75. The New Testament, in several passages, carries forward the thought of all believers being, in some special sense, the seed of the woman. At present we will call attention to one instance only, explaining first, however, that the fact is not emphasized (but clearly implied, nevertheless),—for God knew from the first the tendency of the church toward Mariolatry. John 1:12-13 declares: "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." That word "born" might, perhaps, with greater propriety, have been here translated "begotten," since the two words are identical in the original. "Sons" of God, here, of course, mean children of either sex. Now fix your thoughts for a moment on the last part of the quotation. The "not" and the "nor" are distinctly eliminative, and the word "man" in the phrase, "nor of the will of man," is not the title of the race,—mankind, but the specific term used of the adult male or husband; in other words, it is aner, not anthropos. Most commentators pass this fact by unnoticed, or declare one word is used where the other is meant, but this is very doubtful. The scholarly Bengel says: "The will of man is contained in 'the will of the flesh,' and yet it is mentioned separately, as if it were the greater, and in some measure the more guilty part of it. For Christ had a mother, but one who knew not man." See par. 83.

76. Let us analyze these words in John's Gospel:

1.   In the birth of the sons of God, natural descent ("blood") is counted out.

2.   Natural appetite ("the will of the flesh") is counted out.

3.   The "will of man" (the husband), is likewise counted out.

4.   But, in that it is not mentioned, the will of the female is not counted out. This prophecy concerning womanhood, made in Eve's day, fulfilled in its first stages in Mary's day, will have its complete fulfillment only in the regeneration of every human being who becomes a child of God. Mary had a wonderful character which Protestants do not enough appreciate. She reached that high pinnacle of purity and self-renunciation from which she could regard dishonor with scorn, and allying her will with the will of her God, in the conception of the Head of a new race (when she said: "Be it unto me according to Thy word"), she became, in her own person, the one to realize the promise that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Modern rationalism, which talks of "the divinity of man" (not meaning likewise "the divinity of woman"), and the "natural conception of Jesus," robs woman of her crown, and will quickly reduce her, in public esteem, to the level of the woman of paganism.

77. The Bible, from its opening chapters, pictures woman as allied with God, in the eventual salvation of the world; paganism represents her as allied with the devil, for the ruin of man; this is one great mark of distinction between the true and false religions. God spoke to Satan of a coming Victor over him. Satan heard, and Eve, too. They both believed; and Satan began to persecute the woman who was to bring forth a conqueror, while she began to expect deliverance. We know of this expectation from Genesis 4:1. On the birth of her first-born she exclaims (and oh, the pathos of it!), "I have gotten a man,—even The Coming One!" Neither the translation committee of the A. V. nor of the R.V.could content themselves to leave this as in the original, without the supply of additional words. Such an exclamation on the part of Eve did not comport with the traditional representation of her character. In such cases it is not necessary for us to imply that there was any intention to mislead,—for it is impossible to lead into truth which one cannot at all apprehend, unless it be indeed the work of inspiration.

78. The earliest Hebrew often employs "v" (or "w," which is the same letter), where later Hebrew employs "j.” The future form of the verb "to be" is jhjh, "he will be," but in earlier times it might stand jhvh,[9] which is the name for "Jehovah," "Jahve," or "Jahwe," as the name is variously spelled in English. Higher Criticism holds that the name "Jahve" can be traced back to some inconspicuous tribal god, and Wellhausen, one of the chief higher critics, blasphemously asserts: "Whatever Jahve's real nature may have been—the god of thunder or whatever he was—it retreated more and more into the background as something secret and transcendent, and no questions were asked concerning it” . . . "Jahva had incalculable moods; he caused his face to shine, and he was wroth, it was not known why; he created good and evil, punished sin and tempted to sin. Satan had not then robbed him of some of his attributes." Those who choose such instruction we leave to themselves; we consider it too polluting to the sense of all reverence for God to deserve respect. We return to the earlier teaching as to the name and character of Jehovah.

79. Payne-Smith gives the true explanation: "Jehovah" means literally "He will come," that is, "The Coming One.” He says: "The name is really man's answer to and acceptance of the promise made in Genesis 3:15, and why should not Eve, to whom the promise was given, be the first to profess faith in it? . . . She, did not know the meaning of the words she uttered, but she had believed the promise, and for her faith's sake the spirit of prophecy rested upon her, and she gave Him on whom her hopes were fixed the title which was to grow and swell onward till all inspired truth gathered round it, and into it, and at length Elohim, the Almighty, set to it His seal by calling Himself (to Moses, Exodus 3:14), 'I shall be that I shall be.'" Eve was constituted the progenitor of Jesus Christ, and of all believers, because she was the first believer on Him,—the first redeemed through faith in His name.

80. Test the truth of this assertion, not by the witness of man, but by your own spiritual experiences. Had you sinned, and confessed, and been comforted by God with the assurance that there was One who would conquer your enemy for you; and had you accepted that One by faith, what would that have meant to you but the witness of sin forgiven?

And next, we are told that having been so assured of coming victory through Another, God turned upon Eve and pronounced a solemn curse--having binding force for all time upon all her female descendants upon her head. Monstrous! What a slander upon God's mercy!

81. The Hebrew word "Jehovah," we learn from O. T. quotations in the N. T., and from the Septuagint Greek version, can be identified with the N. T. name "Lord.” The Hebrew word "Anointed," that is "Messiah," is identical with Christ. The name "Jesus" of the N. T. is identical with "Joshua" in the O. T.,—the name of the One who leads into the Promised Land of rest from all our enemies (see Luke 1:74). He who was born of woman, having no human father, was fittingly named by woman. Eve bestowed upon Him the title "Lord;" Hannah first called Him "The Anointed," that is, "Christ" (1 Samuel 2:10), and the Virgin Mary was instructed to name Him, before He was born, "Jesus" (Luke 1:31). That name which is above every name, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, at which "every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth," was bestowed upon Him by three holy women of old, prophetesses of God,—Eve, Hannah, Mary.

May women never cease to honor that name, most holy, most exalted, world without end!

Note on Paragraphs 75 and 76

Dean Alford comments on the proper translation of verse 18 of this same first chapter of John, as follows: “It would be well for the student to bear in mind as a general rule, that no word or expression is ever ‘put for’ another: . . . and where an unusual construction is found, it points to some reason in the mind of the writer for using it, which reason is lost in the ordinary shallow method of accounting for it by saying that it is ‘put for’ some other word.” It seems amazing, therefore, that he should nevertheless assume that aner (“husband”) is put for anthropos (“mankind”) in verse 13. There is yet a stronger reason than Dean Alford’s for never assuming this, as to Holy Scripture,“Every word of God is tried,”—Proverbs 30:5, R. V.


[9] The final “h” in these Hebrew words is merely a vowel-letter—see par. 6.

Lesson 11                Home