This is a favourite passage of mine from Numbers 21:4–9
It is the story of the Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the desert. I love how explicitly and graphically it illustrates what would happen on the cross hundreds of years later. It is so telling that a snake (immobilised in bronze) is lifted up on a pole to save them from the snakebites. Christ, who was “born in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3) was lifted up on the cross, and though he was sinless, there he was made sin for us. (2 Cor. 5:21).
One of the wonders of the Bible is to be found in its ‘types’ and ‘anti-types’. This one is made clear for us in the Scriptures of the New Testament.
How is a sinner to be saved by a just and holy God?
Our Lord Jesus gave the answer in His discourse with Nicodemus: “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” (John 3:14,15).
This is the only ‘shadow’ of the cross pointed out by Christ himself. He did not want us to miss this type, which is perhaps the simplest and clearest of all the pictures of Calvary in the Old Testament. This uplifted serpent brings to us the Gospel in miniature
It could be said that if the whole Bible were destroyed and only this fragment remained, we would have enough to point our pathway to Heaven.
“Look and live!”