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is it possible, do you think, that the fault is in later generations, who began looking towards the pole in a way which wasn't originally intended? Then Hezekiah would not be criticising what Moses erected, but what it had become in the interval between Moses and Hezekiah.
Nu 21:4 ¶ And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 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.
If anyone was bit and did not have FAITH in what was told them (the good news((gospel)) Moses gave them on how to live if bitten), and did not do the WORK of looking upon the serpent of brass, they would not Receive the GRACE of God and be saved form the death of the Bite. They would pass on into eternally condemned in their own unbelief. Very simple message. We all have been bitten by that old serpent the devil, it is in the nature we received from our first forefather Adam. And only the work of the second Adam can save.
This was an OT version of a STOP sign. You see the Jews would die rather quickly by the venom and the people wanted physical salvation from being bitten looking at the image was the only way to be saved and the death stopped. It shows their faith in the Lord to save them from death physically by looking on the brass serpent.
1Cor 1:22a For the Jews require a sign, . . ..
But I would not fault Moses for the perversion of it by the people. The LORD never told him to get rid of it, so it is to be surmised that God knew they would stumble at it and worship it. All things work to bring about God's will and in this case His will concerning the People of Israel which include the Judah.
2Ki 18:1-4 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.