The Oath, a Serpent, and a Staff


 Medical symbolAmerican Right To Life's The Bible and Abortion article documents that 3,500 years ago the Mosaic Law in the Hebrew Scriptures recognized the unborn child as a person. More than a thousand years later Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, also acknowledged the immorality of killing an unborn child. The single serpent on a staff is the most popular medical symbol in the world. Many claim this symbol originated not in Scripture but with Greek mythology and as associated with Hippocrates. However, biblical influence on the Greek culture greatly predates Hippocrates, as Robert Johnson wrote, "Ancient Greek religion, what we call mythology, tells the same story as the Book of Genesis, except that the serpent is the enlightener of mankind..." And during the Exodus:

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived." 

-Moses, Numbers 21:8-9

HippocratesA millennium after Moses, and 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates held to a Greek religious belief which recognized the serpent on a staff as a symbol of medicine. If the time frames were reversed, and Hippocrates predated Moses, no one could doubt that secular archaeologists would insist that the Bible copied the pre-existing symbol for medicine from the Greeks. (Evidence of Egypt's trade with Aegean peoples including those on the Greek Isles goes back through the New and Middle Kingdoms even to the Old Kingdom.) But since the actual time frames give precedence for this symbol by more than a thousand years to the scriptures, secular historians deny the evident source of the snake and staff symbol for the restoration of physical health.

(Photo: Asclepius, Greek god of medicine, whose daughters include Hygeia and Panacea, was described in about 318 A.D. by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, as "defied by the Greeks because he practised the art of healing and discovered herbs as remedies for bodily diseases, not, of course, forming them himself out of the earth, but finding them out by the study of nature. But what is that in comparison with what the Savior did...")

The Bible records that the Fall and the curse of death occurred after mankind was tempted by a serpent at a tree (Gen. 3:1-4). Then in the fullness of time Jesus Christ "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24), "having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). The symbolism pointed to the actual historic crucifixion and explains the Apostle Paul's words to the Galatians that, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree)." Also, the Hebrew terms for sin and for sin offering in the Bible are the identical word, for Jesus is the sin offering (Heb. 10:10) who became "sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21). That is the ultimate meaning of the serpent being lifted up. For all who looked to it, that is, to Jesus who became sin for us, could be saved. As Jesus said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:32). For the Lord said:

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." 

-Jesus Christ, John 3:14-16

And back to Hippocrates who wrote in the Hippocratic Oath, "never do harm," and "I will not… cause an abortion." Medical schools still commonly administer the pledge but sadly, in pro-abortion cultures, they have removed the promise to not kill an unborn child. For as mentioned at, the original oath has been "replaced by vague generalities... and fails to list any of the prohibitions against euthanasia, abortion, and sexual relations with patients (which was prohibited in the original)." So as the American Medical News reports, most doctors who take a modern oath, "the taking of the oath is not... meaningful... but just something that happens" whereas, "Physicians who said religion is important were more likely to say that their medical school oath was influential than were less-religious doctors." And the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network comments, "of course! When the oath you take doesn’t really say much of anything, it can’t be of much use as an ethical guide."

Hippocratic OathAbortion is wrong because it's a baby, and it's always wrong to intentionally kill a baby. So it is not modern technology that only now makes it evident that abortion is wrong. American RTL urges everyone to refrain from making excuses for Planned Parenthood murdering countless children by saying, "Now that we have 4D ultrasound, we know that this is a baby." The tremendous view into the womb provided by 4D ultrasound, as demonstrated by the American Life League video Baby Steps (see below), greatly helps pro-lifers educate those whose hearts are not already hardened against children. But long before ultrasound, the mutilated body of the first aborted child, and the millions thereafter, testified to the wickedness of child killing.

From the beginning moms have talked about the "baby" in their womb. Today, 4D ultrasound shows for all to see what has always been known, the precious humanity of the preborn child.

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