Jesus Destroyed Satan’s Power Over Death

Jesus Crushing the Serpent Under Foot

The first prophecy in the Bible regarding the coming of Jesus was given after sin was introduced into the world in the Garden of Eden. In His curse to the serpent, God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).

God was describing an event in which the seed of woman – Jesus – would be injured (His “heel” would be bruised) and Satan would be defeated (his “head” would be bruised or crushed). Remember that Satan came in the form of a serpent. We can imagine what would happen if someone were to kill a snake – one’s foot might be injured in crushing the head of the snake, but the snake would be killed. This prophecy was looking forward to the death of Christ.

Notice how the Hebrew writer explained this:

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Through His death, Jesus rendered Satan powerless. That was the crushing blow that was prophesied about in the Garden of Eden. But why was Jesus’ death the act that defeated Satan?

When Adam and Eve sinned, there were two deaths that came as a result – physical death and spiritual death (separation from God).

The devil had the power over physical death because, since Adam and Eve sinned, they could not “take…from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). Because of this, all mankind lost access to the tree of life. Therefore, Paul was able to say that “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). It was for this reason that the Hebrew writer said the devil “had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14).

The devil also had power over spiritual death in the sense that all have given in to his will and have sinned. Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Later he said, “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). Of course, God, not the devil, has the power to destroy us (Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:10-15). But since God cannot have fellowship with those who “walk in the darkness” (1 John 1:5-6), we give ourselves over to Satan and the fate that comes with that when we sin.

Jesus redeemed us through His blood that He shed on the cross (Ephesians 1:7). When He died, He was then “raised from the dead…never to die again” (Romans 6:9). This made Him the “first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Through His resurrection, we have hope. Paul wrote, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5).

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus made it so that those who die physically can be raised from the dead to have eternal life (cf. John 11:23-27; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 51-57). Jesus also made it so that those who die spiritually – by sinning and separating themselves from God – can be reconciled to Him, enjoy fellowship with Him, and live with Him in heaven for eternity (cf. Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:13-16; Colossians 1:19-22; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

The victory that Satan achieved in the Garden of Eden has been completely turned around through the death Jesus on the cross. Through Christ, we have hope of His final and eternal victory over Satan at the final resurrection.

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  1. Wayne D. Teel says

    Very well stated, Andy. Thanks for this clear reminder of what it means and how it came about that Christ destroyed Satan’s power of us. How encouraging this news is to mankind as we follow our Lord.

  2. Thanks, brother Teel. I appreciate your feedback.