By William Oldham

“…As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15

The story of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness is a lesson for all to see and learn from. We find Jesus referring to it because it clearly depicts God’s grace in rescuing condemned sinners from death to life. In only a few verses in Numbers 21, we find great sinning against holy God; we see judgment and death falling on the sinners; we see a man approved of God interceding for them, and God answering his prayer and making a way for them to live. 

The children of Israel were on their way to the Promised Land, led by Moses. Along the way they became discouraged and began to grumble and complain about how hard the journey was. Then, they developed a hatred for the very bread from heaven that God was providing. Grumbling and complaining starts in the heart and quickly spews from the mouth; it’s a sin God hates and only leads to greater sin.

Their grumbling and complaining, their hatred for God’s manna from heaven was an affront to His goodness and provision for them. The Lord was leading them to a land flowing with milk and honey; He was going to settle them in the most beautiful place on earth. There, He would watch over them, bless them with an abundance of provision and His divine protection. All He asked was for them to trust Him as they travelled through the wilderness, but they didn’t and wouldn’t—they griped and complained!

As a result, “…The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.” Numbers 21:6 That brought the people to Moses, acknowledging their sin; they said, “…We have spoken against the Lord and you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses did and the Lord answered his prayer.

The Lord instructed Moses to make a brass serpent and set it on a pole; “…And it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” Numbers 21:8 Moses made it, set it up, and everyone who was bitten and looked at it lived.

Did the brass serpent have the power to give life to anyone? Could a person who was bitten NOT look and live? How easy and simple it was to live after being bitten: just go and look!

Every person that has ever lived, or ever will live has been bitten by the old serpent, the Devil. That bite is the bite of sin and sin brings judgment and death. But God, in great mercy, has come to the rescue of sinners on their way to death and Hell. How easy and simple it is for a sinner to pass from death to life.

The love of God towards sinners cannot be measured. Before we cried out for help from the judgment of death, God came to the rescue. In response to the bite of the serpent, God raised up a life-giving Savior. The Savior was His only begotten Son; and Jesus was lifted up on a tree for all to see. And on that tree, the lord laid on His Son the sin of the world, and then, taking our place, Jesus took on Himself God’s judgment against sin and sinners.

To this very moment, you are reading this column, looking unto Jesus Christ, lifted up and crucified remains the only way for you to go from death into life.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him Who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24

Brother Bill is a Bible teacher and can be contacted at

3 thoughts on “FROM DEATH TO LIFE

  1. Carol

    Good lesson for the saints here too. Our Heavenly Father is leading us in our journey here on earth to the most glorious place ever-heaven! He only asks that we trust Him.

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