What does enmity mean?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Enmity refers to a state of deep-seated hostility or hatred between individuals or groups. It is a feeling of intense animosity or ill will, often resulting from a long-standing conflict, rivalry, or disagreement. Enmity is a strong and enduring negative emotion that can lead to aggression, violence, or even war. It can arise from a variety of factors, including differences in ideology, ethnicity, religion, culture, personal issues or beliefs.

The term “enmity” is often used in a biblical context to describe the state of hostility between God and humanity that arose as a result of human sin. In this context, enmity can be seen as a separation or alienation from God that can only be overcome through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. After the original sin of Adam and Eve, the Lord promised:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel”.

Genesis 3:15

The Lord God announced the great news of the coming of Jesus Christ the deliverer “to destroy the works of the devil” (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). To interpret the enmity prophetically means that there will be a long struggle between Satan’s “seed” or followers (John 8:44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:10) and the woman’s seed. The controversy between Christ and Satan, which began in heaven (Revelation 12:7–9), was continued on earth, where Christ again defeated him (Hebrews 2:14), and will terminate finally with Satan’s destruction at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:10).

Divine justice required that sin should meet its penalty, but divine mercy had already found a way to redeem the fallen human race. This plan was done through the voluntary sacrifice of the Son of God (1 Peter 1:20; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 13:8). And to provide man with a visual aid, God instituted the sacrificial system, that man might understand something of the price that was paid to make atonement for his sin.

The innocent lamb had to give its lifeblood for man and this pointed to the innocent Son of God, who would lay down His life to atone for man’s transgression (John 1:29). There are no limits to the love of God. Everyone is welcomed to partake freely of His saving grace. There is but one condition—belief in, and willing cooperation with, Christ (John 1:12). And the Holy Spirit will lead men to repentance (Romans 2:4) and conversion (Romans 12:1-2).

But Christ did not emerge from this battle unharmed. The nail marks in His hands and feet and the scar in His side will be eternal reminders of the fierce strife in which the serpent bruised the woman’s seed (John 20:25; Zechariah 13:6). But crushing the head as Christ did for the serpent is far more serious than crushing the heel.

Adam’s understanding of the plan of redemption may not have been clear at the time of God’s announcement in Genesis 3:15 but he had the assurance that sin would not last forever, the Redeemer would be born of the woman’s seed, the lost dominion would be regained, and the happiness of Eden would be restored once again for all that receive it.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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