The Brazen Serpent Saturday, December 16, 2017
THE BRAZEN SERPENT- (KJV)
By James L. Thornton
This study is taken from an incident in the journey through the wilderness by the children of Israel and they began to murmur against Moses and against God.
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.
6. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
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.
John 3:14. 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.
When the Lord was talking to Nicodemus he referred to an incident in the history of Israel that was a type of his own death.
We find so many types and shadows in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New.
The old is always becoming the new.
The manna, the rock, the veil, the lamb, and here, the brazen serpent.
The children of Israel had been complaining again, as they had so often done, in spite of God’s goodness to them.
The children of Israel—roaming through the wilderness, "And the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way." (Numbers 21:4)
THEY VENTED THEIR WRATH,
Numbers 21:5. "They 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 any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread."
It seems that some people only remember the hardships of life.
They have a lot of hard luck stories to tell.
Many people live in a negative world.
They think negative thoughts.
They see only the dark side of life.
Their testimonies are negative,
their songs they sing are about the valleys,
or the trials they are going through.
They are fighting a loosing battle,
they are always on the defensive,
they are never "more than conquerors."
IT IS BECAUSE OF THE THOUGHTS THEY DWELL ON:
Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
How often we forget that when we allow ourselves to become depressed and discontented and rebellious thoughts begin to creep into our hearts that it is sin.
The children of Israel were tired of their bread, they had forgotten about the water God had provided for them.
"The soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way." (Numbers 21:4)
This was sin. It lead to actual rebellion against God.
"The people spake against God, and against Moses." (Numbers 21:5)
GOD SENT HIS JUDGMENTS.
Because of the murmuring of the people God "sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people died." (Numbers 21:6)
"Fiery" probably represents the awful burning sensation caused by the venom, or maybe the viscous, or ferocious way, they attacked the people.
Multitudes were bitten, and many died. The bite was fatal in most cases.
A great cry went up to Moses, because they were in agony. They acknowledged their sin, and asked Moses to pray for them.
"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." (Numbers 21:7)
GOD HEARD THE CRY AS HE ALWAYS DOES:
Then God gave Moses instructions for the saving of the people.
"Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." (Numbers 21:8)
THE REMEDY WAS SIMPLE---LOOK AND LIVE:
Moses quickly obeyed God’s command and fashioned a brazen serpent and raised it upon a pole so that everyone could see it.
Every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, that looked was healed. Not one Israelite that looked died from the serpents.
JESUS SAW IN THIS A TYPE AND PROPHECY OF HIMSELF:
John 3:14."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."
What Jesus was saying to Nicodemus in John 3:14. Was,
Not one sinner that looks to Jesus,
Not one sinner that comes to the cross,
Not one sinner that cries for mercy, will be turned away.
Not every one of the Israelites were bitten,
So not all of them needed deliverance.
But it is not so in our case.
Romans 3:23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The scripture also says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20)
WE SHALL DIE ETERNALLY IF WE DO NOT MAKE USE OF THE REMEDY.
Some of the Israelites were bitten badly, others only slightly, but in every case the poison was introduced, and would do its deadly work. His speech faltered and then ceased, his vision blurred then failed, his hearing failed to function, his pulse sank, and in a short time he was a cold corpse.
"Much people died."
Their friends died, and they helped bury them.
Paul says, "The wages of sin is death,.." (Romans 6:23)
"Sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:15)
Death is not always immediate—but don’t play with eternity.
The remedy was the same, "look and live."
The bad cases, as well as the slight ones,
the old, the young,
the leaders, the followers.
All had to look or die.
The brazen serpent was set up high so that even those who were "afar off" could see.
Some who looked and were healed encouraged others to look and be healed.
Some maybe had to be turned in the right direction.
Let us point someone to the cross.
You will not just save a life, but you may save a soul from death.
Many, no doubt, knew they were bitten,
They had seen others die,
They had heard the news, "look and live."
They knew it would work.
They had talked to others who had looked and were healed.
Yet they put off looking to the brazen serpent until it was too late.
Their eyes were closed in death with salvation only an eyelid away.
"Behold, now is the accepted time." (2 Corinthians 6:2)
JESUS IS OUR SIN BEARER. HE TAKES AWAY THE POISON.
We must look to Jesus.
You can try all the other remedies, no other will work.
No wound is too deadly to be healed. Look to Jesus today.
Hope you enjoyed reading this study of the brazen serpent and will read the other studies on this web site.
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James L. Thornton