Numbers 21: 4-9
This passage of scripture found in the book of Numbers is a true historical account of the
Israelites and their travels in desert after they were freed from 400 years of Egyptian slavery. God was literally with them in
their travels. He was feeding them, protecting them, and giving
them victory over their enemies. God is doing the same for us today. Satan
and his demons are our enemies that Jesus Christ has already defeated
at the cross. By believing this, we can have eternal life with
him. In this story we are about to read from the Old Testament, Moses makes a bronze snake that he puts on a pole as an atonement for the sins the Israelites committed. They had grown impatient with Moses, but especially with God. They wanted their way NOW! Sound like anyone you might know?
The Bronze Snake
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5
they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you
brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread!
There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7
The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the
LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from
us." So Moses prayed for the people.
8 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." 9
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. Wow! How great is our God? Especially Look at Verse 8 above. This verse is a foreshadow of what will happen to Jesus over 1450 years ahead of time. It is a foretelling of what God will do for all mankind in a time ordained by Him. It is foretelling us there will come a time when God will raise His only Son up on a cross so we might live...forever. Let us dissect this passage of scripture and see what God is showing
us. Let us apply what we learn to what is happening in the world
today...especially for those of us living in the United States.
Let us ponder some questions as we study God's word.First, if you start in the beginning of this chapter in the book of Numbers, you will see God was protecting and loving his people.
They grew impatient. They grumbled and complained about their circumstances. They not only dared to speak out against Moses, but they even dared to speak out against God himself. Is this not the same as what mankind is doing today...especially those of us living in the United States? We
in America live in a very materialistic culture. We want things now.
Some do not even want to work for it, and we all complain we do not
have enough stuff. We want more and we want it now. God
never promised it would be easy. In fact, because our first
parents (Adam and Eve) chose to rebel against God, He said it would be hard.
- But what did His people do?
Hard work and death came into the world through mankind's rebellion
against God. We are all guilty and we are all under the
curse. We living today, 6,000 or so years after Adam and Eve were walking the earth, have done the same
thing- by sinning against our Holy God. We are no better or different than our first parents. I am convinced any one of us would have acted in the same way as they did and rebelled against God. All we have to do to know this is true is to look deep into ourselves and admit our own sins we have committed against God.
Genesis 3: 17-19 17 To Adam he said, "Because
you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded
you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."
Look at yourself and answer these following questions. Be truthful to yourself, but more importantly, to God. Can you admit you have sinned against the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it? Are you any different than our first parents, Adam and Eve? Are you any different than the Israelites who spoke out against God and Moses?
Getting back to our story from the book of Numbers:
love seeing intercession in scripture, especially in the Old Testament.
One of my favorite passages of seeing our Intercessor who is in heaven is found
in the book of Job. He says his intercessor is in heaven, and this was written
well before the birth of Jesus.
- What did God do when the Israelites sinned against Him? God sent venomous snakes, and many of the Israelites died. Just as in the case when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and brought death into the world, it was the rebellion of the Israelites that caused death to happen.
- What does this mean to us today? There
is one statistic mankind will never be able to change. For
every ten people who are born, all ten will someday die. I do not
want to depress anyone, but it is a fact everyone who is born into this
world will someday die. Our physical bodies perish because of
mankind's rebellion and fall spoken in the book of Genesis. Does God care? Read on and you will see He does.
- Who do the Israelites turn to when the snakes are amongst them and they begin to die? Do you find it interesting
they do not pray to God themselves, but ask Moses to do it for
them? They do not go directly to God to admit their quilt for
sinning against a Holy God, but ask Moses to intercede for them instead. Can you see what God is revealing yet? Read on.
- How did Moses respond to their request? Moses prays for the people, he intercedes for them by going directly to God in
prayer for them.
Now we read in the New Testament:
Job 16: 19-21 19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
20 My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.
I hope you can see that the author of the Book of Job and the author of
the Book of Hebrews is speaking of the same Intercessor, our Lord Jesus Christ, even though these passages were written over one thousand years apart. I hope you also understand what the author in the book of Hebrews is saying. ONLY GOD IS HOLY. Only God is holy, blameless, pure. Jesus is set apart from sinners and is exalted in heaven, and is worshiped. ONLY GOD SHOULD BE WORSHIPED. Jesus is God- the Second Person of the Trinity. This is confirmed in Scripture when we look at all of Scripture, when we look in all of the 66 books of the Bible.
Hebrews 7: 24-26 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
- For the atonement for the sins of the Israelites, what did God require Moses to do?
required Moses to construct a snake and put it on a pole.
God is painting a
beautiful picture of Jesus here. Moses had to raise up the bronze snake on a pole as an atonement for the Israelites sins. This snake raised up on a pole is a foreshadow of Jesus being raised up on the cross and crucified. Jesus died on that cross as an atonement for our sins. He did it so we could be reconciled with God. We have sinned
against a Holy and all powerful God. God cursed us to death
because of sin. But he loved us so. He made us in His own
image and did not want us to perish, so He gave us a way
out- and ONLY ONE WAY. He loved us so much He gave us His Intercessor. He
gave us Jesus. God raised Jesus up on a cross, just as Moses
raised up the bronze snake on a pole. Just as their was only one
way God gave Moses for the Israelites to be atoned for, God has given
only one way for mankind to be atoned for. His name is Jesus Christ. He is our one and only intercessor that God has give us for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is the only Intercessor that pleases God.
Matthew 17: 5-6 5While he was still
speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud
said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen
6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.
We should have the same awe and wonder of God and His Son as the disciples displayed when hearing God speak. But do we? I am afraid here in America, we are more in awe with Celebrities, movie stars, or famous athletes than God who created all things. God is still speaking to us today. We can hear Him speak if we will just listen for His voice in our inner being, because He is always speaking to our hearts. (Hebrews 3: 7-8)
- Who survived the snake bite?
Anyone who was bitten by the snake and would look upon the bronze snake
on the pole would live. What a beautiful picture God has painted
for us. All of mankind has been bitten by the snake because we all have sinned. What must we do? We
must look upon the one who was nailed to a tree and was raised up to die
for our sins. We must trust in the only one who can save
us. The word of God has shown this to be true in so many
different ways... and this snake on the pole that foreshadows the true
story of Jesus on the cross is only one of them.
The gospel of John tells us exactly why this story of the snake on the pole is in the Old Testament. Listen and take heed to Jesus own words he spoke when teaching and prophesying to Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee. Jesus explained ahead of time what must happen when he is lifted up on a pole (cross)...so that scripture would be fulfilled. Do you believe?
John 3: 13-15 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
According to scripture, just as Moses had to lift the bronze snake up on a pole to save all the Israelites bitten, Jesus had to come into this world to be lifted up on the
cross to die for mankind's sins. And just as the one requirement God commanded for those Israelites bitten by snakes was to look upon the bronze snake to live, God's has one requirement
to have eternal life. We must have faith in the one He sent for our
redemption. To have faith in the one who bore our sins while being lifted up on the tree as a curse. Look at verse14 and 15 above. We cannot save ourselves. Mankind needs an Intercessor to be forgiven of sin and have eternal life.
Galatians 3: 13 13Christ hath redeemed us
from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is
written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
For those of you reading this chapter that do not know Jesus Christ, this paragraph is for you. Do you want faith in God and the Bible? I
could see if we only had the New Testament testifying of Jesus Christ
that someone could have doubts. But God has given us so much more
evidence. Both the Old and the New Testaments proclaim that Jesus
Christ is our God, Father, Savior, and King. Without the Old Testament prophecies and teachings, the New Testament could not be written...and Jesus Christ could not be the Messiah. The New Testament writings are completely built on the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the foundation that all of Scripture is built on. That is why you find so many foreshadows of Jesus in the Old Testament. Not only that, Jesus was before all humans because He is God. Jesus appeared in bodily form to many of the Old Testament patriarchs (I show the evidence for this in my book.). Jesus has created the
universe and all that is in it and this creation shouts that He exists. Before
the fall, Adam and Eve actually could walk and talk with Him in the
garden. Our rebellion has taken that away only temporarily if yow will believe.
In fact, because I believe and have faith, God has restored my
relationship with Him and I sense His presence in me and in everything
I observe. This is true with every believer. You can have
the rested assurance the same as I do. It requires faith.
Pray for God to give this faith. Seek Him and you will find Him.
God loves you and so do I!