Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Conflict of the Ages

The first prophecy concerning the incarnation of Christ was given by God directly to Satan right after the fall of man.
Genesis 3:
15 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.
Here the doom of the devil and the hope of mankind are proclaimed. One of the key words in this verse is "enmity" (a state of conflict). This prophecy announces the conflict of the ages and provides and explanation for all the bloodshed and war down through history. There are basically 4 parts to this prophecy:

1. Enmity between the serpent (satan) and the woman - Whereas the woman had listened to the serpent and was beguiled by him, there will now be enmity between them. This reaches beyond Eve or women in general and points to the enmity that will exist between Satan and Israel (Rev. 12:13) which will climax in the great tribulation.

2. Enmity between the seed of the serpent and the woman - The "seed of the woman" refers in particular to Christ and a virgin birth is implied (later clearly stated in Isa. 7:14). I think that the seed of the serpent refers in particular the antichrist. The seed of the woman has to do with the "mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16) and the seed of the serpent has to do with the "mystery of iniquity" (2 Thess. 2:7). However, this enmity also refers in a general sense to the conflict traced through history between the children of the wicked one and those in the seed line that would produce the Messiah (which started with Cain and Abel). 

3. The seed of the woman will bruise the serpents head - One of the main purposes for Christ being born was to destroy the devil (Heb. 2:14). Christ won the victory in His first coming but satan's destruction has not yet been fully carried out. He will be bound in a bottomless pit when Christ comes again and then after the Kingdom Age there will be a final battle and he will be cast forever into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:1-3, 10)! 

4. The serpent will bruise the heel of the seed of the woman - There is a big difference between being bruised in the head (destructive) and being bruised in the heel (temporary suffering). Christ suffered and died on the cross but was raised again the third day in victory. In fact the bruising of Christ's heel was the very thing by which He bruises Satan's head (though Satan did not understand that at the time, 1 Cor. 2:8).  

God did not say when the seed would be born (Adam, Eve, and Satan all probably thought it would be immediately because everything else God said would happen in the passage began immediately). From the beginning Satan has had an intense hatred for the seed of the woman that God said would bruise his head and has sought to destroy it and to prevent the promised seed from coming into the world. When his attempts failed and Christ was born, Satan sought to destroy Him as soon as possible.

When it became clear that the promised seed would come through Israel, that nation became the special object of Satan's hatred (Rev. 12:1-5, 9, 13a, 17a). What is dealt with in Rev. 12 concerns things yet future that will occur in the tribulation period but v.4 also has a historical application to Satan's attempt to devour the promised seed. 

We will only list some highlights of Satan's attack on the seed because there is so much of this found throughout the Bible. It is amazing to see God's wisdom as He countermoves all of Satan's moves and often uses weak and foolish things to defeat Satan's purposes.

•   Satan used Cain (Gen. 4) - When Eve gave birth to Cain (name means "acquired") she said "I have gotten a man from the Lord" because she probably thought he was the promised seed. But there was another son (likely twins) and she named him Abel ("vanity") because she realized the promise had not yet come to pass. Cain (type of antichrist) turned out to be of the wicked one (1 Jn. 3:12) and murdered his brother Abel (type of Christ). God provided Seth ("appointed") to take the place of Abel. 
 •   Satan used the Sons of God (Gen. 6) - The sons of God that married the daughters of men were fallen angels (see the post on this subject, Nov. 2014). The result of such unions was an offspring of giants which were mighty men of renown (basis for Greek mythology). This was doubtless Satan's plan to corrupt the seed of mankind and it was so widespread that only one godly man (Noah) was "perfect in his generations" (genes not mixed with the fallen angels) and his family was chosen by God to be saved on an ark from the world-wide flood that God brought to destroy the ungodly world (only 8 souls spared). The earth was filled with violence because it was filled with the seed of the serpent. Satan used this plan again after the flood (not as widespread) to produce a race of giants in the land of promise to try and prevent Israel from taking their land (explains why Israel commanded to utterly destroy certain people). Satan will use this plan again in the tribulation (Dan. 2:43).

•   Satan used Pharaoh (Ex. 1, 2) - When it was made known that the promised seed would come through Abraham we see Satan's attack on him and his seed in Genesis. A very clear attack by Satan is made on the of seed of Abraham when he used Pharaoh to attempt the destruction of the ALL the male Hebrew babies. 
"But it is written, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" (Job 5:13), and what Pharaoh had said with Egypt's "wisdom" (Ex. 1:10) was frustrated by a baby's tear (Ex. 2:16): for when Pharaoh's daughter opened the ark of bulrushes, "she saw the child, and behold the babe wept. And she had compassion on him." Thus, Pharaoh's wisdom was made to end in having to board, lodge, bring up, and educate the very man who accomplished the very object Pharaoh had striven to prevent; for Moses delivered the nation out of his hand, and God overthrew his armies in the Red Sea." (E.W. Bullinger)

• He Attacked the royal line of Judah - Through prophecy it was made known that the promised seed would come through the tribe of Judah, of the house of David. Absalom's rebellion against his father David and then the divided kingdom was no doubt part of Satan's plan. Notice the plain attack on the royal line of Judah (please read 2 Chron. 21:4; 21:16-17; 22:1-4, 10-12). At one point, for six years all the hopes of God's people rested on the life of one child!

•   Satan used Haman (book of Esther) - Satan used the pride of Haman (another type of antichrist) to devise a wicked plot to destroy all the Jews. What did God use to defeat that plot? Basically, a sleepless night (study it!). 

•   Satan used Herod (Matt. 2:11-16) - Once again, God intervened!  

Satan fought against Christ throughout His earthly ministry and there were many attempts made to kill Him. At the right time, when all was fulfilled concerning His earthly life and ministry, Christ laid down His life on the cross. Satan was the one that set it up and did not know that it was all according to God's eternal plan (1 Cor. 2:6-8; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14)!
Romans 11:33-36
(33) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
(34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
(35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
(36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

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