And 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.”—Gen. 3:14, 15.
14. Why must a literal application of God’s words to the serpent be out of order, and what kind of serpent and woman must be meant?
14 Taken literally, those words would mean what? That there was to be a deadly hatred between the literal serpent and the literal woman. Also, that the seed or offspring of Eve would be the relentless enemy of the descendants of that serpent; and that serpent was to live on until the seed of the woman Eve arrived. Then that “seed” would be bruised in the literal heel by the serpent, and, in turn, the wounded “seed” would bruise the serpent in the head, evidently putting it to death. But of how much comfort or of how much benefit would that be to all mankind? Really, such a literal explanation does not make sense. It leads to so many difficulties that any mentally balanced Bible student is obliged to admit that God’s words at Genesis 3:14, 15 must have a symbolic meaning. So the serpent that asked Eve the catch question must symbolize something greater, and also the “woman” mentioned in this connection must be a symbolic “woman.”
15. Why do we not have to guess at the identity of the symbolic serpent, and its being “the original serpent” makes it how old by now?
15 Well, now, do we need to guess at the identity of the symbolic serpent? No! The Bible itself speaks for us. At Revelation 12:9 it speaks of that mystery serpent as “the great dragon,” “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan.” He was originally the symbolic serpent, and by 96 C.E., about when the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, Satan the Devil as a symbolic serpent was more than 4,100 years old. By now, when the Revelation vision is about to be fulfilled, that “original serpent” is around 6,000 years old, which is longer than any literal serpent has ever lived. John 8:44 says that “he is a liar and the father of [the lie].”
16. (a) Revelation, chapter 12, displays a confrontation between what two principals, and yet what manages to be born successfully? (b) Where and why is the symbolic mother obliged to be nurtured spiritually under safeguard?
16 Since Eve to whom Satan the Devil lied by means of the serpent, was not the “woman” referred to in Genesis 3:15, who is she? Again the book of Revelation helps us to a correct understanding. Chapter 12 describes a confrontation of Satan the Devil and a “woman” who, from head to foot, is clothed with light by the sun, moon and stars (12 of these). Common sense tells us that this must be a symbolic “woman” in heaven, for none of the heavenly angels are spoken of as females. She is pregnant, and, like a devouring dragon, Satan the Devil waits to swallow down the offspring to which she gives birth. But the heavenly Father of that offspring is watching and blocks Satan, so that at the birth of a male offspring it is “caught away to God and to his throne,” that from there it might “shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” (Rev. 12:1-5) That royal birth does not end the enmity of Satan toward this symbolic “woman,” for she has to be nourished spiritually under divine protection against Satan. War in heaven follows.
17. Was “the original serpent” bruised in the head by the outcome of the war in heaven, and how did that outcome affect men on earth and sea?
17 Michael the archangel is in charge of the forces of “Jehovah of armies.” With these angelic armies Michael fights in support of the enthroned newly born child of the “woman.” Satan, “the original serpent,” is due for a bruising in the head, and he and his demonic angels lose the battle. They are ousted from heaven and are hurled down to our earth. But Satan is not thereby bruised in the head, for he is still very much alive. Little wonder, then, that the cry rings out from heaven: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:7-12.
18. The victory of Michael and his armies ensured what for “the kingdom of our God,” and on that account who could be glad?
18 Since Michael the archangel and his angels gain the victory and the royal “child” is not unseated from his heavenly throne alongside God, the heavenly announcement is a proper one: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! . . . On this account be glad, you heavens.”
19. What does the “woman” that mothers the male “child” picture, and why so?
19 The male “child” that is mentioned in Revelation 12:5 is evidently symbolic. All the things said in connection with it disclose that it pictures, not an individual person, but God’s kingdom with his Son Jesus Christ having the authority to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod, to smash them to pieces in the yet future “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. (Rev. 16:14-16) As the “child” is not an individual person, so its mother, the “woman” in heaven, is not an individual person. Since this symbolic “woman” was made pregnant by God as her husband, she must picture God’s spiritual organization. This organization provides the personnel of that heavenly kingdom, not only the glorified Jesus Christ, evidently acting under the role of Michael the archangel, but also his spiritual “brothers,” who are also the “brothers” of God’s spiritual organization.—Rev. 12:10, 11.
20. How does Revelation 12:17 indicate whether there are yet on earth any of the “brothers” of God’s spiritual organization?
20 There is yet a remnant of these spiritual “brothers” on our woebegone earth. For Revelation 12:17 goes on to say: “And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” As part of the seed of God’s “woman,” they have the Kingdom hope.
5. When was the principal one of the “seed” spoken of in Genesis 3:15 provided, and how so?
5 The “Seed” of God’s “woman” or “wife” began to be provided in the person of the only-begotten Son of God in heaven. When? At the time that his life, which up till then had been in the spirit realm, in heaven, was transferred to the womb of the virgin Jewess Mary, for her to become pregnant with a child, in 2 B.C.E. So Mary was not “the woman” of Genesis 3:15. Nor did Mary prove to be the mother of those whom Revelation 12:17 calls “the remaining ones of her seed.”—Note Galatians 4:26-31.
6. (a) When on earth as a perfect man, Jesus was a part of what organization? (b) When did Jesus’ disciples start becoming part of God’s spiritual organization?
6 Just as the first man on earth, Adam, when perfect in the garden of Eden, was a “son of God” and was part of God’s universal organization, so Jesus as a perfect man on earth was a visible part of God’s organization of sons. (Luke 3:21-38) In prayer to God, Jesus said concerning himself and his disciples: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:14, 16) Later Jesus said to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) This was because Jesus Christ was a part of God’s spiritual organization, God’s “woman,” of whom he was the principal one of her “seed.” From the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. onward, when the glorified Jesus in heaven poured out holy spirit upon his faithful disciples on earth, these became part of the “seed” of God’s “woman.” They made up the visible part of God’s spiritual organization.