Evidences of Faith
The Serpent's Doom
In the third chapter of the book of Genesis, there is recorded for us the account of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and the serpent who tempted Eve to sin. God had commanded that Adam and his wife could eat of any tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 1:16,17). The serpent, through deceit and cunning, successfully tempted Eve to eat fruit from this tree, and she in turn gave some to Adam, who also ate (Genesis 3:1-6). Clearly, this was no ordinary serpent, since ordinary serpents can neither scheme nor speak. Moreover, God was so displeased with this serpent that He pronounced this curse upon it:
The first part of this curse may seem obvious: snakes slither on their bellies. The second part, however, is somewhat enigmatic: What does it mean that the serpent and the woman will be enemies, and their respective descendants as well? And when will this conflict take place, wherein the woman's descendant is wounded on the heel by the serpent, but wounds the serpent in the head? The book of Genesis closes without ever resolving this matter. In fact, the entire Old Testament holds no account of this promise being fulfilled. Surely, this serpent could not have survived for thousands of years, that this conflict should take place after the close of the Old Testament - or could he?
If we jump from Genesis - which is the first book in the Bible as it has been arranged - to the last book of the Bible, we can begin to answer these questions. The book of Revelation is the account of the visions which the apostle John was given while in exile on the island of Patmos, visions which describe spiritual conflicts in physical terms. As it turns out, our serpent figures prominently in these visions:
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
So, our serpent is Satan himself. It is not surprising, considering that Satan is the tempter (Matthew 4:1-11), that he was the one working to move the very first people to act against God's will. And this also explains how the serpent would still be around to see the fulfillment of God's promise.
And if we continue reading in Revelation, we find more information to help us understand the promise God made to Satan in the garden:
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Rev. 12:10,11)
So this defeat of Satan was accomplished by the blood of the Lamb. Who is this Lamb? Earlier in Revelation, when the Lamb appears in the heavenly vision, the elders in heaven have this response:
Satan, by tempting us to sin, holds us within the power of death. The Lamb is the One who bought people back from sin to God, by the sacrifice of Himself. The apostle Peter wrote:
On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins, so that we might be washed clean and be redeemed to God. His blood cleanses us of sin. Consider the baptist's words:
Jesus Christ is the Lamb by whose blood Satan is overcome.
And remember, Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary (Luke 1:26-38). He had no human biological father. He was truly the Seed of woman in a unique way: no one else has ever been conceived without two biological parents. Moreover, He had to suffer the agony on the cross to accomplish this. Jesus' suffering, of course, was temporary, while He has been glorified for eternity (Rev. 1:18): He suffered a bruise on the heel. On the other hand, Satan has been defeated eternally, and his ultimate end is to be torment in hell (Rev. 20:10): he received a fatal head wound. The Hebrew writer put it most succinctly:
The Seed of the woman defeated the serpent with a blow to the head, while receiving a bruise on His heel.
In all of this, we can see evidence of a divine hand in the writing of the various books of the Bible. We see God's promise to the serpent fulfilled: and who else but God could foretell an event centuries before it comes to pass? And notice that the New Testament writers do not make it a point to expressly tell us that Jesus is the Seed foretold in Genesis, whereas they certainly would have if they were fabricating a story to fit the prophecy. In fact, we need to go to several books to fill out the picture, even though the individual authors do not appear to be thinking of each other's writing. For example, there is no evidence to suggest that John, in writing Revelation 12, had 1 Peter in mind; nor does Peter appear to be thinking of Revelation. In short, it is clear that the authors did not construct their writings in order to complement one another, and yet that is exactly what happened. You may think that this is nothing more than coincidence. But we have shown several such "coincidences" in past issues, and we will continue to show more in future issues. At some point, the question must arise: How many coincidences must there be, before one begins to see a pattern? Remember, the books of the Bible were written over a course of some fourteen centuries by over forty authors. Therefore, if there is a pattern of consistency throughout the Bible, we cannot rationally dismiss it as a merely human work.
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