A SORE HEEL VERSUS A SORE HEAD.
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." Gen. 3:15.
This prophecy was made at a time when all seemed to be lost, at the door of life, at the door of death. With a life of pure unsullied enjoyment in prospect, the new pair had taken possession of the new earth. They had a richer dowry than had ever fallen to the lot of morally intelligent beings. (The power of transmission, and this power in the lower order of animals was for man's benefit.) They were not the first children of their father, i.e., not the first created, but the first of their class.
In their complex structure the animal and the intellectual were wonderfully united, and they were made capable of receiving (through faith) a divine nature, (1 Peter 1:4,) which from an embryo condition (1 Peter 1:3-5,) shall finally (in the resurrection) come forth a spiritual, immortal body, (1 Cor. 15:44,) the gift of God through Jesus Christ. Some have taught and do teach that man had and still has a spiritual nature, but Paul speaking of the first and second Adam, (1 Cor. 15:45-46,) says, "the first man Adam was made a living soul"; (literally animal soul, or living being,) the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." How be it that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual.
There are several scriptures, which, taken alone, would seem to some to indicate a combination of the natural and spiritual, such as 2 Cor. 4:16. "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. That the inward man here is the renewed mind, we learn from Rom. 7:22-23: "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity [R191 : page 6] to the law of sin which is in my members--(the natural man, the sore heel).
Again, that the inward man is the renewed mind, or the begotten life, we infer from Col. 3:10, where Paul says: they "have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." And this harmonizes with what John said to those who came to him (Matt. 3:2) saying: "repent ye (change or have another mind) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The royal heir was then present though unknown.
We wish to bring before the minds of those who read this, the thought that through the infinite wisdom and love of the ever blessed God, only the animal nature of man (called the heel) will be overcome and fall into the hands of the enemy for a time; that the superior part, the life, the seed, (hid with Christ in God) shall escape, and even for a sore heel there is an [R192 : page 6] excellent preparation. Doubtless the splendid dowry of this wonderful pair excited the cupidity of the enemy, and he thought, that if this marvel of creation, with the power of transmitting its life and qualities, could be smuggled into his kingdom, a powerful ally would be gained.
That Satan knew that man would die, is, to our mind extremely doubtful; he had God's word for it, the same as they had, but disbelieved God's word, just as all Satan's children do. He had never seen one die and disbelieved in death altogether and accordingly said: "ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Though the latter was true (Gen. 3:22,) yet they all soon knew that the former was false. And yet the enemy still constrains people to believe and teach that they are immortal, and that he will yet get the most of them and hold dominion of the most cruel sort over them eternally. But "thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," Satan was foiled and man was to die. What! thank God that man was to die? Yes, "the ministration of death written and engraven in stones was glorious." 2 Cor. 3:7.
The condemnation was glorious because through its execution infinite wisdom and love were seen providing a penalty, from which eternal life could be extracted; that out from the dying race the one should come, who would destroy the deceiver. Then and there the mandate went forth, and instead of man becoming an immortal ally of the deceivers, the truth of the words "dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," and "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed," took immediate effect, and the first death soon after, showed that the enemy only had hold of the heel--the natural man.
A warfare of six thousand years has not lessened the enmity, but yet the malice and art of the enemy have not been able to reach higher than the heel of "the seed." Thank God! What he evidently expected to gain (and what orthodoxy teaches that he did gain, viz.: an immortal race,) dissolved in his grasp.
"Lift your glad voices in triumph on high;
The plan was complete and man was to die."
But--"Through death he shall escape from
And life eternal gain."
Let us notice here a marked difference in humanity; a class with a sore head, and a class with a sore heel. (We speak soberly). We say a marked difference in humanity; the latter class are not reckoned in the flesh, because they have crucified the flesh, and the renewed mind, inner man, wars with it, and says with Paul, (Gal. 2:20,) "I (the natural man) am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I (the inner man) live, yet not I but Christ (the divine nature) liveth in me," (in the renewed mind).
We understand the sore or bruised heel to represent the physical condition of Christ and his church, both as individuals, and a collective body. He humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross, that he might open a new and living way whereby these captives could be set at liberty." And those who have made, and will make a covenant with him by sacrifice, i.e. who are willing to suffer with him, and "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in their flesh (heel) for his body's sake, which is the church," shall also be glorified together with him and have the exalted privilege of helping to lift up a fallen world in the "ages to come," and thus show the "exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us."
The sore or bruised head we understand to represent the superior or thinking part, the mind, and by metonymy, the whole being. Satan is the corruptor of the human race, and those whom he corrupts are called his children (John 8:44,) and are injured in the head, (Ver. 43). "Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word." These are the ones spoken of (Ver. 15) as "thy seed" and who are to be at enmity with the seed of the woman, (Christ and those who are his,) who are said (1 Peter 1:23,) to be "born (begotten) not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
This bruise upon the head is corrupt and smells of mortality, and such a head (mind) is liable to sin "against the holy ghost, (reject light when they see it?) and is in "danger of eternal damnation" (age-lasting condemnation) whether he lives in "this world or the world (age) to come." (Mark 3:29). But this injury to "the seed of the woman" is not corrupt above the heel (the physical nature) and it, (head and body) when complete, will have put off mortality and will have life in itself; for (Rom. 2:7,) to them "who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" shall be given. But this injury to the heel is an affliction to the renewed mind, and such, like Paul, "find a law in their members warring against the law of their mind, and bringing them into captivity to the law of sin which is in their members," and cry out with him, (Rom. 7:24-25,) "Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Answer--"Jesus Christ our Lord," thank God. So then, with the mind, I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (sore heel) the law of sin." (Chap. 8:1.) "There is, therefore, now, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus;" ("renewed in the spirit of their mind, (Eph. 4:2-3,) who walk not after (down toward) the flesh, but after (according to) the spirit."
Great as the annoyance and distress is to have a sore heel, it is infinitely better than to have a sore head; and the thought that we are so soon to be made perfect should inspire us with patience to bear with fortitude the pain and vexation attending it, (2 Cor. 4:11,16,17,18.) For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh... for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, (individual and collective physical) yet the inward man (mind--Eph. 4:23,) is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We would here recommend the remedy to which we have already referred, which is excellent; we have never known it to fail to relieve a limping disciple; it is referred to in Eph. 6:15, and is called "the preparation of the gospel of peace." We have tried it and can "speak that we do know and testify that we have seen." We can remember the time when our heel was so sensitive that certain sights and sounds sensibly affected it; we have known instances where the sight of money caused some to limp badly; we call to mind one notable case where the sight or mention of "thirty pieces of silver" caused one to stumble and fall "headlong." This is one of the worst cases of bruised heel we ever knew, and should think it was the head (for as we said that involves the whole being) if it were not for the statement made in Matt. 1:8; from this we infer that it was a desperate case of sore heel. Another one, at sight of danger, falsified and swore, and afterward at the sound of cock-crowing "wept bitterly."
We have seen some stumble at sight of show-bills and at sound of music; and we have known some to stumble at sight of others stumbling; this is not unfrequently the case. We have known some to stumble and fall at the sight and smell of whisky; and strange as it may seem, we have known many who limped so badly that they would stumble over a cigar or a small bit of tobacco; and we have known cases quite numerous where even a feather or a little shining object like a pearl or a diamond were hard to step over.
But this preparation if faithfully used will cure all this and enable one to walk firmly and upright, though there may be a slight twinge in the heel occasionally. But the bruise upon the head is terrible, much worse than that upon the heel, though some of its manifestations are similar, for instance: We have been credibly informed of cases which were excited to the highest pitch at the sound of the word office, who were totally deaf to the words "Christ crucified," and very many who could distinctly hear the little word self at any time, but if you were to add the word denial to it they could not distinguish the sound.
One of the terrible phases of bruised head, is, that those thus afflicted will believe that nothing ails them, and consequently will have nothing done for them, while the sore heel class know full well what the trouble is and continually try to get better, and look forward hopefully to the time when they shall be well.
Light and heat, are the first requisites for a sore head, but it is very difficult to get such to come to the light. John 3:19-20. There are many dark places now into which they can get away from the light, but the light-bearer is at hand, and though they shall call for the rocks and mountains to cover them that they may remain in the dark, yet the light will shine (Isaiah 40:5) "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
One word more to our dear brethren of the bruised heel; (we all limp at times) this preparation is not only a protection, like a shoe, but it is an emollient if rightly used; we find that [R193 : page 6] pouring (or having poured) into it the "spirit of truth" is a great improvement, we have known of its being used without the spirit of truth and it became dry and hard. For the benefit of those who would like to get it, we would say that they will find explicit directions in Luke 11:13. It has an invigorating influence upon one, see John 6:63.
We need, dear brethren to be well shod, and have on the whole armor of God, for there is something worse than flesh and blood to contend with. Eph. 6:12. May the Lord enable us, "having done all to stand," for the restored and perfected body of which Christ is the head, shall soon rest its crushing weight upon the head of the monster and triumphantly exclaim, "thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." T. C. S.