What the Bible says about
(From Forerunner Commentary)
As in the previous verse, the figurative sense overshadows the literal. True, women and snakes are bitter enemies, but the real hostilities are spiritual - between Satan and the woman, a symbol of the church (see Galatians 4:21-31; Ephesians 5:22-32; etc.).
Some ask, "If this is so, how can Satan, who cannot reproduce, have 'seed'?" The answer, again, lies in the spiritual realm. Paul says in Galatians 3:26-27, 29:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. . . . And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
No matter what their racial makeup, members of God's church become Abraham's spiritual descendents because, as Jesus says, "Abraham's children . . . do the works of Abraham" (John 8:39). Jesus goes on to explain that Satan has spiritual offspring also:
But now you [those in Jesus' audience] seek to kill Me. . . . You do the deeds of your father. . . . You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. (verses 40-41, 44)
Satan's seed are those who do Satan's will in rebellion against God.
In Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul writes of this enmity between seeds:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Genesis 3:15 prophesies of this spiritual war between God's people and Satan's.
"Seed" in verse 15 is collective (like "team" or "family"), but the following pronoun, "He," is singular. As Christ's body (Romans 12:5; I Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 1:22-23), we are included as participants in the "enmity." However, the subjects of the "bruising" clauses are strictly Christ and Satan, the two leading opponents in the battle.
Paul also uses "Seed" in a singular sense in writing of Christ as "Abraham's Seed" in Galatians 3:16: "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ." Revelation 12:5 illustrates the connection between the woman and the Seed:
And she [the woman] bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.
Interpreting itself, the Bible shows that the singular "Seed" of the woman is indeed the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The First Prophecy (Part One)
Jesus says that peacemakers "shall be called sons of God." Once we understand the Bible's usage of the words "sons" and "children," we can easily see that this beatitude does not apply to worldly people. Both "sons" and "children" not only describe those who are literal descendents, but also those who show the characteristics of a predecessor who is not necessarily a biological ancestor. For instance, in John 8:38, 41, 44, Jesus tells the Jews that Satan is their father. Their attitudes and conduct revealed who their true spiritual father was; they were in Satan's image. Those who fit the Matthew 5:9 description of godly peacemakers reveal that they are in the image and likeness of God!
As Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, God is called the God of peace (Hebrews 13:20). When we add the thought of Hebrews 2:11, interesting ramifications concerning us surface: "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren." If indeed we are His children and therefore united in the spiritual body of Christ, we will show the same peaceable disposition of the One who is the Head. Thus He has no shame in calling us brethren. Through us, His characteristics are being manifested to the church and to the world.
Peacemaking is more complex and involved than it first appears because it entails the way we live all of life. This produces peace both passively and actively: passively, because we are not a cause of disruption, and actively, because we create peace by drawing others to emulate our example and by them seeking for the tranquillity and pleasure we have as a result. Though a Christian has little or no control over others in mediating peace between disputing parties, this should not deter him from living the peacemaking way. It is the way a person lives that will prepare him to be a much more active and authoritative peacemaker in the World Tomorrow when Christ returns. Peacemaking is indeed a high standard and a worthy vocation, yielding a wonderful reward that is worth bending our every effort to submit to God and seek His glorification.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Satan's malicious intention in sowing tares among the wheat is to cause problems and confusion (James 3:16). The bad seeds grow to become poisonous weeds that allow only the healthiest of the wheat to survive. Tares, like weeds, have never been a marketable product. "Tares" are actually darnel, a seed hardly identifiable from the wheat seed, and immature wheat and darnel look alike. To try to destroy the darnel would mean destroying much of the wheat, and separating one from the other would be beyond the servants' abilities. Only when the wheat has matured can the tares be detected. Then the tares are gathered together in bundles in the field and destroyed by fire.
Many who are not in the process of conversion resemble those who are. Just like true Christians, they go to church, pray, and read the Bible, but they are only religious hobbyists. Jesus calls them "sons of the wicked one" (Matthew 13:38), and being tares, they will be destroyed. The tares are not originally from the wicked one, but they develop character according to his strong influence. They are led by him and so are his children (John 8:44).
Martin G. Collins
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Three): The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
Spiritually, Satan has been our father. We already have had his mark placed on us, and in our lifetime we have shown his characteristics. That is exactly what Jesus is talking about here: He knew that Satan was the spiritual father of these people because they carried his mark in the way they reacted to Him and each other.
Abraham had God as his spiritual Father, and Abraham did not attempt to kill the One who became Christ—in fact, He was hospitable to Him and honored Him. He was not hostile to Him in any way, but instead did everything in his power to submit to Him. But here were the people of Jesus' time trying to put Him to death. They were openly hostile to Him.
Our problem is not worrying about taking on Satan's mark—we already have it. Our concern is to control and overcome it because God is now our Father, and He has already enabled us to resist that mark in our lives. It is our worshipful duty to work with God, to strive to break free of that foul spirit's enslaving hold on us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast
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