CHRIST COMING AS THE SEED OF THE WOMAN AND THE BRASS SERPENT
At the very juncture when man fell, God came in and promised that One would come as the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15). Therefore, we are clearly told in the Scriptures that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was born through a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Gal. 4:4); His birth was not of a human father. He is the real seed of woman who dealt with the serpent by bruising his head, that is, by putting him to death. In order to kill a serpent, you do not deal with its tail, its body. Rather, you have to deal with its head. If you hit its head with a stone, you will put it to death. It is the seed of the woman who bruised the head of the serpent, who put Satan to death. Due to Satan’s subtlety today, many people, even in Christianity, do not recognize that the Lord Jesus was born of a virgin. The enemy knows that the seed of woman refers to Christ. One day the Lord came as the seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent, that is, to put Satan to death.
In John 3:14 the Lord told us that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. The story of the type of the brass serpent is recorded in Numbers 21:4-9. Moses lifted up the brass serpent in the wilderness in order to deliver the people of Israel from the poison of the serpents. At that very time, the people of Israel in the eyes of God were just like serpents because they had been poisoned by the serpents. When God provided a deliverance, that is, a deliverer, that deliverer was lifted up in the form of a serpent to be their substitute. Because they were serpents in the eyes of God, their substitute needed to be in the form of a serpent. The Lord was lifted up on the cross with the human nature in the form of a serpent. I would ask you, “Was the One who was nailed on the cross on Calvary a man or a serpent?” He was a man with the form of a serpent. Jesus was a man crucified on the cross, yet He was crucified there in the form of a serpent. The One who was lifted up was only in the form of the serpent, without the nature, the life, and the poison of the serpent. Romans 8:3 tells us that the Lord Jesus came in the likeness of the flesh of sin. He had only the form of the flesh of sin but not its nature. So when the Lord was lifted up on the cross, not only man but also Satan was dealt with. When fallen man, fallen humanity, was dealt with on the cross by the death of the Lord, Satan was also dealt with.
Thirty years ago I listened to a message given by Brother Watchman Nee. He told us that Satan thought that it was fortuitous for him to gain man, to possess man, and to put himself into man as a resident within him. Brother Nee said that, on the contrary, this was a pity to Satan because having come into man, he became located. It is hard to catch a mouse at large, but if you can locate it, it is easy to catch. When Satan entered into the human nature, he was located and bound with the human nature. On the day that the Lord took the human nature to the cross, He simply put Satan, who was within the human nature, on the cross. It was easy for the Lord to deal with Satan simply by His death on the cross. When the Lord was lifted up, man, humanity with the satanic nature, was dealt with there, and Satan was also dealt with by the death of the Lord on the cross. Therefore we are told that Christ destroyed, annulled, the enemy of God by His death on the cross (Heb. 2:14). In this way Satan has been cast out.
FIVE CENTRAL MATTERS IN THE SCRIPTURES
From the time of the cross, all that the Lord has done and is still doing on the negative side is to execute the judgment that He accomplished on the cross, that is, to execute the judgment on Satan. Satan has been cast out; that is something accomplished judicially, but once a case is tried in court and judgment is declared, there is the need of the execution. The execution of a judgment always requires executioners. After the judgment on the cross, the Lord did and is still doing many things on the negative side to execute the judgment until the time when He will have the adequate cooperation of the Christian “executioners.” When He has adequate Christian executioners to cooperate with Him, then He will come to bind the serpent and cast him into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:2-3). That will be the end of the serpent.
This is the whole story of the greater part of the Scriptures from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20. However, this is only on the negative side, from the enemy’s sneaking in to the enemy’s being cast out. In this long period four things also happened on the positive side. On the negative side the Lord came to deal with Satan, but on the positive side the Lord first came to give Himself to us through death and resurrection and in the Spirit and in the Word. In order to eat a chicken, you cannot simply bring it to your dining table. First you have to kill it, and then you have to cook it. After cooking the chicken, you can then receive it in another form; this is a picture of resurrection. You can now put the cooked chicken on a plate on the dining table because it is ready to be eaten. When the Lord Jesus was killed, He was “cooked.” Have you realized that the Lord was “cooked” in the “fire?” He was prepared, and now He is ready for us in the Spirit and in the Word. The Spirit is the “plate,” and the Word is the “dining table.” When you come to the Word, you come to the dining table, and when you contact the Spirit, you contact the plate, and the food is on the plate. The Lord went through death and was resurrected; that is, He was slain and cooked. He has been put in the Spirit and has been embodied in the Word. He was prepared and has been presented to us. Therefore, the Gospels tell us that “all things are ready” (Matt. 22:2-14). This is the first matter on the positive side.
The second positive matter is that you need to come and feast. This is to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, receiving Him. This is to be saved. The first matter is that the feast has been prepared and all things are ready, while the second matter is that you have to come to take Him, to receive Him.
The third matter is that, after being regenerated and saved, after coming to the Lord, you have to feed, even to feast, on Him day by day that you may grow and be transformed. In today’s Christianity, after people are saved, they are taught many things. They are taught to do this and to do that. I must tell you that this is wrong. After you have been saved and regenerated, after you have come to the Lord, the only thing you have to do is to feed on the Lord day by day that you may grow by the Lord and in the Lord and that you may be transformed in Christ. The last item is that you have to be built up together as one Body. This means that you need to have a church life and to be a living member functioning in the Body.
In summary, on the negative side there is only one item: to deal with Satan, to cast out the serpent. On the positive side we have four matters. First, the Lord Jesus died and resurrected; He was transfigured; He has been prepared, and He is ready for us. Second, we have to come to Him, to believe in Him, to receive Him. Third, we have to feed on Him, fellowship with Him, and commune with Him all the time. In this way we can grow and be transformed into His image. Fourth, we have to be built up together as the Body to have a church life and be the living members functioning in the Body. If people ask what the Scripture teaches and tells us, we have to tell them that its first two chapters are the blueprint of the divine plan, its last two chapters give us a picture of what God has been doing, and the greater part in between shows us five things, one on the negative side and four on the positive side. On the negative side, Christ came to deal with Satan, to cast out the serpent. On the positive side, Christ has been prepared for us, we must come to receive Him, enjoy Him, experience Him, and feed on Him to grow and be transformed, and we must be built up together as the church, the Body. This is what the entire Scripture says. Now you can see the central thought of God, what God is seeking. Eventually, we see that God is seeking after a building. Therefore, the picture in the last two chapters shows us that the ultimate consummation of God’s work throughout the generations simply will be a building. Do you have a clear vision of this? What is your goal as a Christian? What is your direction as a believer in Christ? You must have this vision with such a building as the goal, the aim, and the direction.
(The Central Thought of God, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)