“And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”
In the Hebrew language the first word here is “enmity.” This is important because in constructing the sentence in such a manner the author is telling us that this idea of “enmity” or “hostility” is being especially emphasized. In an act of magnificent redemptive grace God proclaims that the enmity that the serpent bore responsibility for inciting as between God and our first parents, will be reversed with the consequence that the hostility established between God and our first parents would eventually be displaced with a hostility between the lineage of the serpent and the lineage of the Messiah culminating in the arrival of the promised seed (Messiah) who in a contest with Lucifer (Serpent) would finally completely crush that Serpent suffering wounding Himself in the contest.
This text is commonly labeled the “protoevangelium” or first proclamation of the Christian Good-News (gospel). It is called this because herein is contained God’s first promise to heal the breach that exists now between His image-bearing creation and Himself with what Christian’s refer to as “The Fall.” In Gen. 3:15 we learn that Satan’s wreckage is not the final word. In Gen. 3:15 we learn that God is a warrior God who will provide a warrior Messiah who will destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Genesis 3:15 is thus a declaration that announces that redemptive history (the most important history of all history) is going to be characterized by warfare ultimately between the Serpent and the Warrior Messiah, but penultimately also between the Serpent Seed and the Warrior seed. And this proclamation of open warfare… this announcing of perpetual hostility between these contestants is God’s magnanimous grace. To see this placement of hostility as divine grace we have to understand that without this gracious and divinely created hostility man’s hostility to God (Romans 8:7) and God’s hostility toward fallen man (Romans 1:18) would have never been healed with the result that all of mankind would have been without God and without hope. God’s creation project would have been a failure.
The point I want to emphasize at this juncture is that God created open hostility between the contestants (God’s people and the Serpent seed) is pure grace. I emphasize this because of the niceness cult that Evangelicals cultivate. This text teaches that Christians are to be hated by the Serpent seed and they in turn will hate the Serpent seed and that hatred for the Serpent seed is born out of love to God who has delivered them from the kingdom of the serpent and delivered them to the kingdom of God’s Messiah warrior whom He loves. In other words, open hostility between Christians and Serpent seed is a positive good and not something Christians should try to avoid or feel bad about when and where it exists.
Genesis 3:15 also marks out God’s temporal beginning of the covenant of Grace. In this announcement God lets it be known that for His own glory He will rescue what turns out to be a multitude of people and He will do so by making that multitude of people He rescues warrior servants (II Tim. 2:3-4) for the promised warrior Messiah. This reminds Christians again that their Christian walk is characterized by the hostility of the Serpent seed against them and of they against the Serpent seed.
We see this open warfare as imposed by divine grace, break out immediately in the biblical record. In Genesis 4 we find the Serpent seed (Cain) murdering the redeemed seed of the woman (Abel). Likewise we find an ongoing anticipation of the arrival of the ultimate promised warrior Messiah who would crush the Serpent’s head (Gen. 4:1, 25) — an anticipation that would characterize the Hebrews in every generation. It became quickly obvious that the conflict would fester long before the warrior Messiah arrives.
That conflict then is traced throughout the Old Testament and becomes iron furnace hot when the seed of the woman finally does arrive in the New Testament.
One example but this is a theme we find repeatedly developed in Scripture. Think of Jael crushing the head of Sisera, the serpent representative opposing God’s people (Judges 4). Similarly there is Judges 9:52-53 where we find a child of the Serpent persecuting God’s people only to find his head being crushed by an anonymous woman.
52 So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull.
Another example of the development of the this Gospel conflict theme between the respective seeds, is David vs. Goliath. David is a picture of the Lord Christ fighting solitary for His people against the serpent champion Goliath. Goliath is decked out in scale armor, the Hebrew word literally meaning “scales” (1 Sam. 17:5). Typologically this harkens back to the scales of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. David posits a stone between the Serpent representative’s eyes and proceeds to cut his head off. Goliath was dressed like a serpent with his scale armor, and he died like a serpent, with a head wound. David, as a type of Christ has crushed the head of the serpent.
Continuing with this theme in 1 Samuel 5:3-4, the false god Dagon of the Philistines falls face down to the ground in front of the Ark of the Covenant with his head cut off. The Philistines, perennial enemies and persecutors of Israel, had captured the Ark and placed it inside their temple, smack in front of their god, Dagon. The result was catastrophic for Dagon. He fell forward and his head came off. Remind you of anything? “He will strike your head.” Dagon and the Philistines are portrayed as the seed of the serpent.
In the New Testament this theme finds its fullest expression. The conflict between the ultimate seed of the Woman (Christ) and the serpent seed is unmistakable. Christ even uses the same type of language when speaking to His enemies that reflects what is promised in Genesis 3:15;
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks his own native tongue, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
Matthew 12:4 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
And finally in the cross the Serpent and His seed does their worst work in striking the heel of the warrior Messiah drawing blood. The Serpent believes the battle is over with blood and bruise covered pathetic warrior messiah hanging limp on the cross and finally stiff in the tomb. Yet in the cross as followed by the resurrection and ascension the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This theme is likewise taken up after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. In Romans, the Holy Spirit, hearkening back to this theme began in Genesis can say in 16:20, The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
So, the conflict continues but it continues as a mopping up exercise. Satan is defeated and now the conflict is just a matter of rolling back outposts of his defeated seed. Our warrior Messiah is victorious and His people are victorious in Him. In Christ we likewise have been crucified (Romans 6:4), resurrected (Col. 2:12) ascended (Eph. 2:6) and in session (Eph. 2:6). In Christ we are prophets, priests, and kings under sovereign God and when we engage in the conflict again the serpent seed we engage in it knowing that the conflict has already been decided and that we are fighting as the victors going from victory unto victory against an enemy that still has the originally place hostility between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman still present. The seed of the serpent still hates us and we out of the love of our great Liege Lord Jesus Christ hate the serpent seed enough to oppose them at every turn. We meet their hostility with a grace given hostility to match and more.
We must careful not to reduce the hostility that has been sovereignly placed between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman by turning it just a metaphor for fighting against sin. While it is certainly is true that part of our conflict is to fight against sin within us and to fight against yielding to temptation (and many times we will fail) the conflict that we as Christ’s seed have been appointed to can not be reduced only to our fight with sin, essential though that is. No, the conflict is a real conflict where enemy troops align up against one another on real fields of battle. I have experienced in that my own life when the seed of the serpent located in the journalistic serpent seed in the Michigan newspaper, radio, and television media along with the national organization of the SPLC gathered to do battle against me as one of Christ’s warrior seed. I most recently witnessed it when Rev. Michael Shover was assailed by the hordes of serpent seed as he manfully did battle with them in the Iowa State house. Before that it was the great Thomas Achord who did battle with the serpent seed only to be grievously wounded by the vipers. These skirmishes are nothing compared to other contests where greater saints than Achord, Rev. Shover or myself were required to resist to the point of blood. How many saints, in this never-ending conflict have lost their lives for their Liege-Lord only to gain their lives by being ushered into glory to be with their great Captain and their kin who have gone before?
In wrapping up we have need to speak to one more issue. There are those who will fault this line of thinking with being too jagged, too bellicose, to pugnacious. Allow me to suggest that there is nothing inconsistent with what I have said about the conflict between the serpent seed and the seed of the warrior Messiah with the concomitant truth of the necessity of God’s warrior seed to have compassion and pity on the seed of the serpent. Indeed, open hostility to the seed of the serpent is a great kindness to them. Can you imagine how much hatred there is to the seed of the serpent by showering them with what we call “love” today? This pseudo love is seen in any number of denominations who are trying to “love” the seed of the serpent while at the same time taking that seed into the bosom of their denominations. Such behavior is not an act of kindness to the serpent seed but this denial of the grace driven hostility between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent only emboldens the serpent seed to take over whole denominations such as we find happening in most of our “white hat conservative Reformed denominations” today. Do you want to have compassion on the serpent seed? Then give them no rest by engaging them in battle. War with them until they sue for peace demonstrating such by repenting and owning Jesus Christ as their Liege-Lord. If the context calls for your being polite while you slip them the shiv then by all means be polite. If the context calls for buying them the next cup of coffee before nuking them then by all means buy that next cup of coffee.
Above all else though, do not forget that you’ve been called to war and as such you should develop the skills of the soldier. In this context that means knowing what you believe and why you believe it and what you don’t believe and why you don’t believe it. This work of the intellect is the equivalent of how a soldier masters the different tools (weapons) of war. You have need also to realize that in warfare you will likely be required to suffer. You will have to pray for the ability to persevere when you no longer have any perseverance left. Then there is the necessity also to realize that the serpent seed who will do you the greatest injury will likely rise from within the Church. Like Judas attacking Christ with a kiss, so it will be the case that those who wound you the deepest may very likely come from members of the household of God. When that happens pray to God that He will give you the strength to pray that they might repent, be forgiven, and be restored to the household of God.
So, there it is. The Christian’s life is a life that is characterized by a call to a centuries old conflict. We, in the new covenant age, have the satisfaction of knowing that the battle has already been won. We have the satisfaction of knowing that we shall go from victory unto victory if we will only fight. We can have the glow of satisfaction when there is open hostility against us by the seed of the serpent, and we in turn can have joy in the open hostility that we have towards the viper brood who would, if they could, roll the Lord Christ off His throne.