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Snakes Versus Snake-Handlers
If you are considering signing up with Hubpages, what you see below is what is left of my article after Hubpages flagged me for having too many Scripture quotes. What they actually said was that it was a duplicate article, the reason being that the same Scriptures can be found elsewhere. When they first did that I trimmed them down to an absolute minimum. But they still flagged it for the same reason. So I removed all quotes, and the article was approved by Hubpages for publication. What you see below is all that is left of it. If you would like to read the entire article as it was originally written, click my BLOGGER PAGE HERE.
Succumbing to the Lie of the Snake
On Saturday, February 15, 2014 Pastor Jamie Coots was doing what he regularly did at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky - handling snakes. Another preacher, Cody Winn, reported:
The star of National Geographic's reality show Snake Salvation refused the help of ambulance attendants and went home, where he died a short time later.
Following Biblical Precedent?
So was Coots following the commands of Scripture and simply didn't have enough faith?
The passage snake handlers use is from Mark 16, where Jesus is sending out His disciples and says:
To begin with, this is an often disputed passage, because the earliest, and therefore most reliable, manuscripts do not contain anything after verse 8.
Second, in context, Jesus was talking specifically to His eleven disciples, not all followers throughout history. After Jesus returned to heaven the disciples did heal the sick, drive out demons, raise the dead and speak in tongues. In Acts 28 we see an instance of Paul gathering brush. As he was putting the brush on a fire a viper was driven out by the heat and bit him. When the unbelievers he was with saw that he remained unharmed they decided that he was a god.
In the early days of Christianity, before the New Testament was written, miracles often took place to authenticate the fact that the disciples preaching the Gospel were from God. Once portions of the New Testament were written and future generations began preaching the Gospel, such miracles became less necessary. People could hear and read the Scriptures for themselves Hebrews 4:12 states:
What is most important is the Gospel message itself, not miracles such as surviving snake bites.
Finally, Jesus Himself has told us not to put God to the test, as these serpent-handlers are doing. In Matthew 4 Satan led Jesus to stand on the highest point of the temple, overlooking the city of Jerusalem and told Him that it was written that if He threw Himself off the temple, angels would save Him:
It's easy to see this is exactly what the snake-handlers are doing.
So has this incident shown that the Bible is unreliable? Not in the least. Satan knows how to quote Scripture, and, unfortunately, the snake-handlers have been listening to him.