Healing from Serpent of Brass

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Healing from Serpent of Brass

Post  Waqar Daniel on Sun 04 Oct 2009, 4:38 pm

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21:6-9)

This is quite a perplexing incident that took place in the desert. On the whole the Book of Numbers contain:

  1. Itineraries
  2. Statutes
  3. Rituals
  4. Priestly prescriptions
  5. Wilderness stories, including a murmuring tradition.
  6. A talking donkey
  7. Bronze snakes which have healing powers
  8. The earth swallowing up people
  9. Poetic oracles
  10. And a well-known benediction (The Lord Bless you and Keep you, Num 7:24-26).
  11. The promise of land is ever present in the Book of Numbers and the journeys depict a gradual process of getting to the edge. Indeed, Num 26 assumes conquest of land.


This is the brief context and background of the Book of Numbers. What I am interested in is that in Exodus 20:4 God commanded:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (Exodus 20:4)

Then why did God command Moses to make a fiery serpent so that anyone who has been bitten by the serpent may look at the bronze serpent so that he/she may live?

This is quite an intriguing question. However, the answer is simple.

In Genesis 3 we read how serpent misled Eve and brought death upon Adam and Eve. God had a plan for salvation for mankind.

However again the same old serpent misled Israelites as the Israelites were discouraged because of the journey to the promised land was tough and full of hardships. It was a long, hard journey, through a deep valley which was very hot; and for most of the journey they were going away from Canaan, and not towards it; but it was the only way, since Moses would not let them fight the men of Edom.

While they were on this long journey the people again found fault with Moses. They said, " Why have you brought us into this hot and sandy country? There is no water; and there is no bread except this vile manna, of which we are very tired. We wish that we were all back in Egypt again!"

They started to murmur and blaspheme against God. Moses confronts them with the fact that their murmurings are not against he and Aaron - they are nothing, but against the Lord. This is their greatest sin, their lack of trust in God and the ease, which they can murmur against Yahweh. Again, this provision of food from God will remind them who rescued them from Egypt (Exod 16:.6).

Now this whole story has a message. As the serpent was put on the pole, it had no healing powers but it was the plan of God for salvation for mankind.

Serpent killed people, yet looking at the serpent on the pole healed them. This whole incident talks about the defeat of serpent through crucified Jesus on the cross. Therefore serpent had no healing powers but it was God who healed them.

We look at the crucified and resurrected Jesus and we are saved. As it is also mentioned in the Book if Isaiah 45:22

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else

God humbled them and showed His plan of salvation that was to take place at Calvary (Golgotha). Jesus dying on the cross defeated the serpent and the effect it had on people. Serpent killed yet Jesus gave everlasting life.


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Look and live!

Post  Fenny West on Mon 05 Oct 2009, 12:44 pm

Well-addressed- Waqar
Yes, that serpent was brass, signifyig judgement accomplished by Jesus, Satan defeated on the cross. Whoever looked at Him in faith shall live! and so in the New Testament He said " just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so will the Son of Man be lifted up and if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Myself.


13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[a] 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.John3:13-14

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