TEXT: Numbers 21:5-9
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
How to Hope: Lessons from the Israelites and Their Messianic Expectation, Part 19 (Second Coming Chapel Sermon #234)
Wil Pounds said, “This “lifting up” of the Son of Man is a definite statement of Jesus’ coming death on the cross. He was telling Nicodemus that in His death God would provide salvation. There is a divine imperative in the death of Jesus. The Son of Man “must” be lifted up. It was God’s deliberate choice and purpose to crucify Jesus. It was no accident, or the martyrdom of a good religious teacher. He died as an act of God. His death was necessary for our salvation.”
In our last message, we saw how the Passover and the salvation of the Israelites from death because of the blood of lambs foretold our salvation from the wrath of God because of the blood of Jesus. Today let’s look at another passage that foretold the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and described God’s plan of salvation.
By way of introduction to this passage, John Walvoord and Roy Zuck wrote in their commentary, “Once again Moses could see the impossibility of penetrating Canaan from the south. Apparently he even gave up his plan to go north through the Arabah and, led by the Lord, undertook a circuitous route around the eastern frontier of Edom. This would explain why he led Israel from Hor along the route to the Red Sea. The people must have been frustrated by this change so they began to complain not only about that but also about the desert, lack of water, and food. In anger the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them and many of the people died. They urged Moses to intercede before God for them, which he did. He then relayed instruction from the Lord that all those bitten should look on a bronze snake which he constructed and placed high on a pole. Those who looked at it were healed. This involved a look of faith.”
There are several elements of this passage that are directly analogous to the greater plan of salvation as revealed throughout the entire Bible.
First of all, we see the rebellion of man against God. Just as Adam and Eve refused to obey God despite all the things that he had provided for them, starting with their very existence, the Israelites complained about the plan of God despite their divinely-wrought freedom from the Egyptians and the manna and water that was provided them in the wilderness.
Second, we see the entering of sin in the world. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were afflicted with a curse. The world was no longer perfect because they were no longer using their free will to obey God. The Bible tells us in Genesis 3:16-19, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Here, the sin of the Israelites causes them to be bitten by venomous serpents and many of them died.
Third, we see the salvation provided by Jesus Christ through His sacrifice. God ordered Moses to lift up a bronze statue of a serpent on a pole. All who looked at the serpent would be saved. Thousands of years later, God would send His only begotten Son to be lifted up on a cross. Just as this temporary salvation for the Israelites was as simple as looking at the bronze statue of the serpent, a permanent salvation through Jesus Christ is as simple as believing in Him. Fulton J. Sheen put it this way, “As the brass serpent had the appearance of a serpent and yet lacked its venom, so too, when He would be lifted up upon the bars of the Cross, He would have the appearance of a sinner and yet be without sin. As all who looked upon the brass serpent had been healed of the bite of the serpent, so all who looked upon Him with love and faith would be healed of the bite of the serpent of evil.”
Daniel S. Warner wrote:
Ah, poor sinner, think of Calv’ry,
Of the One who suffered there;
Do you know He died in mercy,
All your load of guilt to bear?
Jesus—oh, that name so precious!—
“Tasted death for every man,”
And His blood will purge thy conscience
From the deepest crimson stain.
Not compelled, but love so willing,
Took our sins and died instead;
From His tomb a life is springing
That will raise thee from the dead.
There He bled and died, an off’ring
For the world of sinners lost;
Oh, what pangs His visage marring!
Sinner, this thy soul has cost.
Oh, the wonder and amazement,
That a creature, human formed,
Can behold the Lamb’s atonement,
And not bow, by love disarmed.
Sinner, oh behold His passion,
It will melt thy heart of stone;
Come, receive His great salvation,
Meekly bow, thy Savior own.
Now, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge you to trust in Him because He is coming again and you do not want to be left behind. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and the consequences of sin.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.