THE SERPENT AND THE CURSE—THE SAVIOUR AND THE CURE.
“BUT I FEAR, LEST BY ANY MEANS, AS THE SERPENT BEGUILED EVE THROUGH HIS SUBTLETY, SO YOUR MINDS SHOULD BE CORRUPTED FROM THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST”. II Corinthians 11:3.
“AND THE GREAT DRAGON WAS CAST OUT, THAT OLD SERPENT, CALLED THE DEVIL, AND SATAN, WHICH DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD: HE WAS CAST OUT INTO THE EARTH, AND HIS ANGELS WERE CAST OUT WITH HIM”. . . Revelation 12:9.
“AND THE DEVIL THAT DECEIVED THEM WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, WHERE THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET ARE, AND SHALL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER”. . . Revelation 20:10.
“HE THAT COMMITTETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL; FOR THE DEVIL SINNETH FROM THE BEGINNING. FOR THIS PURPOSE THE SON OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED, THAT HE MIGHT DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL”. . . I John 3:8.
“AND NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN BUT HE THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, EVEN THE SON OF MAN WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.
“AND AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, EVEN SO MUST THE SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP”. . . John 3:13 and 14.
“AND THE GOD OF PEACE SHALL BRUISE SATAN UNDER YOUR FEET SHORTLY” . . . Romans 16:20.
In II Corinthians, 11:13 to 15, we are told that Satan is transformed into an angel of light. In the fourth chapter of that same Epistle he is called the god of this age. When Christ was on earth He spoke of Satan as the prince of this world. Christ said to His disciples, as recorded in Luke 10:18—“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”. This may also have some reference to the future, as we may learn by reading the twelfth chapter of the Revelation; for Satan is yet to leave heaven and come to this earth for his deadly work during the period of the Great Tribulation. But, it likewise has reference to the past. Undoubtedly we have in the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah and the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel the origin of Satan and sin. There we learn that the one now Called Satan, which means “adversary”; was perfect in the day that he was created. He was not satisfied with the creature’s place, although he had a very exalted place in the government of God. He rebelled against the will of God, desiring his own way. In answer to his “I wills” God responded with His “I will” and God prevailed; and the anointed cherub was cast out. Thus we see that sin began with the “I will” of the creature who became Satan.
As an angel of light he appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and through his subtlety she was beguiled. She preferred the lie of Satan to the truth of God. She gave the fruit to Adam and he also did eat. And as the result of their disobedience, God pronounced the curse, as recorded in Genesis 3:13 to 21. And in those verses we read of the curse upon the serpent, upon the ground, upon the woman, and these words spoken unto the first man:
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return”. Genesis 3:19.
In pronouncing the curse upon the serpent, the Lord God, announced the Saviour and the cure. But before we speak of these, we shall first deal with the curses of the Bible.
THE FOUR CURSES
We refer briefly to these curses:
First—The curse mentioned in Genesis 3:13 to 21.
Second—The curse mentioned in Galatians 3:10, which is the confirmation of Deuteronomy 27:26.
Third—The curse of Galatians 3:13.
Fourth—The curse of Matthew 25:41.
CURSE NUMBER ONE
It is not difficult for any thinking person to see that ruin has come to creation because of sin. We behold the curse of sin. All about us we can see the confirmation of the statement recorded in I John 5:19—“The whole world lieth in the evil one.”
As the result of the curse pronounced by the Lord God in the Garden of Eden we are told in Romans 8:20—“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope”.
As the result of the transgression of Adam there is evident proof of the universal law of sin and death.”
In connection with the four curses mentioned in the Bible there are three great laws mentioned, namely—the law of sin and death, the Law that was given by Moses and the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
As we have just observed, the universal curse which is upon the human race is here as the result of the disobedience of this first law.
CURSE NUMBER TWO
“Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things that are written in the Book of the Law to do them”. . . Deuteronomy 27:26 and Galatians 3:10. This law that was given by Moses entered 2500 years after Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden. It entered that the offense might abound. . . Romans 5:20. “The law worketh wrath”… Romans 4:15. . . “They could not endure that which was commanded” . . . Hebrews 12:20. This law written on tables of stone was to the people the ministration of death and condemnation… II Corinthians 3:7 and 9. And therefore, “The Law made nothing perfect”. Hebrews 7:19. There was neither life nor justification in this Law of commandments. That Law could and did leave the sinner where it found him, under the curse, condemned.
CURSE NUMBER THREE
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” God’s Son was made under the Law. He was wholly obedient under that Law; perfect in character and conduct. The Law was holy; so was Jesus Christ. The Law was perfect; so was Jesus Christ. The Law demanded a sinless life. Christ lived a sinless life. He was altogether worthy of the title, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He came to deliver the human race from the curse. He came to put away sin and abolish death. On the cross He who knew no sin was made sin. He took the guilty law-breaker’s place He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Then He abolished death and brought life to light in the Gospel . . . II Timothy 1:9 and 10 . . . He had power to lay down His life and take it again. This He did, and established the third law to which we have referred; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This law completely nullifies and counteracts the law of sin and death, including the guarantee of incorruptibility on redemption day. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”. “They that are His at His coming”. The only place of security, salvation and blessing is “in Christ”.
Thus we see that in this third curse, the curse of God’s only begotten and well beloved Son, there is deliverance from the curse that entered by the disobedience of Adam as well as the curse that entered with the Law. And the acceptance of this curse is positively the only way of escape from the fourth curse. . . Read Romans 7:1 to 6: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.” He put away sin, abolished death, provided righteousness and obtained eternal redemption.
CURSE NUMBER FOUR
“Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” We are here taught the truth that this place of punishment has been prepared for the Devil and his angels, for the one who is responsible for the curse upon the human race.
The Saviour who came from heaven to be made a curse on the cross of Calvary has provided complete redemption from sin and the consequence of sin. He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. In the shadow of the cross He said—“Come unto me and I will give you rest”. This message of grace is still offered to any and every sinner ruined in Adam. Whosoever will, may come”. Those who refuse to respond to the “Come unto Me” will surely some day hear the same One say, “Depart from Me”. All who refuse Christ as Saviour in this day of grace must some day meet Him as Judge, in the day of His wrath. It is for every one the choice between the cross of Calvary or the lake of fire, the second birth or the second death. Thus we see that the whole Bible is the story of “the serpent and the curse”, and “the Saviour and the cure”. The conflict is still raging, and the serpent who brought the curse is still actively engaged in his work of deception, is still transformed into an angel of light. He is still beguiling and corrupting. He uses every means to keep sinners from accepting the Saviour and the cure. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” by the blinding of the god of this age. II Corinthians 4:3 and 4.
THE PROMISED REDEEMER
THE SAVIOUR AND THE CURE
The gracious promise of the Saviour and the cure is right in the midst of the curse pronounced in Genesis 3:13 to 31. The Seed of the woman is to bruise the serpent’s head. All of the Bible after the third chapter of Genesis is the unfolding of this exceeding great and precious promise. We are still waiting for the final consummation, knowing that God shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly. . . “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man”. Hebrews 2:9. He became a partaker of flesh and blood to destroy the devil’s death power. Hebrews 2:14.
But in connection with this verse we do find the consummation set forth in this language recorded in I Corinthians 15:24 to 26.
“Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
“For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.
“And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him, that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
UNDER THE CURSE
In the Book of Genesis we have the record of three sons that were born to Adam and Eve. These three were born under the curse. They were conceived in sin and brought into the world under the law of sin and death; but also under the promise of a Redeemer from sin and death. Doubtless many other children were born to Adam and Eve, for we remember that the Bible is a history of the Seed of the woman rather than the history of the human race; therefore, in the Record God has not given us the name of the wife of Cain, as the Seed of the woman was not to come through Cain. “Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth”. “appointed another Seed instead of Abel” Genesis 4:25.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
“And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; But unto Cain and to his offering He had no respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
“And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another son instead of Abel whom Cain slew.
“And to Seth, to him also there was a born son; and he called his name Enos; then began men to call upon the name of the Lord”
“And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” Genesis 4:1 to 5—25 and 26—Genesis 5:3.
We remember that Adam was created rather than begotten. He was made in the image and likeness of God. Of course, this had no reference to any physical image. Neither is there any contradiction in the first and second chapters of Genesis as to man’s creation. The earthly house of his tabernacle had nothing to do with his image of the Creator. Inasmuch as Adam was created rather than begotten, it may be a debatable question as to whether or not he should be called a son of God, for we are sure he was created a full grow man. The record is; he became a living soul. There have been many controversies as to whether soul and spirit are synonymous. According to Hebrews 4:12, there is a distinction between man’s soul and spirit. And these words are found in I Thessalonians 5:23—“And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we turn to the New Testament Scriptures and find these words recorded in Hebrews 11:4—“By faith Abel offered unto God more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” And we quote these words found in I John 3:12—“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? because his own works were evil and his brother’s righteous.”
Undoubtedly both Cain and Abel knew God’s way of righteousness when Cain first went about to establish his own righteousness. Most assuredly he did not and would not submit to the righteousness of God, which is by faith, after that way was made plain to him. There are multitudes of very religious people who are still going in the way of Cain, and their end will be eternal separation from God. God’s way is a way that Abel took. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness”. Romans 10:10. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour”. Titus 3:4 and 6.
Abel was not saved because he was a better man than Cain. He was saved because of his better way of salvation. The thing that was between Cain and Abel is the same thing that was between the Pharisee and the Publican; who went up in the temple to pray. The same thing that was between the two thieves that died on the cross. The same thing that will be between the redeemed and the lost throughout eternity, namely: “the blood of the Lamb.”
After Cain killed his brother he built the first city, Enoch. Many have been troubled as to where he found a wife. Undoubtedly he married one of his sisters. He may have had many of them. With Cain and his descendants we have the beginning of civilization, but no mention of the worship of God among them.
When Adam was 130 years old he begat a son, and his name was Seth, which means “an appointed one or a substitute”. It was in his day that men began to call upon the name of the Lord. But how long this continued, we are not told in the antediluvian record. We are told however, that great wickedness prevailed and so increased that every imagination of the heart was evil continually. And this solemn warning was pronounced by God, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3. And in Genesis 6:6:, “And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” In between these two verses just quoted we have this record “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
Concerning these creatures called the sons of God, there has also been much controversy; some believing that they were fallen angels rather than human beings; while others believe that they were the depraved descendants of Cain, admitting that it was rather difficult to account for the title given them, “the sons of God”.
In the midst of that universal wickedness, God found a servant, a man who had found God, who had found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This man’s name was Noah which interpreted means “rest”. Concerning him we again refer to Hebrews 11:7.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir to the righteousness which is by faith.”
Thus we learn that Noah was one of the heroes of faith, and in preparing an ark to the saving of his house, he condemned the world.
God in Romans 5:13 to 14 tells us of the period “from Adam to Moses, when there is no law.” This period was about 2500 years. “From Adam to the flood” was a part of that period, about 1656 years. The flood was upon the earth about 1656 A H (year of man) or about 2344 B. C.