We all know the story from Sunday school.
That talking deceptive LITERAL snake slithers down and gets Eve to eat of the tree.
As someone who never understood biblical language, imagery and metaphor, this was pretty easy to believe. But think about it...a talking snake who deceived and caused all mankind to die???
In Genesis chapter 3 after the "serpent" convinces Eve to sin against God, God says this to the "serpent"...
"So the Lord God said to the serpent....On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust. All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
Who here has seen a snake devour some "dust" for it's meal? :)
Anyways, if we keep the "snake" language in mind and take a look at how the Jewish Pharisees, the opposition of Christ, were referred to in the New Testament accounts, we should see a striking resemblance. Here are a few passages...
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “BROOD OF VIPERS! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matthew 3:7
Brood? Meaning, children? Or, offspring? Or, descendants?
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. BROOD OF VIPERS!" Matthew 12:33-34
Jesus referring to them as again, "SONS OF A SNAKE?"
“Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. SERPENTS! Brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell (gehenna)?" Matthew 23:31-33
Woah! Jesus just called them the EXACT same thing we see the deceiver in the garden called!
Does this mean that they were literal "snakes"?????
Or were these deceptive, opposing, cunning, and wicked, PEOPLE?
Now remember when God promised to put enmity between the seed of the "serpent" and the seed of the "woman"? Who was this referring to?
Could it be the enmity between the BELIEVERS IN CHRIST and the PHARISEES OF THE LAW?
Look what we read Paul write to the Romans in the very last chapter of the letter, roughly 10-15 years before the entire Jewish Law system, temple, sacrifices, and everything associated with it would come crashing down...
"And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet SHORTLY." Romans 16:20
Kind of matches the Genesis prediction that God would crush the head of the serpent does it not?
Is the "satan" there in Romans 16:20, the "opposition to Christ?"
When Peter was told "get behind me SATAN", was Jesus calling him a literal devil with horns? Or was Jesus saying "you are opposing my will Peter"?
Look how the vivid metaphoric symbolism describes the enmity between the Pharisees (seed of serpent) and the believers (seed of the woman) during that time...
"Then from the mouth of the serpent spewed water like a river to overtake the woman and sweep her away in the torrent." Revelation 12:15
The point is, if we are going to hold the "serpent" as literal in the garden....we MUST hold the "serpents" as literal in the gospels.
If the serpent in the garden was a babbling deceptive literal reptile, then so were the Pharisees whom Jesus called serpents and warned about being tossed in the fiery "hell" located just outside the city walls known as Gehenna.
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