Serpent’s Doom

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
~ Numbers 21:6-7

The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
~ Matthew 13:38

The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
~ Psalm 132:11

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
~ Romans 16:20

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
~ Isaiah 53:3-4

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
~ Revelation 20:10

The Gospel of the Serpent’s Doom, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. 1890.

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.—Genesis 3:15

I pray you, never regard that story of the serpent as a fable…There was a real serpent, as there was a real paradise. There was a real Adam and Eve, who stood at the head of our race. And they really sinned, and our race is really fallen. Believe this.

When Satan—“that old serpent…the Devil, and Satan” (Rev 20:2), as the Apocalypse calls him—determined to tempt Eve in order that he might destroy the race in which God took much delight, he could not appear to the woman as a spirit. Spirits are not to be discerned by the eye since a pure spirit is a thing that none of the outward senses of human beings can apprehend. An immaterial spirit must be invisible; therefore, he must embody himself in some way or other before he can be seen. That Satan has power to enter living bodies is clear, for he did so upon a very large scale with regard to men in the days of Christ. He and his legions were even compelled to enter the bodies of swine rather than be cast into the deep. Being compelled to have an embodiment, the master evil spirit perceived the serpent to be at that time among the most subtle of all creatures; therefore, he entered the serpent, feeling that he would be most at home in that animal. Out of the serpent he spoke to Eve, as though the serpent itself had spoken. There was an actual and material serpent, but the evil spirit who is known as the “old serpent” was there, possessing the natural serpent with all his masterly cunning. Cruelly determining to lead the human race into sin that he might thus ruin it and triumph over God, the fallen angel did not hesitate to assume a reptile form.

Notice carefully that when the Lord comes to deal with the serpent, He does not question him as to his guilt and the reason of it. The reason is, perhaps, that the guilt of the archenemy was self-evident; or, better still, because the Lord had no design of mercy for him. He meant to make no covenant of grace for the devil or his angels…He pronounced a sentence upon the serpent, which, while it was terrible to him, is most encouraging to us. And as far as our first parents understood it, it must have been a sun of light to their dark, depressed souls. For many a year this was the lone star of believing hearts: this gospel of the serpent’s doom. Satan was their enemy; he had done them wrong. He was also God’s enemy, and God would fight against him and call them into His battle. He would raise up One Who would suffer but would win the victory—One Whom He calls the seed of the woman. By Him Satan’s head would be bruised; and in that very fact, the race of man would be unspeakably blessed…

Let us, (then,) think upon the ceaseless war with which God threatens the serpent: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” He reckoned upon an easy conquest and had apparently gained it; but he would find his victim become his antagonist and, at length, his conqueror. Satan can never know peace: he seeketh rest and findeth none (Mat 12:43). When he talked to that woman with his guileful words of flattery, he thought he had made a friend of her. The charming creature in whom God had embodied the perfection of beauty—had he not seduced her from obedience to the great King? Had he not used her as the instrument to make her husband a traitor to his God? They were great friends, those two.

She felt, in the moment that she took the fruit, that she owed much to the serpent for giving her the gentle hint whereby she was led to find the opening of her eyes and the uplifting of her nature to be as God. How grievously was she deceived! Nor was the serpent to find himself advantaged. The league was broken, and the deceiver and his victim were at enmity. God declares most solemnly, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman.” God will see that there be no peace. There is a war to be waged between Satan and the woman’s seed so long as the world stands!

Sometimes it looks as if there is going to be peace; for the world flatters the church, and the church seeks to conform herself to the world. As before Noah’s flood the sons of God and the daughters of men were joined in unholy alliance, so again and again, there have been attempts at truce. But peace there cannot be. Today Satan tempts the ministers of Christ to soften down the gospel, adapt it to the age, and make it popular; and he also labors to throw down the division between the church and the world. “Fill up the gulf!” says he. “Cover it over like an old sewer, and forget that it ever existed!” Thus, he speaks like the sinner in the Proverbs: “Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse” (Pro 1:14). But mark this, all ye that hear me: though all the pulpits should be captured and though it should seem that the very elect were deceived, yet God will not leave Himself without witness. (He) will find, somewhere or other, some chosen ones of the seed of the woman to carry on the holy war even to the end. Jehovah hath laid His hand upon His throne, and He has sworn to have war with evil from generation to generation. See how it was in Israel when the high priest of God, even Eli, winked at sin when his own sons as priests committed iniquity at the tabernacle door, and all Israel was thus made to do evil. Would not the lamp of truth go out? Would not the worship of the Lord be utterly abhorred? Ah, no! A little child was brought by his mother into the tabernacle to be the servant of the Lord, and in him the Lord found a champion. In the night did God call Samuel; and he answered, “Here am I” (1Sa 3:4). This Samuel stood before the Lord and gave forth prophecies that made both the ears of him that heard thereof to tingle, and the Lord was again great in Israel. Do not tremble for the ark of the Lord! God will not suffer the old serpent to spread his slime over all things. Satan’s throne shall always be opposed.

This enmity is to be kept up by God Himself. He said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” See here the church of God announced in this verse! You have not only the gospel here but the church also. Christ, the seed of the woman, is the Head; and all who are in Christ are His body. He and they are the one seed. In these words, the Lord set up the church that continues to this day: a seed which is opposed to Satan and to evil; a seed that will remain by the power of the Spirit of God, waging constant war with the powers of evil. Do we belong to that seed? In this seed, there is a deep-seated hatred to everything that is false and evil. God will see that this seed shall never yield to the power of evil, for still it shall stand true: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman.” If there is false doctrine, there shall be a protesting reformer. If there is any form of wickedness extant, there shall be a witness born from on high to contend with it. This seed is born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of the Spirit of God, Who dwells in the true seed of the woman; and this seed shall be valiant for the Lord of hosts until the last enemy shall be destroyed (1Co 15:26).

Which side are you on this morning, my friend? I put the question very pointedly to everyone here: Are you born from above? “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Joh 3:6). Only this last is the true seed of the woman.

Observe that we see in the text the limited achievement of the old serpent. What will he accomplish by all his schemes? “Thou shalt bruise his heel.” That is all. This is after the serpent’s manner. Satan is “an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward” (Gen 49:17). If he dares not attack you openly, he will assail you from behind. He is as a snake in the grass, biting at the heel of the traveler. The result of Satan’s six thousand years of cunning and enmity is that he has bruised the heel of his victim.

That bruised heel is painful enough. Behold our Lord in His human nature sorely bruised: He was betrayed, bound, accused, buffeted, scourged, spit upon. He was nailed to the cross. He hung there in thirst and fever, in darkness and desertion. They pierced His hands and His feet; and last, they set His heart abroach, and forthwith there flowed from it both blood and water. Satan bruised the heel of the woman’s seed by death. It is a sad business; but when our Lord thought of the resurrection, the salvation of His chosen, and the conquest of the world, it seemed to Him to be a light thing; for He “endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb 12:2).

Behold the seed of the woman as further comprehending all the Lord’s believing people! Satan has bruised their heel to the utmost of his power. Through the long persecutions, he has been assailing the heel of the church. The devil cast into prison many of the saints, and others he caused to be tortured for Christ’s sake; but their souls were not conquered. He could only bruise their heel; their spirit soared out of his reach. And you, today, when tempted, tried, and cast down, may be comforted because your Head is not hurt: Jesus reigns in heaven. The waters are black, and they cover the body; but our Head is above the billows, and the body is safe. The serpent’s bruises stay in the heel and spread no further. The suffering of the church, however great, is but a “light affliction,” not worthy to be compared with the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2Co 4:17). Thank God, the enemy can only bruise your heel.

The cause of God and truth in the world may, by Satan’s subtle power, be for a while sadly bruised as to the heel of its progress; but it cannot be wounded in the heart of its truth! The kingdom advances painfully because of the bruised heel, but it fails not. Even when lame, it takes the prey. Some doctrine which, possibly, may have been stated in a questionable manner is more fully studied, more carefully made known; so even the heel-bruise works for good. Though the church of God may be under a cloud for a time, she will break out with all the greater splendor before long.

“Thou shalt bruise his heel.” Make the best thou canst of it, Satan, it does not come to much! All that thou art at thy greatest is but a heelnibbler and nothing more. Thou art not allowed to poison the heel but only to bruise it. Though the man of God limps a while and suffers where the fangs have been, yet, leaning on his Beloved, he comes up from the wilderness without fail. Forgetting the bruises of his heel, he rejoices in the triumphs of his glorious Head…

We have marked the limited triumph of Satan, and we now observe his final doom. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head.” Here is the end of the great conflict. Satan, who heads the powers of evil in the world, is to fight it out with all his cunning and strength, and he is so far to succeed as to bruise the heel of the champion with Whom he fights; but in the end the seed of the woman is to bruise his head.

This was accomplished when the Lord Jesus died: by dying (He) honored the Law, put away sin, slew death, and defeated hell! When the great Substitute drank the cup of wrath to its utmost dregs for every believing soul; when He unhinged the gate of the sepulcher and carried it away, as Samson carried the gates of Gaza, post, bar, and all (Jdg 16:3); when He opened the doorways of heaven and led captivity captive; then, indeed, the head of the dragon was broken. What can Satan now do? Is not the accuser of the brethren cast down? He is still doing his little best in bitterness and malice; but Christ hath crushed him. Yes, the very Christ Who “was despised and rejected of men” (Isa 53:3), the Man of the thorn crown and the marred visage, the Man of bleeding shoulders and pierced hands and feet, the Man Who was born of a virgin, the seed of the woman, hath broken the power of the enemy. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! He hath cast down the prince of darkness from his high places! Did He not Himself say, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luk 10:18)? He hath bruised the serpent’s head!

This is done in all believers also and shall be done yet more effectually. Brethren, in that day when the Holy Spirit led us to trust in the Lord Jesus, we bruised the serpent’s head. He had been accustomed to command, and we to obey; thus, sin had dominion over us. But as soon as ever we believed in Christ, that dominion was ended, and Dagon fell before the ark of the Lord. I see the serpent rise above me. This great python, with opened jaws, gapes upon me as though he would swallow me up quick. But I am not afraid. O serpent, I have bruised thy head in Christ Jesus my Lord; for I, too, am of the seed of the woman! The serpent cannot lift himself against the chosen seed. What can he do with a broken head? He knows that God has decreed that every believer shall triumph over him. It is written, “God…shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom 16:20). Hallelujah once again!

This bruise upon the head of the evil one is a mortal stroke. If he had been bruised upon the tail or upon the neck, he might have survived; but the Lord shall utterly slay the kingdom of evil and crush out its power. Reigning evil shall cease, and grace shall reign through righteousness unto eternal life! There shall be a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Christ Himself, the seed of the woman, shall come a second time, and He shall reign on earth amongst His ancients gloriously. Then shall He ride forth prosperously because of truth and righteousness, and His right hand shall exalt His people. His foot shall tread down their enemy. May you and I be among the happy throng that shall salute the seed of the woman in His second advent! May we reign with Him in that day! By the seed of the woman is Paradise restored to us, and all the mischief of the Fall is undone; He restoreth that which He took not away…

Is it well with you? Do you look to Jesus, the seed of the woman? Are you trusting in Him to break the power of the enemy? Do you wish the power of sin to be broken in yourself? Do you desire to have the very head of it crushed to powder? Do you pine to be free from sin and holy as God is holy? Are you trusting in Jesus to have this same thing wrought in you? Ah! Then you are on the conquering side. Victory shall be yours through the blood of the Lamb.

Thus have we found much gospel in the wonderful sentence pronounced upon that old serpent, the devil; but we have only skimmed the surface. To the eternal God be glory, world without end! Amen.

The incarnate Word is the key to the written Word. It is the Person and work of Christ that gives meaning and blessedness to what is found in the Old Testament types.—A. W. Pink