DOES that look like a real snake wrapped around the pole? It isn’t. The snake is made of copper. Jehovah told Moses to put it up on the pole so that the people could look at it and keep alive. But the other snakes on the ground are real. They have bitten the people and made them sick. Do you know why?
It is because the Israelites have spoken against God and Moses. They complain: ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? There is no food or water here. And we can’t stand to eat this manna anymore.’
But the manna is good food. By a miracle Jehovah has given it to them. And by a miracle he has given them water too. But the people aren’t thankful for the way God has taken care of them. So Jehovah sends these poisonous snakes to punish the Israelites. The snakes bite them, and many of them die.
Finally the people come to Moses and say: ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against Jehovah and you. Now pray to Jehovah to take these snakes away.’
So Moses prays for the people. And Jehovah tells Moses to make this copper snake. He says to put it on a pole, and that anyone who is bitten should look at it. Moses does just what God says. And the people who were bitten look at the copper snake and they get well again.
There is a lesson to learn from this. All of us are, in a way, like those Israelites who were bitten by those snakes. We are all in a dying condition. Look around, and you will see that people grow old, get sick, and die. This is because the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, turned away from Jehovah, and we are all their children. But Jehovah has made a way so we can live forever.
Jehovah sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. Jesus was hung on a stake, because many people thought he was bad. But Jehovah gave Jesus to save us. If we look to him, if we follow him, then we can have everlasting life. But we will learn more about this later.
Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14, 15.