“Those Fiery Serpents”

Posted: May 15, 2015 in Bible Prophecy, Gospel of John, Israel, Salvation

Most of us have never been bitten by a snake, let alone by a poisonous snake. Imagine having a huge snake under your bed as did our missionary friends in Africa. According to one source, some 7,000 people are bitten by snakes each year in the U.S. but only about 5 people die from these bites.

Snakes. While wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years, after their spectacular deliverance from 400 years of slavery in Egypt, many Jewish people were bitten by fiery snakes because they constantly complained against the Lord and tempted Him to see how long suffering He would be toward them (1 Corinthians 10:9; Numbers 21:5-9). Are you a grumbler too? God is very long suffering but it will come to an end as it did in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:9).

Warning. The Apostle Paul used this incident from the Old Testament to warn Christians not to follow the example of the disgruntled Jews lest they too suffer a similar kind of chastening from the Lord. God often disciplines His rebellious children with physical illnesses, mental disturbances, and sometimes even takes their lives prematurely (1 Corinthians 11:30-32; Hebrews 12:5, 6; James 5:19, 20; 1 John 5:16). He does this so that Christians will not be condemned with the unbelievers of this world (Romans 8:1). If you’re a Christian, are you being disciplined for your sinful behavior?

Forgiveness. God extends His family forgiveness to Christians who confess their sins to Him (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). Judicial forgiveness takes place at the time of one’s salvation (Ephesians 1:7). Don’t confuse the two.

Cause. In response to Israel’s vow to the Lord that if He would deliver up the wicked Canaanites into their hands, they would utterly destroy them as they were supposed to do when the iniquity of the Amorites was full. (By the way, how full do you think America’s cup of iniquity is?) The Jews were to take possession of the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants in an everlasting covenant (Genesis 15:16-21). Did you know that when Christ comes back to rule over the earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 19:16; 20:1-7; Isaiah 9:6, 7), the Jews will get all the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River? Woe to those who try to take it from them (Genesis 12:1-3).

Deliverance. Many of the Jews who were bitten by the fiery snakes were dropping dead. When they confessed their sins to the Lord, God instructed Moses to make a snake of bronze and put it on a pole in the sight of the Jews. (Thus the insignia of the medical community.) All that was required for them to be cured was to look at the snake on the pole. That seemed like such a foolish thing to do but those who refused to do it died.

Illustration. Jesus used this illustration with a religious Pharisee named Nicodemus who had come to Him at night to learn more about Jesus who had been performing sign miracles. He said, “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” (John 3:14, 15).

Foolish. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Perhaps you’re wondering how the death of one man on a cross could provide deliverance for all mankind from our having to be cast into the lake of fire to suffer with the devil and his angels forever (Matthew 25:41, 46; Romans 6:23).

God-Man. Only One who is both God and man, joined in one person, could accomplish such a thing for us (John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus Christ was/is that Man. He was born of the virgin, Mary (Matthew 1:21-23); He lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). He voluntarily went to the cross to die for all our sins. He was buried for three days, and then rose again from the dead with a real, glorified body consisting of flesh and bones but no blood (John 10:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, 50; Luke 24:39). He paid our debt to God (Romans 6:23).

Predicted. Hundreds of years earlier the Jewish Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and others had informed the Jewish people that a Deliverer would come. He would provide spiritual salvation for their sins and from the oppression of the wicked Gentiles who would take them as captives because of Israel’s continual rebellion and disobedience to God (Isaiah 53:6; 9:6, 7; 2 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 25:9-12). Do you know how long the Jews will be under the heel of the non-Jews (Romans 11:25; Daniel 2:44, 45)?

Never Again? When and why will the Jews in Israel be chased out of the land they have now (Matthew 24:15ff)? To where will they flee (Isaiah 16:1)? How long will they be there (Jeremiah 30:7)? When and how will the Jewish Messiah come to deliver them (Matthew 21:9; 23:37-39; Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 2:9; Revelation 12:5)? How soon could these events take place? What has to take place first (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)? How prepared are you to face the future?

Gospel. The Good News that is the power of God unto our salvation is that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen [by many witnesses]” (1 Corinthians 15:2-8). Are you “believing in vain” by trying to add your good works to pay for your salvation (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; Matthew 7:21-23)?

Assurance. Are you absolutely sure that if you died today you’d go instantly to heaven? Why should God let you into His heaven? If you think you are saved, is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation?

Contact. If you have questions/comments about this article, we invite you to call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com. To receive future articles at they come out, click on “Follow.” If this has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and ask you to pass this on to someone else.

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