Summary: Nothing we can do on earth, except accept Jesus as our savior, is good enough to place us inside Heaven's door.
Many theologians agree that the first biblical reference to a revealed truth of a coming Messiah is found in Genesis, chapter three, verses 14 and 15, “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
It is in these two verses we find the first clues as to the coming way of salvation for all humankind and the fate of Satan. God passes sentence. He begins where the sin began, with the serpent. The Satan's instruments must share in the punishments. Under the guise of the serpent, the Satan is sentenced to be degraded and accursed of God, detested and abhorred by mankind. Also to be destroyed and ruined at last by the great Redeemer, signified by the breaking of his head. Thus War is proclaimed between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It is the fruit of this enmity, that there is a continual warfare between grace and corruption, in the hearts of God's people. But the almighty Christ will literally crush the head of Satan and we look to become among the resurrected to live an eternal life.
Before the fall of Adam and Eve, there was no need for a savior for mankind. Up to that point, only Satan and his fallen angels had rebelled against God. So here in Genesis, we have the first announcement of a Savior for mankind who will be known as Jesus Christ. Now verses 14 and 15 do not mention Jesus Christ by name but when you compare this Scripture with other prophecies in the Old Testament there can be no doubt of this reference of the “enmity and seed” refers to the coming Christ. Here we see the Old Testament Bible contains the truth revealed. Genesis is providing this clue in preparation for the coming of Christ.
The coming of the Messiah is further revealed in the 23rd book of the Old Testament. Isaiah chapter fifty-two, verse 10 tells us, “The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” Do you think this passage means all nations will receive salvation? No, not all nations will believe in Jesus but all nations will see the Savior, hear of the Savior, and know of the Savior Salvation comes only to those of faith, to whom the Lord has revealed His grace.
Just a few verses later, we learn of the suffering and glory of the Servant to come. Let's continue with verses 13 to 15, “See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness— so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
This provides the explanation of the coming Messiah as someone damaged more than any man to reveal His testimony for the purpose of scattering His word among all nations. We know this prediction of the Jew's rejection of Christ came some 700 years before He was lifted to the cross.
The reasons for Jesus’ suffering is given in Isaiah 53 chapter one, verses 1 to 6, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
When God sent Philip into the desert to meet a chariot traveling towards Ethiopia, the passenger in the chariot was reading out loud to himself from these exact verses. He did not understand who was the focus of this prophecy, so Philip joined him in the chariot, and began to speak of Jesus to him.