Human beings have a natural aversion to snakes. Snakes lie low to the ground and are often hidden or camouflaged. Therefore when a human is walking in a wilderness area, he or she must be cautious lest they accidentally step on or near a poisonous snake. The snake could then strike the human’s leg or foot. The natural reaction of the human would be to stomp on the snake to shake it loose or drive it away or kill it.. This image is used in Genesis 3:15 to predict that the Messiah would defeat Satan and free us from his power.
Satan is described as having appeared as a serpent to Adam and Eve. He defeated them and made them his slaves by tempting them into sin. But God promised to send a Savior who would defeat the serpent. Speaking to the Satan, God said, “You will strike him on the heel, but he will crush your head.” In this metaphor, Satan bites Christ on the heel wounding him, but Christ stomps Satan on the head, killing him.
This prophesy was fulfilled at the cross. There Satan in hellish fury strikes Christ, and the bite appears to be decisive as Christ dies and is placed in the tomb. But 3 days later Christ rose from the dead, proving the injury to have been temporary. On the other hand, as Christ was dying on the cross, Satan’s head was being crushed. Christ was freeing God’s people who were held in Satan’s power and might by paying the penalty for their sin. At the cross, Christ broke the bars of hell and started a mass prison break from Satan’s gulag, We, the slaves Christ freed, are liberated into the kingdom of heaven forever. Satan’s power was eternally broken.
The wound Christ received from Satan was temporary as proven by his resurrection on Easter, but the wound he gave Satan was mortal. Satan is dying from the blow Christ gave him. In his death throes, he is lashing about causing much damage, but he is dying “for lo his doom is sure.” On the cross, the head of the serpent was crushed.
This is the fourth clue in Genesis 3 that God’s grace would triumph in our lives. In the very moments after we were conquered by Satan, God began a plan for our salvation. The light of God’s grace shines a bit brighter as more of God’s plan of salvation is revealed in the Old Testament prophesies.