What is the difference between the bronze snake and the snake tempting Adam & Eve?

Is snake a symbol of Satan?

Actually as it was raise on a piece of wood for people to look at and be healed it is kind of s symbol for Christ.

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Modern Catholic Dictionary

Brazen Serpent:
A symbol of the crucified Christ. The bronze serpent entwined on the cross recalls the words of the Savior: “The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert” (John 3:14). Though mentioned in Scripture, it became a standard symbol of the Crucifixion only in the thirteenth century.

Coiled Serpent:
The symbol of Satan, also of evil. The tempter in Eden appeared as a speaking serpent, subtle in his questioning, the easier to seduce Eve. In connection with Mary the serpent represents the fulfillment of the prophecy “I will make you enemies of each other, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel” (Genesis 3:15). A coiled serpent with an apple in its mouth, seen encircling the globe of the earth, appears as an emblem of the evil spirit being overcome by Christ through Mary in images of the Immaculate Conception.

Notice that on the St. Benedict Medal are the two phrases the first on one side and the cross on the other. Notice that the devil is here the dragon.
circle: Eius In Obita Nostro Praesentia Muniamur (At our death may we be strengthened by his presence)
vertical: Crux Sancta Sit Mihi Lux (The Holy Cross be my light)
horizontal: Not Draco Sit mihi Dux (Let not the dragon be my guide)


Read Numbers chapter 21


God sent serpents to bite the people as punishment. Then He commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole as a sign of healing.

The symbolism of healing refers to Christ.

And yes, it is an odd thing that a serpent is used as a visual image of Christ. No doubt about it.

It’s also the symbol used by the medical profession.


Seraphim is a word related to fire-serpent. The angels that are stll called Seraphim were apparently understood as winged serpent like creatures some 4000+ years before Jesus’ time. In the books of prophecy that see a vision of God’s chariot; the Cherubim are located below the chariot acting as horses for the chariot with the Seraphim directly above them and somehow connected to them. Discussions of the fire which the Seraphim create above the altar of God and delivered/directed by the Cherubim is indirectly mentioned in Genesis 3:28 “In the East of Eden God placed the Cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” The flaming sword, I think, is an image of a Seraphim.

The idea is that the Seraphim are above the clouds and releasing lightning (firey swords) in the places where the mobile cherubim move God’s throne. Eg: The Seraphim go wherever the Cherubim carry them.

Scripture can be a bit confusing, for it’s not clear if Eden is a a geographical place … or simply the location of the mobile temple/throne of God upon the Cherubim. Wherever the Ark that Moses carried, could be called Eden since the cherubim guard the way to the one seated upon the throne. Carvings of Cherubim are found on the Ark.

Satan, or the devil, was an angel who was punished by being thrown down to earth; Another way to say the same thing is that Satan’s “wings” were clipped/removed so that he had to crawl on the ground and eat “dust” / dead men. He’s a wingless serpent. I’m not entirely sure of how the Cherubim and Seraphim are linked, other than the Seraphim are found directly above the Cherubim (physically) in visions. The two creatures or perhaps ranks of the same creature always move together.

In Ezekiel 28, for example; the scripture talks about the king of Tyre walking among Eden (as if Eden moved to his country) because he was appointed to act like a Cherubim to guard; Notably the image of “fiery” stones is found in the same passage.

Isaiah also talks about fire above the Cherubim, eg: Isaiah 6:2ff.

The idea of a fire snake being evil, then, isn’t direct. There are other angelic beings who can take the form of a serpent which aren’t evil.

The bronze serpent you are talking about is, I believe,an image of the Seraphim in heaven which is directly related to the ark of the Covenant (A throne for God) being carried by Moses.

Numbers 21:7 “Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people so that many people of Israel died.”

God sent fire serpents, AKA seraphic serpents, to bite the people. The image of the Seraphic Serpents being raised up on a pole, then, is an attempt by Moses to show them visually as being in the heavens over a high throne of Cherubim who are always below them in visions.

Exodus 25:18 has a description of how to make a physical image of God’s chariot (the Ark) to be carried with Israel in the desert.


thanks for your answer

THank you very much

I’m so thankful.

I appreciate all of your help

From what I believe, Adam and Eve are themselves symbols and did not literally exist.

so you are wrong.

perhaps it is you who is wrong

Give me the proof!

You’re welcome. Visions in the scriptures were often not taught to young Jews until they had reached an age of maturity to understand that part of the stories are “likenesses” or “analogies”; for example, a mideval or modern artist might paint a picture of creatures with many or very large eyes to emphasize that they were good at “seeing.” The reason Jews were reluctant to teach the visions to young people, is that their minds were often very narrow and they would over emphasize a single point to their own ruin and confuse the meaning of the visions. To interpret visions requires wisdom … and if you read the passage I mentioned on Tyre, you’ll notice that the king is being criticized for not being as wise as Daniel. “Are you Daniel?” And the hint of the story is that the king will be “thrown” down from the carved Cherubim throne he owned like Satan was; Even so, notice that God still had a purpose for the king and could raise him up (temporarily) again after humbling him.

Jesus wants us all to be watchful and viligant, and to think about the old testament visions and stories in terms of the relationships more than the images themselves. The Apostles were all taught about the visions of Daniel, the Seraphim, and so forth. But notice how Jesus warns them not to confuse an image which is a kind a memory aid, with the meaning behind the image. Jesus purposely tries to scare the Apostles who are king like figures, who’s position is very much like the king of Tyre; for Jesus responds to the Apostles joy with a remark about Satan and the characteristic fire that Seraphim have:

Luke 10:14,17-18 (paraphrased)
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you …
The Apostles returned rejoicing saying "Lord even the demons are subject to us because of your name."
Jesus said, "I see Satan fall like lightning from the Sky.


Knowledge is like candy … too much absorbed without careful attention to hygene will result in cavities in our understanding.

Best wishes, Anhpan. You are right; Adam and Eve are not mere symbols, esp. according to church teaching; However, there is a large amount of imagery in the Story which needs wisdom to understand properly. Only the humble are really capable of learning it, as you might observe if you look carefully. Peace be with you.


I read somewhere that the serpent imagery being associated with Jesus’ crucifixion has to do with Jesus being “made sin” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).

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