“AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, EVEN SO MUST THE SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP.”
Let us study the record of the brazen serpent “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. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 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. 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. 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.” Numbers 21:5 to 9.
Why was the serpent brass? Why was the brass in the form of a serpent? As Moses lifted up that brass serpent, the Son of man was lifted up.
Note the words of the Lord Jesus in John 1:51: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
Note also John 12:23 and 31 to 34:
“Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die. The people answered Him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?”
Here we learn how the Son of man was lifted up. He was nailed to the cross of Calvary.
Note the question of the bewildered, perplexed Jews; “Who is this Son of man?”
Note the Lord’s words in Matthew 26:24, and Mark 10:45:
“The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”
“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The Lord Jesus Christ became a man for the specific purpose of dying on the cross for the sinful children of Adam.
“BUT WE SEE JESUS, WHO WAS MADE A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS FOR THE SUFFERING OF DEATH, CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOUR; THAT HE BY THE GRACE OF GOD SHOULD TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.” Hebrews 2:9.
During the years of the Old Covenant many sacrifices were offered for the sins of Israel on the altar without the holy place. The altar on which they were offered was made of brass. Exodus 27:1 to 4. The laver also was of brass. “Thou shalt make a laver of brass:” Exodus 30:18. Brass in the Bible seems to speak of judgment. Jesus Christ is coming back for judgment. The Father has committed all judgment to His Son John 5:22.
In Revelation 1:15 we learn that Christ’s feet, in judgment, are to be like unto fine brass. The brass serpent, in some way, spoke of Satan and judgment. The serpent beguiled Eve. II Corinthians 11:1 to 3. That brought the poison of sin. In order that He might take away sin the Son of man was lifted up in judgment. “Now is the judgment of this world.” “Now is the prince of this world cast out.”
The only cure for sin is the shed blood of the Son of God.
A very interesting question. Many have failed to give the correct answer to the question. Note how Christ asked the question of His apostles: “When Jesus came unto the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Matthew 16:13.
The answers differed. Some said “John the Baptist”. Some said “Elijah”. Some said “Jeremiah”. Some said “One of the prophets”.
But Simon Peter gave the correct answer. “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16.
Note why John’s Gospel was written—“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31.
Note Christ’s testimony in John 14:9—“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
This title of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of man”, is found more than 80 times in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus the first Christian martyr, Stephen, said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56.
Here is a most interesting fact: In the more than 80 times that Jesus Christ is called “The Son of man”, in the four Gospels, not once was He called “the Son of man” by any person other than the Lord Jesus Himself. Just the question, “Who is this Son of man?”
The Deity of the Lord Jesus is proved by the title “the Son of man”
1—The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath. Mark 2:28.
2—The Son of man hath power to forgive sins. Matthew 9:6.
3—At the end of the world the Son of man shall send His angels. Matthew 13:41.
4—The Son of man is coming in His glory with His angels. Matthew 16:27.
5—The Son of man gives meat that endures unto everlasting life. John 6:27.
Note John 3:13 and 8:28—“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.”
We can understand why the bewildered and perplexed Jews asked “who is this Son of man?”
By calling the Lord Jesus “the Son of man” instead of “the Son of God” we do not make His eternal Deity any less of a mystery.
But remember it was not others who called Him “the Son of man” until Stephen saw Him in His glorified body in heaven. Christ Himself used the title.
Christ will be “the Son of man” when He comes back to redeem Israel and to judge the world. Revelation 1:13 and 14:14.
The Lord Jesus is not “the Son of man” to the Church described in Paul’s messages as “the Body”.
Christ is to appear for His Church saints. They are to appear with Him in glory.
But this is not His coming as “the Son of man”. When He comes as the Son of man:
1—It will be on earth as it was in the days of Noah. Luke 17:26.
2—The Son of man will not find faith on earth. Luke 18:8.
3—Israel and the nations will be in the great tribulation, signs in the heavens, and distress on earth Matthew 24:13 to 23—Luke 21:25 to 31.
4—Christ will sit on an earthly throne as Sing and as “the Son of man.” Matthew 25:31.
Note John 5:26 to 30: “For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is now far above in the heavenlies, the Head of the Church His Body – the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:22 and 23.
The Lord Jesus is going to appear for His church. After His church is safe with Him in glory the man of sin will be revealed. Israel will be in distress, and other nations with them. “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.” Zechariah 14:3. “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.” Zechariah 14:4.
Let us read with these statements Acts 1:10 and 11, where we find the resurrected Christ leaving the mount of Olives to go back to heaven. Note these words, “This same Jesus, which is taken into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”
Note also Luke 21:27 and Matthew 25:31—“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.”
And then what? “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” Zechariah 14:9.
But let us remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of man.” But after He establishes His Kingdom on earth it will all be different.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.