Awesome Hands – Part 131: “Fiery Serpent”

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Awesome Hands – part 131

Fiery Serpent

March 30, 2018

Our study today finds us looking in the mirror. When the Lord called the children of Israel to be His people, they had a hard time adjusting to the requirements which “being God’s people” required of them.

As with the Israelites and a beast that doesn’t want to go the direction the master says to go, we too, buck and pull at the bit the Lord places in our mouths.

Psa 32:8  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psa 32:9  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
Psa 32:10  Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
Psa 32:11  Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

The bronze serpent

In our previous study, we went over how Moses was led to lead the Israelites to the king of Edom to ask for passage through his land. Moses was denied passage no matter how he presented the solution to the king.

I stated in that study, “You and I will be rejected, just as the people of God were, because we 1) claim to be God’s people, His sons, and 2) claim to be as He is in this world.”

I also attempted to convey that this rejection is ALSO WITHIN us. The old man in us will DENY that we are the sons of God, and that old serpent will do everything he can to convince that we are not what God has revealed to us that we are.

In our study today, we will see this same attitude in the Israelites, and we will see how the Lord reacts to this mindset.

Before we get to those verses, and because of the time lapse since having that previous study, I want to cover some verses to connect the studies together.

Here is where we left off in our last study.

Num 20:21  Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.

As a recap, even Moses referred to Edom as the brothers of the Israelites.

Num 20:14  And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:

Edom refuses to give passage to the Israelites, and as if that weren’t going to be hard enough, the head priest dies.

Num 20:22  And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.
Num 20:23  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying,
Num 20:24  Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.
Num 20:25  Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:
Num 20:26  And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.
Num 20:27  And Moses did as the LORD commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation.
Num 20:28  And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.
Num 20:29  And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

The way the Lord works is that He takes things from us so that He can give things to us. He takes away the old man so that the new man can take his place. He takes away our sin so that righteousness can be given. We are stripped of unrighteousness so that Godliness can prevail.

The Lord is a giver and a taker all at the same time.

Job 1:21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:22  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

In type, we have our brother deny and reject us, and the “old man” Aaron has died. This sets the stage for what the Lord does in our lives. He leads us into temptation, and we usually give in to that temptation.

In the case of the study today, the Israelites should be repenting of everything they’ve been doing in doubting and mocking the Lord, especially since the Lord has just executed His judgment on Aaron for disobedience (Num 20:24), but that isn’t what any of us do initially.

Let us now look in the mirror held up to the people of God’s face.

Num 21:1  And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.
Num 21:2  And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.
Num 21:3  And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

Interestingly, Hormah means “devoted”. This is due to the Israelites doing what they wanted in making a vow to the Lord to destroy the cities of the people of Arad. Arad has taken some prisoners and Israel wanted to avenge themselves.

However, after this revenge is executed, doing what the Lord says doesn’t have the same appeal. Sure, they need the Lord’s help when they have something in mind, but when the Lord is calling the shots, their hearts just aren’t as encouraged.

Num 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.
Num 21:5  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.

So the Lord delivered the Canaanites into the hand of the Israelites, but they became discouraged still. Instead of petitioning the Lord to help them, instead they speak against the Lord and the Lord’s servant, Moses.

Ask yourself if this is something you have done? Because if it is something you have done, then you need to understand how the Lord reacts to such things. Yes, this is a history lesson for the physical Jews, but history is there for us to LEARN from, and the Lord changes not!

Num 21:5  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.
Num 21:6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Given that the Lord doesn’t change, and the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people to bite them, what can we learn from this situation as it pertains to murmuring against the Lord and reaping the results of that action?

It’s not as bad as it sounds when considering that we want the new man to increase in us daily, but our cup must be cleansed and emptied in order to make room for something else.

First, let’s look at what happens after the Lord pours His wrath out.

Num 21:7  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.

Notice, it is Moses that is spoken against as the servant of the Lord, and it is Moses who prays for the people when they sin against God and Moses.

Num 21:8  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.
Num 21:9  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.

Typically, it is not understood that when the Lord sends a trial our way, it is meant to heal us, not ONLY to destroy the old man in us. By that I mean through death comes life.

It’s a fiery serpent that is used to bite the people, and it is a fiery serpent Moses is told to make in order to save the lives of the people.

What is hidden in this familiar story and very familiar verses is who the serpent here is.

This will not be news to some of us, but the serpent is, was and will be Jesus the Christ.

What?! “Blasphemy!”, you say? Let us look at the fiery serpent again in a “spiritual words” kind of way. Let us compare spiritual things with spiritual.

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Num 21:6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Num 21:6  And the LORD sent fieryH8314 serpentsH5175) among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

The “fiery” serpents, as opposed to just simple serpents, are VERY FIERY indeed!

Wait, what? Seraphims?

Isa 6:1  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Isa 6:2  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

This story is happening to Isaiah, who goes on to be a very important prophet to the Lord as it pertains to prophecy.

Isa 6:3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isa 6:4  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isa 6:5  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Isa 6:6  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
Isa 6:7  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

See, seraphims can approach and use the altar. This is very important to know and acknowledge because it lets us understand some of the spiritual significance of the Lord sending fiery serpents AMONG the people.

These fiery serpents, or fiery SERVANTS, as I like to think, are used to bring both death and life. They are the fiery serpents that are DWELL in the fire, but serpents are beasts, and like all beasts they have their place in God’s kingdom.

Isa 33:14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15  He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

These just happen to be six winged beasts.

This word is rooted in BURNING or KINDLING.

Yes, the fiery serpents, spiritually speaking, are God’s people who dwell in the fire and speak fire from their mouths. Whatsoever is not burned up is left over, and those left overs are saved.

2Sa 22:7  In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
2Sa 22:8  Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
2Sa 22:9  There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

Jer 5:14  Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5  And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Rev 11:6  These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

One of the main attributes of fire, aside from being very hot, is that is bright, and it is light. Of course, fire can take on differing levels of brightness, but it is overall bright as compared to darkness.

In recent news, the pope has been recorded in an interview as saying there is no hell. As can be expected, there has been much conversation about this and much backlash from Christians over these recorded statements.

Of course, the pope has released some Truth that is not going to go over well with the darkness that the doctrine of hell causes. The Catholic church knows there is no hell since they are the entity used on this earth as the source of such doctrine.

Hell, as a doctrine, was incorporated from pagan religions so that it could be welcomed into the church doctrine and pull in more pagans into Christianity.

I know I am preaching to the choir on this topic, but I find it interesting, given this topic of fiery serpents who both kill and heal.

I was listening to the radio at lunch today, and I heard a radio commentator address this topic. He simply mentioned that this statement by the pope was going to be trouble for the Catholic church, and it leads into a lot of questions. The way it was stated gave the impression that this host assumed these questions are not going to be good.

What he then used and read aloud on air, as a quote from Billy Graham, was Matthew 10:28.

Mat 10:26  Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
Mat 10:27  What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Mat 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to DESTROY both SOUL and BODY in HELL.

Does anyone notice anything particular about verses 28?

This radio host, quoting Billy Graham, says that Billy Graham was making the point that the person who talks the most about hell in all the bible is Jesus, and “Jesus spoke about hell a lot.”

Is that true?

Let us look at verses 28 again as it pertains to the doctrine of ETERNAL HELL or ETERNITY in HELL.

According to mainstream Christianity, hell is forever and always. This is what we MUST be saved from. We do not want to go to the fire forever.

But Matthew 10:28 tells us, from Jesus’ mouth to our ears, “FEAR HIM which IS ABLE to DESTROY both SOUL and BODY in HELL!

Which is it then? Is hell forever or is hell able to end? Can a soul and body be destroyed by SOMEONE in hell? Some say it is the devil doing the destroying, and some say it is God, depending on various doctrines.

But there is an apparent conflict no matter who you think the destroyer is. Indeed, this verse makes it apparent that the soul and body CAN be destroyed in HELL.

So, what do we do with this? Yes, this should make many Christians wonder.

Both eternity and destruction can’t happen in hell, so something else must be being said here.

This is where fiery serpents/servants come in. Since we are able to dwell in the fire comfortably and breath fire from our mouths, maybe we can be considered a source of information on this topic?

We know that the word used here is not hell but Gehenna, as in Gehenna fire. This Gehenna fire is fire, but fire is meant to destroy what can be destroyed, and whatever remains is SAVED… YET SO AS BY FIRE!

I will end this study with these familiar verses in order to show that the Lord does indeed use His fiery serpents to heal and kill/destroy. This happens within us and without us.

1Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
1Co 3:18  Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1Co 3:19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
1Co 3:20  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

Our reward will come as a result of the fire REVEALING what remains and burning away the rest.

All trials are meant to produce this same result, so while trials are not joyous themselves, we can have joy KNOWING we are loved and good will come of all trials. This was proven with the purging that good did with His own people as shown with the fiery serpent.

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