posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 09:28 AM
When I say serpent, what's your first thought? Satan, Lucifer, Indiana Jones
How about Jesus?
9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand
these things? 11“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.
12“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13“No one has ascended into
heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted
Everyone knows the next verse very well. We see that this is speaking of the resurrection the new birth. And Jesus is likening his being raised up
on the cross to the Bronze serpent in the wilderness.
There have been many finds of bronze serpents throughout Israel, and the cult of the serpent goes back very far into the past, possibly as the very
earliest form of goddess worship. Lets look at some instances of bronze serpents.
There is a wealth of information from this well researched book
The following comes from The cult of the Bronze
Serpent in Ancient Israel
The oldest bronze serpent was excavated at Megiddo (Tell el-Mutesellim). It was 18 cm long. It was found in Stratum X, dated to 1650–1550 B.C.E.
(Locus 2032, Square N 14, Area BB; see fig
From the turn of the Bronze and Iron Age (1300–1100 B.C.E.) comes the bronze serpent from Timna‘. It differs from the above-mentioned ones,
because it is partially wrapped round with a golden tape. It was excavated in Stratum II in a naos of the Midianite temple (Locus 110, Square B–C
14–15; see fig. 6).12 The temple was built initially by Egyptians who dedicated it to Hathor, the goddess of fertility. During the rule
of the 20th Dynasty Egyptians abandoned the nearby copper mines and the temple, which was partially destroyed by an earthquake. The mines and the
temple were then taken over by the Midianites. From that time come the bronze serpent (nearly 12 cm long), as well as votive offerings placed
in the temple: a bronze phallic male figurine, a ram figurine, numerous rings, amulets, earrings, bracelets, beads, and many copper tools. Moreover, a
large amount of Midianite pottery was found.13
When I think of Midian I think of Jethro, Moses' Father In-Law, the priest of YHWH. For fun you could google "Midianite Hypothesis". Also see
the link in my tagline for more associations with Mining and Israel.
The author goes on describing other archaeological finds of the bronze serpent. And begins to look at the meaning
So which one of the above-mentioned propositions was a basis for the Canaanite cult of the bronze serpents? This question cannot be answered
easily because we have no Canaanite or Syrian written source describing such a cult.25 The only written source that mentions bronze
serpents is the Bible. It is interesting that the examples are not clearly negative ones.
It follows clearly from the biblical text that the bronze serpent was a cultic object.29 In light of the reference to Moses, it is hard to
perceive Nechushtan in any other way than as a symbol of god—the healer.30
the cult of Neushtan in the Jerusalem Temple has a pre-Israelite origin and may be connected with the Jebusites.31 Obviously, no cultic
serpent has been found in the area of the Jerusalem Temple, where no excavations are allowed. This makes it impossible to verify the above thesis by
means of archaeological data, but the Bible itself is here to help. It is interesting that 1 Kgs 1:9 places the offerings by David’s son, Adonijah,
by the Stone of Zoheleth (), next to the En-rogel spring in Jerusalem.32 Thus, this text confirms the existence of
sites connected with the serpent cult in the capital itself, as well. Hence, it may be supposed that after Jerusalem was seized by David, and after
the main center of worship was established there, the old beliefs, most probably known to the Hebrews, were partially incorporated into
the cult of YHWH. As follows from the text of 2 Kgs 18:4, it simply happened that the tradition of Moses’ serpent was coupled with the local
Jerusalemite tradition. This was not especially difficult, since it can be supposed that both the bronze serpent of the desert and the Jebusite
serpent in the Temple were connected with the healing aspect of the pertinent deity. In this manner, Nehustan was subordinated to the victorious
God of Israel, and was perhaps even treated as symbolizing one of YHWH’s attributes. .
Of course, the first association leads us towards Asklepios and makes us seek after the Semitic deity identified with this Greek divine
doctor. Practically, the only correspondence of Asklepios in Syro-Canaan is Eshmun, the main deity of Sidon.34
In this way, we get an outline of an answer to the question about the characteristics of the cult of Canaanite bronze serpents. It seems highly
probable that they had therapeutic functions and that they were connected with deities controlling illnesses. Horon, a chthonic deity ruling over
demons and serpents, could be such a god. We can further accept the relationship of the earlier Syro-Canaanite Horon to the later Phoenician-Punic
Eshmun. The Bible also confirms the relation between bronze serpents and healing. Naturally, because of its character, the Bible does not point to any
pagan deity, and it ascribes the principal healing role to YHWH.