6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: What does a Snake on a Stick have to do with CHRIST? You’ve Seen the EMS star of life symbol before. Where did it come from? What does it mean? We need not only to keep our hearts fixed on our Lord Jesus, but we must also keep our minds focused on Him

4/6/08 Sermon

KEEP IN FOCUS-eye "I" exam

We need not only to keep our hearts fixed on our Lord Jesus, but we must also keep our minds focused on Him as well. This message is the beginning of a deeper study of symbolism of Jesus’ death on the cross compared to scriptures foreshadowing the event. Look deeper into this study for yourself.

I hate snakes.

The best thing for a snake is a sharp shovel right behind the head.

But today I want to look at snakes in a different way.

When we think of the scriptures and snakes, what do we think about?

Adam and Eve in the Garden with the Serpent

The Serpent = Satan


Nothing good comes from a snake right?

I find it fascinating the things that we see in scripture that happened so long ago, that we still see in our world today.

Take for example the Emergency medical services symbol called the Star of Life, recognized globally. It is comprised of typically a cross or asterisk made of gauze with a pole in the middle. And upon that pole is adorned a snake.

Now where in the world would our medical professions find such a symbol?

Wikipedia says “The rod of Asclepius symbolizes the healing arts by combining the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility, with the staff, a symbol of authority befitting the god of Medicine. The snake wrapped around the staff is widely claimed to be a species of rat snake, Elaphe longissima, also known as the Aesculapian or Asclepian snake. It is native to southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, and some central European spa regions, apparently brought there by Romans for their healing properties.

Is an ancient Greek symbol associated with astrology and with healing the sick through medicine. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. Asclepius, the son of Apollo, was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology.”

All this stuff trying to determine where something comes from, leaving it up to Greek Mythology and other myths.

Where do I say if comes from? From the bible of course.


Lets take a look at Numbers 21:4-9 (read passage)

Here we see the exact symbol our medical profession uses, in its first recorded biblical use, for use by God’s people, during their Exodus time from Egypt, during the period of Moses’ leading.

Good stuff isn’t it?

With all this symbolism going on, lets take a good look at the scripture.

Comparison of Scriptures

The most obvious is the fact that the Israel nation was tired of eating manna, complained, stirred God to anger. God sent snakes which bit and killed them. The people finally realized their sin and called out in repentance. God hears them and offers for their deliverance and forgiveness a symbolic gesture in a serpent on a pole.

This passage has many underlying themes. Our bible study is reading through Psalms and have seen this very thing in Psalm 78 and Psalm 105-106. It’s a redemptive cycle that continues throughout scripture.

Redemptive Cycle

Psalm 106

1. Failure of God’s People

2. Anger of God

3. Discipline

4. Repentance

5. Deliverance/Forgiveness

Comparison of Scriptures: Numbers 21 and Psalm 78

Psalm 78

1. People Forgot Miracles

2. They Demanded More

3. Showed Insincere Repentance

4. Were Ungrateful for God’s provision and mercy

Numbers 21:4-9

1. They Sin

2. They must be disciplined (die)

OR They must Repent

3. God provides deliverance and forgiveness

But Why the Snake of all things?

We determined from Adam and Eve that the snake represents Satan but more importantly SIN.

And here we see that the Serpent had to be put upon a pole.

Numbers said that to be saved, all the people had to do was to look at the serpent of brass and live. In order to do that, they had to believe!

John 3:14-15 Jesus says

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Whoever looks to Jesus would be saved! Just as whoever looked upon that serpent on the pole.


What did Jesus do when he went to the Cross?

He took the sins of the world upon himself and carried them to the cross. Our Sins were Placed Upon the Cross, when Jesus took them there.

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.


And Numbers said, all the people had to do was behold, look at, believe, and they would live.

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