LETTER: Do not fall for Satan’s deception
To the Editor:
The Herald’s Feb. 27 article, “Snake handlers firm in belief,” records the danger in building a doctrine around one phrase in the Bible. It’s an example of how Satan can use that to deceive a believer. Knowledge of God’s word ... can prevent Satan from taking advantage of our ignorance. He tempts us to take scripture out of context and interpret it separately — without full understanding of the passage, its purpose and how it relates to the whole of scripture. ...
The Bible helps us understand the character and ways of Satan by comparing him to a serpent. Revelation 12:9 reveals Satan as “that serpent of old who deceives the whole world.” Satan was cursed and condemned by God (Genesis 3:14-15) for deceiving our ancestors Adam and Eve ... . The phrase quoted by snake handlers, “take up serpents” from Mark 16:18, can also be interpreted “to move from its place; carry off” or “cause to cease.” Believers should apply this interpretation to Satan and his fallen angels — not to literally lifting up poisonous snakes.
In Luke 10:19, Jesus provides further clarity, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions (another metaphor), and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Let us not tempt Christ and be destroyed by serpents (1 Corinthians 10:9). Christ came to save us; he finished this work on the cross. Numbers 21 describes a time when the Israelites, as a result of their sin, were being afflicted with serpents, literally. Thousands were dying after being bitten. They begged Moses to ask God to take them away, but God‘s remedy was “make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” Jesus Christ, the correlating remedy for our sin and afflictions today, refers to that time in John 3:14-15: “And 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.” Jesus wants us, through faith, to look to him today and live!
Robert A. Watson