Bible Passages

Some Little-Known Prophecies of Christmas: Part 2 – Genesis 12:7

Last time, we saw how the very first promise of the Messiah proclaimed Him to be the “Seed” of the woman (Gen. 3:15). But before we can go any further into understanding the characteristics of this coming Savior, we certainly must realize that He was also to be the “Seed” of “Abraham” (Gal. 3:16).

During this time of Advent, we are looking at some of the lesser-known prophecies of Christmas, and we will continue going in chronological order—realizing that we could never exhaust this subject in one Christmas season.

One often neglected Christmas truth is that the promise of the Messiah is actually contained within the Abrahamic Covenant.

When God made His unconditional covenant with Abram in Gen. 12:1-3, He gave us a paradigm that would govern all of His work in history for the remainder of time—and through the remainder of Scripture.

God promised Abram “a land” (v. 1), “a great nation” (v. 2) (which would descend from Sarai and him, although they had no children at all, even at an advanced age; see v. 4) and universal “blessing” (vv. 2-3).

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Some Little-Known Prophecies of Christmas: Part 1 – Genesis 3:15

It was certainly one of the most momentous days in the history of the Earth.

It began like every day before it had—every day they had known since “the beginning” (Gen. 1:1). It began in holiness—in perfection.

But, soon enough, they faced something they had not encountered before—something for which they did not even have a category. We know it as temptation.

The Apostle Paul tells us that the first man had some insight that his wife did not yet possess. We find in 1 Tim. 2:14 that, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

We infer from this passage that when Adam ate “fruit” (Gen. 3:2, 3, 6) off the one prohibited tree he did so knowingly and willfully—refusing to allow Eve to descend without him into whatever consequences would follow.

Following their disobedience, at first, there may have been little change in terms of their physical health or the beauty of their surroundings. Yet they surely understood that, on another level, things would now be vastly different, as we detect from Gen. 3:7-8. The discussion that follows, in verses 9-13, shows that the perfect marital unity which they had previously enjoyed was now severed, as well.

But it was out of such misery, before the end of that signal day near the inauguration of history, that God first revealed something that He had planned from eternity past (see Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20): the first promise of a Savior.

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From the Archives – Psalm 8 In the New Testament

Written by David, Psalm 8 extols the majesty of the Lord and reaffirms that man is expected to rule over God’s creation.

The first and last verse of the psalm both declare the greatness of God—“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8:1, 9). So God’s glory is at the forefront. But this psalm also declares the exalted position mankind has in God’s purposes concerning the earth. Psalm 8:4-8 states:

What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

Psalm 8 draws upon the truth of Genesis 1:26-28 that God created man to “rule” and “subdue” the world. In fact Psalm 8 functions much like a commentary on Genesis 1:26-28. Even in a fallen world man’s right to rule over creation has not been revoked, even though man in his sinful state is not able to fulfill it as he should (see Genesis 3).

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The Viewpoint of Ecclesiastes: Cynicism or Realism?

From Faith Pulpit, Winter 2012.

Qoheleth, the author of Ecclesiastes,1 looked at the various areas of life and concluded that everything was vanity.2 He started (1:2) and ended (12:8) his writing by stating, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Is vanity, however, the theological message of Ecclesiastes? Or should it be understood in a more positive light? Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, co-authors of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, take differing views: “[one of us] understands Ecclesiastes to be an expression of cynical wisdom, which serves as a kind of ‘foil’ regarding an outlook on life that should be avoided; [the other one of us] understands the book more positively, as an expression of how one should enjoy life under God in a world in which all die in the end.”3 So is Ecclesiastes a warning to us of the vanity of life outside of a relationship with God or a message of how one can enjoy life despite its vanity?

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Dying to Change - Romans 6-8 (Part 1)

The first issue we explored from Paul’s letter to the Romans was the meaning and message of the gospel—in Romans 1-5.

In this study, I want to offer a reminder of Paul’s message about choices and behaviors of those who are following God because of the gospel. Romans 6-8 moves from the issues of salvation to the issues of transformation of a believer—since God’s purpose in salvation wasn’t simply to change where we go when we die, but how we live in the “here and now.”

Paul taught in the middle section of the Epistle to the Romans that believers are to be transformed because they have completed their old life, died, and now have a new life to live.

Let’s start by admitting the obvious: ”Death changes many things.” Finally, we don’t have to pay taxes anymore when we die. People can send whatever bill they want to us—and not only are we not going to pay it, no one expects us to do so. Death makes our old obligations null and void. That may sound so obvious that it is really stupid, but the fact is that the center section of Romans was dedicated to that single idea: When you surrendered to Jesus—you “died” as your own master and turned your life and direction over to Jesus, so you don’t have the same obligations you had before to serve self and sin.

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