Parsha Chukas
Numbers 19:1 - 22:1

What Happened to the Bronze Serpent? ©
By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Paul Sakash, may he rest in peace.

In this week's Parasha we read that "Moshe made a bronze serpent and placed it on the pole; so it was that if the serpent bit a man {referring to the serpents on the desert floor}, he would stare at the bronze serpent and live."

This statement in the Torah seems simple enough. Some of Kal Yisroel spoke against G-d and Moshe. They said, "Why did you bring us up from Egypt to die in this wilderness, for there is no food and no water, and our soul is disgusted with the insubstantial food?"

Since they slandered the food which was graciously provided to them at no effort of their own by Hashem, fiery serpents were released against them. It seemed fitting that since it was the serpent which spoke against Hashem in Gan Eden to Chava that the serpent be used for punishment against Kal Yisroel for speaking against Hashem and Moshe.

Now Hashem could have healed Kal Yisroel in fashion. The intent of placing a bronze serpent on a pole was to require acknowledgement of sin first and then acceptance of the healing provided by Hashem second. It was not adequate to think in one's heart, "I'm sorry for my mistake." To be healed the second action was required. They had to look up towards the heavens and view the bronze serpent to live.

Now that was esentially the beginning and end to the story until hundreds of years later when Jesus appeared on the scene claiming: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

Jesus has absolutely NOTHING to do with what happened in the Bamidbar! The Christian / Messianic symbolism here is erroneous! FALSE!

First, The Torah and the New Testament are not connected. It is not volume one followed by volume two as many suggest.

Second, if you must persist that they are connected, fine, then understand this. The serpent in the wilderness was destroyed because of idol worship.

"{Hezekiah} He did what was right in the eyes of Hashem, just as his father Dovid had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moshe had made, for up to that time B'nai Yisroel had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. ) Hezekiah trusted in Hashem, G-d of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to Hashem and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands Hashem had given Moshe." 2 Kings 18:1-7

In conclusion, if you must insist on using the symbolism of the serpent in the wilderness as being symbolic to Jesus, don't leave out the final conclusion. The bronze serpent was destroyed because of idol worship and burning incense toit.

This is an example of how Christians / Messianics take a partial text, highlight it, copy it, cut it out and paste it into their doctrinal format to attempt to persuade Jews in their doctrine of Jesus. This is an unacceptable practice which is frequently employed. Need I remind you, one of the rules of hermeneutics is to not take things out of context.

In my opinion, Jesus is among other religious leaders who have made claims that later have proven to be false...


Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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