Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Serpent of Brass

Looney commented on his blog about the story of when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and were bitten by fiery serpents. Moses made a brass serpent and lifted it up on a staff. This serpent was representative of the Savior who was lifted up on the cross, and atoned for mankind. It reminded me of a few Book of Mormon scriptures that refer to the same story. The people of the Book of Mormon came from Jerusalem about 600 b.c. They had been taught the Gospel that was the law of Moses. They knew of the story of Moses, and referred back to it many times in the Book of Mormon. Here are some of the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that refer to the above incident.

1 Nephi 17:41

41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.

Alma 33:19

19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.

Helaman 8:13-16

13 But, behold, ye not only deny my words, but ye also deny all the words which have been spoken by our fathers, and also the words which were spoken by this man, Moses, who had such great power given unto him, yea, the words which he hath spoken concerning the coming of the Messiah.
14 Yea, did he not bear record that the Son of God should come? And as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he be lifted up who should come.
15 And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.
16 And now behold, Moses did not only testify of these things, but also all the holy prophets, from his days even to the days of Abraham.

I love this scripture story because the simple message is that Christ is the source of healing and salvation. I have a friend who is an alcoholic, and attends AA meetings. She taught me that part of the success of their program is admitting that there is a "higher power" and reaching out to that power to help them to overcome their weaknesses. It really is true that just as the people looked to the serpent for healing, we can look to the Savior for healing. We don't have to overcome our hurts and pains alone. He has suffered them for us, and will help us to overcome pain and sin.

No comments: