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With New Testament Eyes: 41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass

By Henry Mahan

      2 Kings 18:1-8

      King Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign over Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem.

      Compared to that of his father, Ahaz, and others, his was a good reign.

      v. 3. 'He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his ancestor David did.'

      v. 5. 'He trusted in the Lord God of Israel.' None of the kings of Judah, before nor after him, reigned so well.

      vv. 6-7. 'He clave to the Lord and kept his commandments, and the Lord was with him and prospered him.'

      In this account of the good reign of Hezekiah, one verse stands out above all the rest and demands our special attention. Verse 4 declares that 'Hezekiah removed the high places, and brake the statues, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made.' The Jews say that he ground the brazen serpent to powder and scattered it to every wind, that there might be no remains of it!

      In those days 'the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, married heathens, and worshipped their gods, serving Balaam and the groves' (Judges 3:7). The high places were temples and shrines built on mountains for idol worship. The statues were, like the golden calf, idol gods. The groves were wooded areas dedicated to idolatry, where altars were erected to gods. Jupiter was worshipped in a grove of oaks and Apollo in a grove of laurels. Hezekiah destroyed all of these high places, groves, and statues, something his father and other kings of Judah had not dared to do. But he also utterly destroyed the brazen serpent which Moses had made in the wilderness (Num. 21: 5-8). The Israelites had brought this serpent into the land of Canaan; and, being made by Moses, they imagined it might be of some service to them toward God.

      Some say they did not worship it but only burned incense to it and used it in religious activities. Hezekiah knew they were ensnared by this memorial and even drawn into idolatry by it- so he destroyed the serpent, calling it 'nehushtan, a worthless piece of brass.'

      I can understand a person's interest in that brazen serpent. It would be extremely interesting to see the serpent which Moses made and lifted up. Our God used that serpent as a type of the crucified Redeemer (the Lord Jesus, himself, referred to it) and on that occasion healed all who looked to it. It would be interesting to see the rod of Moses, the tables of the law, the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, and the smitten rock. But interesting is all--certainly not inspirational, nor edifying, nor of any spiritual value, nor of any consequence where our relationship with God is concerned. In the worship of God, Christ is all (John 14:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 1:12-20; Col. 2:9-10).

      Believers believe, love, and worship God in spirit, not in form, rituals, nor with visual aids. They rejoice only in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3). True believers have no superstitions regarding days, hallowed places, religious relics, symbols and signs, nor ancestors (Phil. 3: 4-10) . Christ is our sabbath, our sin offering, our High Priest, our altar, our mediator, our prophet, priest, and king. By his blood we ourselves are made kings and priests to our God. We bow before no man, make pilgrimages to no place on earth (our God is everywhere) , carry no religious symbols, and place no merit whatsoever in religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

      The Lord had given his church two ordinances to observe until he returns--baptism and the Lord's table. In baptism believers confess faith in Christ alone and identify publicly with him in his death, burial, and resurrection. In observing the Lord's table with the simple elements of bread and wine, we show forth his death until he comes.

      I am confident that the religious, superstitious Israelites were shocked when King Hezekiah destroyed the brazen serpent which Moses had made, called it a 'piece of brass,' and declared it to be of no value in the worship of God. But if we could find the actual cross on which Christ died, it would serve no purpose and must be called a 'piece of wood.' The grave in which Christ lay is but a 'hole in the ground, ' and the winding sheet in which he was wrapped is but a 'piece of cloth.' Idolatry is such a subtle thing of Satan and must be avoided at all cost.

      God is a jealous God and will not share his glory nor the worship and affection of his people. We trust, rest in, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and abhor any effort to rob him of his preeminence. The lands around Jerusalem may be called 'Bible lands' or whatever, but certainly not 'Holy Land.' Let us be done with crosses, religious-pictures of our Lord, shrines, and uniforms of religion; and let us worship God in spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in this flesh. Christ, by his perfect obedience, has imputed unto us a perfect righteousness; and by his death we have the atonement. We are accepted in the Beloved. Nothing needs to be added to his person and work to bring us to God!

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant


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