In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up— and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life. John 3:14-15.
A man called Nicodemus came to Jesus with a major question.
There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews.
Late one night he visited Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we all know you're a teacher straight from God.
No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren't in on it."
Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to—to God's kingdom." John 3:1-3.
Jesus' reply clearly revealed that it is absolutely necessary to be born again, or saved! The man was a religious leader, but lacked an intimate and personal relationship with God. The only way... I repeat... the only way to get to Heaven is through Jesus Christ; not a church, denomination, creed, family lineage, good deeds and the like. See Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9.
The conversation then turned to a prophetic declaration about the cross. Salvation or Eternal Life comes by believing In Him... not About Him and Jesus talked about a snake!
To what was Jesus referring?
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 21:8-9.
God's people had been living in slavery for 400 years. The seed of Abraham had been taken captive in a foreign land (Egypt) and God delivered them by supernatural signs and wonders.
There were ten plagues in Egypt, all directed at the centre of the Egyptians' idolatrous worship of false gods. After the first Passover, they were set free from the land and its despotic ruler, but were not free within from their habits, manners and customs. They left Egypt free from slavery indeed, but took Egypt with them in their hearts.
A new life:
After delivering the people from bondage, they were still in the desert wilderness of Egypt.
It is very possible to be set free from a prison cell, but still remain bound and sadly, far too many believers are like this. With nowhere to go, their backs were against t he wall so to speak and God opened up the Red Sea to that they could cross over to the other side. Sometimes we need to pass over... to leave the past behind, before we can enter our own Promised Land.
The bible says that the journey was actually only eleven days in duration, but it took them 40 years!
The people were in the wilderness because they refused to enter into their promises, but God still loved and cared for them, providing food and water every day.
Look and live:
them. He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them. Psalms 105:37-38.
The Egypians (representing the world system) rejoiced to see them go! The only problem was that they took Egypt with them in their hearts! They had a bad attitude. They would not stop looking back to the past. All they could see was the present day... not the promised future. Your past never has a future! Bad experiences and disappointments in life, temporary setbacks and disappointments do not mean that God will not do what He promised. If you ever face such things, do not allow negativity spoil your future. Think of the god things that did happen. Meditate on what you hope for.The heart attitude became a problem, expressed vocally. They started to mutter and murmur an when unchecked, they started to accuse and blame God and His servant for their problems. Never do that!
As they continued on their journey, they came across a place where they encountered poisonous snakes. It was as if they turned the corner and walked into a den of the things and because they had been muttering and complaining, judgement fell and everyone who was bitten... died. They then cried out to God for help and His instructions to Moses was to make a serpent out of brass and fix it to a pole, lift it up and tell the people that when a snake bit someone, they had to go to the place where it was erected and gaze at it. When they did, they were healed.
God always has a way, or a solution to every situation and problem in life. All you need to do is to find out what it is and do it! Even if it makes no sense... do it. God's remedy was to Look... and live!
Medical science has adopted a logo that represents the snake Moses erected.
When Adam and Eve were in the garden, a snake tempted Eve and she ate of the forbidden fruit, then gave it to Adam who also ate. It does not matter what kind of fruit it was. The issue is that they disobeyed God and sin entered. God cursed the snake and as a result of the fall, making fell from his original state. See Genesis 3:1-8, 16-24.
God also made a prophetic statement.
And the Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all [domestic] animals and above every [wild] living thing of the field; upon your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust [and what it contains] all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel. Genesis 3:14-15.
This was fulfilled at Calvary. That is one reason Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 that He had to be lifted up just as that snake had to be lifted up. The snake was on a pole and Jesus was on a cross.
Brass is a symbol for sin and judgement.
God's instructions to Moses and the people illustrated his plan of redemption. Sin had to be judged. It symbolised that sin came because of a snake and bit every human being on the planet. The result of sin is the death penalty, but God made a way for us. The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.
Moses told the people to gaze into the future to picture the way God dealt with the sin issue. For it to work for them... they had to stand in front of the pole on which that snake hung and gaze at it. If they did that.. it worked! That may seem foolish, but it was the way God chose to bring an answer to the problem.
When the people were travelling in the wilderness and came across a den of snakes, everyone who was bitten died. There were no exceptions. Young men; old men; women and children... all died.
It did not matter if they were tribal chieftains or commoners, rich or poor... all died.
It did not matter if the person had muttered and complained or not... the penalty came upon all and everyone died if they did not meet God's requirements.
This is not being disrespectful, but it does not matter if it is the Pope; the Archbishop of Canterbury; Queen Elizabeth; President Obama or a ditch-digger... everyone is equal in God's eyes and everyone will die if they do not apply God's remedy.
You cannot earn it, pay for it, work for it, study for it or do anything else, because you and I inherited snakebite from the origin itself... the First Adam.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
Attending church, praying, helping the poor and doing charitable deeds are all great, but they are not the way God chose.
Acts 4:12 says that there is only one way and this is through the Door... the Way the Truth and the LIfe... Jesus Christ. No man can come to God except through and by Jesus. See John 10:9; 11:25-26; 12:44-50; 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:20.
Jesus cried out in triumph It is finished and willingly died instead of you and me. The word He used is Teleō. It means Accomplish, to finish, fulfil, to pay, to perform, conclude make an end and more. God did all that was necessary to bring you back into fellowship with Himself. You have to embrace that... to stand at the foot of the cross and gaze at God's answer. It is a free gift. Accept it today.
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz began his rule over Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king and he ruled for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. In GOD's opinion he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David. He got rid of the local fertility shrines, smashed the phallic stone monuments, and cut down the sex-and-religion Asherah groves. As a final stroke he pulverized the ancient bronze serpent that Moses had made; at that time the Israelites had taken up the practice of sacrificing to it—they had even dignified it with a name, Nehushtan (The Old Serpent). 2 Kings 18:1-4.
The prophet stomped the brass snake, threw it in the fire, burned it and ground it to dust. This would be considered sacrilege in many circles, but God thought it was a good thing to do. Why?
Several hundreds of years before, Moses was leading the people. They were in the wilderness and God had delivered them from slavery. Many generations of people never knew what it was like to be born free. All that they knew was the life that they experienced in a hostile land where they were treated like dirt.
Suddenly... they were free.
Sometimes people can become so accustomed to their problems, lack, illness, poverty and the like, that those things seem to be the norm for them. They are not! God never intended for us to live less than His best. Religious teachings tell us other wise, but that is another story. These folk had just seen miracles of God. The Red Sea had opened for them and they crossed over to start a new life, but the trouble is that they took the ld life with all its pains and sorrows with them in their hearts!
We have to reprogram our ways of thinking that have held us back. In the same way one changes channels on a TV receiver, we have to learn how to change channels from the lifestyle the devil puts on us to think like God.
They complained all the way, saying things like, We don't have enough of this. We don't have that. If only we were back there. At least we could eat the leeks onions and garlic that was there. They did not realize that God was taking them to a land of milk and honey where one bunch of grapes was so big two men had to carry it. See Numbers 13:20-24. That's the way God provides and they complained.
One day they turned a corner and walked into a den of poisonous snakes. Anyone who was bitten died and the only remedy was what God provided.
He instructed Moses to make a brass serpent and erect it on a pole, telling everyone to go to it and gaze at it. It worked.
The problem was that when they moved on, they left the snakes behind and the tool God used to heal them was no longer required.
A few hundred years later, they started to worship the thing. The very thing God used once, but was no longer using, became an idol.
The church is full of such things. People get a touch and camp. God does something remarkable and that is as far as people go and it loses its power and momentum and becomes a monument. Whole denominations are based on such things. Good as they were, God intended for the people to move on with Him, not to forsake what He did, but carry the spirit inside them as the glory cloud moves on.
That is a Nehushtan. Burn the thing. Let it go if you have to as long as you are going with God.
If you want to know more about what I have shared today or do not yet know Jesus...oh yes, you could go to church, but I did not ask you that! I asked you if you knew Jesus, then please do something about it.