I met a talking snake as I trekked the Bukit Timah Hill.
With shaking head and cold eyes, the snake hissed: Aren’t you surprised?
No, why should I be? I am a pastor and the Bible has stories of a talking snake and a talking donkey. It has a rod that turned into a snake, and a virgin that gave birth to a child. Why would I be surprised?
Snake: But a talking snake is totally contrary to normal human experience. It is just totally unscientific and irrational. Doesn’t that bother you?
Pastor: Frankly it does unsettle me at times that there is a talking snake in the Bible. I mean, I’ve seen snakes in Penang, and in the Singapore zoo, and on TV but never a talking snake. However, this dissonance has never derailed my faith in Christ.
Snake: You should explore that dissonance and it should cause you to weigh the facts and throw the Bible with all its superstitions, scientific inaccuracies, and myths out of your life. Snakes don’t talk and trees don’t impart knowledge.
Pastor: Animals have been shown to be able to communicate among themselves. Some humans demonstrate an uncanny ability to communicate with animals, albeit at an elemental level. Why then can’t you conceive that in a pre-Fall world, there could have been an amazing harmony and an incredibly higher level of communications among God’s creatures than is seen now. Though inconceivable now because of the Fall, couldn’t it have been different then?
Snake: Ridiculous! Utter nonsense. Sheer speculation.
Pastor: Well, it’s just a thought. Perhaps you should be more open to seemingly impossible possibilities. After all, creation keeps us on tiptoe with strange and magical surprises in nature and in the invisible realm. That snake probably never talked again after tempting Eve. I have seen cases of evil spirits temporarily talking through its victims in a different voice and personality. You must be mocking me now!
Snake: Are you one of those Pentecostal snake-handlers or tongue-speaking charismatics who believe in all things supernatural?
Pastor: No I am not. However, I am a Pentecostal with a deep respect for snakes ….. and snake-handlers, and I do speak in tongues, certainly more than you. Yes the world of the supernatural and spiritual phenomena does not scare me. I view all these things that I do not fully understand with my finite mind, with a sense of hush and awe (and some wariness), as Moses did with the burning bush and Joseph with his dreams of angels.
Snake: You believe in all the miracles of the Bible.
Pastor: Of course, I do. Not just because I am a Pentecostal and brought up as one soaked in a tradition of belief in the supernatural gifts and in miracles, but also because the Bible speaks of these miracles and angels in a matter of fact way. Call me naive if you will but I have heard so many modern day miracle stories myself and despite my natural tendency to doubt, I have become a believer.
Snake: Have you considered that the whole story of Adam and Eve, the talking snake and the tree that delivers knowledge is all a myth meant to teach religious truths about God? It’s just a literary device to teach readers that God is the creator, and he made humans to be like him and to be the top of the chain, and something wrong happened to cause the world to be as messed us as it is today.
Pastor: Well do you believe in the truths that the literary device seek to proclaim? Do you believe in God’s goodness and affirm that creation was good but evil came into the world and messed it all up? Do you believe that Jesus came to die and rise again to clear up the mess? If you do, you are closer to heaven than you may dare to think! Have you heard of the 4 spiritual laws?
Snake: Don’t patronize me with your fixed formula of converting me. It won’t work. You should take a closer look at your faith – it has no substance, no factual base, insufficient evidence.
Pastor: Pardon me. I don’t mean to be patronizing. My faith is based on the person of Jesus Christ. He lived in the Roman-occupied first century Israel. He was a carpenter-construction worker and a man whose birth, life, ministry was marked by the amazing, truth, miracles, love and remarkable perfection. He died and rose again from the dead and ascended to heaven. All these things were seen and witnessed by men close to him. My faith is based on the testimony of these witnesses. In addition, I have experienced his forgiveness and peace myself. I have a wonderful inner assurance that all this is real and true and somehow all the scientific and rational dissonance that bothers and troubles many others does not affect me at all. It just does not ruffle my faith at all. By the way, have you heard of Jesus?
The snake, weary from trying to convince me of the unreliability of the Bible, slithered away, hissing in frustration at this poor blinded Pentecostal pastor. The talking snake had to admit though, that it envied the fact that I seemed so persuaded and assured in my faith, and looked so happy for one so steeped in irrational beliefs and superstition.
The talking snake was almost persuaded to be a Christian.
Wow.! …….Another miracle – a pastor met a talking snake.
Looks like this Pentecostal pastor received some of his extra-biblical knowledge and inspiration by talking with the talking snake.
In comparison, non-Pentecostal pastors could only hear from the talking parrot.
NP, Join me for a trek one of these days. We may……
Rationalist is confronted with 5 possibilities:-
1. Pastor is taking artistic license and waxing allegorically with an edgy nudge towards those who are NP, NC and “rational believers w scientific bias.”
2. It was a hot day and he was badly dehydrated by the strenuous exertion with resultant impaired cognitive functions
3. Ate some psychotropic mushrooms or plants he found along the way
4. Met the evil one disguised as a snake
5 if it was one of God’s creature – wud have to be a largish snake (large capacity vibrating surface or small light fast oscillating membrane with reliable airflow feed) to vocalize an audible human voice and wud need a large brain to have language capability – assuming it was just a super talented snake, it wud also have to been a scientist-linguist with Judeo-Christian cultural background.
If it was a supernatural event, wud bet Bukit Timah hill wud be flatten by eager pilgrims and the curious – wondered which – rationally assumed to be option one but have been known to be err like most humans.
Journeyman, its none of the above. Bringing out to open discussion some of the reason and faith issues and its ramifications in one specific example and sharing how I respond to it.
The rationalist wud need to ascertain if there is a probability of encounter with a talking snake – if the answer is highly improbable, then it will be a discussion of faith and belief with no part for rationality. In the ancient days of Miracles and Wonders have been replaced by fruits of the HS working thru implanted wisdom, knowledge and the moral goodness – some lose parts of thes gifts whilst other develop them until they have a direct connection with the God computer.
@ blogpastor …….Sorry, I can’t. Also, I prefer not to meet the talking snake. It’s pointless to talk n listen to the great deceiver. It may be purposely inviting trouble/curse from God bc…….
[Avoid Wicked Customs]
….9 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.
….10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.
….14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.
_ _ _ _ _ _
If God had forbidden the Jews from consulting with prophets/agents of Satan, 4,000 years ago, what more consulting directly with Satan, the talking snake.
….It is foolish for believers to choose to seek out the company of the talking snake, wherever he may be, eg by trekking to his “known” hideout at Bukit Timah or seek consultations indirectly, with his false prophets/agents, eg bomohs, mediums, witches, etc.
I’m aware that u made up this story about the talking snake, in order to prove a point. So, I’m using yr “wonderful” story to also prove a point.
_ . _ . _ . _
MATT.4:1-10 & 11 = …. 11. Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
1PETER.5:8-9 = 8 Be sober, be vigilant; bc your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
….9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
[Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection]
….21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
….22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
[Take Up the Cross and Follow Him]
….24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
….26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
….27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
NP ah, be nice to blogpastor, he has bullets and guns hidden away in his office..
@ lyn …….Thanks for the reminder about blogpastor’s hidden fiery weapons.
When I tremblingly meet him, I’ll need to arm myself with the shield of faith, belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of gospel, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit.
Anyway, MARK.8:35 says, “he who loses his life for the Lord Jesus’s sake will find it.”
Btw, does blogpastor have a gun license from the police, like 007.?
NP ah, you can joke! It’s funny even..:)!
Thank you for Mark 8:35…
God bless you.
This is lengthy but because the Lord has prompted me more than once to write this, I’ll do it. It’s also because it’s a beautiful testimony, the ‘mother’ of all testimonies in my life. To God be the glory.
I’d written my nanny (A) adopted me when I was a kid. She was 20 years old when she took me home to her mother who then became ‘my mother’. My nanny (hereinafter ‘A’) became my beloved sister. This was in Malaysia. We all know the main religion in Malaysia. Hereinafter, this religion shall be referred to as “the other religion”.
My mother (hokkien Chinese) when she was young, married a Eurasian (about 70 years ago) who was somewhat a rogue. After he married my mother (a catholic), it was found out that he had a wife before her who was of the other religion. That means that he was also of the other religion. Long ago all these matters were not as strictly examined as it is now.
So when my mother had kids the first two were named Catholics but children number 3 to 6, he had a change of heart and named them names of the other religion. I was adopted in as the 7th child. He died early.
The children were all sent to catholic schools when they were young and raised and cared for by nuns. A was the 3rd child and was a steadfast person, who could not reject her knowledge of Jesus. She prayed and we often had Holy Communion together when I visited her in her little flat in Penang. This was against the law and closeted. That’s as far as she could go in Malaysia. She stayed unmarried. Sister B (Evil sister is the 4th child) and sister C (5th child) grew up to embrace the other religion and married their own kind.
By aged 12, my mother, A and I stayed with B and her family. Later on, A and my mother moved to Penang. I was also sent to a catholic school. Although I grew up in a family of the other religion I was given the freedom. So all through my hardship growing up in a loveless family, I ‘adopted’ Lord Jesus as my dad, my friend and my confidant. I speak to Him as if He was there with me all the time. Hence, I did not know what it is to ‘fear’ the Lord.
This story is now split into 2 parts. When A died (aged 60) in 2011 and my mother died in 2012 (aged 93).
Part 1 (2011)
A had cancer when she was in her early 50s. I took her to Mount Elizabeth Hosp, in Singapore (I also took her to NCC to accept the Lord at the altar call-another testimony which I’ll write about later :)) for an op and she had chemo in Penang. Her cancer came back when she was 58. I took her to the topmost oncologist in Mount E but it was aggressive. I could not pray it away this time. She had not the faith.
Her treatment failed. She was getting worse. The doctor put tubes into her chest to deliver chemo. She stayed in Penang and traveled back and forth for her treatment. The end came when she got an infection by the tubes. Suffice to say that she ended up in ICU in Penang when it was caught too late. I live in another country and too far away to help her although I traveled back to see her often. I paid for everything.
The night before she ended up in ICU, she must have prayed her heart out. She lived alone with my mother so no one cared for her. The next morning she was taken to ICU.
In ICU for almost two weeks, I tried to pray for her twice but she refused. She wasn’t able to talk but just motioned with her hands ‘no’.
When she closed her eyes I sang hymn after hymn for her. I knew it was the end. I prayed and prayed and my heart was broken because she refused for me even to speak about Jesus.
I had to go home because my kids were at school. I also knew there was nothing more I could do for her. So, when I went home, I sat down and had my own Holy Communion. My pastor is always saying that the Lord is not limited by time. He lives outside time as we know it, having died for our future sins and Him zooming in and out throughout the entire Old Testament. I accepted this as true and reminded the Lord “you know Lord, A and I had Holy Communion together” “remember Lord?” “I bring you back there now, Lord” “she was sitting there and I was here and there You were with us, remember Lord?”. I brought the Lord to remembrance. I worshipped like never before.
A then passed away when I was not there.
They had to transport her from Penang to Seremban where sister B is. She died in the ambulance. I did not know whether she was saved. I asked the Lord this often.
Part 2 (a year later)
My mother who was taken care of by A, had to go live with B. B treated her badly and she lived only a year after A died. My mother was never properly converted to the other religion. She would often tell me to bury her the Catholic way when she died. B fought me tooth and nail and in Malaysia and in such matters I could not win. I was pretty upset because B went back on her words. I gave them all that I had.
When my mother was in ICU, sister C told me the below testimony. Sister C, although she was of the other religion told me to leave matters to God. Listen up now…
Sister A was transported from Penang to Seremban (4-5 hours ride probably) by a private ambulance. Sister B’s husband stopped everyone from getting into the ambulance. The family traveled by car. Only the nurse was in the ambulance with sister A when she died. Curious about what happened in the ambulance, Sister C called up the nurse and asked her what happened in the ambulance before A died.
The nurse said, “My name is Megan (name changed). No problem, your sister died peacefully. I prayed for her before she died. She had tears rolling down her face. She closed her eyes and died”.
Sister C then asked her “do you know A is of the other religion? What prayer did you pray for her?”
Megan said this “I do not know the God of the other religion. I AM A CHRISTIAN AND I PRAYED TO MY CHRISTIAN GOD FOR HER.”
The LAST NAME A heard was JESUS, my friends!
I let them bury my mom (does not really matter where).
Today, it’s not so much whether the snake talked. It’s whether we talk.
I praise you, Lord Jesus…
ACTS.7:59-60 = And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
…….Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”
….And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
The Holy Scriptures clearly say that it is the dying believer who needs to call upon Lord Jesus, in order to be finally saved.
….In the case of your sister A that u mentioned, the prayer of the nurse, Megan, who accompanied yr dying sister in the ambulance from Penang to Seremban, avails nothing much, wrt yr sister’s salvation.
Believers r responsible for their own salvation; not to depend on other believers for their salvation, ie each has to call upon the Lord Jesus himself/herself, esp on his/her deathbed.
Catholics hv the traditional practice of having their priests praying for the dying Catholics on their deathbeds, esp at hospitals. I think u seem to be fixated on this Catholic practice.
….Did Stephen has a priests beside him when he was dying.? Does this mean that those Catholics who died suddenly from heart attacks or massive strokes or road accidents or natural disasters or fires or war or riots, etc, without their priests beside them, won’t be saved.?
Remember the Word of the Lord Jesus at JOHN.6:63, ie “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to u r Spirit, n they r life.”
….Resurrection n salvation r thru the Word n by the power of the Spirit. Hold on to the Word of the Lord Jesus n the Spirit of God will give the faithful eternal life.
I think it was a grave mistake for u to trust in yr sister B, who promised u that she would bury yr mother the Catholic way when she died. Yr sister B is a typical “lying talking snake”.
….The Quran teaches Muslims that they can lie to their enemies, in order to gain an advantage, for the sake of their religion.
….Should Christians trust or love their enemies.? I think Christians should not trust their enemies; they should hate their enemies(MATT.5:43, LEV.19:18, PSA.41:10, ROM.9:13).
If u had brought yr mum to stay in Singapore near u, yr mum wouldn’t hv ended up being buried in the non-Catholic way. Yr mum had been foolish to trust a foolish Christian like u.
Anyway, the source of yr mum’s foolishness and family problems stemmed from being conned by an evil man into marriage.
….The kosher food laws taught believers to analyse a matter deeply(clean animals that hv 2 stomachs which take a long time to digest food – ruminant), in order to clearly differentiate/divide that matter between good n evil(clean animals that r cloven-hoofed – divided digits/toes). Hence, girls need to do background checks on their suitors, like banks do credit-rating checks on their loan applicants, ie r they on any blacklist of unrepentant evil behavior in their past.?
Wisdom that banish foolishness and/or uncleanness(sins/evil-deeds) can only come from the Word of God; not from signs n wonders/miracles.(PROV.2:1-2, JOHN.15:3)
. . . . . . .
P S – The Lord Jesus is like the talking parrot, ie parroting the Word of Father God, who art in heaven.(JOHN.5:19-30)
God is more merciful than men. Praise Him. My sister forsake her life to follow Jesus. But because she was stuck in that situation, her knowledge of God could not grow.
Where she went after life is not for us to judge. My peace is that she went to be Jesus. Her tears at the end proved that she was touched and repented. She could not talk. How do we know what she said in her heart? I didn’t need to fight for her alone. When serving the Lord we do what we can. When I could no longer do, at the end, He sent Megan.
No Christian in their right mind would confess to a person of the other religion’s sister that they prayed to a Christian God for them. There is a certain body set up especially to make these kind of Christians MIA, if you know what I mean. This, I took as an indication that the Lord is informing me that my sister is ok. I asked Him about this matter often.
B’s husband stopping everyone from getting on the ambulance is also God’s doing. Why would the family leave a sister on the brink of death to die without an accompanying family member?
I believe the reason for me to go to this family is also God’s Grace at work to lend my helping hand to those two who though not educated wanted Him badly. The reason they ran away to Penang in the first place was because B had told them that she wanted to bury my mother their way.
Testimony: When I brought A to Singapore the first time for her operation, the day before the op, I took her to NCC for the second service. You might know that in order to get into NCC we have to line up from the church to the cinema to the shops and then some.
That was the first time she was going to step into a church. I was super excited. We waited until there were about 4 people in front of us and the usher said “no more seats”. I was really upset. She was sick and we waited for so long only to be told no more seats.
I went to the usher and said ‘my sister is really sick’. She said ‘sorry, no more seats, wait for the next service’.
So, we went to one of the kopitiams (coffee shop) and sat down. There were very many people there. We sat and I started to pray. Why Lord Why? I didn’t understand it. This is not the way God works. About 2 minutes later an usher (not the one we spoke to earlier) came walking fast and directly at us and said to me ‘we have two seats left, do you want them?’ There were so many people at the restaurant! I was so grateful to God and said ‘Yes!”.
We went in and she ushered us to two seats at the second row, right in front of the pastor! I cried through the entire sermon. I had never before or after got such good seats again. That’s when she went up to accept Jesus.
If they had enough seats for us in the first place, the Grace Of God could not have flowed. A and I would have ended up at the end, far away seats.
These are all His miracles at work. I do not take such things for granted.
NP, our God operates by love. He deals with us through Grace. He sent His only Son to die for the undeserving.
I’m not Catholic, NP. I am a Christian.
I do not live in Singapore. I wish I did tough, for their sakes.
My mother was not educated. Anyway the husband married her under false pretenses.
Thank God that you are wise man but not everyone is like you. I myself, although educated, have gone through many sufferings before I actually ‘feel’ I’ve got my bearings right. But I do praise God for all I’ve gone through to get here.
Even our apostle Paul persecuted the church Of God terribly before he got his bearings right. That’s what makes him great. God’s Grace.
I worry for you though.
Testimony: About a year ago, I was in my cell group talking about miracles with another member. I was saying that as a believer it’s our blood bought right to have faith in “by Jesus’s stripes we are healed”. She came all out against me saying that this is not so and it’s God’s will.
About two months later, her 7 year old daughter actually swallowed the sharp pin that they put into her braces. When they could not find the pin, they were frantic. The pin could tear her intestines from end to end if not pooped out properly. They sent a message to everyone to pray. Well, if it’s God’s will, why pray against it? Just let it tear, man..
No, it’s our privilege to witness a miracle. We all prayed and it was pooped out safely. People like you, claim one thing and pray for another…confused.
Anyways, it’s God’s favour upon me to witness miracle after miracle. Whether you like it or not, for me, this ship has sailed..too late to convince me otherwise..so save your effort and quit trying..and stop talking about my sister and my mom. Have a heart..
Which century are you from anyways?
Faith is determined by beliefs – beliefs are shaped by experience, circumstances and rational thought. Beliefs are a product of garbage and luggage that we accumulate in our journey thru life.
Most of us in this blogosphere must be wondering who is right? Is this a black or white situation?
Is it the bible scholar, the miracle witness, the Korean pop clad mega church pastor or illusionist homophobe defending family unity are peddling their belief systems that could enslave if one were not discerning and rational.
This wud then raise the question of what an “abundant” life means and look like. In my simple minded way, seems that if one has an enjoyable and productive life of gratitude – a life that blesses people in one sphere of influence, one wud hv been very blessed. If everyday cud be Christmas irregardless of ones current circumstance – that wud be heaven on earth and living Gods promise