ECHOES FROM EDEN
"Now the SERPENT was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made...and the SERPENT said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die... and the Lord God said unto the SERPENT, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt eat all the days of thy life: 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" (Gen. 3:1,4,14-15).
More and more we are becoming aware of the wonderful fact that the book of Genesis deals largely in typical representations; that is, figures of spiritual realities, brought forth in the language and form of the physical world, but pointing to that which is higher and grander, the verities of the spiritual world. One cannot read Paul's epistles under the illuminating light of the Spirit without perceiving that he saw far more in Genesis than the mere letter. The creation with him is the figure of another work, which God accomplishes in every man who experiences the redeeming, transforming power of Christ. Says Paul, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, HATH SHINED IN OUR HEARTS, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:6). And again, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17).
Adam, in the image and likeness of God, ruling all creatures and all things, is the type of man in Christ, as God makes him. Man in Christ, man in God's image given power and dominion, is God's government in the Kingdom of God. Was not this magnificent purpose burning in the heart of the Most High when on the sixth creative day He proclaimed the wonderful decree: "Let us make man in our image...and LET TEM HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). In this shadowy type we behold a vivid portrait of God's purpose for man, that when man comes fully into GOD'S IMAGE he shall be, first, the ruler of things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the seas, and the creeping things; next, the things upon the earth, typified by the cattle, and all the earth; and lastly, the things of the heavens also, typified by the fowl of the air. One may find it difficult to embrace so great a truth from so small and insignificant a type, but it was upon this very Edenic type, as reiterated by the prophet David in the eight Psalm, that the writer of the book of Hebrews enlarged when by the Spirit he wrote, "For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What IS man, that Thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him (man) a little lower (Gr: for a little while lower) than the angels; Thou CROWNEST HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, and didst set him OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS: Thou hast put A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S in subjection under his feet. For in that He put A-L-L in subjection under him, He left N-O-T-H-I-N-G that is NOT put under him!" (Heb. 2:5-8).
Genesis, like all the other books of the Bible, has its own unique purpose in the revealing of God's plan. Its first and foremost object is to show us GOD'S ORIGINAL THOUGHT AND PURPOSE in creation. In the letter we shown a physical man given dominion over the physical earth. In the Spirit we see a spiritual man given dominion over the spiritual world. And so it is written: "Who (Christ) is the image of the invisible God...by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers... and ye are complete IN HIM WHICH IS THE HEAD OF A-L-L PRINCIPALITY AND POWER" (Col. 1:15-17; 2:9-10). All who come to God's image in Christ are destined to share that awesome dominion, seated together WITH HIM, far above all principality and power. But - "We see not yet all things put under him (man). But we see Jesus... CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR" (Heb. 2:8-9). Verse ten shows that Jesus is the Captain, the Leader, the One who goes before leading the way - bringing many Sons to the very same glory that God has crowned Him with!
Can it not be seen by this that in the beginning God committed to Adam the wisdom, power, and responsibility to RULE over the kingdoms around him? Before him lay the whole earth, the seas, the heavens, all filled and swarming with creatures, myriad life forms, each declaring by type and shadow that man was to exercise dominion over every realm BENEATH AND ABOVE that God had created, and as creation bowed to his godly mind, and the dominion in his spirit, that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a Son in the image of God was but a prefiguring of the day when a whole FIRSTFRUIT COMPANY OF SONS IN GOD'S IMAGE would reign over THE REGIONS BENEATH, and over ALL THE EARTH, and over THE HEAVENS ABOVE until everything everywhere, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, would be in submission to their godly minds and wills.
I make no apology for declaring to you the truth that every creature of the earth typifies a reality in the realm of the spirit, good or bad, positive or negative. This can be seen clearly in the words of Jesus when He says in Lk. 10:17-19, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give you power to TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, and over all the power of the enemy." Ah, spake He of the serpents and scorpions of the fields? Nay, my brother, He spake of SPIRITS possessing the nature typified by serpents and scorpions, hidden and cunning, crooked and slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the thoughts, desires, emotions, and ambitions of the carnal mind, in the corrupt motions of the flesh, full of venom and death.
I pointed out in the previous article on this subject that the original serpent in Eden was the Devil and Satan. The preachers are always telling us that the serpent in the Garden was one of these long, slender reptiles that have backbones and ribs and scale on the outside of their bodies. Numerous pictures have been sketched of the snake dangling from a tree limb, conversing with Eve. But the inspired Word of the omniscient Creator contradicts the uninspired word of the tradition-ridden theologians! John the Revelator stood transfixed in the visions of God on Patmos and beheld by the splendor of the scene which unfolded before his wondering eyes as "the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, WHICH IS THE DEVIL, AND SATAN, and bound him a thousand years" (Rev. 12:9; 20:1-2).
Here Satan is called "that old serpent." The word "old," as we have noted, is from the Greek word "archaios" which means ORIGINAL or PRIMEVAL. "Primeval" means FROM THE FIRST AGE OR AGES. Phillip's translation reads, "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key of the pit and huge chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the SERPENT OF ANCIENT DAYS, who IS both the Devil and Satan..." Another version states, "And he seized the dragon, the ORIGINAL SERPENT, WHO IS the Devil and Satan." The Amplified Bible says, "And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that OLD SERPENT OF PRIMEVAL TIMES, WHO IS the Devil and Satan." MAN says that a fallen angel, Satan, somehow got into the serpent and spoken through its mouth, but GOD declares that THAT ORIGINAL SERPENT I-S T-H-E D-E-V-I-L A-N-D S-A-T-A-N!
THE SERPENT'S MEAT
This ancient serpent, having beguiled Eve, became the recipient of the FIRST CURSE in history. Most students of the Word know that man was cursed, the woman was cursed, the ground was cursed, and the earth was cursed, but few remember that before all this the serpent was cursed. The curse is first mentioned in Gen. 3:14. "And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, THOU ART CURSED above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat the days of thy life."
Without quoting all the passages of this record, we would note God's order of speaking, and then the judgment, or sentence passed. The Lord called unto the man, inquiring, "Where art thou?" And Adam answered that they had hidden themselves, because of their shame as they realized they were naked. Then God said to the woman, "What is this that thou hast done?" And Eve replied that the serpent had beguiled her, and she did eat of the forbidden fruit. Then God spoke to the serpent, and said at once, "Because thou hast done this, THOU ART CURSED!" In the passing of the judgment-sentence, God began with the serpent, then to the woman, and ended with the man, reversing the order from when He first spoke to them. In the curse to the serpent, He said, "upon belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat the days of thy life." The serpent, being called before the tribunal of the Almighty, received a two-fold curse, recorded here in strong figures of speech which sternly emphasize the power of the judgment: UPON YOUR BELLY SHALL YOU GO and DUST YOU SHALL EAT.
Science will tell you that snakes which crawl upon the ground do not eat dust. They eat frogs, insects, rats, birds, rabbits, fish and eggs. These terms are symbolic and spiritual. This is not speaking of literal snake dangling from a tree limb in some ancient paradise. The serpent in Eden had not only the faculty of speech, but reasoned upon matters relating to God and man; he speaks of good and evil as though possessed of a thorough knowledge of the laws of the Kingdom of God; he argues against the divine prohibition; steals upon the woman with the most alluring subterfuge, and finally persuades her to disobey the commandment of the Lord. No mere animal, it is evident, could be capable of what is here attributed to the serpent!
This is a symbol and the Deceiver, Satan, that old serpent, has to eat dust! What is the dust? Not the dirt of the ground. Not even the dust of the frogs, rabbits, field mice etc. In the passing of the judgment-sentence, God began with the serpent and said, "DUST shalt thou eat." Then to the man, God said, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for DUST THOU ART, and UNTO DUST shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). So that first Adam, sinful, fallen, and cursed is declared by the counsel of Lord TO BE DUST. Said the wise man, "For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that WE ARE DUST" (Ps. 103:14). That we are DUST! Not very flattering, not very complimentary, is it? This great gob of mud called "man," strutting his superior know-it-all attitude even in the face of the Almighty! Dust! Our FRAME! DUST! What for value is a frame of dust? HE remembers that we ARE dust whether we do or not.
Words are helpless, hopeless, and inadequate when necessity demands that we explain the things pertaining to the spiritual realm. Only in spirit can we understand the incomprehensible. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God must enlighten the eyes of our understanding. Adam was formed of the dust of the ground, of the physical, carnal, earthly sense-realm, and as such, he became the rightful food for the serpent. This means that the serpent now finds the only fulfillment of his nature and desires in and through mankind. By the very nature of things, when the serpent eats, he seeks to SATISFY HIS APPETITE and GRATIFY HIS DESIRES. Originally he found pleasure in higher things and had access to higher realms, but the curse of "eating dust" limits the object of his devouring. Today, the sphere of Satan's activity is earth, and the object of his devouring is the man of the earth. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR" (I Pet. 5:8). As the creature of the forest are constantly alert some other animal of prey catch them unawares and devour them, so are we admonished to be sober and vigilant - for as sure as the snake swallows the rabbit, so sure is it that Satan seeks to DEVOUR YOU! Your dust, your earth, your flesh, your carnal Adam-man-nature is the serpent's meat! By devouring the dust-man who loves earthly things, Satan "devours" him - makes him part of himself!
I Cor. 15:45-49 tells us that Adam and those belonging to him are of the earth, earthy. "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." The Amplified Bible reads, "The first man was from out of the earth, made of dust - earth-minded; the second Man is the Lord from out of heaven. Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust - earth-minded; and as is the Man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven - heaven-minded. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us bear also the image of the Man of heaven."
Whenever we live in the earthly life of Adam, we are earthly and also on earth and fall into the sphere of Satan's activity, becoming the object of his devouring, he satisfies his evil appetite upon us and through us! Dear saints, you wonder why Satan tempts you, pressures you, torments you, and you have constant battles with him? It is because you are still bearing at least a portion of that image of the first Adam, the man of dust. And dust is the serpent's meat. He has the power to eat on you as long as you have that nature of Adam in you. On the other hand, whenever we live in the heavenly life of Christ, we are heavenly and are in heaven. Thus, we TRANSCEND SATAN'S SPHERE of activity and are no longer subject to his devouring. Would you, dear reader, like to starve that old serpent, the Devil? Then get rid of the dust! Stop bearing the image of Adam, and as Paul exhorts, "Let us bear the image of the Man of heaven." When you have been completely transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, then you will have nothing in you for Satan to feed upon, nothing to satisfy his appetite or gratify his desires. Glory!
Can we not see that the more we LIVE AND WALK IN THE SPIRIT, the less we are disturbed by the agitations of the soulish realm, or the shenanigans of the flesh? Caught in the lowlands of the flesh, one is an easy prey for the serpents and scorpions and creeping things which inhabit that low realm. Rising up to walk in the Spirit a new perspective is found, flesh is both seen and recognized for what it is, and left behind, while the horizons of the Spirit beckon onward, and upward, in the realm of the heavenly where no dragon abides. So many of God's precious people dwell in the dust realm, and there is no need to describe at length the "dust storms", we have all faced them far too often - the jealousies, the envyings, the back-bitings, gossipings, anger, agitations, lusts, fear, bitterness, strivings, and all the other expressions of the carnal nature, the realm where the serpent dwells and eats to the full!
UPON YOUR BELLY YOU SHALL GO...
It's not news to any of us that we are in the midst of was between two kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Neither is it news to us that WE are the battleground! More particularly, the major focal point of the battle is our mind. There the battle rages at its greatest intensity, because the was is a struggle for our hearts and loyalties - the very souls and lives and beings of men. This fact is highly relevant to the subject I am dealing with in this article - the serpent that dwells within us. It is that force within us that opposes what God wants for us and tries always to keep us from seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. We need to be able to identify the serpent and become familiar with his tactics in order to spoil his plans and thwart his ambitions to keep us from gaining the fullness of the life in Christ that we seek.
This brings us back to the curse laid upon the serpent in the beginning: "Upon your belly you shall go." This judgment speaks of infinitely more than a literal snake slithering along upon a literal belly of flesh and blood, just as the word "heel" speaks of infinitely more than a flesh and blood heel, and the word "head" speaks of something far greater than a mere physical head in the words of the next verse: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy HEAD, and thou shalt bruise His HEEL" (Gen. 3:15). So, "upon your belly shall you go," paints for the eyes of our understanding the picture of the serpent crawling in humiliation, prostration, limitation, and subjection upon the ground. The Psalmist uses a similar expression in Ps. 44:25, "For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. Such denotes a prolonged prostration and a depth of subjection as could never be conveyed or expressed in literal words.
The very fact that God states that the serpent was now to crawl upon his belly, which obviously he had not done before, reveals that there was a DESCENDING from one realm to another, from a greater to a lesser, from a higher to a lower. Moving on his belly limits the sphere of the serpent's activity, now he can only creep along the ground. Previously he had access to loftier realms, his sphere of activity extended to higher domains, but he is now lowered into the dust-realm, into the sphere of man, confined to the earthy, limited to action upon and expression through THE MAN OF THE DUST. Thus we read in Eph. 2:2, "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH I-N THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE."
Ah, yes, this evil spirit is IN MAN! When the serpent was lowered into the dust realm, man became the base of operation for his activity. I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that you will find Satan operative in NO OTHER REALM in the whole universe! You do not meet the Devil in telephone poles, in rocks, trees, fish, mountains, rivers, clouds, birds, or in any other object but man. You don't have to worry about the Devil stealing the keys to your car and driving off with it! But you may have to worry about THE DEVIL IN MEN doing so! You need not fear the Devil walking into you living room with a shot gun and blowing your brains out, but THE DEVIL IN MEN has done so many, many times! The Devil as a spirit being will never try to seducer your wife and commit adultery with her, but THE DEVIL IN SOME MAN may surely attempt it. I must tell you frankly that I have not had any problem with that Devil out there someplace, but I have had a great deal of difficulty with that Devil I behold when I look in the mirror!
Can we not see that under the curse God LIMITED SATAN TO THE DUST OF THE EARTH, to the realm of the first Adam - the man of the dust? Through the curse Satan entered into man and became one with him, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the crooked thoughts, desires, and emotions of the carnal mind, in all the corrupt motions of the flesh. May God graciously give us enlightenment to see that included with Satan is the kingdom of Satan; therefore, since Satan is in man, the kingdom of Satan is also in man. Satan is the prince of this world, so the world too is included in the kingdom of Satan and is also in man. Man is the very center of the OLD CREATION in every aspect. If one would meet Satan, there is no need for him to go to some special place - by going to man he will meet Satan. If he desires to meet the kingdom of Satan, there is no need for him to go to some distant planet - be going to man he will encounter the kingdom of Satan. It is the same with the world. Within man, as representing the old creation, there is Satan, the kingdom of Satan, the world, sin, death, flesh, the carnal mind, etc. The first Adam is not a small man! On the contrary, he is a big, all-inclusive man! The whole vast realm of the satanic is CENTRALIZED IN MAN, Satan himself sits deified within, joined as one with the spirit of man - THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.
The reason why so many fail when it comes to temptation is that they don't really want to resist Satan. You see, Satan never comes as some monster with horns, a forked tail, and a pitch fork. HE COMES IN YOUR DESIRES! Some people are always saying, "I hate the Devil." Well, you may as well say, "I hate myself!" One day I asked God, "God, why don't you just kill the Devil and let it be over with?" You see, I got tired of him! You will never guess the answer I received. The Lord said, "If I kill the Devil, YOU WILL DIE." Oh, yes, Satan sits enthroned in the life and rooted deeply in the flesh of man of the dust.
You will find men and women who claim to hate the Devil and all he stands for, but no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. In so doing he gives place to the Devil. It is the flesh that lusts against the Spirit of Christ! The flesh unceasingly wars against the King and His Kingdom that is within you. Just as the forces of evil and wickedness in the world cry, "We will not have this Man to rule over us," even so the flesh, desperately striving to perpetuate the corrupt nature of Adam within you, would push Christ from the throne of your heart and reign in His stead. It is never our striving against the evils of the world, the flesh, and the Devil that gains any victory at all; the Christ within us would destroy them in one smashing defeat; but we have the wretched habit of FAILING TO YIELD these evils to the King. Ah, how we protect and excuse them, for they are as our own flesh and blood. We cannot overcome our seducing enemy ourselves. Christ alone can put him under foot and forever bruise his head! Our responsibility is to YIELD OURSELVES to God, that HE may reign.
It is not difficult for us to acknowledge that God was manifest in the flesh through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. What we have often failed to perceive is that there has also been AN INCARNATION OF SATAN IN THE FLESH. Just as God was manifested in the flesh through Jesus, the last Adam, and now through His body, so it is becoming knowledge to us that Satan has been manifested in the flesh of the first Adam!
In Gen. 3:1 we read, "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And HE SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" The word serpent in our language comes from the Latin "serpo" meaning "to creep," but the Hebrew term has no relation to the form or motion of any external attribute of the serpent. The word used here for serpent is the Hebrew word NACHASH which is a primitive root meaning "to hiss or whisper." It, furthermore, means "to search or scrutinize closely, to find out by experiment, to practice divination, augury, incantation or enchantment." According to Webster incantation means "the chanting of special words or a formula in magic spells or rites." Incantation may speak in addition of HYPNOTISM. The serpent, then, is a HISSER, a WHISPERER, a DIVINER, an EXPERIMENTER, and a HYPNOTIST! And, I might add, so is the carnal mind!
In Isa. 8:19 the Holy Spirit has recorded for our learning a very important exhortation. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" The same inspired prophet penned a prophecy concerning Jerusalem under the prophetic term "Ariel," saying, "Thou shalt be brought down, and shalt SPEAK OUT OF THE GROUND, and thy speech shall be LOW OUT OF THE DUST, and thy voice shall be...OUT OF THE GROUND, and thy speech shall WHISPER OUT OF THE DUST" (Isa. 29:4). Here we read of spirits that "peep and mutter," which speak "out of the ground" and "whisper out of the dust." Is this not reminiscent of the serpent in Eden, the hisser and whisperer, dwelling in and speaking from the dust realm?
Whisperings out of the dust - there is something sinister in the thought, but beyond the evil that is suggested, there is also the thought of SUBTLE SUGGESTION - a WHISPERED temptation - something so subtle one could wonder from whence it comes, a word so low and so whispered as to be almost imperceptible - or is it a THOUGHT, a DESIRE, a command from an INNER NATURE? These whisperings ARISE FROM THE DUST OF CARNAL MIND, OUT OF THE GROUND OF THE ADAM NATURE where lies the serpent! It was with this understanding that the apostle James could pen these inspired words: "But every man is tempted when he is drawn away OF HIS OWN DESIRE (lust) and enticed. Then when DESIRE hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15). EVERY MAN is tempted - not by some outside influence, not by some evil angel sitting on his shoulder, not by some little creature with horns - but he is drawn away OF HIS OWN DESIRE! Ah, this is the "whisper out of the dust" - the subtle voice of DESIRE spoken cunningly from the thoughts, will, passions, plans, hopes, fantasies and cravings OF THE FLESH! If by the grace of God you can see the truth of this, you will then plainly see in all the motions of the human heart the CREEPING, CROOKED, SLITHERING SERPENT OF EDEN!
THE SEED OF THE SERPENT
"The course of bad men leads through darkness dim; they cannot see what makes them stumble. The course of good men, like a ray of dawn, shines on and on to the full light of day" (Prov. 4:18-19, Moffatt). The burning truth that lies hidden in these words of inspiration is borne home to our hearts with ever increasing power as we see the lengthening shadows falling ominously about us heralding the end of the age. It is not without purpose that the Holy Spirit has been directing our thoughts and bending our inmost nature toward the seeking of those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, an inward drive none can know or understand but those elect saints who have been BORN FROM ABOVE. All about us we see the paths of wicked men leading them into ever increasing darkness while on the other hand the path of the just, shinning more and more with the revealing light of truth, inspires our hearts to sing that gladsome song, "The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live forever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and He is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon the earth shall eat and worship: ALL THEY THAT GO DOWN TO THE DUST shall bow before Him. A SEED shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. THEY shall come, and shall DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS unto a people that shall be born" (Ps. 22:26-31).
Several important truths are revealed in these verses of Scripture. The Holy Spirit witnesses that "A-L-L the ends of the world shall remember (their former estate) and turn unto the Lord," also, "A-L-L they that go down into the DUST shall bow before Him," and then the means by which this marvelous work shall be brought to pass, "a SEED shall serve Him...and THEY SHALL DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS."
This thought of "the seed" carries us back to the beginning, when the Lord announced to the fallen man and woman, and to the serpent, "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" (Gen. 3:15). "Between thy seed and her seed" - that is between thy posterity and her posterity, for seed, as used here, means children or offspring. There are two seeds spoken of, the woman's seed, and the serpent's seed. By the seed of the woman is meant the positive realm, and the seed of the serpent bespeaks the negative. The great soul-gripping truth is that as the woman's seed has a literal fulfillment personified in a MAN and a PEOPLE, so also the serpent's seed must be literally fulfilled in a man and a people. The law has been from the beginning that every living thing reproduces "after his kind."
In the Bible one can trace a whole line of righteous men from Abel to Christ, and our Lord came into the world of that linage. That the serpent's seed was also expressed through people is evident when we read in I Jn. 3:12, "Not as Cain, who WAS OF that wicked one, and slew his brother." This is more explicit in the Greek text, where the word "of" is "ek," literally OUT OF the wicked one. The Spirit has provided abundant evidence of the serpent's seed in the Word of God. Jesus told a group of self-righteous Pharisees, "YE are of YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, HE SPEAKETH OF HIS OWN: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn. 8:44).
In Genesis chapter four we find the story of how Cain, after his offering was rejected by the Lord, said to his brother, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother, and killed him. And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" And the Lord said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground." Cain told his lie because it was his nature to do so, "he speaketh of his own," it came out of himself. No one told him to lie, indeed, no one TAUGHT him to lie. No one tricked him so that he would have to tell a lie, "for FROM WITHIN, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, murders, thefts, coveteousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come FROM WITHIN and defile the man" (Mk. 7:21-23), and Cain spoke out of his own state of being which he inherited from the wicked one. Cain WAS OF that wicked one. The seed of the serpent was in him, and he manifested after his kind. "In this the children of God are manifest, and THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL: Whosoever doeth not righteousness IS NOT OF GOD (that is, IS of the Devil), neither he that loveth not his brother" (I Jn. 3:10). Every day we are learning that the natural man has no power to resist evil. Man himself is inherently evil, born in sin and shapen in iniquity, the seed of the serpent lies within.
The story is told of an aged learned minister of the Gospel in a certain town. One morning, while taking his usual walk by the side of a river, a young man who had been far away attending a distant university, where he had become an atheist, who used to sit under this good man's ministry, and knew his habits thought he would have some fun with the "Preacher" as he called him. At the university he had imbibed the teachings of some Ingersoll or some similar child of the devil, and he came back full of his infidelity. Meeting the Preacher, he said, "Good morning, Preacher." "Good morning, son," said the minister. "Preacher I have just had bad news," said the young man. "Well, what is it?" asked the Preacher. "One of your great friends is dead," replied the youth. "Oh, and who is he?" asked the old man. "It is the Devil," and he laughed long and loudly. But there was no laugh on the face of the Preacher. Putting his hands upon the young man's shoulder and looking straight into his face he said, "Poor fatherless child, what will become of you now that your father is dead?"
Ah, there may be a bit of humor in the quick wit of the old Preacher, but the truth is unmistakable. The serpent's seed! The world is full of them. When John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees a "generation of vipers," he was calling them little serpents issuing out of the belly of the great Serpent - sons of the Devil! Being of the same mother carries its importance, imparts of her traits, etc. But being of the same father brings in the nature of the blood line.
This is what got Jesus in so much trouble with the Jews, when He said, "I and My Father are one" (Jn. 10:30). They realized that if He claimed that God was His Father, then He also had a DIVINE NATURE, and WAS GOD. For God to bring forth after His own kind would be the begetting of gods! Jesus plainly said, "I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, IF ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham" (Jn. 8:38-39). He then went on to mention how they sought to kill Him, and this was not the way of Abraham. They were doing the deed of their father - a murderer from the beginning. They then protested, "We have one Father, God," but Jesus again pointed out to them that they were not manifesting the nature of God, but were doing the lusts of their father, the Devil.
"If ye know that HE is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness IS BORN OF HIM" (I Jn. 2:29). Or, "the lusts (desires) of your father ye will do" (Jn. 8:44). Thus, OUR DESIRES, and the works that spring forth from our inner being, give a strong indication of WHO our father is. When we are "delighting ourselves also in the Lord; then HE SHALL GIVE THEE THE DESIRES OF THINE HEART" (Ps. 37:4). But if we are walking in OUR OWN DESIRES, then we are fulfilling those things planted within by the wicked one. Sons of God! may OUR FATHER ever be the One to GIVE US, IMPLANT WITHIN OUR HEART H-I-S DESIRES so that we do only those things which please the Father, "God working within us both to will (give the desire) and to do (bring to fulfillment) of HIS good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
Because of the inborn weakness of the flesh, all who cherish the blessed hope of Sonship must learn never to trust in themselves or to lean upon the failing arm of flesh, but to find their overcoming power in the omnipotent Spirit. Our constant failures and our proneness to yield to the ever present overpowering lusts of the flesh should be incentive enough to cast off the tattered garments of our self-righteousness and self-confidence that we may make the INDWELLING LORD our strength, our righteousness, our shield, and the lifter of our heads. Only Christ, dwelling within, can make us stand. HE is our victory. Our help cometh from the LORD!
THE SERPENT DESTROYED
Man's body as originally created by God was something very good, but it has now become "the flesh." The body was pure, since it was created good, but when the body was corrupted by the serpent, it became flesh. Paul said, "...in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth NO GOOD THING" (Rom. 7:18). Through the fall Satan came to dwell in our members, causing our body to become flesh - i.e., a damaged, ruined body.
The book of Romans uses two terms, "the body of sin" (Rom. 6:6) and "the body of death" (Rom. 7:24). The body is called "the body of sin" because Sin is in the body. The body simply became the residence of Sin, which is the embodiment of Satan. What, then, is "the body of death"? The source and power of death is Satan (Heb. 2:14). Sin is the embodiment of Satan and death is the issue or effect of Satan. This corrupted body is called "the body of sin" and "the body of death," because this body became the very residence of Satan - the base for his operation and the sphere of his activity. Both sin and death are related to Satan. "The body of sin" means that the body is inherently sinful; "the body of death" means that the body is weakened and full of death. The body of unregenerate man is something satanic and devilish, because Satan reigns in this body. All the lusts are in this corrupted body called "the flesh". The Word reveals that the lust is "the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16), but it is also "the lusts of your father" (Jn. 8:44). Thus, the flesh is the corrupted body (and soul) full of lusts, indwelt by Satan. Now you see that the fall of man was not just a matter of man committing something against God, but of man RECEIVING SATAN INTO HIS BODY. "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and DUST shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (Gen. 3:14). Satan, from the time of the fall, dwells in man.
Since Satan and man became one through the fall, Satan is no longer outside of man, but IN man. But God, shut out from man, declared, "I will also become incarnated. If Satan wrought into man, then let Me enter into man and put man upon Myself." Do you see? GOD put on this man - Satan being in him - through incarnation. When God became incarnated as a man, the kind of man He put on was a man corrupted By Satan. "God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3). "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same...wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:14,17). After God became a man and put that man with Satan within him upon Himself, HE BROUGHT THAT MAN TO THE CROSS. Satan thought he had succeeded, but he only gave the Lord an easy way to destroy him!
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that THROUGH DEATH He might DESTROY HIM that had the power of death, that is, the Devil" (Heb. 2:14). The word "destroy" does not mean to kill or annihilate, for we know God did not kill the Devil or annihilate him! Destroy, in the original, means "to bring to nought; render powerless; or make of no effect." So - through death - the Lord Jesus BROUGHT SATAN TO NOUGHT, RENDERED HIM POWERLESS AND MADE HIM OF NO EFFECT.
The following illustration, shared by another, beautifully illustrates how this was accomplished. If a mouse is loose in a house, it is rather difficult for the owner to catch it. But if he sets a trap with a little bait, the mouse will then be tempted to catch the bait. The mouse at first will think he has succeeded in getting the bait, but will not realize that in fact he has been trapped by the owner of the house. Then, since he is trapped, it is so easy for the owner of the house to come and put him to death. Similarly, Adam became a trap to catch Satan! Satan was the "naughty" mouse running loose in the universe. When Satan came to possess man, he thought he was successful, but did not realize that he fell into a trap. Satan thought man was his home, but did not know that man was a trap. He thought man was is food, but man was only the bait. By taking man, he was caught and imprisoned in man.
Then- in one signal act - God pulled the rug out from under Satan! The Lord came and put upon Himself "the flesh," the "body of sin," the "body of death," the "dust realm," the "man of earth," and BROUGHT IT TO THE CROSS that "through DEATH (of the man of dust) He might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil." When the flesh is crucified, when the dust of the carnal nature, when the man of the earth is put to death on the cross SATAN''S GROUND IS DESTROYED BENEATH HIM, his sphere of activity is removed, his base of operation is cancelled, so that he is rendered completely powerless and ineffective. Thus, it is by this death on the cross that Christ destroyed the Devil!
Jesus Christ was truly "tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin." Though He were a Son, yet "learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." It became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many Sons unto glory, to "make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." And being "made perfect" He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.
When the Son of God came into the world, when He had been tested on every point and had overcome the adversary in all things, He uttered these significant words: "I will not walk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me - he has nothing in common with Me, THERE IS NOTHING IN ME THAT BELONGS TO HIM, he has no power over Me!" (Jn. 14:30, Amplified). Ah, this is the glory of SONSHIP - nothing in common with Satan! None of the nature of Adam that belongs to Satan. So mighty was the indwelling life of the Father within Jesus that Satan had no power over Him. And, beloved, when you have died completely to that Adamic life, when there is none of the dust of Adam in you, SATAN WILL HAVE NO POWER OVER YOU. When YOUR FLESH has been fully brought to the CROSS, crucified with Christ, Satan's base of operation will have been destroyed, his sphere of activity removed. God destroys Satan by destroying YOUR FLESH.
I can tell you, dear ones, that already Satan is finding very little "ground" to creep upon in many of God's Sons who are pressing on to the High Calling of God in Christ. The old serpent is finding short rations and skimpy meals in God's chosen ones who are putting off the dust of the carnal mind and putting on THE MIND OF CHRIST. Victory upon victory they are gaining, for they have taken up THEIR CROSS and the cross has become the giant X that marks out the dust nature forever. These elect Sons of God are beginning to walk in newness of life as NEW CREATION BEINGS. For them THE CURSE IS LIFTED, Satan is conquered, and the Christ is arising in glory and splendor in their lives. They are bearing more and more of His blessed image. They have no fear of Satan or his weapons. They could march right through the bastions of hell itself, and in the presence of all its hosts no evil could overtake them. The bestial spirit of this world cannot contaminate them. Filthy lucre cannot tempt them. Fame and power cannot entice them. Lust and sensuality cannot draw them. They are overcomers, even THE SEED that serve the Lord! They shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation, they are an entirely new ethnic group, the body of the Man from heaven, Sons of the Most High; they shall come, and SHALL DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Through the triumph of the Christ life within them the whole creation shall be delivered from its bondage to corruption, for the Lord of hosts will destroy the face of the covering (the flesh) cast over all people, and the veil (carnal mind) that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, and will be glad and rejoice in His salvation! (Isa. 25:7-9).
J. PRESTON EBY
J. PRESTON EBY
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