First off, I must admit that I have about three posts I need to write to explain my six-week hiatus and my name change ‘Splaining the name thing…. But I really have to do this today because I think it may be “on time” for some and I definitely don’t want to wait until it is too late to give maybe a little different prospective on a probably quite taboo and deadly subject ( in more ways than one) but nevertheless a very real subject inside some denominations of the Christian faith.
“Snake handling” or “taking up serpents” mainly associated with Pentecostal and Holiness churches, but I do want to STRESS the majority of churches in these groups do NOT practice this.
I have glimpsed television shows dealing with this and I stay far away from those shows and now there is a new video on social media that was filmed during just such a service in a neighboring state.
It worries me, it worries me for several reasons.
The clip I watched showed multiple people filming this so it is really hard to know just how broad an audience it will hit. I truly do not understand the need to film this because the subject is so hard for many to understand and I personally believe it would be far more beneficial filming and sharing a service of healing and miracles.
And seriously if one has the kind of faith to lift up a Copperhead or rattlesnake and not be bitten and die, they should have the kind of faith to believe the lame will walk, the deaf will hear, because the miraculous and the signs and wonders are for those who DO NOT BELIEVE, so that they will see and know that no power other than the power of a sovereign God could have brought forth these truly supernatural occurrences.
I fear most the door which is opened for those who do not understand to mock and ridicule and unknowingly endanger their souls in doing so, usually others will be dancing in the Spirit, or speaking in tongues and contrary to denominational arguments as to whether these manifestation are still active in our present day, the real danger lies in the fact that if those who have never read the book of Acts or know anything at all of the Bible or Jesus, and are not even laughing about the snakes, decides to mock the dancing, or some other aspect of a service, it endangers their souls, through something that they should have never viewed unless the were present.
Because we can be forgiven for ANYTHING EXCEPT mocking the Holy Spirit.
When we do not understand we have no way to gauge exactly what we are seeing other than our OWN human mind and for those who do not know Christ, this can be even more dangerous.
I for one believe in the sanctity of ALL life, and do not believe in hitting or killing and I know Jesus to be a beautiful GENTLE creator and I really feel sorry for the snakes which have to be terrified but I also know better than to bash their beliefs because they are worshiping God they way they understand it to be and they do this as an exercise in faith.
Just as a boxer might push themselves to new limits everyday while preparing for an upcoming match.
This is how they build their faith that God will protect them.
So for those who may not know, we’ll look at the verses and origins of this and I’ll give you my take on my personal thoughts,again those are mine, EVERYONE has their own relationship with the Lord, and that IS what we MUST be mindful of. Okay, where does this practice come from?
Have to get back to the garden for that one, most know the story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent that seduced her through her own desires for supposed “knowledge” right into absolute disobedience to God. And as God gave divine judgments against ALL three of them.
Genesis 3:14,15: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because THOU hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beats of the field; upon thy belly thou shalt go, and dust shall be thou eat all the days of thy life.
And I WILL PUT ENMITY (hostility) BETWEEN THEE AND THE WOMAN, AND BETWEEN THY SEED AND HER SEED; AND IT (he) SHALL BRUISE THY HEAD, AND THOU SHALT BRUISE HIS HEEL.”
So the long-held hatred between humans and snakes can be easily explained and symbolically many older demonstrations hold this to a more drastic level than many of us do today, because as we understand it, all females suffer terribly during childbirth and I personally believe the serpent had legs at this time, but nevertheless we know snakes now can only move on their bellies, and are absolutely the most dreaded and hated among all creation.
This gives us the reason behind the symbolism of power to subdue them. Many other scriptures deal with the subject, but we’ll try to stick with the subject at hand.
So further proof of this, can be found in the fact that power over the serpent was one of the signs God gave Moses to show that his commission was truly divine.
Exodus 4:1-5: “And Moses answered and said, But behold, they will NOT believe me, NOR hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath NOT appeared unto thee.
And the Lord said unto him, What is in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he (the Lord) said, Cast (throw) it down on the ground, and he cast it down it on the ground, AND IT BECAME A SERPENT: and Moses fled from before it.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail ( reach down and pick it up by the tail) And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and IT BECAME A ROD IN HIS HAND:
THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THAT THE LORD GOD OF OUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB, HATH APPEARED UNTO THEE..”
Exodus chapter seven also tells us of this same rod being turned again to the serpent which consumed the serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians. God sent mighty wonders through Moses that the Egyptians AND the Hebrews would know, see, and BELIEVE in the power of Jehovah God.
Again, Numbers chapter twenty-one tells us of people speaking AGAINST God and His servant, prompting God’s anger which he displayed by sending fiery serpents upon the people, when the people repented and came to Moses, God instructed to make a brass serpent and those bitten who be healed when the gazed upon it.
We understand that to be the forerunner verse to 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 whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Now to bring it New Testament, when Jesus gave the great commission, he spoke also of the signs and wonders, those unexplained events that could only be explained by a very real belief in the power and glory of Almighty God.
Mark 16:15-18: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned (condemned).
And THESE SIGNS shall follow them that believe; IN MY NAME shall thy cast out devils (demons) ; they shall speak with new tongues;
THEY SHALL TAKE UP SERPENTS: AND IF THEY DRINK ANY DEADLY THING, IT SHALL NOT HURT THEM; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
I personally believe in miracles, I have seen miracles and there have been times I could not understand why something didn’t end with a miracle and then I remembered something, miracles ARE for a sign and only God dictates when that is required, as believers we are already told to “walk by faith” and that is His requirement.
The miracles, He sends as He wishes, not necessarily as we desire. although I believe in asking and asking!
So this is how I interrupt this, not saying I am right, not saying you have to agree, but saying PLEASE do not encourage others in something they do not understand because Paul also told us that we are babes we must have milk, not solid food.
Of course I paraphrased that, but it translates to this, we grow little by little in the things of God and trying to chew meat when we haven’t teeth will only choke us to death. so taking up serpents, we are told we will tread upon them, in the sense of the demonic forces we deal with that are constantly striking at our heels in hopes of making us stumble. Jesus gave us power through His name over those.
Now what if the enemy tries to kill you BEFORE your time and others are just knowing that you have done something to “deserve” it?
Acts 28:3-6: “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, THERE CAME A VIPER OUT OF THE HEAT, AND FASTENED ON (sunk in his fangs and held onto) HIS HAND.
And when the barbarians SAW the VENOMOUS BEAST HANG ONTO HIS HAND, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth him not to live.
And HE SHOOK OFF THE BEAST (creature) INTO THE FIRE, AND FELT NO HARM.
Howbeit, thy looked (expected) WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SWOLLEN, OR FALLEN DEAD SUDDENLY: but AFTER THEY HAD LOOKED A GREAT WHILE, AND SAW NO HARM COME TO HIM, THEY CHANGED THEIR MINDS…..”
Deadly “poison” by accident, or by the devils assault, or by simple basic necessity:
Exodus 15:23-25: ” And when they came to Marah, they COULD NOT DRINK of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, WHAT SHALL WE DRINK? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed (showed) him a tree, which he was to cast into the waters, AND THE WATERS WERE MADE SWEET…”
2 Kings 2:19-22: “And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth ( it is a nice place as you see) but THE WATER IS NAUGHT (bad), and the ground is barren.
And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.
And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt therein, and said, THUS SAITH THE LORD, I HAVE HEALED THESE WATERS; THERE SHALL NOT BE FROM THENCE ANY MORE DEATH OR BARREN LAND.
SO THE WATERS WERE HEALED UNTO THIS DAY, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.”
2 Kings 4:38-41: “And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth (famine) in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, set on a great pot, and seethe pottage (soup) for the sons of the prophets.
And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered wild gourds, his lap full, ( as many as he could carry), and came and shred them INTO the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. So they poured out for the men to eat.
And it came to pass, AS THEY WERE EATING OF THE POTTAGE, THAT THEY CRIED OUT, AND SAID, O THOU MAN OF GOD, THERE IS DEATH IN THIS POT. And they could NOT eat thereof.
But he (Elisha) said, THEN BRING MEAL. And he cats it into the pot: and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. AND THERE WAS NO HARM (nothing harmful) IN THE POT.”
I hope this may have helped understand these traditions and the importance of whether we ourselves embrace them or not, we should be truly careful of what we say about them.
Thanks for reading!
Love & Peace, GOOD TO BE BACK!
Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NB 2018
Thanks for reading Φλογιζω! For posts dealing with a multitude of subjects please check out the side menu on desktop or on a mobile device, please click any post title and once it opens scroll to bottom of screen for links to other options. If you have been encouraged please considering sharing post via any option below. God Bless you! Rev. Nina Brown Johnson