What About Vipers?

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.

Mark 16:17-18

The dividing line between the world system and the body of believers has become very blurred. The music, attitude, doctrine and actions of the believer vs. the non-believer in Yeshua, are sometimes indistinguishable. What should it look like? Do we see strong, righteous, Spirit-filled people when we look across Christendom, or weak, defeated, lawless ones? Yahweh tells Moses that His people are to be a peculiar treasure to Him.

Exo 19:3 And Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you will say to the house of Jacob and you will tell the Israelites,
Exo 19:4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and I brought you to me.
Exo 19:5 And now if you will carefully listen to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be a treasured possession for me out of all the peoples, for all the earth is mine,
Exo 19:6 but you, you will belong to me as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”

“Treasured possession” is Strong’s H5459, mean peculiar treasure.

BDB Definition:
1) possession, property
1a) valued property, peculiar treasure
1b) treasure

We see this word again in Deuteronomy when given the reason to eat only what creatures Yahweh declares as food. “Peculiar” is used in the King James Version of the Bible.

Deu 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

That’s all Old Testament though, right? We need not be concerned about that because “Jesus did away with all that Old Testament God stuff”. Keeping Yahweh’s commands was meant for the Jews, as so many will claim. Some will pick and choose saying one is from “moral law“ and one is from “ceremonial law”. However, this is a man-made construct that is found nowhere in scripture. Moreover, we can also find language in the New Testament telling us to be obedient and peculiar.

1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

We should be a holy, obedient, peculiar people that stand out from the other people of the nations who do not follow the way, truth and light. Jesus gives the Apostles a checklist for those who believe.

Mar 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
Mar 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
Mar 16:18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Mar 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
Mar 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Jesus, whose name is Yeshua, was not telling the Apostles anything that is new. There is much confusion about what it means to believe, the gospel and the term “in my name”. Doing something “in His name” does not simply mean saying “in the name of Jesus”, as done with a magic trick. The word “Jesus” is not the name of the Messiah, it is a morphed version of the Greek name Iesus “ee a soos”. Iasus was a Greek god of healing, as a side note. There is no “J” sound in Hebrew or Greek. The point is ,“in His name”, means something more than words. There has to be accompanying action. “Name” in Hebrew is Strong’s H8034.

BDB Definition:
1) name
1a) name
1b) reputation, fame, glory
1c) the Name (as designation of God)
1d) memorial, monument

This is the reason “taking His name in vain” means more than using His name inappropriately. It is more about saying you are His and living contrary to His ways.

Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

If the demons believe, as James states, what sets you apart from them in your belief?

The reason I am saying Yeshua (Jesus) was not bringing new concepts to the Apostles is found in Psalms chapter 91.

Psa 91:13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Psa 91:14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
Psa 91:15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
Psa 91:16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

In Psalms 91, Yahweh is telling us the signs of someone who loves Him and knows His name. Psalms 91:16, “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Salvation is yeshua. Strong’s H3444, the name the angel told Mary to name her son.

BDB Definition:
1) salvation, deliverance
1a) welfare, prosperity
1b) deliverance
1c) salvation (by God)
1d) victory

As I look around at the landscape of modern Christianity, I do not see people treading on adders, serpents or young lions. I do not see people calling on His name, meaning the fame, reputation and glory. I barley see anyone “holding fast to Him in love”. I see lawlessness, fear and complete compliance to the beast system.

Psalms 91:14, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.” What does Jesus say about loving Him? There is only one way to love God. John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.

Joh 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Joh 14:24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

What does “keeping his words” which are the Father‘s words mean? Start with the Ten Commandments. The word commandment, in this case, comes from Strong’s H1697, which means words. Exodus 34:28, “And he was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights. He ate no food and drank no water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.” The Ten Commandments are literally the “ten words”. How can Jesus say to keep His words, which are really the Father’s, and at the same time, make them obsolete as many in Christianity claim?

BDB Definition:
1) speech, word, speaking, thing
1a) speech
1b) saying, utterance
1c) word, words
1d) business, occupation, acts, matter, case, something, manner

What about knowing His name? It has been kept hidden from us. In Judaism the name is substituted with Adonai and H’shem, which is translated as Lord and “the name”. In Christianity, the name is hidden with “LORD” or “God”. In the Greek, Kurios is used for the name in many cases. This generic substitution also makes it possible to hide the fame, reputation and glory. What Lord or God are you speaking of? “In God We Trust” is on the American dollar, as is the eye of Horus. No one who trusts in Yah would also have a picture representing a foreign deity along side His name. If you don’t know who you serve, you will be deceived. There is only one Yah and His salvation, Yeshua. Yahweh (YHWH, יהוה) has certain characteristics, commands, statutes and ordinances, and expects obedience from the ones who love Him. Yeshua (Jesus) only reinforced this concept and made the way to come back to Yahweh.

A cessationist is someone who believes that only the Apostles were given the power of the Spirit to do the things that Jesus said would be a sign of those who are baptized and believe. John MacArthur is a famous, modern pastor and cessationist who has published his own study Bible. How can anyone who denies the power of the Spirit in those who believe be taken seriously? Paul defines them as commandment breakers.

2Ti 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
2Ti 3:2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
2Ti 3:4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Ti 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Paul knew what it was to have the power to pick up a serpent, get bit and not be affected by it.

Act 28:3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
Act 28:4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”
Act 28:5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
Act 28:6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Fear is a sign of unbelief, as is disobedience. If we are serving Horus or Baal, we should be fearful; however, if we serve the creator of the universe, Yahweh, we have no reason to fear. Being obedient to His words is a sign of belief that separates us from the demons, who also believe. Read the full context of that in the letter from James.

The Messiah tells us to keep the Word of God. Luke 11:18, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”. It really cannot be said more clearly than that; hear, watch, guard and understand. The gospel is simply repent, which means turn back to Yahweh and His ways, and be baptized. After washing in baptism, do not again be soiled by the things of this world. Be obedient and faithful, so there will be no reason to fear. We have only begun to see the tribulation that will come on this Earth.

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