The Serpent’s Seed—How Exposed?
“I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed.”—GENESIS 3:15.
1. (a) Why is Jehovah the happy God? (b) What has he done to enable us to share his joy?
JEHOVAH is the happy God and with good reason. He is the greatest and foremost Giver of things that are good, and there is nothing that can thwart the fulfillment of his purposes. (Isaiah 55:10, 11; 1 Timothy 1:11; James 1:17) He wants his servants to share his joy, and he provides sound reasons for them to do so. Thus, at one of the blackest moments in human history—the rebellion in Eden—he provided the basis for us to look to the future with hope.—Romans 8:19-21.
2. When pronouncing judgment on the rebels in Eden, how did Jehovah provide a basis for hope for the offspring of Adam and Eve?
2 One of Jehovah’s spirit sons, by resisting and slandering God, had just made himself into Satan the Devil. The first humans, Eve and then Adam, had fallen under his influence and had violated Jehovah’s clearly stated law. They were justly sentenced to death. (Genesis 3:1-24) Yet, when pronouncing judgment on these rebels, Jehovah provided a basis for hope for the offspring of Adam and Eve. In what way? As recorded at Genesis 3:15, Jehovah said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” That prophecy is a key to understanding the entire Bible as well as past and present events involving both the world and Jehovah’s servants.
What the Prophecy Means
3. As referred to at Genesis 3:15, identify (a) the Serpent, (b) “the woman,” (c) the Serpent’s “seed,” (d) the woman’s “seed.”
3 To appreciate its significance, consider the various elements of the prophecy itself. The one addressed at Genesis 3:15 is the Serpent—not the lowly snake but the one who used it. (Revelation 12:9) “The woman” is not Eve but Jehovah’s heavenly organization, the mother of his spirit-anointed servants on earth. (Galatians 4:26) The Serpent’s “seed,” is Satan’s seed, his offspring—demons and humans as well as human organizations that manifest the traits of Satan and that show enmity toward the “seed” of the woman. (John 15:19; 17:15) The woman’s “seed” is primarily Jesus Christ, who was anointed with holy spirit in 29 C.E. The 144,000, who are “born again . . . from water and spirit” and who are heirs of the heavenly Kingdom with Christ, are a subsidiary part of that seed of promise. These began to be added to the woman’s seed from Pentecost 33 C.E. onward.—John 3:3, 5; Galatians 3:16, 29.
4. How does Genesis 3:15 relate to earth’s becoming a paradise, filled with people free from sin and death?
4 The literal serpent in Eden was used as a mouthpiece by the one whose deceit led to mankind’s loss of Paradise. Genesis 3:15 pointed forward to the time when the one who manipulated that serpent will be crushed. Then the way will again be open for human servants of God to inhabit Paradise, free from sin and death. What a joyful time that will be!—Revelation 20:1-3; 21:1-5.
5. What traits characterize the spiritual offspring of the Devil?
5 Following the rebellion in Eden, individuals and organizations began to appear that manifested traits like those of Satan the Devil—rebellion, lying, slander, and murder, coupled with opposition to Jehovah’s will and to those who worship Jehovah. Those traits identified the offspring, the spiritual children, of the Devil. Among these was Cain, who murdered Abel when Jehovah favored Abel’s worship instead of Cain’s. (1 John 3:10-12) Nimrod was one whose very name identified him as a rebel and who became a mighty hunter and ruler in opposition to Jehovah. (Genesis 10:9) In addition there was a succession of ancient kingdoms, including Babylon, with their state-sponsored religions built on falsehood, and these cruelly oppressed worshipers of Jehovah.—Jeremiah 50:29.
“Enmity Between You and the Woman”
6. In what ways has Satan shown enmity toward Jehovah’s woman?
6 During all this time, there was enmity between the Serpent and Jehovah’s woman, between Satan the Devil and Jehovah’s heavenly organization of loyal spirit creatures. Satan’s enmity was shown as he taunted Jehovah and sought to disrupt Jehovah’s heavenly organization, enticing angels to forsake their proper dwelling place. (Proverbs 27:11; Jude 6) It was manifested when Satan used his demons to try to interfere with angelic messengers dispatched by Jehovah. (Daniel 10:13, 14, 20, 21) It was outstandingly evident in this 20th century when Satan sought to destroy the Messianic Kingdom at its birth.—Revelation 12:1-4.
7. Why did Jehovah’s loyal angels feel enmity toward the symbolic Serpent, yet what restraint have they shown?
7 There was also enmity on the part of Jehovah’s woman, the body of loyal angels, toward the symbolic Serpent. Satan had slandered the good name of God; he had also called into question the integrity of every one of God’s intelligent creatures, including all the angels, and he was actively trying to subvert their loyalty to God. (Revelation 12:4a) Loyal angels, cherubs, and seraphs could not do otherwise than feel a loathing toward the one who had made himself Devil and Satan. Yet, they have waited on Jehovah to handle matters in his own time and way.—Compare Jude 9.
Hostility Toward the Seed of God’s Woman
8. For whom was Satan on the lookout?
8 Meanwhile, Satan was on the lookout for the foretold Seed of the woman, the one who Jehovah said would bruise the Serpent in the head. When the angel from heaven announced that Jesus, who had been born in Bethlehem, was the “Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” this was strong confirmation that he would become the foretold Seed of the woman.—Luke 2:10, 11.
9. After Jesus’ birth, how did Satan manifest vicious enmity?
9 The vicious enmity of Satan was soon shown when he lured pagan astrologers on a mission that took them first to King Herod in Jerusalem and then to the house in Bethlehem where they found the young boy Jesus and his mother, Mary. Shortly thereafter King Herod ordered the death of all the boys from two years of age and under, in and around Bethlehem. In this, Herod showed satanic hatred for the Seed. Herod evidently knew full well that he was trying to snuff out the life of the one who was to be the Messiah. (Matthew 2:1-6, 16) History testifies that King Herod was unscrupulous, crafty, and murderous—truly one of the seed of the Serpent.
10. (a) Following Jesus’ baptism, how did Satan personally try to thwart Jehovah’s purpose regarding the promised Seed? (b) How did Satan use the Jewish religious leaders in pursuing his aims?
10 After Jesus had been anointed with holy spirit in 29 C.E. and Jehovah had spoken from heaven acknowledging Jesus as his Son, Satan tried repeatedly to get Jesus to succumb to temptation, thus seeking to thwart Jehovah’s purpose regarding his Son. (Matthew 4:1-10) Failing in that, he resorted to further use of human agents to achieve his aims. Among those used in attempting to discredit Jesus were the hypocritical religious leaders. They employed lies and slander, the kind of devices used by Satan himself. When Jesus told a paralytic, “Take courage, . . . your sins are forgiven,” the scribes, without waiting to see whether the man had indeed been healed, judged Jesus to be a blasphemer. (Matthew 9:2-7) When Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, the Pharisees denounced him as a violator of the Sabbath law and took counsel to destroy him. (Matthew 12:9-14; John 5:1-18) When Jesus cast out demons, the Pharisees charged that he was in league with “Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:22-24) After Lazarus was raised from the dead, many of the people put faith in Jesus, but the chief priests and Pharisees again took counsel to kill him.—John 11:47-53.
11. Three days before Jesus’ death, whom did he identify as part of the seed of the Serpent, and why?
11 On Nisan 11, 33 C.E., Jesus, though well knowing what they were scheming, went fearlessly right into the temple area in Jerusalem and there publicly pronounced judgment upon them. As a group, the scribes and Pharisees had consistently demonstrated what kind of people they were; so Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.” Jesus pointedly declared that they were part of the seed of the Serpent, saying: “Serpents, offspring of vipers, how are you to flee from the judgment of Gehenna?” (Matthew 23:13, 33) His language reflects back to the prophecy at Genesis 3:15.
12, 13. (a) How did the chief priests and the scribes give further evidence as to who their spiritual father was? (b) Who joined them? (c) In fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, how was the woman’s Seed bruised in the heel?
12 On hearing Jesus’ words, were they cut to the heart, so that they implored mercy from God? Did they repent of their wickedness? No! Mark 14:1 reports that the very next day, at a meeting in the courtyard of the high priest, “the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize [Jesus] by crafty device and kill him.” They continued to manifest the murderous spirit of Satan, whom Jesus had earlier described as being a manslayer. (John 8:44) Soon they were joined by Judas Iscariot, whom Satan induced to be an apostate. Judas abandoned the blameless Seed of God’s woman and joined the seed of the Serpent.
13 Early on the morning of Nisan 14, the members of the Jewish religious court took Jesus as a prisoner to the Roman governor. Here it was the chief priests who took the lead in shouting for him to be impaled. When Pilate asked, “Shall I impale your king?” it was the chief priests who answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:6, 15) Indeed, they proved in every way that they were part of the seed of the Serpent. But they were certainly not alone. The inspired record at Matthew 27:24, 25 gives this report: “Pilate took water and washed his hands before the crowd.” Then all the people said: “His blood come upon us and upon our children.” Thus many Jews of that generation identified themselves as part of the Serpent’s seed. Before the end of that day, Jesus was dead. By using his visible seed, Satan had bruised the Seed of God’s woman in the heel.
14. Why did the bruising of the heel of the woman’s Seed not mean victory for Satan?
14 Had Satan won? By no means! Jesus Christ had conquered the world and had won out over its ruler. (John 14:30, 31; 16:33) He had maintained his loyalty to Jehovah right down till death. His death as a perfect human provided the ransom price needed to buy back the life rights forfeited by Adam. So he opened the way to eternal life for those who would exercise faith in that provision and obey God’s commandments. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) Jehovah raised Jesus from the dead to immortal life in heaven. At Jehovah’s due time, Jesus will crush Satan out of existence. At Genesis 22:16-18, it is prophesied that Jehovah will bestow favor on all the families of the earth who take needed action to bless themselves by means of that loyal Seed.
15. (a) After the death of Jesus, how did his apostles continue to expose the seed of the Serpent? (b) What further hostility has been manifested by the seed of the Serpent right down to our day?
15 After Jesus’ death, spirit-anointed Christians continued to expose the seed of the Serpent, as their Lord had done. Moved by holy spirit, the apostle Paul warned against “the man of lawlessness” whose presence would be “according to the operation of Satan.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10) This collective “man” has proved to be the clergy of Christendom. The seed of the Serpent, in turn, fiercely persecuted the followers of Jesus Christ. In the prophecy recorded at Revelation 12:17, the apostle John foretold that Satan would continue to wage war against the remnant of the seed of God’s woman right down to our day. That is exactly what has occurred. In scores of lands, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned, mobbed, imprisoned, or thrown into concentration camps because of their firm stand for God’s Kingdom and his righteous ways.
Modern-Day Exposé of the Serpent’s Seed
16. In modern times, who have been exposed as being part of the seed of the Serpent, and how?
16 In imitation of Jesus Christ, true Christians have not let up in their fearless exposé of the Serpent and his seed. In 1917 the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known, published the book The Finished Mystery, in which they laid bare the hypocrisy of Christendom’s clergy. This was followed, in 1924, by a printed resolution entitled Ecclesiastics Indicted. Fifty million copies were given international distribution. In 1937, J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Society, delivered powerful exposés of Satan’s seed in discourses entitled “Exposed” and “Religion and Christianity.” The following year, while 50 convention audiences in various lands listened, he gave the discourse “Face the Facts” by radiotelephone from London, England. A month later, an extensive radio network in the United States carried the speech “Fascism or Freedom.” These were supplemented by powerful exposés in such books as Enemies and Religion and also in the booklet Uncovered. In harmony with what had been published since the 1920’s, the book Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand!,* now printed in 65 languages, identifies corrupt political rulers and greedy, unprincipled commercial traffickers as being among the foremost members of the visible seed of the Serpent. When political leaders make it a practice to resort to falsehood to mislead their subjects, to show no regard for the sacredness of blood, and to oppress Jehovah’s servants (thus showing hatred for the seed of God’s woman), they surely do identify themselves as part of the seed of the Serpent. The same is true of commercial traffickers who, without any qualms of conscience, lie for financial gain and who manufacture or sell products that are known to cause disease.
17. What opportunity is still open to prominent individuals who may come out of the world’s system?
17 Not every individual tainted by worldly religion, politics, or commerce will be reckoned in finally as part of the seed of the Serpent. Some of these men and women come to admire Jehovah’s Witnesses. They use their influence to help them and in due course embrace true worship. (Compare Acts 13:7, 12; 17:32-34.) To all such ones, this appeal has been extended: “Now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear and be joyful with trembling. Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way, for his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:10-12) Indeed, it is vital for all who desire Jehovah’s favor to act now, before the heavenly Judge swings shut the door of opportunity!
18. Though not part of the seed of the woman, who are nevertheless worshipers of Jehovah?
18 Only those who will make up the heavenly Kingdom are part of the seed of the woman. These are few in number. (Revelation 7:4, 9) Yet, there is a great crowd of others, yes, millions of them, who as worshipers of Jehovah look forward to eternal life on a paradise earth. Both by word and by deed, they say to Jehovah’s anointed ones: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.”—Zechariah 8:23.
19. (a) What choice must all people make? (b) To whom in particular is an earnest appeal made to act wisely while there is still opportunity?
19 Now is the time when all mankind must make a choice. Do they want to worship Jehovah and uphold his sovereignty, or will they allow Satan to be their ruler by doing the things pleasing to him? Some five million people out of all nations have taken their stand on the side of Jehovah in association with the remaining ones of the seed of the woman, the Kingdom heirs. Eight million others have shown interest in studying the Bible with them or in attending their meetings. Jehovah’s Witnesses say to all of these: The door of opportunity is still open. Take your stand unequivocally on Jehovah’s side. Acknowledge Christ Jesus as the promised Seed. Joyfully associate with Jehovah’s visible organization. May you share in all the blessings that He will provide through the rule of the King, Christ Jesus.
Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
Do You Remember?
□ Who is the Serpent referred to at Genesis 3:15? And who is the woman?
□ What traits characterize the seed of the Serpent?
□ How did Jesus expose the Serpent’s seed?
□ Who have been exposed as part of the Serpent’s seed in modern times?
□ What urgent action is required to avoid identification with the Serpent’s seed?
[Picture on page 10]
Jesus exposed hypocritical religious leaders as being part of the seed of the Serpent