The Promise of Man-Yahweh, the Messiah
Did Adam and Eve understand that God was promising a Messiah—even God in the flesh? Yes, they did.
The Promise of Man-Yahweh, the Messiah
By Nathan Warner
When did God announce the Messiah (His “anointed one”) to mankind? Was it a surprise that no one knew about or an afterthought that He revealed only to the Prophets? No, it is literally written on the first pages of His testimony to mankind – wrapped up in the story of the Fall of mankind found in the book of Genesis.
Here, God promised that He would come into the world as a literal man immediately after the Fall in the Garden. In response to what the serpent had done, God told satan (the serpent), “I will put enmity Between you and the woman [Eve], And between your seed and her seed; He shall crush you [the serpent] on the head, and you [the serpent] shall bruise Him on the heel’” (Genesis 3:15 NASB). It is understood that this promised seed of Eve would be wounded by satan but that the child would deliver a mortal blow to satan and defeat him.
Did Adam and Eve understand that God was promising a Messiah—even God in the flesh? Yes, they did. Shortly after this promise, Eve “conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord’” (Genesis 4:1b). Most Bible translations express her words in this way, and because of this, many merely see Eve giving thanks here to God for her child. However, if we look at it in the Hebrew text, we see that this simple expression holds some of the richest words in all of Genesis. It reads literally, “I have gotten (or made) man Yahweh,” which is why some translations put it thus: “I have given birth to a male child—the LORD” (Genesis 4:1b International Standard Version). This is a radically different meaning from what many of us have read here before!
It makes so much more sense to see this in the original language. Eve had clearly understood the promise of God concerning the coming of the Messiah—even God—through the woman’s seed. The Messiah would be more than a spiritual being, for He would physically enter the world. Eve believed Cain was that promised “seed” who would crush the serpent’s head. After all, it is no accident that the root of Cain’s name can mean “to acquire” as in a “transaction or purchase-price of slaves.” It seems likely that Eve saw Cain as the “redeemer” of mankind from its slavery to sin! Like Abraham after her, she was “fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform” (Romans 4:21).
But then, oddly enough, Eve gave birth to a second son. Perhaps this confused her, which is why she named him “Abel,” signifying “a breath or vanity.” Given that Cain “was” the Messiah, Eve probably thought Abel “unessential” or “extra” – a bonus but not key to their redemption. Eve must have been devastated when Cain killed Abel and was cursed by God. How could it be that she had been so wrong? Neither of her two sons were the Messiah, after all. Like many after her, she did not consider “that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8b).
It is interesting to note that satan clearly inspired Cain to murder his brother, thus “killing two birds with one stone” by neutralizing them both from God’s promise of the Messiah.
After Cain proved he was not the Messiah through his unrighteous behavior, Eve surely was confused about God’s purpose. So, then “Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him’” (Genesis 4:25).
Seth’s name means “appointed, anointed, or compensation.” Most people interpret this to mean that God was “compensating” Eve for the death of Abel, but it seems more likely in the context and etymology that Eve was referring yet again to the Messiah (which literally means “anointed one”) — who would be the compensation for sin. It seems clear that Eve genuinely believed Seth was God’s replacement for Cain and Abel’s failure to be the Messiah. But as he grew up, Seth did not restore the fallen nature. The cycle of fallen life continued unabated, and “men began to multiply on the face of the land” (Genesis 6:1b).
Eve’s understanding of the promise of the Messiah also makes much sense of why male children are the focus of the genealogies in the Old Testament, for the promise had been clear that “He” would crush the serpent’s head. There was much expectation for the “He” that would be born to do this, and a precise record of all male children and what they did in their lives was important. It is not that women weren’t valued but that there was great expectation for the Messiah’s arrival.
It was soon after Seth proved not to be the Messiah that the angels rebelled against God. Why is this important to the story? Because their actions show they knew of the promised Messiah also. They proved this by leaving their first estate and coming down to earth to produce their own “god-men” through the seed of human women:
"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose…The Nephilim [or giants] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown." (Genesis 6:1-2, 4)
Have you ever wondered where the angels got this idea? How did they know it was even possible to produce children with the seed of women? It seems clear that they had been witnesses to the promise given to Eve by God that the Lord would enter His creation physically through the woman’s seed to restore it.
It is most illuminating that the writer of Genesis does not even bother sharing more details about the angels’ children, because they were universally well-known, even in his day: “mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Basically, he is saying, “Everyone knows who I’m talking about, so enough said.” What men were so well known to the ancient world that they needed no explanation? There is only one clear answer—the demi-gods of the pagan histories – the famous children that the ancient “gods” sired through mortal women, as recorded in the ancient myths and legends of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and every other people group that reach back to the earliest times.
A small sampling of these half-god/half-man legends reveal such famous figures as the mighty Hercules of Greece, Gilgamesh of Sumaria, Cu Chulainn of the Celts, Saeminger of the Norse, and Arjuna of the Hindu. The list of these “mighty men,” demi-gods, or god-men and their perverse deeds are remembered in the most ancient mythologies and historical legends all around the world, whether from isolated island tribes or massive land-locked empires from China to the Americas.
It seems fairly clear that the fallen angels are the “gods” of old mythology and their children with mortals are the “demi-gods” of legend. But they were no Messiahs – quite the opposite, for their deeds on the earth were wicked and evil. Scripture does not give us much detail on this, but Jewish history speaks of how the angels perverted mankind and taught them great sin. It tells how their children sinned against all that is natural.
While it is not necessary to invoke Jewish historical texts, such as the Book of Enoch, to arrive at this understanding of the Scriptures, we should note that they do support this interpretation of these passages in Genesis. As Bereans, we cannot believe this information like we believe Scripture – it is Jewish history, which may have error in it as any human history does, but it is still valuable in seeking to better understand these events.
However, Jewish history does harmonize with Scripture in regard to the angels’ harmful role in shaping the pre-Flood world, for immediately after the Nephilim are introduced as the major players on earth, this very same time is described as abundantly evil:
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord….Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.’" (Genesis 6:5-8, 11-13)
The Nephilim were born into the world, they became its chief characters, and then the earth was filled with all manner of sin and violence. Coincidence? Unlikely.
We do not know from Scripture what the motives of the angels were in rebelling against God and producing demi-gods among mankind, but we know that the judgement for what they did was severe. The “angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6), for “God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). It was for this judgment that hell was created: the “eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41b). Both Jude and Peter recall these events to their reader’s memory: “I desire to remind you” (Jude 5a), meaning these events were so well known to the Jewish readers who knew their own history that they did not need to get into the details.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of humanity continues to worship the “gods” and “demi-gods” from before the Flood. Jewish history describes how the spirits of the Nephilim (whose bodies died in the Flood) are the “evil spirits” or demons that enslave mankind and are worshipped as gods with the fallen angels by the pagans and even the modern occult. Paul explained to the Galatians that “when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods” (Galatians 4:8), “so also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things [spirits or heavenly bodies] of the world” (Galatians 4:3), “but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things [spirits or heavenly bodies], to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” (Galatians 4:9). We are freed in Christ from the enslavement of our ancestors to these “so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).
For thousands of years, up until modern times, people all over the world still called on the names of these “gods.” Today, the old pagan religions are reinventing themselves through the occult and will likely have a huge hand to play in the end when the angel satan brings forth the anti-Christ – the ultimate “man-god” who will challenge Jesus Christ’s authority and inheritance (His seat in the temple and His rule over the world).
God promised the serpent that He would put enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of woman. Today, we know that the seed of the woman is Jesus. So, the seed of the serpent (a fallen angel) seems to be the Nephilim, children of fallen angels and women – the god-men who received mankind as their “inheritance” through their fathers’ violent rebellion against God’s purpose. These angels attempted to steal the Messiah’s inheritance soon after the Fall of man, “for it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5) – it was to mankind, but more specifically, the Messiah who will yet rule over mankind (Hebrews 2:2-18).
This understanding makes much sense of the “enmity” between the demons and Jesus Christ in the New Testament: “And they cried out, saying, ‘What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” (Matthew 8:29) The evil spirits know there is a time coming when they will finally pay for all the harm they have done to mankind – an inheritance they had stolen until the Flood took them away. In the meantime, they harm humanity and lead them astray from knowing the true Heir and future King, Jesus Christ.
So, what is the point of studying all this about the angels? It is incredibly valuable, for it seems obvious from the Scriptures that even the angels understood God’s promise to Adam, Eve, and satan of the one true God-man that would come through Eve’s seed to set right the Fall and inherit the world as His Kingdom. Clearly, from these passages, everyone involved in these events understood that the Messiah would be more than a mighty political leader, as some Jews argue erroneously to this day. He would be the very Son of God, Who would inherit the world. Indeed, so transparent was the promise that it seems the angels invoked eternal judgment on themselves when they produced their own “god-men” in an attempt to seize the Messiah’s birthright.
Ultimately, satan was the architect of the angels’ deeds, for we are told that he inspired their rebellion – we see him being described as the great dragon in the book of Revelation, whose “tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Rev-elation 12:4). The hierarchy is clear, for he is described as “the devil and his angels’” (Matt-hew 25:41b), suggesting they owe their allegiance to him. Perhaps by leading the angels into rebellion and terrible sin, satan was attempting to snuff out the promise of the Messiah and rob him of his inheritance – to pollute mankind so thoroughly that the complete destruction of the world would be the only answer possible from God’s Holy throne. Satan almost succeeded, for only one man among all mankind was found who had not been perverted: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Genesis 6:9b-10).
Indeed, the fallen angels’ children, the Nephilim, were destroyed by the Flood, for only Noah and his family survived that judgment as Scripture clearly teaches: “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7). The promise of the Messiah – the manYahweh – passed through Noah and was again invoked to his great, great...great-grandson Abraham: “I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:17-18). “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever’” (Exodus 32:13).
These promises to Abraham have not been completely fulfilled even today, for they are promises contingent on the eternal rule of the Messiah – promises that we see expounded on by the Prophets later: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44). Who would rule this unending Kingdom set up on earth? Speaking of the future, God says through Kind David:
"But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" (Psalm 2:6-12)
As we expected, the king that will rule this unending Kingdom in the future is God’s own Son – the promised manifestation of Himself in human history through the woman’s seed, Who will restore all things. He would be a descendant of Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, then David – a narrowing of the lineage of the Messiah as time went on into the nation of Israel and the kingly line of the tribe of Judah.
The Jews of Jesus’ time (primarily descendants of the tribe of Judah) understood this much, for it was clearly stated that this promised Son of God would sit on His father David’s throne and rule the world. But they could not differentiate or reconcile in the prophecies that the Messiah would have two nexuses in human history – two central and most important points in this saga. The first would be when God was made flesh, born as a child through woman, fulfilling the first part of the promise that God would come into the world through the seed of the woman. He would suffer and die for the sins of the people – the moment when the serpent bruised His heel. This refers to a non-life-threatening blow, for death could not keep Him. As we shall see, this has already happened. The second nexus, however, is still ahead of us in human history as of 2018 AD when the Messiah will appear a second time, now as the returning, conquering King Who will crush the serpent’s head, restore nature, and set up an eternal Kingdom that will rule the entire world without end. This will fulfill the promise of God made in the presence of Adam, Eve, and satan thousands of years ago.
Little did Eve know that it would take thousands of years for the promised seed – the Messiah – to be born. Neither Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or David ever lived to see their great, great…great-grandson, the Son of God – the promised One Who could save them from their sin and restore all things. That honor would come 4,000 years later to Eve’s descendant Mary, for when “the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). This is “the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today I have begotten You’” (Acts 13:32-33), “for all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
The Jews did not understand that the Messiah would have to atone for the sins of all mankind first, both Jew and Gentile – to reconcile a remnant of mankind back to justification with God, before God would restore the fallen world. The original sin of man’s Fall would have to be undone first, and that would require the Messiah’s substitution of Himself in every man’s place of judgement for original sin and the sins we have all committed, which deserves eternal separation from the presence of God. Only the Son of God could atone for this. Anyone who accepts this substitution of God’s Son in their place of condemnation and entrusts themselves to His kingship (believing on His name) will be saved from the judgment and will be apportioned an eternal inheritance in the eternal Kingdom of God. This is the Gospel, “things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12).
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water (1 Peter 3:18-20).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born through Mary’s seed did not first come as the conquering king the Jews expected Him to be. Instead, He came to die for the sins of the people (when the serpent bruised His heel), but death could not keep Jesus in the grave, and He rose on the third day, ascending into Heaven. In the near future, He will come a second time from Heaven to conquer the world from the anti-Christ (when Jesus will crush the serpent’s head). This anti-Christ is the false messiah who will lay claim to Christ’s seat in the future Temple and try to steal His inheritance of rightful rule over the world. This is the angel satan’s final attempt to personally lay claim to the inheritance of Christ through the man of lawlessness (perhaps a demi-god?).
It may be soon in human history when “the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3b-4).
Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness...God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-15)
All of this leads us inexorably to the understanding that Jesus Christ was not an afterthought revealed to the Prophets thousands of years after the Fall. God promised the Son of God from the very day of mankind’s rebellion. It took much longer for Him to appear than many expected, but we know “the Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We too need this encouragement as we wait for Jesus to return, for “in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3b-4). Yet, “just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). It is possible that Eve’s great-grandchildren mocked the promise of the Son of God to her in her later life (especially leading up to the days of Noah) after time proved that neither Cain, Abel, nor Seth were the Messiah. The Scriptures do not tell us if Eve maintained her faith like those of her future descendants who “died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance” (Hebrews 11:13).
Like the men and women of faith before us, we must be fully assured that God will perform what He has promised in His timing, for “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23b), and Jesus Himself has promised, “I am coming quickly” (Revelation 3:11a).
Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. (Revelation 1:4-7)
Even so, Amen.