Christ In The Old Testament 2
When we think of a type of Christ we don’t usually think of something in the negative. We especially don’t think of a serpent. After all the seed of woman would be the Christ to bruise the head of the serpent, the type of Satan, in Genesis 3:15. As far as I know this was the first mention of a coming descendant, Jesus the Christ, to deal with Satan once for all. The Old Testament is full of types and pictures and shadows of the coming Christ. In some instances we may not even be aware we are reading a metaphorical message of the coming Christ. I’ll write about some of those later but for now I want to show a few that are told to us in the New Testament to be types of Christ.
Let’s look at Numbers 21 verses 4-9
Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.
And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”
So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
Israel complained and even said the manna God was providing for their survival was detestable. They called it “worthless bread” (NKJV). It was actually a type of “Bread of Life”. It kept them from starvation. Our bread of life is Jesus John 6:48. That could be a whole topic of itself. For now, back to the serpent. Their sin caused God to send fiery serpents and they bit the people and those who were bitten died. So they repented and ask Moses to pray that God would take away the serpents. Moses prayed to God and notice God gave them away to escape death but didn’t take the serpents away. He told Moses to fashion a serpent and put it on a pole and when someone is bitten for them to look at it and they would not die. We might think “how odd” but this story has more meaning for us than Israel knew at the time. Moses built a bronze serpent and put it on a pole and God commanded and when someone was bitten and they looked at it they would live. This is a very short section of the story of Israel’s travels yet we now see it had a whole lot of significance that we could overlook so easily.
In John 3 verse 14 Jesus tells us “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the son of Man must be lifted up”. And just a few verses down we have verses 16 through 17 that many people have memorized. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”.
When Israel asked Moses to pray to take the serpent away God sent them an escape but didn’t take the deadly snake away. And we can see that God hasn’t taken sin out of the world which leads to death, but gave us a way of escape. Moses put a serpent on a pole for the people to look at. God sent His son for us to believe in to die on a cross so we could live.
As flesh we have all been bitten and have poison of sin in us, Romans 3:23. God sent His Son in the flesh that to take the poison of sin and death yet He had no sin. Like the serpent Moses fashioned in the likeness of a serpent, it was bronze and had no poison in it. Even though Jesus came as son of Man, being sinless, only His flesh and blood and bones was in the likeness, because no sin (poison) was found in him. Hebrews 2:14 puts it this way; “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”