Snakes and Chains

“When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.” (Acts 28:3)

One interesting facet of biblical symbols is their identification by “use” and “motion.” Objects that have no link in the natural order of things can be tied together through their use in a similar purpose in the work of the house of God. This is not entirely strange. Diverse things which have no relationship in the natural order are brought together by man for use in “housework.” For the Author of the Bible, nature is “plastic.” This factor is one reason why the Bible is strange to modern ears and minds.

The example on my mind is the relationship between arms, rods and serpents. A recent discussion on the BH forum concerned the possible draconian nature of the seraphim. If they are members of God’s angelic host, how can they be dragons?

Think visually, here, for correspondence through motion is important. A seraph is a fiery one. Serpents are known for their flicking tongues, and flames are known for “licking.” Perhaps these are related because all angels are ministering spirits, a “flame of fire.” They move like lightning. They enlighten and they animate. Evil angels darken minds (with false light), paralyze through oppression and animate for evil purposes through possession. In every case, however, the spirit is but a minister of a word. Angels, good and bad, are extensions of authority. They are not sons. They are merely servants.

Now, angels are fire, and fire is serpentine. But serpents are also rods. Rods are extensions of arms, for the expression of dominion (in both travel and government) and for the purpose of discipline. Angels, serpents and rods are all instruments of instruction and discipline. Angels administered the Old Covenant as our teachers. They were rods in God’s hand, an extension of His Fatherly authority. The “shining one” in the Garden was a minister of God, despite his worst intentions. And he still is. His job now is to purify the Church through deception. This was exactly the strategy of Solomon in discerning the hearts of the two prostitutes. Serpentine wisdom was not a danger to Solomon but a rod in his hand, and fire on his tongue.

Faithful rule results in growing dominion. In travel (horizontal dominion), a rod connects hand and foot. It symbolizes that the Man has crushed the serpent, taken possession of its wisdom, and is enabled to move beyond the Sanctuary as a representative of God Only Wise. The evil one has now become a minister of Man. Rod and tongue together are a flaming sword.

Rod and tongue are linked in holy war. A seraph carried a coal from the heavenly altar to purify the lips of Isaiah. A coal from the altar signified God’s intention to burn a city and all life in it as a devoted offering. Isaiah’s words against Israel would turn the four-cornered Land once again into a pure altar. It was now Israel who was under the ban.

It was the Lord’s own hand which touched the mouth of Jeremiah. He put his words into Jeremiah’s mouth. Jeremiah, however, became more than a rod. He was a rod with certain modifications.

You are My battle-ax and weapons of war:
For with you I will break the nation in pieces;
With you I will destroy kingdoms…
(Jeremiah 51:20)

When Jesus was lifted up as a bronze (fiery) serpent on a pole, He was a fiery Word of Wisdom on the pure lips of a Man of War, and a wooden rod in the hand of God. He was obedient as a servant, not glorified as a Son. Serpent devoured serpent.

The Lord is a man of war;
The Lord is His name.
(Exodus 15:3)

Peter denied “the Name” at a fire of coals. Jesus restored Peter at a coal fire. Both were altars, Bronze and Golden. [1] This was holy war, and after His resurrection, Jesus was preparing Peter for holy war, making Peter a human seraph. Satan would soon be crushed under their feet. At Pentecost, it would be Spirit-animated men with tongues of fire who would march out to take dominion with their sword-words, ministering life and death in the Land.

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

As a serpent speaks deceit, so a dragon devours. [2] A tongue sets the world on fire, and Jesus, through the apostles, fought fire with fire. The Herodian dragon desired to devour the fledgling Church, but it was the Church which devoured Jerusalem. Woman devoured dragon.

At the Ascension, Jesus became the Father’s Right Hand. At Pentecost, the Church became the rod of Christ in that hand. At Pentecost, the Church received holy lips, the testimony of Jesus. The apostles’ words and deaths were a holy war against Jerusalem. The great city would be sacrificed. There would be blood and fire and smoke.

In Revelation 1, the Church was seven stars, a Lampstand, a light to the world. But again, that rod was represented in different ways depending upon use and motion. In Revelation 20, the unified saints became a great starry chain that bound the strong one who had previously held them captive. The Pentecostal Church, as a chain, became a fiery serpentine rod. [3] This was poetic justice for the bondage Satan had administered in Eden. If that hasn’t yet occured to him, I hope he is reading this.

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[1] For more on the architecture of this event, see “Breakfast At Dawn” in God’s Kitchen.
[2] The Woman and the Dragon are “Words” which have taken on “corporate flesh” as institutions. The Whore and the Beast were an unholy friendship between Herodianism and Roman statism, a false Jew-Gentile union, one held together not by the Spirit but by “strange fire.”
[3] See also The Circumcision of Satan.

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