Skip to comments.As Moses Lifted Up The Serpent In The Wilderness
Posted on 06/29/2014 7:59:20 AM PDT by OneVike
Have you ever given it much thought about the phrase, Lift Christ up with Praise?
Quite often you will hear a pastor use this phrase as he instructs you to give glory to God though His Son. But have you ever really consider what the significance of the phrase? Give me a moment of your time and allow me to introduce you to something very few Christians have actually ever considered when hearing this phrase, Lift Christ up with Praise.
Most people know the verse, John 3:16, many have even memorized it. For me, that was the first verse I ever memorized in Sunday school as a child. If there is any verse that says it all, its John 3:16. Gods gift to mankind was His only Son Jesus. With the death of His Son on the Cross, all we need to do is confess Him as our Lord and Savior and our sins have been paid for in full. Its Salvation in a nut shell. Praise God for simplicity! Now, this verse is great, but what is truly interesting to me is the verses that precede it. (John 3:16) I lose count of how many times I have read these verses, only to have my mind mentally skip over and almost ignore their meaning.
When you read John 3:14, it should take you back in time to Israels past. It was a time when Moses was leading the twelve tribes through the wilderness of Sin, a time when God was showing them His power and love firsthand. In the Old Testament, we read that the children of Israel had grown discouraged and spoke out against Moses and God. (Numbers 21:4-9). As punishment, God sent down fiery serpents that would bite the Israelites and many would eventually die.
Realizing their sin, they went to Moses confessing and asking him to pray to the Lord that He might take the serpents from their presence. Well God would not remove the cause of their plight, but He did instruct Moses to make a serpent and erect it on a pole.
Moses told those who were bitten by the serpents to come to the pole and gaze upon the image of their pain and they would live. At that time, to look upon such an image erected on a pole would have been considered repulsive, and many would instinctively look away. However, if they wanted to live, those who had been bitten were required to look upon the image of the serpent, or they would die.
You may wonder what this has to do with Christs crucifixion. At the time, the Jews looked at crucifixion as the sign of a curse, just as the Israelites looked upon the sign of the snake on the pole. At the time when Jesus walked with men, death by crucifixion was only used for the worst of criminals. Thus, to see Christ lifted up and crucified meant that He was considered cursed under Jewish tradition. After all, God instructed the Israelites as follows:
If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God. Deut. 21:22-23.
This is the verse Paul brought to mind when he wrote to the Galatians:
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 (Galatians 3:13)
So, just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness to save his people from death, we too must look at the uplifted Son of Man to be saved.
Christ couldnt just die. He had to die the death of a sinner, lowly and cursed. Lifted up on a pole, He was an image many found repulsive. He could have just come down and said, Not today! But he stayed. He died a death of pain and shame for sins he never committed. Sacrificed from the beginning of time, for sins He saw us commit, yet turned His eyes every time we did.
Every time you are tempted by sin, try to remember how the King of kings and Lord of lords was so humbly lifted on a pole for you. Take a moment and look up at the cross, and do not allow your head to turn away, or you very well may find yourself giving in to the temptation to sin. If you find yourself stumbling into sin, then take a moment and pray, take a moment and ask the One who stayed upon that cross for you, to take away your shame of sin. His arms are outstretched and waiting for you, all it takes is for you to look up willingly and accept His Fathers gift to you.
I pray that those who have ears to hear will listen to His voice and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I for one had never seen the connection prior to reading your piece!
What's the significance of that?
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the best image for my ping. Let me
know what you think of this image.
Good, or should I keep looking?
The serpent in the garden?
Makes me wonder about those Israelites.
Golden Calf, Snake on a stick, dead guy on a cross...
(Thanks for posting the article. Good information)
13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
The snake is Satan whom God told Eve that her seed shall one day bruise it’s head. I guess I could have added that. Mybe I’ll amend it one day.
Snake represents sin, which Christ became.
Wasn't it because God sent fiery snakes to bite people and kill them ? Or did you mean why did God pick snakes to begin with ?
Gotcha. Now clear as a bell. Thx
If for no other reason, your response alone is more than enough reason for me to have written it.
The Lord has blessed me much by using me to help you learn something new.
I question the assumption that 'snake' and 'serpent' meant the same thing. Was the serpent in the garden a snake?
Post #9 cleared it up for me.
“At that time, to look upon such an image erected on a pole would have been considered repulsive, and many would instinctively look away.”
Is that also perhaps the reason that people (except for Catholics and Orthodox Christians) are embarrassed or repulsed to see a cross with a corpus on it?
Before the Reformation every crucifix had a corpus.
What does that have to do with the fiery snakes sent by God to bite the Israelites ?
Snake represents sin, which Christ became.
Maybe it's the way I'm reading it, but that phrase seems illogical and confusing.
The word for the serpent in the Garden was “nachash” and this is the same word used in the Exodus verses in question except for the first mention when the serpent is defined as “fiery” (i.e. poisonous). The word used there is “saraph.”
Oops. I meant Numbers, not Exodus.