top of page

And Moses Lifted Up The Serpent On The Pole- A Messianic Prophecy

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

The celebration of Passover is here and my mind has been pondering over the many prophecies concerning the Messiah Yeshua. Please allow me to share my thoughts concerning one such prophecy that Yeshua applied to Himself.

Speaking with Nicodemus, Yeshua states:

John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:"

Again, it is recorded in John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

I can remember, as a child, thinking that this was such a strange prophecy for Jesus to want to fulfill. I could not understand why Jesus wanted to be associated with a snake on a pole. Yikes, I hate snakes!

It was not until much, much later in life that I would come to understand the depth of His Words in these texts.

In Numbers chapter 21 we read about the rebellion and sin of the Children of Israel in their wilderness journey. Their constant complaining and sin caused YHWH to bring judgment against them. He did this by bringing "fiery serpents" (saraph) into their midst. These fiery beings bit and poisoned them until many were killed. They cried out to Moses for him to intercede to God on their behalf. Moses did so and was given instructions to make a "fiery serpent, and to set it upon a pole" before them. Anyone who had been bitten was then to look/gaze upon the raised up serpent on the pole and they would be healed from the poisonous bite.

Notice, this stopped the plague of death among the congregation.

The serpent was the very thing that had brought death to the people, and yet now, it was bringing healing. Not only had this serpent brought death, but it had brought pain and torment. This cursed thing now brought healing.

How did Yeshua compare to this serpent on a pole? He took upon Himself our sins, our curses, and became the cursed thing on our behalf. Our sins that had brought pain, torment and the plague of death were now upon Him. Our curses from sin were like that fiery serpent, for the "wages of sin is death". His being lifted up on the stake stopped the plague of death for us. He became an accursed thing hanging upon that crucifixion stake, for the Scripture states:

Galatians 3:13 "Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, having become a curse for us – for it has been written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree.” – Deu. 21:23.

II Corinthians 5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of Elohim."

Regarding the verse in Numbers 21:9 and Yeshua's own words in John 3:14-15,

Rabbi Itzhak Shapira states in his book, The Return of the Kosher Pig, "it is clear that Yeshua equated himself with the Divine Messiah, who is the giver of life. It is also interesting that Yeshua compared himself to the snake, a word in Christianity usually given a negative connotation. However, the Hebrew word for snake (nachash) holds the numerical value of 358. While the Hebrew word Messiah or Mashiach holds the exact same value! Yeshua of Natzeret is providing a clue for those who spoke Hebrew during his time- he is stating that he is the Messiah. He is the one who can bring healing to Israel and he is the one who must be "highly exalted" by humans for them to recieve the gift of life through the Spirit of God. The "snake" that is represented by the Messiah will be the one who heals Israel from their spiritual sickness by giving them a new spirit. The prophet Zechariah and the ancient rabbis make the point clear that this spirit can be received only by the Messiah and his spirit (represented by water) as God promised through the prophet Ezekiel in the 36th chapter, verses 25 and 26" (1)

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

From Yeshua's body flowed both blood and water.


The Hebrew word for pole is nes. The Hebrew word for banner is also nes. The word nes denotes “to be lifted up, a standard, a signal, a sign”.

Psalm 60:4 You have given a banner (nes) to those who fear You, That it might be lifted up Because of the truth. Selah.

Our Savior was lifted up as a sign to the world.

Let us also consider this:

...Yeshua had no sin, yet

...He became sin

...As an accursed man hanging on the cross, His shed blood makes one clean/without sin

...Those (Nicodemus and Joseph) who cared for His dead body became unclean so that they

could not partake of Passover that evening

...Yet, He had made them clean from their sins

This can all sound confusing but yet reminds me of something else I read about in Scripture that is quite confusing to understand - The Red Heifer (Numbers 19).

Isn't our Elohim good? Like one big jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces fit perfectly together in the right place, at the right time.


Chag Sameach Pesach


(1) copyright 2013; published by Lederer Books; pages 92-93


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page