Wilderness incident a type of lifting up of Son of man

Although the Lord had greatly blessed the children of Israel, they "spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread." (Num. 21:5.)

Because of their incessant complaining, the Lord infested the land with "fiery serpents" that bit the people. Many of the Israelites died."Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

"And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Num. 21:7-9.)

At the October 1968 general conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer, then an Assistant to the Twelve and now acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke of the instruction for people to look upon the brazen serpent: " How silly,' some must have said.How can such a thing cure me? I'll not show my stupidity by paying any attention,' and some would not look."

Elder Packer said, "In First Nephi we read that `after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.' (1 Ne. 17:41.)

"The lesson is enlarged in the Gospel of John. `And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

" `That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

" `For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' " (John 3:14-16.)

Elder Packer continued: "And today many say, How silly! How could accepting Christ save me?' They will not turn their heads to look nor incline their ears to hear. They ignore the great witness that comes from these conferences. We ought to, indeed we must, heed the counsel of these men, for the Lord said,What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

" `For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.' " (D&C 1:38-39.)

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