SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW)

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Chapter 21

6. Had Been Miraculously Preserved—To punish them for their ingratitude, and complaining against God, the Lord permitted fiery serpents to bite them. They were called fiery, because their bite produced painful inflammation, and speedy death. The Israelites, up to this time, had been preserved from these serpents in the wilderness, by a continual miracle; for the wilderness through which they traveled was infested with poisonous serpents (Spiritual Gifts 4a:41). 1BC 1116.2

A Fatal Decision—There were those who stopped to reason regarding the foolishness of looking for relief to this means. That they should be healed by looking at a piece of brass was absurd to their minds, and they said, “We will not look.” This decision was fatal, and all who would not accept the provision made perished. 1BC 1116.3

The brazen serpent was uplifted in the wilderness that those who looked in faith might be made whole. In like manner God sends a restoring, healing message to men, calling upon them to look away from man and earthly things, and place their trust in God. He has given His people the truth with power through the Holy Spirit. He opened His Word to those who were searching and praying for truth. But when these messengers gave the truth they had received to the people, they were as unbelieving as the Israelites. Many are cavilling over the truth brought to them by humble messengers (Manuscript 75, 1899). 1BC 1116.4