The cost of treating a rattlesnake bite in Arizona starts at $100,000. Once injected into an unsuspecting human tissue, rattlesnake venom races through the bloodstream, from the incision point into surrounding tissues, ultimately impacting even the muscles of the heart. The injected poison gets absorbed too fast to be retrieved by cutting the wound and applying suction. Calming the victim will slow the poison’s advance, while administrating anti-venom drugs will counter the poison’s lethal side effect. However, death itself may be averted, the victim of such a bite cannot avoid major, life-altering effects that a rattlesnake bite inevitably brings. The muscles that come in direct contact will die, after swelling to such extent that the surrounding skin will not be able to stretch enough to accommodate them. The resulting trauma and disfigurement will have a permanent impact on one’s physical body. And the cost of treating a rattlesnake bite in Arizona starts at $100,000.
Tangling with the “spiritual serpent” will likewise result in life-altering consequences. Consider each of the following human passions and imagine the bitter sting that would result from each action.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: …they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21, King James Version).” (Emphasis added)
On a sunny California morning, my friend and I hiked into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A short distance ahead of us, a 7-foot rattlesnake stretched across the path sunning itself. It was a huge snake with a head as big as one of our hands. The two of us together would be no match for that large of a reptile, with its speed and poisonous venom. The serpent eyed us carefully while effectively blocking the way forward.
Similarly, any attempt to wrestle with the spiritual serpent trying to block our spiritual path seems daunting. But thankfully, God has created an effective method for dealing with serpents, both spiritual and physical.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, KJV),”
A brief prayer, followed by a visible display of our intent to proceed, sent that big rattler scurrying down the mountainside. It is important to notice carefully the admonition of that passage, as any other method can be deadly. Notice that it doesn’t advocate that one disrespect, harass, harm, or try to kill a serpent. And for an important reason: most people bitten by poisonous snakes exhibited behavior motivated by fear or hatred with intent to harm the snake. To the serpent in Eden, God said,
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman (Genesis 3:15, KJV) …”
Sadly, most people that die from snakebites die unnecessarily. We humans tend to gauge our preeminence by our size, superior intellect and assumed skill at wielding weapons. In contrast, the snake is assessed as being smaller, less intelligent and a less formidable enemy. A surprise for the uninitiated comes too late for those who tangle with a coiled rattler. Once alarmed, a mature snake winds into a muscular spring, coiled and ready propel itself at its foe. Receptors work diligently to help accurately target its victim. And its lightening-quick strike is timed with precision. In an instant it suddenly shoots through the air faster than a human can react, tipped with exposed fangs dripping poisonous venom. It is an ill-matched contest in which a person attacks a rattlesnake with a simple rake or hoe. Throughout Man’s history, the snake has usually won . However, when a person is careful not to intrude upon or engage it and respects the lethal danger that a snake possesses, one can expect not to be harmed.
Likewise, the Bride of Christ is warned to be prepared to repel the wiles of the Serpent. (Ephesians 6:11) The example she is given is not to hate him or wish him harm. Her godly mindset should not retaliate with disrespect for his imperfect authority.
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee (Jude 1:9, KJV).”
A coming change
But soon an end will come to the threat posed to humans by both “species” of serpents. First, Christ will remove the proximity and influence of the Great Serpent from the earth.
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years (Revelation 20:2, KJV),”.
Next, He will re-create the physical characteristics of the animal species to be harmless.
“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD, Isaiah 65:25 (KJV).”
A very different age is coming to Earth soon.
“And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatric’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:8-9, KJV).”
Picture a young mother in those days, who will be exhilarated to be out in nature enjoying God's Creation with her daughter. A lake’s small white crests will mirror a blue sky with white clouds sailing overhead. She searches about in hopes of showing her daughter a baby from another species. Unexpectedly her child rushes up clutching a baby rattlesnake in her little hands. The mother beams with excitement and replies, “Yes, you can keep it, dear. But don’t hurt it, okay?”
In the meantime, maintain a proper sense of respect for serpents until the day when God brings His Kingdom to this earth.
For more information on influence of Satan on this world request our free booklet, “Is There Really a Devil?”