Before reading the Bible, whenever I heard “The Lord” or any other reference to God, my mind immediately thought of Loving God. That’s what I was taught. That God is a Loving God. Afterall… it says in the Bible… That God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten Son… etc. Most of us had heard of John 3:16. And that’s the Gospel I heard all my life.
No one ever told me that John 3:16 needed to be taken in context.
No one ever told me the sentence right before John 3:16 referenced a story in the Old Testament where God sent poisonous snakes among His people Israel… because they complained about the manna.
I complain about food all the time.
Then in the new testament (for all you people who think the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament), He says… nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all[a] these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Well that… sucks. LOL. I am a complainer, and God does not like complainers.
So now I had a real problem. This all loving God idea I had in my head was hard to reconcile with a God that sent poisonous snakes for complaining.
In the story of the Poisonous snakes… (Numbers 21)… When the Children of Israel REPENTED, God gave them a cure. He did not take the poisonous snakes away, but He did provide a cure. Moses was to set up a Bronze Pole and when anyone who was bitten by a snake went to that Pole and looked at it they would be cured.
And here’s the context of John 3:16… Just as Moses put up the Bronze pole and anyone who looked at it was cured from the deathly snake bite… in the same way… Jesus was raised up on a pole and whoever looks to HIM can be saved. (Many take that as a once saved always saved deal, but there are references everywhere that basically says you have to CONTINUE being saved, because let’s face it… we are still human, we still sin, and we still need to repent. Even Apostle Paul said he worried that after all the preaching that he himself could become disqualified. So we have to continue looking to Jesus… but that’s another topic for another day).
I know a lot of unbelievers would argue why would anyone want to believe in a God who does that – sends a death sentence just for complaining. I’ll go you one better, I think a lot of Christians do not want to believe in a God who does that, which is why they only talk about the John 3:16 God and never mention John 3:15.
So why believe in a God who sends poisonous snakes for complaining?
Because that’s who He said He is.
It boils down to… do I believe what He says in His Bible?
I do. Because He tells us just four verses before the John 3:16 passage… that “if we cannot believe the earthly things, how can we believe the heavenly things”. The Bible tells us of the earthly things… like Creation, Scientific facts, Historical facts, Prophetic events before they happen…. proving the Bible true. And if those facts are true, then we can believe what the Bible tells us of the “heavenly things”.
So I can believe the earthly things. Which means I can believe that the Bible tells me who God is and what God has done. And above all… the Bible talks about the Lord’s HOLINESS. His RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Yes the Bible talks about God’s love too, but less that 1 verse in 1000 actually talk about the love of God. And here’s the shocking part… those verses are actually have conditions… He loves those who FEAR Him, He loves those who obey His commandments, etc).
Anyway, I learned God was not who I thought He was. So the idea behind this page is to maybe help others see who the Lord says He is.