The Copper Serpent: Idolatry in the Temple

Numbers 21:6-9
So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit the people; many people of Israel died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD that he would take away the snakes from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived.

In this story, we see the Israelites murmured and complained against God’s prophet, Moses. They were delivered from Egyptian slavery and tested by God, in what was supposed to a short trial in the wilderness of Shur, Zin, and Sinai, but turned into 40 years. Can you say, “Forever learning but unable to come to the knowledge of the truth?” Yes, and 4000 years later, nothing has changed. People are still rejecting the true prophets and embracing the ear-ticklers who placate to their flesh, and tell them what they like to hear.

But in the story above, we see God send venomous snakes among them. People were being bitten and dying, so they called upon Moses to pray for God to deliver them from this judgment. Repentance! Funny huh? They plead with the very guy who they’ve rejected to cause this punishment, to ask the Lord for mercy. “Hey Moses, we cut the tire on the bus that you were going to drive us out of here in, so could you ask Yahweh to drop us a spare from heaven?” Why the judgment for rejecting God’s sent one? We see God do this over and over in stories like where Aaron and Miriam are talking about Moses, and exalting their own status as equal. WRONG!! I see it all the time with people under God-recognized pastors. They fully-well know that pastor is far more knowledgeable than they, UNTIL he touches their idols, then they self-exalt above his position and want to try to usurp his authority over him. “I obviously don’t know the Bible like you, but you’re wrong this time, because if not, that means I’m wrong, and that can’t be true!” Typical.

Christ said…..

Matthew 10:40
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 

So, what is the converse? To reject the true messenger is to reject Christ. It is a big thing to reject the word of the Lord. And to reject the one He sends with it, is to reject Him. It’s the kind of behavior that makes God send poisonous vipers to bite people, LOL. It’s called blasphemy: aka the rejection of Truth. To be clear, this is talking about true teachers, not everyone who claims to be a preacher. Fact is, most who claim to be are deceivers and not even recognized of God! Turn on TBN and you will see a long line of names who are not recognized by God, but rather represent the False Prophet image of Revelation. They promote the image of the Beast, an idol Jesus who is not found in God’s Word. That false Jesus is an image that serves man like a genie. That Jesus is said to have “paid it all” for you. That false Jesus is Antichrist.

Moses prays for these Israelite ‘geniuses’, and God tells Moses to make a copper snake and put it on a pole, and that all who look upon it would live. I wonder Who this imagery is pointing to??? Maybe the guy who told His disciples, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Myself?” Types and shadows, folks!! So it was as God said, and the people who obeyed, and looked upon the image lived. But many years later we find this Copper Serpent artifact in God’s Temple in Jerusalem under the Judaen reign of King Hezekiah. The text says…..

2 Kings 18:1-8

In the third year of the reign of Israelʼs King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahazʼs son Hezekiah became king over Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what the LORD approved, just as his ancestor David had done. He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. He also DEMOLISHED THE COPPER SERPENT THAT MOSES HAD MADE, FOR UP TO THAT TIME THE ISRAELITES HAD BEEN OFFERING INCENSE TO IT, and it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. He was loyal to the LORD and did not abandon him. He obeyed the commandments which the LORD had given to Moses. The LORD was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from the watchtower to the city fortress.

Look familiar? A symbol of “healing” we see every day. In Greek and Roman mythology, it was accredited as the rod of Asclepius, but its origin in the ancient near east was the story of our text. Funny how pharmaceutical medicine is the modern god it points to today, when Christ was its origin.

We see in this story of Temple worship, that Israel had taken something that God had done in the past, that had a one time purpose, and had made an idol of it, to the point of offering incense to it IN GOD’S HOUSE! Idol worshiping in the Temple!! We may say, “I would never do something so brazen and idolatrous, but is that true? What would be some things in today’s professing churches that are spiritually the same behavior? I can think of many. How about “speaking in tongues?” How about “Hebrew Roots” doctrines, where the so-called churches today are trying to implement Old Covenant Judaism into Christianity, by trying to keep feast days, and rituals, insinuating dual covenants, as if Jews have a different covenant with God than Christians? What about taking the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ (there’s a reason the book is titled that! Hello?) that were specific to their day and divine calling, to establish the New Covenant by performing signs and miracles to the Gentile nations, and trying to appear to have that power today, like the cult called Bethel Church in southern California, under the false prophet Bill Johnson. You know, the heretics that made an international display of a deceased baby of one of their singers, holding up its burial, declaring it would raise from the dead? Satanic! And when it didn’t happen, they hired a Hollywood publicist to spin it out of the media. Hey, would the Apostle Peter have had to do that? No, because Peter was given that authority, not people in 2021, operating in the same spirit as Elymas the sorcerer from Acts 13 who sought to keep people from the true faith, or Simon the sorcerer who wanted to buy the power of God to appeal to men. What did Jesus Christ say of people who seek after signs and wonders????

Matthew 12:38-39
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “AN EVIL AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION SEEKS A SIGN, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

How is the Copper Serpent behavior that Hezekiah put a stop to related to the things I mentioned? It is the same spirit, where men take something God had a purpose for in times’ past, and try to make an idol of it. I mentioned speaking in tongues as an example. In proper biblical context, as I’ve shown many times in other posts, tongues on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was the reversing of the judgment of God at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, where because of rebellion to God’s command to subdue/ cover the Earth, God divided the languages of the nations so they could no longer conspire to lawlessness. They declared that they would build a Tower in God’s name to appease Him, (and make a name for themselves), so they could all stick together in one place. It said “they were all ONE and in one place and in one accord.” Isn’t it remarkable how Luke used that same language in Acts 2? You think that was an accident? Hardly. Do you think it a coincidence that there were “divided tongues” of fire upon the heads of all who spoke in unlearned languages of the dispersed Jews of all the nations who had migrated to the Temple Mount for this feast? Probably not. Do you think it a random thing that they spoke the earthly languages that were created by the dividing judgment of God in Genesis 11, while they spoke directly to God in praise and worship of His marvelous works??? Yeah, me either. So…..would it be reasonable to say that Charismania/ Pentecoastalism is no different to take that purpose of tongues, and worship it as some Simon-esque desire to appear to men to have have god-power that scripture rightly interpreted NEVER supports??? Yeah, I think so! Tongues is a “copper serpent.” And the spirit of it is shown by the fact that all who defend it, will openly reject the scripture in its given context, to blaspheme God’s Spirit to sell that flesh-driven lie to men. But hey, it’s a lot harder to fake a rushing, mighty wind and cause divided tongues of fire to appear on people’s heads!!!

What about Hebrew Roots doctrine? Feast days pointed to Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of those types and shadows in the Old Covenant. He was the unleavened bread, He was the passover lamb, He was the first-fruits of the resurrection. The New Covenant was cut at Pentecost, with a divine witness to the Jews that God was reversing the judgment of Babel, and calling all previously abandoned nations to repentance in Christ. Jesus cursed Judaism, its Temple made with human hands, its city, and ended its priesthood FOREVER. So tell me again, “How are you going to keep those feasts as commanded without those ‘former things’ that were necessary to do so??? You can’t. That system has ZERO place in this covenant. We don’t go to a priest to atone for our sins! (Hello Catholicism!) We don’t offer blood sacrifices. We don’t keep feast days. We don’t burn incense. We don’t go to a Temple. We are the Temple NOT made with human hands. We are the Body of Christ. Anything that smells like Judaism has no place in Christianity. Judaism in Jesus’ day was as antichrist as Islam is today. And modern Judaism is no different. It all denies the Son.

1 John 2:22-24
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, HE WHO DENIES THE FATHER AND THE SON. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.

It is past time for true believers to break the idols being tolerated in their presence. Jesus commended certain of the Seven Churches, because they held people accountable in what was deemed God’s House. They tested those who called themselves Apostles and proved them to be liars. If the Temple is a metaphor for God’s people, then that means that God’s people put forth everything deceptive from their midst and purify the assembly. It’s obvious from our text that Hezekiah and David did this and knew it was right in God’s sight, so why don’t we? Well, real believers do. Those who refuse are worshiping the image of the Beast. They are the false church: false religion. Enough is enough. Put the evil persons (and doctrines) out from your midst. I don’t care if it is your daddy who is speaking it. Get him out!

Matthew 10:37-39
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.