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to the singular, because it primarily referred to Christ, and included his posterity, only as they were identified with him.
By the seed of the serpent, we are to understand those that have a spiritual similarity to the devil. In this sense, our Lord charges the Jews with being of their father the devil, whose works they would do ; and Paul charges Elymus, the sorcerer, with being the “child of the devil,” because he sought to pervert the right ways of the Lord; and John declares that it is by the love and practice of sin that men become children of the devil. We understand therefore that all, who oppose God, and his cause, are the seed of the serpent, or children of the devil.
As already intimated, the seed of the woman primarily refers to Christ, and then to all his followers as they are one with him. As the expression, “ seed of the serpent,” includes the devil, and all who are one with him, so the " seed of the woman,'
" includes Christ and all who are one with him. The passage, therefore, alludes to the conflict that shall be carried on between truth and error, the cause of God, and the cause of the devil, in the persons of the righteous and the wicked, until truth shall completely triumph ; and hence Paul assures the saints of his day, that they should realize this promised triumph in their own case, “ And the God of Peace, shall crush satan under your feet shortly.”
The serpent is to lie in wait for the heel of Christ. He is to contend with the saints, and do injury to the cause of God, but can never interfere with its vital part. The injury he can inflict is to be superficial and temporary; as a wound
on the thick skin of the heel from the fang of a serpent, is not likely to prove fatal. .
The Saviour, however, shall bruise Satan's head, i. e. completely overcome him. Truth shall prevail,—Satan must be bound, his host spoiled and vanquished, and the Saints of the Most High, under the Captain of their salvation, will possess the Kingdom.
The Old Testament saints appear to have had a view of this battle and victory. Isaiah (27:1) says :—“In that day the Lord, with his sore and great and strong sword, shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” Though the prophet may here refer to the destruction of some powerful enemy of the Jewish nation, yet it is in perfect accordance with the genius of prophecy for the passage to look forward to the entire destruction of the seed of evil doers.
Long was the time before the advent of this seed, for whom the children of promise were counted, and most ardently did our first parents and their successors long for the dark night to pass away, and for the Deliverer to appear.
Behold, how ready they are to seize upon every circumstance, as the approach of this promised seed. Our first parents must have looked forward with deep interest and anxiety to the appearance of their first born.
of their first born. It was to be something new and strange; and when one appeared in form like themselves, was it not natural for Eve to suppose
she had gotten the promised seed ? and in the joy of her heart, the exclamation was elicited, “ I have gotten a man even Jehovah !” as the words should be rendered. How natu
ral for our first parents to suppose, when a seed appeared in their own image, that that seed was the Jehovah in whose image they were created, and the promised deliver
But alas ! just as many since the days of the Saviour's flesh, have been anticipating his speedy adveät, and have found that the vision tarries long, so our first parents found, and so other Old Testament characters found that their brightest anticipations perished in the bud.
Disappointed in her expectations, our first mother called her second son Abel, vanity, and with the birth of Seth, her hopes still appear to be greatly chastened, “For God," said she, “hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew."
At the birth of Noah, the hope of the human race, of the immediate appearance of the promised seed, appears again to have revived. " And he called his name Noah, rest, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed."
2. Passing over the case of Abel's faith, which must have had its object in Christ, the great antitype of his acceptable offering, and the blessing, Noah pronounced upon Jehovah, the God of Shem, which could have been no other than the guardian God of the Jewish nation, and who, in process of time, came in the flesh, we come to the promise made to Abraham. The grand promise of the Messiah, under the appellation of seed, was more clearly announced to Abraham, than it had been to our first parents. On three different occasions, the assurance was given to him, that through his seed, a blessing should come upon all nations. First, we have a simple promise—“ And all
the races of the earth shall be blessed in thee.” (Genesis 12: 3.) In the second place, a covenant is made with Abraham—" In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river,” &c. (Genesis 15: 18.) This refers more especially to the possessions of his literal seed, promises of which, are more or less blended with those directed to his spiritual seed, of which they were a figure. Lastly, this promise is confirmed by an oath. God swore by himself, and he said :“ And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves. (Genesis 22: 18.) It is worthy of notice that the reflexive form of the verb is here used, (heetbarak,) " shall bless themselves." Thus did the Lord teach, as long ago as Abraham's day, that men were to be blessed in Christ, the true seed, only through their own free agency.
That this promise to Abraham, included spiritual blessings, is evident from the fact that they formed the religion of the patriarch. The New Testament also gives ample testimony that he did not confine such promises to temporal blessings. Our Lord says “ Abraham saw his day afar off and was glad.” Peter speaks of the promise to Abraham as announcing “the sending of Jesus Christ to bless men by turning them away from their iniquities;” and Paul expressly states that the faith of Abraham was saving faith; and again he declares that “the Scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel, unto Abraham. “In thee shall all nations be blessed ;” and, once more: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds,
many, but as of one, And to thy seed which is
Christ.” Thus, the fact is announced that the gospel was preached in the days of Abraham, and with great frequency its precious promises were confirmed to the human ancestry of our Lord, until they became concentrated in a particular tribe and family. The promise was especially confirmed to Isaac and to Jacob.
3. We 'come next to the promise announced to Judah. The aged patriarch Jacob, when about to die, surrounded by his children, thus announces, in sublime poetic stanzas, the destiny of his most favored son Judah :
“ Thou Judah (i. e. praise) thee shall thy brethren praise,
he shall darken with wine,
Now, whatever be the etymology of the word Shiloh, it is evident that it referred to Christ, from the fact that the Jews, who ought to know their own language, have thus ever understood it. Onkelos, in his Targum, thus trans