serpent

serpent

A reptile, in the Bible another term for “snake.” In OT literature, serpents usually have a negative connotation. The story of creation (Gen 2:4-3:24), which explains the sinfulness of the human race, has as its villain the serpent. Likewise, references to Leviathan and Rahab (Isa 27:1; Isa 51:9-10) recall serpents from Mesopotamian mythology. In NT writings, the same negative attitude toward serpents is evident. Religious leaders were called “a brood of vipers” by John the Baptist (Matt 3:7) and by Jesus (Matt 23:33). In a few instances in the Bible, however, there are references to positive qualities associated with serpents. The attribute seen as most desirable was that of “cunning” (Gen 3:1; Matt 10:16). In the wilderness Moses made a bronze serpent that was believed to have healing properties (Num 21:4-9; cf. John 3:14-15; note, however, that Moses made the serpent only after an attack upon the people by deadly serpents). A story regarding Paul’s harmless encounter with a poisonous serpent is reported in (Acts 28:1-6). In several passages in the Bible the ultimate victory of God and God’s people over the evil of this age is depicted using serpent imagery (Luke 10:19; Rev 20:2-10).

Gen 2:4-3:24

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Another Account of the Creation
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and ... View more

Isa 27:1

Israel's Redemption
1On that day the Lord with his cruel and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, a ... View more

Isa 51:9-10

9Awake, awake, put on strength,
O arm of the Lord!
Awake, as in days of old,
the generations of long ago!
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
who pierced th ... View more

Matt 3:7

7But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matt 23:33

33You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?

Gen 3:1

The First Sin and Its Punishment
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘Yo ... View more

Matt 10:16

Coming Persecutions
16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Num 21:4-9

4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.5The people spoke against God ... View more

John 3:14-15

14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Acts 28:1-6

Paul on the Island of Malta
1After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta.2The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had ... View more

Luke 10:19

19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.

Rev 20:2-10

2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,3and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed i ... View more

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