|Vol. 2, No. 2||Page 7||February 2000|
Text: Genesis 3:9-19; (Emphasize vs. 15.)
1. The story of redemption has its beginning, and that not by mistake, in the first book of the Bible ¾ Genesis.
2. In order to understand the story (scheme) of redemption we must understand what happened in the very outset of human history.
3. God had created Adam (man) and Eve (mother of all living), and placed them in an indescribable paradise called Eden, which means, “a place of delight.”
4. In Eden God placed man under law both positive and negative. The positive law can be found in Genesis 1:28; 2:15-24. And the negative law is found in chapter two verses sixteen and seventeen.
a) Both the positive law, and the negative law (commands of God) were very simple, and were fully understood by the inhabitants of Eden.
b) So long as they were obedient to this law, they lived in a state of tranquillity, peace, and beauty which are hard for those of us living in these miserable times to imagine, and are impossible for us to understand.
5. Enter the serpent, (Nahash, the most common word in the Old Testament for “snake”) who Moses described as being “more subtle,” that is, more crafty, more deceitful, more cunning, than any other, “beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” (Lord God here refers to Jehovah, or Yahweh and is not the plural name Elohim which is used in chapter one, verse one, and some verses following.)
6. The serpent asked Eve a question which was intended to raise doubts in her mind regarding God, his law, and whether or not she should disobey the law of God. That question was, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” Eve answered the question which Satan had asked.
a) Satan then contradicted what God had said by telling her that she would not die if she ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden.
b) Then he showed her that the fruit of the tree was good for food, which was a strong appeal to the desires of the flesh.
c) Then he showed her that the fruit of the tree was a delight to the eyes, which was a strong appeal to the lust of the eyes.
d) Then Satan told her that the fruit could make one wise, and that God did not want her to eat because when she did she would become as a god, knowing good from evil. Thus he appealed to her vanity or pride.
e) The essential thing that we wish to see here is not that she and Adam merely ate some fruit that had been forbidden, but in so doing they dethroned God from their lives. The very essence of sin is to dethrone God, and to enthrone one’s own will, or self.
f) Eve yielded to the temptation of Satan, gave the fruit to her husband, and the two of them ate it, to the consternation of the human race!
g) In the midst of their sin and disgrace they sought to provide covering for themselves, for up to now they had been naked and unashamed, and to hide from God.
h) When God came walking in the Garden in the cool of the day (evening) he did not immediately see the first couple, and so he asked, “Adam where are you?” This brought the first couple out of hiding and made them confess that they were afraid of God because they were naked.
i) As God began to question Adam, he blamed the woman whom God had given him, (therefore indirectly blamed God), Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent, and God placed his curse upon each one who was involved in the sin of rebellion against the will of God.
j) Then God said, Genesis 3:14-19, ( 14) “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, (beasts, Par. mine DGW) and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. (15) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’ (16) To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ (17) Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. (18) Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. ( 19) In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
7. In verse fifteen of chapter three, we have the first promise ever reported in the Bible. This is a promise that those of us who are believers in the Bible cherish even until this day, and will cherish until the day that we are transported to the bliss of heaven.
I. The Elements of the Prophecy of Genesis 3:15.
A. As James Smith, outstanding Old Testament scholar says, “It is ironic that the first announcement of the Gospel occurs within the context of a curse of Satan. A gleam of grace shines through the gloom of divine retribution. That old satanic Serpent is cursed above all the animals upon the face of the earth (v.14). The crawling on the belly and eating dust are metaphors signifying the deepest humiliation.”[i]
1. Smith also points out that many of the modernistic students of the Bible, as well as those in the “post-modern” movement betray their anti-supernatural beliefs by insisting that this is not a prophecy of the coming of Christ, but as they explain it, it is only one of the following:
a) It is an explanation as to why human beings hate snakes!
b) That it is an explanation of the fact that man would overcome snakes!
c) That man can overcome the evil that is in the world! (When is he going to do it?)
2. The plain fact of the matter is that this is a prophecy which both Jewish and Christian scholars from the earliest times have found is one of profound importance in the Scheme of Redemption, because here God is unfolding the various stages of the conflict of the ages.
a) There are three of these stages mentioned in the prophecy which constitute what one might call three levels of battle between God and the forces of Hell.
b) We turn to these now to study these levels which are set forth in the prophecy itself.
B. The first level of battle that is set forth in this prophecy is that of a personal battle.
1. God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman . . .”
2. The word “enmity” is one of great importance in understanding this prophecy.
a) The word comes from a Hebrew word which means, “Active hatred, or hostility between two intelligent beings, namely, Eve and the satanic Serpent.
b) Notice that it is God himself who put this enmity, hatred, hostility between the woman and the Serpent. (This was done directly through the Serpent as Eve discovered what he had done to her.)
c) Why? Because, before the sin Eve had listened sympathetically to the Serpent, and in so doing she placed her confidence, or faith, or trust, in this deceiving being.
3. By the time this curse is spoken to the Serpent, to Eve, and to Adam, her attitude has now changed because she had come to know by personal experience the guilt, shame, and fear that had already come upon her as a result of disobeying God.
a) At this time she recognized the Serpent as being her malevolent enemy who was determined to destroy both her, her husband, and any offspring she might have.
b) Now she recognized Satan as her enemy, and she knew that she would have to have help in fighting against him in the future.
c) God promised to give her that help by helping her to hate Satan, who had already demonstrated his hatred against her.
C. The second level of battle with Satan involved the posterity of Eve and the posterity of Satan.
1. There would be a perpetual warfare between the offspring of man, and Satan and his kind.
2. The word “seed” used in the passage certainly means the offspring of the woman, but what does it mean with regard to Satan? It may refer to several things:
a) Evil men who cause others to do evil, and who serve the Serpent.
b) Evil demons, or spirits, such as were on the earth in the days of Jesus.
c) The evil that Satan would perpetuate in the earth until he is finally destroyed at the second coming of Christ.
3. In Romans 16:20, Paul, who had in mind the evil that the Roman Christians would suffer, made reference to this prophecy when he said, “And the God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet shortly.”
4. The “seed” of woman. The word “seed” in the Bible usually refers to the physical offspring, or posterity of some person, such as, the “seed” of Abraham.
a) “Seed” is that which is carried in the body of man, and by which children are conceived by women.
b) A woman, or women, in the Bible, are never spoken of as having “seed” as is spoken of in this passage.
c) Hence, God must have been speaking of a particular woman who would give birth to an offspring without the intervention of a man.
d) This has only happened once in the entire history of the world!
e) Notice that God changed the pronouns from “your seed,” and “her seed,” by pointing out that the “seed” of the woman, HE, would bruise the head of Satan, and Satan would bruise HIS heel. There can be no doubt that God speaks of a particular person who would win the ultimate battle over Satan. (Incidentally, the word “bruise” in the NKJV is a bit too mild. The Hebrew can just be translated “crush.” A literal rendering of the statement is: “He will crush you as to the head, and you will crush him as to the heel.”
D. Now we come to the third level of the battle between God and Satan, between good and evil which we will call the battle of battles, the most important of all battles ¾ the ultimate battle.
1. Here the Serpent, who represents Satan, is singled out as one of the final combatants in the conflict of the ages.
2. When God said, “You shall bruise his heel,” the pronoun “you” emphasizes two great truths.
a) This would be a battle between individuals, only one of whom is named.
b) The Serpent of the original temptation and the Serpent of the ultimate battle would be one and the same.
c) God is here informing Satan that one day he would reconcile man to himself in spite of all the deceit and resistance that Satan could bring about.
3. Since Satan, the evil combatant is a solitary personality, it must be true that the “he” who would crush the head of Satan must also be regarded as an individual who would be some great champion who came from the “seed” of woman.
4. The last two clauses of Genesis 3:15, namely, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel . . .” indicate strongly that there is personal combat and personal victory in the mind of God.
5. The “he” and the “him” refers to an individual, who would be the “seed” of the woman, and who would become the ultimate victor over the Serpent and his power.
6. Paul referred to the victor of this great battle when he said in Galatians 4:4-5, (4) “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
7. In order to obtain this redemption, of which Paul spoke, the complete defeat of Satan, that is, the crushing of his head, or of his power, was absolutely essential.
a) This could not be a partial “crushing,” but a complete one.
b) Satan had to be defeated so that he could never again do to mankind what he had done in the Garden of Delights.
c) The author of the great book of Hebrews (2:9-15) said that Christ had to “. . . destroy him who had the power of death . . . But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone . . . (14) Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
d) Jesus himself spoke of this defeat of Satan in Luke 11:21-22, when he said, (21) “When a strong man, [Satan] fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. (22) But when a stronger than he [Jesus] comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.”
e) Jesus overcame the power of Satan, when he took from him the whole armor [the power of death] in which he trusted and divided his spoils.
f) Satan is to be “. . . tormented day and night forever and ever,” according to Revelation 20:10.
8. There are numerous examples cited in the record of the Gospel which show that Satan attempted to wound the heel of our Lord.
a) The attempt to slay the baby Jesus, which attempt was brought about by Herod, was an attempt on the part of Satan to wound Christ.
b) In the wilderness, after his baptism and forty day fast, Jesus was put to a direct test by the adversary of mankind when he tempted him in the three areas of temptation.
c) In Nazareth, the hometown of our Lord, Satan inspired a mob to attempt to stone Jesus.
d) Of course, Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, inspiring him to sell Jesus to his enemies for thirty pieces of silver (the price of a slave).
e) All the sufferings Christ endured before his crucifixion, and during his crucifixion, are evidences that Satan could indeed bruise the heel of the Lord.
9. After Satan did all that he could do to wound the heel of Jesus, he must have lived in extreme dread waiting for Jesus to be resurrected from the tomb to conquer him in a final confrontation. By this confrontation Satan would be subdued by “. . . the seed of woman.”
a) Of this great confrontation, Paul wrote that Jesus was victorious, when he quoted Psalm 68:18 in the following words, Ephesians 4:8, Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”
b) Throughout the centuries of the Antediluvian period, this prophecy stood as a lighthouse on the shores of time, and to it men clung as a shipwrecked sailor clings to a rock of safety.
II. Jesus Came to Procure Redemption for Man and Completely Defeat Satan, Thus Showing That He Was Able to Give the Crushing Blow to the Head of Satan.
A. In Hebrews 2:9, the author of that grand treatise told his readers that:
1. “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God might taste death for everyone.”
2. Since the beings needing redemption live on this earth in flesh and blood, Jesus also came in the very same form that, “. . . through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil . . .” (Hebrews 2:14)
B. Even in the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied about seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, in language that plainly showed that the mission of Jesus was to die here upon the earth.
1. Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
2. Notice the following truths set forth by Isaiah as he spoke of the sacrifice of Jesus:
a) God exalted his Son above all other beings in the universe ¾ this is what is meant by Jehovah’s saying, “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong . . .”
b) God sets forth the reason for his exaltation of Christ by saying, “Because He poured out His soul unto death . . .”
c) In that death “. . . He was numbered with the transgressors . . .” He was crucified between two thieves.
d) In that death, Jesus “. . . bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
3. This prophecy not only tells what would happen during the death of Jesus upon the cross, but it tells what would happen as a result of that death upon the cross. So this prophecy is tied to Genesis 3:15, and shows that Jesus in dying and resurrecting dealt the death blow to the head of the old Serpent.
C. In the last book of the Bible, (Revelation 1:17-18) John, the author of the book, saw Jesus, and when he saw him he fell at his feet as one dead.
1. Jesus then spoke to the Revelator, and said, (17) “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the last. ( 18) I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’”
2. Notice again the truths spoken by Jesus:
a) Jesus is the first and the last, meaning that he is the sum total of all we need spiritually.
b) Jesus was dead, but now is alive forevermore, meaning that he had resurrected never to die again.
c) Jesus now has the “. . . keys of Hades and of Death.” This means that Jesus was victorious over Satan and now has controlling power over Hades (the unseen realm of the dead) and over Death itself, that is, he has made it so that Death can no longer threaten the eternal existence of those who come to him.
3. “Having overcome Satan by His perfect life and having bound him, ‘it was not possible that he should be holden of it [death]’ (Acts 2:24)”[ii] Why is this true? Because:
a) “The sting of death is sin,” Paul said in I Corinthians 15:56.
b) Jesus had no sin according to Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
c) As a result of this, death could not hold Christ as it had held many of the great of the Old Testament dispensations.
d) Instead of death capturing him, he captured death.
4. Thus, these verses, and many others we could note, and some we have noted, show very clearly that Jesus would crush ([shup], that is, shatter, shiver, break in pieces by crushing) the head of the Serpent while he could only crush the heel of the Savior.
III. There Are Those Who Do Not Understand What Was Involved in the Act of Disobedience on the Part of Our First Parents.
A. When God forbid Adam to eat of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” he also warned him saying, “For (because par. mine, DGW) in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
1. The woman knew this, and even repeated the penalty and added that God had said, “. . . nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”
2. Two kinds of death have passed upon mankind because of the sin of our first parents. They are:
a) Physical death, with which we are all too familiar.
b) Spiritual death, or being separated from God, by our sin.
c) Isaiah said, (59:1-2) ( 1) “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. (2) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear . . .”
d) The seed of woman made it possible for the second death to be destroyed so that mankind is no longer separated from God.
e) Because spiritual death has been destroyed, physical death no longer holds us in its icy grip, “for it is by dying that we are born to eternal life.”
B. It must be understood that disobedience causes us to return to the dominion of death because the justice of God does not allow him to redeem us while we live in sin.
C. Notice the curses that God pronounced upon, (1) the Serpent, (2) the woman, (3) the man.
1. Genesis 3:14-15, ( 14) “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. (15) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’”
2. Genesis 3:16, “To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’”
3. Genesis 3:17-19, (17) “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. (18) Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. (19) In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.’”
4. The toil in which we engage, the pain that we bear in childbirth, and all other pain are all part of the process to bring on physical death.
5. Those who have obedient faith will be able to pass through the physical death, and because they have spiritual life, they will never die again, and will live in a place where spiritual death can never again come upon them because death will have been destroyed forever by Jesus.
6. Satan, the one who killed Adam and Eve with malice and forethought, can never again bring sin into the life of man, and only sin, that is, rebellion against God can cause man to come under the power of spiritual death.
1. We should thank God that Jesus won the victory for us, because we could never win it ourselves.
2. The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 should inspire us to live lives of humble obedience to God whether we understand why God has given an instruction or not.
3. Rebellion against God puts him in second place so that our desires become our gods.
4. We may not be able to commit the same sin as our first parents, but in principle we can do what they did when we rebel against the Almighty.
[i] James Edward Smith, What the Bible Teaches About the Promised Messiah, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, 1993, p.39.
[ii] Homer Hailey, The Messiah of Prophecy to the Messiah on the Throne, Religious Supply, Inc., Louisville, 1995, p. 13.