The Wilderness Experience
Have you ever wondered why God took the Israelites through the wilderness after coming out of Egypt and crossing over the Red Sea? The Bible gives us types and shadows in the Old Testament to reflect a message He is giving to us today.
We can consider the word "Egypt" as the kingdom of darkness. For us today, that would mean anything negative, judgmental, condemning, sickness, disease, or death would be a reflection of the kingdom of darkness, or Egypt. The Red Sea is the type and shadow of being born again, washed in the blood of Jesus, being baptized, and crossing over to the kingdom of Light, or the Kingdom of God. Take note that none of the children of God were lost, or drowned, while crossing over even though they were not all real crazy about leaving Egypt. Many of them had not given their hearts to what Moses was leading them to, for us it would be giving their hearts to Jesus, yet they were still washed.
After they crossed over, they started complaining about some things that they expected, but didn't happen. They had preconceived ideas about what coming out of Egypt would be like and many were disappointed, so they blamed Moses. They did not leave Egypt behind, but brought it into the kingdom of God. God took them through the wilderness for 40 years to get "Egypt" out of their system. God brought His presence into the midst of the children of Israel with the building of the tabernacle starting from the inside and going to the outside. God stayed with the children the whole time they were in the wilderness. He showed His presence many times to them while giving them the provisions they needed for wholeness and health.
These people were a stubborn people that would complain as soon as things got a little tough for them. Instead of anticipating how God would reveal His presence and welcome the next obstacle, or move of God, they would complain.
In Numbers 21:5-9 we read, "The children complaining so much that God sends fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many people of Israel died". What is this fiery serpent for us today? Matthew 7:1 tells us that how you judge others is how you yourself will be judged. The children of Israel judged God with their words. The serpent is the judgment and condemnation of what the tongue is capable of doing. Verse 7 in Numbers 21 says, "the people came to Moses, and said, we have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord…." Proverbs 16:27. James 3:5-6, "The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity, so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." (Hell refers to condemnation and judgment).
Back to Numbers 21:7, "and Moses prayed for the people." We must go before the Lord with a heart of repentance, wiling to thank Him for revealing the deceitfulness we have been a part of with our tongues. Many times as Christians we use our tongues to share information that may sound good, but it has no Life, or Love, or maybe Light in our words. For our words to be the words of our Heavenly Father, to talk as Jesus talked, our words must carry all three elements. If they only carry one or two elements then it is taking a member of God's body, the tongue, and using it against Him instead of glorifies Him.
You may be saying to yourself, "this lesson doesn't pertain to me. I don't talk about anyone because I know that gossip is a sin and I don't do that." Have you ever found yourself sharing information for the sake of "we need to pray for them," yet, that person is not the one asking for prayer. If so, you've just exposed gossip information for the sake of prayer. Then the next time you see that person and you say, "I heard about your situation, and I'm praying for you." All of that sounds good, however, every time the situation is mentioned it is glorifying Satan, giving a place of what he is doing. Then this praying that is going on, well, is it really God's Word that is lifted up as an intercessor, or is it a prayer of emotionalism made of hopes that may be God's will. Think about what your tongue says daily. I know that writing this has been a real conviction in my own life. How many times have we resurrected the dead or crucified life with our words?
So what happened after Moses prayed? Numbers 21:8 says, "And the Lord said unto Moses, make thee (me, I was crucified) a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it will come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." When you crucify the words of judgment and condemnation by recognizing what your words did and repenting of them, then life is given to those that were given judgment. The judgment words you spoke are crucified with you and the repentance of forgiveness fills the void and brings life. Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Numbers 21:9 says, "And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent (a fiery word) had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
Let's think about the picture effect the Lord has given us with what is taking place in the wilderness. This wilderness is hot, dry, with no shade. The sun is beating down on you, and you're surrounded by dry, Desert Mountains. This picture is awesome of what God has done! These people are whining and complaining with their tongues, and getting bitten constantly. God has Moses make a serpent of brass. Brass is a metal mixture that looks like gold, but has red in it. This is a symbolism of Adam (red, man) and the image of God (gold). Jesus came as the Son of Man. The pole is symbolic of a tree. Jesus hung on the tree of knowledge of good and evil to do away with death. When we look upon the cross we also recognize the resurrection of life that He gave us for He is the Word.
I know that's an awesome comparison to think about, but there is even more to this picture God has created for us. If we ponder the image God gave us with what took place when the children of Israel looked upon the brass serpent we are blessed with an awesome array of heaven on earth! Picture what happens when light shines on brass. The hot sun (Light) was shining on brass (Jesus) that was lifted up on a pole (tree). The Light comes back on you with a blinding effect. When you looked at it the only thing you would be able to see is Light reflected off the brass. The image of the serpent would be gone. The pure white light of the resurrection of Jesus would be seen in different directions splitting apart with a rainbow of colors. The rainbow is the reminder to God's children of the covenants that He has made whether they kept them or not. Death can not abide in the presence of God. I mentioned in the beginning that God brought His presence in the midst of His people with the building of the tabernacle; He brought heaven to earth.
The tabernacle in the wilderness was enclosed with sixty (number of man) pure white linen sections (linen came from Egypt, darkness turned to righteousness), that hung on brass. Can you image the rainbow beams of light that reflected into the sky when the sun hit the brass and reflected off the white linen! This was not just a building, but a display of heaven on earth daily for the children to witness that God was with them. They go the see the ultimate rainbow in the sky; the masses of color and glory coming out of the tabernacle. WOW!!
The message for us to see is we have the brass and the white linen today. When we lift that fiery serpent (our tongue) to the sun (Son of God), the cleansing work of Jesus is manifested; the rainbow of His covenant is exhorted that others can see the Light of His glory in us. His Life, Light, and Love come forth in your body and words (His temple) and you become the rainbow of His colors of white Light.
The end of time is now that eternity can come forth by giving the fiery serpent, your tongue, unto the Father that the Life of Jesus may come forth and be manifested on earth.