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Feb 04, 2018
Passage: Numbers 21:8-9 & John 3:14-15

Serpent of Brass

…every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live”

(NUMBERS 21:8)

When the LORD sent fiery poisonous serpents among the children of Israel, in the wilderness to bite them, many of them died. So it was no surprise that they should come to Moses to confess unto the LORD they had sinned against Him by their murmurings. They desperately and earnestly begged Moses to pray unto the LORD for them, that the serpents should be taken away. What rich mercy and lovingkindness, that the LORD would provide them with the remedy to that poison after such monstrous murmurings of ingratitude. “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” (NUMBERS 21:8-9). And so they that had been brought near to death by those poisonous serpents came seeking life. What a strange remedy, that at the sight of that serpent of brass all the poison that was flowing through their veins should be arrested and put away! How effectual are remedies in the hands of the Most High God! The people looked and lived—looking upon that serpent of brass, which was a picture, representing the Lord Jesus Christ upon the pole of the cross—who gave His life a ransom for His people—washing them from their sins in His own blood, delivering them from the eternal penalty due them. Beloved, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us…” “Jesus Christ…loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (TITUS 3:5, REVELATION 1:5).

Look and live! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!” (ACTS 16:31) If you say that you have no sin, you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you; but if you confess your sins, the Saviour is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 JOHN 1:9).

Look and live! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved! My sinner friend, you have been fatally bitten, indeed mortally wounded by sin. You have good reason to fear the bitter pains of eternal death, for the soul that sinneth, it shall die [EZEKIEL 18:4,20]. Without the LORD’s remedy your hope shall perish. Any trust in self-remedy is as vain as trusting in a spider’s web to hold your weight [JOB 8:13-14]. If not cured by His blood shed on the cross, your end must be weeping and gnashing of teeth in hell. The Lord Jesus Christ declares a warning to those who trust in their own filthy rags righteousness (ISAIAH 64:6), rather than to look and trust in His righteousness alone. He says they “are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” However, there is yet hope—even for you sinner, for “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 TIMOTHY 1:15).

Reader, abhor yourself in dust and ashes [JOB 42:6], come to the cross and look and live! for He who hung there upon the pole of that cross is “able to save [sinners] to the utter most that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (HEBREWS 7:25).

Sinner, you are bitten by the fiery serpent of sin—and the cross of Christ is your only cure. While the serpent of brass healed the wounded body; Christ redeems the dead sin sickened soul. The serpent of brass added temporal days to those who looked to it; but to those who look to Christ days without end; looking not to anything they do, but rather ever so blessedly look upon what He has accomplished by His death upon the cross. The Lord declares “He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (JOHN 5:24). Our Lord plainly tells us that this account in the book of Numbers is a representation of Himself (of His blessed person and His finished saving work), for He declares in the gospel of John “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” (JOHN 3:14-15). AMEN!

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