About Jesus Steve Sweetman
in this little section we see the first of three conflicts that
is the first battle.
is the first battle.
see in verse 1 that some of the Israeli men were captured by the
is seen as a God of war in this passage and in many other passages of
the Old Testament. Many people struggle with this.
They can't see a God who is supposed to be a God love so involved
in military matters. In the
Christian world, this struggle is partly due to the fact that
Evangelicals have stressed "personal salvation" to the degree
that people don't understand that there is more than personal salvation
that God is interested in. God
is also inter4ested in nations, as well as the individual.
We see that more in the Old Testament than in the New Testament
for a number of reasons.
Old Testament spans a few thousand years and deals with the nation of
reason why many Christians don't understand that God is interested in
nations as much as He is in the individual is because of their view
concerning Israel Many Bible
teachers teach that God's interest in Israel ceased in70 AD when Rome
destroyed Jerusalem and disbursed the Jews all around the known world.
I do not hold to this view of prophetic history.
I do believe God is still interested in Israel, and the other nations of the world.
God is still concerned about nations, He must be concerned about matters
of war. War is one of the
major themes in the book of Revelation.
chose Abraham to become a nation. At
that joint God became, or showed his interest in nations.
is God's chosen nation, He thus must be involved in any conflict that
they run into.
last point on this issue. We
as individuals can learn a lot about God's dealings with Israel
and the nations. God wanted
note back in verse 3 that Israel
got discouraged because of the battle they just fought, and when they
get discouraged, they start complaining, as they do here in verses 4 and
5. They sing the same old
song. They ask God and Moses
why they were led out into the desert to die.
circular story of
provision is found in verses 8 and 9.
God said to Moses to make a brass snake and put it on a pole.
Moses was to put it in a place high enough for all to see and if
someone got bit by a snake all that they had to do was to look up, see
that brass snake on the pole, and he would get better.
God always provides a way of escape, a way of salvation.
passage of Scripture is important. In
John 3:16 we have probably the most well known verse in the Bible.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have
everlasting life." We all know that verse, but do we know what
speaks of this very event in Numbers 21 and compares Himself to this
brass snake that is raised on this pole.
John 3:14 and 15 read, " just as Moses lifted up the snake
in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that everyone who
believes in Him should have eternal life."
learn a lot here from the words of Jesus.
One thing we learn is the place of faith, trust, or belief in
both the snake in Moses' and Jesus in our day.
In Moses day, all that people had to do when bitten by the snake
was to look at the brass snake on the pole.
It was all a matter of faith, of trust in God.
That's it. It's faith
thing that I believe we learn is that Jesus compared Himself to that
snake on the pole. The cross
was the pole, and Jesus was the snake, something you might struggle with
because the snake represents Jesus.
How could Jesus be associated with a snake. It's simple.
The New Testament teaches that when Jesus hung on the cross, He
was not only punished for our sins, He actually became our sin.
The holy God becomes sin. The
holy God took on Himself the symbolism of satan to show His love He had
in verse 8 that the NIV uses the word "snake".
God asked Moses to make a brass snake.
In the KJV you do not see the word "snake" but
"fiery serpent". I
suggest that in this case, the KJV is a better translation.
The Hebrew word translated as serpent in the KJV and snake in the
NIV is "seraph". This
snake was in fact a fiery, or shiny seraph, and, that is the very
description of satan in the Old Testament.
He is seen as the "shiny one".
This is quite the symbol of healing or salvation.
you think of the comparison of Jesus to this snake, Jesus took upon
Himself the symbolism of satan in order to save us.
the serpent, you can remember Genesis 3 where Eve spoke to, and gave
into the serpent. Well, the
serpent became a serpent after God judged him.
He was not a serpent prior to this.
When satan spoke to Eve, he was a very attractive and charismatic
figure. Eve was probably not
only taken by what he told her but by his beauty.
Eve not only gave into this one, but might well have begun to
give herself, her emotions over to him, something that should have been
for Adam alone. Some have
even called Eve's actions a form of adultery. Some even believe, not me,
that eve's sin was some kind of sexual sin with the serpent, and that
the fruit simply symbolizes that.
thing to note here is that this very snake on the pole that was meant to
save Israel, was kept around for a long time and eventually became a god
like figure to Israel as can be seen in 2 Kings 12.
one more thing to note here and that is this snake on the pole was made
of brass. Most people who
know anything about Biblical symbolism will tell you that brass
represents God's judgment for various reasons. Both sin and the devil
were judged on the cross and condemned, and once again, Jesus symbolized
this amazing fact.
clearly a lot to learn in this one little section tucked away in this
part of the Bible.
verses 10 to 13 we see the way in which Israel
had to take to get to
verse 16 the Lord asks Moses to gather the people together and He would
give them water, something they would be real happy to get. The place
was named Beer, which in Hebrew means "well".
Many places are named with the word "Beer" as a prefix.
For example, Beer-sheba means "well of seven".
once we see Israel
happy. In verse 17 they
actually sing a song. According to this song both nobles and the
ordinary people built this well.
rest of this chapter continues to tell the route that Israel
was taking to
whole section, from verses 21 to 35 describes the second and third
battle that Israel
had to face before entering the promised land of
the first battle Moses asked the king if they could peacefully pass
through his land, and he declined, as did the king of Arid in the first
part of this chapter. Moses
attempted to pass through this land peacefully, and peace could not be
found. The armies came out
to meet them. Israel
did not start the fight, but they weren't afraid to fight once the fight
said this before, but many people struggle over the idea that God would
be involved in wars such as these. What
these people fail to understand is that God is more than just a God who
cares about the individual. He
cares about nations. It was
his idea in the first place, as seen in Genesis 11, to divide people
into different cultural communities.
Then beyond that, God chose one nation to be an example to the
rest, and that was Israel. Therefore if
In verse 27 onward, we see mention of "poets" and a poem that they speak. Many Bible teachers feel this poem is a song of victory sung by the Amorites because of a victory in war over the Moabites.