“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

The whole world is engaged in a universal war!

And I would like to emphasize that this war in­cludes every man and woman on earth, be they wick­ed or good, rich or poor, strong or weak. It also in­cludes all devils and angels, the powers of the air and the good ministrations of the celestial spirits.

It is for that reason that I call this war: the Bat­tle of the Ages! For, mark you, this war has lasted almost as long as the world has existed. The decla­ration of the war I would like to meditate on was made by God in the very morning of the world’s history, and I quote: 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.

The occasion for God’s declaration of war, as also the designation of the two sides in the conflict, is the fall of man. Adam and Eve, created in the beaute­ous image of God, were very happy in paradise. But the devil came, using the serpent as his instrument, and sowed the pernicious lie in the heart of Eve, and through her, in the heart of Adam: Ye shall not sure­ly die! This lie of the devil was diametrically opposed to God’s truth: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die!” And our first father and mother believed the lie of the devil, rather than the truth of God who created them, and the result was that they indeed died, they died at once, physically, spiritually, and eternally. Oh yes, I will readily admit that it did not look that way immediate­ly, but they died in this threefold way at once, but in principle. Death is enmity against God, rebellion against our Maker, from our side, and the wrath of God, resulting in eternal desolation, from God’s side.

Death is horrible.

And in that state God searched them out. He came and looked for them in the garden, and the wonder­ful voice of God was heard by Adam and Eve: Adam, where art thou? And thereupon the Lord inquires into the sorry state into which they have fallen. You can tell by the responses of Adam and Eve that they have become of the party of the devil: they accuse other than themselves: Adam points to Eve, and Eve points to the devil. They really imply that God is the fault of everything: Adam says: The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat! So it is really God’s fault that he ate, And Eve; The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat! So it was the most glorious of created animals that God had made which was the occasion for her fall. Instead they both should have said: It was the evil of our heart which made us sin against Thy commandment! It shows that God found the creatures that He had made as friends of the devil.

But God remembered His covenant which cove­nant is eternal. It is His eternal good pleasure that the elect human ra6e of man shall stand before His throne in order to praise Him forever. Man shall be His friend servant, and man shall acknowledge Him as his Sovereign Friend.

But it never was God’s intention to have His eter­nal Covenant realized in Adam as the head of the hu­man race. And therefore Adam must fall in order to make room for the real Head of the human race, and that is Jesus Christ the Lord. If you would know more of that, I would like to point you to that wonder­ful portion of God’s Word which we find in Colossians 1:15-19. Mark especially verse 18, the last part, and verse 19. There we read that Christ must have the preeminence in all things, And why? Because it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell! There you have the deep reason both for the fall of man and his restoration. And this restora­tion is in and through Jesus Christ the Lord. That is the real content of the text which we chose for our meditation.

Let us inquire more in detail, and see Jesus Christ the Lord.

God said: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman!

This was spoken to the serpent first of all. The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And it was, undoubt­edly, for that reason that the devil used it in order to ensnare man in the meshes of his lies. By virtue of being the most subtle, this animal stood closest to man.

But that this serpent was an instrument of the de­vil, so that it was really Satan who tempted Eve, is plain from Rev. 12:9 and Rev. 20:2. There we read: “And the great dragon was cast out that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” And: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” So it is plain from these Scriptures that the devil was behind this serpent, and spoke to our first parents through it.

And the awful state of affairs existed that God’s creation, in its very head, was an ally of the devil.

And, in order to maintain His eternal Covenant, God said: But I will put enmity between thee and the woman!

Rightly considered, we have in this decree of God a wonderful blessing for Eve. It is wonderful if you are an enemy of the devil.

Let us now see what kind of enemy this is. What is the nature of the battle between Eve and the devil, and between his seed and her seed?

Attend that this awful battle is not a battle of flesh and blood. It is of a spiritual nature. Paul will enlighten us. He said: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high pla­ces”. Eph. 6:12.

From the moment that God spoke these words, Eve and Adam became enemies of the devil and all he stood for. They hated him and also his spiritual wick­edness, wherever they would manifest themselves in the subsequent history of the world.

How did this come about? How did God put this enmity between the devil and this woman? The answer is easy: God did this by regenerating Adam and Eve. Their hearts and lives had become corrupt. They had died. That is tantamount to saying that they loved darkness rather than the light. Now dark­ness is the sum total of all evil and wickedness. And the light is the sum total of all that is good and love­ly. That is why God is called a light, and the gos­pel affirms that there is no darkness at all in Him. In other words, God recreated Adam and Eve, so that they became His children spiritually. It means that when Adam and Eve departed from paradise after this conversation between God, the devil and our first parents, they walked away as friends of God and en­emies of the devil and devilish things. They were re­created in the express image of God. I would like to point out that this image of God was not the same image which they had borne in the first days of their existence in paradise. Oh no. It was infinitely higher than that. They were now recreated. And that means that this second birth, this rebirth, was according to Him of whom I quoted from Colossians. And that is Jesus Christ the Lord. Later on I will have to speak of this again and explain this further. Suffice it here to say that Adam and Eve experienced a life through this rebirth such as they had never tasted before. They received eternal life at this juncture of history. They received essentially the same life which Christ would receive at His glorification. They re­ceived the life of God’s covenant in the heavenly, spiritual and eternal measure of the man Christ Je­sus. And that eternal life manifests itself, negatively, in hating the devil and the devil’s world, and, posi­tively, in loving God and His world. It is the life of the antithesis. You always say Yes to goodness and God, and you say No to evil and the devil. That is the meaning of this enmity which God put between the devil and the woman Eve, and, of course, Adam is also included here. That the Lord said this to Eve and not first of all to Adam is undoubtedly because she was the first to fall for the wiles of the devil.

Note further that God will also put enmity be­tween the seed of the devil and the seed of the woman.

You will remember that we proved from Scripture that the battle of the ages is spiritual in character. We found that in Ephesians 6:12. Well, it is no dif­ferent with these two kinds of seeds. They also are the spiritual seed of the two parties.

The devil has a seed. We all know that the devil is a spirit. He is one of the angels which God cre­ated and which fell away from God, dragging with him a great host of angels who all became wicked, and are called demons, devils, wicked angels, etc. And a spirit cannot bring forth natural seed. His seed, his offspring is spiritual. We read of that genera­tion very often in the Bible. Attend to the following places of holy writ. In I John 3:7-10 John differ­entiates between children of God and children of the devil. In Ephesians 2:2 we read that we, even as the whole world, once walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh on the children of disobedience! Terrible condition. Imagine to be a child of disobedience! But the clearest passage we find in John 8:44, where we read that Jesus looked upon wicked men and said to them: 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.

There you have an explanation of the term: Seed, that is, children of the devil. Spiritually they have imbibed their whole life from the origin of all evil and the lie. Therefore all men are called liars. It is because they are the offspring of the father of the lie.

And the terrible indictment of God is that the whole human race is the offspring of the devil as they are by nature, as they are born. Every one of us. Because the Bible says that the whole world lieth in darkness.

But there is also a seed of the woman, of Eve.

Centrally that seed is Jesus Christ the Lord. We will speak of that in its place.

But first let us see the woman, that is, Eve, bring­ing forth her spiritual seed. She has done so, from the very beginning of time. Always there are god-fearing woman who with their husbands are bring­ing forth children that love God and that hate the devil. The enmity which God prophesied in my text was fulfilled immediately. As soon as the seed of the devil stands over against the seed of Eve, we note the enmity. Remember Cain and Abel. The first is the spiritual son of the devil, and the other is the spiritual son of the god-fearing Eve. And the enmity is so great that Abel is finally killed, and his blood cries to God in heaven.

But righteous Abel does not die before he has first crushed the head of the serpent. The head is the mind, the intellect, the seat of the notion, the thought, the philosophy of darkness. Cain also had the notion of the devil, and it is this. You will remember from the story in the Bible that the whole battle is about re­ligion. Cain is going to worship God, but he will not take a lamb in order to slaughter it and to sacrifice the bloody sacrifice. No doubt, God had instructed Adam in religion, worthy the term. He must have in­structed them in the bloody sacrifice, so that they might show Christ in typology. All religion must be founded in the Man whom God chose eternally to bring His Kingdom to fruition. And this Man Jesus Christ, who is also God, should build that Kingdom on His blood.

Well, Cain refused that. He wanted to act just as though nothing was changed. He was going to wor­ship God of the plain fruits of the ground. No blood theology for him! But Abel reasoned with him. They spoke together in the field before Cain rose up against him and slew him. Note Hebrews 11:4. Abel’s of­fering was accepted because he offered a more ex­cellent sacrifice than Cain. In the sacrifices we see the occasion for the struggle between them.

And thus it shall be for all time, and such it has been for all time.

The woman, the Church of all the ages, is struggl­ing to bring forth her spiritual seed. And the dra­gon always stands in front of the woman in order to destroy that seed. For the heel of the seed of the woman is wounded. And in the wounding of that heel you have first of all, all the suffering of the church in this battle of enmity. There is a stream of blood which testifies to the truth of this statement in my text. They had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep­skins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tor­mented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Heb. 11:36, 37. Throughout the whole long trail of history the church is hated and maltreated by the seed, the spiritual seed, of the de­vil. They continually bruise the heel of the seed of the woman.

But the fulfillment of this enmity between these two seeds takes place when Jesus is born. He is the Man child of the woman, the church. Read Rev. 12. There you read the whole story of this battle be­tween the two seeds. The woman, that is, the Old Testament Church, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. They are all the woes of 4000 years of suffering by the church. The devil always remembered the words of God in Paradise. He knew that the fulfillment of this promised seed would come. And he stands in the vision of Rev. 12 before the wo­man which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born! Remember wicked Herod who would kill Jesus a little while after he was born?

Well, this devil has tried to kill Jesus time and time again. But he could not until the time was ripe which God had foreordained in His counsel. And when the time had come, the devil went into Judas and the foul thing was accomplished. The heel of the Seed of the woman, and that is Jesus, was bruised. He was crucified.

But attend also to this. In the same action the head of the serpent was bruised. The notion of the devil, inspiring the whole wicked world of lies and liars, is condemned on the cross. The cross is real­ly the victory for Christ and all who are of Christ. It is the proof of their wickedness and shall damn both the devil and his followers, his spiritual chil­dren forever.

By this time the devil knows that he has lost the battle. He also knows that even through his wicked devices he has helped in spite of himself to crush his own head and to bring the spiritual children of God to heaven. We are saved by the Cross of Jesus. We are saved through all the machinations of the devil, and his children, Judas Iscariot included. When the results of their wicked deeds are become mani­fested and Jesus does hang on the accursed tree, the foundations are laid in history for eternal joy by the throngs of God’s saints in the heavenly Jerusalem for­ever.

Are you at enmity with the devil and his world?

Then your heel is bruised. Then you suffer of the world’s hatred. But you are destined to sing for­ever.

But remember: it is of God, through God, and must be unto God!

Let us praise Him, now and forever!

G. Vos