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Summary: In God's dealings with Israel, the atoning work of Jesus Christ was always in mind. The symbol of the snake was intended for later use by Jesus as an illustration of his death.

A Look of Faith

(Numbers 21:4-9 (quickview) , John 3:13-16 (quickview) )

1. In the world of medicine and nutritional supplements, do we really know what we are doing? People seem so sure about their claims, but we need to remind ourselves: we don't know what we don't know.

2. This AFP article broke this last week:

"Ordinary calcium supplements taken by the elderly to strengthen bones may boost the risk of heart attacks, according to a study released Friday. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the role of calcium in the treatment of osteoporosis should be reconsidered, the researchers said.

"They found that calcium supplements were associated with about a 30 percent jump in heart attack risk. The chances of stroke and mortality also increased to a lesser extent."

3. One of the strangest medicinal events of all time occurred in the Arabian Dessert over 3,400 years ago.

4. How many of you are familiar with the Biblical account of the brass or copper serpent Moses made in the wilderness?

5. This event was so spectacular that it was probably famed region wide. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

"With the decline of Egyptian control of the region in the middle of the 12th century BCE, the mines at Timna and the Hathor temple were abandoned. However, cultic activities in the temple were restored by the Midianites, who remained in Timna for a short period after the Egyptians left. They cleared most traces of the Egyptian cult and effaced the images of Hathor and the Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions …

"Remains of woolen cloth found along the courtyard walls provide evidence that the Midianites turned the Egyptian temple into a tented desert shrine. Among the finds in this Midianite shrine was a large number of votive gifts brought especially from Midian, including beautifully decorated Midianite pottery and metal jewelry. Of particular significance is the find of a copper snake with gilded head. It is reminiscent of the copper serpent described in Numbers 21:6-9 (quickview) . (From the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mfa.gov .il/MFA/History/Early%20History%20-%20Archaeology/Archaeological% 20Sites%20in%20Israel%20-%20Timna-20Valley%20of)

6. This event was more than historically significant; it foreshadowed the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Main Idea: In God's dealings with Israel, the atoning work of Jesus Christ was always in mind. The symbol of the snake was intended for later use by Jesus as an illustration of his death.

I. The Serpent on a POLE (Numbers 21:4-9 (quickview) )

A. They had to BACKTRACK (4-5)

1. We humans experience an unreasonable phenomenon called "loss aversion." When we have something, we do not like it taken away. It colors our thinking.

2. Who likes detours? Now redoing Dixon…but reasonable

3. Edom would not let them through; related

4. Back to the Red Sea, rugged wilderness, miserable

5. They complain about their hardship

6. They call God's provision "detestable, miserable food"

7. Probably the survivors of the older generation instigating


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