9 In pronouncing his judgment against Satan, Jehovah revealed a new expression of his sovereignty, a means by which he would restore peace and order to all his realm. To Satan, God said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:15) Thus Jehovah revealed that it was his purpose to empower a “seed” to crush Satan and his forces and to prove the rightfulness of His sovereignty.—Psalm 2:7-9; 110:1, 2.
10. (a) Who did the “seed” turn out to be? (b) What did Paul say about the outworking of the first prophecy?
10 That “seed” turned out to be Jesus Christ, along with a distinct group of associate rulers. Together they form God’s Messianic Kingdom. (Daniel 7:13, 14, 27; Matthew 19:28; Luke 12:32; 22:28-30) All of this, however, was not revealed immediately. In fact, the outworking of the first prophecy remained a “sacred secret which [had] been kept in silence for long-lasting times.” (Romans 16:25) For centuries, men of faith longed for the time when “the sacred secret” would be revealed and the first prophecy fulfilled to the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty.—Romans 8:19-21.
“The Sacred Secret” Progressively Revealed
11. What did Jehovah make known to Abraham?
11 As time went on, Jehovah progressively made known aspects of “the sacred secret of the kingdom of God.” (Mark 4:11) Among those to whom Jehovah did so was the man Abraham, who was called “Jehovah’s friend.” (James 2:23) Jehovah promised Abraham that He would “make a great nation” out of him. Later, God further made known to Abraham: “Kings will come out of you,” and “by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.”—Genesis 12:2, 3; 17:6; 22:17, 18.
12. How did Satan’s seed manifest itself after the Flood?
12 By Abraham’s time, there had already been human attempts at rulership and domination. For example, concerning Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah, the Bible says: “He made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” (Genesis 10:8, 9) Clearly, Nimrod and other self-appointed rulers were puppets in Satan’s hands. They and their supporters became part of Satan’s seed.—1 John 5:19.
13. What did Jehovah point forward to through Jacob?
13 In spite of Satan’s efforts to produce human rulers, Jehovah’s purpose moves forward. Through Abraham’s grandson Jacob, Jehovah revealed: “The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong.” (Genesis 49:10) The term “Shiloh” means “He Whose It Is; He to Whom It Belongs.” Thus, these prophetic words indicated that there would come one who had the legal right to receive “the scepter,” or sovereignty, and “the commander’s staff,” or rulership, over “the peoples,” or all mankind. Who would this One be?
“Until Shiloh Comes”
14. What covenant did Jehovah make with David?
14 Of the descendants of Judah, the first one to be chosen by Jehovah to be king over his people was the shepherd David, son of Jesse.* (1 Samuel 16:1-13) In spite of his sins and errors, David found favor with Jehovah because of his loyalty to Jehovah’s sovereignty. Shedding more light on the Edenic prophecy, Jehovah made a covenant with David, saying: “I shall certainly raise up your seed after you, which will come out of your inward parts; and I shall indeed firmly establish his kingdom.” That would involve more than David’s son and successor, Solomon, for the covenant stated: “I shall certainly establish the throne of his kingdom firmly to time indefinite.” That Davidic covenant made clear that the promised Kingdom “seed” would in time come through the family line of David.—2 Samuel 7:12, 13.
15. Why could the kingdom of Judah be viewed as a pattern of God’s Kingdom?
15 With David was started a dynasty of kings who were anointed with holy oil by the high priest. These kings could thus be called anointed ones, or messiahs. (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4; 5:3; 1 Kings 1:39) They were said to sit on Jehovah’s throne and rule as kings for Jehovah in Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 9:8) In that sense, the kingdom of Judah represented God’s Kingdom, an expression of Jehovah’s sovereignty.
16. What were the results of the reign of the Judean kings?
16 When the king and the people submitted to Jehovah’s sovereignty, they enjoyed His protection and blessing. The reign of Solomon was in particular a time of peace and prosperity beyond compare, providing a prophetic glimpse of the rule of God’s Kingdom when Satan’s influence will be completely removed and Jehovah’s sovereignty vindicated. (1 Kings 4:20, 25) Sadly, most of the kings in the Davidic line failed to measure up to Jehovah’s requirements, and the people fell into idolatry and immorality. Finally, Jehovah allowed the kingdom to be destroyed by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. Satan appeared to have gained the upper hand in his attempt to discredit Jehovah’s sovereignty.
17. What shows that Jehovah was still in full control in spite of the overthrow of the Davidic kingdom?
17 The overthrow of the Davidic kingdom—and the earlier overthrow of the northern kingdom of Israel—furnished proof, not of any deficiency or failure of Jehovah’s sovereignty, but of the sorry consequences of Satan’s influence and man’s independence from God. (Proverbs 16:25; Jeremiah 10:23) To show that he was still exercising his sovereignty, Jehovah declared through the prophet Ezekiel: “Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. . . . A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.” (Ezekiel 21:26, 27) Those words indicate that the promised “seed,” the One “who [had] the legal right,” was yet to come.
18. What proclamation did the angel Gabriel make to Mary?
18 Let us move forward to about the year 2 B.C.E. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a virgin girl in Nazareth, a city of Galilee in northern Palestine. He declared: “Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.”—Luke 1:31-33.
19. The time for what exciting events had drawn near?
19 At last, the time for revealing “the sacred secret” had drawn near. The principal One of the promised “seed” was soon to appear. (Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 3:16) He would be bruised in the heel by Satan. But that “seed,” in turn, will bruise Satan’s head, putting him and all his cohorts out of action. He would also bear witness that by means of the Kingdom of God, all the damage done by Satan will be undone and Jehovah’s sovereignty vindicated. (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8)
Are You for Jehovah’s Sovereignty?
“Say among the nations: ‘Jehovah himself has become king.’”—PSALM 96:10.
1, 2. (a) What momentous event occurred about October 29 C.E.? (b) What meaning did that event have for Jesus?
A MOMENTOUS event, one that had never before been seen on earth, occurred about October 29 C.E. The Gospel writer Matthew reports: “After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and [John the Baptizer] saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon [Jesus]. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” This was one of the few events that was recorded by all four Gospel writers.—Matthew 3:16, 17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21, 22; John 1:32-34.
2 The visible outpouring of holy spirit upon Jesus identified him as the Anointed One, which term means Messiah, or Christ. (John 1:33) At long last, the promised “seed” had appeared! Standing before John the Baptizer was the one whose heel was to be bruised by Satan and who was to bruise the head of that archenemy of Jehovah and His sovereignty. (Genesis 3:15) From that point on, Jesus was fully aware that he must endeavor to fulfill Jehovah’s purpose regarding His sovereignty and the Kingdom.
3. How did Jesus prepare himself for the role he was to play in upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty?
3 To be prepared for the task at hand, “Jesus, full of holy spirit, turned away from the Jordan, and he was led about by the spirit in the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1; Mark 1:12) There, for 40 days Jesus had time to meditate deeply on the issue of sovereignty raised by Satan and on the course that He had to take to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty. That issue involves all intelligent creatures—in heaven and on earth. So we do well to consider Jesus’ faithful course and see what we must do to show that we too wish to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty.—Job 1:6-12; 2:2-6.
Issue of Sovereignty Brought to the Fore
4. What action did Satan take that brought the issue of sovereignty to the fore?
4 Of course, none of the events just mentioned escaped Satan’s notice. Wasting no time, he launched his attack on the principal “seed” of God’s “woman.” (Genesis 3:15) Satan tempted Jesus three times, proposing that Jesus should do what seemed advantageous to him instead of what his Father wanted him to do. The third temptation in particular brought the issue of sovereignty to the fore. Showing Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory,” Satan blatantly said to Jesus: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” Fully aware that the Devil did indeed have control over “all the kingdoms of the world,” Jesus showed where He stood on the issue of sovereignty by replying: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”—Matthew 4:8-10.
5. What challenging mission did Jesus have to fulfill?
5 Jesus’ life course demonstrated clearly that for him, upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty was the paramount objective. Jesus well knew that he must remain faithful until death at Satan’s hand—prophetically foretold as the bruising of the heel of the woman’s “seed”—in order to prove the rightfulness of God’s sovereignty. (Matthew 16:21; 17:12) He also had to bear witness to the fact that the Kingdom of God is the instrument empowered by Jehovah to subdue the rebel Satan and to restore peace and order to all creation. (Matthew 6:9, 10) What did Jesus do to fulfill this challenging mission?
“The Kingdom of God Has Drawn Near”
6. How did Jesus make known that the Kingdom is the means that God will use to “break up the works of the Devil”?
6 To begin with, “Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying: ‘The appointed time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near.’” (Mark 1:14, 15) In fact, he said: “I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (Luke 4:18-21, 43) Jesus traveled the length and breadth of the land, “preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 8:1) Jesus also performed many powerful works—feeding the crowds, taming the elements, curing the sick, and raising the dead. By means of these miracles, Jesus proved that God can undo all the damage and suffering that resulted from the Edenic rebellion and thus “break up the works of the Devil.”—1 John 3:8.
7. What did Jesus instruct his followers to do, and with what result?
7 To have the Kingdom good news declared to the fullest extent possible, Jesus gathered a group of faithful followers and trained them in that work. First, he commissioned his 12 apostles and “sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:1, 2) Then, he sent forth 70 others to declare the message: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:1, 8, 9) When these disciples returned and reported to Jesus the success they had had in the Kingdom-preaching work, he responded: “I began to behold Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven.”—Luke 10:17, 18.
8. What did Jesus’ life course clearly demonstrate?
8 Jesus spared no effort and passed up no opportunity to bear witness to the Kingdom. He worked incessantly, laboring day and night, even forgoing the normal comforts of life. “Foxes have dens and birds of heaven have roosts, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head,” he said. (Luke 9:58; Mark 6:31; John 4:31-34) Shortly before his death, Jesus boldly stated before Pontius Pilate: “For this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) Jesus’ entire life course demonstrated that he came, not simply to be a great teacher or a miracle worker or even just a self-sacrificing Savior, but to uphold Jehovah’s sovereign will and to bear witness to God’s ability to fulfill that will through the Kingdom.—John 14:6.
“It Has Been Accomplished!”
9. How did Satan finally succeed in bruising the heel of the “seed” of God’s woman?
9 All that Jesus did with regard to the Kingdom did not sit well with the Adversary, Satan the Devil. Repeatedly, by means of the earthly part of his “seed”—both political and religious—Satan attempted to silence the “seed” of God’s woman. From the time of his birth to the end of his earthly life, Jesus was the target of Satan and his cohorts. Finally, in the spring of 33 C.E., the time had come for the Son of man to be delivered into the hands of the Adversary to be bruised in the heel by him. (Matthew 20:18, 19; Luke 18:31-33) The Gospel accounts clearly show how people—from Judas Iscariot to the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Romans—were manipulated by Satan to condemn Jesus and subject him to a painful death on a torture stake.—Acts 2:22, 23.
10. What did Jesus primarily accomplish by his death on the torture stake?
10 What comes to your mind when you think of Jesus on the torture stake suffering a slow and agonizing death? Perhaps you remember the ransom sacrifice that Jesus unselfishly gave in behalf of sinful mankind. (Matthew 20:28; John 15:13) You may marvel at the great love that Jehovah showed in providing that sacrifice. (John 3:16) Perhaps you feel as did the Roman army officer who was moved to say: “Certainly this was God’s Son.” (Matthew 27:54) All of these surely are fitting responses. On the other hand, recall that Jesus’ last words on the torture stake were: “It has been accomplished!” (John 19:30) What had been accomplished? While Jesus achieved many things by his life and death, was it not primarily for settling the issue of Jehovah’s sovereignty that Jesus came to earth? And was it not foretold that as the “seed,” he would suffer the extreme test at Satan’s hands so as to clear Jehovah’s name of all reproach? (Isaiah 53:3-7) These were weighty responsibilities, yet Jesus fulfilled them in every respect. What an accomplishment!
11. What will Jesus do to fulfill the Edenic prophecy completely?
11 For his faithfulness and loyalty, Jesus was resurrected, not as a human, but as “a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Peter 3:18) Jehovah’s promise to his glorified Son was: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” (Psalm 110:1) The “enemies” include the chief culprit, Satan, and all those making up his “seed.” As King of Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom, Jesus Christ will take the lead in bringing all rebels to nothing, in heaven and on earth. (Revelation 12:7-9; 19:11-16; 20:1-3, 10) Then will come the complete fulfillment of the prophecy at Genesis 3:15 as well as of the prayer that Jesus taught his followers: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:10; Philippians 2:8-11.