Sin, Salvation and the Bronze Serpent

Numbers 21: The Process of Overcoming­—From Sin to Victory and Salvation!

21:4–9, The bronze serpent on the pole is a prophetic picture of salvation at the cross of Yeshua from the sting of death brought on by sin (1 Cor 15:55–57). This is a picture of the believer’s initial salvation.

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21:10–22:1, Here is a recounting of the Israelites’ wilderness trek before entering the Promised Land. It was a time of testing, refining, building of faith, and learning obedience for the Israelites. This is a picture of the spiritual walk of the believer through the wilderness of this physical life.

21:14–35, While crossing the wilderness, the Israelites had to fight and overcome the enemy—that is, those who would keep them from fulfilling their YHVH-ordained destiny to possess the land and inheritance he had promised them. First comes the fighting and overcoming, followed by the victories. The life of the believer is one of spiritual struggle, as well, against the world, the flesh and the devil. (See Rom 7:14–25; 2 Cor 10:3–5; Eph 6:10–18.)

21:10, 14–18, Here we read how Israel was refreshed with water from the rock. Isaiah speaks about the wells of salvation (Isa 12:3). There is a springing up of joy and praise (verse 17) that comes as victory is experienced, and as YHVH makes rivers to flow out of seemingly dry and barren situations (verse 18). We, too, are called to come to the rivers of salvation, the river of life and to become ourselves a river of life to all those with whom we come into contact (John 7:37–39). Yeshua is the source of that living water; he is the spiritual Rock and source of water that never runs dry (John 4:10, 13–14; 1 Cor 10:4).

Numbers 21:4–9, Fiery serpent. The fiery serpents were a righteous judgment Elohim brought upon Israel for murmuring and unbelief. Israel had “sharpened their tongues like a serpent” (Ps 140:3) and “their throat [was] an open sepulcher; with their tongues have … used deceit; the poison of asps [was] under their lips” (Rom 3:13). All this was directed at Elohim and Moses. They reaped what they had sown. Elohim loosed fiery serpents upon the Israelites to bite and sting to death the unbelieving murmurers.

The wilderness Elohim led them through was full of fiery serpents and scorpions (Deut 8:15), yet this is the only account in the Torah of these creatures ever attacking Israel. YHVH had protected them to this point, and this one time he pulled back his hand of providential protection and grace allowing them to experience the due recompense of their sinful actions. How often has our merciful Father withheld the just desserts of our faithless, rebellious and abominable action against him and gracefully protected us from the full consequences of our sin? If we fail to hear his soft voice of correction he will deal more harshly with us until our attention is gained (Ps 32:8–9). All he has to do is withdraw his hand of protection that restrains the judgments we all deserve and the “fiery serpents” will likewise attack us. Do you remember what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts is an example of this (Acts 5:1–11)? Job experienced a similar situation as well.

Israel’s Murmuring. Israel complained for lack of food and water. In unbelief they concluded and confessed (literally prophesied upon themselves a curse) that they would die in the wilderness. Elohim gave them the fulfillment of their faithless delusions—serpents to sting them and leave them physiologically in a parched and burning condition. (The poison of these snakes actually leaves the victim burning with a fiery pain in his body and a desperately dry and thirsty condition [See Adam Clarke’s Commentary, vol. 1, p. 684]). This occurred with the quail also. They complained with their mouths and lusted for meat and Elohim gave them so much quail that it “came out of their nostrils” (Num 11:20). Many were struck dead in judgment. What is the lesson of this story? That for which we lust or that which we fear will come upon us, for Elohim allows those very things to rise up, attack us and judge us. Why? So that the false gods of our hearts will be exposed and we will, as a result, see the error of our ways, repent and turn back to obedient faith to the one true Elohim. Few understand this method of operation of Elohim, but the Scriptures reveals this as one of the ways he deals with his people to help them to grow up spiritually.

Salvation. Israel repented and received salvation from the sting of death by looking upward toward the brass or bronze (bronze representing judgment) serpent on the pole. Of course, no less than Yeshua himself reveals to us that this serpent is a pictures himself dying on the tree as a sin offering and source of our salvation (John 3:14 and 12:32).

Even the Jewish sages admit that the serpent did not heal the afflicted Israelites, but looking upward unto heaven granted them salvation and healing. (See Wisdom 16:4–12)

Parallels between the bronze serpent and Yeshua:

Both the serpent and Messiah were lifted up on a pole.

Israel was to look up to the brass serpent to be healed physically; sinners are to look up to Messiah to be saved.

YHVH provided salvation from the sting of death from no other source but the serpent. Similarly, there is salvation in no other name but Yeshua (Acts 4:12).

If the Israelites looked at bronze serpent they were healed and lived; if sinful man looks at Messiah he will live.

Both the serpent and the cross are merely symbols of Elohim’s grace and mercy. They simply point one to YHVH in heaven who heals those who believe him and have faith in him.

A Type of the Devil. The Bible calls the devil a great red dragon or serpent (Rev 12:3) whose venom inflames men’s sinful passions through his fiery darts aimed at humans (Eph 6:16). Fiery serpent is the Hebrew word saraph the plural of which is seraphim, which is a type of an angelic, flaming spirit (Heb 1:7). Though physical snakes bit the Israelites, this is nevertheless a picture of Satan, the fallen angelic being who is now the serpent and enemy of both YHVH and man.

For Our Example. Israel experienced these things for our examples (1 Cor 10:1–12). What they went through and how they reacted to various situations is literally a mirror held up for our benefit for us to see ourselves as we really are, so that we will not repeat their mistakes. We owe them a debt of gratitude, for we are able to gain spiritually by their experience if we will lean from their mistakes by not repeating them.

 

Communion and the Power to Live a Torah-Obedient Life

1 Corinthians 11:23, This is my body. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua (Heb 10:10).When we eat the bread of communion, we are “eating” Yeshua who is the incarnate and Living Torah Word of Elohim (John 1:14). We are announcing that Yeshua is the spiritual bread of life from heaven that leads to eternal life (John 6:48–51), and we are announcing our desire to live by the totality of his Word (Matt 4:4).

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The bread symbolizing the body of Yeshua was unleavened, which is a picture of Yeshua’s sinless life. By eating this bread, we declare our faith in his sinless life by which he was able to pay for our sins. We also declare our identification with his sinlessness as an example for us to follow.

Yeshua took the unleavened bread and broke it signifying our deliverance from our sin nature by the breaking or death of his sinless body. The unleavened bread broken during the Passover meal speaks of our deliverance from the power of sin by the death of our old man. The rite of baptism is a picture of this (Rom 6:4–13). This paves the way for us to live a sanctified (sin-free) life.

We become unleavened or sinless (known as sanctification) because Yeshua our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7). Our body of sin died with Yeshua when we were baptized making us unleavened (or sanctified, Rom 6:6). Let us therefore live in accordance with the new man, or new spiritual creation we have become through Yeshua (1 Cor 5:8; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20). When we eat the unleavened bread at the communion part of the Passover service, we remember that we are sanctified by grace and that the power of sin(or Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4 cp. John 14:15) has been broken in our lives.

In the first Passover, the children of Israel were delivered from the penalty of their sins by the blood of the lamb on the door. But when they ate the unleavened bread, this speaks of their being delivered from their slavery to sin and oppression in Egypt. They were now to leave Egypt (a spiritual picture of the old man and life) and go toward the Promised Land (a spiritual picture of the new man) taking with them, on their knees, the dough of the unleavened bread. This illustrates the fact that they were to walk in the newness of a spiritually unleavened or sanctified life. When we eat the bread of communion, we memorialize the events surrounding the Exodus, and recognize the present reality of freedom from sin in our own lives.

1 Corinthians 11:25, My blood. By the blood of Yeshua we are redeemed, liberated or released from the bondage of sin (Matt 26:28; Rom 3:25; Eph 1:17; Col 1:14; Heb 9:22; 1 Pet 1:18; Rev 5:9) and from sin’s death penalty claim on us (Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:4) brought on by our disobedience to YHVH’s instructions in righteousness, the Torah (which defines sin, 1 John 3:4). His blood also sanctifies (or separates, Heb 9:13–14; 13:12) us from past sin (Rom 3:25) or Torahlessness allowing us to become a new spiritual creation before YHVH (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20) in order to become a pure and special people who are zealous for good works (Tit 23:14), who will serve YHVH in righteousness, which is the good works of the Torah (Ps 119:172).

 

New Video: Paul on the Feast of Unleavened Bread

If there’s one biblical feast the church should be keeping, it’s the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is because Paul commands NT believers to do so! Paul gives us some deep spiritual insights into this wonderful celebaton and we explore these in this video.

 

What Is leprosy and what were its causes?

Leviticus 14:3, Plague of leprosy. Some of the English translations of this scripture verse use the word leprosy for the skin disease described in these passages. This is a mistranslation. A better translation would be infectious skin disease.

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The Jewish sages teach that the skin disease described here is a supernaturally caused ailment that falls only on Israelites who are actually living in the land of Israel. They also teach that this is YHVH’s way of identifying the evil sins of gossip and slander (along with haughtiness, selfishness and jealousy) before this sin spreads throughout the land engulfing it like a forest fire from hell. (Read James 3:5–6!) This may explain why Miriam while wandering in the wilderness outside of Israel contracted this skin disease.

The disease would cause the sinner’s face to resemble a red flag for all to see. An afflicted person would be forced to live outside the camp until repentance along with atonement and purification rituals had occurred, and all this occurred under the watchful eye of a priest.

As you read this, you may be wiping your brow with a sigh of relief thankful that Continue reading

 

Dealing With the Fungus Among Us

Overview of Parshiot Tazria-Metzora (Lev 12–13 and 14–15)

Often these two parshiot are combined in the yearly Torah reading cycle depending on how the biblical calendar falls for the year. Their combining is likely due to the fact that each is relatively short and deals with related subjects: namely, the ritual purity laws. As we shall see, the causes of ritual impurity involve sin issues. The Torah prescribes procedures that the afflicted person had to follow in order to be deemed cleansed and thus be readmitted into the camp of Israel after having been temporarily expelled. All the rituals prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

Sin is like a disease.

Sin is like a disease.

These two parshiot dealing with diseased and unclean persons immediately come after the laws concerning clean and unclean meats (Lev 11). What the Israelites ate as well as the state of their physical bodies was an important aspect of holiness in the eyes of YHVH.

From these two parshiot, we learn that an unclean person could only become clean through the atoning blood of a sacrificed animal or through ritual cleansing of water by which he was reconciled to Elohim and brought back into the camp of Israel. What can we learn from the juxtapositioning of these subjects (i.e., the laws pertaining to unclean meats and unclean people) in the Torah? Simply this. Man can easily become impure and defiled because of his innately depraved, crooked, and wicked heart that is at enmity with the laws of Elohim (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). Since the fall of Adam, man has been in a state of impurity from Elohim. Thus, sin separates him from the presence of Elohim and from his fellow Israelites. Only the sin-atoning blood of Yeshua can bring him to a place of purity where he can be reconciled to the Kadosh (Holy) One of Israel, and become part of the camp (i.e., the congregation of the saints or kadosh ones) of YHVH.

Leviticus 12:1–8 deals with the purification of women after childbirth. Adam Clarke in his commentary states that when a woman has to bring a sacrifice after the birth of her child, Elohim keeps up the remembrance of the fact that through woman, sin entered the world. He also keeps up the memorial of sacrifice to show that the state of a sinner, howsoever deplorable, is not hopeless. In every ceremony, we may see both the justice and the mercy of Elohim. Hence, while we have the knowledge of our spiritual impurity, we have also the knowledge of our cure—the sacrifice of an innocent animal, which always points to Yeshua who once and for all, in his sacrificial death, cleansed us from sin’s impurity.

Leviticus 13–14 deals with the disease of tzara. The noun tzaarath means Continue reading

 

What Is Sin & Keys to Overcoming It

What is the Biblical definition of sin? You need to know this, so you will know what to do and what not to do. Most churches don’t teach what sin really is according to the Bible. After you know this, then what are some practical steps to overcoming sin? The answers are in this video.

 

What is sin and how to overcome it

Dealing With the “Leavening” in Our Lives

Throughout Scripture, leavening is a spiritual metaphor for sin, pride, hypocrisy, malice, bitterness and false religious doctrine (Pss 71:4; 73:21; Hos 7:4; Matt 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8–6; Gal 5:9). Even as a small amount of leavening agents in bread (e.g., yeast and various chemical agents) will quickly permeate bread dough causing it to rise, so a little sin can rapidly infect our lives (or like a quick spread cancer disease) and take us away from Elohim’s path of righteous-living.

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The Scripture teaches us to be overcomers (Rom 12:21; 1 John 2:13–14; 5:4) eradicating the leavening of sin from our lives. We must overcome the world, the flesh and the devil (Jas 3:15). Yeshua admonished each of the seven Messianic assemblies to be overcomers (Rev 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; see also Matt 24:13). For those who overcome, there will be great rewards—a spiritual inheritance; they will be sons of Elohim (Rev 21:7).

The Greek word for overcome is nikao (Strong’s G3528) meaning “to conquer, to get the victory, prevail” and is where the word nike comes from.

What Is Sin?

  • Sin is the anything that violates the Torah-instructions/laws of Elohim (1 John 3:4).
  • Sin is unrighteousness (1 John 5:17; YHVH’s Torah commands define what righteousness is, Ps 119:172).
  • Sin is not believing in Yeshua, who is the Torah-Word of Elohim incarnate (John 3:18; 16:9).
  • Sin is failing to do (or not to do) that we which we should be do (or not do) — i.e., sin of ommission (Jas4:17).
  • Sin is putting me-first (my desires, impulses), not YHVH first (his will) in our lives. It is humanism. It is following the lie of the devil: man can have it his way regardless of what YHVH’s Word says, and not suffer any consequences for it. This is the big lie from the serpent in the Garden.
  • Sin is a direct challenge to YHVH’s authority in our lives. It is arrogance and self exaltation against YHVH’s will. It involves lack of belief in his Word. It is putting my will above his Word.

Defining the Types of Sin Spoken of in Isaiah 53

Asham (Strong’s H817/TWOT 180b): means “guilt, offense, guiltiness, sin, trespass, Continue reading