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Them That Follow

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posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 10:07 PM
Today I watched an interesting movie that had me burning up my chosen search engine immediately afterwards, so first here is a trailer to give you an idea of what started me down the rabbit hole:

I have always been fascinated by the amount of faith displayed by these churches where they handle venomous snakes and/or drink poisons as proof of "being in the Spirit" and though every few years we hear of someone in one of these churches dying as a result of snake bite(s) I have often wondered why there haven't been more deaths.

The reasoning behind why they handle these snakes during worship comes straight from the Bible itself, and they take it very literally.

The central text is Mark 16.17-18 from the King James Version of the Bible: And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Given the plain-sense meaning of the text Mark 16 suggests that five signs will follow "them that believe": Casting out of devils Speaking with new tongues Taking up serpents Being unhurt after drinking poison Healing the sick According to the snake handling churches four of these signs are "mandatory" and one is "conditional." This teaching is also derived from the plain-sense hermeneutic. Four of the five signs--casting out devils, tongues, taking up serpents, healing the sick--are connected with the words "they shall." Which is read to be an imperative/command. One of the signs breaks this template and begins with "if" making the practice of this sign--drinking poison--optional or voluntary. Most snake handling churches do provide poison--often strychnine or carbolic acid--in their service.

So I started wondering what is their secret? Why aren't many more people dead from venomous snake bites due to this sort of activity?
I would like to believe that it's because of the power of the Holy Spirit, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case.

"The animals that I've seen that have come from religious snake handlers were in bad condition," says Kristen Wiley, curator of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, a facility in the town of Slade that produces venom and promotes the conservation of snakes. "They did not have water. The cages had been left not cleaned for a pretty long period of time. And the other thing we noticed is there were eight or 10 copperheads in a container that was not very large." Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents' RELIGION Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents' What's more, she says there was no fecal material in the container, which indicated the snakes were not being fed. Riley says a snake that may be dehydrated, underweight and sick from close confinement is less likely to strike than a healthy snake. Moreover, the venom it produces is weaker. She says snake-handling preachers who don't take care of their snakes are "setting themselves up for a safer encounter during their services when they use a snake that is in bad condition to begin with."

Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling

"I think most snakes, a rattlesnake or a copperhead, if you are gentle with them after they've been in captivity and [you] pick them up gently, they won't bite you. So, it wouldn't matter what [your] religious belief was," Gibbons says.

Now most folks already know that snake charmers around the world have a few tricks up their sleeves such as de-fanging snakes, milking their venom regularly or even sewing their mouths shut, so I wonder if some of these snake handling preachers do it as well but I got nowhere with my search- though I suspect that it does happen. I also suspect that some of them may be "innoculating" themselves with miniscule amounts of venom or poison regularly as a way to build immunity but that is only speculation on my part as these groups are extremely secretive.

Links to a couple of interesting articles on the subject of snake handling religions:

Snake Handling Churches of Appalachia

Take Away the Serpents from Us: The Sign of Serpent Handling and the Development of Southern Pentecostalism

Anyway, you be the judge!
Have a great weekend!

posted on Aug, 10 2019 @ 02:03 AM
Cool, but it's not Scriptural nowadays

20 years ago there was a tv special....and the pastor died.....
edit on 10-8-2019 by GBP/JPY because: IN THE FINE TEXAS TRADITION

posted on Aug, 10 2019 @ 06:20 AM

originally posted by: GeauxHomeYoureDrunk
I would like to believe that it's because of the power of the Holy Spirit, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case.

The eternal snake would never want to kill new clueless recruits would he ?
Jesus wanted us to accept the fact that He died on the Cross for our sins (Corinthians 15 1-4). He said nothing about snakes.

Once the seraph (fiery serpent - snake) has control of a sinner, they are pretty much doomed for eternity.

Try Matthew 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?"

posted on Aug, 10 2019 @ 07:45 AM
a reply to: GeauxHomeYoureDrunk

This is nothing more than testing God for show, which the Bible says NOT to do in Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 4.

As for the verses in Mark 16, Jesus was speaking to his disciples and was most likely telling them what might happen as they took over his ministry.

An example is provided in Acts 28 with the disciple, Paul...

Acts 28:3-9

3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

Handling or picking up snakes should never be used as a form of worship or testing.

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