Even though the serpent is no longer able to speak, it is still tempting humans with the greatest of ease and leading them to their death.
Case in point…
The “pastor” in this video is now dead. He died on February 15, 2014, of a snake bite.
Pastor Jamie Coots, snake-handling TV preacher, dies of viper’s bite!
Coots, the star of National Geographic’s ‘Snake Salvation’ refused medical attention for the snake bite, dying in his Kentucky home. The pastor was praised for his ‘devout religious convictions’ despite the danger. Read more: http://nydn.us/1moZ6uy
Snake handling is not an act of faith, it is an act of stupidity and foolishness. It is an act of pride. It is people trying to convince themselves and others that they have God’s blessing – that God will protect them through all sorts danger and keep them from harm. Only God doesn’t work that way.
The specific Biblical text that “Christian snake-handlers” use to justify their insanity is from a spurious passage in the Gospel of Mark…
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” –Mark 16:17-18 (NKJV)
I guess these people forgot what Jesus said when he was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. ” [See Matthew 4:1-11]
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ” –Matthew 4:7 (NKJV) [See also Deuteronomy 6:16]
While the Apostle Paul did survive a snake bite (see Acts 28:1-6), the statement is not an invitation to make a prideful spectacle out of yourself.
Even though a person can swim, we don’t see or hear about people stepping out of a boat in an attempt to walk on water like Jesus did. And we certainly don’t see or hear about people drinking poison to prove they are a true believer. Why do you think that is?
Snake charmers – which is the proper name for people who play with snakes for the fun, sport, and spectacle of it – have been around for thousands of years. And most of them are not even followers of Christ trying to prove a point!
People who handle poisonous snakes for the sole purpose of proving out one sentence in the Bible are people who (as my dear Grandmother used to say) do not use the good sense God gave them!
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. –Matthew 7:13-29 (NKJV)