More than any other creature in creation, the fear generated by the serpent is seared into our common consciousness. Snakes are mysterious, intriguing, venomous, benign, and numerous. There are over three thousand species of snakes in the world and six hundred of those species are venomous (1). A quick search for snakes produced about 90 million results. It is fair to say that there is a fascination with snakes.
In the scriptures, the word serpent is mentioned 36 times and is used in many different contexts. It can speak of a literal serpent, the image of one, or a figurative understanding. The first place where it is mentioned is in the Garden east of Eden.
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
(Ref Gen 3:1).
Do serpents speak? The Bible is a literal, historical, and figurative book that has deeper things to discover. There is another reference in the Bible of fiery serpents that came into the Israelites camp and bit the people. Why? Because of their sins. Sin is like being bitten by serpents. The Israelites cried out to Moses, and he prayed for them to be healed.
In my reading about venomous snakes, like the Inland Taipan, one envenomation is potent enough to kill 100 adult humans. The question arises; how would looking at a bronze serpent, made by Moses, heal them? The Bible says all they had to do was look at that image and be healed (Ref Num 21:6). Understanding the prefiguring of His crucifixion for the sins of man, Jesus uses that very reference when 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”.
(Ref Jn 3:14&15).
You see, what Moses was lifting was the Word (Jesus) that “heals all our diseases” (Ps 103:3), including the venomous teachings that are like a snake’s injection. The fiery serpents were the rebellion against Moses and the Lord (the Truth). In Deuteronomy 32:33, Moses says, “Their wine is the poison of serpents, And the cruel venom of cobras”, speaking of false teachings. John the Baptist and Jesus referred to the Pharisees and Sadducees as snakes. Jesus said,
“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”
(Ref Matt 12:34, Matt 23:33)
So, what is Jesus saying? It’s about what’s in our hearts.
Truth or lies. He says,
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”
(Ref Jn 14:6).
The Bible teaches that it is not the spiritual that is first, but the natural (Ref 1Cor 15:46). So, what is happening naturally in the world reflects what is happening in the heart. Meaning, if there are lies and misinformation, lack of integrity, in our major news outlets it is because of what’s in the heart: venom. What is happening in the world has a deeper meaning than the information reported.
Jesus called the religious system of His time a “brood of vipers”. He is calling His people out of religion, out of confusion (Babylon), out of venomous teachings (sins), because He is about to release the “plagues” (ref Rev 18:4) on the “brood of vipers”.
Every person’s heart will speak one of two seeds: the venom of lies or the antivenom of Truth.
Until next time, choose the antivenom.
- Wikipedia.org, Dangerous snakes
- Scripture references: New King James Version