Numbers 21 – A Snake on a Pole

The physician’s symbol for healing is a pole around which is wrapped a snake (sometimes two.) This imagery relates to a story found in Numbers chapter 21. There, God’s people were complaining and rebelling against God, so God sent deadly snakes to strike the people on the feet and ankles.

But, despite their rebellion, God provided a means of rescue. He told Moses to lift up a bronze snake on a pole, high above the people. Everyone who looked up at the bronze snake, rather than the snakes at their feet, lived.

This story raises some questions:

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