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Genesis 3:15 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:1 hr 13 mins 57 secs

The Serpent's Seed Defeated; Gen. 3:15

 

Every human being from the time of the creation of Adam has been involved in a cosmic conflict, a spiritual war that we sometimes called the angelic conflict. But Satan and his demons have targeted the human race because the human race stands right at the centre of this conflict. We have seen that this began in the garden of Eden. The ramifications, punishment and consequences for the sin of Adam was spelled out in Genesis chapter three. That whole event represents Satan's attack on mankind. There were subsequent direct attacks as well as indirect attacks but the starting point is in Genesis 3:15, and as part of what God outlined as consequences of that sin He made a prophetic announcement directed toward the serpent, that eventually the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. As we have gone through these studies looking at these various attacks we have come up to the point where we come to the crushing of the serpent's head. This took place at the cross provisionally, but finally and totally when Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming.

 

Gen 3:15 NASB "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." There are a couple of things that need to be pointed out about this verse, one of which is that this verse is rather general and in one sense it has a certain level of ambiguity to it. By that is simply meant that it is a very broad statement and as we go through the process of revelation, the progress of revelation, then there are more and more prophecies that add specifics to it that help us understand how it will be fulfilled in history. The ambiguity here relates to the vocabulary and allows the passage to be fulfilled in a couple of different directions.

 

The first word to be emphasised is "enmity." The Hebrew noun means hostility, animosity, acrimony, malice. It is often used to describe the violence, the hatred, the animosity of two opposing armies as they come together to fight. So this word implies tremendous hostility, anger and violence that is going to occur between the serpent and the woman. The implications are brought out in the next phrase, "between your seed and her seed." This is a very unusual terms and it has some implications that we haven't developed previously. The Hebrew word for seed here is a word that refers to sowing, sometimes to the sowing of literal seed, and it refers to descendants in a broad sense. So when we see the term "seed of Abraham" it is talking about the descendants. When the word is used in that context it is called a collective noun. A collective noun is a noun like "crowd" or "multitude" or even "nation" used in such a way where a singular noun is being used but it involves a tremendous number of people. Though it is singular grammatically it refers to a large number of people. The word "seed" can refer to both a collective group such as the descendants of someone and to a specific individual. So we ask the question: what in Genesis 3:15 gives us an indication that this is used as either a collective noun or an individual noun? Do we see anything on the context of Genesis 3:15 that shows which it is? No. Hence the ambiguity we are talking about. As we go through Scripture we see that this word is actually applied in both directions. That is why it is structured the way it is structured.

 

Usually the term is related not to the woman's procreative ability but to the male procreative ability. It is translated in the Septuagint by the Greek word sperma [sperma]. So as soon as we see "the seed of the woman" it ought to jar us a little bit in terms of thinking that is not really normal, so that is being emphasised here? There is at least an implication related to the virgin birth that did not involve a male father. Secondly, because the term is a collective noun it can refer to either the human race as a whole or a specific individual. It is going to be used in both ways. The seed of the woman in one sense involves all of humanity because we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. But in a theological sense it is taken by subsequent writers in both the Old and New Testaments to refer to a specific individual, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Third, the term "seed" as it is used in relationship to both the serpent and the woman has a different significance. The seed of the serpent is not a term that refers to his physical biological descendants because Satan has not biological descendants. It the way the term "seed of the serpent" is used simply refers to his followers, those who are under his leadership. John 8:44 NASB "You are of {your} father the devil…" So we see that this includes moral religious leaders, any human being who has not been regenerated and entered into the family of God. Therefore every human being is born into the family and following Satan.

 

In the course of understanding this verse there has always been a debate as to whether this is talking about a selective group or an individual. The LXX translates the word "seed" with the word sperma. What is interesting is that sperma is a neuter noun. So when it says "between your seed and her seed," the next phrase, rather than using the neuter pronoun in the Greek, "it," which would agree in gender, the translators of the LXX translated it with a masculine pronoun because they understood that this referred to a specific individual, indicating a "he." So that shows us that the translators of the LXX understood this to have an individual reference and not just a collective reference. However, during the same period of time and later on a number of rabbis interpreted this as collective.

 

The verse is a fairly general statement and it picks up refinements and specificity as God gives more revelation. Initially within the context of Genesis we see that the woman interprets this as applying to Cain. But there is a problem with Cain and his sinfulness and again there is an enmity between Cain and Abel, Cain murders Abel, and so we begin to see the outworking of this problem and animosity between the followers of Satan and those who are devoted to God from Genesis chapter four on.

 

The word "seed" takes on a very important significance in the book of Genesis where it occurs 59 times. Of those, 47 occur between Genesis 12 and 50, including and following the Abrahamic covenant where God made that promise to Abraham that through his seed all the world would be blessed. That related in one sense to Isaac, in another to his descendants, and in another it is applied specifically to the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this in Genesis 12:7 NASB "The LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your descendants I will give this land'." However, in the Hebrew the word is "seed" again and is a singular noun. This is repeated in Genesis 15:18 in the giving of the Abrahamic covenant proper. What is interesting is that in the context of Genesis 12 and 15 the interpretation of that has to do with the biological descendants of Abraham through Isaac. In Galatians 3:16 the apostle Paul makes a theological application of that principle: NASB "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as {referring} to many, but {rather} to one, 'And to your seed,' that is, Christ." The writers of Scripture made application on the basis of even grammar. Even the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture extends even to the grammar so that there are different places where different authors derive application and theological principles from the basis of grammar. So Paul says if you carefully analyse the verse there is a singular noun and that is because it has an ultimate reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the one through whom all the covenants will ultimately be fulfilled. As we look back at the process and progress of revelation in Genesis it starts with this announcement that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the seed of the serpent, i.e. the followers of the serpent. There would be this animosity, this war, between the followers of Satan and the seed of then woman, but that ultimately the one who brings defeat to the seed of the serpent is going to be this individual, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. That came about at the first advent.

 

John 13:1-4 describes the setting for what takes place at the last supper. Beginning in verse 5, down through verse 17, Jesus teaches a very important doctrinal principle through His actions. By washing the disciples' feet Jesus is teaching the importance of ongoing cleansing from sin. The vocabulary He uses comes right out of the Old Testament related to the initial cleansing of the high priest and ongoing cleansing which involves simply washing for the priests—the hands and the feet—and this pictures for us the ongoing necessity of cleansing after salvation. But in the midst of this there is another layer of action that is going on, sort of unseen and undetected by the disciples. It is something that John very carefully brings to our attention in verse 2.

 

The major doctrine that is being communicated in chapter 13 has to do with love. Forgiveness from God is a manifestation of His love for us, and so we should also manifest that same love for others in forgiving them. But love is not restricted to simply forgiveness and willingness to forgive others. There is another element here that has to do with God's love and it is related to an exclusionary thing that take place related to one of the disciples. Often people who are not operating on a biblical framework think that love in inclusive. What we see here is that part of Christ's love is exclusion. He is going to exclude Judas Iscariot. That comes in about halfway through the chapter, but at the very beginning of the chapter John introduces this. Why doesn't he just go straight to the foot-washing? Verses 2-4 form one sentence in the Greek. The subject, Jesus, is not mentioned until verse 3, and we don't get the verb associated with that until verse 4. He "got up from supper, and laid aside His garments" is the thought in vv. 2-4. But verse 2 is the set-up. NASB "During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, {the son} of Simon, to betray Him." Grammatically it is a dependent clause that simply describes for us some other element that is going on behind the scenes. It is a big clue. Before he even starts getting into the real muscle of the passage, which is Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, he wants us to know something else is happening.

 

This is an example of demon influence because the devil is influencing the thinking of Judas. The word "heart" is often used to refer to the inner most part of man and specifically the thinking that is going on in the soul. We see a parallel passages in Acts 5:3 NASB "But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back {some} of the price of the land?" It is not Satan who was in the heart, it is Satan filling the heart with this desire.

 

But demon influence, once followed, can often set up a person to be a target for demon possession. That is what happens in John 13. Notice John 13:10 NASB "Jesus said to him, 'He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all {of you.}'" "Bathed" refers to positional cleansing which occurs at salvation, so that at salvation we are forgiven for all of our sins, we are positionally cleansed, but experientially we continue to sin. When we continue to sin there has to be ongoing cleansing. "… you are clean" is "you all are clean." Then, "but not all of you all." So there was one there who wasn't saved. That is the point that He is making. [11] "For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, 'Not all of you are clean'." In other words, one of them wasn't saved.

 

John 13:27 NASB "After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, 'What you do, do quickly'." Jesus has already indicated to Peter that the one he gives the bread to is the one who was going to betray Him. The key phrase here is "Satan then entered him." This is the Greek verb eiserchomai [e)iserxomai], specifically indicating Satanic possession.

 

At the cross the seed of the woman was crushed, but only the heel. It was a temporary wounding because after three days and three nights in the tomb He was resurrected. 1 Peter 3:19 NASB "in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits {now} in prison," i.e. the Old Testament reference to the "sons of God," those demons who had taken human wives in Genesis 6 to defile the human race. Jesus goes and announces His victory on the cross and that they are defeated. Genesis 3:15 has been fulfilled positionally. [20] "who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through {the} water."

 

Satan is still operational on the planet. Having failed to attack the seed singular, and to destroy the seed singular, Satan is going to adopt a new strategy when it comes to the church age and the Tribulation. Satan's strategy was from the fall to the cross was to destroy the seed (singular) and prevent the seed of the woman from having victory. He failed. So now he has to attack another seed, the seed of Abraham. He is going to try to destroy the Jews before God has fulfilled His promises to them. He has been strategically defeated at the cross but he has one last hope. If he can prove that God really can't run the universe and can't fulfil His plans and promises he would fulfil the only hope he has left which is the prove that God can't be God either. The only way he can do that is to try to keep God from being able to fulfil any of His promises, so he attacks the Jews. That is why anti-Semitism is one of then devil's greatest tools in history and why Christians are to be very careful not to succumb to that. This is why probably the greatest religious invention of Satan in the modern era is Islam, because Islam is virulently anti-Semitic to its very core. They want to get Israel out of the land, and this is going to be Satan's strategy in the church age to try to destroy the Jews, and it is going to go into high gear during the Tribulation period.

 

There are going to be three demonic attacks during the Tribulation. The first occurs in Revelation 9:1-12, the fifth trumpet judgment, which puts it some time after the mid-point of the Tribulation. At this time there is going to be the release of the first demon army that has been held near the river Euphrates. This army can only attack unbelievers. Then in verse 13 we are told that a second demon army is released. This is the sixth trumpet judgment. They are going to kill one third of mankind. A third of mankind was killed in the seal judgments, and this basically means that half of the human race that is alive at the beginning of the Tribulation is killed by this point.

We see the result of this in Revelation 9:20 NASB "The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; [21] and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts." Negative volition seeks to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and it doesn't matter how great the evidence or the miracles.

Then we come to the third assault army, the attack of Satan and his remaining demons from heaven. Revelation 12:1-6 NASB "Rev 12:1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman [Israel] clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads {were} seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male {child,} who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [cf. Psalm 2]; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days."

War breaks out in heaven. Revelation 12:7 NASB "And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, [8] and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." As the demons are cast to the earth they are visible and walking around. Later on we are told in chapter eighteen that Babylon was the habitation of demons.

Then we come to the final battle which is in Revelation 19. This is when the Lord Jesus Christy comes back to the earth with the church as His victorious army to destroy and finally crush the seed of the serpent. Revelation 19:11 NASB "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it {is} called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. [12] His eyes {are} a flame of fire, and on His head {are} many diadems; and He has a name written {on Him} which no one knows except Himself. [13] {He is} clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." The reason his robe is dipped in blood is because He has just come from a massacre down in Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1). The Jews in the wilderness call Him, He comes down and wipes out the enemies and leads a victorious army with the tribe of Judah at the forefront, coming up through the Negev, up through the south of Israel to Jerusalem, and has slaughtered His enemies in a blood bath. [14] And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white {and} clean, were following Him on white horses. [15] From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. [16] And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS'."

The victory: Revelation 19:20 NASB "And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. [21] And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh." The beast is the Antichrist who is, like Judas, indwelt and empowered by Satan. So when Jesus Christ has His victory over the kings of the earth he is going to cast the Antichrist and false prophet directly into the lake of fire. He is the one who kills the armies of the kings of the earth.

Revelation 20:2 NASB "And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…. [7] When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, [8] and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. [9] And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. [10] And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."

That is when the seed of the serpent is crushed and it all ends. Satan can read as well as us and what he is doing is trying desperately to stop it, and the way he is trying to do this is by destroying the seed of Abraham. If he can destroy the seed of Abraham then he can stop God from fulfilling the Old Testament promises and he will keep God from being God.

Illustrations