And as Moses lifted up the serpent, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. (John 3:14)
In the fields of Biblical creationism and creation evangelism, we find that people seem to often misunderstand what these subjects are all about. They seem to wonder why these subjects are necessary. For one, these areas of study are not solely scientific disciplines for a classroom setting. Rather, they represent life-changing worldviews that affect all of our lives in some way. Most important, God chose to begin His Record with:
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Could it be that this initial concept of Scripture—that there is a God and that He is the Creator of all things—is the bedrock foundation upon which the rest of Scripture rests? This is how HE chose to begin His Word: with the concept that HE is the Creator, and that everything else is built upon this foundation. Equally important to knowing what He communicated from the beginning is to learn why He communicated it. The foundation of creation must be applied to everyday life, answering this question: "How does this affect my life?"
In the same way that God used creation to begin the ‘structure’ of His Word, so the concept of God's design should begin our thinking as we "build" our ideas concerning anything. In other words, God’s design should be the first consideration in when we think about marriage and family, music, animal rights, current events, or healthcare. In essence, Biblical creationism is like a pair of eyeglasses that clears up "fuzzy" thinking, or a GPS that helps direct us in our thinking about God, His Word, and His works. Creationism is not just a "Genesis subject." Rather, it is a worldview that courses throughout Scripture like blood flowing throughout our bodies.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived (apart from Christ). Though he was used of God to write Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and much of the Proverbs, his God-given wisdom did not prevent him from making some very un-wise decisions. Toward the end of his life, he saw the critical need in youth for one to recognize his ultimate Authority: the Creator.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth... (Ecclestiastes 12:1)
How can we help youth to consider their Maker when they are so taken in by the glitz and glamour of the world’s system of lust and pride (1 John 2:15)? For that matter, how can we help everyone to recognize the Creator as the ultimate Authority? To accomplish this task, there is no better way than to take an individual to God's handiwork—animals! In February 2009, we were blessed to see firsthand the unique ministry of "Dan the Animal Man" Breeding. He used an owl, a porcupine, a gibbon, and an alligator to point people to the Designer. Ages four to adult were held spellbound as he spoke about God’s creatures! Hmmm. I seem to remember that Jesus used animals such as foxes or birds in His messages.
But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee... (Job 12:7)
What is GOOD about the Snake?
The snake is probably the most despised and misunderstood of all creatures. Most everyone to some degree seems to hate or at least dislike this animal. This common reaction may be a result of the Biblical reference to Satan as “that old Serpent" (Rev. 20:2). However, the snake is still a creature that God made. As with all other animals, it should cause us to think of its Maker. In fact, if Christ Himself used this animal an a preface to the Gospel, should we not do the same? (John 3:14)
THE SERPENT AS A WEAPON
In the Old Testament, we read that the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. In multiple messages to Pharoah commanding him to release the Israelites, God displayed His mighty power to Pharoah, giving unique abilities to both Moses and Aaron. One ability involved Moses’ use of a rod. When Aaron threw the rod down onto the ground, it turned into a serpent. In some way, the magicians of Pharoah were able to duplicate this miracle, but God’s snake devoured the magicians’ snakes and Moses picked up the restored rod! Nevertheless, Pharoah’s heart remained unchanged though God’s power was revealed through a snake (Exodus 7:9-13).
THE SERPENT IN WITNESSING
While on earth, the LORD Jesus chose twelve men as His disciples. When He did so, it is recorded that He gave them special instructions (Matthew 10:5-19). At one point in His discourse to the group, He said “Behold, I send you forth as sheep…be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Mat 10:16) While we are not aware of all the reasons why Jesus chose the snake, we know that He used animals to teach. Perhaps we can learn better how to witness through studying the serpent!
THE SERPENT AS A WONDER
We read in Scripture that, Agur considered the "way of a serpent upon a rock" as "too wonderful" (Proverbs 30). But isn’t the snake the most despised of God’s animals? Could it be that we despise a creature that GOD described as "too wonderful"?
What is BETTER about the Snake?
In Genesis, we read the account of the Fall of man and God’s future remedy for man’s sin: that one day, the “seed of the woman” (Jesus) would bruise (“crush”) the serpent’s (Satan) head!
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
Praise God that Satan was mortally wounded at Calvary and he will ultimately be defeated!
What is BEST about the Snake?
The Book of Numbers (chapter 21) records the account of God's judgment on Israel in which He used poisonous snakes. He could have used any other animal, but He chose the snake. Since the snake is the creature that Satan used in the Fall; perhaps, by using this animal, God is sending a message to us today that:
1. He can use anything, and
2. The snake belongs to Him!
He instructed Moses to make a serpent of brass (a symbol of judgment) and to raise it on a pole. If the people looked at the serpent, they were healed of the burning poisonous snakebite and their lives spared. Just before the most familiar Gospel verse in all of Scripture, Jesus referred to this account:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: ---
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:14 & 16)
This is the purpose of creation: to carry the Creator’s message! As a donkey carried Jesus into Jerusalem or as a star led the wise men, God uses His creation to proclaim HIMSELF! Creation brings mankind to the Redeemer! Jesus used the lowest and most despised animal of all—as He Himself would be despised and rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3)—and He elevated it to a status higher than any other animal. The same creature that Satan thought to have confiscated as his own, as he used it for his own purpose to bring about the Fall of man, Christ elevated to the privileged position of representing Himself on the cross! He was “despised and rejected of men,” and in behalf of all mankind, He willingly received the punishment of all of our sins (Isaiah 53:6). As we contemplate this, we should be totally amazed, humbled, and blessed to know that through faith alone in Christ’s work on the cross, we low, despised, and rebellious creatures can be exalted as children of the Most High God. What love and compassion! And He even used the low-down, despised snake as an illustration of this! Hmmm. I'm with Agur. I think the "serpent upon a rock" is too wonderful too!
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit…and set my feet upon a rock….(Psalm 40:2)