Post Number: 199
|Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 4:40 pm: || |
I don't understand why the Lord had Israel look at a "bronze snake" on a pole to be healed from their snake bite. Numbers 21:8-9. I've heard this is a foreshadow of Jesus on the cross, but why a SNAKE on the pole. With all the discussion of scape goat and Great Controversy, this doesn't seem to fit. Help please.
Post Number: 1018
|Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 6:27 pm: || |
The Lord states clearly in John's Gospel that the serpent on the pole was a foreshadowing of Him: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). Two things I take from this:
1) It has to do with Jesus becoming the embodiment of sin on the Cross for our sake. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
2) This one is a bit less Biblically explicit, but I think it makes sense: The serpent was mentioned first by Moses in regards to the Garden of Eden. As such, it would have symbolized to Israel Adam's disobedience to God's command. On the Cross, Jesus became Adam's disobedience that had plunged our world into sin and death. He crucified the old Adam.
In so doing, Jesus became the new Adam, sinless and immortal. Thus, whosoever believes in Him enters into His act of crucifying Adam's sin, and by faith that person is counted as being in sinless Jesus Christ rather than in sinful Adam. Like the serpent, the Son of Man is lifted up "so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life."
Post Number: 14441
|Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 12:01 am: || |
The snakes in the desert were killing the Israelites. God told Moses to make a representation of the very thing that was destroying them; if they looked, they were healed.
Jesus BECAME sin, as Bskillet pointed out. He took our sin to the cross, and He became a curse for us. He took the curse of the law to the cross. He nailed the law that condemned us to death to the cross, and He bore the penalty of the sin that killed us all.
He BECAME what killed and condemned us. Jesus said, "When I am lifted up, then you will know that I am He..." (Jn. 8:28).
And in becoming what killed and condemned us, He completely fulfilled the law.
"He became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21).
Post Number: 2866
|Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 8:18 am: || |
This is what the ‘Serpent on the Pole’ means to me:
During Moses’ time while leading the Israelites through the desert he instructed the Israelites to look upon the raised serpent on the pole for their ‘redemption’ from death. This prophetically symbolized and pointed towards the Messiah Jesus Christ on the cross for the redemption of all sinners from sin’s penalty of death.
This is a world-wide recognized symbol adopted by the medical profession with this very same foundational meaning in mind. Therefore it can legitimately be utilized to preach the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ contrasted to the Adventist error of attaching their ‘health message’ to the gospel thereby making their gospel a gospel of works which is a false non-gospel. Jesus obviously cared for all the needs of the people when here on earth and still does. Our desire to care for the needs of ourselves along with those we around us is a result of the gospel but never the gospel itself.
The sickness and depravity of the world points towards our need for the gospel where Jesus died on the cross and became ‘sin’ (it is a curse to hang on a tree) for us, descended into the grave (a place unknown as our Scapegoat) and arose three day later to triumphantly ascend into heaven and sit down at the side of the Father nearly two thousand years ago (long before 1844) because victory over Satan and sin was declared complete. Sitting is resting but not sleeping from your work. When you are at the side of our Holy Father you are at the most possible holy place that can exist.
When I look upon the medical symbol it reminds me that soon we will all be free of death and all the consequences of sin in this world.
Post Number: 200
|Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 11:10 am: || |
What's confusing to me is that the serpent is a symbol of Satan. Satan wasn't on the cross. Why look to his symbol?
Post Number: 514
|Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 12:00 pm: || |
In Genesis we are told that all the trees God made were good. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was good but not meant for man to eat from. Satan as the serpent as I would imagine was probably on the tree when he deceived Eve to eat from it believing she would become like God, being wise and that it was good to eat.
As Phil pointed out above "Cursed is he who is hung on a tree" Satan was cursed and we are told in Paul's writings that the law is the power of sin, not that the law is bad but sin used it to deceive us and cause us to become even more sinful. We are told the law was given to increase the trespass (Adam's trespass). So the law is like the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and certainly one can see satan deceving mankind still making them believe that one will be like god, Holy Just and good by eating from the law and that it must be eaten to obtain eternal life with God in heaven.
Jesus took on the power of sin contained in the law of commandments and nailed them to the cross, and again the power of sin is the law. Jesus was hung on the tree and cursed for our sake so that we can become blessed in him.
I think the serpent on a pole and Jesus on the cross is just another example of works vs grace, or even better the very law which was to bring life only caused death due to sin, Jesus took our sin by becoming the very thing that sin had the power to slay us with, He nailed the law to the cross, the very thing that satan/sin had the power to deceive us with.
LOL, hope I didn't make thins more confusing, it made more sense in my head haha
Post Number: 2868
|Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 12:15 pm: || |
Sometimes a biblical word can have a duel interlocking meaning.
Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus when he said this:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15 ESV)
This refers to this Old Testament passage:
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Num. 21:4-9 ESV)
God didn’t send Satan to afflict the people. We should understand these serpents who were killing the people represented their sin of not trusting their God to lead and deliver them safely to the Promise Land. In other words, the serpent represents the consequences of sin.
When Jesus was lifted up on the cross he took upon himself the consequences of our sin.
Post Number: 201
|Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 - 1:38 pm: || |
Sooo. Do I need to think of the serpent as sin? Sounds like the serpent is: sin, Satan, consequences of sin, death, law, and Jesus became it all for us. So all was nailed to the cross: sin, consequences, death, law, Satan, and Jesus. Not us because of our faith not works.
I'm seeing some light on this. My roadblock is in thinking Israel was looking to Satan for healing because Satan is synonymous with serpent to me. Jesus death conquered Satan.
I'm not trying to be difficult. Just trying to understand this. There are a lot of concepts running around in this.
If the serpents were sin biting Israel and causing death, then they had to hang up their sins in this serpent on the pole and look to the one that would ultimately save them by dieing and conquering Satan and death.
This reminds me of a scene in an airplane movie where someone is freaking out and there is a line of people waiting their turn to straighten the freaked out person. LOL
Post Number: 14442
|Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 12:20 am: || |
In a nutshell, Sharon, Jesus became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Sin is what kills us, and sin is what Jesus took to the cross in His flesh. Sin's power was broken on the cross.
The serpents were killing Israel. The bronze serpent represented what cursed and killed them. If they had faith to obey and gaze at the bronze serpent, they were healed. It wasn't the sin represented by the serpent that healed them. What lay behind their healing was their faith in God that empowered them to do what He said, "Look at the serpent and live."
Jesus became what God hated: sin. When we look at Jesus on the cross, we have to see our sin nailed to the cross. We see in Jesus the sin that killed us...we see it nailed to the cross where its power is broken because of His broken flesh which carried our imputed sin.
Post Number: 202
|Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 7:49 am: || |
Thanks everyone. I studied all your comments and Bible texts over yesterday. I understand what you are saying. I really didn't ask the right question? The comment, "cursed is he who hung on the tree" answered the question I was thinking. The use of a serpent was more understood to Israel as origin of sin. I had it all mixed up with Satan. Understanding the context helped. They didn't trust, God sent the serpents to bite,they repented, they had to trust, and look up for healing. This is not worshiping or trusting in Satan. This was a foreshadowing of trust in Jesus who took the curse for us. Do I have it?
Post Number: 14443
|Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 12:23 pm: || |
Post Number: 203
|Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 4:03 pm: || |
Post Number: 59
|Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 12:24 pm: || |
I always understood it as the Cross conquering the devil.
I will observe that this suggests that carved images were ok for Israelite's, as also the ones on the ark and in the most holy place, they were only not ok when they were understood to be deity and adored, being why this particular statute was later destroyed.
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Saturday, October 05, 2013 - 11:28 pm: || |
This is quite a late addition to the thread, but I hope it will shed additional light on the subject. My first thought was that types do not necessarily have to account for every detail in their fulfillment. Christ emphasized only the life-imparting gaze on the lifted up Lord (which, by the way can refer to both his death and resurrection). It didn't seem necessary to connect the serpent with Jesus.
So the original question had to do with the symbolism of the snake in the narrative (Num 21:4-9). The conventional Christian concept of snakes and serpents is negative since the Devil is identified as such (2 Cor 11:3; Rev 12:9; 20:2). Given this unsavory association, it is strange why the LORD would use the serpent to typify the Lord Jesus on the cross (Jn 3:14). We might think that the Devil was on the cross, but Christ sees Himself hanging there. Perhaps there is more to the symbolism than the mere association of Jesus with sin. Were the Israelites to look upon sin and live? Or were they to observe and understand that the Lord holds both death and life in His hand? Could there be other symbolic connections?
Genesis 49:17-18 states that the tribe of Dan would be like a serpent that bites at the heels of an unsuspecting horse causing the rider to fall. Cunning and deviousness, perhaps even conflict and war, would characterize that tribe. Dan should be such a one to â€śjudge,â€ť that is, to defend Israel, to bring justice to those in need by serpentine means. Samson was of the tribe of Dan (Jud 16) and the Jews thought Jacob's blessing referred to Samson. But Dan was also the first tribe to fall into idolatry in Canaan (Jud 18). Immediately following the (seventh) blessing of Dan, Jacob announces â€śI have waited for your salvation, O Lord!â€ť The reason for this statement at this point is somewhat puzzling, but its connection with justice, a serpent and heels is interesting (cf. Gen 3:15). Dan is certainly not capable of providing an ultimate salvation; however, a Messiah like Dan, who is as wise as a serpent and could outwit the Devil himself (Matt 10:16), could provide true Justice and Redemption. When the tribes are reviewed in Revelation, curiously Dan is not mentioned.
Moses grew up with a fear of snakes as evidenced by his retraction from his own staff-turned-snake (Ex 4:3). But he was commanded to grab it by the tail, which he did in faith, and it resumed the previous presentation of a staff. The Lord would later use Aaronâ€™s rod, turned into something snake-like, to devour the magiciansâ€™ snake-rods, thus proving that Israelâ€™s God is an all-consuming power who is not so easily subverted by human pretensions. Here, the snake represents the Lordâ€™s rebuttal to human authority and offers protection to those who trust in Him. It is as if the Lord was assuming the role of Dan in this episode.
My dated New Bible Dictionary notes that in ANE societies the snake often symbolized protection, evil, fecundity, and/or continuing life (because it sheds its skin). â€śThis is the serpentâ€”a strange synthesis of life and death, and object of both intense animosity and reverenceâ€ť says Joines, in Serpent Symbolism in the OT. It is perhaps this symbolical dualism that makes the serpent on the cross so appalling and appealing at the same time. Christ on the cross taking to Himself the sin of the world and concurrently assuming the Danite responsibility of providing justice and life for those who trust in the Lord to save.
Post Number: 3224
|Posted on Sunday, October 06, 2013 - 12:44 pm: || |
Terryohare; I don't remember if I welcomed you to the forum or not, but in case I didn't; welcome to the forum!
(I know that Jesus became sin for us and that we are bidden to look to Him and live. That's how C.H. Spurgeon got saved. When he was a young fellow, tortured with not knowing how to be right with God, he happened to wander into a small church one snowy Sunday and a man was preaching that all he needed to do to be saved was to "look and live!" Spurgeon finally got it! The symbolism is simple.
Post Number: 2937
|Posted on Sunday, October 06, 2013 - 1:34 pm: || |
The symbolism is simple.
(Message edited by philharris on October 06, 2013)