Who is “the Woman’s offspring” in Genesis 3:15?

And I (1)
will put enmity (2)
between you (3)
and the woman (4)
and between your offspring (5)
and her offspring (6).
He will crush your head (7),
and you will strike him in the heel (8)

Genesis Chapter 3 Verse 15 or Ge 3:15

Introduction

To identify the “offspring” (or “seed” KJV) of the “woman”, we need to focus on what the seed does or what happens to it.

The in Genesis 3:15 mentioned “serpent” is Satan, the Devil and the phrase “crush your head” indicates the complete destruction of Satan.

The “offspring” of the “woman” is consequently the person or group who will completely destroy Satan the Devil. But who is this “seed” or “offspring” which will cause Satan’s destruction? First, we need to answer another question.

Is the Woman’s Offspring an Individual or a Collective?

When analyzing the scripture, did you notice that it says “He will crush your head”? However, in the sentence before it says “your offspring and her offspring”. The Hebrew word “zera‘” translated “seed” represents a collective.

Why do we find in most English Bibles

1

the translation: “He will crush your head” instead of “They [or it] will crush your head”?

In the LXX2 the word “seed” is translated σπέρμα (neuter). This is why we would expect “they/it” in the next sentence, but the Greek translation uses αὐτός (masculine) which means “he” instead. That the LXX-translators use the word “he” instead of “they/it” is not only a vague interpretation that a male individual will destroy Satan. Pointed out by professor Jack Collins3, this translation is also supported syntactically by analyzing other Hebrew scriptures and their usage of the word “seed”.
Hebrew allows both variations: either to understand the word “seed” as a single person or as a group.

The “seed” who crushes the serpent could consequently be viewed as an individual or also as a collective.

The “Sacred Secret” of the Seed Gets Progressively Revealed

… the sacred secret that was hidden from the past systems of things and from the past generations …

Col 1:26

Paul described Jesus Christ and his anointed followers as a “secret” which was hidden in the past ages. Yes, the secret about the chosen “seed” was not revealed immediately.

The Bible progressively reveals how Satan’s influence will decrease to the point of his total destruction. In the same manner, the Bible also reveals step-by-step the full identity of the “seed of the woman”, the one who will destroy Satan.

1. Seth

Eve may understand that the seed will come through her son Seth.

… in Genesis 4:25 the woman calls her son Seth zera‘ ’ahִēr (‘another seed [descendant]’) in place of the one slain. That is, she recognises that neither Cain nor Abel could be the ‘seed’ of 3:15: Cain because of his banishment from the Lord’s presence (4:16), and Abel because of his premature death.

Jack Collins: A syntactical note (Genesis 3:15): Is the woman’s seed singular or plural?

2. Abraham

And by means of your offspring all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves because you have listened to my voice.’”

Ge 22:18

God promises Abram that mankind will be blessed by his offspring.

God even renames Abram to Abraham (Ge 17:5) which means “Father of a Crowd”. Although Abraham has many children, Jehovah indicates that only through his son Isaac a special blessing will come (Ge 21:12).

3. Isaac

… by means of your offspring, all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves

Ge 26:4

God confirms to Isaac that through his children the world will be blessed.

4. Jacob

I am Jehovah the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you are lying, to you I am going to give it and to your offspring and by means of your offspring all the families of the ground will certainly be blessed.

Ge 28:13,14

Jehovah confirms the special blessing would continue through Jacob.

5. Judah

The scepter will not depart from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiʹloh comes, and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong

Ge 49:10

The term “Shiloh” means “He Whose It Is; He to Whom It Belongs”. These prophetic words indicate one of Judah’s offspring will have the legal right to receive “the scepter” (sovereignty) and “the commander’s staff” (rulership) over “the peoples” (mankind).

6. King David

Your house and your kingdom will be secure forever before you; your throne will be firmly established forever.

2Sa 7:16

Jehovah has sworn an oath, and he will not change his mind:
“You [the one David calls Lord] are a priest forever In the manner of Melchizedek!”

Ps 110:4

Jehovah promises to faithful David from the tribe of Judah that the kingdom of the future Messiah will come from his offspring4.

For a child has been born to us, A son has been given to us;
And the rulership will rest on his shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
To the increase of his rulership
And to peace, there will be no end,
On the throne of David and on his kingdom
In order to establish it firmly and to sustain it
Through justice and righteousness,
From now on and forever.

Is 9:6,7

About 300 years later the inspired prophet Isiah reveals more details about the outstanding qualities of the coming Messiah. He also confirms that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants.

7. King Solomon to King Zedekiah

‘Remove the turban, and take off the crown. This will not remain the same. Raise up the low one, and bring low the high one.
A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I will make it. And it will not belong to anyone until the one who has the legal right comes, and I will give it to him.’

Eze 21:26, 27

After David’s death, his son Solomon begins to rule and this monarchy continues until God damns the last Jewish king Zedekiah – all from the line of David. Jehovah tells the prophet Ezekiel that after this one more king has come: the one with “legal right”.

8. Jesus Christ

This one [Jesus] will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as King over the house of Jacob forever …

Lu 1:32, 33

These are the words of the angel who visited Maria while she was pregnant with Jesus. Her son is the awaited Messiah. David is called his father because Maria and his step-father Joseph are both from the family line of David.

For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, to break up the works of the Devil

1Jo 3:8

Why did Jesus come to earth? Why was he “made manifest” in a human body?
The main purpose of his coming is to destroy the works of the Devil5.

But if it is by means of God’s spirit that I expel the demons, the Kingdom of God has really overtaken you. Or how can anyone invade the house of a strong man and seize his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Only then can he plunder his house.

Mt 12:28,29

While still on earth Jesus already starts to “plunder his [the Devil’s] house”, by expelling demons. Jesus literally enters into Satan’s domain on earth and begins to “break up the works of the Devil”.

Jesus also starts to share his God-given powers with his apostles, which enables them to expel demons and heal the sick.

I [Jesus] see Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven

Lu 10:18

After Jesus sees the God-given success of his apostles, he can already visualize for himself the events leading to Satan’s destruction.

In the first step, Satan would “fall” from heaven – which indicates Satan being expelled from heaven. No “place was found any longer in heaven” for Satan and his demons (Re 12:8).

… the ruler of this world [Satan] will be cast out

Jo 12:31

Five days before Jesus sacrificial death he indicates that Satan also “will be cast out” from his position as ruler over the earth.

Then there is no place for Satan in Heaven nor on Earth, he will end up in spiritual imprisonment.

9. Jesus Christ in Heaven and his 144,000 Co-rulers

Many Jews expect Jesus (Lu 24:21) to set up a government of God and free the Jews from Roman oppression.

Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?

Ac 1:6

Even after Jesus’ resurrection, his apostles ask him if now he will now start to rule as king. Jesus says that it is not their business to know the exact time “Father has placed in his jurisdiction” (Ac 1:7).

Before Satan’s system will be destroyed some requirements need to be fulfilled.

But this man offered one sacrifice for sins for all time and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on waiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet

Heb 10:12, 13

Jesus victory over his enemies would include 3 steps 6

  1. offered one sacrifice” – Jesus had to give his life as a sacrifice
  2. sat down at the right hand of God” – Jesus then needed to be resurrected to return to Heaven. Satan’s spirit body cannot be harmed by any human weapon, therefore a “spiritual weapon” 7 is needed. This requires Jesus to be in Heaven.
  3. waiting” – A waiting period is required
  4. his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet” – Then Jesus enemies will be defeated.

Additionally, Jesus invites some of his chosen faithful followers to participate in his victory:

… I [Jesus] make a covenant with you [faithful apostles], just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the 12 tribes of Israel

Lu 22:29, 30

Shortly before his death, Jesus makes a special covenant with his closest followers. Because his eleven faithful apostles “stuck with him in his trials” (Lu 22:28), they are for him like “brothers” (He 2:11). Jesus invites them to share in the privilege of ruling with him together as kings from Heaven.

… and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth

Re 5:10

In the last book of the Bible, we find more details about Jesus kingdom. Jesus’s invited followers should be “priests” and “kings over the earth”. Together they would be the future rulers over the earth and replace the current ruler Satan (1Jo 4:19).

Does this mean everybody who is a Christian, is also an anointed brother of Christ?

The members of a government are relatively few compared to the great number of citizens. Considering the many faithful servants of God, also Christ’s brothers are comparatively few.

… the 144,000, who have been bought from the earth

Re 14:3

In the book of Revelation, we find the apparently literal number of 144,000 co-rulers. As Jesus mentioned, other faithful servants of God, especially those who lived before Christ was on earth, “will inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5), but not rule over it.

But the one who guarantees that you and we belong to Christ and the one who anointed us is God

2Co 1:21

Therefore, Jehovah chooses some selected faithful individuals and “anointed” them to rule together with Christ.

Moreover, if you belong to Christ [anointed Christians], you are really Abraham’s offspring, heirs with reference to a promise

Ga 3:29

Therefore, the seed of Genesis 3:15 is not Jesus alone, but includes those whom he invited to be part of his future government of “priests and kings”.

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

Ro 16:20

Satan will not only be put under the feet of Jesus, but also under “your feet”, which addressed to Jesus’ 144,000 co-rulers.

Conclusion: Who is the “seed” who will destroy the Devil?

God’s Kingdom through its king Jesus Christ and his 144,000 co-rulers will destroy Satan’s system and eventually “crush the serpents head”.

  • The Hebrew word for “seed” or “offspring” (of the woman) in Genesis 3:15 can be understood as singular or plural.
  • Understanding the word as singular is correct because Jesus Christ indeed is the one single key element. Without his sacrificial death, none of the future blessings for humans would be possible. After his return to Heaven, he is the primary element of the “seed” and he prepared the way for others.
  • Also, to understand the seed as plural is correct because Jesus invited 144,000 of his faithful followers to rule with him together and share in his victory over Satan. From this perspective, Jesus and his co-rulers as a collective represent the “seed of the woman”.
  1. Only 8 out of 27 English Bible Translations at Biblehub.com do not use “He”.

    1. it shall bruise thy head (King James)
    2. One of hers will strike you on the head (Contemporary English Version)
    3. her offspring will attack your head (NET Bible)
    4. they shall bruise thy head (JPS Tanakh 1917)
    5. that seed shall bruise thy head (Jubilee Bible 2000)
    6. she shall crush thy head (Douay-Rheims Bible)
    7. it shall bruise thy head (English Revised Version)
    8. it shall bruise thy head (Webster’s Bible Translation)

  2. Stands for the Septuagint, the earliest Greek translation from the original Hebrew scriptures.
  3. “A syntactical note (Genesis 3:15): Is the woman’s seed singular or plural?”
  4. Jesus confirms himself in Mt 22:42-46 that the Christ comes from the line of David (“Son of David”)
  5. The Bible indicates that love was the main motivator (Jo 3:16), but we can rightfully say the main purpose of Jesus coming is to repair the damage done by the “works of the Devil”. In fact, if the first human couple would not have fallen into the Devils’ slavery, there would be no reason for Jesus to become human
  6. This thought is mentioned several times in the bible (Jesus: Lu 20:42, 43; Peter: Ac 2:34, 35; Paul: 1Co 15:25 and Heb 1:3) and is based on a prophecy of David found in Ps 110:1
  7. Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on Genesis 3:15