Serpent Seed Part 1

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”(Genesis 3:15)

This verse in my opinion is one of the most crucial passages in the Old Testament for understanding the entire biblical text. It has been my experience, while studying theology over the last 4 years, that many pastors and teachers tend to bypass this piece of the bible or at best, a brief summation is made without engaging the deeper implications of the text. This writing is a continuation of a teaching that the Lord began revealing to me about two years ago. Some of you may know that the Holy Spirit began teaching me about the true identity of the anointed cherub in Ezekiel 28 and Lucifer the bright and Morning Star in Isaiah 14. These passages are generally used to uphold what I would call the false satan/lucifer doctrine. This is the teaching that ignorantly asserts that Satan was once heaven’s most coveted creature and because of his rebellion against the Almighty Creator he has now been cast down to the earth. I examined this teaching in great detail and could not find it taught in the church before the 4th century. At the end of the study, it was concluded that Adam was the high priest of Eden that Ezekiel 28:11 mentions.  I also dealt with both texts exegetically and proved beyond a reasonable doubt there is no way that the Anointed cherub/ Lucifer could be a satanic creature. I challenge you to read that study before reading this one being that so much of the present work is built upon the previous article.

The number one question I received after my teaching on Adam being the anointed cherub/Lucifer  is if  Lucifer is Adam and not satan then who is satan? I have meditated at great length about this question before responding on paper. It seems impossible to deal with this question without first analyzing the nature of the serpent in the Genesis narrative. Although the serpent is never called the devil in this text, the book of Revelation informs us that the devil is the ancient snake”The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”(Revelation 12:9) This verse has led many to believe that “the satan” possessed the snake in the garden of Eden and caused him to deceive the first couple of the earth. This may seem plausible at first until you examine the Genesis text which states that the serpent was amongst the animals that the Lord God had created (Genesis 3:1). In addition to this, we are told that the serpent has an offspring whose head would be crushed by the offspring of the woman. As Bible students we must ask ourselves why the Holy spirit inspired the author of the Genesis narrative to use the serpent in the story. We must also look at subsequent uses of the word “serpent” in the Old Testament to determine if they can be used to enrich our understanding of the usage of the word serpent in Genesis 3.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance renders the word serpent as “nashaw” which means to whisper or enchant. The verb form of this word in Hebrew is the word used for divination. (Genesis 30:27)

Who’s authority is the serpent under?

Many Christians have a hard time believing that an all loving God would create a being that would embody what most of us would consider to be evil. How can this be, and how does this correlate with God’s ultimate sovereignty? There are other questions that need to be entertained so that an  accurate, cohesive study can be diligently sought out. One of the first questions one must consider in trying to interpret one of the more complex pieces of scripture is what does the serpent represent, and why did the author chose to mention it in his narrative? In other words, we can’t get caught up in trivial questions or speculations that were never in the mind of the author. The most obvious dilemma that presents its self in this text is whether to interpret it literally, symbolically, or by a variation of both? Adam Clarke also makes this observation in his commentary, “The whole account is either a simple narrative of facts, or it is an allegory. If it be a historical relation, its literal meaning should be sought out; if it be an allegory, no attempt should be made to explain it, as it would require a direct revelation to ascertain the sense in which it should be understood, for fanciful illustrations are endless”.  I think by observing how the word serpent is used in subsequent passages can enlighten us of its proper usage in the Genesis narrative.

“Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.”(Genesis 49:17)

We find Jacob, in this text, blessing his sons and giving details as to what would happen to them in the days to come (Genesis 49:1). Verse 16 says that he will provide justice for his people and verse 18 seems to indicate the means by which this will be carried out. The context and syntax of these few passages lead me to believe that the serpent is being used symbolically in the following verse:

“Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.” (Exodus 4:2-3)

We don’t even have to guess why the serpent was used in this text ,for it clearly stated that Moses was looking for a sign to show the Israelites that God was with him. So while I don’t dispute the literalness of the snake in this verse I do question whether we have missed its greater significance  by being preoccupied with the physicality of the snake. So the question is not whether the serpent is literal or symbolic but rather why is the serpent used to illustrate this part of the story? The serpent was supposed to be brought under subjection just like the rest of the earth. When Adam yielded to the words of the serpent, he became more like the serpent and less like God.

The Bigger Picture

From these several pieces of scripture, I have determined that the serpent (literal or symbolic) can be used in scripture to represent the adversary of man. After the fall, the animal kingdom became violent towards man. We know from Genesis that the serpent was a lower form of creation whom Adam began to reflect after the fall. In my mind, the serpent can also represent carnality at its apex. This is the corrupted wisdom of God. In ancient pagan cultures, the serpent was a symbol of wisdom. Often kings would wear a crown mounted with a serpent to represent the superiority of the mind. I have stated in previous articles that when Adam and Eve desired to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were desiring to be autonomous creatures free to create a law within their own individual experience. The serpent or nashaw also means to know by experience.  Before the fall, man understood death only in concept however, after the fall man began to understand death by experience. In other words, the first couple of the earth were brought to death in the realm of their mind. In their mind, they began to perceive reality by experience in the realm of death. Meanwhile, this death that God promised man he would face was brought forth in the form of separation from the life they once experienced in Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).

So this brings us to the question, who is the serpent’s offspring? The first promise in the Bible indicates that the offspring of the woman would crush the head of the serpent’s offspring (seed). So are we to understand the serpent’s head to be literally, physically crushed in the ensuing narrative or is there evidence that we should understand this language figuratively? Here are a list of scriptures in the Old Testament that may shed some light on the subject:

“In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.”(Isaiah 27:1)

This time the serpent is indentified as “Leviathan’ which again, given the context would seem to suggest that serpent should be understood as an enemy of God. Ironically, sometimes the serpent is used at His discretion.

“Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, there I will hunt them down and seize them. Though they hide from me at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent to bite them.”(Amos 9:3)

It is obvious that it would be impossible for anyone to literally hide at the bottom of the sea. So we must also assume that the serpent that is commanded to bite these covenant breakers should not be understood literally as well. As of matter of fact, when the word serpent is used in the Old Testament it is usually used in some symbolic fashion. Given the weight of these other scriptures where the word serpent is employed, it is apparent to me that we should understand the Genesis 3 usage of the word to be symbolic as well. In other words, I don’t ever think it was the author’s intention for us to get caught up in the physical nature of the snake. I also don’t believe the serpent was evil in the sense that we would use the word today. The fact that the serpent is mentioned amongst the animals that God deemed good should cause us to question this interpretation.

I would just reiterate the fact that the word serpent in scripture is used to personify the epitome of carnality. It represents man at the height of his rebellion. It is also used as a symbol of judgement against the enemies of God. In my view, the serpent also represents wisdom that comes from beneath and not from above. It is a perverted wisdom that attempts to apprehend all knowledge in the realm of the natural. This is what the serpent does, he provides an experience in the natural that nullifies the work of the spirit. The natural man is the god of this fallen age. He doesn’t want this present age to end because he is a god here, This is why he detests the things of the spirit because in essence they represent the first fruits of the new creation, a place where he is no longer a god. Adam was the first man to worship the image of the beast. When he yielded to the words of the serpent he began to reflect the nature of the beast.  Again, there is nothing necessarily evil about a beast or wild animal, however, God created humanity to rule as a “spirit man” and not as a “spirit beast.” He was given charge as a man to rule and subdue the earth. Ezekiel 28 calls the anointed cherub (who I believe to be Adam) the model of perfection and this, I believe, represents him being a set apart pattern for creation. In other words, It was Adam’s job to lead all of creation into worship. As long as Adam reflected the nature of the Father in heaven by feeding on the tree of life, the earth and all of creation was covered by Adam’s obedience to the law. So again, who is the serpent seed? The serpent seed are men who continue to reflect the craftiness of the snake. Man in his fallen state has merged natures with the beast and thereby created an offspring that had never existed on the earth before. The essence of this union is primarily spiritual, much like the new creation that we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The amplified states that when we became one with Christ, we became a creation that had never existed before. So if the essence of the new creation is predicated on the fact that we are in the last Adam, then the essence of the old creation is founded upon Adam becoming one with the earth (nature) and the beast (serpent).

The serpent seed was kept alive through the descendents of Cain. After Cain was banished from the presence of the Lord and he was condemned to be a wanderer all the days of his life. In my opinion, he arrogantly began to build a city in honor of his son in defiance of the judgement that was placed on him. There is much that could be said at this point about the significance of Cain’s descendents, however, it should be observed that one of his descendents fall into major sin, Lamech.

“Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”(Genesis 4:24).

Ancient Jewish commentator,  Josephus, states that Cain and his descendents gave the world its first arts and pagan religions. “He also introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived before; and was the author of measures and weights. And whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, HE CHANGED THE WORLD INTO CUNNING CRAFTINESS. He first of all set boundaries about lands; he built a city, and fortified it with walls, and he compelled his family to come together to it; and called that city Enoch, after the name of his eldest son Enoch.”

So the offspring of the serpent is not a physical seed like some bible teachers believe. By that, I mean that there are some theologians who believe that the serpent was the biological father of Cain. It is even taught in Masonic folklore that Cain is the son of Samael (another name for Lucifer supposedly) and that he is actually the widow’s son, a name that Mason’s affectionately use to refer to each other. All of this, I believe to be mere speculation and eisigesis on behalf of the interpreter. I think it is more in line with Biblical logic to assume that the offspring of the seed is a spiritual seed. Think about it, do you ever see an offspring of a real animal contending with the offspring of the woman? So again, whatever we understand about the serpent has to be spiritual. The phrase “crushing the head” is an expression used all throughout scripture to represent destroying the enemies of God and not some physical animal that is possessed by a satan. One clear example of this in Psalms. “It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.” (Psalm 74:13-14). The background of this text of course is the Exodus narrative and the “crushing” of the head of Leviathan (serpent) represents God destroying the Egyptians in the desert.

In general, those outside the covenant of God have been generally labeled as gentiles. The book of Ephesians informs us that there was a “dividing wall of enmity” (hostility) between the covenant keepers and the gentiles. Paul says that He (Jesus) has destroyed the enmity between the two seeds and made peace by creating one new man; “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us (Ephesians 2:14, NLT). Before the cross there was hostility between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, Jesus came to destroy their mutual hatred by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations (Ephesians 2:15). He created a New Man and this is the new creature we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In closing, I would say there is still a need to renew our mind with the fact that Christ has destroyed the serpent man of rebellion. This is the old man we use to be. This is the man who became one with death and destruction after the fall. There are several aspects of the serpent nature that include the carnal mind, the religious order, and death. We will look into some of these aspects in the next article.

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