Some five thousand years had passed since God had pronounced His judgments upon Satan and Eve for their part in the Fall. God said that the seed of the woman would one day kill Satan (Genesis 3:15). This motivated a cosmic chess match. Satan immediately began to make his moves to keep this special seed from coming.
Cain killed Abel, the line through which the promised seed was to come (Genesis 4:8). God countered by moving Seth into that position. Satan’s next effort was to infiltrate the world and physically corrupt the human race, making it impossible for the seed to come as a human being (Gen. 6). God countered by selecting Noah and his family to preserve the human race so that His seed could come.
Satan moved by maneuvering events that caused Sarah to end up in Pharaoh’s harem (Genesis 12:15). Thinking she was Abraham’s sister, Pharaoh gifted Abraham with male and female servants. God countered by striking Pharaoh’s family with plagues (Gen. 12:17). Satan moved in stealth. The couple left Egypt with Pharaoh’s gifts in tow, one a servant girl named Hagar. Abraham and Sarah left Egypt, but a small bit of Egypt left with them (Gen. 12:20). God countered. Hagar was in God’s plan all along. Ishmael and Isaac struggled early in life, and they have struggled throughout history (Gen. 21:9). Ishmael, the oldest, was always hazing Isaac. The Arabs are constantly tormenting the Jews.
Satan moved. Pharaoh attempted to destroy all the male children in Egypt (Ex. 1:15–22). God countered by having Moses hidden from Pharaoh by his mother and then saved in a miraculous way (Ex. 1:22). Satan moved by pushing the Jews against the Red Sea, standing the chance to be annihilated by Pharaoh (Ex. 14:19–26). God countered and Pharaoh’s army was buried alive.
Satan moved. Jehoshaphat’s son arranged a marriage between Jehoram and Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter. Jezebel attempted to kill all of the sons in the line of Christ. God countered! Little Joash was miraculously hidden and saved. He was the only male survivor in the line of David (2 Chron. 22:10–12).
Satan moved! Haman attempted to exterminate Esther and all the Jews (Esther 7:7). God countered by sending Esther to talk to the king. Haman lost! Back and forth the chess match would continue. Shortly after the birth of King Jesus in Bethlehem, Satan made another attempt to intercept and kill the seed of the woman. God moved!
After Jesus was born wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1–2). Satan countered! Herod the great was an Ishmaelite Arab born in Edom. He led Herod into Judea, near Bethlehem – to intercept the King. Herod was ruthless, suspicious, and very cruel. He murdered his wife, his own mother, his oldest son, and his two sons. Caesar Augustus of Rome was recorded as saying that it was much safer to be Herod’s pig (uous) than to be his son (huios).
Herod was ruling when wise men (Gentiles from Medo-Persia) came to find where the Christ child was to be born. They asked where the king of the Jews was being born. Herod heard the words “king of the Jews,” and he immediately set in motion a plan. He asked these Easterners to go and find the king and come back and tell him so he could go “worship him.” God counter moved by warning these wise men of Herod’s intent, and they went home another way.
Satan moved once more! Realizing that he had been duped, Herod was furious. He passed an edict to kill all the male children in the Bethlehem area that were about the age of Jesus. God counter moved. He warned Joseph to take his young family down into Egypt for a short vacation. There they stayed until Herod’s death. Just as Jochebed hid little Moses, and little Joash was hidden, Mary and Joseph hid the Christ child. God is still using Arabs as His divine instigators, antagonists used to pressure the Jews to recognize that Jesus is their Messiah.
Jesus began His special ministry of presenting the kingdom to Israel at the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). His ministry is clearly marked out in Matthew with His words to the Jews: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). This was the kingdom that had been promised throughout the Old Testament. The angel Gabriel’s words to Mary are worth pondering. He told her that she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son and would call His name Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31–33). Stay safe and stay tuned.