Why did it have to be snakes?

IMG_2270A few days ago a Kentucky pastor, Jamie Coots, was bitten by a rattlesnake during one of his services and died. In May of 2012 another pastor, Mark Wolford of West Virginia met the same fate! These men were handling these poisonous reptiles while in the spirit of the service and I don’t know if their point was to show that they were Godly men or that God would protect them, but they both died.

The Bible says in Mark 16: 18 “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”  Let’s talk about this for a minute. If you go to Luke chapter 4 you will read about the “Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness” and find that Satan first came to Jesus when he had been in the desert for 40 days and nights without any food. I am sure that starvation had set in.  Jesus came to us in the flesh so that He could endure all the same things that we face. Hebrews 4: 14-16 “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

Point is that Jesus as a flesh man was very hungry after so many days without food, so Satan came to Jesus and said, “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”  I don’t think Jesus even had to think about it, He answered him with God’s Word, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”  Then Satan tried a temptation that might catch some of us, he showed Jesus the kingdoms of this world and told him that he would give him all power and authority if only He would bow down and worship him! Jesus said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” I imagine Satan thought “Foiled again!” Then he thought of a sure-fire way to get to Jesus! He took him up to the highest tower of the Temple and then said to Him, “If you are really the Son of God you can throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Satan was quoting from Psalm 91. Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Here I will go back to the point. Jesus would not jump from that building because it was wrong to tempt, or test, God. My friend, I have seen things in my life that you can only imagine so I know the mighty miracle power of an Almighty God, He can do anything but if the very Son of God won’t test by throwing Himself from the top of the Temple, then who am I to take up a snake and tell God that He has to heal me? It was the choice of both of those ministers to pick those snakes up and they both paid the price for it. God had already kept Jamie Coots from dying when rattlesnakes had bitten him three previous times!

Now let me tell you something that happened that shows us when that scripture in Mark is for us in the here and now. My mother has often told the story of how when she was a little girl sitting on the front row of her dad’s church three men came into the service, while he was preaching, carrying a box, which held a rattlesnake! They shouted at my grandfather and called him a “snake handler”, which he was not, and then they threw the snake at him. My mother said that when the snake hit his chest he took it in his hands and the snake looked like it had frozen stiff, granddaddy threw that snake back in the box and told them to get out and not to come back, they were so frightened by what they had just seen they did exactly that!  My grandfather didn’t ask for that, he was just preaching the Word to a congregation of people and God performed the miracle for him. He wasn’t trying to tempt or test God nor was he showing how brave he was in taking up the snake, it was thrown at him and he was protected.

Whatever you believe, and as I said yesterday we all have opinions, I have given you all the scripture you need to make your own decision. As for me I don’t plan to visit or be a part of any church or gathering that has live snakes in their midst! I feel like Indiana Jones felt when he was thrown in the snake pit in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he said, “Why did it have to be snakes?”

If you have a thought I would love to hear it, so until next time I am signing off and hiding from any and all reptiles!

10 Replies to “Why did it have to be snakes?”

  1. Thank you for touching on this. Because I work in the wildlife industry and love Jesus, this practice has intrigued me. I watched the show with Pastor Hamblin and Pastor Coots and developed many questions. Your blog has answered them so thanks again. I deal with snakes a lot and have a great deal of Faith but, I’m not so sure I’d pick up a venomous snake in the field or in the church !!


  2. God Himself said to the “serpent” in Genesis 3:15 “From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies.” There has been, is, and should always be a natural sense of danger, “flight or fright,” between people and snakes. Amazingly, in the Chinese culture (where we are right now), the “dragon” is considered good fortune, lucky, beautiful, and should be made welcome in your home. Herpetologists can say that snakes are harmless and only attack when threatened all they like, but for ME, a snake is a threat to my grandchildren. They are not allowed near the house. Even the ones whose primary diet is mice and rats. The curse affected both the serpent and man, and continues unabated to this day.


  3. Lynne & I had a long discussion on this today as we were shopping 45 miles away(this was before I read your post) I have seen them & think there is a serious problem involved. In the natural I think it is lack of respect for the animal & an overbearing sense of pride. “I have done this 3 times before & He has protected me so I know He will again. I am better than the rest.” And in the Spiritual lack of respect for God- He clearly tells us not to tempt Him. End of argument as far as He is concerned. Some years ago I was amazed & shocked by a minister friend who made the comment “Watch out for prayer intercessors in your Church.” That stunned me to say the least. After some questions on my part he explained his comment. There is a pattern among long term intercessors that show over a long period they self-exalt themselves to more than what they really are. He said that they tend to lose sight of what they are doing & why & begin to believe that they are very special unique people that God could not possibly get along without. Thus pride enters their heart & they become ineffective for the Lord. I asked this of an elderly lady one time & she told me to be effective you have to pray every day for the Lord to keep you humble so He can use you. It did open my eyes & explained some things that happened in the Church as I was growing up. Do I feel this Pastor lost out with God? No he never spoke against the Lord just became blind in his walk of faith. Unless there was something else wrong in his life I believe he is listening to the Lord telling him why he was off the line towards the mark of success. Thanks- timely & good topic, well written.


  4. If I there’s a snake present, whether in the wild or in a crate in church, I will turn and walk away. Even behind the glass a the zoo, I do not want to view them…


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