Jesus and the serpent
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her
seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen
The enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the
woman is equivalent to the enmity between the mind of the flesh and the mind of
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and
peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to
the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom
But Jesus brought an end to that enmity, in himself:
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin
in the flesh" (Rom 8:3).
God's plan of salvation required that His only-begotten Son be
subject to the same weak flesh, or "nature", as all other men, but that
nevertheless he would do what no other man had or could do, that is, overcome
the mind of the flesh (or the mind of the serpent) by giving himself over
completely to the mind of the Spirit of God. In doing this, Jesus "condemned"
(ie, pronounced judgment against) the "sinful" principle of the flesh.
Put another way, Jesus -- being, like us, a partaker of flesh
and blood, nevertheless "destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the
devil" -- or the diabolos (Heb 2:14,15).
The same principle is demonstrated typically, prophetically,
and pictorally, by the brazen serpent lifted up on the stake in the wilderness
(Num 21), a figure which Jesus appropriated to himself:
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of
man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
eternal life" (John 3:14,15).
How could Jesus equate himself with a serpent? This is an
extraordinary and improbable figure of speech, and only makes sense -- I would
suggest -- if the "serpent" describes the flesh, or "nature", with its
susceptibility to a "carnal mind", which Jesus possessed -- a "nature" or
disposition of mind which, by God's grace, he overcame, condemned, and destroyed
by his faithful obedience to the Spirit-will of his Father.