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“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.”
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”
Jesus said to the Jews of His day, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me,” (John 5:39). Yes, He is the subject of the Old Testament just as much as the New Testament. Throughout the pages of the Old Testament we have references to the Lord in direct prophecies, in types and shadows and in pictures and illustrations, one of which was referred to by the Lord Himself in the verses above.
The story is recorded in Numbers 21:5-9. Because of the people’s sin God sent fiery, poisonous serpents into the camp of the Israelites and people were dying from their venomous bites. The people lobbied Moses and he sought an answer to the problem from God. Moses was then instructed by God to make a brass serpent on a pole, to lift it up in the middle of the camp and that people only had to look at the serpent of bronze to be healed.
It is such a simple story but packed with truths concerning salvation and we see above that the Lord used it to foretell His death on the cross, where He also was lifted up. We saw that it was the serpent that entered the Garden of Eden with his pernicious temptation. The fact that his bite is fatal is shown in what happened to Adam and Eve as soon as they allied themselves with God’s arch adversary They died spiritually, (Genesis 2:17), and the fatal consequences were passed on to all succeeding generations.
Thus, by nature, we are all dead in trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1). Indeed, we are alienated from God and His enemies in our minds by wicked works according to Colossians 1:21. We are barred from communion with God on this earth and fully deserve His eternal condemnation in hell. Is there a cure for the awful poison of sin that affects every human being?
YES INDEED! Praise God! The Lord Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:3. His death makes it possible for anyone to be forgiven and reconciled to God. His cross is there, lifted up in the centre of the plan of God, so that anyone can look to Him in repentance and faith and be made spiritually alive. Isaiah 45:22 shows us God’s invitation:
“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!”