PLAGUE OF THE FIERY SERPENTS
PLAGUE OF THE FIERY (SERAPHIM) SERPENTS
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
March 24, 2020, the Year of Our Lord
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
As most of you know, the LORD commissions me to teach certain books of the Bible by a directive of speaking to me either by vision, dream, revelation or hearing His voice. At our Tuesday morning Bible Study, we are between Books of the Bible waiting to hear our next directive.
Except I did receive a directive. I had a dream two weeks ago while in Kerrville. I was scrolling through the Book of Numbers. A green arrow was directing me through the verses of Numbers. The green arrow has led me to preach on the plagues in the wilderness and God’s directive to dissipate plagues.
Numbers is the book of the wanderings and testings of the wilderness.
Today the message is on the plague of the fiery (seraphim) serpents and the miracle of the serpent of brass in Numbers 21: 4-9; John 3: 4-18.
The Israelites asked Moses to pray to remove the serpents. Instead, God chose to do a miracle!
I will tell you that I have studied these passages many times and have never totally understood the bronze serpent in the wilderness, and why the LORD Jehovah chose a bronze serpent. As I prepared this message, I received a visitation of the Holy Spirit in my office. I have my understanding. When the Lord does a miracle, our faith will not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Yes, I always was clear that the bronze serpent is a type of Jesus Christ. Jesus told me that in John 3. My question, was why the serpent?
1Co 1:27 - But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Just as Moses in the desert lifted up the brass replica of a snake on a pole for all the people to see and be healed, so the Son of Man was lifted up, so that those who truly believe in him will not perish but be given eternal life. For this is how much God loved the world.
In John 2, Jesus was teaching about his death and resurrection and revealing that He is the temple of God. Resurrection power would be the sign of Christ’s supreme authority and would dismantle the temple worship. In John 3, Nicodemus came to him and said, Master, we know that you are a teacher from God, for no man performs the miracle signs that you do, unless God’s power is with him; but I don’t understand what you are talking about.
Jesus answered, “Nicodemus, listen to this eternal truth. Before a person can see the Kingdom of God, they must first be born again.” Christian before you and I can receive from the realm of creative miracles, we must see from the Kingdom of God.
Nicodemus replied, “I don’t understand, what do you mean? How does this happen? How can I an old man be born again?
(Passion Translation) John 3: 9-18: Jesus answered, “Nicodemus, you’re a respected teacher in Israel, and yet you don’t understand this revelation? I speak eternal truths about things I know, things I’ve seen and experienced---and still you don’t accept what I reveal. If you’re unable to understand and believe what I’ve told you about the natural realm what will you do when I begin to unveil the heavenly realm? No one has risen into the heavenly realm except the Son of Man who exists in heaven. Just as Moses in the desert lifted up the brass replica of a snake on a pole for all the people to see and be healed, so the Son of Man is ready to be lifted up, so that those who truly believe in him will not perish but be given eternal life. For this is how much God loved the world---he gave his one and only unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it. So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the name of God’s beloved Son.
“Jesus is sharing a mystery of the Kingdom of God with Nicodemus. While he was on the earth ministering, Jesus was also in heaven in the Spirit realm. Being in two places at the same time is also the privilege given to every believer. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm and living our earthly life to please him. This is what it means to be “in Christ.” In the realm of the Spirit, heaven and earth are one. Jesus is telling Nicodemus that only those who are seated in the heavenly realm will understand spiritual truths.
The brass snake was an emblem of sin and disease. The Hebrew uses the word, seraph which means a fiery one. All of humanity has been bitten by the “snake of sin.” Jesus was raised up on a cross for all the people to see on a hill. We only need to look to him and believe, and we are healed and saved from sin.” (Passion Translation)
In Numbers 21, Israel had been defeated by the Canaanites and Midianites. ( Numbers 14: 41-45). They had seemingly been abandoned by God in the wilderness. In Numbers 21, Israel in defeat vowed a new vow to Jehovah saying, if you will indeed deliver this people (the Canaanites) into our hands, then we will utterly destroy their cites. The Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel and helped them turn defeat into victory. This was to teach Israel that their strength came from Him and that only through Him could they expect to conquer Canaan and possess the land. Verse 3 says they utterly destroyed the Canaanites and their cities.
Num 21:4Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
So, the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
Therefore, the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So. Moses prayed for the people.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”
So. Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so, it was if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
As noted, the Hebrew word for “fiery” is “seraphim.” The seraphim are the angels who preside over the coals of fire from the altar before the throne of God. This is the same word used in Isa. 6:2, and 6:6:
Isa. 6:2Above it (God’s throne) stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Isa. 6:6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
In Isaiah, the mission of the Seraphim is to cleanse the lips of the prophet. The prophet cried out that he was sinner, and the fire from the Seraphim atoned for his sin and he was forgiven.
Both the visitation in Numbers 21 and Isa. 6:2-7 are a Day of Atonement through a baptism of fire from the throne of God.
Brass speaks of judgment. The brazen serpent portrays sin judged in the cross of Jesus Christ. Looking to the serpent of brass speaks of FAITH in the finished work of Christ. In their obedience to believe God, they received a miracle.
The fiery (seraphim) as serpents have been used by God for judgment not only here, but in Isa. 14:29 against the Assyrian and 30:6 when Israel was depending on Egypt for their help.
It seems the fiery (seraphim) serpents are sent from God to either deliver and cleanse from sin, or bring judgment.
The sins that brought the plague of the fiery serpents were:
2. People spoke against God.
3. People spoke against Moses.
4. They complained about the manna from Heaven (angels’ food).
5. They complained about a shortage of water.
“What will those be pleased with whom manna will not please?” (Matthew Henry)
The people prayed that God would take away the serpents from them, but God humbled them further by having them look up to the brass serpent to either live or die. He wanted obedience from them. When the LORD chooses to do a miracle, he will very often require something of us that makes no sense to our natural mind.
In their pride, they had lifted themselves up against God and Moses, and now God humbled and mortified them.
Afflictions will change men’s attitudes concerning God’s people and teach them to value those prayers which they have scorned.
The fiery serpents were the tenth of eleven plagues the Israelites experienced in the wilderness.
It was God himself that devised and prescribed the antidote against the fiery serpents; so, our salvation by Christ was the contrivance of Infinite wisdom. God Himself chose the ransom. It was a very unlikely method to cure, so our salvation by the death of Christ is to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness. That which was cured was shaped into the likeness of that which wounded. So, Christ perfectly free from sin himself; yet was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.
The brazen serpent was lifted up on a pole. The word for pole signifies a banner, or ensign, for Christ crucified stands for an ensign of the people.
During this time of the Corona plague, we, the Church, have one message”
Isa. 45:22Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else…
From Genesis 16:7–to Rev. 12, the wilderness is a place where God meets man in discipline and deliverance. The desert will reveal how deeply God’s people are committed to him.
As ministers of the gospel, we must proclaim to the world that their only hope to be delivered from what is coming upon the earth is to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; and the power of His Blood to deliver them from their sins. There is no other redemption. You cannot look to your government or the news channels to save you.
Lk. 10:19: Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you."
In Deuteronomy 8, Moses is instructing the second generation in the wilderness of God’s protection and loving discipline through the 40 years of wilderness life. They were going to experience awesome prosperity and blessing in their new life in Canaan. Because of their sin of disobedience, the Exodus generation that had come out of Egypt had rejected the land as promised and had died in the wilderness. Disobedience to God will cost us our blessings on earth. Now the new generation coming out of the wilderness into the promised land are given the conditions of obtaining and maintaining it.
Moses is warning them to avoid self-righteousness, remember their own sinfulness, and their need to be faithful to the Covenant of God. This is a time in our nation and the nations of the world to repent and return to God. Like Moses, we preachers better be preaching it because we have generations on the earth who know nothing about honoring God.
(Deuteronomy covers the 11th month of the 40th year. The date of the writing was about 1400 B.C.)
Deut. 8:1Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
The temptation to forget that wealth and prosperity are God’s gracious gifts was not peculiar to Israel. Individuals and nations still forget their dependence on his provision and bounty even when plagues, pollution and the suffering of third world countries reinforce this truth.
This Coronavirus plague affects all nations. Mankind with all of his knowledge, resources, and prowess can do nothing to this enemy with is unseen and demonic. A mighty economy has fallen almost over-night. Mighty cities have been shut down. Mighty states are being shut down. Powerful institutions have been shut down. In all of their prowess, they are helpless in the face of this invisible terror.
Let us look to God for from Him our help will come.
Heb 3:8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So, I swear in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
These are serious days. We cannot discern the times by listening to the pundits or even our government leaders. I am not saying we should be in rebellion against our government and not act with prudence and wisdom. We must be able to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Israel later made a god of the brazen serpent and it was finally destroyed in the days of Hezekiah (2 Ki. 18:4).
We know snakes represent the devil and his agents. Scripture portrays the devil in the guise of a serpent from Genesis 3:1-Rev. 20:2.
Again, I don’t know why God chose to use a brass image of a fiery serpent to represent the redemption, healing and deliverance of Christ Jesus Our Lord and Savior. I only know it is written and then reaffirmed by Jesus in the New Covenant. I have some understanding of Gift of Miracles and I know throughout the Holy Bible when the LORD did a miracle, He used unusual substances such a mud, etc. Paul used handkerchiefs. Moses used a brass serpent. In all instances, it is God who does the miracle, not the knowledge, understanding, education, prowess, power or might of man.
The Bible often had dual meanings. Paul proclaims those who would proclaim another Jesus as cunning serpents, whose person, will gradually but surely corrupt pure devotion of Christ (2 cor. 11:3).
2Co 11:3But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Miracles of God are not to be comprehended by the natural mind.
When I awoke, Tuesday, 3/24/20, this message was on my computer from the Elijah List. Bob Jones passed to heaven in 2014.
Bob Jones: “Many years ago we prayed about the meaning of the serpent and scorpion. We found that when the serpent strikes at you it represents death coming to assault you. However, when the scorpion strikes at you, it can mean that major sickness is trying to fall upon you. (There is a solution and it is authority in prayer using the Blood of Jesus.)
Recently I saw there were two plagues coming to the global nations, especially the United States. One plague was influenza while the other was like influenza in nature. Remember this severe illness like influenza is represented by the scorpion. Thus, the serpent has been killing through influenza while the scorpion-like influenza results are severe illness that could kill you. By applying the Blood of Jesus we take authority over these plagues and cause them to die.” (Bob Jones)
Carolyn Sissom, Pastor
Eastgate Ministries Church
Scripture from K.J.V., N.K.J.V. and P.T.