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A Study of Dispensationalism
by Arthur Pink

"But there is further reason, and a pressing one today, why we should write upon our present subject, and that is to expose the modern and pernicious error of Dispensationalism. This is a device of the Enemy, designed to rob the children of no small part of that bread which their heavenly Father has provided for their souls; a device wherein the wily serpent appears as an angel of light, feigning to "make the Bible a new book" by simplifying much in it which perplexes the spiritually unlearned. It is sad to see how widely successful the devil has been by means of this subtle innovation."

Theology

Christ in the Old Testament

Wil Pounds | The Seed of the Woman


The salvation of every soul begins with God. As soon as Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden we hear the Shepherd's voice calling out for His lost sheep, "Adam, where are you?" It is the Father searching for the prodigal (Genesis 3:8–13).

It is in the context of judgment after the Fall that the LORD God curses the serpent. Adam and Eve hear God speaking to the "shining one." It is not a direct promise to Adam and Eve, but a word of judgment to Satan (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). He says to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" (Gen. 3:15).

There will be an undying opposition between Satan and the generations to follow. No doubt Adam and Even were so impressed with the message of hope that they reinforced it in the minds of their children and their children passed it own from generation to generation. Then came the day centuries later when Moses under the guidance of the Holy Spirit penned this great promise against the darkest day in human history.

The promise of salvation was given before anyone died physically. Here is the first word of grace in the Bible.

At the time of the giving of this promise no child had been born to Adam and Eve. Probably with the birth of every male child there was the hope that he would be the one who would overthrow the evil that had been unleashed on the new world.

The promised one will "bruise you on the head." There will be a head wound. The idea is there will be a deathblow. Satan would have this eternal dread hanging over him that with the birth of every male child this could be the very one who would be his end.

In the battle, Satan would "bruise him on the heel." The promised seed would suffer, but he would not suffer a destructive blow.

It is true that we do not have a great deal of information at the on set of this promise in Genesis. Hindsight is great for the sincere student! We have the advantage of looking back over time and seeing the One person who fulfilled this growing hope in the heart of sinful man.

Jesus Christ went to the cross and died on our behalf to crush Satan (Hebrews 2:9–15).

Satan was crushed at Calvary. He was defeated when Jesus rose from the dead. The final blow will be the submission of Satan to Jesus Christ when Jesus returns in glory (Revelation 20:1–15).

The Apostle Paul saw this great promise being fulfilled in the salvation and sanctification of God's people. He alludes to this promise in Romans 16:20, "And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you." The word for "crush" is literally to rub together and so to shatter, to crush, to trample underfoot, break in pieces by crushing, "to grind," "to crush," "to smash," "to break," "to destroy." Paul reminds believers to draw daily strength from the blessed promise of final victory over Satan. We are not on the loosing team! The image of smashing Satan in Romans 16:20 (cf. Gen. 3:15; Ps. 91:13) suggests both present victory over the powers of darkness and the imminent eschatological destruction of Satan.

God uses some strange words when He pronounced the undying opposition between Satan and the woman. He describes it as "between your seed and her seed . . ." (Gen. 3:15).

It is impossible to see the fulfillment of this promise without reflecting on and seriously considering Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:30–35. It is completely impossible without a miracle from God. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve the sin nature has been transmitted from parent to child from generation to generation. We are all born in sin and this included Joseph and Mary. As King David reflected on his sin nature he concluded, we are all "shapen in iniquity" (Psalm 51:5). We sin because we are sinners by nature. Mary was a sinner born to sinful parents who came form sinful parents. If Jesus had received a corrupt sinful nature from either Joseph or Mary He could not have been our sinless substitute dying for our sins. He would have been in the need of a redeemer like all other sinful men.

How did Jesus then have a sinless nature? Mary's hymen was broken from within. She was a virgin. Mary knew this when she questioned, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34; cf. Matt. 1:23; Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:15). The angel explained, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. Luke uses the figure of a cloud, the symbol of divine presence coming upon Mary. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and overshadowed her with His power, through which she became pregnant. The overshadowing presence of God causes Mary to become pregnant. It was a miracle.

Jesus was born of God, not by humans. The entire operation from the creation in the fetus, the daily development in the womb for nine normal months was the work of the Holy Spirit.

Because He was the "seed of the woman" Jesus was God Incarnate. He was God–man. He was human just like you and me, but he was not fallen sinful humanity. His humanity and divinity were so woven together that you could not have seen the difference except when His deity shown forth at the Transfiguration. The Apostle Paul said, great is the mystery of the incarnation. I Timothy 3:16.

The virgin birth points back to the promise in the protoevangelium or the first glimmer of the gospel of redemption.

For further study spend some time reflecting on Christ as the fulfillment of the promise of the "seed of the woman" in Matthew 1:18; Galatians 3:16, 19; 4:4; Genesis 12:7; II Samuel 7:8, 12; Romans 1:1, 3; 16:20

The undying opposition is further seen in the bruising or crushing of Satan's head in Genesis 3:21; Luke 1:26–35; John 8:44; Matthew 1:18; Isaiah 53; Galatians 3:16, 19; John 19:30; Revelation 20:10.

Dr. Stigers writes, "Genesis is the record of God's work of deliverance from the corruption of original sin resulting from the Fall . . .. God's redemptive work began with Gen. 3:15."

Dr. Merill C. Tenny says, "It may be believed that resurrection faith is at the center of the paradox of the Savior-man. In the crushing of the head of the serpent, deliverance was promised: and in order to effect that deliverance, the redeemer had to be able to conquer death." He adds, "How could Christ (the seed of the woman) take upon Himself the consequences of the serpent's sting and yet live? Resurrection seems to be the answer."

Death symbolized the wounding of the heel by Satan and takes place before the smashing of the head of Satan by the seed of the woman. The wounding appears to be the death on the cross, since Christ identified His executioners as the seed of the serpent. Jesus said, "You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him . . . " (Jn. 8:44).

This preceding death makes mandatory the resurrection of the seed of the woman to perform the smashing of the serpent's head.

This promise was no doubt the cause of Abraham greeting the "day of Christ" with glad assurance in John 8:54).

Genesis 3:15 is the first shining light on the horizon of eternal life. It is the root of Abraham's obedience to the Lord to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Why else would he make such a sacrifice if he did not have the hope before him that God would raise the son of the promise from the dead? Abe probably believed the seed of the woman was the promise of a seed through Isaac. Hebrews 11:19, Abraham "considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type." Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad."

Genesis is more than a story. It is the record of God's work on behalf of the redeemed. It is the history of God's redemptive work.

Rom. 16:20, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." That crushing certainly includes all the labor of Jesus the Messiah. The hope of the resurrection is as old as sinful men and is mighty to support them in all their pilgrimages to heaven. Dr. Harold Stigers, "Gen. 3:15 has become the most important verse in all the Bible." The central message of the whole Bible, old and new covenants, are the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The greatest commentary on Gen. 3:15 is John 3:16.

No doubt, the "seed of the woman" is referring to the virgin birth of Christ. The virgin born conquers death, hell and the grave. Christ will give the deathblow to Satan when He returns.

 

  Wil Pounds is the Field Director for the Honduras Baptist Dental Mission in Tegucigalpa and central Honduras. Previous to God directing them to Honduras, Wil and Ann served as missionaries in Panama, Ecuador and pastored churches in the U. S. They made numerous trips to Honduras with medical and evangelism teams before assuming their new field responsibilities.
 

A special thanks goes out to Abide in Christ for permission to reprint this article on our site.

 

ALWAYS BEING READY TO MAKE A DEFENSE

In the first century the axiom of the church was: "Contend for the Faith" (Jude 3), but regrettably that has changed. The Apostle Paul tells the church to: "Refute those who oppose sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9). If Christians do not speak out against false teachings that confuse as well as deny definitive Christian theology; the false teachings will be construed as truth. To be sure, essential substantive Christian doctrine is not the popular message that is pervaded in most mega-Christian revivals. The doctrines that fill the pages of Scripture, however, are: the Tri-Unity of God, the full Deity of Jesus Christ, and Justification through faith alone.
 
CONTRIBUTORS
Rev. Paul Alexander
Rev. Greg Bahnsen
Nat Carswell
Gordon H. Clark
Edward Dalcour
Rev. William Einwechter
J. C. Evans
Kenneth Gentry
Perry A. Hess
Michael S. Horton
Ronald Kirk
Amanda Krystaponis
Rick Martin
Charles A. McIlhenny
Larry J. Michael, PhD.
Wil Pounds
Eunice V. Ray
Colonel Ronald D. Ray
Ernest Reisinger
P.Andrew Sandlin
Steve M. Schlissel
Geoff Thomas
Sarah Thomas
K. Cody Vest
Peter J. Wallace
 
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