Immunity Pole

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Numbers 21:4
Moses and the Brazen Serpent1898
Augustus Edwin John
UCL Art Museum, London

It’s the same story today. We are heading into the Garden of Eden but everyone is unhappy and wants to pick fights and return to the ‘good old days’ (slavery in Egypt or today, socialism). The Israelites beg Moses to take away the snakes – just like we impose lockdowns, masks and social distancing to avoid the COVID. We then inflame COVID hysteria and hyperventilate that even kids can get it and die (or have lifelong ailments) to wreck the economy as a pretext for socialism (medicare for all, etc). Of course, the solution isn’t to go backwards, but to quarantine the sick and vulnerable and let the young and healthy return to normal life with reasonable precautions so that we can approach herd immunity and flatten the curve (anyone remember that?). So too, God doesn’t kill the snakes as we pleaded – He gives us immunity from them. This is represented by the bronze serpent.

Now how do we get immunity from the compulsion to sin? Do we launch wars on drugs and guns and sex and all that other naughty stuff?

Christ on the Cross with Saints Mary, John the Evangelist, and Catherine of Siena – 1570
Marco Pino
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

John 3:14

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