Look Upon the Serpent? And be Supernaturally Healed?
Don’t fear – this is not some article about fringe people in the backwater handling snakes as part of some sort of pseudo-Christian ceremony :). However, in the Bible there is a mysterious event involving serpents that occurred while the ancient Jewish people were wandering in the desert. If we understand the meaning of the event, it provides a great revelation of what supernatural healing really means.
The event begins in Numbers 21 with the people complaining and turning away from God. A highly unusual rash of venomous snakes came into the camp, and many people died. These snakes were so poisonous that anyone who was bitten died; there were no exceptions. The people came to Moses, and Moses went to God for a solution. God’s unusual solution was:
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.
So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. – Numbers 21:8-9
Now the image of the serpent in the Bible is hardly a good one. The multidimensional being who is the essence of evil took the form of a serpent when seducing humans into making The Fall – when sin entered the universe and all creation fell under entropy and death. The additional detail that the image was made of brass is even more strange, as brass is associated with sin
in the ancient Judaic priesthood. So why would God choose a serpent on a pole made of the metal of judgement and sin to be a symbol of healing and redemption?
This question is answered by Christ himself:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:14, 15
What does Christ mean? Why would Christ compare himself with the serpent; a symbol of evil in Judeo understanding? The fact is, when Christ died on the cross, he took upon himself every sin, hurt, pain that had ever and will ever torment the human race; past, present, and future. Christ literally became
every hurt and sin (2 Corinthians 5:21
) – the pain of every human who has and will ever live was in Christ. This explains why when Christ was anticipating
his death he sweated blood
. Christ’s death was not ordinary; it was the most massive supernatural event ever- God himself became sin. But it did not end with death. Christ came back to life and conquered this sin so we all could share in this eternal life and healing. Hundreds of years before Christ came the prophet Isaiah foretold this healing power in his death and life.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
So when Moses was told to have the people look upon the brass serpent he was foreshadowing the healing and redemption that only comes through the death of sin itself, which came upon God the Son. Through this sacrifice we look not on a symbol, but a very real hope of eternal life – the cross and the empty tomb of Christ.