The Seed of the Woman
Many claim that this verse is not truly a Messianic prophecy but is a text taken out of context by Christians. However, Rabbi David Kimchi obviously interpreted it as Messianic because he wrote, “As thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people by the hand of Messiah the son of David, who shall wound the head of Satan, the head, the king and prince of the house of the wicked.” Also Midrash Rabbah 23 states, “Rabbi Tanchuma said in the name of Rabbi Samuel, Eve had respect to that Seed which is coming from another place. And who is this? This is the Messiah, the King.”
As soon as Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, we hear the Shepherd’s voice calling out for His lost sheep,” where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8–13). It is the Father searching for the prodigal. The salvation of every soul begins with God calling. It is in the context of judgment after the Fall that the LORD God curses the serpent. He says to the serpent, “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.” (Gen. 3:15). 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 on 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. 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 thy 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 his heel.” The promised seed would suffer, but he would not suffer a destructive blow.
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. 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 shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Paul reminds believers to draw daily strength from the blessed promise of final victory over Satan. We are not on the losing 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 thy seed and her seed.” (Gen. 3:15). 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 need of a redeemer like all other sinful men. How did Jesus then have a sinless nature? Mary was a virgin. She knew this when she questioned, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34; cf. Matt. 1:23; Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:15). The angel explained, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35). 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 godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” (I Timothy 3:16). The virgin birth points back to the promise in Genesis 3:15. 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.
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, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (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? Abraham probably believed the seed of the woman was the promise of a seed through Isaac. Hebrews 11:19, Abraham “accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
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. Rom. 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” 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.
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