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Taking Up Serpents?

Discussion in 'Christian Scriptures' started by Achilles6129, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    " 17 These [d]signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”" Mk. 16:17-18 (NASB)

    Some churches use this passage to encourage handling live snakes. Several people have even died this way. I don't think I agree with that particular interpretation, but I'm interested to see what everyone else thinks. Thoughts?
     
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  2. rob_aston

    rob_aston Active Member

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    accompany me for I miss your companionship
     
  3. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    I'm sorry?
     
  4. Ladyghosthunter

    Ladyghosthunter Member

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    I can handle snakes for not for dealing with worship. I was just talking about this the other day to my best friend. She hates snakes. I like them but then again, those who play with snakes end up getting bit by a pit viper.
     
  5. RaphaCam

    RaphaCam Netodoxy below the Equator

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    The taking up of serpents must be taken both literally and spiritually. Both being safe from literal serpents (Acts 28:3-5), and from spiritual serpents, that is, men who plot openly against us (as opposed to spiritual scorpions, who plot in secret, like in Luke 10:19).

    One should not, however, "test" his ability to have signs. This is not how the signs of God work. "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Luke 4:12)
     
  6. Greg J.

    Greg J. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our experience of the Truth is tied to our faith in God.

    When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; (bold mine, Matthew 9:28-29, 1984 NIV)

    While God sometimes grants genuine belief upon reading a verse, usually we have to grow up into the kind of faith through which God does miracles. It's the same as needing God to draw you to Jesus to have faith for salvation, as well as our need to be obedient in the small things so that we acquire faith for bigger things.

    However, note that snake handlers may actually be sinning (a verse from Jesus being tested by the father of spiritual snakes.)

    Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’’” (Matthew 4:7, 1984 NIV)
     
  7. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    I do want to say that I agree that purposefully handling serpents or drinking poison is tempting God. There's a great example from Scripture:

    "9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]” 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”" Lk. 4:9-12 (NIV)
     
  8. Greg J.

    Greg J. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Follow-up comment to my post (#6): God is not limited by our lack of faith to do miracles through us. It is we who are limited in our ability to withstand the consequences.

    It's also one of the reasons we do not see his answers to our prayers. The more spiritually mature (a hard won condition), the more likely God will answer a person's prayers visibly, because of our reduced limitations (= more oneness with Christ), not his lack of willingness to answer them.
     
  9. Albion

    Albion Factchecker

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    I don't doubt that some believers have picked up snakes without being hurt by it. That doesn't mean that we're all supposed to attempt it or that every attempt will succeed.
     
  10. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    We know that Paul was bitten by a serpent after his shipwreck, shook it off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. When he was bit they all thought it meant he must have been an evil doer because he survived the wreck only to be bitten by a snake. Then when he showed no ill effects they said he was a god.

    So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. (Acts 28:4-6)
    People like to jump to conclusions and go to extremes. Most of this serpent handling stuff is an isolated regions of Appalachia. When Satan tempted Jesus to cast himself down from the Temple Jesus replied, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test. (Luke 4:12; Matt. 4:7; Deut. 6:16). Would be snake handlers should take note.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  11. CGL1023

    CGL1023 citizen of heaven

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    I have been taught to associate the serpents in Mark 16:18 with the venom of false doctrine of the religious leaders of Jesus' day (recall "brood of vipers". Mt 12:34 & MT 23:33). It seems taking up a serpent would render it harmless or under control.
     
  12. Archie the Preacher

    Archie the Preacher Apostle to the Intellectual Skeptics

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    I am in agreement with the opinion that Matthew 4:7 (quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16) over rides the 'license' presumed by Mark 16.

    The statement in Mark 16 has always seemed to me to be a guarantee of God's protection for exigent circumstances. The protection is more for 'line of duty' sort of incidents and not showing off to the neighborhood kids.

    In similar fashion, God tells us He will always provide for us (as in Psalm 34:10); but that does not grant us license to spend all our money wastefully and then expect God to drop money on us.

    On a personal note, I find God's providing John Moses Browning to humanity has effected an excellent mechanism for handling snakes. (This does not appear in Scripture.)
     
  13. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    The longer ending of Mark is almost certainly a later addition to the text; which has led many to suggest that the statement about handling serpents and other similar things to be written largely in hindsight for several events we find in the Acts of the Apostles. In this case, "they will take up serpents" refers to the incident where St. Paul was bitten by a venomous snake, but remained unharmed.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  14. Wings of Eagles

    Wings of Eagles Member

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    Me too....that is also implied by Jesus when he said: " 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." (Lu. 10:19)
    So I don't take them up...I trample on them. LOL
    The power of the enemy is deception and false teaching....Only by not recognizing false teaching can the enemy have "power over you"...because in Christ the truth sets you free from his dominion.....and we are given power and authority over the devil because we are in Christ.
     
  15. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    You'll notice that Paul in that passage did not actually take up the serpent.
     
  16. Wings of Eagles

    Wings of Eagles Member

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    However, having said that (about other uses of the same verse that refer to false doctrine), I want to say that the reference verse of the OP ("They shall take up serpents...") is not complete according to the Greek... The Greek text actually uses the phrase, "en tais chersin", meaning "IN THEIR HANDS they shall take up serpents..."
    Obviously this appears to refer to physically not being harmed by picking them up physically (if that is required) .
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  17. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    I'm not seeing the "en tais chersin" part of the passage? There seem to be only two words used: airo ophis. Here's a link to the interlinear: https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb/mar/16/18/p0/t_conc_973018

    However, even if the text does say "pick up" the point is that it could very well refer to picking up serpents only if it's necessary, not as some display of power.
     
  18. Wings of Eagles

    Wings of Eagles Member

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    That is the interlinear as provided by the New American Standard version.

    Here's the interlinear (from Bible Hub).
    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/16-18.htm

    Apparently some of the Greek texts have it in and some leave it out..
    In any event I can assure you I will not go around trying to pick up snakes "in my hands" unless, as I said before, it is absolutely required..... LOL.
     
  19. Ken Rank

    Ken Rank Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The idea of a serpent is a spirit... we can stand up against foul spirits and they will not hurt us. Picking up a snake and all but testing God is almost a pagan act.
     
  20. Wings of Eagles

    Wings of Eagles Member

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    Like I said before:
    "....that is also implied by Jesus when he said: " 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." (Lu. 10:19)
    So I don't take them up...I trample on them. LOL
     
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