8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:8-9, NIV)

Compare this with what Jesus said in John 3:14-15.

14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him."

closed as off-topic by Bach, EJoshuaS, curiousdannii, רבות מחשבות, user2910 Jan 3 at 6:18

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  • 2
    The serpent was generally not a symbol of 'death' in Near Eastern cultures, or even in the Bible. Broadly, it was a symbol of wisdom or craftiness. – user2910 Dec 24 '18 at 0:49
  • The cross is a two edged sword. – Constantthin Dec 24 '18 at 3:26
  • It is customary in paganism to worship the things one fears (e.g., thunder, wild beasts, etc.), so that, by befriending them, and showing them their due respect, they might be dissuaded from harming you. – Lucian Jan 3 at 0:35
  • @MarkEdward: Technically true, but this is not the reason for its presence here. – Lucian Jan 3 at 0:37