Mt Sinai (Law) and Mt Zion (Grace)

Mt Sinai (Law) and  Mt Zion (Grace)
Mt Sinai (Law) and Mt Zion (Grace)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Brass Serpent

This is the time of history when the children of Israel were nearing the end of their 40 year wilderness journey. Moses and Aaron had been their Levite leader and Priest since they had been miraculously delivered from slavery in Egypt. Aaron had died on Mount Hor and his son, Eleazar was now High Priest.
Miriam, Moses' sister and a prophetess had also died along the way here.

Aaron's tomb on top of Mt Hor (Jordan)

Understand that the people here were the children of the original Hebrews that were delivered through the Red Sea from Egypt. Because of their parents unbelief and rebellion against God, they were all condemned to die in the wilderness in a 40 year period. The only survivors of that generation were now: Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. Moses was nearing 120 years of age and Joshua and Caleb were in their 60's.

Moses was still the leader and was grooming Joshua to take his place.

Joshua was the general of the army and was one of the original 12 spies that had kept faithful to God and His promises. He was from the tribe of Ephraim.

Caleb was Moses' brother-in-law who had married Miriam, Moses' sister. He was also one of the original 12 spies that had always remained faithful to God. He was from the tribe of Judah.

The people had just finished a battle with king Arad of the Canaanites that had attacked them, but God gave them the victory.

God had fed the people with manna, a bread that came from heaven, for 40 years. All they had to do was gather it in the morning.

This manna could be eaten raw and tasted like a honey wafer. It could be baked, fried, or boiled and had a taste similar to what one desired.

There was a bowl of manna put into the Ark of the Covenant for a perpetual memory of God supernaturally feeding the people. Also in the ark were the tablets of the law and Aaron's rod that budded.

God had also given them meat to eat. There clothes had not worn out, their shoes had not worn out. God had delivered them from their enemies, gave them water to drink when there was not any, and in general provided all their needs.

Now as they passed Northward (modern Jordan) toward the promised land, they were discouraged. They were not looking at the provision or protection of God. They had heard their parents complain and chide against Moses about leaving Egypt. These people had never seen Egypt.

Numbers 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
5  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

So, God lifted His hand of protection from the people.
6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Now, these serpents were there in the wilderness the whole time, but the people were protected from them.

The Hebrew language does not have a causative sense here, but a permissive sense. Irregardless of all that, the people were being bit and dying and needed delivered for there was a lot of snakes.

7  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.
8  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.
9  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.

It was difficult for the people to take their eyes off of the snakes and their bites and look at the brass serpent on the pole. But, when they did, they were healed.

When Jesus was talking with Nickodemus in John Chapter 3, He explained how the brazen serpent on the pole represented Him on the cross.
14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

You might say, how could Jesus the second person of the Godhead be a serpent on a pole? Well He became sin who knew no sin that we might be the righteousness of God, in Him, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

For us today, we need to look to Jesus for our healing. With the same expectation that he bore all our sickness and all our disease in His own body on the cross so we could be healed. 
Isaiah 53: 4 ¶  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The serpent on a pole is a symbol of healing and has been since ancient times. We see it in our medical field.

In Greek mythology there is also a serpent on a pole called the Rod of Asclepius. But, even this was probably taken from the story of Moses and the brazen serpent on a pole.

Today's picture that are on ambulances or paramedic patches looks like this.

In Jesus all of our needs can be met, even as it was for the Israelites; even better. They did not have the ability to have the Spirit of Jesus Christ in them to give them a rebirth of their spirit. But we Christians do. And if Jesus' Spirit dwells in you, you can ask and God will give you the Holy Spirit as well. 

Moses died on Mt. Nebo in modern Jordan and Michael the Archangel buried his body. Today there is still the symbol of the serpent on the pole there.

All quotes from KJV. Pictures and art from Internet.

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1 comment:

  1. A perfect and beautiful presentation; right to the point with total clarity. Thank you and bless all those that participated in this work. (found this site by chance when looking for refresher on the caduceus.)