the battling seeds
An Advent meditation excerpted from “Christ as the Seed of the Woman” by Daniel Moore, in Meditations for Advent, 1884.
“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.
“That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil .” — Hebrews. 2:14.
“The two seeds are severally contending for empire: and neither can have a throne, except on the overthrow and destruction of the other. The Seed of the woman avowed this to be His purpose from all eternity. To this end came He into the world, -to crush, to break, to overturn, to abolish. “For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
“See a fulfillment of the prophecy which has respect to the bruising of the “ heel” of Messiah, in the wounds, and scars, and stripes, which Christ was to endure in His lower nature. These began with His life and only ended with His life. From the first day of our Lord’s manifestation, the seed of the serpent began to contrive against Him his deadly plots. First, Herod was set on destroying the child Jesus in infancy. On commencing His public ministry, the Holy One has to sustain those forty days’ fierce encounter in the wilderness. On coming to His own city Nazareth, the maddened populace is stirred up by Satan to “cast Him down headlong” from the brow of the hill. (Luke 4:29). And, in all the subsequent trials and insults, endured by the Blessed Saviour, we see the work of the subtle serpent of evil, devising new plots and agencies to bruise and distress the human soul of Christ. He moved Herod to mock, Pilate to scourge, and the priests to revile, and the rabble to shout. He was with the false witnesses who accused, and the apostate disciple who betrayed, with the thief who cast railing in His teeth, and with the heartless soldier who pierced His side. Yes, behind all this machinery of evil did Satan plant himself. Mistaken, short-sighted, utterly suicidal as his policy was, it originated in that sentence promise of Paradise. It was so “written in the bond.” Our salvation had been an imperfect thing without it. All that was mortal in the Incarnate One, all that was capable of suffering, all that belonged to the nature which He had assumed, was to be bruised, insulted, dishonored, shamed. Hunger pinched Him. Thirst distressed Him. Fatigue wearied Him. Pain rent His limbs, and anguish cast down His soul. Oh! it was indeed the sharpness of the serpent’s tooth He felt, when, out of the deep agony of His spirit, He cried out: “ Father, save me from this hour.” But instantly the thought occurred: “For this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27). The Scripture had said that thus it must be: “Thou shalt bruise His heel. But then, blessed be God, the Scripture had also said: “It shall bruise thy head. “And here the triumph of Divine mercy culminates. The two parts of the sentence are found to be correlative: that is to say, it is the very bruising of the heel of Messiah, that leads to the crushing of the head of the serpent. For how stood the case? The head of Satan, that wherein his great strength lies, consists in his having the power of death, — a death of which the sting is sin, and the strength is a violated law. But the bruised heel of Christ has rendered both of these powerless. His submission to all the experiences of the Incarnation was a perfect satisfaction to all the demands of the law, and His death upon the cross provided an infinite propitiation for all sin. Hence, as the Apostle argues in his Epistle to the Hebrews, Christ has purchased salvation for every man by tasting death for every man. By making His righteousness ours, and our sin His, He casts in His lot with us. “For both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one :(Hebrews 2:11). He has made us one, says the Apostle, to this end, “that through death,” that is, His own death, ” He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Here, then, we have the prophetic promise,— the sentence-blessing laid out in its complete fulfillment. Satan is allowed to bruise the heel of Messiah, but meanwhile, and in the very act of submitting to this bruising, Christ is Himself bruising Satan in his most vital part. He is casting out the god of this world. He is destroying him that had the power of death.