The closer we come to our heavenly home (either by translation or our home-gong time) the battles become more severe. I Corinthians 10:1-15 gives Israel’s experiences as an example to believers in this Church Age. V. 6 – “to the intent we should not lust after evil things,” as they did. Vs. 9 & 10 – “neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured.”
This takes us back to the account found in Numbers 21. Israel had many blessings and victories along their journey to their promised land – Vs. 1-3. We read the Lord hearkened to their voice and delivered up their enemy. But they became discouraged and impatient because of the hard way and began to murmur against God and Moses – Vs. 4-5.
They even began to loath the manna that the Lord provided to sustain them. Christ is the living bread from heaven that we can partake of every day if we will. The Lord allows some rough experiences on our journey also. But when we seek Him in our day of trouble, He is merciful to us. They are simply opportunities to learn to trust Him that we might grow more spiritually.
The Lord judged them for their murmuring, sending fiery deadly serpents that bit the people and many died – V. 6. Those fiery deadly serpents speak of the bite of sin. The whole human race was bitten by the Serpent, Satan. His venom was infused into all. What is the remedy?
The people were frightened and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. They looked to Moses to pray to God for them– Vs. 7. Praise God! We have One that prays for us. “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” – Rom. 8:34. “Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” – Heb. 7:25.
Vs. 8-9, God set up a condition for the people of Israel for their deliverance. The individual bitten had to look up to the brazen serpent on the pole that God had Moses to make. The Hebrew word “pole” means a sign, a banner, a cross. It was a visible sign to the people. The object itself was not to be worshiped. Some have made the cross an idol. We sing a song – its not the cross of the Christ, but the Christ of the cross.
This is a picture of Christ “lifted up” from the earth, being made a curse for us. Jesus words in Jn. 3:14-15, “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.” This is one of the “musts” of Scripture. Christ had to be lifted up, because everyone of us had been snake bit and had to be redeemed.
II Cor. 5:21 – “for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He had to take upon Himself our judgment (brass speaks of judgment). Our judgment was put over on Him.
We take note that it was an individual matter. The individual was to look up and live. Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
When Adam fell, a curse fell on all the human race, but Christ was “made a curse for us” – Gal. 3:13. Vs. 10 and 11 say, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith.” Rom. 10:4 – “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Israel’s march to Canaan would have ended there, if it had not been for the grace of God. He was going to take them on into Canaan, not in their own strength, but in His. They did enter their promised land and conquered it by faith. Let us not be discouraged nor murmur along the way knowing we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (Heb. 10:33-37).
E. J. D.