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Study the Master Theme of the BibleChrist in Old Testament Index
Genesis 3:15 The Seed of the Woman
The salvation of every soul begins with God. As soon as Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden we hear the Shepherd's voice calling out for His lost sheep, "Adam, where are you?" It is the Father searching for the prodigal (Genesis 3:8-13).
Genesis three is not a place where we would expect grace. It is in the context of judgment after the Fall that the LORD God curses the serpent. Adam and Eve hear God speaking to the "shining one." It is not a direct promise to Adam and Eve, but a word of judgment to Satan (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). He says to the serpent, "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" (Gen. 3:15).
God created enmity
There will be an undying opposition between Satan and the generations to follow. No doubt Adam and Even were so impressed with the message of hope that they reinforced it in the minds of their children and their children passed it own from generation to generation. Then came the day centuries later when Moses under the guidance of the Holy Spirit penned this great promise against the darkest day in human history.
The promise of salvation was given before anyone died physically. Here is the first word of grace in the Bible at a time when least expected. It is also the first messianic prophecy.
At the time of the giving of this promise no child had been born to Adam and Eve. Probably with the birth of every male child there was the hope that he would be the one who would overthrow the evil that had been unleashed on the new world.
The promised one will "bruise you on the head." There will be a head wound. The idea is there will be a deathblow. Satan would have this eternal dread hanging over him that with the birth of every male child this could be the very one who would be his end.
In the battle, Satan would "bruise him on the heel." The promised seed would suffer, but he would not suffer a destructive blow.
It is true that we do not have a great deal of information at the onset of this promise in Genesis. Hindsight is great for the sincere student! We have the advantage of looking back over time and seeing the One person who fulfilled this growing hope in the heart of sinful man.
Christ crushed Satan
Jesus Christ went to the cross and died on our behalf to crush Satan (Hebrews 2:9-15).
Satan was crushed at Calvary. He was defeated when Jesus rose from the dead. The final blow will be the submission of Satan to Jesus Christ when Jesus returns in glory (Revelation 20:1-15).
The Apostle Paul saw this great promise being fulfilled in the salvation and sanctification of God's people. He alludes to this promise in Romans 16:20, "And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you." The word for "crush" is literally to rub together and so to shatter, to crush, to trample underfoot, break in pieces by crushing, "to grind," "to crush," "to smash," "to break," "to destroy." Paul reminds believers to draw daily strength from the blessed promise of final victory over Satan. We are not on the loosing team! The image of smashing Satan in Romans 16:20 (cf. Gen. 3:15; Ps. 91:13) suggests both present victory over the powers of darkness and the imminent eschatological destruction of Satan.
God uses some strange words when He pronounced the undying opposition between Satan and the woman. He describes it as "between your seed and her seed . . ." (Gen. 3:15).
The apostle Paul observed, "When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law" (Galatians 4:4).
It is impossible to see the fulfillment of this promise without reflecting on and seriously considering Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:30-35. It is completely impossible without a miracle from God. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve the sin nature has been transmitted from parent to child from generation to generation. We are all born in sin and this included Joseph and Mary. As King David reflected on his sin nature he concluded, we are all "shapen in iniquity" (Psalm 51:5). We sin because we are sinners by nature. Mary was a sinner born to sinful parents who came from sinful parents. If Jesus had received a corrupt sinful nature from either Joseph or Mary He could not have been our sinless substitute dying for our sins. He would have been in the need of a redeemer like all other sinful men.
Jesus' sinless nature
How did Jesus then have a sinless nature? Mary's hymen was broken from within. She was a virgin. Mary knew this when she questioned, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34; cf. Matt. 1:23; Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:15). The angel explained, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. Luke uses the figure of a cloud, the symbol of divine presence coming upon Mary. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and overshadowed her with His power, through which she became pregnant. The overshadowing presence of God causes Mary to become pregnant. It was a miracle.
Jesus was born of God, not by humans. The entire operation from the creation in the fetus, the daily development in the womb for nine normal months was the work of the Holy Spirit.
Because He was the "seed of the woman" Jesus was God Incarnate. He was God-man. He was human just like you and me, but he was not fallen sinful humanity. His humanity and divinity were so woven together that you could not have seen the difference except when His deity shown forth at the Transfiguration. The Apostle Paul said, great is the mystery of the incarnation. I Timothy 3:16.
The virgin birth points back to the promise in the protoevangelium or the first glimmer of the gospel of redemption.
The child of promise is "the seed of the woman" who is the branch of David, the Eternal Word made flesh.
For further study spend some time reflecting on Christ as the fulfillment of the promise of the "seed of the woman" in Matthew 1:18; Galatians 3:16, 19; 4:4; Genesis 12:7; II Samuel 7:8, 12; Romans 1:1, 3; 16:20
The undying opposition is further seen in the bruising or crushing of Satan's head in Genesis 3:21; Luke 1:26-35; John 8:44; Matthew 1:18; Isaiah 53; Galatians 3:16, 19; John 19:30; Revelation 20:10.
Christ was made a curse for us. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us" for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" (Galatians 3:13).
Death symbolized the wounding of the heel by Satan and takes place before the smashing of the head of Satan by the seed of the woman. The wounding appears to be the death on the cross, since Christ identified His executioners as the seed of the serpent. Jesus said, "You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him . . . " (Jn. 8:44).
This preceding death makes mandatory the resurrection of the seed of the woman to perform the smashing of the serpent's head.
This promise was no doubt the cause of Abraham greeting the "day of Christ" with glad assurance in John 8:54.
Genesis 3:15 is the first shining light on the horizon of eternal life. It is the root of Abraham's obedience to the Lord to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Why else would he make such a sacrifice if he did not have the hope before him that God would raise the son of the promise from the dead? Abe probably believed the seed of the woman was the promise of a seed through Isaac. Hebrews 11:19, Abraham "considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type." Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).
Partakers of glory
Genesis is more than a story. It is the record of God's work on behalf of the redeemed. It is the history of God's redemptive work.
Romans 16:20, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." That crushing certainly includes all the labor of Jesus the Messiah. The hope of the resurrection is as old as sinful men and is mighty to support them in all their pilgrimages to heaven.
Genesis 3:15 has become the most important verse in the entire Bible because the central message of the whole Bible are the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The greatest commentary on Genesis 3:15 is John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Satan thought that he had won in the battle over the Son of God at Calvary, but the full weight of the crucifixion came down on him three days later when Christ rose from the dead. The all wise sovereign God fulfilled His eternal purpose of redemption.
The resurrection faith is at the center of God's provision of salvation for sinners. In the crushing of the head of the serpent, deliverance was promised. Moreover, to effect that deliverance, the redeemer had to be able to conquer death. Christ rose from the dead triumphantly. He is alive! The "seed of the woman" took upon Himself the consequences of the serpent's sting and rose from the dead.
No doubt, the "seed of the woman" is referring to the virgin birth of Christ. The virgin born Son of God conquers death, hell and the grave. Christ will give the deathblow to Satan when He returns.
Title: Genesis 3:15 The Seed of the Woman
Series: Christ in the Old Testament
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Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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