By ROLLAND D. MCCUNE, Th.D.
As dispensationalists we do not find revelation in the Old Testament that is distinctive to the New Testament church, but there is an abundance of truth that is ultimately applicable to all people of all times. The sin of Adam bound the whole world “in the darksome prison house of sin,” in desperate need of a Savior, a member of the human race who could once-for-all destroy sin and its effects forever. Outside the gates of Eden such a promise was made to our first parents and to all sinners everywhere.
That promise, strangely enough, was tucked in the curse that God pronounced on Satan for his role in the fall of man into sin (Gen. 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”). This is called the “first gospel” or the first note of good news to fallen human beings who at this point were alienated from God, enemies of God, enslaved to sin and subject to death in all its forms (cf. Gen. 2:16-17).
This promise incorporates at least three necessary aspects:
- God will unilaterally “put enmity” between Satan and Eve. Why? Because the total depravity/inability of sinners must be overcome, and only God can do it. The sinner must stop yielding to sin and Satan; truly, the sinner must hate sin and Satan. God must take the initiative and bring this about because, then as now, no one “seeks for God” on his own (Rom 3:11; cf. Ps 14:1-3).
- God must put hostility between the posterity of the woman and that of the serpent. Personally I understand this as being fundamentally between believers and unbelievers. Thus began the “long war against God” that has continued ever since. Cain was of the seed of the serpent; Abel of the seed of the woman. The same goes for the Cainites and Sethites (Gen. 5-6), Ishmael and Isaac (Gen. 17-18), Esau and Jacob (Gen. 27), and on and on. The New Testament speaks of “the children of God” and those “of the devil” (1 John 3:10; cf. John 8:44). These are two distinct and unmixed categories presently locked in mortal combat.
- The final clash will occur between Christ and Satan. The seed of the woman is personified (“He”) who delivers the fatal blow to Satan (lit., “crush his head”) but in turn will suffer a temporary heel wound. This was His death, validated by His resurrection and ascension to the welcoming arms of a satisfied and pleased Father. This clash took place at Calvary when Christ—God in the flesh—served to “destroy… the devil” (Heb 2:14, KJV; 1 John 3:8) and forever sealed his destiny and that of those who follow in his lineage. All such will to be remanded to God’s everlasting penitentiary of the doomed and the damned.
Genesis 3:15 is like an acorn that has all the potential of a great oak. Apparently our first parents believed this God-revealed promise (cf. Gen. 3:20; 4:25), as minimal as it may seem, along with all believers of that dispensation. God promised that someone, sometime, somewhere and somehow would destroy the implacable enemy of God, of the plan of God, of the people of God and of all that is good, and bring forgiveness of sin to “whosoever will” (Rev. 22:17, KJV).
Dr. Rolland D. McCune served at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary from 1981 to 2009 as professor of systematic theology, dean of the faculty and president. He previously taught at Central Baptist Seminary for 14 years. He is the author of A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, 3 vols. (Allen Park, MI: DBTS, 2008-2010) as well as other books and many journal articles. It is a truly a blessing to welcome him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2015 by Dr. Rolland D. McCune. Used by permission of the author.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated,
are taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quotations marked KJV are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
It is great to have Dr. McCune contributing articles for us! It was his class on dispensationalism that really introduced me to the subject, and also stirred my heart and mind to go to seminary. Later, I had him for another class on Kingdom of God, and my copy of “The Greatness of the Kingdom” by Alva J. McClain is filled with his notes. Thanks Dr. McCune!
Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but #1 in the list above sounds kind of Calvinistic to me.
The use of the words “total depravity” and “inability of sinners” catch my attention.