Which biblical promises are for Christians? God’s promises play a vital role in helping believers grow in sanctification and suffer with hope, but should we claim all OT promises as our own, seeing as God gave them to a different people and under a different covenant? This article considers why and how every promise is “Yes” in Christ and seeks to empower believers to faithfully appropriate OT promises without abusing them. In the process it supplies five foundational principles that clarify the Christian’s relationship to OT promises, and then it gives three guidelines for hoping in OT promises through Christ.
In Genesis 3:15, the Lord announces the future coming of a “seed” (זֶ֫רַע) who will bruise the head of the serpent. While many have long considered this verse the protoevangelium, or the first gospel, others have been quick to doubt its “messianic” intention. However, when one examines Genesis 1–3 in context, an anticipatory expectation emerges as the most viable option. Furthermore, once the interpreter understands the promise God gave to Abraham concerning his “seed” (22:17–18) as a contextual allusion to 3:15, it becomes clear that this verse stands as the fountainhead of the Old Testament’s anticipatory hope. Therefore, although the book of Genesis uses neither the noun מָשִׁיחַ nor the verb מָשַׁח to refer to this coming individual, due to the anticipatory hope found within, Genesis 3:15 is best understood as the protoevangelium.
This article examines the meaning of blessing as expressed in the structure and narratives of Genesis. After highlighting the pattern of blessings offset by curses embedded within the “generational” structure of Genesis, the nature of blessing is explored in its varying contexts. Given the quantity of blessings in Genesis, it is natural to expect fulfillments, partial or complete, of the blessings; thus, the article considers the degree to which readers are shown fulfillments and the degree to which they are pointed on towards future fulfillments. Finally, the human role in blessing is considered, both the human blessing of other humans as well as the human blessing of the Lord.