In the mountains of the southern Appalachians and eastern Tennessee some fundamentalist pentecostal congregations express their faith by occasionally handling deadly serpents during their services.
These verses below pertaining to serpents are taken by them as literal promises of protection, not from being bitten but from dying from it!
To them, the act of handling serpents is a great triumph of faith over fear. While under what they describe as the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the intent is to be obedient, to edify the church’s members and to glorify God.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
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.
One man lays down ten percent,another man trembles and shakes,I make my statement…
I say it with snakes!
“I handle snakes” by Ned (the band) from CD, “Little Vegas”
The Man on the left in the above picture is said to of been bitten some 80 times!
Once, directly on the forehead by a huge rattlesnake!
What I personally find so fascinating about all of this is that I see it as translating into my own life in some (until now) mysterious ways…
do you, handle snakes?
What, if anything… in your life or past do other Christian people seem to have an aversion to?
In my life, I see it as being my past history of drugs, and new age thinking. These are snakes I’ve handled that have bitten me quite savagely!
My familiarity with these things is a bit like the snake venom. Because of my past exposure to them, their “poison” now has little or no effect on me. No, I don’t use drugs anymore…but I do understand why other people do. And because of that, I can handle that snake, or be around it, without the fear of it killing me. I can walk into the midst of it and not be distracted from doing the will of The Father, to testify about Jesus!
Ophis (through the idea of sharpness of vision) ; A snake, fig. (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan;– serpent. It then refers to the root word, Optomai which means to look at with wide open eyes, as at something extremely remarkable or fascinating.
Reminds me of being snake fascinated…
I wondered what was meant by the phrase, They shall take up serpents;
After some study in my concordance of the phrase “take up” I found that it means to apprehend, or perceive, to discern the “serpents” or the tricks of the enemy.
I “handle” snakes…
From the age of twelve I was indoctrinated into the world of drugs and into it’s close relative of “new age” thinking. They sort of feed off of each other, it’s all about the “enlightenment” attaining a higher state of consciousness, and it’s very much so a ” type of sly cunning”
I’ve written about this before in a blog called “Based on What?” Whats so cunning about it is that they talk about peace and serenity constantly, why? so that like a frog in a pot of water you won’t notice the rising temperature until it’s way too late! In practically every way it’s a perfect counterfeit of the actual truth. It’s a Utopian fantasy (lie) predicated upon the pretense that at his core, man is essentially good.
I understand that what I’m saying is controversial in some ways. I was compelled to write this because I’m saddened by the church’s and my own spirit of fear about so many things in this world. As Christians, we have the power to handle snakes (to come against sin) and not be harmed. We also have the power (in Christ) to lay hands upon the sick and see them recover. We are the children of the most high God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the hills they graze upon! I’ve seen it in a lot of places, the phrase…
“What would you attempt for Christ if you knew you could not fail?”
1 John 4:17 (King James Version)
17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Ephesians 3:12 (King James Version)
12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
I’m pretty sure that my calling in life isn’t to handle actual snakes…
Instead, I see the snakes I handle as being the sin’s that other people are poisoned by that Christ has empowered me to defeat in myself. I have no fear of getting right into the midst of them!
My intent is to be obedient, to edify the church, and to glorify God!
To have no fear of the enemy, and to actually be “more than a conqueror”
through Christ who strengthens me!