I like the month of November – I like it especially because it is a month of expectation. Christmas is now not far away, and just as the saints of the Old Testament long-awaited the Messiah, so do we now await the celebration of Christ’s birth. This idea of expectation runs all throughout the Old Testament. Even Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, is saturated with the expectance and awaiting of the Messiah.
In Genesis 1-2, God created a garden-sanctuary where He would dwell with man, His image-bearer. In Genesis 3, man failed to bear God’s image and was kicked out of this garden-sanctuary for his own good. The reader is left wondering, “Will man ever enjoy God’s presence apart from sin again?” Or, “Will men every return to the garden sanctuary? How can he go back?” But buried in the sadness and curse of Genesis 3 is the great promise of verse 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.” Ah. There is going to be some Seed born of the woman who will crush the Serpent. He is the victorious One in whom the righteous will hope!
After Genesis 3, a number of “Seed candidates” are put on the table. Cain is firstborn of Eve – but he is a murderer. Abel seems righteous – but he is murdered. Seth seems to be a good replacement – but he ends up dying before anything salvific happens. Enoch walks with God – but he is taken up. Noah is going to be the one to give rest… he is righteous, survives the flood by God’s grace, and receives the Noahic Covenant – but he gets drunk. And then in Genesis 12, we meet Abram. Abram is promised a “great nation” (Gen. 12:2) and “seed” (Gen. 12:7). It seems that, while Abram is not the Seed Himself, seed will certainly come through him.
Genesis keeps the spotlight on Abram for a while. Some of Abram’s life is familiar to us (i.e., the ordeal with Hagar or the sign of circumcision). But other parts of his life are not so much familiar. Consider, for example, Genesis 14. What happens in Genesis 14?
Well, let’s just say Genesis 14 isn’t talked about very much. But, as we prepare our hearts for Christmas by longing for the Messiah, it may do us well to consider how Genesis 14 expects and anticipates the coming of the victorious Seed.
Genesis 14 opens with a long list of long king names. There is a king (named Chedorlaomer) who has had dominion over the land. An alliance of five kings subject to him band together to try to overthrow his rule. But Chedorlaomer has allied himself with three other kings, and he quashes the rebellion. In short, Genesis 14:1-12 can best be summarized by 14:2: “these kings made war…” (ESV). We see here nation raging against nation, kingdom against kingdom, nation crushing nation, king dominating king. This is really the first time the idea of “raging nations” shows up – but of course, this idea is developed later in the Canon. Especially noteworthy are Psalm 2 and Matthew 24. In Psalm 2, the psalmist says that God’s Messiah-King is going to crush and rule the raging nations with a rod of iron. In Matthew 24, Christ prophesies that in the latter days, nation will rage against nation until the Son of Man descends from heaven to put a stop to all the wickedness. Genesis 14 is setting a pattern of nation raging against nation, a pattern that is important for the rest of Scripture.
Oh, and in all the fighting, Lot – Abram’s nephew, who was living in Sodom, which lost the war – gets captured.
Lots is captured, so when Abram hears about this, he springs into action. With his own band of trained men, 318 to be exact, Abram chases down “Chedorlaomer the Victorious.” Abram is not a king, although he is powerful and rich enough to run in the same circles as these kings. He has no issue taking his own little army and making war upon Chedorlaomer. And, well, Abram lays him low and regains Lot! Now it’s “Chedorlaomer the Defeated” and “Abram the Victorious”.
The significance of this is noteworthy. Abram, who was promised seed, defeated the most powerful king in the region. Abram, who was promised seed, rose above the raging nations and conquered, delivering his kinsman. Now, we can add to the pattern: (1) the nations will rage; (2) the Seed will conquer. Abram was promised seed – so by him conquering, the pattern is set that the Seed will be victorious over the nations. Isn’t that what we already observed in Psalm 2 and Matthew 24? That thread has its roots in Genesis 14! Through this event and in this text, God is thus demonstrating very clearly that the promised, anticipated Seed of Genesis 3 is, indeed, the victorious Seed who will come from Abram. This Seed will quell the raging of the nations – He will defeat the great kings – in fact, then, He must be the King of kings.
Seeing a victorious Seed in Genesis 14 would be enough, but the narrative doesn’t end here. Abram goes on to be blessed by a fellow named Melchizedek, a Priest-King. This is the third part of the pattern: (1) the nations will rage; (2) the Seed will conquer; (3) the Priest-King will bless. Thus, as we read through the rest of Scripture, we’re going to be expecting (1) raging nations, (2) a conquering Seed, and (3) a blessing Priest-King.
The difficulty is that we never see a Priest-King anywhere else in the Old Testament. David is a King-Prophet; Ezekiel is a Priest-Prophet; but nowhere is there a Priest-King. The only Priest-Kings in the Old Testament were Adam (who is dead by the time of Genesis 14) and Melchizedek (who doesn’t show up in any more narrative). There is only one other Priest-King in all the Bible – and He is in the New Testament. He is a New Adam in the order of Melchizedek. And actually, that Priest-King is the Seed. The Seed is both conqueror and blesser; He is King of kings and Priest-King. He will rule the nations and He will bless His people (and, in fact, all the nations). It seems, then, that this Seed is really the fullness of all hopeful expectation in the Old Testament!
Although you may not usually read Genesis 14 this time of year, perhaps this November you will as you prepare for Christmas. And it maybe that you feel the reality, all the more, of the raging nations today. I encourage you to look, then, to the hope of Genesis 14. That hope is the same hope you have this Advent season: there is coming a victorious Seed. The Serpent will be crushed; the Seed will rule with a rod of iron; the nations will not vainly rage forever.
At Christmas, that Seed was revealed as God with us. Ah – this is the One to take humanity back to God’s dwelling place in the garden-sanctuary! This is the Priest-King; this is Immanuel. At the final Christmas, the Seed will be revealed again from heaven. Then, He will be victorious over all His foes; then, He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. Indeed, read Genesis 14 and be thankful that the Seed has come – and you have been found in Him! Dear reader, is that not your great hope? You will not be destroyed with the raging nations. Instead, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet,” (Rom. 16:20)! You will be victorious with Him! All praise and thanksgiving be to God, who has mercy!
But that time is not yet. So as you read Genesis 14, yearn for this Seed, this King-Priest, to come again. Yearn for Him to right the wrongs, to lay low the pride of wicked rulers, to bless His people. Dear Christian, how often do we meditate on such blessed expectance? Will you put on this heavenly mindset this November? This Christmas?