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"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". (Genesis 3:15)
FEW WORDS….MUCH MEANING:
Adam and Eve had sinned against their Creator and Father and were naked in shame, in fear and trembling of the expected sentence of death, because of their sin. Therefore, God's promise to them in Genesis 3:15, as quoted above, came as wonderful good news. It is in fact, The Gospel--- few words, but pregnant with great meaning. No doubt they would have learnt those few words by heart, sought to understand them and discussed the depth of their meaning. They would have eventually come to see the promise as extremely important both to them and their family----which has come to be the whole human race, of which you and I form a part
NOTE FIRSTLY how the promise, quoted above, precedes His judgement of vv.16-19, "Unto the woman he said I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thine husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of they life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return".
The loving nature of our God and creator (whose righteousness is perfectly poised between justice and mercy, goodness and severity ( see Exodus 33:18,19---34:5-7-----Deuteronomy 5:9,10 ) ensures that His "mercy rejoiceth against judgement", (James 2:13). So God gave our first father and mother a promise which provided hope of escape for sinners--them and us, who are to die because of sin.
A FIGURATIVE PROMISE:
The second thing to note is that the promise is figurative, or pictorial. With the intelligence God has given us He likes us to reflect , to ask questions and seek their answers about all that He has graciously condescended to reveal. (Proverbs 25:2; 2:1-11). No doubt Eve would have come to hate the serpent for deceiving her into thinking she could disobey God and be better of than before-- to foolishly think that God does NOT mean exactly what He says; that she could sin and still avoid death. (see Romans 6:23). Its more than likely from that point on, Eve taught her family to stamp their feet upon the head of every snake they came across, even though, in the act of doing so, they stood in great danger of being bitten. This is speculation, but the fear of snakes remains powerful to our days.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROMISE:
God promised to establish "enmity" or WAR between two things---between Truth and Error, and between two types of people---the woman with her seed (those who follow truth), (Genesis 3:2-3) and the serpent with its seed, (those who follow lies. (vv.4.5) In the resultant long war between God's Truth and Man's sin, between the obedient and sinners, a Seed, (or son) of Eve would at last deal Serpent-Sin a mortal blow, "He (Jesus) shall bruise the serpent's head", BUT, in doing so He would have his life temporarily cut off, "it, (the Serpent) shall bruise His (Jesus') heel". A bruise in the heel is not fatal, whilst one in the head usually is!
Ever since that Promise in Eden there have been many wars in the earth---most of them over 'religion', or indeed the lack of it! The trouble is really, "the carnal mind ( or the thinking of the 'flesh'…the natural mind) which is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be". (Romans 8:7). The power of error and sin in the Jews and the Romans 'crucified' the power of Truth and Righteousness in Jesus Christ, the son of Mary and Son of God. He "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26). God, through Him (Jesus), "condemned sin in the flesh". (Romans 8:3) and " abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel". (2 Timothy 1:10). With the help of God's truth, Jesus was victorious over sin, the great Serpent-enemy, "the sting of death is sin". (1 Cor. 15:56)
THE PROMISE OF A REDEEMER:
Before Jesus came, the majority of God's 'children' believed this great promise of redemption through the seed of Eve. They looked forward with great hope in the redeemer to come. He would bring about redemption from sin and death. THROUGH HIS REDEMPTION THEY SAW THE GUARANTEE OF THEIR OWN.
Since Jesus came, believers have seen in Jesus' personal conquest of sin that partial (but the most significant part) fulfilment of the Promise in Eden. They look with similar great hope to His return to earth to eradicate falsehood, sin, disease and death from out of all the earth. This He will do by the setting up of the Kingdom of God, firstly in Jerusalem over a united and converted Israel, and finally over all nations. (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Psalm 72; Daniel 2:44)
"Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus". (Revelation 22:20)
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