- The Woman of Ge 3:15: Who is she?
- The Obvious Understanding: She is Eve?
- 4 Reasons Why “the Woman” Has A Deeper Meaning
- What do other scriptures say about origin of the “offspring”?
- What is the connection to “the woman arrayed with the sun” (Re 12)?
- Combining other parts of the Bible: What do we know about “the Woman”?
- Conclusion: Who is the Woman of Genesis 3:15?
The Woman of Ge 3:15: Who is she?
The person most difficult to identify in Genesis 3:15 is “the Woman”. Considering the context of the scripture it seems to be Eve. However, after considering more details and other parts of the Bible it appears that this woman is more than just human.
The scripture itself gives us 3 key details about “the Woman”:
|#||Genesis 3:15||What we can learn from the detail||How other parts of the Bible can help to identify|
|1||“… the woman …”||This Hebrew word is translated “woman” but can also mean “wife”||How is the word “woman” used in the Bible?|
|2||“And I [Jehovah] will put [or cause] enmity between you [Satan] and the woman …”||God changed a previously peaceful relationship between her and Satan to enmity||Who had previously a peaceful relationship with Satan but later became his enemy?|
|3||“… He [the woman’s child] will crush your [Satan] head, and you will strike him in the heel.”||Her child (or children) will eventually destroy Satan, but will be also attacked and injured by Satan||What does the Bible say about the origin of those who will destroy Satan?|
The Obvious Understanding: She is Eve?
Many Bible readers and scholars assume that “the Woman” simply refers to Eve. This seems reasonable because she was the only woman existing at that time and also the context of Genesis 3 is talking about Eve.
We know that “offspring” of “the Woman” is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and his chosen 144,000 co-rulers because they received a “heel wound” while on earth (through persecution, in Jesus’s case to the point of execution) but will in return “crush” the serpent, which means they will annihilate Satan in the future.
The anticipation for the Messiah began with Eve and lead through many faithful servants of God like Abraham, Isaac, Jakob, and David until Mary eventually gave birth to Jesus. From the fleshly perspective, “the Woman” is human – beginning with Eve the line of people leading to the birth of the Messiah.
However, from a spiritual perspective “the Woman”, like “the Serpent”, has a heavenly origin. Let us consider some scriptural evidence for this.
4 Reasons Why “the Woman” Has A Deeper Meaning
1. Considering the other persons mentioned in Genesis 3:15
The last book of the Bible reveals that the mind behind “the Serpent” in Genesis 3 was the spirit person Satan (Re 12:9). Likewise “the Offspring of the Woman” is not a human or a group of humans but prophetically point to Jesus Christ and the 144,000 after their resurrection to Heaven. Only then would have the authority and power to destroy Satan. Thus, “the Woman” or the mother of “the Offspring” must represent more than just Eve.
2. Eve or humans are not Satan’s enemies
God stated after the incident of rebellion, that not he himself, but “the Woman” and her children are going to be Satan’s enemy. Eve, although she felt tricked, was not Satan’s enemy, but his victim. She was a vital tool for Satan to gain influence. Adam and Eve unwittingly supported Satan and became rebellious themselves.
Humanity, the offspring of Eve, is not Satan’s enemy either:
… the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earthRe 12:9
Today big parts of humanity prove through their conduct and qualities that they are in fact “mislead” by Satan (Mt 23:33) and not his enemies.
The Devil’s true enemies, on the other hand, are other spirit creatures like him, who oppose Satan’s rebellion against the Creator. Different to humans, those spirit creatures are capable to be the Devil’s true enemies by actively resisting his plans or even destroy him.
3. No human can destroy Satan
Genesis 3:15 says that the children of “the Woman” will destroy Satan. But no human is capable to destroy, a spirit person like Satan. Through a study of other books of the Bible, we find out that Jesus Christ and his co-rulers, not in human form, but while in Heaven will destroy Satan. The key point is that Jesus not in his vulnerable human form, but as a mighty resurrected spirit person would be capable to destroy Satan.
4. It is not about her gender and the word “Woman” is not always referring to a female human in the Bible
Considering other usages of the word “woman” in the Bible:
In several instances women are used symbolically to represent congregations or organizations of people. They also are employed to symbolize cities.Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2 p. 1197-1198
Some examples of Bible passages where “woman” has a symbolic meaning:
- Christ’s glorified congregation is spoken of as his “bride” (Re 21:2, 9; 19:7)
- Jehovah calls Israel his “wife” or “woman” (Is 54:5,6)
- Cities: Considered as the mother and its inhabitants her children or smaller cities her daughters
- Moab (Jer 48:41)
- Egypt (Jer 46:11)
- Rabbah of Ammon (Jer 49:2)
- Babylon (Jer 51:13)
- Jerusalem and Samaria (Eze 23:4)
- Jerusalem as the pride of God (Is 62:1-5)
Her gender does not seem of great importance. The same word “offspring” is used first for the Woman’s offspring as feminine, but also for the serpent as masculine. The serpent (male) will have children and the female woman will have children. The main point is not that a woman is required to give birth to somebody, but that something originates from her in the same way as something originates from Satan. The Bible doesn’t say that Satan created children, but he lured other spirit creatures and humans into his thinking.
What do other scriptures say about origin of the “offspring”?
We know that the children of “the Woman” refer to Jesus Christ and his 144 000 anointed co-rules. What does the Bible say about the origin of Jesus Christ or the 144 000? As they all represent the “offspring” they have to be brothers and sisters and therefore share the same mother.
Jesus Christ origin
Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world wasJo 14:4, 5
Jesus’s life did not originate with Mary, but his existence passed through Mary, and she enabled him to be born as a human baby. No wonder that Jesus himself would not see Mary as his real “mother”.
As there was a crowd sitting around him, they said to him: “Look! Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.”Mr 3:32-35
But he replied to them: “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
Then he looked at those sitting around him in a circle and said: “See, my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, this one is my brother and sister and mother.
Jesus existed long before Mary was born or Israel came into existence. Even “before the world” was, which is before humanity. Mary is therefore not the source of Jesus’ life and not where he originated from. Jesus considers those doing the will of God as his family.
The 144.000 origin
The group of 144 000 spirit-anointed Christians share with Jesus Christ in the “crushing of the serpent” and are therefore also included in the “offspring” of “the Woman”.
Now Haʹgar means Siʹnai, a mountain in Arabia, and she corresponds with the Jerusalem today, for she is in slavery with her children.Ga 4:26
But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Paul contrast the difference between those who have “Jerusalem” as their “mother”, Jews who are still “enslaved” under the Mosaic law and Jewish traditions, and spirit-anointed Christians who are children of “Jerusalem above”. The “above” indicates the heavenly origin contrasting the city Jerusalem of earthly origin.
For it is written: “Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; break into joyful shouting, you woman who does not have birth pains; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.“ Now you, brothers, are children of the promise the same as Isaac wasGa 4:27,28
Hagar received her son through natural reproduction or “natural descent”, but Sarah because far beyond the age of childbearing, received Isaac “through a promise” or a miracle accomplished by Holy Spirit.
Paul continues, that the birth through Holy Spirit would fulfill a prophecy he quoted from the book of Isiah.
“Shout joyfully, you barren woman who has not given birth!Is 54:1
Who is this barren woman? She represents Jerusalem which was desolate and “barren” because the Babylonians destroyed the city and exiled the surviving inhabitants. But this condition should not last forever, Jerusalem will “give birth” and the city will be inhabited again.
In the greater fulfillment Paul applies it to “Jerusalem above”, also a “barren woman” because before the incarnation of Jesus Christ she had no children or representatives on earth. After Christ returned to heaven, his spirit-anointed brothers and sisters who would be “ambassadors substituting Christ” (2Co 5:20).
Do not be amazed because I told you: You people must be born againJo 3:7
Although born as normal humans they are “reborn” through Holy Spirit, thus children of “Jerusalem above”. Like the barren woman in Is 54 she did not give birth by her natural reproductive powers, but by a “promise” which was fulfilled through Holy Spirit.
… he [Jesus Christ] might be the firstborn among many brothersRo 8:29
Jesus, in his earthly existence, was, therefore, the firstborn of “Jerusalem above” or “the barren Woman”. This does not mean that Jesus or his spirit-anointed brothers and sisters are born by a mystical goddess. The Bible makes clear that God’s creative powers do not depend on any assistance.
For both the one who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified all stem from one, and for this reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers …He 2:11
Who is then the “barren woman” or “Jerusalem above”?
For your Grand Maker is as your husband …Is 54:5
The “barren woman” is symbolically described as the wife of Jehovah (compare Ho 2:16), therefore also “Jerusalem above” has a wife-like relationship with the Creator. “The Woman” in Genesis 3:15 has children which will destroy the serpent. The Bible shows that Jesus Christ and the group of spirit-anointed Christians will annihilate Satan. The “mother” of this group is called “Jerusalem above” or “the barren Woman” and must therefore be the same identity as “the Woman”.
What is the connection to “the woman arrayed with the sun” (Re 12)?
Many years before John wrote the book of Revelation it was clear to Christians that the serpent seducing Eve was Satan. However, only in Revelation 12:9, the “original serpent” of Genesis 3 is officially revealed to be Satan the Devil. In the same way, this chapter in the book of Revelation gives us unique information, not only about the “serpent”, but also about the identity of “the Woman” in Genesis 3:15.
The following table shows six connections between Ge 3:15 and Re 12:
|#||Similarities||Genesis 3:14, 15||Revelation chapter 12|
|1||Satan wants to harm the child of both women||… and you [Satan] will strike him in the heel [harming the child of the woman]||And the dragon kept standing before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she did give birth, it might devour her child (Verse 4)|
|2||The children of both women include Jesus Christ||He [Jesus Christ] will crush your [Satan’s] head||And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod [from Psalms 2:9 prophesy about the Messiah]. And her child was snatched away to God [sees the child as a legit son] and to his throne (Verse 5)|
|3||Revelation 12 identifies Satan as the “original serpent” and therefore directly refers to the incident in Genesis 3||Then Jehovah God said to the serpent …||So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan (Verse 9)|
|4||A warlike condition between the woman and the Devil||And I will put enmity between you and the woman||And the serpent spewed out water like a river from its mouth after the woman, to cause her to be drowned by the river (Verse 15)|
|5||Both women have more than one child||her offspring||So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her offspring … (Verse 17)|
|6||Both women’s children engage in the same activity. |
Jesus invited his brothers and sisters to do the “witnessing” work (Acts 1:7) and invited them to share in the destruction of Satan
|He [the woman’s offspring] will crush your [Satan’s] head||… remaining ones of her offspring, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness concerning Jesus (Verse 17)|
Combining other parts of the Bible: What do we know about “the Woman”?
Combining those scriptures and their context we can learn those details about “the Woman”. The Bible refers to her in different ways:
- The Woman (Ge 3:15)
- Jerusalem above (Ga 4:26)
- The barren woman (Is 54:1)
- A woman, arrayed with the sun (Re 12:1)
1. She can be called “God’s symbolic wife” because God loves her, protects her, and accepts her firstborn, Jesus Christ, as his son and ruler
- The Hebrew word woman can be translated both “woman” or “wife” (Ge 3:15)
- Jesus Christ is her first-born 1 (Re 12:5; Ga 3:16; Co 1:18)
- God protects her against the Devil (Re 12:6)
- “Jerusalem above” or the “barren woman” has the “Grand Maker” as her “husband” (Is 54:5). Jehovah promises to protect her: “Whoever makes an attack on you will fall because of you” (Is 54:15)
2. She has more than one child. Her “children” are adopted from the earth through the Holy Spirit
- “So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her offspring …” (Re 12:17)
- Like the Devil has “children” in the form of human followers, so “the Woman” has children in form of Spirit-anointed Christians (Ga 4:26)
- And all your sons will be taught by Jehovah, And the peace of your sons will be abundant (Is 54:13)
- “… while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons, the release from our bodies by ransom” (Ro 8:23)
3. She is heavenly, not an individual, but symbolically (“a sign”) represents a collective
- “Jerusalem above” or the Jerusalem in Heaven (Ga 4:26)
- She is neither a goddess nor a person, but a “great sign in heaven” (Re 12:1)
- In the book of Revelation “Babylon the Great” (also symbolized as a woman) represents the collective of false religion, similarly “the woman arrayed with the sun” is a collective of faithful spirit creatures supporting God’s sovereignty
- God does not require a counterpart to produce anything. The Bible says that “all stem from one” (Heb 2:11)
4. All her children first participate in a “witnessing” or preaching work
- “I [Jesus Christ] have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (Jo 18:37)
- … remaining ones of her offspring [anointed Christians after Jesus returned to Heaven], who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness concerning Jesus (Re 12:17)
5. She and her children are the chief enemies of Satan. Her children will destroy Satan
- The Bible describes Satan attacking her, but in fact, he attacks her children.
- … and you [Satan] will strike him in the heel [harming the child of the woman] (Ge 3:15)
- So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her offspring … (Re 12:17)
- “He [or it, the Woman’s child or offspring] will crush your [Satan’s] head …” (Ge 3:15)
Conclusion: Who is the Woman of Genesis 3:15?
From a fleshly perspective, “the Woman” symbolizes Eve and the line of humans leading to the birth of the Messiah or Christ. From a deeper and spiritual perspective, “the Woman” represents the collective of faithful heavenly creatures (angels) supporting God’s sovereignty against Satan’s claims.
When Satan questioned God’s way of ruling he not only started a rebellion on Earth but also in Heaven. The peaceful relationship between all spirit creatures ended and God “caused enmity” between Satan and the supporters of God (“the Woman”). The Woman consists of Michael (which means who is like God) and all other faithful angels and heavenly creatures supporting God. She is not an individual or a female god. Like a faithful wife supports her husband, so all faithful spirit creatures support the Creator. She can be also called God’s heavenly organization which supports Jehovah’s will.
The “Woman’s” first child is Jesus Christ, an incarnated spirit person, who was “born” at his baptism after being anointed by God’s Spirit. He was the first representative of God’s heavenly supporters on Earth who lived human life from birth to his execution. He later received authority to invite humans of Adam descent to be “adopted” as “God’s sons”. This group of 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians and Jesus Christ himself further receive the authority from God to destroy Satan and the system he built. This “offspring” has to go through many tribulations and difficulties while carrying out their preaching work on earth, eventually though “the Woman” by means of her “offspring” will be victorious over Satan and his followers.
- “The Word [logos]” (Jo 1:1) or also referred to as archangel “Michael” (“Who is like God?”) is also included in “the Woman” because he is the foremost supporter of Jehovah and the main enemy of Satan. He incarnated on Earth as Jesus and after his baptism and spirit-anointing, he became the Christ or Messiah, the firstborn child of “the Woman” or the first representative of God’s heavenly organization on earth.