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Jesus in Genesis

If someone asked you to show them a Scripture from the Old Testament that talks about Jesus, would you be able to do it? What if they asked you to point them to an Old Testament passage that has the name of Jesus in it? Does the Old Testament even talk about Jesus, and if so, where and how often? The New Testament books mention Jesus a lot. The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospel accounts that give us the most information about Jesus’ life. You might be surprised to learn, however, that the Old Testament has much to say about Jesus as well. In this issue of Discovery we will explore a few of the Old Testament passages that talk about Jesus. 

Jesus at Creation

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” (Genesis 1:1). When you read this verse, who do you think about when you read the name “God”? Many people think about God the Father. You may not be aware that God the Son (Jesus) is also in this verse. When we look at John 1, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3). You might be wondering who John was talking about when he said “the Word was God.” A few verses later in John 1, we read “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Word is Jesus Christ, Who was with God (the Father) at the beginning and was involved in creating everything, including humans. Do you remember in the book of Genesis when God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26)? Since Jesus is eternal, He would have been there at the beginning, taking part in the creation of mankind.  

Because we read about Jesus so much in the New Testament, it might seem that Jesus began to exist when He was conceived and born to Mary. While that is when Jesus became a human being, He existed from all eternity. In John 17:5, we read a prayer that Jesus spoke to His Father. He said: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” You see, Jesus has always been. He was not in a human form at the beginning of Creation. He was in a glorified form with the Father “before the world was.”

Jesus is Coming

The main theme that goes through every book of the Old Testament is that a Messiah was coming to save the world from sin.  During Creation, God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden. He gave the first family the command that they should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they chose to disobey, God warned them that they would die. Yet despite God’s warning, Adam and Eve ate from the tree and sinned. 

Into this scene of shame and sin, God brought judgment. Death would be the result of this sinful action. Yet, when God placed the curse upon the serpent who tempted Eve, He included a ray of hope for humanity. To the serpent he said: “And I will put enmity [war or conflict] between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). This brief statement made by God is often referred to as the protoevangelium. That’s a big word that is made up of two parts that mean the “first” “good news.”

 This first prophecy about the Messiah paved the way for all others that refer to the coming of the great Deliverer of mankind.

First,
He will come in human form as the descendant of woman.

Second,
He will defeat the effects of sin brought about by the fall of mankind. 

Third,
He will be hindered in His work by the serpent, Satan, who will inflict upon Him a wound. 

Fourth,
He will overcome Satan and finally win. 

In this first prediction of the Messiah, we see the theme of a suffering, victorious redeemer—Jesus Christ Who died on the cross, but rose from the grave and defeated death. Only three chapters into the first book of the Old Testament we see a prediction about Jesus coming.

Jesus in Genealogies

Have you ever wondered why long lists of names of relatives are in the Bible? These lists are called genealogies. There is one that takes up the entire chapter of Genesis 5, and there is another in Genesis 10 and another one in chapter 11. Why is it so important that we know who is related in the Bible? The primary reason these genealogies are included is so the readers could identify the Messiah—Jesus Christ—when He arrived on Earth. 

Remember that God explained that the seed of woman was going to crush Satan’s head. Have you ever thought about why that statement was so important to Adam and Eve? They were the first two humans on Earth, and they were the only two humans ever to live in the Garden of Eden. When they sinned, no other humans existed. In their experience, how did humans “show up” on Earth? God made them! You may remember that God made Adam from the dirt (or clay) and then made Eve from Adam’s rib. Adam and Eve had never seen another human come into the world. They may have thought that God would “make” the Messiah just like God had made them. After leaving the Garden of Eden, they soon realized that God was not making humans the way He made the first two. God’s plan was for humans to be born into the world. The genealogies in Genesis are designed to prove that Jesus’ ancestors go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, to Adam and Eve, the first two humans. The lists of names show that the promise that Jesus would be “the Seed” of woman came true. 

In the New Testament book of John, we read about Jesus talking to the Jewish people. Many of them did not believe in Jesus. They claimed He was trying to destroy the Scriptures that were written in the Old Testament. Jesus answered them and said: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). If the Jews would have looked closely, with honest hearts, at the Old Testament, they would have seen Jesus many times in the ancient Scriptures.


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