In Genesis 3:15 God promised the devil, when he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, that some day, Someone born of a woman, will crush his head. We have traced some of the devil’s futile attempts to thwart this promise. His next attempt was on Jesus Himself.
The promised One
The devil had kept a watchful eye on events in history for the One who would crush his head. He realized that the promised One had come when:
- The angel Gabriel announced to Joseph, ‘She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ 1
- The Magi confirmed the birth of the King of the Jews, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ 2
- Mary announced the glorious news in a song to Elizabeth, ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.… From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.’ 3
- The devil and his followers knew Gabriel’s message to Mary, was true, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’ 4
Gabriel, Mary, Joseph and the Magi confirmed to Satan that a decisive moment in history had arrived. This child, Jesus, was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, ‘For to us a child has been born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Councillor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ 5 The devil realized that Genesis 3:15 was about to be fulfilled and he would have to get rid of Jesus.
- He first worked through Herod. Herod, a jealous and heartless leader who did not want anybody to usurp his kingly throne decided to kill Jesus.
- He asked the Magi to reveal the whereabouts of the newly born King, “Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so I too may go and worship Him.'” 6
- But God warned Joseph, “When they [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.'” 7
- In his frustration, Herod later ordered that all the young boys two years and under in Bethlehem and vicinity, be killed. 8 Jesus was safely hidden in Egypt.
The devil’s next opportunity – to repeat the successful strategy of Eden
The Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the desert right after His baptism by John the Baptist. There He fasted for 40 days and the devil tried his best to convince Jesus to pay allegiance to him rather than to God. He reckoned that Jesus was so weakened by the fasting that He would succumb to his suggestions. In both Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 he tried his clever plan that worked so well with Eve.
- Eat the delicious fruit. Eve obeyed, but Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’” 9
- Believe me [Satan]. Eve forgot God’s command, but not Jesus who replied, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord Your God and serve him only.’” 10
- You can be like God! Eve fell for the proposition, but Jesus said, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 11 Jesus knew that He was God incarnate. He would inherit the eternal Kingdom, not the kingdoms of the world the devil offered Him, because they will one day be destroyed by a massive fire.
God (Jesus) was victorious over Satan. The devil failed, and he retreated in the face of Scripture truth spoken by Jesus. However, Scripture is very accurate when it says, ‘When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.’ 12
The devil’s last opportunity – Jesus’ death on the Cross
The opportune time came. Satan is one of the most brilliant students of the Bible. He studies it intently and looks for clues to oppose God and to deceive mankind. The Cross would be the final time for the devil to try to thwart his eventual death sentence prophesied in Genesis 3:15. He had all his plans ready to get rid of Jesus. He would make sure that Jesus would be deader than dead, never to rise from the grave. He, Satan, would be the world ruler, the king of this planet – for eternity. He would rule over humanity and harass them with evil, wars, addictions, danger, et cetera. He knew Jesus had to die:
- Jesus Himself told His disciples that He would fulfill Isaiah 53 when He said, ‘From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.’ 13 He repeated it often in the Gospels. 14
- Isaiah 53:4-5 summarizes Jesus’ mission on earth, ‘Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.’
- Jesus is ‘the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ 15
- So Jesus died, and was buried. The grave was sealed and Roman soldiers were posted around the grave. 16 The devil thought nobody could get out of that grave.
What happened next is very interesting. On the third day disturbing news reached the headquarters of the devil. There were rumors of sightings of angels, an earthquake, an opened grave, et cetera. 17
- A vicious battle ensued for the body of Jesus (to understand this type of battle, let’s recall the war in heaven in Revelation 12:7-8: ‘And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven’ – the devil lost that war and subsequently all his major campaigns to thwart God’s plans).
- The war to keep Jesus in the grave was tremendous, because Ephesians 1:19-21 tells us, ‘That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion….’
- We know that God is all powerful, because He created the heavens and the earth in six days according to Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:11. Yet Ephesians 1 says that ‘He exerted His mighty strength when He raised Jesus from the dead.’ The devil and his demons must have fought valiantly and desperately till the end. But it was to no avail: Jesus rose from the dead, ascended and after His ascension sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven.
- What a final, devastating fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. The devil failed big time.
- However, there is still another episode in the Bible to finally and systematically crush his head. It is a future event that will bring a fitting end to the deceiver, murderer and liar. It will happen at the end of this age. No wonder the devil has no love for the book of Revelation which describes it.
The serpent’s head is finally crushed
The devil still reigns as ruler over the world because God uses him to sift people and gather the citizens for His eternal Kingdom. Scripture tells us that there is still a struggle between man and the forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 18 At the end of time Jesus will finally exercise His kingly authority over Satan.
- It begins with the opening scene in Revelation 5. The apostle John cries his heart out because there is nobody who can open the seals of the scroll in God’s hands. He realizes that the scroll is a type of testament or will. If no one can open its seals, the saints cannot receive their inheritance from God. So he just knows that it will be the end of all hope for the saints.
- Then one of the elders say, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 19 The scene is magnificent, ‘Then I [John] saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain [Jesus], standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.’ 20 He takes the scroll and opens it, and the rest is history (because not one of God’s words have ever failed21).
- After that Jesus systematically destroys the might of the devil and Revelation 11:15 tells us the magnificent news, ‘The kingdom of the world [the devil’s kingdom] has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.’
- From Revelation 6-20 one defeat after another hits the devil. He spends a thousand years in the Abyss, but not even that cures him of his evil ways. When he is released, he immediately sets out to deceive the nations. Jesus handles it effectively and, ‘…the devil, who deceived them [the nations] was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet [his unholy trinity] had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’ 22
Finally, God’s plan is fulfilled
- Then, ’…the dwelling of God [will be] with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’ 23
- ‘…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants [we the followers of Jesus] will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.’ 24
What else can we say, than to do like the apostle John did, fall down and worship. We do not fall down before the angel, but before our glorious God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (who will be with the Bride). 25
- Matthew 1:21
- Matthew 2:2
- Luke 1:46-49
- Luke 1:35
- Isaiah 9:6
- Matthew 2:7-8
- Matthew 2:13
- Matthew 2:16
- Genesis 3:1-5; Luke 4:4
- Luke 4:8
- Luke 4:12
- Luke 4:13
- Matthew 16:21
- Mark 8:31-32; 10:33-34; Luke 9:22,44; 18:38, 24:25-27,44
- Hebrews 12:2
- Matthew 27:62-66
- Matthew 28:2-7; Mark 16:4-7; Luke 24:3-8; John 20:1-9
- Ephesians 6:12
- Revelation 5:1-5
- Revelation 5:6
- Numbers 23:19
- Revelation 20:10
- Revelation 21:3
- Revelation 22:3-4
- Revelation 22:8-9