July 30, 2017

A Fiery Serpent – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” (Numbers 21:8)

“And Jehovah saith unto Moses, ‘Make for thee a burning [serpent],…” (Numbers 21:8, Young’s Literal Translation)

The Hebrew word translated “fiery serpent” ( שָׂרָ֔ף) (seraph), according to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, fundamentally means “burn.” It is used in a wide variety of ways; making bricks, destroying houses and chariots. It is never used for burnt offerings but is used of burning a red heifer (to produce ashes for purification). Under Roman numeral I, we read, “fiery serpent, usu. venomous; a flying serpent, or dragon.” Roman numeral II lists the plural form and defines: “seraphim — in OT. majestic beings with six wings, and human hands and voices, …”

So, now we know what Moses put on the pole??? Wow. Bible study is not always easy. There are several good words for “snake” in the Old Testament besides or in addition to this one. I have to wonder if the prejudice produced by evolutionists against dinosaurs, close-mindedly rejects the possibility of a fire-breathing dragon (which we see depicted only hundreds of years ago in sculptures and paintings around the world).

Proud Job is humbled by a consideration or God’s wondrous creation, the Leviathan in Job 41:21-34.

…Will you be laid low even at the sight of him? …“Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth there is terror. “His strong scales are his pride,… ““When he raises himself up, the mighty fear; Because of the crashing they are bewildered. The sword that reaches him cannot avail, Nor the spear, the dart or the javelin. “He regards iron as straw, Bronze as rotten wood. …“Nothing on earth is like him, One made without fear. “He looks on everything that is high; He is king over all the sons of pride.””

Then we read…

Out of his mouth go burning torches; Sparks of fire leap forth. “Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth…”

Isaiah appears to speak of a similar phenomenon.

“…for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth an adder, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.” (Isaiah 14:29)

“The burden of the beasts of the South. Through the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the lioness and the lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent,…” (Isaiah 30:6)

So what afflicted the Israelites in the wilderness and what did Moses put on the standard? I’m not sure, but it would certainly ramp up interest in the Biblical account if it referred to a fire-breathing dragon (dinosaur). If it refers only to poisonous serpents, it still is an incredible story, but…it was confirmed by none other than the Lord Jesus Himself:

“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)

A plague of threatening creatures had terrorized the camp of Israel, sent as a divine judgment because of their complaints and ingratitude, and many people had died. When they confessed their sin and Moses prayed for their deliverance, God in His grace prescribed this unique remedy.

There is, of course, no naturalistic process that can heal a poisonous bite merely by a look. Neither, of course, is there a naturalistic explanation for the salvation of a sin-poisoned soul merely by looking with faith upon the crucified Son of man. Both are mighty miracles, with the first being beautifully designed by God to be a prophetic foreshadowing of the other.

The symbolism is striking. The brass image impaled on the pole represented slain creatures, but it also spoke of “that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan,” eventually cast forever into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:2, 10).

The symbols foreshadow and help communicate God’s eternal plan, the real deliverance which required a real Christ to die on a real cross.

“… even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)

(Adapted from an article by Henry Morris)

 

 

 

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