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Summary: Have you ever driven by a medical facility and notice the symbol of a snake on a pole and wonder what are they thinking or what does that symbol mean. The truths in this teaching helps you overcome the adulterated view which is blinding many.

Snake On A Pole

A Biblical Perspective

Have you ever driven by a medical facility and notice the symbol of a snake on a pole and wonder what are they thinking or what does that symbol mean. At first glance it might seem ill-fitting to have such an emblem as a symbol for decoration in hospitals or on pharmaceutical packaging. A Biblical view will enable us to overcome the adulterated world view which is blinding the afflicted to the truths God has for people who are battling illnesses.

Christians want to be careful not to go beyond what is written, “Have nothing to do with godless myths…” (1 Timothy 4:7) Yet at the same, encourage, support and enable Bible teachers who have the Biblical call to “Preach the Word” so they can patiently and unashamedly correct error. (Ephesians 4:7-16;1 Timothy 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 4:2) It must be understood while teaching on the Biblical truths of Snake on a Pole Christians and non-Christians must recognize there are people who “will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around themselves a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn… to myths…” (2 Timothy 4:3-5) The Bible holds a command ordered by God to Timothy which is also for Christians who have the gift to teach God’s Word, “…command certain men not to teach false doctrines… nor devote themselves to myths… (µ???? múthos)” (1 Timothy 1:3-4)

A key word worth taking note of is “myths” (µ???? múthos) a word from which “mythology” is derived. “In the New Testament, “myth” does not have the meaning of being a vehicle of some lofty truth. Mostly “myths” are denoting a story of falsehoods and pretense. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) The term “myths” (µ???? múthos) is often translated “simply as untrue stories or false tales and is always place in an unfavorable connotation.” (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 389–390). New York: United Bible Societies.) Merriam-Webster gives this definition, “…myths dealing with the gods, demigods, and legendary heroes of a particular people. A branch of knowledge that deals with myth, assumptions or beliefs that has grown up around someone…”

Regarding The Snake on a Pole, Monica Reyna, Communication Coordinator for American Medical Association wrote a response about the Asclepius and Caduceus which are emblems used as symbols representing the medical profession. She writes, “The single-serpent of Asclepius is the symbol of choice by scholars and those in the medical profession.” Kristen Elise Ph.D wrote, “…The other hypothesis dates to the Bible. In Biblical Lore, Moses carried a bronze staff, around which a bronze serpent was wound. Anyone bit by a serpent need only to look at the staff to be healed of the snake's venom.” (Kristen Elise, PH.D Author of Historical and Medical Thrillers) From Wikipedia, we read, The Asclepius is, “Not to be confused with Caduceus.” In Greek mythology, the Rod of Asclepius (??ßd?? t?? ?s???p??? Rábdos tou Asklipioú; U+2695 STAFF OF AESCULAPIUS) is also known as the staff of Asclepius which is a serpent-entwined rod wielded by the Greek god Asclepius, a deity associated with healing and medicine. The symbol is continued to be used in modern times. (Wilcox, Robert A; Whitham, Emma M (15 April 2003). "The symbol of modern medicine: why one snake is more than two". Annals of Internal Medicine. 138: 673–7. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-8-200304150-00016. PMID 12693891. Retrieved 2007-06-15)

Monica Reyna, Communications Coordinator for American Medical Association also wrote, “The AMA symbol or staff of Asclepius is one serpent around a staff. However, there is also the “Caduceus.” According to Wikipedia, “The Caduceus “is the traditional symbol of Hermes and features two snakes winding around an often winged staff. It is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine…. especially in the United States. The two-snake Caduceus design has ancient and consistent associations with trade, eloquence, negotiation, wisdom… and the passage into the underworld. The modern use of the Caduceus as a symbol of medicine became established in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century as a result of documented mistakes, misunderstandings and confusion…” According to Symbols, Signs & Flags, Yigal Ben Efraim writes, “The Caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek Mythology. The Caduceus is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine and medical practice (especially in North America), due to historical confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the rod of Asclepius.”

Monica Reyna writes, “The general agreement among scholars that the snake, whether it is one or two around a staff, is an appropriate symbol for the healing art. In addition to representing wisdom, learning, and fertility, it stands for longevity and the restoration of health.” (Medical Logo Change; Monica Reyna, Communications Coordinator for American Medical Ass.) The Greeks regarded snakes as sacred and used them in healing rituals to honor Asclepius, as snakes venom was thought to be remedial and their skin shedding was viewed as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. (LIVESCI=NCE, Why Is The Medical Symbol A Snake On A Stick By Remy Melina, March 09, 2011)

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