Devilish Poison

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes will have eternal life in Him.

John 3:14-15

Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and against you; intercede with the Lord, that He will remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and put it on a flag pole; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, and looks at it, will live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on the flag pole; and it came about, that if a serpent bit someone, and he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Numbers 21:6-9

In the introduction to Episode 7 of Season 1 of The Chosen there is a typically brilliant interpretation of a hypothetical conversation between Moses and Joshua while Moses is hammering out Nehushtan (2 Kings 18:4). Joshua expresses astonishment that Moses is making a pagan symbol and questions whether Moses had really heard God.

This bears some thinking about. It wasn’t that long before that Moses himself had got very enraged at the people of Israel for making another pagan symbol – the Golden Calf (Exodus 32). Now God had told him to make an image of the devil himself (Genesis 3:1) and put it up on a pole. Snake bitten people would then look at this image and be healed!

Jesus made sense of it when He became sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and was put up on the cross. The devil was pinned there too crucified with our Lord, the flesh and the world (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20, 6:14; Colossians 2:14-15).

It is no wonder that healing, both spiritual and physical is at the centre of Jesus’ ministry.

The devil’s main poison is to make us think wrongly about God. Look at the love of God expressed through the death of His Son on the cross and have your mind changed about him*. The healing of that poison is only part of the story. Eternal life comes that way also.

*The Greek word μετανοια used in Acts 2:38 and elsewhere is often translated by the word “Repent” which, by misuse, now carries other connotations than the original Greek word held. It is better translated as “change your mind”.

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