Why was a serpent on a pole used for healing when a serpent is a symbol of satan? by Pastor Don Moore

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why was a serpent on a pole used for healing when a serpent is a symbol of satan? By Pastor Don Moore

Notes from a Bible Study taught 11/12/10

Someone asked Pastor Don why Moses was told to put a serpent on a pole for the Israelites to look at to receive a healing?  It seemed strange because a serpent is a symbol of the devil and the serpent in the Garden.  Why is this a symbol of Christ?

The Israelites were being bitten by snakes and were told to look toward the image of a snake.

Numbers 21:1  The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim. Then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners.

Things are not good.

Numbers 21:2-3  So Israel made a vow to the LORD, and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.”  And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called Hormah.

Hormah means utter destruction.

Numbers 21:4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.

The soul of the people are discouraged.  A spirit of discouragement fell on them.  You have to fight for your sanity and your spiritual stability.  The devil wants to get your discouraged, cause you to lose sleep, stop exercising, stop acting right.   For us to stay battling we need sleep.  The devil will keep battling you when you are tired.  He waited to tempt Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness.  When Jesus did not fall for his wiles, the devil left Jesus and waited for a more opportune time.  You need to know why you are fasting when you are fasting.  There will be an onslaught of the enemy if you are not spiritually strong.

If you are fasting the answer will come at the end of the fast, not during the fasting.  The enemy will attack when you are stressed, not handling a situation well, and if life is oppressing.  Jesus will face another attack in the Garden of Gethsemane.

If you are out of shape you are devil bait.  Don’t make a declaration without commitment to do healthy living.  Walking in the Spirit means dominating your flesh.  Stop making excuses.  Get up and do something.  Eat right, think right, do right.  We need to control our thoughts.  We must think about what we are thinking about.  Why am I speaking evil against myself or other people?  It takes two to be discouraged, you and the devil.  Discouragement is a spirit.  Laughter is a medicine.  Discouragement may wear down a nation.  When we are discouraged we try to find someone to blame.  Why?  Because we didn’t do something about our situation.  We lost the battle or moved away from God.

Numbers 21:5  And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”

This is not the truth.  They are not distinguishing between the truth and a lie.  They even complained against the bread (Manna), the Heavenly food which was a perfect balance of protein and amino acids to maintain perfect health.  They were calling it worthless.

We are speaking death over ourselves and our circumstances.  Circumstances happen.  Life happens.  The electrical switch can go bad.  The car won’t start.  We say the devil did it, but it isn’t always the devil. Don’t empower the devil.  When he does show up, speak against it in the Name of Jesus.

Numbers 21:6  So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

We are made in God’s image.  God experiences.  When we feel crummy, anger, jealous, discouraged, in a state of sin we are in agreement with the devil.  When we get out of God’s will for our lives, it is evil.  We need to call it what it is, evil.  Sin rises up to the nostrils of God and that sin stinks.  We are not doing our kids any favor if we let them get out of order without correction.  If the pastor does not speak the truth about sin, but lets us feel that sin is ok, that is not doing a person any good either.  A pastor should encourage a person that there is a better way, and that if we seek God, God will give us the victory.

Why fiery serpents?  Pastor Don spoke about a recent plague in our area – the gypsy moth plague.  There is also a plague of bedbugs in some major cities.  God can change the weather and a species multiplies.  If God withholds rain or lets it rain things can multiply.

In the Old Testament the people saw God’s hand but in today’s age we don’t seek God’s hand but come up with a scientific reason for what is happening.

Numbers 21:7  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

In the Old Testament they realized that there is a connection between prosperity, sickness, and sin.  They realized they were sinning with their mouth and actions.

Simon the Sorcerer, Acts 8:18-23  And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,  saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!  You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

He needed to ask Peter to pray for him, intercede for his sin.

Numbers 21:8-9 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Now that we know the reason, we can find out why it is a bronze serpent.

First we want to know what happened to the pole and the serpent.

2 Kings 18:1-3 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done.

Hezekiah did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to what his father David did.

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.

Nehushtan means the unclean thing and it referred to the bronze serpent on the pole.  Even after God’s commandment against worshipping idols the Israelites built idols and sacred pillars in high place.  They also were worshipping the the bronze serpent on the pole.  Idol worshipping was also happening in the groves of trees in high places which are phallic symbols.    The devil took over the high places to try and better the God of Isaac.

The Temple of Israel was on a mound, but there are other places higher in Jerusalem which is where the idol worship occurred.

Islam moves into areas and seeks to build mosques in places higher than other places.

The Bible speaks about the Tower of Babel.  Churches have high steeples, and there are new places and constructions being built for the new world order.

2 Kings 18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.

Hezekiah was bold enough to do something about what was taking the Lord’s people deeper into sin.  He destroyed the Nehushtan because people were burning candles to it, etc.  They were making it an idol, so it had to be destroyed,

We then looked at a passage to get a better understanding of why the serpent on the pole.

Numbers 21:8-9 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

It does not make sense that to look at a serpent on a pole will help to heal the people.  God takes the foolish things of men to confound the wise.

John 3:12-16 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

When we are saved we realize that we are no longer who we once were but are a new creation in Christ.  That is a spiritual truth that seems wrapped up in insanity.  But our value system changes with our salvation.

There really are spirits in the spiritual realm,  When a person dies their Spirit is still in existence although their mind, will and emotions are not functioning.

It is in the supernatural that things happen.

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This makes no sense to the carnal mind, how things that are not seen have substance.  Therefore our hope and perspective is the faith view that we can know that even though we don’t see it in our circumstances, that does not mean that it doesn’t exist.  We do not want to fall into doubt and unbelief.

In a football game if the team is one foot from a touchdown and the coach has the kids kick a field goal that shows the team that the coach doesn’t believe that they are capable of pushing the ball that last foot to get the touchdown.

We need to identify the Holy Spirit, believing that Jesus sent Him, and that you are capable of receiving the Holy Spirit the same way that you received your salvation – through faith.  The Holy Spirit impacts our physical.  With the Holy Spirit inside of us, we can speak things, spiritual works, and impart spiritual things, by faith.  It is not dependent on our circumstances.

Numbers 21:8-9 AMP  And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent [of bronze] and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.  And Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on a pole, and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of bronze [attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze], he lived.

In the Amplified Bible it tells us that we need to look at the bronze serpent attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze.  This is the look of faith.  It was not oops, I glanced at the serpent but it was a deliberate studying of the serpent, a looking with the eyes of faith.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

Whatever is put on the pole, it needs to be beheld.

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Looking at the serpent in the wilderness on the pole is an act of faith that is equivalent to looking at Jesus on the Cross for salvation.

We spent some time in a guided meditation of nailing our sins on the cross, and then looking at how Jesus took our sins, being nailed to the cross for our sins, and how as we look to Him our sins are covered with His blood and we receive salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

You took your sin, grabbed a nail and nailed it to the Cross.  Jesus made Himself to be sin for us, so that we might be forgiven.  The symbol of the serpent (our sin) is morphed into that of Jesus, the one who did not sin, but took our sins upon Himself.

With the serpent on the pole Moses was showing the exchange of sin.  That Christ became sin for us.

The sacrifice of faith that we are asked to make is to believe that Jesus died for our sins.  Moses and the Israelites had to believe that their sin of unbelief was nailed to that pole in the form of the serpent, and that when they looked at that serpent they would be healed.  We too need to look at the Cross and believe that Jesus’s sacrifice for us frees us from all our sins.  That Jesus became my sin on the Cross, not just that He carried my sin to the Cross.

Galatians 2:16-20 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!  For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I am the snake that deserves to be nailed to the Cross, but Jesus became the snake for me.  He became my sins nailed to the Cross.

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

The serpent gives us the picture of sin. The serpent’s bites us and we are dying with its poison. But instead of dying we live when we look to the Cross.  The error of the Jews who died was that they did not apply their faith to what they believed.  We need faith mixed with obedience.  Do we believe that the shed blood of Jesus is sufficient for forgiveness of our sins?

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Either Jesus paid it all for our sins or he did not.  What do you believe?  I believe Jesus paid it all.

1 John 3:5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

The only way that Jesus could make that sacrifice for us and take away our sins is the fact that He had no sin at all.  No other person could make such a sacrifice.

Acts 3:1-10 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.  And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”  So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God.  Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

The crippled man at the gate looked at John & Peter – placed his attention on the expecting to receive.  He did receive, he received his healing in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  The man looked at them with a look of faith.

Acts 14:9-10 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.

Paul saw that the man had faith to be healed.

Pastor Don concluded by saying, that Jesus is no longer up on the Cross, the Cross is empty.  We need to apply our faith to the work that Jesus did on the Cross and receive.

I hope this blesses you.  I am so grateful that Jesus died for my sins.  I pray that you grow to know Him and love Him.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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