The First Promise

adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 29 May 2009

“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).

We have begun a series of studies on the great and precious promises of God. We noted that the epitome or apex of these great and precious promises is really the Holy Spirit. But God has many subsidiary and secondary promises that are equally precious to be enjoyed by those who receive the Holy Spirit.

Now, I believe that there is a promise to be found in every book of the Bible, though some of them may not appear to be promises at first sight. As such, the Lord helping us, we will like to meditate on one promise from each book of the Bible each time we meet.

In this article, we want to consider a promise from the book of Genesis. Now, there are many promises in Genesis, and really I had quite a hard time deciding which one to preach on tonight. Should we look at the promise that God will provide himself a lamb, or that Shiloh will come, or should we consider the first promise in the Bible, the protoevangalion?

Well, after some consideration, I thought it needful that we consider the first promise. So we shall look at Genesis 3:15—

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.

These words were spoken to the Serpent after Adam and Eve fell into sin. But it is not difficult to see that it is in fact a promise to the people of God. It is a bright light shining in the darkness of the misery that the Fall brought to all mankind descending from Adam by natural generation. The Fall, you must remember brought death, physical, spiritual and eternal to all mankind, and together with that all the decay, corruption, suffering, pain and sorrows that we experience in this present world. It is against this background that these words of God were spoken.

There are two important things in these words, namely: (1) A declaration of war: God is declaring war against the serpent and its seed. And (2) A declaration of victory: God is declaring that that victory is secured for the seed of the woman.

These evening, the Lord helping us, we want to consider these two things.

Consider first…

1. The Declaration of War

The Lord told the serpent:

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed…

We see here that the war is declared at two levels. First, a war is declared between the serpent and the woman. Take note that God is speaking to the serpent when God says “I will put enmity between thee and the woman.”

What does this mean? Well, without going into a lot of details, let me simply say that God is speaking of an enmity that would exist between serpent-kind and women-kind.

Before the Fall, Eve was familiar with the Serpent, and she would talk with it freely. It appears that Eve did not realise that she was talking to the Devil.

But in any case, after the Fall, we find that in general women hate snakes. I know this is not always the case, but does not experience teaches us that most women shudder when they come close to a snake. I know of one woman who would become extremely nervous at the mere mention of a snake. She would even shiver at the sight of a snake stuff toy.

What is the significance of this enmity? It seems so trivial. Well, to understand the significance of this enmity, we must realise that this so-called minor enmity between the serpent and the woman is really symbolic of a far more significant level of enmity.

For God did not only say:

I will put enmity between thee and the woman,…

He adds:

…and between thy seed and her seed…

Now, as soon as we come to these words, we immediately see that there is something more than meets the eyes in the word.

For here, God declares war between the seed of the serpent and the woman’s seed. Who is or are the seed of the serpent? Who is or are the seed of the woman?


Well, again, without going into technical details, let me put to you that the seed of the Serpent, refers to Satan and all who are united to him.

You see, the word ‘seed’ is a very special theological word in the Bible. It can usually be translated as descendants. But it is really not so straightforward.

It is a word that carries a singular and a plural meaning. So it can be both descendant and descendants at the same time. And it is a word that speaks of a unity between a person and those who are united to him.

The apostle Paul notes the singular/collective characteristic of the word ‘seed’ in Galatians 3 where he says:

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal 3:16).

In the Abrahamic covenant, the ‘seed’ (Gen 17:7) on surface reading refers to the descendants of Abraham, but the New Testament tells us that it has primary reference to Christ, and then collectively to all who are united to Christ.

So comparing Scripture with Scripture, we find that the seed of serpent, must refer to Satan and all unbelievers united to him. Thus the Lord himself said that the unbelieving Jews were of their father the devil (Jn 8:44) and the apostle John refers to unbelievers as “children of the devil” (1 Jn 3:10; see also v. 12).

What about the woman’s seed? Well, comparing Scripture with Scripture, we must conclude that it cannot be referring to all the children of Eve!

We see, rather, that it refers to Christ in the first place, and all Christians united to Him in the second place.

Why is Christ called ‘the seed of the woman’? I believe Christ is called the “seed of the woman” because He would be born of a virgin (cf. Isa 7:14)! And he has to be born of a virgin in order to fight the battle against the seed of the Serpent!

Herein is the Gospel! God has declared war against Satan. At the same time, He has declared what comprise his army and what comprise the army of Satan.

The Army of Satan will be all unbelievers. These are those who would rather listen to Satan, than to obey God. Satan will be their captain.

The Army of Christ on the other hand will be all believers. These are those who are united to Christ by faith. These will obey Christ their captain.

From that day onwards, a war began. This war was manifested in the history of God’s people by Satan’s attempt to wipe out the people of God and the ancestors of the Messiah. We see this attempt by Cain and his descendants, by Pharaoh, by the Philistines, the Moabites, the Ammonites, by Jezebel, by Athaliah, by the Babylonians and Assyrians, by Herod and Pilate, by the Scribes and Pharisees, etc.

This war has continued in the history of the New Testament church, where we see the Romans Empire and the Roman Catholics, and the Turks trying to destroyed Christianity.

And this war is still being fought today, for we see worldly systems, religions, philosophy, entertainment, government, education etc all opposed to Christianity. This war is raging.

Theologian call this war: the Antithesis.

There will be two people and two principles in this world. Satan and his people will operate on a principle that has no regard for God’s glory. They will serve self, and pride, and wealth. They will oppose God and his laws.

On the other hand, Christ and his people will try to live according to God’s word. We will desire to bring glory to God. We are in this world, but not of this world. We will live as citizens of heaven. We will seek to advance God’s kingdom on earth though we will face much opposition and even persecution by the children of the devil.

But thank God… we will one day experience complete peace and victory, for God has already declared victory for his people.

Consider this declaration.

2. The Declaration of Victory

God told the serpent:

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.

It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” In the Hebrew, the word translated ‘it’ is really a masculine second person pronoun ‘he.’ Our translators translated it as ‘it’ to show that God is referring to the ‘seed of the serpent’

The picture painted here is the seed of the serpent slithering up to the feet of the seed of the woman and biting his heel. The seed of the woman is bruised in his heel, but suffers no harm or danger. He turn around and he stomp the head of the seed of the serpent, crushing his head. This is what it means to bruise his head.

What is this a picture of? This is picture no doubt of what happened at Calvary.

At Calvary, Satan bruised the heel of Christ by moving Judas Iscariot to betray him and the unbelieving Jews to clamour for His blood. Our Lord was crucified. He was bruised.

But Satan under-estimated God. For it was through the Cross that Christ would have victory over Satan and over death.

In fact, God must have taught Adam and Eve that this would be the case by making ‘coats of skins’ to clothe their nakedness (v. 21). This, you must realise is a symbolic act. God was not simply seeking to cover the bodily nakedness of Adam and Eve, or he could have simply made a coat for Adam and Eve out of nothing.

No, no; God was symbolically showing that Adam and Eve’s must be covered. To demonstrate that this must be the case, God killed an animal and used the skin of the animal to clothe them.

I am quite sure that Adam and Eve must have seen the whole process of killing the animal. And God must have explained to them why He was doing so. This animal, probably a sheep, was to represent Christ, the Seed of the Woman. The seed of the woman would come. He would live for his people. He would suffer and die for them.

He would pay for their sin, and His righteousness would cover their spiritual nakedness.

This is the work that Christ came to do. This is what Christ meant when he said on the Cross, “It is finished!” He had completed the work he came to do. He had crushed Satan’s head. Satan can no more lay claim to God’s elect because Christ has paid for their sin.

And to seal Satan’s defeat, Christ rose again from the dead three days later. Death has lost its sting. The instrument by which Satan used to keep God’s people in fear and bondage has been broken.

Victory is secured for Christ and his army.

But if that is the case, why is the spiritual battle still so intense for believers?

Well, it is still so intense because Satan is very reluctant to concede defeat. Satan has organised an insurgency campaigned against the kingdom of Christ. But Satan’s attempt is doomed to fail.


But he is still struggling hard. Like a snake whose head is crushed, he is still thrashing about wildly, spewing out poison, and making every attempt to bring as much misery and sorrow to God’s people as possible.

But his struggle will be vain. And one day, it will come to an end.  The apostle Paul is clearly referring to Genesis 3:15 when he says:

“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom 16:20a).

Paul sees that the victory which Christ has over Satan, translates also to the victory that the Church has over Satan. Not only has Christ crush the head of the ancient serpent. His church will join Him to stop on stomp on Satan’s head.

Today the Cosmic battle is still raging because Satan would not give up. But victory is secured. Christ and His Church will ultimately triumph! 

This is Gospel.


Beloved brethren, children, what are these things to you?

Have you not experienced the intensity of the battle? Have you not been tempted to sin? Have you not struggled against covetousness and against falsehood? Have you not faced quarrels at home, and politics at work? Have you not allowed the fear of man, or peer-pressure, or co-dependency, bondage of expectations or whatever you call it, bring you much pain and sorrows in your life? Have you not felt discouraged that the world seems to be getting worst and worst and the cause of Christ seems to be going nowhere, and the church seems to be getting weaker and weaker? Have you not been tempted to give up the Christian race?

Beloved brethren and children, let us get our perspective correct.  Satan is defeated. He has suffered a mortal wound. But it pleased God to leave him a little strength like a snake that has his head crush and yet is thrashing about.

Every now and then Satan rears his ugly head and hisses at the follows of Christ—“Break free, break free… go ahead and enjoy yourself; go ahead an sin; why restrain yourself, victory is mine…”

Oh beloved brethren and children, do not give in to his temptation and discouragement. Victory is secured for us.

God has promised through the apostle Paul. In a short while, we will crush the head of Satan completely, and he will be cast into the lake of fire. Then awaits a crown of life and of glory.

Oh do not allow Satan to rob you of joy and crown. Cling on to the Lord Jesus! Follow him and fight with him and for him daily. Put on the full armour of God and stand against the wiles of the wicked one.

—JJ Lim