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THE PROTEVANGELIUM

(SERMON #29 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, October 21, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“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 thou 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” (Genesis 3:14-15).


God came down into the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned. He confronted them by asking,

“Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” (Genesis 3:11).

Adam blamed his wife for giving him the forbidden fruit. But Eve was more straightforward and said,

“The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:13).

Yet neither of them sought pardon for their sin. Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

Though they were sorry that they had been discovered…there is no indication of true repentance, but rather merely an attempt to justify themselves. Accordingly, there was no course of action for the Lord except to initiate punishment (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, p. 117).

Thus, God pronounced a series of curses, which included – the curse on the serpent, the curse on childbearing, the curse on Adam and his descendants, and the curse on creation itself. Our text tonight deals with the first of these curses – the curse on the serpent. In verse 14 we see the curse on the serpent. In verse 15 we see the conflict between God and Satan, and the conquest of Satan by Christ.

I. First, the curse fell on the serpent.

Look at verse fourteen.

“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 thou eat all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:14).

Look up, please.

When Adam sinned he died spiritually and physical death began in his body. Dr. Morris said,

Since Adam was appointed to exercise dominion over the earth, and since Adam was to begin to die, his dominion also would begin to “die.” Since that time, “we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). This condition is called by the Apostle Paul the “bondage of corruption”…”For the creation was made subject to vanity…” (Romans 8:20, 21) (ibid., p. 117).

The curse fell first on Satan, then on Eve, then on Adam and his descendants; “for Satan it was final and irrevocable. He not only had rebelled against God in heaven, but now he had also infected mankind with his rebellion” (ibid.).

The serpent was “cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field” (Genesis 3:14). God cursed the serpent as a reminder to man that this creature was the instrument through which Satan had tempted man and brought about his Fall, and as a reminder of the final destruction of Satan. Dr. Morris said, “Whatever may have been its beauty, and posture before, it would henceforth glide on its belly and be an object of dread and loathing by all” (ibid., pp. 117-118). Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “God condemned the serpent because this creature made itself available to the tempter who instituted the fall of the first two human beings. God did not consign the serpent to immediate judgment but to a long struggle as a most lowly and despised creature” (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., The Criswell Study Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1979, note on Genesis 3:14). Dr. Ryrie said, “The entire animal kingdom was affected by man’s fall (cf. Jeremiah 12:4; Romans 8:20), but the serpent’s very form and movements were altered and he was humbled” (Charles C. Ryrie, Ph.D., The Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1978, note on Genesis 3:14).

II. Second, the curse fell on Satan.

Please stand and read Genesis 3:15 aloud.

“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).

You may be seated. This verse has been called the “protevangelium” – the first mention of the Gospel. Dr. M. R. DeHaan said,

We remind you that this is an unmistakable prophecy and picture of Christ the Redeemer (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Portraits of Christ in Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1966, p. 62).

Here are a number of points from this important verse.

1.  First, it was spoken to Satan, God’s enemy. It serves notice on Satan that he will ultimately be defeated by the “Seed” of the woman.

2.  Second, it shows that Satan’s “seed” and the woman’s “seed” would be in perpetual conflict in the ages to come: “I will put enmity…between thy seed and her seed.” Dr. McGee said,


The most prominent thought is not the ultimate victory that would come [for “the seed of the woman”] but the long-continued struggle…This verse reveals the fact that there is to be a long struggle between good and evil…John…mentions this conflict in I John 3:10: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” Thus we have brought before us the fact that there is a conflict, here is a struggle, and here are two seeds in the world (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1981, volume I, p. 26).

Every person who is thinking about becoming a Christian must realize that he has to take sides in this conflict. He must either be on the side of Satan’s “seed” or on the side of the woman’s “seed,” which is Christ. There is no middle ground. You are either on Christ’s side in this long war, or you are on Satan’s side. No one is neutral. Ask yourself, honestly, which side you are on tonight in this ongoing struggle between those who follow Satan and those who follow Christ. Which side are you on?

3.  Third, notice that Christ is the “seed of the woman.” “Between thy seed [Satan’s seed] and her seed.” This is the only place in the Bible where a woman is said to have “seed.” This is the first prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ, called “the seed of the woman.” Isaiah prophesied this later when he wrote, “Behold, a virgin [“almah” always speaks of virgins in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Greek word in Matthew 1:23 and Luke 1:27 shows by inspiration that “virgin” is the meaning]… a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) – “God with us” – a description of Christ, the God-man, coming in human flesh. “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). Christ is the “seed of the woman.” All major commentators agree on that point.

4.  Fourth, as the “seed” of the woman culminates in Christ, so the “seed” of the serpent reaches its climax in the Antichrist. The culmination of the struggle predicted in Genesis 3:15 will occur between Christ and the Antichrist. The Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire at the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 19:20). Satan, who indwells the Antichrist (as he did the serpent) will be cast into the Lake of Fire at the beginning of the Kingdom-age (Revelation 20:2-3).

5.  Fifth, between the beginning of the struggle in Genesis 3:15 and the end of it in Revelation 20, the conflict seems to go in favor of Satan. Notice that there are two “bruisings” in the verse. The Geneva Bible of 1599 translates the word of God to the serpent as, “He shall break thine head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (The Geneva Bible, 1599, Tolle Lege, 2006 reprint, Genesis 3:15). The seed of the serpent will bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. But Christ, the "seed" of the woman, shall "break" Satan's head in the end. Dr. DeHaan said,


One of these bruisings is history – when the Redeemer came the first time it seemed to be a victory for the enemy, for the Redeemer was put to death on the Cross. Here His heel was bruised, symbolic of the suffering and death of our Saviour, who was ‘wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities’ (Isaiah 53:5). This part of the…prediction of Genesis 3:15 is history. It happened almost two thousand years ago, but it was only [Christ’s] heel which was bruised. The other ‘bruising’ [or ‘crushing’ – The Geneva Bible] of the serpent’s head is still future…The Saviour’s heel was bruised at His first coming, but Satan’s head will be 'crushed' at [Christ’s] Second Coming. This is the only possible interpretation of the prediction of Genesis 3:15…The bruising of [Christ’s] heel was not [ultimately] fatal, but the bruising [or 'crushing'] of [Satan’s] head is fatal…It will take place when [Christ] returns to earth, in person and power, and when ‘the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, shall be bound for a thousand years, and be cast into the bottomless pit’ (DeHaan, ibid., pp. 64-65).

Dr. John R. Rice said,

Now God has forever put the symbol, the accursed serpent, to show that the earth itself is under a curse because of sin, and to remind us that Satan himself, the old master serpent and dragon, will be put in the bottomless pit one day! The snake becomes a symbol of sin for all mankind to see, and of the judgment of God on sin (John R. Rice, D.D., In the Beginning, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1975, p. 138).

“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).

Now, I will give three points of application. We learn three main things from the text:

1.  First, there is a struggle for your soul.

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed…” (Genesis 3:15a).

The world at large is under the dominion of Satan now. He is presently called “the god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4). Under his dominion, the world is against Christ. There is a struggle within you, whether you will be part of Satan’s “seed” or Christ’s “seed.” You must belong to one or the other. There is no middle ground. God says, “Come out from among them…and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you” (II Corinthians 6:17-18). There is an inward struggle going on in your soul. Will you go on with the world – or will you come out of the world to Christ? It will be one or the other, for there is a perpetual battle between “thy seed and her seed” (Genesis 3:15a).

2.  Second, sin will be judged.

“He shall break thy head” (Genesis 3:15b, The Geneva Bible, 1599).

God will not only bruise and break the serpent’s head, He will also crush your head if you go on in sin. Remember that God sees every sin of your heart and life. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). At the Last Judgment you will be “judged out of those things which were written in the books” of God (Revelation 20:12). If your sins have not been covered and cleansed by the Blood of Christ you will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

3.  Third, salvation comes only through Christ, the ultimate “seed” of the woman. Christ was born of a virgin, so He had no taint of Adam’s sin in his nature. Satan tried to kill Christ many times to prevent Him from going to the Cross. Satanically inspired King Herod tried to kill Him as a baby. The Pharisees tried to kill Him by throwing Him off of a hill. Some say that Satan tried to kill Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and there may be some truth in that, for it is a deep, many-sided question. Satan-inspired men nailed Him to a cross, thinking, in that way, they could destroy the “seed” of the woman. But they did not see the other side, that God had foreordained Him thus to die to pay for our sins.

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:23-24).

There is only one way to escape from God’s judgment. There is only one way for your sins to be covered and cleansed in God’s “books.” And that one way is through the Blood of Christ, the “seed” of the woman, who died on the Cross to save you from judgment for your sin. 

John Bradford (1510-1555) was the Protestant chaplain of King Edward VI. He became one of the most important Puritan preachers in England. Then the Protestant King Edward died and a Catholic queen, “Bloody Mary,” came to the throne. She imprisoned John Bradford for eighteen months in the Tower of London, for preaching salvation by grace alone, through Christ alone. When he was finally tried as a heretic, for his Protestant beliefs, Queen Mary had him tied to a stake and slowly burned to death - roasted alive! Writing on Genesis 3:15, John Trapp (1601-1669) said, “I conclude with that memorable saying of the holy martyr [John Bradford] – ‘If we had a feeling of the serpent’s poison, we [would] rejoice in our captain [Christ], who hath bruised his head’.” (John Trapp, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Transki Publications, 1997 reprint, Volume I, p. 20).

I urge you with all my heart to receive Christ and be washed clean from sin by His Blood! Join John Bradford and the holy martyrs of the ages! Receive Christ and be saved from the wrath and judgment of God by Jesus' Blood, which cleanses from all sin!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 3:8-15.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Yes, I Know!” (by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE PROTEVANGELIUM

(SERMON #29 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“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 thou 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” (Genesis 3:14-15).

(Genesis 3:11, 13)

I.   First, the curse fell on the serpent, Genesis 3:14;
Romans 8:22, 20, 21.

II.  Second, the curse fell on Satan, Genesis 3:15; I John 3:10;
Isaiah 7:14; Galatians 4:4; Revelation 19:20; 20:2-3;
Isaiah 53:5; II Corinthians 4:4; 6:17-18; Ecclesiastes 12:14;
Revelation 20:12, 15; Acts 2:23-24.