”

Genesis 3:5: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Verses 4 are 5 are together and are to be taken together. Satan says that she will not die and not to believe that to be true. He tells her that God just wants to keep her away from that tree, make her afraid, to hold her in fear. But the real reason is that God knows when she eats, that her eyes will be opened, and she would be as gods knowing both good and evil. The last part of that is true. God did not want them to know good and evil. Stop and consider this. Just like Eve did not know about death, she did not know about evil either. God was not at all concerned that they would know good because they already knew good. God did not want them to come to know evil.

But Satan’s lie is that God did not want her to do this because her eyes would be opened, she would be fully illuminated. She will see what she cannot now see. Be careful of people who tell you that you can have special insight that no one else has. A lot of times, that is coming from a false source. There are many examples of that. One example in the New Testament period was a group of people called the Gnostics, from gnosis, meaning “to know.” They claimed to be people that had special knowledge that nobody else had unless she became a Gnostic. Then and only then could she have this special knowledge. There are a lot of folks like that today, they do not call themselves Gnostics, but there are some like that today.

So, Satan says the lie that you are not going to die, do not believe that, and you will be like God, you can be gods. People do not become gods and they do not become angels either. You become a person in Heaven, a human. Satan says to not believe what God has said, he is telling you things that are not true and He’s not telling you that you too can be like God. You cannot. Why? There is only one God, only one. That does not mean there is no hope of eternal life or there is no Heaven. It just means we are not gods.

Genesis 3:6: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Hiding from God

Genesis 3:7: “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

They did not know that they were naked, but now they know, now it matters.

Genesis 3:8: “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

Ever since then, there have been people, who have been trying to hide from God. Jonah tried, he boarded a ship bound for Tarshish. Some say it was along the coast of Spain, but the real Tarshish was Britain. That’s where Jonah was planning to go but he never got there. He was trying to get away from God. David wrote about it, “If I shall make my presence in Hell, you are there. If I go to Heaven, you’re there, or under cover of darkness you see me.” You cannot hide from God. It is not possible. But ever since Genesis 3:8, people have been trying to do it and still are.

Genesis 3:9: “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”

In verse 9, God asks the first question He gives in the bible. There are many times in the bible where God asks questions. God is all-knowing and knows the answer, but he asks the question so we can think about the answer. When God asks Adam, “Where art thou?” He wanted Adam to think about where he was and realize that he was hiding, asking himself why he was hiding, “Where am I? How did I get here?” And that is why God asks the question. We should think about where we are and how in life did we get there today?

Genesis 3:10: “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Adam is afraid. He was never afraid of God before. We do not know how old Adam was when this happened. Perhaps it was just a few days, but scripture does not say that. One theory is that Adam has been around for about 30 years. In Hebrew custom, a man was not considered mature until he was 30. That is why Jesus started His earthly ministry when He was 30. Jesus is called the Second Adam.

We know Adam lived until he was 930 years old. No one lives that long now, nor had they for thousands of years. Not only is it possible, but extremely likely that the whole atmospheric condition of the planet was different then than it is now, and that people lived longer because of that. If you read about the flood, it caused cataclysmic changes in the planet and in the atmosphere, people did not live hundreds of years whereas, before that, they did. It is likely that there were climatic changes.

Adam had never been afraid before. It is what Satan did. In verse 4, he said, “thou shalt not surely die.” to make him afraid. They were not afraid, they just believed what God said. But Satan planted doubt. People construct doubt about the bible all the time. If it does not mean what it says and you start saying it means something it does not say, where do you stop with that? Scripture says what it means and means what it says. It’s very simple. So why do people want to attach these other thoughts? because they want to be a part of that special knowledge crowd. You should be insulted when someone tells you they know what it really means. So, Adam is afraid and he is afraid of God. He does not want to face God. To this day, people still have this attitude, and they do not like to come into God’s presence, and they do not want to be exposed.

John 3:19: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

John 3:20: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

John 3:21: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Genesis 3:11: “And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

God asks two more questions and says He didn’t tell them that and made no issue out of that. God asks him who told him that? God already knows and asks who told him that? He wants Adam to think about that. “Who told me that? Where did I get that idea?”

The Blame Game

God asks Adam if he ate of the tree that he was commanded not to eat from. God already knew the answer, but he wanted Adam to think about it. He did it knowingly and willingly and admits he did exactly what he was told not to do. God wants Adam to confess and face up to what he had done.

Genesis 3:12: “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

The blame game begins. This chapter has a lot of firsts. We see the beginning of lies in this chapter, the beginning of shame, disobedience, sin, and the beginning of the blame game. God asked him a simple question if he ate of the fruit of the tree. Adam says Eve did it and that it was her fault. But Adam was made first and put in charge of the garden, and now he blames his wife. Men have been doing this ever since. The point is, Adam is responsible. And that is what God is trying to get him to do is face his own responsibility.

Genesis 3:13: “And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

God asks Eve what she had done. God already knew the answer. And the woman said that it was the serpent. Adam and Eve passed the buck, blaming somebody else for what they did wrong.

Genesis 3:14: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

In general, women do not like snakes and creeping things. People are afraid of things and understandably so because it might harm them. They do not want to be harmed. God says that he put enmity between that serpent, and the woman and they are not going to get along.

The Woman’s Seed

Focusing on the words, “between thy seed, and her seed;” is interesting because in other parts of the bible you will find genealogies that show a man begat a man, etc., and once in a while it mentions a mother in those genealogies. A mother is not often mentioned because it is the man that passes down the heritage. The man was considered the head of the house and head of the family. So, the family takes the man’s name, and the man passes down the heritage.

In the story of the prodigal son, the father is passing down the inheritance to those two sons. So many times, the wife or mother is not mentioned. For example, King Saul had sons and daughters, but his wife is never mentioned. The bible tells us that the heritage is passed down through the man, but not in this case. Here is the exception and it is a very notable exception. When God says, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy [Satan’s] seed and her seed;” There are descendants of the serpent, yes, there are children of the devil.

John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”

God says, “between thy seed and her seed;” not Adam’s seed, but her seed.

Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

“By one man sin entered the world.” That man was Adam. And death came with sin and “death passed upon all men.” We all inherited the sin nature from Adam and not Eve. We are not counted as the woman’s seed, but somebody is.

Revelation 12:1: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:”

Revelation 12:2: “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

Revelation 12:3: “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”

In Revelation 12:1-3, the bible teaches us about the attempt of Satan to destroy the woman. That attempt was carried out in Matthew chapter 2.

Matthew 2:16: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.”

Herod did this atrocious act because he wanted to get rid of the seed of the woman. He was motivated to do that because there was enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman.

A Sign from God

In Isaiah chapter 7, Jerusalem was under siege by several other countries including the king of Sumeria, or Israel. Ahaz was the king of Judah. Ahaz sees his capital city surrounded by armies and says it is hopeless that they don’t have a chance. But then, God gave a message to the prophet Isaiah to go Ahaz and the message in part said, “Take heed and be quiet. Fear not and don’t be faint-hearted.” God is saying to King Ahaz through Isaiah, to not worry, He is in control and will take care of it.

But Ahaz doubted God. So, God offered Ahaz something countless other people would love to have, people down through millennia would have wanted, and people today would want to have. God tells Ahaz to ask him to give him a sign. Ask for a sign. Ahaz says that he would not ask. Anyone would have asked God to him a sign in heaven or the earth and He would give it to them, but not Ahaz. Moreover, the Lord spoke again to Ahaz to ask for a sign.

Isaiah 7:10: “Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,”

Isaiah 7:11:” Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”

Isaiah 7:12: “But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.”

But Ahaz still would not ask.

Isaiah 7:13: “And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?”

Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

God tells Ahaz that he will give a sign, that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. That is a sign. Some argue that “virgin” could mean “a young woman.” In that case, it is not a sign, it happens every day, multiple times a day, all over the world. Having a virgin conceive is a sign because it does not happen. Moreover, God said his name shall be Emmanuel or God with Us. So, who is this son that this virgin, this miracle birth is going to produce? God with Us. That makes the verse Genesis 3:15 the first Christmas promise. That is it. The promise of a son will be the seed of the woman not the seed of the man. That promise was made 4,000 years before it happens.

Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it [the seed of the woman] shall bruise thy [the serpent’s] head, and thou [the serpent] shalt bruise his [the seed of the woman’s] heel.”

In Psalms 22, David wrote prophetically of the crucifixion.

Psalms 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”

Jesus was nailed to the cross through his hands and his feet, but not a bone of Him was broken. But He didn’t die from having His feet nailed to the cross. He died willingly, He says that no man takes his life but he gives it willingly and has the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. And He did exactly that.

John 10:17: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”

John 10:18: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

But then Jesus dealt a death blow to Satan, the old serpent. Jesus proclaimed:

Revelation 1:18: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

The Promise of Hope

So, this is the first Christmas promise here in Genesis 3:15. It is the promise that all though we have sinned our loving God has not left us without hope. 18 times in the Old Testament we are told about the Redeemer that shall come. Eight of those times are in the book of Isaiah. Two times in the book of Daniel we are told that the Messiah will come. Messiah, meaning the anointed one, or translated from the Greek into English, the Christ will come. 37 times, 13 in the Old Testament, 24 times in the New Testament we are told about the Savior. So, the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Savior is coming. We are told again, again, and again. A total of 57 times we are told that the Savior is coming.

The word “genesis” means “the beginning.” Genesis is the book of beginnings, the beginning of when God told us of a Savior and promised us, He would come. 3,000 years after this promise is made, Isaiah writes this:

Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Who is this son who is coming? Emmanuel, God with Us. About 740 years after Isaiah wrote those words, and old tax collector would record the words of an angel who appeared to a man named Joseph”

Matthew 1:20: “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”

Matthew 1:21: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

So, for 4,000 years, God promised the child would come and now 2,000 years after He came we are celebrating the fact that he did come and we take hope in another promise that He gave.

John 14:3: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Jesus has not come yet. But between Genesis 3:15 when the first promise the Redeemer would come and the time that the Redeemer came was 4,000 years, now we are 2,000 past the promise that He said He’d come again. If God was on the same time schedule, which He does not need to be, then we have another 2,000 years to go before it happens. But it can happen at any time. Jesus said that He will not only come again but also said:

John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The Savior was promised to come, and He came. He has promised to come again, He will come again. In the meantime, how do you get to God, there is no other way but by Jesus.

I John 5:11: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

I John 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

These things were written so you would know you have eternal life because you believe in the name of the Son of God and that you may believe in the Son of God. That is the promise.

Adam and Ever were asked to believe God, to take Him at His word. Four thousand years through the Old Testament, God asked people to believe Him and take Him at His word. For 2,000 years since the beginning of the New Testament, God is still asking us to believe Him and take Him at His word. Believe the promise.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: The First Christmas Promise

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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