While the Israelites were headed to the Promised Land,the people became very discouraged. They spoke against God and Moses and said, “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.” (Numbers 21:4-5). They were in an attitude of mutiny. Many wanted to go back to Egypt. God responded by removing His protection from the people. Fiery Serpents went out and bit the people of Israel. Some became very ill, and some died.
Now where did these fiery serpents come from? Did God just create them in an instant? No, they were living among the people the entire time. Just like Psalms 91, God was protecting them during their travel. He simply lifted His protection and the serpents attacked the Israelites. They were also under a different covenant than we are under today. Their covenant was a covenant of law, when they disobeyed there needed to be a judgement for their sins. This would not happen to a believer today in the new covenant.
God is love. It is the very core of who He is. The people repented of their mutiny and God told 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.”(Numbers 21:8-9) (NKJV).God’s desire is to continue to protect us under His wings. But when we walk away from that protection, we may get rained on. In a similar way providing a way of Salvation to us.
God has placed these types in the Old Testament so that it would be a clear message without completely new information. The Bronze Serpent is a picture of the cross. When we look to the cross, we can see how our sin has been paid for. It doesn’t take effort to look. The message to the Israelites was simple. You look. You live.
In the days of Hezekiah. They were making it an idol. 2 King 18:4 tells us that king Hezekiah, “4 …removed the [b]high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the [c]wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it [d]Nehushtan. “ This Hebrew word Nehushtan meant, “a thing of brass”. In a way, this twenty-five year old king was telling them, “You are worshiping a thing of brass instead of the Lord.” It was not the Bronze Serpent that healed their physical body, it was the Lord. Even today God is healing people as we look to the cross.
What does bronze mean in the Bible? Bronze typically represents judgement, and a serpent typically represents sin. Having a Bronze Serpent on a pole is a message to us all that our sin has been judged. Jesus became sin on the cross. The enemy has been defeated. The serpent bit the heel of Jesus, but He stomped on the head of Satan and crushed Him! We are now dead to sin.
Today the major attack of Satan is to get you to stay dusty. Stay high and sour like an Eagle far above ever plan of the enemy. Jesus once told a Pharisee, “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.” (John 3:14-15) (NKJV) Jesus didn’t own a tomb, because He only needed to rent a tomb. Look to the cross and see your healing today!