In the book of Numbers, Moses was instructed to raise a brazen serpent on a tree. In this essay, the significance of this act is discussed.
The Brazen Serpent
The people of Israel complained about their long journey through the wilderness to the promised land, and they spoke against God and Moses. The anger of God was, therefore, kindled against them (Num 21:1-5). Because of this,
“The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; much people of Israel died. 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. 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. 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” (Num 21:6-9).
It was only those individuals who looked unto the brazen serpent in faith that got healed. This image that was lifted up by Moses was not to be a permanent object of worship. It was to bring temporal deliverance to those who looked at it in faith. But the Israelites decided to worship it until it was destroyed by Hezekiah (2Ki 18:4). Therefore, it is only the lifted Christ who brings eternal salvation to mankind ought to be worshipped eternally, as detailed below.
The Crucified Christ
Jesus applies the above scripture to himself. This is evidenced in His words in the passage that reads:
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Joh 3:13-15).
Moses did not explicitly write that the Christ would go through this mode of suffering and death on the cross, but it looked into the future redemption of humankind. It has been established that salvation is not found in any object, creed, religion or person (Acts 4:4) but it is obtained only by grace through faith in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:8). It must be stated that Christ Jesus is not an alternative way to heaven, but the only way to heaven (Joh 14:6). Every individual who desires to be saved must look unto Christ Jesus (Isa 45:22).
The Book of Moses is a shadow of that which was to come to save the world from sin and death, but the reality is Christ. The brazen serpent was only a shadow of Christ who has brought complete freedom to those who believe in Him. Thus, all people need to look up to Jesus Christ in faith to be saved.
Prayer: May the Lord God favor all of us and help us to come to His saving knowledge. In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord. AMEN!