Tag Archives: Snake on a Pole

The Snake on a Pole and the Christ on a Cross

Numbers 21:8-9 is the reason for the famous medical symbol, caduceus.

The Bronze Snake

“The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” – Numbers 21:8-9

How can we possibly compare the sinless Son of God with a poisonous snake?

That was my question when I first read the snake-on-pole incident and heard that it was a foreshadowing of Christ’s death on the cross. My first feeling was that to even think such a thing about Jesus would be blasphemy.

Understanding this mystery reveals the full power of the cross.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

I knew Jesus took our sins and their punishment upon Himself to save us. What I didn’t understand was the profound depth of it:

Jesus actually became sin

And at that moment, all the wrath of God was poured out on one lone figure on a cross, killing Him and sending Him into the depths of hell. The devil actually thought he had finally defeated God.

In the horror of this moment, Psalm 22:6 was fulfilled:

“…but I am a worm (a serpent) and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.”

Then, as Satan gloated over his prize, with all his captives looking on in (hard to imagine) even greater despair, with Jesus Christ Himself dead, powerless and defeated, then to the devil’s own shock, the Spirit of the living God suddenly infused the forlorn victim of the cruelest torture and death, and transformed Him into the fully victorious resurrected eternal Messiah, triumphing over all the power of death and the devil.

In titanic combat He snatched the keys of Death and Hell and led the devil’s captives to freedom.

Colossians 2:13-15 sums it up:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Thank you Lord!!!!!!!!!!


Due to the pagan influence on the caduceus medical symbol, I am adding another medical symbol that is more closely related to Moses’ brazen serpent on a pole.


The point of the article was to understand why the Lord would foreshadow the crucifixion of His Son with an image that represents sin and the devil.

I apologize for the distraction I caused by using the tainted symbol of the caduceus to make my point.

If I had only shone Moses with the serpent on a pole, and Jesus on the cross, there would have been no distraction. However, if I were to edit out the caduceus photo from the article, it would accidentally make those who discussed the caduceus seem to have no context. So for their sake I simply add this note.

Thank you all for adding info about the caduceus that I didn’t know.

~ TD