Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Gospel of the Serpent's Doom ]


  Genesis 3:15 says, "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. God spoke these words to Satan, a fallen angel, in the garden of Eden. We learned in the previous study that this remarkable prophecy does not speak primarily of a conflict between the snake world and mankind, but a battle between fallen angel-kind and mankind. Having settled that point, we proceed to the meaning of the passage itself. This may be the greatest single prophecy in the Bible, for it has a threefold fulfillment. It predicted a hatred between humankind and the snake-world, a hatred between mankind and angel-kind, and it predicted the coming of Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman, who was to destroy Satan. In this message I shall discuss the second fulfillment regarding the conflict between mankind and Satan.

First, we should understand this scripture as announcing war between
Satan and mankind. It speaks of enmity between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman. Enmity is hatred, animosity and abhorrence. God does not allow us to have hatred for other human beings, for it is one of the sinful vices of the human personality. However, our God has made hatred a virtue when it is vented on Satan and evil. The passage also speaks of  Satan bruising the heel of the woman's seed, and it speaks of the woman's seed bruising Satan's head. It suggests to us the idea of war, fighting,and conflict, with injuries on both sides. Nevertheless, the text clearly teaches that humanity would be victorious in this conflict. It tells us man will crush his head, and most snakes are killed in this manner. But Satan is said to be a heel-Nibbler and would bruise the heel of the woman's
seed. This speaks of the pain, suffering, and sorrow Satan would bring on mankind, and especially on Jesus Christ.

However intelligible this prophecy was to Adam and Eve, to us it is a wonderful passage. The prophecy spreads itself over the whole of time and gives an outline of the history of the world from the beginning to the final consumation. Much about the fate, origin, and purpose of planet earth is revealed in this passage. The very first event in the history of mankind was an encounter with a fallen angel, resulting in the introduction of sin, the fall of man and woman, and the sentence of physical death on our first parents and all of their seed or descendants. The events and happenings of planet earth are closely associated with this fallen angel, and if we fail to see this, we shall misunderstand the history of mankind and the purpose of man on this earth. Hence, this prophecy is nothing less than an outline of an unwearied conflict, of which the earth shall be the theater and which shall end in a complete defeat of Satan and his associates.

Secondly, I would point out the fact that God supernaturally put this enmity between mankind and Satan. I wish you again to notice the expression, "I will put enmity..." The hatred, you observe, had no natural existence. There is no natural hatred between fallen angels and fallen men and women, for both are evil becoming so through disobedience to God. God put this hatred between man and Satan when he miraculously intervened and gave mankind three religions: the patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Christian religion. The first religion ever given to man is found in the book of Genesis; the second is recorded in the thirty-eight books from Exodus to Malachi. The third and final religion is found in the twenty-seven books of the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. Mankind has received an abundance of knowledge about Satan in these three religions. We hate Satan only because of what we read about him in the Bible. Moreover, this declaration that hatred should be put by God must have been to Satan the first notice of human redemption. When he heard that there would be animosity between himself and the woman, he must have felt that some apparatus would be brought to bear upon man and, by some means or other, mankind was to gain the advantage over him. Even though he had corrupted human nature, he learned that it would be removed by some mysterious process and in some way overcome him. We believe the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 to be the very first prophecy of Christ in the Bible. That is another fulfillment of this passage which time will not permit me to deal with this in this study. Accordingly, it has come to pass that there is hatred on this earth between Satan and man, but it is a hatred supernaturally put there by God and not naturally entertained. Today, when you see a person delivered from the love of sin and endowed with a hatred of evil, you are surveying the workings of a principle which is wholly from above, and you can be certain that you have before you the fulfillment of the declaration, "I will put enmity between you and the woman."

Thirdly, this passage affirms that this hatred of Satan was to be partial, not universal. The statement does not mean that the whole human race would be at war with the devil. We think that the expression, "Your seed ... and her seed" shows at once that the hatred would be felt by only a part of mankind. The bitterness was to exist, not only between Satan and the woman, but between his seed and her seed. The word "seed" is used here in the sense of children, offspring, and descendants.

The seed of Satan refers to the descendants of the woman who would follow the devil in his rebellion and disobedience to God. To the Jews who did not believe but disobeyed his teachings Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil..."(John 8:44). Jesus called Satan the spiritual father of these natural descendants of Eve. It necessarily follows that Satan is the spiritual father of all of Eve's descendants who partake of Satan's rebellious spirit, attitude, and character. I John 3:8 says, "He who commits sin is of the devil..." Verse 10 of that chapter says, "In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil." Satan does have children or spiritual offspring on this earth. I John 3:12 informs us that Cain the first murderer was of that wicked one". Abel was a loyal servant of God, but Cain was the first child of a great offspring of Satan. Therefore, by the seed of the serpent we are to understand wicked people who resist God's Spirit and who obstinately adhere to the service of the devil. Satan introduced principles of evil into the human mind early in history, and man handed them down from generation to generation. Such evils as murder, lying, polygamy, slavery, idolatry etc. were introduced at the dawn of human history. Coming down from ancient times, we don't use evil ideas, they use us.

How then are we to interpret the woman and her seed? We have learned it cannot refer to all of her natural descendants. As the seed of the serpent is to be interpreted spiritually, so also is the seed of the woman. Her seed refers to God's people in all periods of human history, who are clearly marked out in the Bible. They were the descendants of Seth, Abraham, Jacob, end finally the descendants of Jesus, all who are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. All this brings us to a great question. Why did God allow this to happen? Why permit a fight between feeble human beings and powerful fallen angels? Adam and Eve were innocent victims in the whole affair, and Satan and his angels had sinned long before Adam and Eve came into existence. Why pit flesh and blood against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places? I am sure this question is on your minds, "Why did God allow such a powerful being to assault two innocent human beings? This is perhaps the most profound question human beings could ask. If we could answer this question, we could solve the riddle of human existence, and we would know the ultimate cause of the universe and exactly why he created planet earth and its inhabitants. As important and intriguing as  this question is, it is nevertheless an attempt to pry into the mind of God and discover secrets he has not revealed. He has not clearly revealed why he put as on this planet to fight a fallen angel. Neither has he seen fit to come out and clearly explain his actions in this regard. I have an idea why God allowed a fallen angel to tempt the human race, but the pulpit is not the place for opinions and human ideas. The Bible is not sufficiently clear to arrive at a definite conclusion on the matter. Apparently, it is not essential that we know the answer. We must wait till we get to heaven to find out this mystery and take comfort in that old hymn which says, "Farther along we'll know more about it."

However, there are some exciting conclusions which can be reached from what God has revealed about this matter. The very first event in human history was an encounter with a fallen angel, resulting in the death of the first man and woman and the death of all their future descendants. This gives us some indication of what human existence is all about; we are here to fight an evil angel, and we had better fight well. Apparently, God wanted the first man and woman to be tested by Satan. Had he not desired the encounter, he would have prevented it. We can reason from our text and know that God wanted this conflict between Satan and mankind. Just why he wanted it we cannot know for certain, but it was his will to test the first man and woman and all of their descendants. Furthermore, we can conclude that God had a good reason for permitting this warfare. We know that in connection with this warfare, God is working out some plan or purpose in human history. This purpose is mentioned in Ephesians 1:9. Ephesians 3:11 calls it the eternal purpose of God. This means the plan or purpose was originated in eternity before earth and man were created. It is probable that this warfare between mankind and Satan is in some way related to that eternal purpose which was in the mind of God. Hence, we may logically conclude that some good purpose is being served by this great struggle. Common sense convinces us that an all-loving God would not subject his earth-creatures to such a dangerous and painful experience, if some great good was not being accomplished.

We have thus shown you that the prophecy of our text extends itself over the whole surface of time, so that, from the fall of Adam, it has been receiving accomplishment, and will continue being fulfilled until "death and hell are cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14). It was a wonderful announcement and if even but imperfectly understood must have confounded Satan, and cheered Adam and Eve. May God put enmity between each one of us and Satan. If you are not at enmity, you will certainly receive the serpent's sting, and the poison will go to your heart and soul. But if you will henceforward count him a foe, oppose him in God's strength, and attack him with the "sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17), then, though you may have your seasons of disaster and depression, the promise stands sure that you shall finally overcome. If we will do this it shall be proved by each one of us, that though the serpent may bruise the heel of the seed of woman, yet, at last, the seed of woman always bruises the head of the serpent. If man wants to degrade himself and become the seed of the serpent, his easy method is to follow Satan, deny the holy scriptures and the truth of God, forsake God's way of holiness and take his place among the offspring of Satan. On the other hand, if a person would be great and eternally happy, let him serve God and become a child of God by obedience to Christ.

Now you can have a part in bruising the serpent's head. When a person believes in Christ as Lord and Savior, repents of his past sins, confesses Jesus as God's divine Son, and is immersed in water for the pardon of sins, this obedience to God bruises the serpent's head. Before our conversion, Satan had been accustomed to command and we to obey, and thus sin had dominion over us. But at the time of repentance and baptism that dominion was ended. However, Christians must vehemently oppose and resist the devil, for a part of his work is to cause division and confusion in the religion of Christ. The church of Christ in Rome had become divided by religious teachers and Paul wrote these words to that church, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf; but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.."(Romans 16:17-20).

After speaking of the divisions and stumblings among the Christians in Rome, it was fitting that Paul should speak of God as the God of peace. He is not the God of sects, divisions, and bickering denominations. Satan is directly responsible for all the religious confusion in Christendom. We must banish respect for God, before we can foster division and sects in the Christian religion. The sect-maker, whether he intends it or not, is at enmity with Christ and the destroyer of the peace of the church. He is no friend of the best interests of humanity. Paul comforted the Christians in Rome by saying, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." This expression means to put an end to his evil work of inciting divisions among Christians, and so give the victory over him. This implies that many Christians were opposing the divisions and striving to prevent them. The apostle promises them a victory, but when it came, we know not. Thus have we found much gospel in the wonderful sentence pronounced upon that old serpent, the devil; but yet we have only skimmed the surface. To the eternal God be glory, world without end. Amen.

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