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The Ax and Ox – Chapter 5 – Promise

In case you missed it,
there are 8 chapters total, and
all the published chapters
so far are listed here.

Gustave Dore – (Isaiah answers the call from God to write to God’s people ~700 B.C.)

The next topic we’re about to cover is the period after the fall of man until Jesus, which covers a few thousand years! You might ask yourself how I could dare try to cover so many years of history and so many verses in the Bible in just one chapter. Well, I’m only going to address what I see as the highest level and most important point that these verses in Scripture are making: that we needed a savior and that He was on his way. This period of time could be considered a period of “promise.” This is because Jesus was promised to come. His people waited for him. 

Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, as I have already mentioned, God described the consequences of their sin which was death. What’s amazing is that, just as immediately, God promises the death-of-death itself. God promises that “a seed” (a son) of Adam will crush or bruise the head of the serpent. God promises that evil will be destroyed. God also says that the snake will only bruise the heel of the seed (son) of Adam.

The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

A crushed head is fatal, and is much worse than a crushed heel. This is the very first foreshadowing, for the coming of Jesus. Jesus referred to himself often as the “Son of Man.” And Jesus is, in a sense, a great grandson to Adam, and in that way a son of mankind. The crushing of the head of the serpent symbolizes the death of evil and the defeat of Satan. The bruising of the heel symbolizes the wounds Christ would suffer on the cross —wounds that wouldn’t ultimately kill him. 

This verse in scripture is the first glimmer of hope. It is the first prophecy. It’s the first sign of the good news of the gospel. God was promising, that without ceasing to be God, he would become the man Jesus Christ thereby forever uniting himself with the human race, laying down his divine and infinitely worthy life in our place on the cross as a payment for our wrongs, rising again to everlasting life, pioneering the first permanent resurrection of any human body, ever, ensuring that all who trust in him alone will rise again with him to eternal life. Being nailed to a cross would be like a bruised heel to God the Son, and it would be a crushed skull to Satan, sin and death. 

There are over 300 prophecies like these in the Bible! Here are a handful of my other favorites:

From the Book of Psalms, written *1410-450 B.C.:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:22–24)

Jesus often pointed to the Old Testament to describe who he was, and he referred to the above Psalm when he said: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? (Matthew 21:42) It is amazing that, while he was still living, Jesus could have predicted not only his profound rejection, but also that he would become a “cornerstone” or something “marvelous” in the eyes of the whole world!

From the Book of Micah *735-710 B.C.:

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2) Almost a thousand years later, we learn where Jesus was born: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king” (Matthew 2:1). That is why the city of Bethlehem is so significant today. The prophecy was true. What greater ruler has the world ever known from Israel but Jesus, who is hailed as the King of Kings? (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16)

From the Book of Isaiah *700-681 B.C.:

The entire chapter of Isaiah 53 is worth copying here for you to read:

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant, 

and like a root out of dry ground;

700 years later, Luke the Physician recorded the message from the Lord that the Shepherds heard in the fields: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.

Jesus looked like a regular guy. He didn’t dress as if he was either important or impoverished like a monk. He was kissed by Judas so people would know who to arrest. (Matthew 26:48)

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;

Jesus’s Apostle Peter said about Jesus that we should cast “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;

Besides his pierced hands, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” The Gospel According to John 19:34

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” The Gospel According to Matthew 9:35

All we like sheep have gone astray;

“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock. One shepherd.” – Jesus. The Gospel According to John 10:16 

we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.

“But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:63

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,

Jesus was nailed to the cross outside the city. It was a place of shame (Hebrews 13:13) and Jesus would have been considered cursed and cut off from God (Galatians 3:13)

stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man
in his death,

“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.” (Matthew 27:57-60)

although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

During his trial, the Roman official, Pilate, said three different times, “I find no guilt in him.” (John 18:38, 19:4, 19:6)

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Jesus’s prayer before his arrest and crucifixion. (Luke 22:42)


when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,

Jesus’s Apostle Paul compared Jesus to Adam when he wrote, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)


and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Jesus’s Apostle Peter wrote, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24)

That’s just one chapter! Predicting, or prophesying, hundreds of years earlier about the bloody mutilation of Jesus, Isaiah also wrote: “As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind” (Isaiah 52:14) Then Jesus came and was spat on and punched (Mark 14:65) He was flogged and scourged which was a violent form of whipping (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, Mark 10:34). Before he even reached the cross, Jesus was in very bad condition. (Here is an article which attempts to point out the many things that happened to a victim on a Roman cross: https://redeeminggod.com/crucifixion-physical-suffering-jesus/

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Mary was a virgin, which is why her fiance Joseph sought to call off their official wedding. Yet, God even assured him, that the son she was carrying was the Messiah. Immanuel is a Hebrew word that means “God with us.” Without ceasing to be God, he became the man Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.  

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). How could Isaiah think a child would be called any of these names, especially, Mighty God? Isaiah was right. Christians believe what Jesus taught about himself and we call Jesus the Lord, our savior and God. (Titus 2:13)

From the Book of Daniel *536-530 B.C. 

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13–14

Jesus’s favorite name for himself was the “Son of Man” which is always a reference to his deity as he performed not only miracles, but the forgiveness of sin: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (- Jesus, Matthew 9:6)

From the Book of Zechariah *480-470 B.C.

Here is a Scripture again predicting the coming savior, God’s one and only Son, who would show grace to the world and be “pierced:” “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child.” (Zechariah 12:10)

Here is another scripture from Zechariah predicting that this Messiah would ride on a donkey, and event for which people now celebrate what is called Palm Sunday: “Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) Then Matthew recorded an event almost 500 years later, where Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem like a king would on a donkey, and where people shouted the modern equivalent of “God save the king!” Here is that passage: “They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Save the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:7-9).

Here is scripture predicting Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver: “And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. (Zechariah 11:12-13). Then, recorded almost 500 years later: “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.” (Matthew 26:14-15). 

From the Book of Malachi *433-424 B.C.

Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.” (Malachi 3:1)  Over 400 years after Malachi, John the baptizer began preaching that the Messiah was near, and eventually pointed to Jesus. Jesus said that John was exactly who Malachi (And Isaiah [“A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)]) were predicting: “As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:7-11)

The entire Old Testament points to Jesus

Jesus told the pharisees, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”  (John 5:39)

From the time of Adam’s sin to even now, God has been redeeming a people for Himself. All men and women everywhere in every age who have been saved, or reserved for eternal salvation, have been saved by their faith or trust in God for that salvation. This has always been possible because of the sacrifice of God the Son in Jesus. God’s promises are certain. Jesus was not a backup plan for a broken world, but has always been plan #1 before creation even began.

As confusing as the old testament can be, it can be summed up in one word: Jesus. Jesus himself said it was all about him (John 5:39). Once you see this, the Bible is no longer boring and irrelevant to your life. Every page and chapter is trying to show you something about Jesus.

The evil of people, and the wrath and anger of God, shows us how bad evil is, and how desperate we are for God to rescue us through Christ.

Jesus is the better Adam, who instead of one act of disobedience, securing the death of humankind, provided the way to eternal life. 

Jesus is the better Noah, who rather than building a wooden boat, is hung on a wooden cross, through which He and his family (the Church) rise to eternal life. 

Jesus is better than Joseph, the younger weaker looking brother, who rather than being left to die in a pit by his own brothers, was crucified, was seated not the Pharaoh’s right hand but God’s right hand, and saved his brothers not from famine, but from eternal death.

The Tabernacle, the ornate tent that was built for Moses to speak face to face with God, pointed to Jesus, whose body was the “tent” to the spirit of God himself.

The priests who were the mediators between God and men, point to Jesus, who is the only true mediator between God and man.

The blood from sheep, sprinkled on an altar as a symbol of the cleansing of sin, points to Jesus, whose blood was poured out to truly cover our sin.

The exodus of the hebrews from Egypt, passing through the Red Sea, points to Jesus, who delivered his people from the slavery of sin and death. Interestingly, Jesus and his followers also now pass through the waters of baptism.

Jesus is a better Moses, who delivers his people from wandering through the desserts of this life and into the promised land, the new heaven and earth.

God’s holy law shows us we can’t keep his commandments and are in desperate need of the grace of Jesus.

The judges and kings of the Bible point to Jesus, who is the only true and holy judge and king.

Jesus is the better Samson, who gave up his life to defeat our enemies.

Jesus is the better king Solomon, who left his riches in heaven, to show us the wisdom of God.

All of the Psalms, many of which are written by king David, sound like they were the very prayers of Jesus.

All of the prophets point to Jesus, who were also killed for speaking difficult truth.

Jesus is the better Job, who suffered while innocent, was betrayed by his friends, and did not sin or denounce God in what he said or did.

The fourth man who appeared in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and did not get burned, is like Jesus, who stands with us and saves us from the fires of hell.

The three visitors in Genesis who Abraham calls God and who seem to vanish the next moment foreshadow Jesus within the Trinity.

Hosea is like Jesus, who loves his bride the Church unconditionally, despite our repeated unfaithfulness to him.

Ruth is like Jesus, who was selfless, and did what was right, for the sake of her family, her sons and daughters. Jesus is the greater Boaz, who is wealthy and owns all the land on earth, and who is our “kinsman redeemer,” generously marrying the church, his “bride.”

Esther is like Jesus, who selflessly honored the King, to save the people.

Jesus was plan A. There was no plan B.

God doesn’t make “Plan B”s because he already knows what will happen, therefore, the death of Jesus and the fall, and redemption, of mankind was always the plan, even if it deviated from what should have happened in a world without sin. 

When referring to the death of Christ Luke acknowledges that it was God’s hand, and God’s plan: “truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” (Acts 4:27-28). The Greek word for predestine literally means “to determine beforehand.”

In fact, the Apostle John wrote that the names of all those who would believe were written in a book before God ever created the world: “written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 13:8, 17:8). 

I’m not claiming that this is easy to comprehend, but there is one major idea that these verses require we face: Jesus was not an afterthought or a backup plan. He was always the plan from the beginning, and He is the point of everything. 

God promised a Savior. God’s people waited. Then, He came.

IN SUMMARY:

The Ax: God promised a Savior. God’s people waited. Then, He came as promised.

The Ox: There is overwhelming evidence predicting the life of Jesus in fine detail hundreds of years before he ever walked the earth. 

  • There are over 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament
  • We looked at some from Genesis, Psalms, Micah, Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, Malachi
  • The entire Bible points to Jesus
  • Jesus was always Plan A

GOSPEL MEMORIZATION GRAPHIC:

EXAMPLE OF HOW TO SHARE THE GOSPEL:

After every couple chapters I will write example of how you can share what you’ve read with others, and we will build upon these sentences until the end of the book:

“Let me tell you about the Gospel, which is the good news that we read about in God’s Word (the Bible): God exists and He is good. He made mankind good and upright, but we all have disobeyed God. God said the punishment for sin is eternal, wide-awake death. But God in love and mercy decided to bring men and women back into fellowship with Himself…


*These dates generally well agreed upon by both Christian and secular scholars. The point is that these books are old. These specific dates were taken directly from Grace to You. The dates were referenced on August 13, 2019 here: https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA176/when-were-the-bible-books-written and more about the ministry can be referenced here: https://www.gty.org/about .

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