God promised that by the seed of woman the head of the serpent would be bruised (Gen. 3:15). From that time forth, the Bible shows the fulfillment of that promise. Following the flood, as the world drifted into idolatry, God chose Abraham as the one through whom that seed should come. Let’s briefly trace that promise as it pertains to God’s great scheme of redemption for fallen mankind.
The Promise Unfolded
The promise is revealed for the first time in Genesis 12:1-7. There is (1) the nation-land promise, i.e., God would make of Abraham a great nation, ultimately that nation would receive the land promise of Genesis 12:1-2, 7, and (2) the promise that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3).
The fulfillment of the nation-land promise takes the form of a covenant in Genesis 15 as we recall the captivity of 400 years (vv. 13-14). The fourth generation and the condition of the Amorites is stipulated (v. 16). The extent of the land to be received is given in detail (vv. 18-20).
The Covenant with Israel
The covenant of circumcision, as pertained to the “flesh and the land” is then recorded in Genesis 17:1-14. The promise to Abraham is renewed to Isaac (Gen. 26:1-5) and to Jacob (Gen. 28:3-4, 13-14). While in Egypt, the tribes develop into a nation until the going out of Egypt in the “fourth generation”; Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses and Aaron (Exo. 6:16-20). The Biblical line then continues to Mount Sinai, where God makes a covenant with Israel as a nation (Exo. 19:4-5; 20:1-17; 34:27-28). Then came the wilderness wandering following the giving of the law (the covenant) with Israel (Exodus through Deuteronomy). We must wait until the book of Joshua for the invasion of Canaan (Josh. 1-12). The division of the land of promise then follows (Josh. 13-22). All of this entails the fulfillment of the land promise.
The Spiritual Promise Unfolded
The spiritual promise and its fulfillment extends from Genesis 3:15 to Abraham to include all “families, all nations” (Gen. 12:3; 22:18). The promise is renewed to Isaac (26:4). Judah is given the promise as a particular tribe of Israel (49:10). The promise then goes from David to the coming of the Messiah (2 Sam. 7:11-16). God would make of David’s seed, One to be placed upon his (David’s) throne. The throne of that kingdom would be established forever. There can be no doubt that this refers to the Messiah (2 Sam. 7:14; Heb. 1:5-8; Psa. 89:26-37).
The promise is fulfilled in Christ the Lord (Luke 1:26-33). Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost goes back to this powerful and precious promise (Acts 2:22-37). The throne of David was the throne of God (1 Kings 2:12; 1 Chron. 29:23), upon which Christ now sits (Rev. 3:21) forever (Heb. 1:8). Genesis 12:3 receives its ultimate fulfillment in the words of Galatians 3:16, “Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”