The Seed of the Woman

Jun 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: The Basics (click on Article name)

The Seed of the Woman

“I will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).

Adam and Eve Expelled from Garden

Adam and Eve Expelled from Garden

This statement in Genesis 3:15 came from God immediately following the sin of Adam and Eve. Probably they  remembered it long and often, as a hope that someday God would reverse the curse of sin and death that came through disobedience, induced by Satan.

But this hope was expressed cryptically. Now we know that the “seed of the woman” was Jesus, born of a woman, 3956 years later. And from the text in Romans 16:20, cited above, we understand that the Church class which is being called and developed during the present Gospel Age to reign with him from heaven, are counted as part of that seed. If we are Christ’s, then we are counted together with him. The “seed of the woman” which will crush Satan includes the “Bride” class of consecrated, overcoming Christians.

The time for crushing Satan follows the “Little Season” of testing for the world, which follows the Millennial Age. Then “the devil that deceived them [is] cast into the lake of fire,” which represents unending death (Revelation 20:3, 14).

Crush and Strike

The word “bruise” in Genesis 3:15 is from the Hebrew word shuwph, Strong’s word number 7779.  Strong defines the word as “properly to gape, i.e. snap at; figuratively, to overwhelm.” It appears twice in Genesis 3:15. The NIV version in the first instance says “crush,” and in the second instance “strike.” The apparent sense is that the serpent (representing Satan) would be destroyed, but he would meanwhile inflict suffering upon Christ and his Church.

When Paul cites this text in Romans 16:20, the Greek word rendered “bruise” is Strong’s word number 4937, suntribo, “to crush completely, to shatter.” This refers to the time when Satan will be destroyed.

The strike of the serpent at the heel is a metaphor which follows what a snake might do to someone walking by. A wound to the heel can be very painful. This represents the painful afflictions Satan would bring upon Christ and his followers during the Gospel Age. Jesus himself suffered painful crucifixion. Roman crucifixion at least in some cases involved a spike through the heels, so there might have been a literal application to our Lord Jesus.

But the affliction of Satan against Jesus was more than only his closing ordeal. The affliction was for the entire three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry. Even at the first, when Jesus was in the wilderness after his baptism, Satan tempted Jesus and encouraged him to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple.

After the triumph of Jesus, Satan brought persecutions against the Church whenever he could by Jews against Christians, by Roman Emperors who killed Christians, and by Roman Pontiffs who organized campaigns to hunt down “heretics” who did not obey them.

Millions of Christians died as a consequence, but Satan could not harm the spiritual interests of these saints.

Now, because we are in the Harvest or ending period of the Gospel Age, God’s faithful saints have been raised to glory with Christ, and when others pass into death they are raised to join them .in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:52). This class ultimately will destroy Satan and those of his followers which will not reform. “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).

Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham

Adam and Eve could not know that God would send His son Jesus to redeem the world, or that God would then take 2000 years to develop an elect “Bride” class to join with Jesus as part of the “seed” that would rescue the world. But apparently they grasped that some child of the woman, or some descendant of her child, would bring deliverance by some means.

We note that God did not say the seed of Adam, but the seed of the woman. This may be a veiled reference to the fact that the redeemer would not receive his life from Adam, even though he would be born of a woman. We now know that it was vital that our redeemer not be of condemned Adamic stock. “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Psalms 49:7). Our redeemer must be unstained with sin or its curse, in order to freely take the penalty of our sin upon him. “The Son of man came … to give his life a ransom” (Matthew 20:28).

But the deliverer would be born of a woman. The specifics were not clear to our first parents. But they did grasp that the promise would be fulfilled in some way through one of their children. Of whose line would this come?

When Cain killed Abel, it seemed apparent that Cain was disqualified. Abel being dead, apparently without child, would not be the one. (Though Abel was a type, or picture, of our deliverer Jesus, as Paul indicates in Hebrews 11:4, 12:24).

Eve then had another son, Seth, which means “appointed” She said, “God … hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew” (Genesis 4:25). Probably she recognized that the deliverer would come through the line of Seth.

Eve was correct, for from Seth, eight generations later, came Noah, the only patriarch brought through the flood. Necessarily, the promise would go through the line of Noah. From Noah’s son Shem came Abraham, nine generations later, and God promised Abraham that the deliverer would come through him. Abraham had to leave his homeland and his father’s house in order to qualify, and this he did. He came into the land of promise, and there God confirmed His agreement: “Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem [Shechem] … and Jehovah appeared unto Abram” and confirmed that his seed would receive the promise (Genesis 12:6, 7).

More than half a century passed, and God called on Abraham to offer his son — a most difficult test– but Abraham did. At the last moment an angel restrained the hand of Abraham. The sacrifice of Isaac was a picture, representing that God would give his son for the redemption of the world. Then no angel would intervene and Jesus would indeed die for our sins. By that death the blessing of .all the families of the earth. (Genesis 28:14)would be assured.

That salvation would come in two ages. First, during the present Gospel Age, the spiritual classes are redeemed, namely the Church and the Great Company. These will receive everlasting life in heaven. Second, during the coming Millennial Age, the remainder of the world will be redeemed and granted everlasting life on earth. These two conditions –spiritual and earthly– are represented in the promise God made to Abraham when Isaac was offered. “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven [spiritual], and as the sand which is upon the sea shore [earthly] … And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:16, 17).

Just as the “seed of the woman” who will deliver the world from the curse is specifically Christ Jesus, but includes those who will reign with him, so it is with the “seed of Abraham.” That seed is specifically Christ Jesus. “Now to Abraham … He saith … to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). But it also includes the Church. “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

“We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (Galatians 4:28).

Thus not only is Jesus the heir of all the riches God has for him (as Isaac was of Abraham), but the Church, called to share the throne of Christ, are co-heirs with him of those riches. We are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). It is hard to grasp the full value of this remarkable offer. If we commit to follow our Lord Jesus during this lifetime, develop and exhibit Christian character, focus on the will of God for us, responsibly fulfill our duties to family and dependents, study and serve the Truth and our Christian brethren, the rewards are remarkable. More than we can fully appreciate.

No wonder Paul hoped that we would be enlightened, to “know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). “In the ages to come he [will] shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

The first privilege of the saints will be to restore the entire world to life and fellowship with God. That will be their work from heaven during the Millennium. Thereafter, for the ages of eternity, God will have other abundant opportunities for their noble, pleasurable, productive employment in the courts of glory, though the specifics are not disclosed as yet.

Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David

The line through which the redeemer would come passed from Abraham to Isaac. “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Genesis 21:12). Thereafter it went to Jacob, who purchased the birthright from his elder brother Esau. Of the 12 sons of Jacob, the privilege passed to his fourth son, Judah, because his elder brothers Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, were disqualified by their conduct (Genesis 49:4, 5). “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise … The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [Jesus] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:8, 10). The word Shiloh means tranquil, peaceful, something like the name Solomon, son of David. Solomon’s reign of peace was a figure of Jesus, the “prince of peace,” whose reign will become universal (1 Chronicles 22:9, Isaiah 9:6).

King David was from the tribe of Judah, and Messiah who would be the everlasting king of Israel would come from David (2 Samuel 7:14, Hebrews 1:5, Psalms 89:4, 29, 36, 37, Isaiah 55:3). From the genealogy of Jesus listed by Matthew (chapter 1) and Luke (chapter 3), we learn that Joseph, the legal guardian of Jesus, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, both descended from David.1 So whether in a legal sense (Joseph), or an actual sense (Mary), Jesus came through the proper line to fulfill all of the promises God made to his various ancestors.

Every link of descent, from Eve to Jesus, is itemized in the scriptures. The leading persons in that genealogy are intertwined with some of the most important history of the Old Testament.

The Permission of Evil

God did not cause Satan to deceive our first parents. However, God did permit it. God could have prevented Satan from deceiving Eve at all. God could have prevented mankind from learning, by this means, the natural consequences of sin and disobedience. But God wisely saw that this was the best means for people to learn what they must learn . to trust God’s moral laws as always best for their highest good. Only by this can man achieve, and fully benefit from, everlasting life.

A parent may tell a young child not to touch a hot oven, but information alone is not always sufficient. The child may hear that it is bad, but without knowing first hand, the lesson is not deeply impressed. Once the child touches the hot oven, he will never forget the lesson. So with mankind. The lesson of 6000 years of sin and death has been a difficult one, but a necessary one. In all the ages of eternity following the Millennium, the world will have faith, trust, and obedience to God written indelibly in their hearts. They will know, from experience, both the consequences of sin (in this life), and the blessings of righteousness (in the next life). They will know, firsthand, the wisdom of following God’s counsel, which is always best for His creatures.

Meanwhile, this brief period of sin and difficulty yields another benefit. It allows God to develop the Church class through trial and difficulty, as it was with our Lord Jesus. They develop and manifest their faith through trial now, so that God may grant them a superior privilege in the heavenly resurrection.

In addition, the present experience of the human race is a lesson by observation for the angelic hosts, who witness the unfolding plan of God (1 Peter 1:12).

Also, this method shows to everyone the true character of God — just, loving, wise, capable– ever planning for the highest good. When God’s Plan is appreciated by the entire world, after sin and death have passed, only the pleasant fruits of righteousness will remain from the bitter experience. Then everyone will see the wisdom of God for following the plan He does.


(1) Both Joseph and Mary descended also from Zerubbabel (Matthew 1:12, Luke 3:27). He was of the kingly line, a grandson of Jehoiachin, the second to last king of Judah. Zerubbabel was appointed by Cyrus as governor of the Jews who returned to Israel after their Babylonian captivity. The temple at Jerusalem was refounded the year after their return, but was opposed by the enemies of Israel, and the work languished for 19 years, before the work was resumed in the second year of Darius Hystaspes of Persia (Ezra 4:24). Then work on the temple resumed at the encouragement of Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 5:1). The books of Haggai and Zechariah begin with exhortations to the Israelites to put their zeal and energy to the temple construction again, and they did. The temple was completed about four years later at the close of the sixth year of Darius (Ezra 6:15).

Zechariah 4:9 says, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house [in the second year of Cyrus]; his hands shall also finish it [in the sixth year of Darius Hystaspes].” That temple represents the Church, the “temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16). Its builder, Zerubbabel, is a picture of our Lord Jesus who builds the spiritual temple. Thus it is fitting that Zerubbabel is listed in the genealogy of Joseph (as given in Matthew) and Mary (as given in Luke).

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