What does “crush your head” in Genesis 3:15 mean?


Without any difficulty, we can prove that Jehovah is talking to the serpent, which is Satan the Devil.

However, in order to be able to identify the “woman” and her “offspring”, we need to analyze what Jehovah prophesied to happen between the serpent and the seed of the woman.

The verse says: “He [the seed of the woman] will crush your [Satan the Devil] head, and you will strike him in the heel.”

There will be a fight between “the seed of the woman” and the “serpent”. The offspring of the woman is obviously a human. The human is capable of stepping on the serpents head. On the other hand a serpent can hardly bite a standing human in the head, but is capable of biting a person in the heel.

Crushing the Head of Satan

The Hebrew Text used twice the same word, which can be translated crush (NIRV), bruise (ESV), strike (NIV)

The same word is used in connection with both head and heel, to show that on both sides the intention is to destroy the opponent; at the same time, the expressions head and heel denote a majus and minus, or, as Calvin says, superius et inferius

Keil & Delitzsch

In this fight between man and serpent, both want to destroy each other. The serpent manages to bite the heel of the man. At least a painful, if bitten by a poisonous snake, possible deadly wound for the man. But the man manages to step and crush the serpents head. The animal is dead.
The wound of the offspring of the woman is minor (“inferius”), but the wound of the serpent is deadly (“superius”).

In the NT Paul mentions the crushing of the Devil:

For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly

Ro 16:20
  • “Paul here used a Greek word, syn·triʹbo, that means to bruise into a jellylike state, to trample down, to destroy utterly by crushing.” (re chap. 40 pp. 286-295)
  • The same Greek word is used at Re 2:27 to describe that the nations “will be broken to pieces like clay vessels.”
  • There is no hope for Satan, the Devil to survive the attack of the “seed of the woman”.

Further, Paul also uses the plural when writing: “under your feet”. Therefore, more than one person participates in the destruction of Satan.

Satan’s Progressive Destruction

The book of Revelation shows, that the end of Satan will take a period of over 1000 years and includes 3 stages.

Stage 1. Satan is cast out of the presence of God

And war broke out in heaven: Miʹcha·el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven

Re 12:7,8

Previously Satan could access Jehovah and would directly accuse faithful men before God (Re 12:10; Job 1:16), but from this stage on no more.

Than the serpent trailing along the ground, no emblem can more aptly illustrate the character and condition of the apostate spirit who once occupied a place among the angels of God, but has been cast down to the earth, preparatory to his deeper plunge into the fiery lake

Pulpit Commentary

From that day on there would be “a short period of time” (Re 12:12) until the next stage.

Stage 2. Satan is imprisoned for 1000 years

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years.

Re 20:1,2

In this stage, Satan will be inactive for 1000 years and then released from his “prison” (Re 20:7).

Stage 3. Satan’s Destruction

And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur

Re 20:10

After once more misleading humanity he will be thrown into the “lake of fire”.
What is the lake of fire? As explained in Re 20:10: “[The Lake of Fire] means the second death”. Satan together with unrepentant sinners and even symbolic elements as Death (Re 20:14) will be thrown into the lake of fire. Therefore, it is not a literal place, but a symbol for death without hope or complete destruction.

Stage 4. Removing every trace of Satan

24 Next, the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power.
25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet.
26 And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.
27 For God “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that this does not include the One who subjected all things to him.
28 But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone

1Co 15:24-28

In the last step Jesus Christ will have removed every trace of Satan and his governments. Death will be destroyed and all things will be united with God again.

  • Who participates in the crushing of Satan because Paul wrote under “your” (plural) feet?
  • Who is Michael who threw Satan out of Heaven?
  • Who is the angel imprisoning Satan?
  • Who then is capable of destroying Satan, by throwing him in the lake of fire, but was at the same time wounded by the Devil?
  • Who is the “seed of the woman”?