February 10th marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year – ushering in the Year of the Snake. The notice caught my attention because I was born in 1953, another Year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar. I don’t even know why it really caught my attention, but it did. I think that is because I never particularly like snakes – in fact, I detest them. Last year was the Year of the Dragon – not much better if you ask me, but then again, I don’t tend to rely on the Chinese calendar.
Of course, my mind went immediately to the Old Testament, in the book of Genesis, and to the Garden of Eden. Because after the creation of the world, and the advent of Adam and Eve, God had created the perfect habitat for mankind. Adam and Eve were to live in community with the God of the universe and he walked with them after filling Adam with life; directly from the breath of God. Soon after, Eve was created, and we are told in the Scripture, that this was from the rib of Adam.
After this perfect environment had been created, Adam and Eve were given instructions about not eating from the tree that God had determined was off limits for them. The serpent, on the other hand, was crafty, and convinced Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree. Many people mistakenly assume that Eve ate the “apple” but we are not told anywhere in the Bible that the fruit was actually an apple. Then Adam followed suit and both of them committed the first human sins against God. The serpent, or snake, had been successful in creating doubt in their minds about the intent of God and so mankind was cursed.
Most folks don’t realize that there were actually three curses. The snake was cursed to crawl on its belly, Eve was told that childbirth would be painful for women and the ground was cursed because of the sin of Adam. Notice that Adam himself wasn’t cursed, but work was created to be toilsome as a result of the Fall. There was one other part of the curse that was assigned to the snake. And that is what we call a pre-incarnate reference to Christ in the Old Testament. In fact, it is the first reference directly to Christ in the entire Bible. And that verse just happens to be the verse for the evening.
In Gen. 3:15, we are told, and this is God speaking, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” What this means is that Satan, who took the form of a serpent or snake in the Garden, will constantly attack Christ. Notice that, like a little animal, Satan will nip at the heels of Christ, but the good news is that Christ will eventually crush the head of Satan.
There has been some debate about when this occurs. Christians believe that this victory over Satan occurred when Christ triumphed over death at His Resurrection. This was the bridge that reunited us with God the Father after the separation that occurred after the Fall in the Garden of Eden – of course, this is the celebration we note on Easter each year.
Another reference, this time to Satan as a dragon, happens in Rev. 12. We are told that there was a war in heaven and that Satan, with approximately a third of the angels (those who supported him) fought Michael and his angels. Satan’s side lost and he, along with his legions of angels, was cast down from heaven. Whatever animal you wish to refer to in discussing Satan, be it snake, serpent or dragon, notice that all of them are creatures that have a sinister connotation in our culture. Even phrases such as “a snake in the grass” hold negative imagery for most of us.
My encouragement this evening is that the God of the universe desires to walk with you – every step of your life, and then into eternity, forever. You can rest assured that Jesus will be victorious over Satan and that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. My prayer is that you recognize that the year of the snake, if there ever was one, had to be the year that Adam and Eve sinned in that Garden. However, we are no longer in the year of the snake, now or ever again. For we are in the year of our Lord, this year and every year since His resurrection. So sit back, relax, and know that God has you covered. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…