Advent Reflections, part 1

Advent Season is characterized by waiting and yearning. A sometimes patient, other times impatient, desire to see God’s chosen one. He will deliver all God’s people from oppression and establish justice forever. Just as God’s people in the Old Testament looked forward to Jesus, the promised offspring who will rule with compassion and vanquish all evil, so also does the church today.

In this series this Advent season I will be reflecting on passages exclusively from the Old Testament that foreshadow and anticipate the arrival of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 3:14-15 (ESV)

The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given authority to rule over all creation on behalf of God. But they were in a trial period to show their faithfulness to God, in the garden, to cultivate it and slowly make the city of God. The serpent knew that they were on probation he tempted them in the garden. Despite God’s faithfulness to them, Adam and Eve did not reciprocate but failed the test. They immediately knew that they had broken trust with their creator, and decided to hide. But God summoned them, interrogated them, and as a perfectly just judge, began to pronounce the verdict and sentence.

The passage here is God’s third verdict pronounced as judge: God addresses the subversive serpent, in order to officially declare holy war. He will bring vengeance and strike back against the rebels. There will be a struggle between their offspring. Though Satan may battle, he will lose the war, and any who follow after the serpent –the offspring of the serpent—will be crushed. The families of humanity will belong either to the serpent or to the woman.

The word ‘offspring’ has two senses. First, the sense of any born in that lineage, a family line of faithful people and a family line of unfaithful people. Those who are unfaithful can say that in some sense, Satan is their father. But second, the offspring is singular. There will be one offspring who will bring the war to a climactic end. There is one specific person who will put his enemies under his feet.

This is a summary of the gospel. While there is a widespread rebellion and oppression, God has promised deliverance to those who return to him. This pronouncement of curse upon the serpent is the good news of the gospel, since it announces a righteous deliverer will show compassion on the oppressed and bring justice.

Adam and Eve received grace that day, because they trusted that simple gospel God preached to them. Despite the limitations of their understanding, they responded by putting their hope in the fact that someday someone would come, who, unlike them, will successfully pass the test of faithfulness and will save them completely from sin and sorrow. They are considered saints because they looked forward to Jesus Christ, in faith.

And so we, the church, wait for our Savior to return to us.

Revelation 22:20-21: He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.