THE BATTLE OF THE AGES
When Jesus Christ our commander in chief died on Calvary, the spiritual forces of good and evil were engaged in a cataclysmic conflict. No other battle in the history of the universe was so fraught with eternal implications for the human family. It was pivotal! It was decisive! It was the battle of the ages!
This showdown was promised in the dim light of the “starlight age,” when mother Eve fell victim to the deadly deception of the Devil. In eating of the forbidden fruit, she demonstrated a truth that is still applicable today, namely, that mankind on his own is no match for the subtlety of the smooth snake called Satan. It was here that God gave the promise of human deliverance in one called the seed of woman who was to bruise the devil’s head and in the process, have his heel bruised (Gen 3: 15).
The expression “seed of woman” is unique here, because the seed, or offspring in ancient genealogy, is generally attributed to the man. But this is a forecasting of the virgin conception and birth of Jesus. Isaiah called this a sign from the Lord. (Isaiah 7:14) The bruising of Satan’s head is the destruction of his power. The Hebrew writer explains that Satan had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). The word death is translated from a Greek word that means separation, hence Satan had the power to separate men from God and hold them prisoners through the medium of sin. Jesus, the seed of woman would accomplish this victory through His incarnation and death. Since the imprisoned ones were humans, their deliverer of necessity had to become like them (Hebrews 2:17). When He died as a representative of the human family, He was paying the just penalty for the crime of sin and destroying Satan’s power to hold sinners separated from God. The Hebrew writer speaks of the effects of Jesus’ death in the following words: “......That through death He might destroy Him that had the power of death that is the Devil. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2: 14, 15).
This deliverance is human redemption, packaged in the messianic hope and was the subject of Old Testament prophecy and typology. Abraham saw the day of Jesus through the eye of faith and could not contain his emotions (John 8:56). Moses typified the death of Christ and the resultant healing from the poison of sin when he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness so Israel could look and live. (Numbers 21:9, John 3:14). Isaiah spoke plainly about the lamb who would be wounded for our transgression and of the justification that this would bring to many (Isaiah 53:7,8,11). Micah predicted that the city of Bethlehem would be the place of His incarnation, and Jonah prefigured His burial by his three days and three nights ordeal in the belly of the whale (Matt 12: 40). David predicted the resurrection of Christ when he said “......Thou will not leave my soul in Hades neither will thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10), and Daniel had a vision of His coronation as He ascended, clad with the clouds of heaven. (Dan 7:13, 14). Truly the Apostle Peter was right when he said “Jesus was preached before unto you” and that all the prophets had “foretold of these days” (Acts 3: 20, 24).
At stake in the conflict was the freedom of the greatest number of prisoners. No one regardless of his ethnic origin, social status or educational attainment, had successfully resisted the diabolical power of the demigod called the Devil. The Israelites, with whom God sustained a special covenant relationship, and from which nation the savior would come, became his victims through transgression. The Gentiles who did not have that law and were a law unto themselves, were also taken captive by Satan. The scriptures declare that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3: 23).
So for all of humanity, the cross is inexpressibly important. There, Christ the seed of woman got his heel bruised in His crucifixion. But there the Devil was dealt a crushing and terminal blow from which he can never recover. Today, Satan roars but only because he is deathly wounded. His eternal fate has been settled in “the battle of the ages”.
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