The Serpent’s Seed

Serpent seed, dual seed or two-seedline is a controversial doctrine according to which the serpent in the Garden of Eden mated with Eve, and the offspring of their union was Cain. This belief is still held among some scholars, theologians and members of the Corpus Christendom.

Unfortunately, this doctrine has been used by some adherents of the Christian Identity Movement, who claim that the Jews, as descendants of Cain, are also descended from the serpent. They have employed their twisted version of this doctrine to justify their racist and antisemitic agendas.

The Holy Bible describes the fall of man in Genesis when Moses wrote, “Now the serpent [H5175] was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And 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. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24 KJV).

Here we see the familiar narrative of the fall of Adam and Eve. Satan, disguised as a serpent confronts Eve as was she is in the garden. Satan convinces her that God is holding out on her because he does not want her to be like him. She eats the forbidden fruit and gives it to Adam. The result is a judgment from God, removal from the Garden of Eden and a fallen and depraved world. All of this came from one act of disobedience.

The foundational scripture for the serpent’s seed doctrine appears in Genesis 3:15, which in the King James Version says, “And 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.” Advocates interpret this literally to mean that an offspring of the Serpent via Eve would eventually lose in a mortal conflict with one of “her seed”. Eve’s son by Adam would have presumably been called “Adam’s seed” so it has been suggested, since a woman does not naturally produce seed, that “her seed” is the first prophesy of an eventual human messiah produced by means of a virgin birth. Adherents believe this sets up the serpent’s seed as an antitype to Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ).

The remainder of this article will provide a logical answer to a question I have heard many times over the years, that is, why was Eve not at all surprised that a “serpent” (nachash) was speaking to her. It will also provide a starting point for critical examination of the Scriptures, hopefully inspiring the reader to think more deeply about alternate interpretations to passages of Scripture in the Holy Bible. As with prophecy and parables, sometimes a passage of Scripture may have dual or even multiple interpretations. I make no claim that what this article will present is the biblically  correct interpretation as extra-biblical texts were referenced to illustrate and draw these conclusions. Nonetheless, the conclusions and interpretations do provide an interesting alternative aspect to Scriptures that many readers may have never considered.

In the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, the word used for “serpent” [H5175] is “nachash” in the original Hebrew manuscripts. Nachash means the “shining one” or “glistening one.” The root word (etymology) for “nachash” is also “nachash” [H5172] which means “to hiss or whisper” and specially used as the “whispering of soothsayers. Lucifer is a title ascribed to a chief fallen spiritual being in Isaiah chapter 14. Used in a modern context as a proper name for Satan though the title is neither a name nor describes Satan. Most applicably applied to a fallen Watcher, the Hebrew title is literally “heylel:, literally ” to shine or boast”.

Eve was not talking to a snake. She was speaking to a bright, shining, upright being who was serpentine in appearance, and who was trying to bewitch her with lies. She was in the presence of one of the sons of God [B’nai Elohim], a created angelic beings who had free will, who were much more powerful than mere angels. She was speaking to a member of the divine council who did not share God’s enthusiasm for His new creation, mankind, to whom He had just given rule over the planet (Genesis 1:26-27). Many scholars and theologians believe that the Nachash’s motive for seducing Eve was jealousy at humanity’s appointment as supreme authority under God on earth, as opposed to the sons of God being appointed to that role on Earth.

  • The Real Mother of All Humanity
  • And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
    (Genesis 4:1 KJV)

There are many possible ways to translate the above phrase from Hebrew (the language of the original manuscript) to English. The Targum Yonasan ben Uziel offers a unique translation of the verse in the following manner:

“And Adam knew that Eve, his wife, lusted with an Angel and she conceived and she gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man with the Angel of God.”
(Targum Yonasan, Bereishis 4:1)

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel says that Cain was not Adam’s son at all; Cain was a product of the union of Eve and an angel. The Peirush Yonason, a commentary on Targum Yonasan further elucidates:

  • “Adam understood that Cain’s appearance was not that of the lower regions [Earth], but rather from the upper regions [Heaven]. Therefore he knew that the Angel Samael in his lust for Eve had come upon her, and this is the meaning of “a man with Hashem” — with an Angel of God.”

It is clear that Samael, who also happens to be the Yeitzer Hara, Satan, The Angel of Death (Malach Ha’Mavet) and the Guardian Angel of Esau, is, according to this extraordinary Midrash, the true father of Cain the murderer, the first “naturally born” human being.

The Yalkut Shimoni, a compendium of Midrashic material, (Bereishis 4:35) elaborates, in the name of Rabban Yishmael: The rider of the snake came upon her, and she conceived Cain, after which Adam came upon her and she conceived Abel, as it is written, “And the man knew Eve his wife.” What did he know? He knew she conceived, and she saw that her son’s demeanor was not from the earth, but rather, from the upper regions. And she understood and said, “I have gotten a man from [an Angel of] G-d.”

Before Adam was created, a natural rival to Adam existed, capable of challenging him for supremacy. That being was apparently capable of speech, and was cunning and passionate, to the extent that it identified itself as a replacement for Adam. That creature was the Nachash Kadmoni — “Primordial Snake.” This view is evidenced by the Gemara (Sotah 9:) which describes the “original snake” as:King of the animals…walking erect on two feet…eating the same food as man…and plotting to kill Adam, so that it could marry Eve.

The obvious purpose of the snake was to shake Adam out of a state of complacency, forcing him to achieve his potential. Adam would have to recognize his own greatness, and define the distinctions between himself and the serpent. Unfortunately, Adam failed. The Maharal (Chidushei Aggados Sotah 9•) explains that the snake was far from being an equal of Adam. It was merely a creation, programmed by Hashem, designed to challenge Adam in
certain specific areas. In order to compete in these limited areas, Hashem endowed it with qualities of greatness, as man obviously would not be challenged by a creature whose stature is far below his. Hence it was imperative that the snake possess great attributes.As a creature, however, it only approached, but it did not really rival Adam. It was endowed with limited greatness in order to serve as a test for Man. Man failed this test.

We find a similar thesis in Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer (13). The angels were jealous of the superior qualities of Adam, and plotted his downfall. The Malach Samael volunteered to sabotage Adam, by seeking out the most clever of the animals, the snake (Bereishis3:1), and investing it with great powers. This enhanced being was now poised to challenge Adam. This explains the language of the Yalkut Shimoni (Bereishis 4:35):    — “rider of the snake.”

It was actually Samael controlling the snake. Thus, when Rashi (Sotah 9:) declares that the snake had marital relations with Eve, he means that Samael, controlling the actions of the snake, actually had relations with Eve. Samael’s actions resulted in Adam’s sin, and Adam’s subsequent decline to the status of mere mortal (see Rambam, Moreh Nevuchim 2:30). Samael’s relations with Eve produced Cain, and with Cain came the introduction of evil into
the “genome” of mankind (see Shabbos 146; see Rashi (ibid.)).

The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
(Numbers 21:4-9 ESV)

The Tanakh (Old Testament) was revealed to us by God (YHWH) and often was written as a shadow of a new and better things to come (typology) which would be provided by the B’rit Chadashah.(New Testament). Any true scholar of Scripture would concur to this fact.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). Unfortunately, many believers never have read the Tanakh and consequently have no foundation for understanding the B’rit Chadashah. They often discount the Tanakh as the “Old Testament” and reject many of its teachings with the attitude that the B’rit Chadashah has replaced the Tanakh and somehow has made it obsolete. Approximately thirty-three percent of the prophecies in the Tanakh have not been fulfilled yet, so how can it be old? Approximately eighty-five percent of the B’rit Chadashah is quoted from the Tanakh, so how can it be new? The Bible is a book of eight covenants and every Word is alive and relevant for yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

The passage about the Children of Israel and the Bronze Serpent (Nehushtan) in the Book of Numbers is symbolic of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14 KJV).

In the third chapter of the Gospel of John, we find Yeshua having a conversation with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He was someone who knew the Tanakh very well and it was obvious to him that there was something special about Yeshua. Unfortunately, he didn’t know enough to be able to see Yeshua as the Messiah. This was not due to some deficiency in Yeshua. It was because there was a deficiency in Nicodemus’ understanding of who the Messiah was supposed to be and what he was supposed to accomplish. So Yeshua gave him an example he should have been able to understand.

  • Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    (John 3:10-15 KJV)

The Children of Israel were complaining about the manna (food descending from heaven) was because it was not a perfect food. It met their needs, but it did not meet the human desire for variety. Purely spiritual food may have lacked a certain earthiness, and this may well have been at the core of the complaint. So when the Children of Israel complained about manna, God reminded them that the things that are purely from the earth (like serpents) are not good in themselves either.

Snakes are the creature least able to elevate themselves. As a result of the serpent deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden, the serpent is the animal that was brought the lowest. Unlike kosher animals, serpents make full contact with the earth. Venomous snakes remind us that lots of natural (earthly) things are in fact very bad for our health. Humans are the only ‘animals’ on the planet that walk fully upright. This is also a shadow of what we need to try to accomplish during our lives, to ascend to heaven.

If we see a snake elevating on a pole, we perceive a fortiori argument. If a snake can ascend, then surely we can as well. We realize that if we try to aspire to greater heights, then God will be willing to play an active role in our lives, and change the natural progression of things. God is willing to meddle with nature, but we must first understand that our relationship with God does not come about because we are in harmony with the earth, but because we are striving for a relationship with Him.

The Bronze Serpent had no healing properties whatsoever. It did nothing to save the Children of Israel that had been bitten in the wilderness by venomous serpents. It was an object of faith. By looking at the Bronze Serpent that Moses made and lifted up on pole, the Children of Israel acted on their faith in God’s instructions that were revealed to Moses.

  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
    (Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV)

This emblem (a brozne serpent raised on a pole) is distinctive in that Yeshua the Messiah personally applied it to Himself. The more you examine it, the stranger it appears. Brass was the Levitical symbol of judgment and brass was the metal that was associated with fire (as the brazen altar, etc.). The serpent was symbolic of sin, introduced in the Garden of Eden. This is a strange emblem, indeed, for the Savior of mankind. The deadly serpent is transformed into an emblem of healing and life, just as the death that came in the Garden of Eden was defeated by the gift of eternal life offered through Yeshua’s atonement on the cross.

There is only one way we can assure that we will satisfy our goal of ascending to heaven. That way, the one and only way, is through faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
    (John 3:16-21 ESV)
  • Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
    (John 14:6-7 KJV)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11 KJV).

Have you completely trusted in Yeshua and in nothing else for the forgiveness of your sins?  Are you relying on Yeshua and Him alone for your righteousness, for your safety, your forgiveness, or are you putting even the smallest bit of your works before God as part of the reason you are to be saved?  If you are relying in anyway on your efforts, then you are in great danger of damnation, if you’re redeemed at all.  Righteousness before God does not come by your efforts, but through the sacrifice of Yeshua. If you could get to earn eternal life through righteousness, then there was no need for Yeshua to die on the cross and make atonement for our sins (Galatians 2:21)..