God used something physical to bring deliverance to the children of Israel.
‘…Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live…’ (Numbers 21:8)
Wow! What was the immediate outcome?
‘…And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived…’ (Num. 21:9)
After seeing such miracle, you can guess rightly what was in the minds of the children of Israel! A serpent made of brass hanging on a pole …delivered people from death of poisonous bite??? This brazen serpent pole definitely carries the ‘anointing’ for protection! Won’t it just be better to have this pole of serpent in our homes or neighbourhood as a symbol of the ‘anointing’ for protection?
What did they do next? They carried the pole along with them! It became to them a powerful substance! And without a rethink…it subtly connoted ‘the presence of God’ to them wherever they went! They practically WORSHIPPED the pole of brazen serpent!
If it had done a ‘miracle’ before….then it must be ‘domesticated’ in case the enemy shows up again! And since it was the GREAT man of God, Moses, that ‘made’ the pole initially….no ‘new comer’ or upcoming learner can just come and tell them they were in error!
Many years after, Israel had a 25years old king ruling over them.
‘…Now it came about in the third year of Hoshea, the son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah became king. He was TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem…’ (2Kings 18:1-2)
Such a youth! This youth-king had a testimony before God!
‘…He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…’ (2Kings 18:3)
Wow! May we have more youths today whose heartbeat will be to have such record of doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord! The next verse shows us immediately the RIGHT things this youth-king did!
‘…He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. HE BROKE INTO PIECES THE BRONZE SNAKE MOSES HAD MADE, FOR UP TO THAT TIME THE ISRAELITES HAD BEEN BURNING INCENSE TO IT. (It was called Nehushtan.)…’ (2Kings 18:4)
Oh! So this is RIGHT in the eyes of God? I thought since it was MOSES the great man of God that made it….then it must not be broken or confronted! The Children of Israel were already burning INCENSE to this pole! It even has a name: NEHUSHTAN! (controversially meaning either the ‘great serpent’ or ‘little brass thing’)
Fast forward to the New Testament. In order to bring about a SPECIAL miracle in healing the sick and casting out demons, God allowed the HANDKERCHIEF and APRON of Paul to be used as a quick carrier of His power.
‘…And God wrought SPECIAL miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them…’ (Acts 19:11-12)
It is called SPECIAL miracle because it was NOT the norm of how miracles are wrought. But when it comes to healing the sick or delivering the possessed, God is more interested in setting the captives free….and might use a SPECIAL method in order to get it done faster or draw the minds of the people to the truth of His Grace! The healings flowed….the demons were cast out!
Like the children of Israel’s disposition to the pole of brazen serpent of MOSES, believers began to see a ‘mystery’ in the handkerchief of PROPHETS! It moved from ‘handkerchiefs to ‘mantles’. Believers begin to carry it in bags and pockets. On the express roads, believers have it wrapped around the inner mirrors of cars! It is a symbol of protection! NEHUSHTAN! Some have it by the gates…or wrapped constantly around their very neck.
Did God use the pole of serpent to perform miracles? YES! Can God still use the handkerchief of men to perform miracles? YES! What then was the challenge??? NEHUSHTAN!!! Idolizing!!! It is an ordinary Handkerchief! No handkerchief is PERMITTED to be ‘special’ in a believer’s collections! If you find it hard to sneeze with that handkerchief and throw it away…..you are in a GREAT ERROR!!!
Paul was careful NOT to make a doctrine out of the MIRACLE HANDKERCHIEF! Those handkerchief were NOT to be taken home for statutory protection from sicknesses and demons. The main purpose of the pole of brazen serpent was to reveal the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ to the Israelites! Jesus Himself made this clear!
‘…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…’ (John 3:14-15)
It was not to show the anointing of Moses! It was to point the people to JESUS! Why God wrought SPECIAL miracles through Paul in Acts 19 was to differentiate it uniquely from the miracles of the Jewish Exorcists which was recorded IMMEDIATELY after the miracles of the Handkerchief was done! And when they realized this, they tried to fake it as though they were in agreement with Paul in order to deceive the people…but God disgraced them!
‘…And God wrought SPECIAL miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them….THEN CERTAIN OF THE VAGABOND JEWS, EXORCISTS, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by JESUS WHOM PAUL PREACHETH. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded…’ (Acts 19:11-16)
Did you see the flow? So why exactly did God wrought this special miracle? The next verse brings it out clearly:
‘…17And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, AND THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS WAS MAGNIFIED…’ (Acts 19:17)
Wow! It was to point the people of the land to the great gospel of JESUS CHRIST!!! When Paul performed a miracle earlier in Lystra…the people practically brought sacrifice to render to him….in idol worship!
‘…The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates, hoping to offer a sacrifice along with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul found out about this, THEY TORE THEIR CLOTHES and rushed into the crowd, shouting, “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, HUMAN LIKE YOU. We are bringing you GOOD NEWS…’ (Acts 14:13-15)
The people missed the good news and preferred to idolize Paul! Just as many believers miss the Gospel of Grace but will rather idolize a ‘mantle’! If Paul realizes what people are doing with handkerchiefs today because of what God did through him…HE WILL BURN HIS HANDKERCHIEFS!
I would have written more on this…but i believe this is long enough. Beware of NEHUSHTAN! Exalt the Gospel of Jesus above ANY thing! Call on the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST when in trouble….and He will deliver you!
I believe this post is clear and a blessing.