sermon: Leadership and the Covenants (Part Eight)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 12-Mar-16; 69 minutes
Please turn to Deuteronomy 29 and we will quickly through that chapter. I want to provide a little bit of a foundation for what is going to follow here. This is one of the great overview warning chapters in all of the Bible and it provides us with an overview of why we are here and gives us clear insights into our responsibilities as part of those who not only know God's purpose but have been given His Spirit as well.
In a sense this is left over from the series that I gave on Deuteronomy at the Feast of Tabernacles. I did not go into it at all but I want to touch on it because it keys us in on the theme of the series that I have been going through regarding leadership and covenants.
Deuteronomy 29:1-4 These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. Now Moses called all Israel and said to them, “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.”
That last verse there gives us an understanding that they were not fully equipped to make use of the experiences that they were having with God under Moses while they were in the wilderness. But we have received the benefit from God's Word, we have God's Spirit, and therefore we are able to comprehend in a way that they could not.
What he is doing here is once again rehearsing some of the background that led them up to this position that they were in right now. They were going to make the covenant again, but this time they were doing it as they were going into the land of promise. They were just outside in the nation of Moab. They were about to go into the covenant once again; what they made at Horeb is going to be made in the land as well.
Deuteronomy 29:14-18 “I make this covenant and this oath not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who are not here with us today [this is part of our life too] (for you know we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them—wood and stone and silver and gold); so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; and so it may not happen when he hears the words of the curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying [this is what we do not want to do, we do not want to bless ourselves in our hearts], ‘I shall have peace even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.”
We have to plug ourselves into this because this is now a part of our life. We have to look at this from our eyes as well, we are in this nation which believes itself to be Christian but is most clearly and decidedly not. We are witnessing what is going on in this world in our time, and it is a parallel of what God is describing here.
He is explaining why he is going through these things. I went through these commentaries that I am giving you a summary of now for this very same reason. We do not want to go down the same path as our fellow Americans have been going down and will continue to go down.
Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
That is the final instruction in this great overview chapter. God has revealed these things and it now belongs to us so that we may do what He has commanded us to do.
It was just following the Feast this past year that I was meditating on the subjects I have spoken on in the past several years during the Feast. I began to see that I saw a pattern connecting virtually every subject to a more or less common theme. In the sermons that I gave there I was surprised to learn that they all had in a sense the same basic subject in them. I began collecting those sermons in one folder titled Church Characteristics. I titled it because the conclusion that I arrived at while meditating that day was, that of all institutions on earth, the church is unique.
Unique means one of a kind, sole, singular, unusual, having no equal. There is no such thing as something that is very unique, because unique is a superlative standing alone. What it means from what I have said so far is there is no other institution on earth like the church, it is unique, it stands alone. Institution in this case in which the apostle is using it means the corporate body, a church, it is the Israel of God as the apostle Paul names it, and that makes it even more unique.
Galatians 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
In the Bible's narrative Israel is the name of the most significant organization in which the Bible story lines all converge, but the manner by which the apostle writes this here in Galatians 6:16 using the possessive preposition of, indicating belonging to, or possessed by, and suggests that there is more than one Israel. But of those Israels only one belongs to God. In other words there are others that carry the name but there is only one Israel of God. It stands unique.
We can clearly see that since the founding of the church by Jesus Christ in Acts 2, there are at least two Israels revealed in the Bible but God only claims one as His. The church stands alone, it is truly unique. The church contains His spiritual family and therefore bears His characteristics and that is the major reason why it is unique. The characteristics are those that are being created in us by God. The other Israel contains those that Paul infers in verses 11-13.
Galatians 6:11-13 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.
In other words the true church that bears the characteristics of God, were being persecuted by those in the other Israel who desired them to be circumcised when it was not necessary for salvation that they be circumcised. They just wanted to triumph in that way to impose their belief on the true Christians. As you can see God would not allow it at that juncture.
What I am hoping these sermons will accomplish is that they will clearly and firmly establish our world view. Without that unique world view we will very much simply wander around not having clear and certain direction for our lives. Our world view determines the means by which we choose.
As we begin I want to remind us that we are proceeding through this subject of leadership and covenants because God has clearly revealed in His Word, most especially in the historical books of Kings, and Chronicles but also in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, that a major cause of Israel's downfall was poor leadership.
How many times have you read in the historical books like I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, and I and II Samuel, that this king or that king did evil in the eyes of the Lord? He was telling us that they had lousy leadership amongst those people. Poor leadership, we are finding as we continue on through here, was not a failing that was limited to the ruler. This becomes especially clear in the book of Ezekiel.
It existed in force throughout the entire gamut of the population in business, education, religious community, and right on down into the family. As of late we are finding that it existed right at the beginning with Adam and Eve. They failed to remain loyal to God right in the Garden of Eden. After they were kicked out of the Garden and completely on their own, their leadership did not improve.
This is where we and all of those who preceded us in the church come in. We have been called and chosen to this point to be prepared to provide leadership under Jesus Christ, and God's purpose continues on. God is calling more into the church to prepare to lead under the overall direction of Jesus Christ following His return.
The leadership now is by comparison a minor affair. By this means the government under Jesus Christ will be supplied with tried and tested leadership, because along the way we are being tested to see if our faith in Him and His truth will continue on.
Studying into the covenants provides those God is preparing with not just the rules governing our relationship with God, but also a great deal of intriguing insights revealing why things are as they are in this world that we have been born into.
This information is a vital foundation toward our preparation, because it gives us both specific instruction regarding our relationship with God, and also a broad base of understanding for directing our lives regarding our conduct so that we will not fail like Adam and Eve did. We should know a great deal more than they did, at least from the Bible's narrative about what is going on.
Genesis 3:6-7 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Here is a listing of key terms taken from the last sermon to help us remember what was described, and then we get a running start on what we are going to go into today.
At the end of that sermon is the subject of nakedness, conveying a sense of innocence, then came temptation by Satan, followed by their sins, accompanied by an entirely different awareness of their nakedness. Make note of this: nobody had to do anything, when they sinned they suddenly knew because something happened to their heart—they knew that they were naked and their attitude was entirely different toward their nakedness. Nobody had to tell them, it happened automatically.
That ought to tell us something. Sin does things to us that we may not be aware of but it is turning us against that which is right.
Instead of innocence they now had guilt, as the narrative shows, and fear. It caused hiding and a pitiful attempt to cover the shame that suddenly appeared. Guilt, fear, hiding, shame—all happened in the blink of an eye. The only thing that occurred was they broke God's law, it suddenly changed them, sin changed them.
Then came their arraignment before God for questioning and judgment, and finally the serpent, in this case the animal used by Satan in God’s judgment of him. That was as far as we got in that last sermon.
Today we are going to look closely into the judgments handed down by God. These are critical because following Adam and Eve’s sin it was God's judgments following the sins that brought on the corruption of this decaying world we live in.
Please note that God had no questions for Satan, so the first sentence and judgment is given to the tool used by Satan to effect the sins. I want you to go back to something, a scripture to be reminded of, something that we have to read between the lines but there is a very strong possibility of it. I am not saying that this is absolute truth, but back in Ezekiel 28 there is a description of Satan.
Ezekiel 28:12-13 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering; the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.”
I wanted to read this because it gives us a description of Satan as created by God. Satan was a magnificent, dazzlingly beautiful creation. I believe that enough is said regarding his prideful vanity (which we will not go into), but Ezekiel 28 does go into it. His prideful vanity shows that there is some possibility that because of his pride regarding himself, Satan chose the serpent because its beauty was somewhat of a reflection of himself and he wanted to be represented before others by something that was equally beautiful.
In the overall picture it is unimportant because it does not effect our salvation. However it is possible that God affected great physical changes to the snake. What is important is that we grasp how the serpent, Adam, and Eve are represented in our story, rather than their story. These three characters’ personalities are representative, they are tools of understanding to us, they represent something, so we have to start looking at them for insight.
The snake represents nature as God created it. The creation was dazzlingly beautiful! Even today with all of the beating it has taken at the hands of man it is still beautiful. Imagine what it was like then. If the whole creation was beautiful and Satan was beautiful, then the snake was beautiful too. It is clear it probably was beautiful.
The snake represents nature, Satan represents the demonic realm, and Adam and Eve represent all of mankind. We have three categories that are mixed as the judgments are being handed out. Each of these categories is important to our world view, you know very well that in your world view there are demons. You think about them, you wonder whether they are tempting you, you wonder whether they are manipulating events. You know very well Satan is a part of that and he is trying to make you fall. They are there, they are part of our world view. They are important to us because they enter into how each of lives his life. I do not mean that we are completely under their thumb but we are aware of them and they take part in our thinking process.
Each category that we are viewing here has been greatly affected by what happened there in Eden. That is, nature, Adam and Eve, and the demonic world, and because it happened we have to deal with its many affects and many of these affects are shown in the book of Romans. It says there that it was imposed upon the creation. Based on the comment “on your belly you shall go,” it appears to suggests that snakes originally walked upright and possessed within it animal type craftiness. That view is a possibility, it is not an absolute, but one thing is true: at the time before the sin, serpents were desirable and beautiful in appearance.
Is there anything more majestic than a male lion? Everything that God made has majesty and awesome beauty designed right into it. Because of the sin and a creature was involved in that sin that was not a demon, the whole natural organization begins to get upset. Serpents were desirable and beautiful in appearance. It was an eye-catching fitting representation of what Satan was when he walked in the midst of the stones of fire. Whereas it was once beautiful and crafty, now it is going to be cursed and loathsome. That is the imposition that God put on it because Satan used it.
Why would God do this? I think there is a practical reminder in what He did there, and it is that beauty is as beauty does. The overall lesson regarding the snake is this: sin does not make things more beautiful. That is an everyday lesson to everybody that you can get out of nature. Whether or not physical changes were made, the statement regarding eating dust all of your days does not indicate that the serpent would literally eat dust. It is more likely an idiomatic expression that indicates a constant aversion against it—it is not acceptable because now people see it as repulsive.
The phrasing of the judgment by God indicates total defeat. It also indicates a constant striving on the part of the snake for recognition and achievement, never truly achieving but always suffering the agony of disappointment and failure. It is hard for 99 percent of the people on earth to hug a snake. There is a natural repulsion there. God put that in you and me as a reminder, He is not against snakes, He put a reminder there.
Eating dust is a penetrating picture that forecast the total defeat of Satan in the end. The serpent was involved in that but it is also forecasting Satan's defeat.
Isaiah 65:24-25 “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and [this is going on into the time of Christ’s return] dust shall be the serpent's food. [God is not going to lift that curse.] They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord.
I said that there is more attached to that and what is attached to it is the punishment against Satan, but the serpent being the tool that he used is involved in that and God is not going to lift that. I can guarantee you that it will not be lifted until the Lake of Fire occurs, and there will not be any snakes, as far as we know, in that new world that God is going to create.
Even then there is going to be a reminder after Christ returns of what the snake in a sense, was used for, that is to get mankind to sin.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman [this is said not against the beast serpent, but against the real serpent], and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
This is a wonderful piece of information to us. It is awesome the way God thinks and how He plans everything out, every detail. What we are beginning here is the judgment of Satan himself. In an overview it says he will enjoy limited success, “you shall bruise his heel.” He is talking about the seed of the woman. There is going to be ultimately in good time he will do some damage against the Messiah. The Messiah is called, your seed, or her seed, and in this verse shall the seed of Eve deliver the snake a permanent death blow.
There is a little bit of uncertainty regarding this because, apparently whenever Moses wrote this he used the same word that is translated bruise twice. We know from other parts of the Bible that the first time it is used it is enough of a bruise to kill Christ but He is going to be resurrected. The second time that he uses the same word, it is applied to Satan. This is the one we need to think about. Is Satan going to be given a death blow?
We have generally been taught that angelic spirit beings live forever, but is that true? Eventually I intend to write a long article I feel proves that Satan is going to be put to death. The wages of sin is death and it applies to him. This is upsetting to some people because they have been taught that angels live forever. No they do not, they only live at God's discretion, and if they sin and it becomes a part of their character, He can put them to death. They have that hanging over them and there is a way that this can be proved in the Bible that they can die.
Romans 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
One thing we know for sure is that in the book of Genesis Moses used a Hebrew word that could mean bruise, it could possibly mean death because Jesus died when He was bruised. Here in Romans 16:20, there is no doubt whatsoever in Paul's use of a Greek term, in this case is Strong's #4937, and the term means crush, shatter in pieces, and when applied to one’s head it indicates a death blow. The head is shattered in pieces. Bullinger's Companion Bible said that the word translated crush means to crush into pieces, utterly. It definitely indicates a death blow.
It is not possible to prove from this single statement. Paul is literally stating this will happen but it is written because he says it in such a way that these humans will crush Satan. That is what puts a little doubt into what Paul says, and needs a bit more research. It is possible he is inferring that these people will gain victory over people under the influence of Satan, and thus Satan is defeated, crushed as it were.
I think that there is no doubt that Paul had the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 in mind when he wrote that verse. When this prophecy was literally fulfilled, even as Christ died as a result of the bruising and crushing of His heel, so apparently will Satan die as a result of the bruising of His head. However, God planned to and chose to resurrect Jesus Christ. There is no indication anywhere He will resurrect Satan when Satan's head is crushed. The opposite appears to be true, and what we have here is a fairly clear indication that the wages of sin is death applies to angelic beings as well.
Thus we cannot assume that angels automatically live forever merely because they are spirit beings. Those sinning angels live at God's discretion, only as long as they are suitable to God's purpose as He is working out His purpose. They will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire as God cleanses His creation of every trace of sin, and thus right in the midst of God's distributing the sentences He imposes because of their sin. This verse makes the first somewhat veiled announcement of the blessing of mankind through the coming of the Messiah, the seed of the woman.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman [this is spoken to Satan], and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
It is significant that this is a curse on Satan and it is affecting us during our lifetime, making things sometimes very uncomfortable, but it is actually a blessing to us that God imposed this on Satan.
The term enmity indicates ill will on one side or both. It indicates a hatred, a mutual antagonism. The enmity imposed is first between the woman and Satan, and second, between her seed, her children, and Satan's descendants. How can Satan have any descendants? It simply indicates those who are under his dominion and therefore they are his children, they bear his characteristics.
Genesis 9:1-2 So God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them; “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.”
The enmity that God speaks of there in Genesis 3 is somewhat similar to this fear that God imposed on the animals as a result of the flood. Animals are without a doubt weary of humans, Look how long it takes someone to creep up on a deer. They have wonderful eyes, wonderful ears and nose, they can hear you or smell you coming and they get out of there. That is something that God put in the animals as a protection for them following the flood, so that they could in a way defend themselves from rapacious men.
This enmity that God speaks of in Genesis 3 is very similar to this fear. This is intriguing because when it is thought out it turns out that when one considers the circumstance of this enmity (that is Genesis 3), it turns out to be a blessing for Eve and her seed, but a curse for Satan and his seed.
We will consider these things, think this through a bit because the application is very broad. Remember that I set the parameters in the beginning showing that the snake, serpent, and Adam and Eve are all categories, they are representations of things that everybody has had to live through because of what happened in that sin.
First, the enmity, or sense of hatred, is not something that needed to be imposed on Satan. He already hated Adam and Eve from the very beginning of their being created. This is shown in that the very first time that he had a chance to kill them he succeeded.
Second, the enmity is in reality a gift of God to Adam and Eve and their descendants to motivate them to fear Satan the way animals fear us. What do animals do when they hear a man clumping toward them? They get out of there. Are we not cautioned in the Bible to flee Satan? He is a roaring lion, he is out to kill. If we are wise we will not fool around with him, anymore than you would fool around with a hungry male lion.
Mankind has convinced themselves there is no devil, so why fear something that does not exist? Even people who may have knowledge of this in their mind still commit sin failing to connect it to the being that is behind that sin.
Recall my earlier comment about the snake and Adam and Eve, as being representatives of something else. Remember also that Adam and Eve were participants in a brand new creation, and they had much to learn about the world created for them. When Satan first entered the Garden they apparently accepted him as nothing unusual, there was no fear expressed. What happened? They lost their lives, because they just accepted it. We should understand that we are not to do that, we do not play around with a being who is hundreds of times worse than a lion.
However, by means of this curse, God as He did with animals toward humans, imposed a sense of fear in the seed of Eve so as to induce them to avoid him and his way. This especially applies to us, who are part of God's family, in His church, that the fear of Satan has been given to us in the same way that the fear of humans has been given to animals. We are not to have anything whatever to do with him in any way. There is in us a measure of fear of him that would not be in people in the world.
There are some that have some knowledge of him and it is in them, but as an ordinary thing it is not in them. This was done as an invisible wall of protection so that much of their innocence of Eve's descendants, is possible for as long as possible. It becomes clear that as early in the Bible's narrative as Genesis 4 and 5, that Adam and Eve's descendants, their seed, were dividing into two camps antagonistic to each other. Read through Genesis and you will begin to pick up a story, two lines of people very quickly formed.
Genesis 4:16 [in my Bible there is the title: The Seed of Cain. That is going to tell us something. Cain was the first murderer.] Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod [wandering] on the east of Eden.
Genesis 5:1-3 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
The Bible very quickly establishes that two family lines developed right from the beginning—the one through Cain, the other through Seth. By the time we get to the Flood in Genesis 6, those two lines are very apparent. The line of Seth included such people as Enoch and Noah. The other line were a bunch of rascals, every one of them that came from Cain.
What I am establishing in your mind is evidence that the curse that God made there, Satan was cursed by it, but to Eve and her descendants it actually became a blessing. What He is doing here is establishing your mind and my mind as we read through this historical part that two lines developed from Adam and Eve. We will call one a good line, we will call the other the bad line. There is no doubt that one of the lines was a great deal more righteous than the other.
What we need to understand is this: that division never ended and it exists to this day. When I give a sermon on this I will go into parts of the Bible that will show this very clearly.
What happened after the Flood was over? Who did God choose to work through? It was Noah's family, then God very clearly chose Shem, after Shem it was his line that was followed. Where was the rest of the world? They were still out there, but the Bible follows Shem's line down through Abraham, through Isaac, Israel, Jacob, the twelve children of Jacob, and so on, until there is an entire nation of people.
The Bible calls all of the rest of the people Gentiles, there is Israel, and there are Gentiles. There are always two lines that God is dealing with. One is definitely Satan, that would be the Gentiles, the other is Israel. They had God's truth, they had the true God. They are not doing well but, we begin to see that God executes laws in order to impress upon them that they are different from others.
The ones who are different from others, they have the enmity for Satan, the rest of the world are completely and totally under Satan. Turn to Deuteronomy 7. Notice how clear this division is, because now it has gotten to national size.
Deuteronomy 7:1-2 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.”
Do you see how clear the division is that God is making between His people and the rest of the world? His people have the enmity within them for Satan the devil, the others do not have any protection whatsoever from Satan.
Deuteronomy 7:3-6 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their sons, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. For you are a holy people [they are different from the rest of the world.] to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;
What happens between these two groups of people? There is a constant enmity between them. You are living through it to this day. This is one of the reasons the Muslims are after the Israelitish people, they are being driven by one from whom they have no protection. I am talking about Satan, they are being driven by it.
All through history theses two seeds have had antagonism against each other, anti-Semitism arose in one line. It has been an instrument used against the nation and the peoples God uses. Anti-Semitism is not just anti-Jewish, as the world generally assumes. All Israelites are Semites, and all the Israelite nations have been hated by the Gentile world.
What we are learning is that this hatred is not entirely natural, it is imposed by the curse as a means of protection given by God for His purposes. It is part of that wall God places between the two sides. As time moves on the effects of this curse morphs into the church. The curse passes on to Eve's seed, represented by the church, and gives the gift of the fear of the serpent as a protective warning to stay clear of the serpent and therefore his children, his seed, and the anti-God world. It reaches this climax as far as I can see in the Bible in Galatians 6:16.
There are two Israels—the Israel that belongs to God, and the other Israel that does not belong to God. The only one that has the real enmity that fears Satan the Devil is the Israel of God. That is mind-boggling how God follows through for thousands of years, what seems like almost carelessness, but it is serious to God because He wants us to be in His Kingdom.
I John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things of the world. [There is a whole world out there that does not have the enmity against Satan that we have. Satan operates freely in the world.] If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father in not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
I John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
As early as the creation, God put this fear in the children, the descendants of what He called of Eve. We are in the same family as the Messiah, who is going to kill, crush, Satan, but until then we have a measure of protection, provided by God, from Satan. It is there—He calls it a hedge in one place, a wall in another place. Satan cannot get at us unless God gives him specific permission to test us. You have a wall of protection around you to keep you from falling to the wiles of Satan the Devil. This is a promise that He gave to Eve almost 6,000 years ago. God is constant and faithful in His protection so that we do not ever get into a situation that is over our heads, on an individual basis.
Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
This is of course addressed to Eve, the representative of woman, and thus to all women in general. This verse contains two judgments regarding family relationships. The second requires a short explanation because it is not well translated. The words sorrow and conception form what is called hendiadys. It describes two words that express one idea but with one word explaining either intensifying or diminishing the other.
You have probably heard someone say that they were good and bad. That is a hendiadys. It indicates intensely angry. In this curse there is no pain associated with conception, therefore the use of the hendiadys is showing that the description is associated with the stresses of the entire process of childbirth. Therefore, God is inferring both the emotional stress, as well as the physical pain during the carrying of the child. It is actual delivery of the child, and even includes a measure of dread or concern, regarding the anticipation of what might occur to the child following its birth.
The entire process was originally intended to be one of joyous anticipation when God created Adam and Eve. But now, some of that joy, because of the sin, was removed because some of the joy associated with childbirth has been diminished and replaced by a measure of apprehension.
In Genesis 3:16, the relationship between husband and wife was also damaged. Whereas before the sins their relationship was harmoniously even handed, when the curse was imposed it shifted to a relationship that is now to some degree competitive and confrontational. It was intended by God that everybody gets along, but when they sinned something happened to their heart and they were now ashamed that they were naked.
That is what we are talking about here. The relationship of husband and wife was damaged. Some modern translators tend to translate the sentence, saying, “You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.” Sin caused marriage to be a struggle.
What Eve undoubtedly looked forward to as a great blessing, being a marriage partner, bearing children, and raising them, had become somewhat of a curse because of the fear that was introduced to the relationship. She perhaps above all other women felt the burdensome stress of her sin, greater than others.
It makes one wonder since all of the population on the earth are now something to think about, they are now confrontational, and competitive. How much of God’s judgment is carried out into the world from what was learned by example and practiced between husband and wife?
There is a major hope of promise that despite the curse, it is to Eve's seed that is going to be born and provide the solution to the restoration of all blessings promised at the beginning. That of course is the coming Messiah. In a way she is given that piece of joy, that from her line came the Messiah and this burden is going to be lifted at that time through Him.