Episode 3: What is the Protoevangelium? (Reading: Genesis 3, Ezra 3, Matthew 3 and Acts 3)

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Today’s Bible Readings in the RMM Bible Reading Plan are from Genesis 3, Ezra 3, Matthew 3 and Acts 3. Our focus passage is Genesis 3, which is all about the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden.

Encouraging Quote of the Day from Tim Keller,

In the beginning of history, it was a disaster. Adam and Eve, garden of Eden … What happens? Sin, Serpent … you know the story. Everything is horrible. Death, destruction, evil. Everything is horrible, except there’s a glimmer of hope. Do you know what it is? It’s a promise.
In Genesis 3:15, God says, “I promise that one descendant of Eve is someday going to bruise the head of the Serpent and destroy evil. I promise.” Scroll forward to centuries later. God starts talking to Abraham. He says, “I’m going to save the world through your descendants.” One night Abraham says, “But how can I be sure?”
In Genesis 15, God shocks Abraham (and anybody who understands what he’s doing in Genesis 15) when he appears and passes between the pieces of a dead animal and says, “I will save the world through one of your descendants, even if it means I have to die.” A second promise. Then, years and years later, Jesus Christ comes into the world, and he’s a man of complete integrity. He always means what he says, always says what he means. Absolute integrity.
At the very end, in the ultimate act of integrity, he sets his face like a flint to go to Jerusalem, and he goes to the cross. Why? He’s fulfilling his promise. He’s fulfilling the promise of God, and everything is before him. Everything comes down. Everything opposes him. Hell itself comes down, and he says, “No, I’ve made a promise,” and he goes to the cross and dies for us.

You’ve been saved by the integrity of Jesus. You’ve been saved by the promise keeping of Jesus Christ. That should humble us away from ever using truth against people, but, on the other hand, it convinces us there is a truth. We can’t be relativists at all. It destroys our fear of telling the truth. Therefore, O friends, look at the integrity of Jesus. Look at what he did for you on the cross, and become people of integrity.”

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).

Question of the day: What is the Protoevangelium (A.K.A. Protoevangelion/Protoeuangelion?

The word protoevangelium (or protevangelion) simply means “first good news,” or “first gospel.” Genesis 3 is the worst news in the Bible, really. Up until the Fall in the Garden, things were going pretty great. There was no sickness, death, depression, strife, anxiety, body image issues, or anything like that. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed – which means they had a level of transparency with each other that went far beyond whether or not they wore clothing. Everything changed, however, when Eve was tempted by the serpent Satan, and Adam stood idly by doing nothing. They both disobeyed God and sin, death, anxiety, fear, and more entered the world. Prior to this, God walked in the garden face to face with humans, but after this, there was a large gulf of separation between God and man. Bad, bad news – almost the entire chapter…except for one tiny glimmer of hope. We see it in Genesis 3:15:

I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel. – Genesis 3:15, CSB

In that one little passage, where God is pronouncing divine punishment on the serpent Satan, there is a promise: Somebody is coming to crush the head of the enemy. Who was the offspring of the woman Eve? Ultimately, this passage is looking forward to the coming of Jesus, the savior.

Why did Jesus come? 1 John 3:8 tells us that Jesus came to “destroy the work of the devil.” How did he accomplish this? The answer is in Hebrews 2 (and many other places in the Bible):

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. “

The sinless Jesus – Himself innocent, but dying on the cross to pay the price of sin, crushed the head of Satan – the devil – by this act of self-sacrifice. He utterly defeated Satan – the one holding the power of death- by His resurrection, which was a tremendous triumph. Because of Jesus’ victory here – all who look to Him in wholehearted believing faith will be saved and set free from all fear of death, because death and Satan no longer have any hold on them. The is the Protoevangelion – the first good news.


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