THE PROMISE OF THE MESSIAH
After Adam and Eve’s Fall from Grace, God seeks to restore to humanity what was lost in the Fall.
God was not willing to abandon His children. He is a God of mercy. From the moment of the very first covenant (with Adam) and its breaking, God said there would come the “seed of a woman” who would undo the work of evil. (the seed would crush the head of the serpent) God makes a promise. In Genesis 3:15, we first hear this hope, this promise of a Savior.
THE PROTOEVANGELIUM (Latin for “first gospel”)
God’s first promise to send a Savior to free humanity from the effects of the Fall.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
A solemn agreement between two people, used in salvation history as a solemn agreement between people and God. Both parties agree to commitments and exchange themselves, rather than goods or services. Also called a testament.
In the Old Testament (think covenant), God would continue to reveal Himself by making covenants, even as the world became more saturated with sin. God initiates these covenants and stays faithful to them. Through them He communicates the love He has for humanity and desire to restore our communion with Him. They all point us to the Paschal Mystery.
But because of the fallen state of humanity, it would take many centuries before God could send a savior; God would need to prepare the hearts of the people first. In these testaments, these covenants, there are promises and agreements on both sides, God and humanity. We will look at four of these covenants – those with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.
THE OLD TESTAMENT | Covenant with Noah
In the covenant with Noah, God promises to never again send a flood to kill all life on earth. The sign of this covenant is the rainbow (Genesis 9:8-17).
The covenant has a universal nature, and assures that God is still at work among the nations. It will find its fulfillment in the New Covenant that Jesus Christ extends to all the people of the world.
THE OLD TESTAMENT | The Abrahamic Covenant
In the covenant with Abraham, God makes a threefold promise (Genesis 12:1-3).
- To make of him a great nation by promising Abraham many descendants (Kingdom)
- To provide Abraham and his descendants a land of their own (Land)
- That Abraham and his descendants will be a blessing for all the nations (Blessing)
Abraham becomes a spiritual father to the Jewish people, into whom Christ would be born and whom God makes His chosen people. Through Christ, God’s blessing is brought to all the nations.
THE OLD TESTAMENT | The Mosaic Covenant
In the covenant with Moses, God gives Moses a set of laws, summarized in the Ten Commandments, which the Israelites must follow as an important sign of faithfulness to the covenant.
Through these laws, also called the Mosaic Law or the Old Law, God taught His Chosen People how to be in right relationship with Him and with one another.
THE OLD TESTAMENT | The Davidic Covenant
God’s promise to David (2 Samuel 7:16) can be fully understood through the Gospels only. Jesus Christ, a direct descendant of David (Matthew 1:6, Luke 3:31), established the Kingdom of God, which will endure forever and over which He reigns for eternity.
Finally, as the people continue to break their covenants with God, they were exiled from their homeland. It was during this time that God called prophets to speak His saving message.
Read Isaiah 53:1-11 and Jeremiah 31:31-34
And these prophets say that into this people of God there will one day come a Savior and a Redeemer.
..all the prophesies are too many to mention. Here we are discussing not just the expectation of a savior, but the many details given of that particular person. (the only one with a pre-history, pre-announcement)
- He would be a member of the tribe of Judah, he would be born of a Virgin, he would be born in the city of Bethlehem (the least of the cities).
- From the royal line of David.
- Meek and humble of heart, the suffering servant, he would be God as well as man. He would suffer.
456 prophecies.. all fulfilled, a chance of them all concurring at the appointed moment (place, and time) 1/84,…126 zeros follow.
My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him. He hath showed might in His arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to His seed forever.