Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of anything] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth – Exodus 20:4

The Bible tells us how fiery serpents invaded the camp of the children of Israel, hurting and killing many of them in the process (Numbers 21:7-9). Moses, the man of God, prayed for mercy, and the Lord instructed him to make a serpent of brass and set it upon a pole. If anyone who had been bitten looked upon the brazen serpent, he would be healed.

Over the years, some people have had problems understanding this scriptural passage, particularly because of the Lord’s instruction in our opening verse. The following verse however explains that the instruction was against graven images made for worship. “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me” (Exodus 20:5).

God never asked the children of Israel to worship the brazen serpent; He only told them to look at it. He gave Abraham a similar instruction when He told him to look at the stars; He didn’t tell him to worship them. The serpent was symbolic; it typified sin that was nailed on the cross. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

In the New Testament, we don’t look at a graven image, but at Christ: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Today, He’s no longer on the cross; He’s risen and has ascended to heaven. The risen Christ is the One we worshiped; He alone is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords who deserves our worship!

Happy Easter everyone and if you’re yet to receive and accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, today is the perfect day to do so. Please click here for more on how to do that and why should you do it. God bless you.


Dear Father, thank you for the work of salvation that was consummated in Christ Jesus. He alone is the hope of earth and the joy of heaven, the object of my deepest affection and Saviour of my soul. To Him be all my praise and worship, forever. Amen.

Further Study: 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Revelation 5:13