Posted tagged ‘Moses’

They Shall Lift Up Deadly Serpents

December 2, 2015

JMJ

Blessed Tuesday!

When I checked this passage in the interlinear Greek

These signs will accompany those who believe:
in My Name they will drive out demons,
they will speak fresh languages.
They will pick up deadly serpents
~Mark 16:17-18

…the word usually translated “pick up” jumped out at me–
the Greek is “lift up”.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that those who believe in Him may not perish,
but may have life everlasting.
~John 3:14-15

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Esteban_March_-_Moses_and_the_Brazen_Serpent_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Jesus is referring to Numbers 21:4-9,
when the people God had freed from slavery in Egypt
complained again,
and He permitted fiery serpents to invade the camp
and bite them so that many died.
When the people begged Moses
to ask God to take the serpents away,
God told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and mount it on a pole
so that anyone bitten by a serpent
could look at the bronze serpent and be saved.

He did not take the serpents away!

Now, in the interests of full disclosure,
when Jesus says “lifted up”,
He’s using different Greek words in these two passages,
so the parallel isn’t exact,
but that just allows for a broader range of implications.

The word used when He compares Himself to the bronze serpent
means “to exalt”,
whereas the one referring to believers
carries the implication of “to take away,”
and by Hebraism, “to expiate sin”!

God didn’t take away the serpents in the desert
because the more deadly serpents of rebellion
were still lodged in their hearts.
The physical serpents were needed
to keep the spiritual serpents at bay
(note that all the complaining the Israelites did on that journey
ended with the bronze serpent).

Now that Jesus has been exalted
on the Cross
believers take away deadly serpents
physically and spiritually!

It’s called repentance and conversion–
regretting sin
by a change of heart
and rejecting it
by a change of life.

Then we don’t need
the physical serpents
anymore.

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God’s Veil

February 4, 2011

The sun was in my eyes
as I walked to Mass/Adoration
this morning…
for the better part of a mile & a half.
Of course, since I’m not facing east when I leave the house,
I didn’t think to grab sunglasses until it was too late.

God had my attention…

…for a good long time!

If the sun, merely His creation and not even the brightest of His stars,
is so bright that I can’t bear to look at it, so bright that it hurts my eyes,
how much less would I be able to stand the full brilliance of His glory!

Yet I was on my way to spending hours in His Presence,
hours in the radiance of His glory.

I was reminded of Moses veiling his face after talking with God
because it shone so brightly that people couldn’t bear to look at him (Exodus 34:29-35, II Corinthians 3:7).

I thanked the God who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb
(cf. Lawrence Sterne),
Who humbles Himself so profoundly and veils His glory so powerfully
that I can not only gaze upon Him,
but even receive Him, unite myself with Him,
without suffering so much as the discomfort I feel facing into His sun.


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