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Treading on Serpents and Scorpions
By Mary Craig
In Luke 10.19, Jesus says, "I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing shall by any means harm you."
The backdrop for this verse is this:
Jesus had sent out the Twelve, but now he sends out 70 or 72 on a mission. He had asked that prayer be given to the Lord of the harvest for workers to go out into the harvest, and then He says to these, "Go!" He is sending them as lambs among wolves. There will be danger and hostility, as wolves often represent those who consume their enemy.
They are to travel light, stay focused, and keep their mission a priority. They are to rest in the knowledge that God will provide for them. They are to stay in one place and offer a blessing of peace, but if unwelcomed, the blessing will recede from that house. Their main responsibility is to heal the sick and declare the arrival of Godís kingdom.
Jesus is bringing in a new era. Godís ruling power in deliverance is coming. The message precedes the Man. The mission announces the arrival of the KOG. The rule of God through Jesus Christ has begun. The power to deliver from Satanís power has started to work itself out in history and among humanity. Evil forces and the presence of death cannot resist Jesusí authority.
Jesusí coming also brings judgment, for the Anointed One is in the midst. Will you recognize Him? Will you receive Him? Will you repent and follow Him?
In verse 17 the 70, or 72, depending on which manuscript evidence you accept, return from this mission with joy. The disciples return filled with excitement at the power they saw manifest when demons submitted to them in Jesusí name. Wow! "Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name."
Okay, when we see the power of God manifesting, we can get carried away with ourselves, as if by our power or piety this healing was taking place. But no, later Peter will say in Acts 3.12 when the lame man was healed at the Gate Beautiful, "You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why do you look so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" (Dunamis)
So, Jesus, replies, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." The allusion is to imagery from Isaiah 14.12. Satanís end comes with Messiah. Later, in Luke 11.20-23, Jesus describes His own activity as being the stronger one coming to plunder Satanís domain. And now our verse:
Behold, I have given unto you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing shall by any means harm you.
Behold. Look here. Pay attention. This is primo. Listen up. First and foremost, it is Jesus who gives the authority. Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word. He is God in flesh. He is the Creator come to be Savior. He is far above principalities and powers and rulers of darkness. He has pre-eminence in all things. All things were created by Him and for Him.
And He gives this authority. We donít usurp it. It is delegated authority. The Greek here is exousia. It means: the domain or sphere over which one has authority to control or rule, jurisdiction; authority to rule or govern; authority and responsibility for something; the power to do something.
And what is this authority? To do what? It is to tread, to tread on serpents and scorpions and to tread on all the power of the enemy.
Before we look at what it is to tread, we will look at the focus of our treading. It is serpents and scorpions, first. Serpents and scorpions symbolize Satan and demons. The serpent is craft, deceiving. It glides and slithers and darts. It coils and is venomous. Serpents swallow their prey to devour them. They crush so as to make one an empty vessel (Jeremiah 51.33, 34). They do violence to oneís flesh. (Jeremiah 51.35) Serpents bite.
Serpents have sharp tongues (Psalm 140.3), snake tongue. Dust will be the serpentís food (Isaiah 65.25) when it can no longer harm nor destroy. If serpents are cunning and poisonous, (Dt. 32.33; Job 20.14; 20.16) scorpions sting.
The sting of death is sin. The strength of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15.56) but death and the grave have no victory, because God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Part of that labor is to tread. Jesus Christ has given us the right to tread on serpents and scorpions.
What is it to tread? It is to trample, to push down, to walk on, to step on, to conquer. It implies that the serpents and scorpions are under your feet. It is to conquer and keep under subjection by trampling. It can mean to subdue by force, to plunder, to treat contemptuously, as in Luke 21.24 where it speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Gentiles.
Both sides in this war tread. The enemy tramples us and seeks to keep us downtrodden, to plunder us, to trample us, to trample and make common the holy things of God.
Treading implies a beating down by walking on something. We are to tread on all the power of the enemy.
We are given the right to do this treading over all the power, the dunamis of the enemy, i.e., the enemyís ability or power or supernatural power.
An enemy can be personal, national, and/or Godís enemy. Here I think it refers to the enemy opposing Jesus Christ, to Satan and his minions. The enemy comes with reproach to oppress, blaspheme, revile, cast iniquity upon, to hate.
Right now our greatest enemy is sin. It is the sting of death. We are to tread it down in our lives. We are to rise up out of the graves and get sin and satan under our feet and trample the enemy down. Enemies seek your life to destroy you. The enemy of your soul is out to devour you. You are given the right to tread the enemy down. You are not to walk with the enemy or talk with the enemy or take the enemy in. You are to walk on the enemy, tread the enemy down, under your feet. You are to conquer that which seeks to destroy you and devour you.
To tread you must have a clearly defined enemy. You must see what is the enemy to your soul and to Christ. You have the right to tread on His enemies, on everything that opposes Jesus Christ and life in Him. Sin, satan, and the pride of life, Leviathan.
And as you do this, Jesus promises that nothingÖno thingÖ shall by any means harm you. The Greek here is ou me, absolutely not, no thing by no means. Nothing shall by no means harm you.
But donít get carried away like you have so much power over the devil and demons. Jesus says, "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."
Donít get sidetracked and big on yourself because demons are cast out and sin is trampled underfoot. Rejoice in your salvation. Rejoice because in the cosmic battle between good and evil, between those who are Godís and those who are not, Jesus Christ has a Body of believers whose names are written in heaven.
Rejoice because if you are downtrodden and have been trampled upon and devoured by the enemy of your soul, you can come to Jesus Christ and find forgiveness for your sins and power over the very sin and demons that have sought to destroy you. Rejoice because the KOG has come, Messiah has come, access to the very Throne of the Father is possible because Jesus has come and died and His Blood sits there on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary over the Law crying out and pleading for you, for mercy, for grace, for you. Satan can't defile that sanctuary. Satan canít destroy the life that is in Jesusí Blood. Satan canít touch the One who has the power of an endless life, the great Apostle and High Priest of our confession of faith. And you can be in Christ. You can be seated in the heavenly places in Christ far above principalities and powers. You can tread on the high places and rejoice.
Tonight weíre going to close with a prayer to tread on serpents and scorpions. Letís just be the devilís worst nightmare. Letís rejoice in the victory that is Christ.
TREADING ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS
You are Jehovah Nissi and Your banner over me is love. I have heard with my ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work You did in their days, in the times of old. How You drove out the heathen with Your hand, and planted them; how You afflicted the people and cast them out. For they did not get the land in possession by their own sword. Neither did their own arm save them. But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them. (Psalm 44.1-3)
You are my King, O God. Command deliverance for Jacob. Through You we will push down our enemies. Through Your name we will tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise Your name forever. (Psalm 44.4-8)
Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly; for He it is that shall tread down our enemies. (Psalm 60.11, 12)
I dwell in the secret place of the Most High. I abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust. Surely You shall deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. You shall cover me with Your feathers and under Your wings I shall trust. Your truth shall be my shield and buckler. (Psalm 91.1-4)
I shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand; but it shall not come nigh me. Only with my eyes shall I behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because I have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, my habitation. There shall no evil befall me, neither shall any plague come near my dwelling. For You, God, shall give Your angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways. They shall bear me up in their hands, lest I sash my foot against a stone. (Psalm 91.5-12)
I shall tread upon the lion and cobra: the young lion and the serpent I shall trample underfoot. Because I have set my love upon You, therefore You will deliver me. You will set me on high, because I have known Your name. I shall call upon You, and You will answer me. You will be with me in trouble; You will deliver me, and honor me. With long life You will satisfy me, and show me Your salvation. (Psalm 91.13-16)
Unto me that fears Your name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and I shall go forth and grow up as a calf of the stall. And I shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of my feet in the day that You shall do this, for You said, the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4.2, 3)
Jesus said, "Behold, I give unto you the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10.19)
Your right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: Your right hand, O Lord, dashes in pieces the enemy. (Exodus 15.6) The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He shall thrust out the enemy from before me; and shall say, Destroy!. (Deuteronomy 33.27) Deliver me from my strong enemy, and from them that hate me; for they are too strong for me (2 Samuel 22.18).
I trust in Your mercy. My heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13.5, 6) You are a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. (Psalm 61.3) You save me from the hand of the one that hates me, and redeem me from the hand of the enemy. (Psalm 106.10).
The enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead. (Psalm 143.3) They shall bear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. You have said, "As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seedís seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever." (Isaiah 59.19-21)
O your happiness, O Israel! Who is like you? A people saved by Jehovah, the shield of your help. And He who is the sword of your excellency: and your enemies are subdued for you, and you tread down their high places. (Deuteronomy 33.29)
The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in Him; and all the upright in heart shall glory. (Psalm 64.10)
Wherefore I lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for my feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. I follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord. (Hebrews 12.12-14) Wherefore, I am receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved. Let me have grace, whereby I may serve God acceptable with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12.28, 29)
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do His will, working in me that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13.20, 21)
In Jesusí Name, Amen
© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
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