I will put enmity between thee and the woman - This has been generally supposed to apply to a certain enmity subsisting between men and serpents; but this is rather a fancy than a reality. It is yet to be discovered that the serpentine race have any peculiar enmity against mankind, nor is there any proof that men hate serpents more than they do other noxious animals. Men have much more enmity to the common rat and magpie than they have to all the serpents in the land, because the former destroy the grain, etc., and serpents in general, far from seeking to do men mischief, flee his approach, and generally avoid his dwelling. If, however, we take the word nachash to mean any of the simia or ape species, we find a more consistent meaning, as there is scarcely an animal in the universe so detested by most women as these are; and indeed men look on them as continual caricatures of themselves. But we are not to look for merely literal meanings here: it is evident that Satan, who actuated this creature, is alone intended in this part of the prophetic declaration. God in his endless mercy has put enmity between men and him; so that, though all mankind love his service, yet all invariably hate himself. Were it otherwise, who could be saved? A great point gained towards the conversion of a sinner is to convince him that it is Satan he has been serving, that it is to him he has been giving up his soul, body, goods, etc.; he starts with horror when this conviction fastens on his mind, and shudders at the thought of being in league with the old murderer. But there is a deeper meaning in the text than even this, especially in these words, it shall bruise thy head, or rather, הוא hu, He; who? the seed of the woman; the person is to come by the woman, and by her alone, without the concurrence of man. Therefore the address is not to Adam and Eve, but to Eve alone; and it was in consequence of this purpose of God that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin; this, and this alone, is what is implied in the promise of the seed of the woman bruising the head of the serpent. Jesus Christ died to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and to destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. Thus he bruises his head - destroys his power and lordship over mankind, turning them from the power of Satan unto God; Acts 26:18. And Satan bruises his heel - God so ordered it, that the salvation of man could only be brought about by the death of Christ; and even the spiritual seed of our blessed Lord have the heel often bruised, as they suffer persecution, temptation, etc., which may be all that is intended by this part of the prophecy.
- XVI. The Judgment
16. תשׁוּקה teshûqâh “desire, inclination.” αποστροφή apostrofee ἐπιστροφή epistrophē Genesis 3:8-13; the sentence pronounced upon each, Genesis 3:14-19; and certain particulars following thereupon, Genesis 3:20-21.
The voice, we conceive, is the thunder of the approach of God and his call to Adam. The hiding is another token of the childlike simplicity of the parents of our race under the shame and fear of guilt. The question, “Where art thou?” implies that the Lord was aware of their endeavor to hide themselves from him.
Adam confesses that he was afraid of God, because he was naked. There is an instinctive hiding of his thoughts from God in this very speech. The nakedness is mentioned, but not the disobedience from which the sense of it arose. To the direct interrogatory of the Almighty, he confesses who made him acquainted with his nakedness and the fact of his having eaten of the forbidden fruit: “The woman” gave me of the tree, and “I did eat.”
The woman makes a similar confession and a similar indication of the source of her temptation. She has now found out that the serpent “beguiled her.” The result has not corresponded to the benefit she was led to anticipate.
There seems not to be any disingenuousness in either case. Sin does not take full possession of the will all at once. It is a slow poison. It has a growth. It requires time and frequent repetition to sink from a state of purity into a habit of inveterate sin. While it is insensibly gathering strength and subjugating the will, the original integrity of the moral nature manifests a long but fading vitality. The same line of things does not always occupy the attention. When the chain of events linked with the act of sin does not force the attention of the mind, and constrain the will to act a selfish part, another train of things comes before the mind, finds the will unaffected by personal considerations, and therefore ready to take its direction from the reason. Hence, the consciousness of a fallen soul has its lucid intervals, in which the conscience gives a verdict and guides the will. But these intervals become less frequent and less decisive as the entanglements of ever-multiplying sinful acts wind round the soul and aggravate its bondage and its blindness.
Here begins the judgment. Sentence is pronounced upon the serpent in the presence, no doubt, of the man and woman. The serpent is not examined, first, because it is a mute, unreasoning animal in itself, and therefore incapable of judicial examination, and it was the serpent only that was palpable to the senses of our first parents in the temptation; and, secondly, because the true tempter was not a new, but an old offender.
This sentence has a literal application to the serpent. The curse (Genesis 9:25, see the note) of the serpent lies in a more groveling nature than that of the other land animals. This appears in its going on its belly and eating the dust. Other animals have at least feet to elevate them above the dust; the serpent tribe does not have even feet. Other animals elevate the head in their natural position above the soil: the serpent lays its head naturally on the sod, and therefore may be said to eat the dust, as the wounded warrior bites the dust in death. The earthworm is probably included in the description here given of the serpent group. It goes upon its belly, and actually does eat the dust. Eating the dust, like feeding upon ashes, is an expression for signal defeat in every aim. The enmity, the mode of its display, and the issue are also singularly characteristic of the literal serpent.
It is the custom of Scripture jurisprudence to visit brute animals with certain judicial consequences of injuries they have been instrumental in doing to man, especially if this has arisen through the design or neglect of the owner, or other responsible agent Genesis 9:5; Exodus 21:28-36. In the present case the injury done was of a moral, not a physical nature. Hence, the penalty consists in a curse; that is, a state of greater degradation below man than the other land animals. The serpent in the extraordinary event here recorded exercised the powers of human speech and reasoning. And it is natural to suppose that these exhibitions of intelligence were accompanied with an attitude and a gesture above its natural rank in the scale of creation. The effect of the judicial sentence would be to remand it to its original groveling condition, and give rise to that enmity which was to end in its destruction by man.
However, since an evil spirit must have employed the serpent, since the animal whose organs and instincts were most adapted to its purpose, and has accordingly derived its name from it as presenting the animal type most analogous to its own spiritual nature, so the whole of this sentence has its higher application to the real tempter. “Upon thy belly shalt thou go.” This is expressive of the lowest stage of degradation to which a spiritual creature can be sunk. “Dust shalt thou eat.” This is indicative of disappointment in all the aims of being. “I will put enmity.” This is still more strictly applicable to the spiritual enemy of mankind. It intimates a hereditary feud between their respective races, which is to terminate, after some temporary suffering on the part of the woman‘s seed, in the destruction of the serpent‘s power against man. The spiritual agent in the temptation of man cannot have literally any seed. But the seed of the serpent is that portion of the human family that continues to be his moral offspring, and follows the first transgression without repentance or refuge in the mercy of God. The seed of the woman, on the other hand, must denote the remnant who are born from above, and hence, turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.
Let us now mark the lessons conveyed in the sentence of the serpent to our first parents, who were listening and looking on. First. The serpent is styled a mere brute animal. All, then, that seemed to indicate reason as inherent in its nature or acquired by some strange event in its history is thus at once contradicted. Second. It is declared to be lower than any of the other land animals; as being destitute of any members corresponding to feet or hands. Third. It is not interrogated as a rational and accountable being, but treated as a mere dumb brute. Fourth. It is degraded from the airs and attitudes which may have been assumed, when it was possessed by a serpent-like evil spirit, and falls back without a struggle to that place of debasement in the animal kingdom for which it was designed. Fifth. It is fated to be disappointed in its aims at usurpation. It shall bite the dust. Sixth. it is doomed to ultimate and utter defeat in its hostile assaults upon the seed of the woman.
All this must have made a deep impression on our first parents. But two things must have struck them with special force. First, it was now evident how vain and hollow were its pretensions to superior wisdom, and how miserably deluded they had been when they listened to its false insinuations. If, indeed, they had possessed maturity of reflection, and taken time to apply it, they would have been strangely bewildered with the whole scene, now that it was past. How the serpent, from the brute instinct it displayed to Adam when he named the animals, suddenly rose to the temporary exercise of reason and speech, and as suddenly relapsed into its former bestiality, is, to the mere observer of nature, an inexplicable phenomenon. But to Adam, who had as yet too limited an experience to distinguish between natural and preternatural events, and too little development of the reflective power to detect the inconsistency in the appearance of things, the sole object of attention was the shameless presumption of the serpent, and the overwhelming retribution which had fallen upon it; and, consequently, the deplorable folly and wickedness of having been misguided by its suggestions.
A second thing, however, was still more striking to the mind of man in the sentence of the serpent; namely, the enmity that was to be put between the serpent and the woman. Up to a certain point there had been concord and alliance between these two parties. But, on the very opening of the heavenly court, we learn that the friendly connection had been broken. For the woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” This expression indicates that the woman was no longer at one with the serpent. She was now sensible that its part had been that, not of friendship, but of guile, and therefore of the deepest and darkest hostility. When God, therefore, said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” this revulsion of feeling on her part, in which Adam no doubt joined, was acknowledged and approved. Enmity with the enemy of God indicated a return to friendship with God, and presupposed incipient feelings of repentance toward him, and reviving confidence in his word. The perpetuation of this enmity is here affirmed, in regard not only to the woman, but to her seed. This prospect of seed, and of a godly seed, at enmity with evil, became a fountain of hope to our first parents, and confirmed every feeling of returning reverence for God which was beginning to spring up in their breast. The word heard from the mouth of God begat faith in their hearts, and we shall find that this faith was not slow to manifest itself in acts.
We cannot pass over this part of the sentence without noticing the expression, “the seed of the woman.” Does it not mean, in the first instance, the whole human race? Was not this race at enmity with the serpent? And though that part only of the seed of the woman which eventually shared in her present feelings could be said to be at enmity with the serpent spirit, yet, if all had gone well in Adam‘s family, might not the whole race have been at enmity with the spirit of disobedience? Was not the avenue to mercy here hinted at as wide as the offer of any other time? And was not this universality of invitation at some time to have a response in the human family? Does not the language of the passage constrain us to look forward to the time when the great mass, or the whole of the human race then alive on the earth, will have actually turned from the power of Satan unto God? This could not be seen by Adam. But was it not the plain import of the language, that, unless there was some new revolt after the present reconciliation, the whole race would, even from this new beginning, be at enmity with the spirit of evil? Such was the dread lesson of experience with which Adam now entered upon the career of life, that it was to be expected he would warn his children against departing from the living God, with a clearness and earnestness which would be both understood and felt.
Still further, do we not pass from the general to the particular in the sentence, “He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel?” Is not the seed of the woman here individualized and matched in deadly conflict with the individual tempter? Does not this phraseology point to some pre-eminent descendant of the woman, who is, with the bruising of his lower nature in the encounter, to gain a signal and final victory over the adversary of man? There is some reason to believe from the expression, “I have gotten a man from the Lord” Genesis 4:1, that Eve herself had caught a glimpse of this meaning, though she applied it to the wrong party. The Vulgate also, in what was probably the genuine reading, “ipse” (he himself) points to the same meaning. The reading “ipsa” (she herself) is inconsistent with the gender of the Hebrew verb, and with that of the corresponding pronoun in the second clause (his), and is therefore clearly an error of the transcriber.
Lastly, the retributive character of the divine administration is remarkably illustrated in the phrase. The serpent, in a wily but dastardly spirit, makes the weaker sex the object of his attack. It is the seed of the woman especially that is to bruise his head. It is singular to find that this simple phrase, coming in naturally and incidentally in a sentence uttered four thousand years, and penned at least fifteen hundred years, before the Christian era, describes exactly and literally Him who was made of woman without the intervention of man, that He might destroy the works of the devil. This clause in the sentence of the tempter is the first dawn of hope for the human family after the fall. We cannot tell whether to admire more the simplicity of its terms, the breadth and comprehensiveness of its meaning, or the minuteness of its application to the far-distant event which it mainly contemplates.
The doom here pronounced upon the tempter must be regarded as special and secondary. It refers to the malignant attack upon man, and foretells what will be the issue of this attempt to spread disaffection among the intelligent creation. And it is pronounced without any examination of the offender, or investigation of his motives. If this had been the first offence against the majesty of heaven, we humbly conceive a solemn precognition of the case would have taken place, and a penalty would have been adjudicated adequate to the magnitude of the crime and analagous to the punishment of death in the case of man. The primary act of defiance and apostasy from the Creator must have been perpetrated without a tempter, and was, therefore, incomparably more heinous than the secondary act of yielding to temptation. Whether the presence of the tempter on earth intimates that it was the place of his abode in a state of innocence, or that he visited it because he had heard of the creation of man, or that he was there from some altogether different reason, is a vain and unprofitable inquiry.
The sentence of the woman Genesis 3:16 consists of three parts: the former two regard her as a mother, the last as a wife. Sorrow is to be multiplied in her pregnancy, and is also to accompany the bearing of children. This sorrow seems to extend to all the mother‘s pains and anxieties concerning her offspring. With what solicitude she would long for a manifestation of right feeling toward the merciful God in her children, similar to what she had experienced in her own breast! What unutterable bitterness of spirit would she feel when the fruits of disobedience would discover themselves in her little ones, and in some of them, perhaps, gather strength from year to year!
The promise of children is implicitly given in these two clauses. It came out also incidentally in the sentence of the serpent. What a wonderful conception is here presented to the minds of the primeval pair! Even to ourselves at this day the subject of race is involved in a great deal of mystery. We have already noticed the unity of the race in its head. But the personality and responsibility of individuals involve great and perplexing difficulties. The descent of a soul from a soul is a secret too deep for our comprehension. The first man was potentially the race, and, so long as he stands alone, actually the whole race for the time. His acts, then, are those not merely of the individual, but of the race. If a single angel were to fall, he falls alone. If the last of a race were to fall, he would in like manner involve no other in his descent. But if the first of a race falls, before he has any offspring, the race has fallen. The guilt, the depravity, the penalty, all belong to the race. This is a great mystery. But it seems to follow inevitably from the constitution of a race, and it has clear evidences of its truth both in the facts and the doctrines of the Bible.
When we come to view the sin of our first parents in this light, it is seen to entail tremendous consequences to every individual of the race. The single transgression has involved the guilt, the depravity, and the death, not only of Adam, but of that whole race which was in him, and thus has changed the whole character and condition of mankind throughout all time.
In the instructions going before and coming after are found the means of training up these children for God. The woman has learned that God is not only a righteous judge, but a forbearing and merciful Father. This was enough for her at present. It enabled her to enter upon the journey of life with some gleams of hope amidst the sorrows of the family. And in the experience of life it is amazing what a large proportion of the agreeable is mingled with the troubles of our fallen race. The forbearance and goodness of God ought in all reason and conscience to lead us back to a better feeling toward him.
The third part of her sentence refers to her husband - “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” This is evidently a piece of that retributive justice which meets us constantly in the administration of God. The woman had taken the lead in the transgression. In the fallen state, she is to be subject to the will of her husband. “Desire” does not refer to sexual desire in particular. Genesis 4:7. It means, in general, “turn,” determination of the will. “The determination of thy will shall be yielded to thy husband, and, accordingly, he shall rule over thee.” The second clause, according to the parallel structure of the sentence, is a climax or emphatic reiteration of the first, and therefore serves to determine its meaning. Under fallen man, woman has been more or less a slave. In fact, under the rule of selfishness, the weaker must serve the stronger. Only a spiritual resurrection will restore her to her true place, as the help-meet for man.
The keyword in the sentence of the man is the “soil.” The curse (Genesis 9:25, see the note) of the soil is the desire of the fruit trees with which the garden was planted, and of that spontaneous growth which would have rendered the toil of man unnecessary. The rank growth of thorns and thistles was also a part of the curse which it occasioned to man when fallen. His sorrow was to arise from the labor and sweat with which he was to draw from the ground the means of subsistence. Instead of the spontaneous fruits of the garden, the herb of the field, which required diligent cultivation, was henceforth to constitute a principal part of his support. And he had the dreary prospect before him of returning at length to the ground whence he was taken. He had an element of dust in him, and this organic frame was eventually to work out its own decay, when apart from the tree of life.
It is to be observed that here is the first allusion to that death which was the essential part of the sentence pronounced on the fallen race. The reasons of this are obvious. The sentence of death on those who should eat of the forbidden fruit had been already pronounced, and was well known to our first parents. Death consisted in the privation of that life which lay in the light of the divine countenance, shining with approving love on an innocent child, and therefore was begun on the first act of disobedience, in the shame and fear of a guilty conscience. The few traits of earthly discomfort which the sentences disclose, are merely the workings of the death here spoken of in the present stage of our existence. And the execution of the sentence, which comes to view in the following passage, is the formal accomplishment of the warning given to the transgressor of the divine will.
In this narrative the language is so simple as to present no critical difficulty. And, on reviewing the passage, the first thing we have to observe is, that the event here recorded is a turning-point of transcendent import in the history of man. It is no less than turning from confidence in God to confidence in his creature when contradicting him, and, moreover, from obedience to his express and well-remembered command to obedience to the dictates of misguided self-interest. It is obvious that, to the moral character of the transaction, it is of no consequence who the third party was who dared to contradict and malign his Maker. The guilt of man consists simply in disobeying the sole command of his beneficent Creator. The only mitigating circumstance is the suggestion of evil by an external party. But the more insignificant the only ostensible source of temptation, the more inexcusable the guilt of man in giving way to it.
This act altered fundamentally the position and character of man. He thereby descended from innocence to guilt in point of law, and at the same time from holiness to sin in point of character. Tremendous was the change, and equally tremendous the consequence. Death is, like most scriptural terms, a pregnant word, and here to be understood in the full compass of its meaning. It is the privation, not of existence, as is often confusedly supposed, but of life, in all its plenitude of meaning. As life includes all the gratifications of which our human susceptibilities are capable, so death is the privation of all the sources of human enjoyment, and among them of the physical life itself, while the craving for ease and the sense of pain retain all their force in the spiritual part of our nature. These poignant emotions reach their highest pitch of intensity when they touch the conscience, the tenderest part of our being, and forebode the meeting of the soul, in its guilty state, with a just and holy God.
This event is real. The narrative expresses in its strongest terms its reality. The event is one of the two alternatives which must follow from the preceding statements concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and affords an explanation of their nature. It is no less essential to account for what follows. The problem of the history and condition of man can only be solved by this primeval fact. Conscience still remains an imperishable monument, on the one hand, of his having been formed after a perfect model; and, on the other, of his having fallen from his high estate. And all the facts of his history carry up his fall as far as the traditions of human memory reach.
And the narrative here is a literal record of the details of this great event. So far as regards God and man, the literality has never been questioned by those who acknowledge the event to be real. Some, however, have taken the serpent to be, not a literal, but a figurative serpent; not an animal, but a spiritual being. The great dragon, indeed, is identified with “the ancient serpent called the devil and Satan.” And hence we know that a being of a higher nature than the mere animal was present and active on this occasion. And this spiritual being was with great propriety called the serpent, both from its serpentine qualities and from choosing the serpent as the most suitable mask under which to tempt our first parents. But we cannot thence infer that a literal serpent was not employed in the temptation. The serpent is said to be “more subtle than any beast of the field.” First. The obvious meaning of this is, that it was itself a beast of the field.
Thus, Joseph, whom Israel loved “more than all his children,” was one of his children Genesis 37:8. He that was “higher than any of the people,” was himself one of the people 2 Samuel 9:2. Second. If the serpent be here figurative, and denote a spirit, the statement that it was subtle above all the beasts of the field is feeble and inadequate to the occasion. It is not so, that man is distinguished from the other animals. In much more forcible language ought the old serpent to be distinguished from the unreasoning brute. Third. We have seen a meetness in a being of flesh, and that not superior, or even equal to man, being permitted to be employed as the medium of temptation. Man was thereby put at no disadvantage. His senses were not confounded by a supersensible manifestation. His presence of mind was not disturbed by an unusual appearance. Fourth. The actions ascribed to the tempter agree with the literal serpent. Wounding the heel, creeping on the belly, and biting the dust, are suitable to a mere animal, and especially to the serpent. The only exception is the speaking, and, what is implied in this, the reasoning. These, however, do not disprove the presence of the literal serpent when accompanied with a plain statement of its presence. They only indicate, and that to more experienced observers than our first parents, the presence of a lurking spirit, expressing its thoughts by the organs of the serpent.
It may be thought strange that the presence of this higher being is not explicitly noticed by the sacred writer. But it is the manner of Scripture not to distinguish and explain all the realities which it relates, but to describe the obvious phenomena as they present themselves to the senses; especially when the scope of the narrative does not require more, and a future revelation or the exercise of a sanctified experience will in due time bring out their interpretation. Thus, the doings of the magicians in Egypt are not distinguished from those of Moses by any disparaging epithet Exodus 7:10-12. Only those of Moses are greater, and indicate thereby a higher power. The witch of Endor is consulted, and Samuel appears; but the narrative is not careful to distinguish then and there whether by the means of witchcraft or by the very power of God. It was not necessary for the moral training of our first parents at that early stage of their existence to know who the real tempter was. It would not have altered the essential nature of the temptation, of the sentence pronounced on any of the parties, or of the hopes held out to those who were beguiled.
This brings into view a system of analogy and mutual relation pervading the whole of Scripture as well as nature, according to which the lower order of things is a natural type of the higher, and the nearer of the more remote. This law displays itself in the history of creation, which, in the creative work of the six days, figures to our minds, and, as it were, lays out in the distance those other antecedent processes of creative power that have intervened since the first and absolute creation; in the nature of man, which presents on the surface the animal operations in wonderful harmony with the spiritual functions of his complex being; in the history of man, where the nearer in history, in prophecy, in space, in time, in quality, matter, life, vegetative and animate, shadow forth the more remote. All these examples of the scriptural method of standing on and starting from the near to the far are founded upon the simple fact that nature is a rational system of things, every part of which has its counterpart in every other. Hence, the history of one thing is, in a certain form, the history of all things of the same kind.
The serpent is of a crafty instinct, and finds, accordingly, its legitimate place at the lowest step of the animal system. Satan seeks the opportunity of tempting Adam, and, in the fitness of things, turns to the serpent as the ready medium of his assault upon human integrity. He was limited to such a medium. He was not permitted to have any contact with man, except through the senses and in the way of speech. He was also necessitated to have recourse to the serpent, as the only creature suited to his purpose.
The place of the serpent in the scale of animals was in keeping with the crookedness of its instinct. It was cursed above all cattle, since it was inferior to them in the lack of those limbs which serve for rising, moving, and holding; such as legs and arms. This meaning of cursed is familiar to Scripture. “Cursed is the ground for thy seed” Genesis 3:17. It needed the toil of man to repress thorns and thistles, and cultivate plants more useful and needful to man. “This people who knoweth not the law are cursed” John 7:49. This is a relative use of the word, by which a thing is said to be cursed in respect of its failing to serve a particular end. Hence, the serpent‘s condition was a fit emblem of the spiritual serpent‘s punishment for its evil doings regarding man.
Through the inscrutable wisdom of the Divine Providence, however, it was not necessary, or may not have been necessary, to change in the main the state of the natural serpent or the natural earth in order to carry out the ends of justice. The former symbolized in a very striking manner the helplessness and disappointment of the enemy of man. The latter exacted that labor of man which was the just consequence of his disobedience. This consequence would have been avoided if he had continued to be entitled to the tree of life, which could no doubt have been propagated beyond its original bounds. But a change in the moral relation of the heart toward God brings along with it in the unsearchable ways of divine wisdom a change as great in the bearing of the events of time on the destiny of man. While the heart is with God, all things work together for good to us. When the heart is estranged from him, all things as inevitably work together for evil, without any material alteration in the system of nature.
We may even ascend a step higher into the mysteries of providence; for a disobedient heart, that forms the undeserving object of the divine compassion, may be for a time the unconscious slave of a train of circumstances, which is working out its recovery from the curse as well as the power of sin through the teaching of the Divine Spirit. The series of events may be the same in which another is floating down the stream of perdition. But to the former these events are the turning points of a wondrous moral training, which is to end in reconciliation to God and restoration to his likeness.
A race, in like manner, that has fallen from communion with God, may be the subject of a purpose of mercy, which works out, in the providence of God, the return of some to his home and love, and the wandering of others away further and further into the darkness and misery of enmity with God.
And though this system of things is simple and uniform in the eyes of the only wise God, yet to human view parts of it appear only as special arrangements and retributions, exactly meeting the case of man and serving for his moral education. No doubt they are so. But they are also parts of a constant course of nature, pursued with undeviating regularity, yet ordered with such infallible wisdom as to accomplish at the same time both general and special ends. Hence, without any essential change in the serpent‘s natural instincts, it serves for a striking monument of the defeat and destruction of the devil and his works. The ground, without any change in its inherent nature, but merely by the removal, it may be, of the tree of life, is cursed to man, as it demands that toil which is the mark of a fallen race.
The question of miracles, or special interpositions of the divine will and power which cross the laws of nature, is not now before us. By the very definition of miracles they transcend the laws of nature; that is, of that system of events which is known to us by observation. But it does not follow that they transcend a higher law of the divine plan, which may, partly by revelation and partly even by a deeper study of ourselves and things around us, be brought to light. By the investigations of geology we seem compelled to acknowledge a succession of creations at great intervals of time, as a law of the divine procedure on our globe. But, thousands of years before geology was conceived, one such creation, subsequent to the great primal act by which the universe was called into existence, was made known to us by divine revelation. And beside periodical miracle, we find recorded in the Book of Revelation a series of miracles, which were performed in pursuance of the divine purpose of grace toward the fallen race of man. These are certainly above nature, according to the largest view of it which has ever been current among our philosophers. But let us not therefore imagine that they are above reason or grace - above the resources and determinations of the divine mind and will concerning the development of the universe.
This verse and the next one record two very significant acts consequent upon the judgment: one on the part of Adam, and another on the part of God.
The man here no doubt refers to two expressions in the sentences he had heard pronounced on the serpent and the woman. “He,” the seed of the woman, “shall bruise thy head.” Here it is the woman who is to bear the seed. And this seed is to bruise the serpent‘s head; that is, in some way to undo what had been done for the death of man, and so re-invest him with life. This life was therefore to come by the woman. Again, in the address of the judge to the woman he had heard the words, “Thou shalt bear children.” These children are the seed, among whom is to be the bruiser of the serpent‘s head, and the author of “life”. And in an humbler, nearer sense, the woman is to be the mother of children, who are the living, and perpetuate the life of the race amid the ravages which death is daily committing on its individual members. These glimmerings of hope for the future make a deep impression upon the father of mankind. He perceives and believes that through the woman in some way is to come salvation for the race. He gives permanent expression to his hope in the significant name which he gives to his wife. Here we see to our unspeakable satisfaction the dawn of faith - a faith indicating a new beginning of spiritual life, and exercising a salutary influence on the will, faintly illuminating the dark bosom of our first parent. The mother of mankind has also come to a better mind. The high and holy Spirit has in mercy withdrawn the cloud of misconception from the minds of both, and faith in the Lord and repentance have sprung up in their new-born souls.
As Genesis 3:20 records an instance of humble, apprehending faith in the divine word, so here we have a manifest act of mercy on the part of God, indicating the pardon and acceptance of confessing, believing man, rejoicing in anticipation of that future victory over the serpent which was to be accomplished by the seed of the woman. This act is also suitable to the present circumstances of man, and at the same time strikingly significant of the higher blessings connected with restoration to the divine favor. He had discovered his nakedness, and God provides him with a suitable covering. He was to be exposed to the variations of climate, and here was a durable protection against the weather. But far more than this. He had become morally naked, destitute of that peace of conscience which is an impenetrable shield against the shame of being blamed and the fear of being punished; and the coats of skin were a faithful emblem and a manifest guarantee of those robes of righteousness which were hereafter to be provided for the penitent in default of that original righteousness which he had lost by transgression. And, finally, there is something remarkable in the material out of which the coats were made. They were most likely obtained by the death of animals; and as they do not appear yet to have been slain for food, some have been led to conjecture that they were offered in sacrifice - slain in prefiguration of that subsequent availing sacrifice which was to take away sin. It is the safer course, however, to leave the origin of sacrifice an open question. Scripture does not intimate that the skins were obtained in consequence of sacrifice; and apart from the presumption derived from these skins, it seems to trace the origin of sacrifice to the act of Habel recorded in the next chapter.
This leads us to a law, which we find frequently exhibited in Sacred Scripture, that some events are recorded without any connection or significance apparent on the surface of the narrative, while at the same time they betoken a greater amount of spiritual knowledge than we are accustomed to ascribe to the age in which they occurred. The bare fact which the writer states, being looked at with our eyes, may have no significance. But regarded, as it ought to be, with the eyes of the narrator, cognizant of all that he has to record up to his own time, it becomes pregnant with a new meaning, which would not otherwise have been discovered. Even this, however, may not exhaust the import of a passage contained in an inspired writing. To arrive at the full sense it may need to be contemplated with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, conscious of all that is to become matter of revelation to the end of time. It will then stand forth in all the comprehensiveness of meaning which its relation to the whole body of revealed truth imparts, and under the guise of an everyday matter-of-fact will convey some of the sublimest aspects of divine truth. Hence, the subsequent scripture, which is the language of the Holy Spirit, may aid us in penetrating the hidden meaning of an earlier part of revelation.
God is the Prime Mover in this matter. The mercy of God alone is the source of pardon, of the mode in which he may pardon and yet be just, and of the power by which the sinner may be led to accept it with penitence and gratitude. In the brevity of the narrative the results only are noted; namely, the intimation and the earnest of pardon on the side of God, and the feelings and doings of faith and repentance on the side of the parents of mankind. What indications God may have given by the impressive figure of sacrifice or otherwise of the penalty being paid by another for the sinner, as a necessary condition of forgiveness, we are not here informed, simply because those for whom a written record was necessary would learn it more fully at a subsequent stage of the narrative. This suggests two remarks important for interpretation: First. This document is written by one who omits many things done and said to primeval man, because they are unnecessary for those for whom he writes, or because the principles they involve will come forward in a more distinct form in a future part of his work.
This practice speaks for Moses being not the mere collector, but the composer of the documents contained in Genesis, out of such preexistent materials as may have come to his hand or his mind. Second. We are not to import into the narrative a doctrine or institution in all the development it may have received at the latest period of revelation. This would be contrary to the manner in which God was accustomed to teach man. That concrete form of a great principle, which comported with the infantile state of the early mind, is first presented. The germ planted in the opening, fertile mind, springs forth and grows. The revelations and institutions of God grow with it in compass and grandeur. The germ was truth suited for babes; the full-grown tree is only the same truth expanded in the advancing development of people and things. They equally err who stretch the past to the measure of the present, and who judge either the past or the future by the standard of the present. Well-meaning but inconsiderate critics have gone to both extremes.
The things of nature upon which we look today give us but a faint conception of Eden's beauty and glory; yet the natural world, with unmistakable voice, proclaims the glory of God. In the things of nature, marred as they are by the blight of sin, much that is beautiful remains. One omnipotent in power, great in goodness, in mercy, and love, has created the earth, and even in its blighted state it inculcates truths in regard to the skillful Master Artist. In this book of nature opened to us—in the beautiful, scented flowers, with their varied and delicate coloring—God gives to us an unmistakable expression of His love. After the transgression of Adam, God might have destroyed every opening bud and blooming flower, or He might have taken away their fragrance, so grateful to the senses. In the earth, seared and marred by the curse, in the briers, the thistles, the thorns, the tares, we may read the law of condemnation; but in the delicate color and perfume of the flowers, we may learn that God still loves us, that His mercy is not wholly withdrawn from the earth. 1SM 291.1
Nature is filled with spiritual lessons for mankind. The flowers die only to spring forth into new life; and in this we are taught the lesson of the resurrection. All who love God will bloom again in the Eden above. But nature cannot teach the lesson of the great and marvelous love of God. Therefore, after the Fall, nature was not the only teacher of man. In order that the world might not remain in darkness, in eternal spiritual night, the God of nature met us in Jesus Christ. The Son of God came to the world as the revelation of the Father. He was that “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). We are to behold “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). 1SM 291.2Read in context »
Plain and specific prophecies had been given regarding the appearance of the Promised One. To Adam was given an assurance of the coming of the Redeemer. The sentence pronounced on Satan, “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), was to our first parents a promise of the redemption to be wrought out through Christ. AA 222.1
To Abraham was given the promise that of his line the Saviour of the world should come: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16. AA 222.2
Moses, near the close of his work as a leader and teacher of Israel, plainly prophesied of the Messiah to come. “The Lord thy God,” he declared to the assembled hosts of Israel, “will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.” And Moses assured the Israelites that God Himself had revealed this to him while in Mount Horeb, saying, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.” Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. AA 222.3Read in context »
The word of God is the seed. Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. So there is life in God's word. Christ says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life.” John 5:24. In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God. COL 38.1
Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant. Receive into the soul by faith the incorruptible seed of the word, and it will bring forth a character and a life after the similitude of the character and the life of God. COL 38.2
The teachers of Israel were not sowing the seed of the word of God. Christ's work as a teacher of truth was in marked contrast to that of the rabbis of His time. They dwelt upon traditions, upon human theories and speculations. Often that which man had taught and written about the word, they put in place of the word itself. Their teaching had no power to quicken the soul. The subject of Christ's teaching and preaching was the word of God. He met questioners with a plain, “It is written.” “What saith the Scriptures?” “How readest thou?” At every opportunity, when an interest was awakened by either friend or foe, He sowed the seed of the word. He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Himself the living Word, points to the Scriptures, saying, “They are they which testify of Me.” And “beginning at Moses and all the prophets,” He opened to His disciples “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” John 5:39; Luke 24:27. COL 38.3Read in context »
Of Christ's life and death and intercession, which prophets had foretold, the apostles were to go forth as witnesses. Christ in His humiliation, in His purity and holiness, in His matchless love, was to be their theme. And in order to preach the gospel in its fullness, they must present the Saviour not only as revealed in His life and teachings, but as foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament and as symbolized by the sacrificial service. COL 127.1
Christ in His teaching presented old truths of which He Himself was the originator, truths which He had spoken through patriarchs and prophets; but He now shed upon them a new light. How different appeared their meaning! A flood of light and spirituality was brought in by His explanation. And He promised that the Holy Spirit should enlighten the disciples, that the word of God should be ever unfolding to them. They would be able to present its truths in new beauty. COL 127.2
Ever since the first promise of redemption was spoken in Eden, the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ have been the study of human minds. Yet every mind through whom the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new. The truths of redemption are capable of constant development and expansion. Though old, they are ever new, constantly revealing to the seeker for truth a greater glory and a mightier power. COL 127.3
In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of His resurrection, He began “at Moses and all the prophets” and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form. COL 127.4Read in context »
But these words, at the time they were spoken, were not fully understood by Satan. He knew that they contained a curse for him, because he had seduced the holy pair. And when Christ was manifested on the earth, Satan feared that He was indeed the One promised who should limit his power and finally destroy him. Con 19.1
Satan had peculiar interest in watching the development of events immediately after the fall of Adam, to learn how his work had affected the kingdom of God, and what the Lord would do with Adam because of his disobedience. Con 19.2
The Son of God, undertaking to become the Redeemer of the race, placed Adam in a new relation to his Creator. He was still fallen; but a door of hope was opened to him. The wrath of God still hung over Adam, but the execution of the sentence of death was delayed, and the indignation of God was restrained, because Christ had entered upon the work of becoming man's Redeemer. Christ was to take the wrath of God, which in justice should fall upon man. He became a refuge for man, and, although man was indeed a criminal, deserving the wrath of God, yet he could, by faith in Christ, run into the refuge provided and be safe. In the midst of death there was life if man chose to accept it. The holy and infinite God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, could no longer talk with man. No communication could now exist directly between man and his Maker. Con 19.3Read in context »
On Jordan's banks the voice from heaven, attended by the manifestation from the excellent glory, proclaimed Christ to be the Son of the Eternal. Satan was to personally encounter the Head of the kingdom which he came to overthrow. If he failed he knew that he was lost. Therefore the power of his temptations was in accordance with the greatness of the object which he would lose or gain. For four thousand years, ever since the declaration was made to Adam that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, he had been planning his manner of attack. Con 78.2Read in context »
Great care should be exercised in the matter of expelling students. There are times when this must be done. It is a painful task to separate from the school the one who incites others to disobedience and disloyalty, but for the sake of the other students this is sometimes necessary. God saw that if Satan were not expelled from heaven the angelic host would be in constant danger; and when God-fearing teachers see that to retain a student is to expose others to evil influences, they should separate him from the school. But it should be a very grave fault that calls for this discipline. CT 268.1
When, in consequence of transgression, Adam and Eve were cut off from all hope, when justice demanded the death of the sinner, Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” 1 John 4:10; Isaiah 53:6. CT 268.2Read in context »
“When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, ... to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4, 5. DA 31.1
The Saviour's coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message. Century after century passed away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.” Ezekiel 12:22. DA 31.2Read in context »
What meaning then was attached to Christ's presentation! But the priest did not see through the veil; he did not read the mystery beyond. The presentation of infants was a common scene. Day after day the priest received the redemption money as the babes were presented to the Lord. Day after day he went through the routine of his work, giving little heed to the parents or children, unless he saw some indication of the wealth or high rank of the parents. Joseph and Mary were poor; and when they came with their child, the priests saw only a man and woman dressed as Galileans, and in the humblest garments. There was nothing in their appearance to attract attention, and they presented only the offering made by the poorer classes. DA 52.1
The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name “Jesus” on the roll of the first-born. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.” Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. That name was to be its death warrant; for the system of sacrifices and offerings was waxing old; the type had almost reached its antitype, the shadow its substance. DA 52.2
The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. This unconscious babe was the promised seed, to whom the first altar at the gate of Eden pointed. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I AM. It was He who in the pillar of cloud and of fire had been the guide of Israel. This was He whom seers had long foretold. He was the Desire of all nations, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. The name of that helpless little babe, inscribed in the roll of Israel, declaring Him our brother, was the hope of fallen humanity. The child for whom the redemption money had been paid was He who was to pay the ransom for the sins of the whole world. He was the true “high priest over the house of God,” the head of “an unchangeable priesthood,” the intercessor at “the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 10:21; 7:24; 1:3. DA 52.3Read in context »
With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah's coming,—the promised seed that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, “the peace giver,” who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David's throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born. DA 103.1
Isaiah's rapt portrayals of the Messiah's glory were his study by day and by night,—the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging “with equity for the meek of the earth;” “a covert from the tempest; ... the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;” Israel no longer to be termed “Forsaken,” nor her land “Desolate,” but to be called of the Lord, “My Delight,” and her land “Beulah.” Isaiah 11:4; 32:2; 62:4, margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision. DA 103.2
He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven's messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. DA 103.3
John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,— DA 103.4
He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin. DA 103.6Read in context »
Since the announcement to the serpent in Eden, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Genesis 3:15), Satan had known that he did not hold absolute sway over the world. There was seen in men the working of a power that withstood his dominion. With intense interest he watched the sacrifices offered by Adam and his sons. In these ceremonies he discerned a symbol of communion between earth and heaven. He set himself to intercept this communion. He misrepresented God, and misinterpreted the rites that pointed to the Saviour. Men were led to fear God as one who delighted in their destruction. The sacrifices that should have revealed His love were offered only to appease His wrath. Satan excited the evil passions of men, in order to fasten his rule upon them. When God's written word was given, Satan studied the prophecies of the Saviour's advent. From generation to generation he worked to blind the people to these prophecies, that they might reject Christ at His coming. DA 115.1
At the birth of Jesus, Satan knew that One had come with a divine commission to dispute his dominion. He trembled at the angel's message attesting the authority of the newborn King. Satan well knew the position that Christ had held in heaven as the Beloved of the Father. That the Son of God should come to this earth as a man filled him with amazement and with apprehension. He could not fathom the mystery of this great sacrifice. His selfish soul could not understand such love for the deceived race. The glory and peace of heaven, and the joy of communion with God, were but dimly comprehended by men; but they were well known to Lucifer, the covering cherub. Since he had lost heaven, he was determined to find revenge by causing others to share his fall. This he would do by causing them to undervalue heavenly things, and to set the heart upon things of earth. DA 115.2Read in context »
Bidding His hearers marvel not, Christ opened before them, in still wider view, the mystery of the future. “The hour cometh,” He said, “in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:28, 29, R. V. DA 211.1
This assurance of the future life was that for which Israel had so long waited, and which they had hoped to receive at the Messiah's advent. The only light that can lighten the gloom of the grave was shining upon them. But self-will is blind. Jesus had violated the traditions of the rabbis, and disregarded their authority, and they would not believe. DA 211.2
The time, the place, the occasion, the intensity of feeling that pervaded the assembly, all combined to make the words of Jesus before the Sanhedrin the more impressive. The highest religious authorities of the nation were seeking the life of Him who declared Himself the restorer of Israel. The Lord of the Sabbath was arraigned before an earthly tribunal to answer the charge of breaking the Sabbath law. When He so fearlessly declared His mission, His judges looked upon Him with astonishment and rage; but His words were unanswerable. They could not condemn Him. He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him, or to interfere with His work. They were invested with no such authority. Their claims were based upon their own pride and arrogance. He refused to plead guilty of their charges, or to be catechized by them. DA 211.3
Instead of apologizing for the act of which they complained, or explaining His purpose in doing it, Jesus turned upon the rulers, and the accused became the accuser. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts, and their ignorance of the Scriptures. He declared that they had rejected the word of God, inasmuch as they had rejected Him whom God had sent. “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me.” John 5:39, R. V. DA 211.4
In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ “give all the prophets witness.” Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven's glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ's death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt. DA 211.5Read in context »
Yet again the Spirit of God speaks to Jerusalem. Before the day is done, another testimony is borne to Christ. The voice of witness is lifted up, responding to the call from a prophetic past. If Jerusalem will hear the call, if she will receive the Saviour who is entering her gates, she may yet be saved. DA 578.1
Reports have reached the rulers in Jerusalem that Jesus is approaching the city with a great concourse of people. But they have no welcome for the Son of God. In fear they go out to meet Him, hoping to disperse the throng. As the procession is about to descend the Mount of Olives, it is intercepted by the rulers. They inquire the cause of the tumultuous rejoicing. As they question, “Who is this?” the disciples, filled with the spirit of inspiration, answer this question. In eloquent strains they repeat the prophecies concerning Christ: DA 578.2
Adam will tell you, It is the seed of the woman that shall bruise the serpent's head. DA 578.3
Ask Abraham, he will tell you, It is “Melchizedek King of Salem,” King of Peace. Genesis 14:18. DA 578.4
Jacob will tell you, He is Shiloh of the tribe of Judah. DA 578.5
Jeremiah will tell you, The Branch of David, “the Lord our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:6. DA 578.7Read in context »
“Let not your heart be troubled,” He said; “ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” For your sake I came into the world. I am working in your behalf. When I go away, I shall still work earnestly for you. I came into the world to reveal Myself to you, that you might believe. I go to the Father to co-operate with Him in your behalf. The object of Christ's departure was the opposite of what the disciples feared. It did not mean a final separation. He was going to prepare a place for them, that He might come again, and receive them unto Himself. While He was building mansions for them, they were to build characters after the divine similitude. DA 663.1
Still the disciples were perplexed. Thomas, always troubled by doubts, said, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.” DA 663.2
There are not many ways to heaven. Each one may not choose his own way. Christ says, “I am the way: ... no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” Since the first gospel sermon was preached, when in Eden it was declared that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, Christ had been uplifted as the way, the truth, and the life. He was the way when Adam lived, when Abel presented to God the blood of the slain lamb, representing the blood of the Redeemer. Christ was the way by which patriarchs and prophets were saved. He is the way by which alone we can have access to God. DA 663.3
“If ye had known Me,” Christ said, “ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.” But not yet did the disciples understand. “Lord, show us the Father,” exclaimed Philip, “and it sufficeth us.” DA 663.4
Amazed at his dullness of comprehension, Christ asked with pained surprise, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?” Is it possible that you do not see the Father in the works He does through Me? Do you not believe that I came to testify of the Father? “How sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” Christ had not ceased to be God when He became man. Though He had humbled Himself to humanity, the Godhead was still His own. Christ alone could represent the Father to humanity, and this representation the disciples had been privileged to behold for over three years. DA 663.5Read in context »
But man was not abandoned to the results of the evil he had chosen. In the sentence pronounced upon Satan was given an intimation of redemption. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God said, “and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. Before they heard of the thorn and the thistle, of the toil and sorrow that must be their portion, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that could not fail of giving them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ. Ed 27.1
This intimation also nature repeats to us. Though marred by sin, it speaks not only of creation but of redemption. Though the earth bears testimony to the curse in the evident signs of decay, it is still rich and beautiful in the tokens of life-giving power. The trees cast off their leaves, only to be robed with fresher verdure; the flowers die, to spring forth in new beauty; and in every manifestation of creative power is held out the assurance that we may be created anew in “righteousness and holiness of truth.” Ephesians 4:24, margin. Thus the very objects and operations of nature that bring so vividly to mind our great loss become to us the messengers of hope. Ed 27.2
As far as evil extends, the voice of our Father is heard, bidding His children see in its results the nature of sin, warning them to forsake the evil, and inviting them to receive the good. Ed 27.3Read in context »
In its wide range of style and subjects the Bible has something to interest every mind and appeal to every heart. In its pages are found history the most ancient; biography the truest to life; principles of government for the control of the state, for the regulation of the household—principles that human wisdom has never equaled. It contains philosophy the most profound, poetry the sweetest and the most sublime, the most impassioned and the most pathetic. Immeasurably superior in value to the productions of any human author are the Bible writings, even when thus considered; but of infinitely wider scope, of infinitely greater value, are they when viewed in their relation to the grand central thought. Viewed in the light of this thought, every topic has a new significance. In the most simply stated truths are involved principles that are as high as heaven and that compass eternity. Ed 125.1
The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God. From the first intimation of hope in the sentence pronounced in Eden to that last glorious promise of the Revelation, “They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4), the burden of every book and every passage of the Bible is the unfolding of this wondrous theme,—man's uplifting,—the power of God, “which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57. Ed 125.2Read in context »
When all hope was excluded from Adam and Eve in consequence of transgression and sin, when justice demanded the death of the sinner, Christ gave Himself to be a sacrifice for the sin of the world. The world was under condemnation. Christ became substitute and surety for man. He would give His life for the world, which is represented as the one lost sheep that had strayed from the fold, whose guilt as well as helplessness was charged against them and stood in the way, hindering their return. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Every son and daughter of God, if they have an abiding Saviour will act out Christ. Every soul that has not an abiding Saviour will reveal the same in unchristlikeness in character. Love is not cherished and put in exercise. “Lift Him up, the risen Saviour,” in our words, in our conversation, in our dealing with the erring. FE 283.1Read in context »
It was God's purpose to remove by toil the evil which man brought into the world by disobedience. By toil the temptations of Satan might be made ineffectual, and the tide of evil be stayed. The Son of God was given to the world, by His death to make atonement for the sins of the world, by His life to teach men how the plans of the enemy were to be thwarted. Taking upon Himself the nature of man, Christ entered into the sympathies and interests of His brethren, and by a life of untiring labor taught how men might become laborers together with God in the building up of His kingdom in the world. FE 513.1
If those who have received instruction concerning God's plan for the education of the youth in these last days, will surrender their wills to God, He will teach them His will and His way. Christ is to be the teacher in all our schools. If teachers and students will give Him His rightful place, He will work through them to carry out the plan of redemption. FE 513.2
Students are to be taught to seek the counsel of God in prayer. They are to be taught to look to their Creator as their unerring guide. They are to be taught the lessons of forbearance and trust, of true goodness and kindness of heart. They are to learn the lesson of perseverance. Their characters are to answer to the words of David, “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” In all this they are qualifying for service in the missionary field. FE 513.3Read in context »
Thus the death of Christ—the very event which the disciples had looked upon as the final destruction of their hope—was that which made it forever sure. While it had brought them a cruel disappointment, it was the climax of proof that their belief had been correct. The event that had filled them with mourning and despair was that which opened the door of hope to every child of Adam, and in which centered the future life and eternal happiness of all God's faithful ones in all the ages. GC 348.1
Purposes of infinite mercy were reaching their fulfillment, even through the disappointment of the disciples. While their hearts had been won by the divine grace and power of His teaching, who “spake as never man spake,” yet intermingled with the pure gold of their love for Jesus, was the base alloy of worldly pride and selfish ambitions. Even in the Passover chamber, at that solemn hour when their Master was already entering the shadow of Gethsemane, there was “a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Luke 22:24. Their vision was filled with the throne, the crown, and the glory, while just before them lay the shame and agony of the garden, the judgment hall, the cross of Calvary. It was their pride of heart, their thirst for worldly glory, that had led them to cling so tenaciously to the false teaching of their time, and to pass unheeded the Saviour's words showing the true nature of His kingdom, and pointing forward to His agony and death. And these errors resulted in the trial—sharp but needful—which was permitted for their correction. Though the disciples had mistaken the meaning of their message, and had failed to realize their expectations, yet they had preached the warning given them of God, and the Lord would reward their faith and honor their obedience. To them was to be entrusted the work of heralding to all nations the glorious gospel of their risen Lord. It was to prepare them for this work that the experience which seemed to them so bitter had been permitted. GC 348.2Read in context »
“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. The divine sentence pronounced against Satan after the fall of man was also a prophecy, embracing all the ages to the close of time and foreshadowing the great conflict to engage all the races of men who should live upon the earth. GC 505.1
God declares: “I will put enmity.” This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. The apostate is never at rest, except as he obtains sympathy and support by inducing others to follow his example. For this reason fallen angels and wicked men unite in desperate companionship. Had not God specially interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven; and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God. GC 505.2
Satan tempted man to sin, as he had caused angels to rebel, that he might thus secure co-operation in his warfare against Heaven. There was no dissension between himself and the fallen angels as regards their hatred of Christ; while on all other points there was discord, they were firmly united in opposing the authority of the Ruler of the universe. But when Satan heard the declaration that enmity should exist between himself and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, he knew that his efforts to deprave human nature would be interrupted; that by some means man was to be enabled to resist his power. GC 505.3Read in context »
Our salvation was wrought out by infinite suffering to the Son of God. His divine bosom received the anguish, the agony, the pain that the sinfulness of Adam brought upon the race. The heel of Christ was indeed bruised when His humanity suffered, and grief heavier than that which ever oppressed the beings He had created weighed down His soul as He was engaged in paying the vast debt which man owed to God. HP 44.4Read in context »
The enmity referred to in the prophecy in Eden was not to be confined merely to Satan and the Prince of life. It was to be universal. Satan and his angels were to feel the enmity of all mankind. “I will put enmity,” said God, “between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” LHU 28.2
The enmity put between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman was supernatural. With Christ the enmity was in one sense natural; in another sense it was supernatural, as humanity and divinity were combined. And never was the enmity developed to such a marked degree as when Christ became an inhabitant of this earth. Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, and all His powers were enlisted against it. LHU 28.3
The purity and holiness of Christ, the spotless righteousness of Him who did no sin, was a perpetual reproach upon all sin in a world of sensuality and sin. In His life the light of truth was flashed amid the moral darkness with which Satan had enshrouded the world. Christ exposed Satan's falsehoods and deceiving character, and in many hearts destroyed his corrupting influence. It was this that stirred Satan with such intense hatred. With his hosts of fallen beings he determined to urge the warfare most vigorously; for there stood in the world One who was a perfect representative of the Father, One whose character and practices refuted Satan's misrepresentation of God. Satan had charged upon God the attribute he himself possessed. Now in Christ he saw God revealed in His true character—a compassionate, merciful Father, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Him in repentance, and have eternal life. LHU 28.4
Intense worldliness has been one of Satan's most successful temptations. He designs to keep the hearts and minds of men so engrossed with worldly attractions that there will be no room for heavenly things. He controls their minds in their love of the world. Earthly things eclipse the heavenly, and put the Lord out of their sight and understanding.... LHU 28.5
Satan reached only the heel; he could not touch the head. At the death of Christ, Satan saw that he was defeated. He saw that his true character was clearly revealed before all heaven, and that the heavenly beings and the worlds that God had created would be wholly on the side of God.... Christ's humanity would demonstrate for eternal ages the question which settled the controversy (Selected Messages 1:254, 255). LHU 28.6Read in context »
Satan took the field in person against Jesus Christ. Evil angels conspired with evil men to resist good, to trample upon righteousness, and all the energies of evil were confederated together to destroy the champion of God and truth. While success seems to attend the masterly activity of Satan, Jesus takes the field to contest his power. Jesus came “unto his own, and his own received him not.” He was charged with an embassage of mercy, sent of the Father at a crisis when rebellion had overspread the world, in order that man should not perish, but have everlasting life through faith in the Son of God. Through Christ they were to bruise the serpent's head, and gain eternal life.... LHU 197.2Read in context »
The serpent's head will soon be bruised and crushed. The glorious memorial of God's wonderful power is soon to be restored to its rightful place. Then paradise lost will be paradise restored. God's plan for the redemption of man will be complete. The Son of man will bestow upon the righteous the crown of everlasting life, and they shall “serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Revelation 7:15) (The Review and Herald, September 5, 1899). LHU 373.7Read in context »
There is not a soul won to Christ ... without defeat to the tempter, and bruising of the head of the serpent. This will arouse the malice of the adversary to greater activity.... Alarmed because he is losing his prey, Satan will first seek to deceive, next to oppress and persecute. Evil men, rebuked by the precept and example of those who come to the light of Bible truth, will become agents of the great adversary of souls and will leave no means untried to draw them away from their allegiance to God and induce them to leave the narrow path of holiness. OHC 89.4Read in context »
When the woman was asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” she answered, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” “Why didst Thou create the serpent? Why didst Thou suffer him to enter Eden?”—these were the questions implied in her excuse for her sin. Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, or upon God—making even His blessings an occasion of murmuring against Him. PP 58.1
The Lord then passed sentence upon the serpent: “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” Since it had been employed as Satan's medium, the serpent was to share the visitation of divine judgment. From the most beautiful and admired of the creatures of the field, it was to become the most groveling and detested of them all, feared and hated by both man and beast. The words next addressed to the serpent applied directly to Satan himself, pointing forward to his ultimate defeat and destruction: “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.” PP 58.2
Eve was told of the sorrow and pain that must henceforth be her portion. And the Lord said, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” In the creation God had made her the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God—in harmony with His great law of love—they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression; and she had fallen into temptation by separating from her companion, contrary to the divine direction. It was by her solicitation that Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Had the principles enjoined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, this sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have proved a blessing to them; but man's abuse of the supremacy thus given him has too often rendered the lot of woman very bitter and made her life a burden. PP 58.3Read in context »
When the angels should witness the agony and humiliation of their Lord, they would be filled with grief and indignation and would wish to deliver Him from His murderers; but they were not to interpose in order to prevent anything which they should behold. It was a part of the plan of redemption that Christ should suffer the scorn and abuse of wicked men, and He consented to all this when He became the Redeemer of man. PP 65.1
Christ assured the angels that by His death He would ransom many, and would destroy him who had the power of death. He would recover the kingdom which man had lost by transgression, and the redeemed were to inherit it with Him, and dwell therein forever. Sin and sinners would be blotted out, nevermore to disturb the peace of heaven or earth. He bade the angelic host to be in accord with the plan that His Father had accepted, and rejoice that, through His death, fallen man could be reconciled to God. PP 65.2
Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. The glory and blessedness of a world redeemed, outmeasured even the anguish and sacrifice of the Prince of life. Through the celestial courts echoed the first strains of that song which was to ring out above the hills of Bethlehem—“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14. With a deeper gladness now than in the rapture of the new creation, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. PP 65.3
To man the first intimation of redemption was communicated in the sentence pronounced upon Satan in the garden. The Lord declared, “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. This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken. Adam and Eve stood as criminals before the righteous Judge, awaiting the sentence which transgression had incurred; but before they heard of the life of toil and sorrow which must be their portion, or of the decree that they must return to dust, they listened to words that could not fail to give them hope. Though they must suffer from the power of their mighty foe, they could look forward to final victory. PP 65.4Read in context »
The murder of Abel was the first example of the enmity that God had declared would exist between the serpent and the seed of the woman—between Satan and his subjects and Christ and His followers. Through man's sin, Satan had gained control of the human race, but Christ would enable them to cast off his yoke. Whenever, through faith in the Lamb of God, a soul renounces the service of sin, Satan's wrath is kindled. The holy life of Abel testified against Satan's claim that it is impossible for man to keep God's law. When Cain, moved by the spirit of the wicked one, saw that he could not control Abel, he was so enraged that he destroyed his life. And wherever there are any who will stand in vindication of the righteousness of the law of God, the same spirit will be manifested against them. It is the spirit that through all the ages has set up the stake and kindled the burning pile for the disciples of Christ. But the cruelties heaped upon the follower of Jesus are instigated by Satan and his hosts because they cannot force him to submit to their control. It is the rage of a vanquished foe. Every martyr of Jesus has died a conqueror. Says the prophet, “They overcame him [“that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan”] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11, 9. PP 77.1
Cain the murderer was soon called to answer for his crime. “The Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?” Cain had gone so far in sin that he had lost a sense of the continual presence of God and of His greatness and omniscience. So he resorted to falsehood to conceal his guilt. PP 77.2
Again the Lord said to Cain, “What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground.” God had given Cain an opportunity to confess his sin. He had had time to reflect. He knew the enormity of the deed he had done, and of the falsehood he had uttered to conceal it; but he was rebellious still, and sentence was no longer deferred. The divine voice that had been heard in entreaty and admonition pronounced the terrible words: “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” PP 77.3Read in context »
Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law of God; they were acquainted with its claims upon them; its precepts were written upon their hearts. When man fell by transgression the law was not changed, but a remedial system was established to bring him back to obedience. The promise of a Saviour was given, and sacrificial offerings pointing forward to the death of Christ as the great sin offering were established. But had the law of God never been transgressed, there would have been no death, and no need of a Saviour; consequently there would have been no need of sacrifices. PP 363.1
Adam taught his descendants the law of God, and it was handed down from father to son through successive generations. But notwithstanding the gracious provision for man's redemption, there were few who accepted it and rendered obedience. By transgression the world became so vile that it was necessary to cleanse it by the Flood from its corruption. The law was preserved by Noah and his family, and Noah taught his descendants the Ten Commandments. As men again departed from God, the Lord chose Abraham, of whom He declared, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:5. To him was given the rite of circumcision, which was a sign that those who received it were devoted to the service of God—a pledge that they would remain separate from idolatry, and would obey the law of God. The failure of Abraham's descendants to keep this pledge, as shown in their disposition to form alliances with the heathen and adopt their practices, was the cause of their sojourn and bondage in Egypt. But in their intercourse with idolaters, and their forced submission to the Egyptians, the divine precepts became still further corrupted with the vile and cruel teachings of heathenism. Therefore when the Lord brought them forth from Egypt, He came down upon Sinai, enshrouded in glory and surrounded by His angels, and in awful majesty spoke His law in the hearing of all the people. PP 363.2Read in context »
In all these revelations of the divine presence the glory of God was manifested through Christ. Not alone at the Saviour's advent, but through all the ages after the Fall and the promise of redemption, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. Christ was the foundation and center of the sacrificial system in both the patriarchal and the Jewish age. Since the sin of our first parents there has been no direct communication between God and man. The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His mediatorial work He may redeem man and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law of God. All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave to our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man's Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face. PP 366.1
Christ was not only the leader of the Hebrews in the wilderness—the Angel in whom was the name of Jehovah, and who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, went before the host—but it was He who gave the law to Israel. [See Appendix, note 7.] Amid the awful glory of Sinai, Christ declared in the hearing of all the people the ten precepts of His Father's law. It was He who gave to Moses the law engraved upon the tables of stone. PP 366.2
It was Christ that spoke to His people through the prophets. The apostle Peter, writing to the Christian church, says that the prophets “prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:10, 11. It is the voice of Christ that speaks to us through the Old Testament. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10. PP 366.3Read in context »
It was their own evil heart of unbelief, controlled by Satan, that led them to hide their light, instead of shedding it upon surrounding peoples; it was that same bigoted spirit that caused them either to follow the iniquitous practices of the heathen or to shut themselves away in proud exclusiveness, as if God's love and care were over them alone. PP 370.1
As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, when after the Fall there was given a divine promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. To all men this covenant offered pardon and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them eternal life on condition of fidelity to God's law. Thus the patriarchs received the hope of salvation. PP 370.2
This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 22:18. This promise pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it (see Galatians 3:8, 16), and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God's law. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” Genesis 17:1. The testimony of God concerning His faithful servant was, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:5. And the Lord declared to him, “I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” Genesis 17:7. PP 370.3
Though this covenant was made with Adam and renewed to Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It had existed by the promise of God since the first intimation of redemption had been given; it had been accepted by faith; yet when ratified by Christ, it is called a new covenant. The law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will, placing them where they could obey God's law. PP 370.4Read in context »
Through the long centuries of “trouble and darkness” and “dimness of anguish” (Isaiah 8:22) marking the history of mankind from the day our first parents lost their Eden home, to the time the Son of God appeared as the Saviour of sinners, the hope of the fallen race was centered in the coming of a Deliverer to free men and women from the bondage of sin and the grave. PK 681.1
The first intimation of such a hope was given to Adam and Eve in the sentence pronounced upon the serpent in Eden when the Lord declared to Satan in their hearing, “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. PK 681.2
As the guilty pair listened to these words, they were inspired with hope; for in the prophecy concerning the breaking of Satan's power they discerned a promise of deliverance from the ruin wrought through transgression. Though they must suffer from the power of their adversary because they had fallen under his seductive influence and had chosen to disobey the plain command of Jehovah, yet they need not yield to utter despair. The Son of God was offering to atone with His own lifeblood for their transgression. To them was to be granted a period of probation, during which, through faith in the power of Christ to save, they might become once more the children of God. PK 681.3Read in context »
From the day the Lord declared to the serpent in Eden, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Genesis 3:15), Satan has known that he can never hold absolute sway over the inhabitants of this world. When Adam and his sons began to offer the ceremonial sacrifices ordained by God as a type of the coming Redeemer, Satan discerned in these a symbol of communion between earth and heaven. During the long centuries that have followed, it has been his constant effort to intercept this communion. Untiringly has he sought to misrepresent God and to misinterpret the rites pointing to the Saviour, and with a great majority of the members of the human family he has been successful. PK 685.1
While God has desired to teach men that from His own love comes the Gift which reconciles them to Himself, the archenemy of mankind has endeavored to represent God as one who delights in their destruction. Thus the sacrifices and the ordinances designed of Heaven to reveal divine love have been perverted to serve as means whereby sinners have vainly hoped to propitiate, with gifts and good works, the wrath of an offended God. At the same time, Satan has sought to arouse and strengthen the evil passions of men in order that through repeated transgression multitudes might be led on and on, far from God, and hopelessly bound with the fetters of sin. PK 685.2Read in context »
When the Saviour finally appeared “in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7), and began His ministry of grace, Satan could but bruise the heel, while by every act of humiliation or suffering Christ was bruising the head of His adversary. The anguish that sin has brought was poured into the bosom of the Sinless; yet while Christ endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, He was paying the debt for sinful man and breaking the bondage in which humanity had been held. Every pang of anguish, every insult, was working out the deliverance of the race. PK 701.1
Could Satan have induced Christ to yield to a single temptation, could he have led Him by one act or even thought to stain His perfect purity, the prince of darkness would have triumphed over man's Surety and would have gained the whole human family to himself. But while Satan could distress, he could not contaminate. He could cause agony, but not defilement. He made the life of Christ one long scene of conflict and trial, yet with every attack he was losing his hold upon humanity. PK 701.2
In the wilderness of temptation, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross, our Saviour measured weapons with the prince of darkness. His wounds became the trophies of His victory in behalf of the race. When Christ hung in agony upon the cross, while evil spirits rejoiced and evil men reviled, then indeed His heel was bruised by Satan. But that very act was crushing the serpent's head. Through death He destroyed “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14. This act decided the destiny of the rebel chief, and made forever sure the plan of salvation. In death He gained the victory over its power; in rising again, He opened the gates of the grave to all His followers. In that last great contest we see fulfilled the prophecy, “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15. PK 701.3Read in context »
The law of God existed before the creation of man or else Adam could not have sinned. After the transgression of Adam the principles of the law were not changed, but were definitely arranged and expressed to meet man in his fallen condition. Christ, in counsel with His Father, instituted the system of sacrificial offerings; that death, instead of being immediately visited upon the transgressor, should be transferred to a victim which should prefigure the great and perfect offering of the Son of God. 1SM 230.1
The sins of the people were transferred in figure to the officiating priest, who was a mediator for the people. The priest could not himself become an offering for sin, and make an atonement with his life, for he was also a sinner. Therefore, instead of suffering death himself, he killed a lamb without blemish; the penalty of sin was transferred to the innocent beast, which thus became his immediate substitute, and typified the perfect offering of Jesus Christ. Through the blood of this victim, man looked forward by faith to the blood of Christ which would atone for the sins of the world. 1SM 230.2
If Adam had not transgressed the law of God, the ceremonial law would never have been instituted. The gospel of good news was first given to Adam in the declaration made to him that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; and it was handed down through successive generations to Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The knowledge of God's law, and the plan of salvation were imparted to Adam and Eve by Christ Himself. They carefully treasured the important lesson, and transmitted it by word of mouth, to their children, and children's children. Thus the knowledge of God's law was preserved. 1SM 230.3
Men lived nearly a thousand years in those days, and angels visited them with instruction directly from Christ. The worship of God through sacrificial offerings was established, and those who feared God acknowledged their sins before Him, and looked forward with gratitude and holy trust to the coming of the Day Star, which should guide the fallen sons of Adam to heaven, through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thus the gospel was preached in every sacrifice; and the works of the believers continually revealed their faith in a coming Saviour. Jesus said to the Jews: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47). 1SM 230.4Read in context »
The enmity referred to in the prophecy in Eden was not to be confined merely to Satan and the Prince of life. It was to be universal. Satan and his angels were to feel the enmity of all mankind. “I will put enmity,” said God, “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). 1SM 254.1
The enmity put between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman was supernatural. With Christ the enmity was in one sense natural; in another sense it was supernatural, as humanity and divinity were combined. And never was the enmity developed to such a marked degree as when Christ became an inhabitant of this earth. Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, and all His powers were enlisted against it. 1SM 254.2
The purity and holiness of Christ, the spotless righteousness of Him who did no sin, was a perpetual reproach upon all sin in a world of sensuality and sin. In His life the light of truth was flashed amid the moral darkness with which Satan had enshrouded the world. Christ exposed Satan's falsehoods and deceiving character, and in many hearts destroyed his corrupting influence. It was this that stirred Satan with such intense hatred. With his hosts of fallen beings he determined to urge the warfare most vigorously; for there stood in the world One who was a perfect representative of the Father, One whose character and practices refuted Satan's misrepresentation of God. Satan had charged upon God the attribute[s] he himself possessed. Now in Christ he saw God revealed in His true character—a compassionate, merciful Father, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Him in repentance, and have eternal life. 1SM 254.3
Intense worldliness has been one of Satan's most successful temptations. He designs to keep the hearts and minds of men so engrossed with worldly attractions that there will be no room for heavenly things. He controls their minds in their love of the world. Earthly things eclipse the heavenly, and put the Lord out of their sight and understanding. False theories and false gods are cherished in the place of the true. Men are charmed with the glitter and tinsel of the world. They are so attached to the things of the earth that many will commit any sin in order to gain some worldly advantage. 1SM 254.4Read in context »
There are many who cry, “Believe, only believe.” Ask them what you are to believe. Are you to believe the lies forged by Satan against God's holy, just, and good law? God does not use His great and precious grace to make of none effect His law, but to establish His law. What is the decision of Paul? He says: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law.... For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and [the commandment then ended?—No.] I [Paul] died.... Wherefore the law is [standing directly in the way of my having liberty and peace?—No.] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:7-12). 1SM 347.1
Paul learned that there was no power in the law to pardon the transgressor of law. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified” (Romans 3:20). “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:3, 4). 1SM 347.2
The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved. Christ says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). 1SM 347.3
When Adam fell, provision was made for his restoration. In due time Jesus, the Prince of life, came to our world to enter into controversy with the powers of darkness. In this world Satan had an opportunity to exhibit the result of the working out of his principles of freedom from all law, and Christ, by His unswerving obedience to His Father's commandments, made manifest the result of practicing the principles of righteousness. In accordance with his principles of evil, Satan harassed the Son of God with fierce temptations, and finally brought Him to the judgment hall, that He might be condemned to death without cause. The confederacy of evil moved upon the hearts of men to work out the principles of evil. Christ and Barabbas were presented before the multitude. Barabbas was a notable robber and murderer; Christ was the Son of God. Pilate looked upon the two, and thought there would be no hesitation in the choice of Jesus. The marks of nobility, intelligence, and purity were plainly revealed in His countenance, in marked contrast to the coarse features of Barabbas. He asked, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? (Matthew 27:21). And the hoarse cry of the infuriated mob was heard, calling, “Barabbas.” “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22, 23). 1SM 347.4Read in context »
Those who would overcome must put to the tax every power of their being. They must agonize on their knees before God for divine power. Christ came to be our example, and to make known to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature. How?—By having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Satan did not gain the victory over Christ. He did not put his foot upon the soul of the Redeemer. He did not touch the head though he bruised the heel. Christ, by His own example, made it evident that man may stand in integrity. Men may have a power to resist evil—a power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them. 1SM 409.1
It was the work of Christ to present the truth in the framework of the gospel, and to reveal the precepts and principles that He had given to fallen man. Every idea He presented was His own. He needed not to borrow thoughts from any, for He was the originator of all truth. He could present the ideas of prophets and philosophers, and preserve His originality; for all wisdom was His; He was the source, the fountain, of all truth. He was in advance of all, and by His teaching He became the spiritual leader for all ages. 1SM 409.2
It was Christ that spoke through Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Melchizedek was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father. And all through the generations of the past, Christ has spoken; Christ has led His people, and has been the light of the world. When God chose Abraham as a representative of His truth, He took him out of his country, and away from his kindred, and set him apart. He desired to mold him after His own model. He desired to teach him according to His own plan. The mold of the world's teachers was not to be upon him. He was to be taught how to command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. This is the work that God would have us do. He would have us understand how to govern our families, how to control our children, how to command our households to keep the way of the Lord. 1SM 409.3Read in context »
In the first angel's message men are called upon to worship God, our Creator, who made the world and all things that are therein. They have paid homage to an institution of the Papacy, making of no effect the law of Jehovah, but there is to be an increase of knowledge on this subject. 2SM 106.1
The message proclaimed by the angel flying in the midst of heaven is the everlasting gospel, the same gospel that was declared in Eden when God said to the serpent, “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). Here was the first promise of a Saviour who would stand on the field of battle to contest the power of Satan and prevail against him. Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character. Christ was both the law and the gospel. The angel that proclaims the everlasting gospel proclaims the law of God; for the gospel of salvation brings men to obedience of the law, whereby their characters are formed after the divine similitude. 2SM 106.2
In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah, the work of those who worship God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, is specified: “They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations” (Isaiah 58:12). God's memorial, His seventh-day Sabbath, will be uplifted. “Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath [no longer trample it under your feet], from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:12-14). 2SM 106.3Read in context »
Christ was suffering as the members of the human family suffer under temptation; but it was not the will of God that He should exercise His divine power in His own behalf. Had He not stood as our representative, Christ's innocence would have exempted Him from all this anguish, but it was because of His innocence that He felt so keenly the assaults of Satan. All the suffering which is the result of sin was poured into the bosom of the sinless Son of God. Satan was bruising the heel of Christ, but every pang endured by Christ, every grief, every disquietude, was fulfilling the great plan of man's redemption. Every blow inflicted by the enemy was rebounding on himself. Christ was bruising the serpent's head.—The Youth's Instructor, December 21, 1899. 3SM 129.1Read in context »
The mediatorial work of Christ commenced with the commencement of human guilt and suffering and misery, as soon as man became a transgressor. The law was not abolished to save man and bring him into union with God. But Christ assumed the office of his surety and deliverer in becoming sin for man, that man might become the righteousness of God in and through Him who was one with the Father. Sinners can be justified by God only when He pardons their sins, remits the punishment they deserve, and treats them as though they were really just and had not sinned, receiving them into divine favor and treating them as if they were righteous. They are justified alone through the imputed righteousness of Christ. The Father accepts the Son, and through the atoning sacrifice of His Son accepts the sinner. 3SM 194.2Read in context »
We must establish an unyielding enmity between our souls and our foe; but we must open our hearts to the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.... We want to become so sensitive to holy influences, that the lightest whisper of Jesus will move our souls, till He is in us, and we in Him, living by the faith of the Son of God. 3SM 355.1Read in context »
Adam: Temptation Removed as Far as Possible—The plan of salvation was so arranged that when Adam was tested, temptation was removed from him as far as possible. When Adam was tempted, he was not hungry (The Signs of the Times, April 4, 1900). 1BC 1084.1
Man a Free Agent—God had power to hold Adam back from touching the forbidden fruit; but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in his charge against God's arbitrary rule. Man would not have been a free moral agent, but a mere machine (The Review and Herald, June 4, 1901). 1BC 1084.2
Every Inducement to Remain Loyal—It certainly was not God's purpose that man should be sinful. He made Adam pure and noble, with no tendency to evil. He placed him in Eden, where he had every inducement to remain loyal and obedient. The law was placed around him as a safeguard. (The Review and Herald, June 4, 1901). 1BC 1084.3
7. Fig Leaves Will Not Cover Sin—Adam and Eve both ate of the fruit, and obtained a knowledge which, had they obeyed God, they would never have had,—an experience in disobedience and disloyalty to God,—the knowledge that they were naked. The garment of innocence, a covering from God, which surrounded them, departed; and they supplied the place of this heavenly garment by sewing together fig-leaves for aprons. 1BC 1084.4
This is the covering that the transgressors of the law of God have used since the days of Adam and Eve's disobedience. They have sewed together fig-leaves to cover their nakedness, caused by transgression. The fig-leaves represent the arguments used to cover disobedience. When the Lord calls the attention of men and women to the truth, the making of fig-leaves into aprons will be begun, to hide the nakedness of the soul. But the nakedness of the sinner is not covered. All the arguments pieced together by all who have interested themselves in this flimsy work will come to naught (The Review and Herald, November 15, 1898). 1BC 1084.5
10, 11. Drew on Robes of Ignorance—Had Adam and Eve never disobeyed their Creator, had they remained in the path of perfect rectitude, they could have known and understood God. But when they listened to the voice of the tempter, and sinned against God, the light of the garments of heavenly innocence departed from them; and in parting with the garments of innocence, they drew about them the dark robes of ignorance of God. The clear and perfect light that had hitherto surrounded them had lightened everything they approached; but deprived of that heavenly light, the posterity of Adam could no longer trace the character of God in His created works (The Review and Herald, March 17, 1904). 1BC 1084.6
15. Adam Knew Original Law—Adam and Eve at their creation had knowledge of the original law of God. It was imprinted upon their hearts, and they were acquainted with the claims of law upon them. When they transgressed the law of God, and fell from their state of happy innocence, and became sinners, the future of the fallen race was not relieved by a single ray of hope. God pitied them, and Christ devised the plan for their salvation by Himself bearing the guilt. When the curse was pronounced upon the earth and upon man, in connection with the curse was a promise that through Christ there was hope and pardon for the transgression of God's law. Although gloom and darkness hung, like the pall of death, over the future, yet in the promise of the Redeemer, the Star of hope lighted up the dark future. The gospel was first preached to Adam by Christ. Adam and Eve felt sincere sorrow and repentance for their guilt. They believed the precious promise of God, and were saved from utter ruin (The Review and Herald, April 29, 1875). 1BC 1084.7
Christ the Immediate Surety—As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man's substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary (The Review and Herald, March 12, 1901). 1BC 1084.8
Continent of Heaven—Jesus became the world's Redeemer, rendering perfect obedience to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. He redeemed Adam's disgraceful fall, uniting the earth, that had been divorced from God by sin, to the continent of heaven [Obviously the word “continent” is here employed in a broader sense than is commonly understood today. It is in keeping with usage now obsolete, which permitted the word “continent” to apply to “the ‘solid globe’ or orb of the sun or moon” (See Oxford English Dictionary).—Editor.] (The Bible Echo, August 6, 1894). 1BC 1084.9Read in context »