Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .
“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.” Once more we look at the command expectations given by Father that are higher than natural reasoning can grasp. Today we examine “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” On the surface, these words would surely evoke a “You talking to me?” moment. Who, in their right mind, would willfully go about picking up venomous snakes, or drinking poison just to show they had power with God? In fact, such actions would be recklessly tempting God. So, just what did Jesus mean by these words? To answer that Biblically and accurately, one must study to gain clear understanding.
There are two terms that need strong attention to understand the import of the full statement. They are “take up,” and “serpents.” Let’s dig deeper than the surface to gain the Lord’s meaning of this commanded expectation.
- “Take up” – from the Greek language, this means to take away, to expiate sin, put away, or remove. It should be clear that the intended meaning for us it NOT to mere pick up or handle, and some have tried to make it appear, but rather to lay hold of something for the purpose of putting it away, not playing with it, dancing with it, or merely showing off in handling it.
- “Serpents” – from the Greek language, this is figurative speech referring to a malicious person or being, especially Satan. Once again, it should be clear to us that it is not talking about a slithering, serpentine creature with fangs and the potential for injecting venom when it bites. It is clearly referring to handling demonic powers and demonically controlled men who seek to please their master by destroying the works of the kingdom of God.
This is different from casting out devils. In casting out a devil, you are dealing specifically with a demon spirit. The command we consider today goes further in that when the devil is cast our, the results of his previous presence, his residual presence, must be handled, controlled, put away, and overcome. This is where the authority of the believer set forth by the words of the Lord Jesus in this passage comes into play. Jesus paid the terrible price for complete redemption of His Church, and He fully authorized His Church to use His Name with full power of attorney to prepare His Church to be the glorious Church for which He is returning, and that, I believe, sooner than many may think. It’s time for His Church to get busy, and in that busy-ness, know this. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn, for that is your heritage as a son of God. Now read Mark 16 with a clear understanding, and go get the job done. And YES! He’s talking to you!
Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4