Is the Modern Medical Symbol Evil?

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Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
August 31, 2021

Last Updated :
August 31, 2021

Bad-Mouthing Modern Medical Symbol, Differences Between Rod Of Asclepius And Caduceus, Origin Of Modern Medical Symbol, Gods Of Ancient Greek And Roman Mythology, Fiery Serpents, Moses And The Brass Serpent, Israelites Idolized The Brass Serpent, King Hezekiah Destroys Nehushtan, My Personal View Concerning Medical Profession And Pharmaceutical Industry, There Is Good And Evil In Everything, Conclusion, Articles

Recently, it came to my attention that a number of my Christian friends on the Facebook platform were making posts where they condemned the well-known medical symbol which is represented by a snake wrapped around a pole. In fact, there are two such symbols with which some of you may be familiar. There's the Rod of Asclepius, and there's also the Caduceus. Let me begin by saying that the Rod of Asclepius is not the same as the Caduceus. While at first glance these symbols do look somewhat similar in appearance, there are some distinct differences between them. Furthermore, the latter -- that is, the caduceus -- is in fact associated with certain evil things. The Wikipedia website explains it in the following manner:

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The caduceus is the traditional symbol of Hermes and features two snakes winding around an often winged staff. It is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine, especially in the United States, but this is incorrect. (The correct symbol for medicine is the Rod of Asclepius, which has only one snake and no wings.) The two-snake caduceus design has ancient and consistent associations with trade, liars, thieves, eloquence, negotiation, alchemy, and wisdom.

The adoption, in 1902, of the caduceus for US Army medical officer uniforms popularized the erroneous use of the symbol throughout the medical field in the United States.

The modern use of the caduceus as a symbol of medicine became established in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century as a result of well-documented mistakes, misunderstandings of symbology and classical culture, unwillingness to admit error, and general confusion.

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While the real medical symbol -- the Rod of Asclepius -- is named after the Greek god of medicine and healing, this is NOT where this ancient symbology actually originated. In fact, its true origin may surprise some of you, because it occurred long before the Greeks embraced this symbol. On a side note, let me also add that as I mention in a few of my other Bill's Bible Basics articles, I strongly suspect that some of the stories which are found in ancient Greek and Roman mythology, may be embellishments of even older stories which are found in the pages of the Holy Bible.

But getting back to the imagery of the snake wrapped around a pole, you see, while some Christians are quick to condemn this medical symbol, sadly, they seem to totally ignore -- or perhaps are simply unaware of -- the Biblical origin of the symbol. As you will see by the verses which I will be sharing with you momentarily, the truth of the matter is that thousands of years ago, the Lord Himself commanded Moses to make a brass serpent and to elevate it on a pole, in order to heal the Israelites after they had been bitten by poisonous snakes, or what the KJV Bible refers to as "fiery serpents". The serpent mounted upon a pole was in reality a symbol of hope and healing. It was NOT evil by any means.

By the way, allow me to mention here that the phrase "fiery serpents" does NOT mean that the serpents actually breathed fire from their mouths like a dragon. If we look at the original Hebrew word -- saraph -- we discover that it is actually referring to the burning sensation which resulted from being injected with the snake's venom. The reason why this tragic incident occurred in the first place is clearly revealed in the following set of verses. In short, they murmured against the Lord, and against Moses' leadership:

‭"And the people‭ spake‭‭ against God‭, and against Moses‭, Wherefore have ye brought us up‭‭ out of Egypt‭ to die‭‭ in the wilderness‭? for ‭there is‭ no bread‭, neither ‭is there any‭ water‭; and our soul‭ loatheth‭‭ this light‭ bread‭.‭ And the LORD‭ sent‭‭ fiery‭ serpents‭ among the people‭, and they bit‭‭ the people‭; and much‭ people‭ of Israel‭ died‭‭. Therefore the people‭ came‭‭ to Moses‭, and said‭‭, We have sinned‭‭, for we have spoken‭‭ against the LORD‭, and against thee; pray‭‭ unto the LORD‭, that he take away‭‭ the serpents‭ from us. And Moses‭ prayed‭‭ for the people‭.‭ ‭And the LORD‭ said‭‭ unto Moses‭, Make‭‭ thee a fiery ‭serpent‭‭, and set‭‭ it upon a pole‭: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten‭‭, when he looketh‭‭ upon it, shall live‭‭. And Moses‭ made‭‭ a ‭serpent‭‭ of brass‭, and put‭‭ it upon a pole‭, and it came to pass, that if a ‭serpent‭‭ had bitten‭‭ any man‭, when he beheld‭‭ the ‭serpent‭‭ of brass‭, he lived‭‭.‭"
Numbers 21:5-9, KJV

Sadly, the foolish Israelites eventually began to idolize the brass serpent, just as they had worshipped the golden calf while Moses was on the summit of Mount Horeb -- that is, Mount Sinai -- receiving the commandments from God. As a result of their idolatry, hundreds of years later, during the reign of King Hezekiah, the king had the idol destroyed. By the way, in the following verse, the name "Nehushtan" refers to something which is made of brass:

"‭He removed‭‭ the high places‭, and brake‭‭ the images‭, and cut down‭‭ the groves‭, and brake in pieces‭‭ the ‭brasen‭‭ ‭serpent‭‭ that Moses‭ had made‭‭: for unto those days‭ the children‭ of Israel‭ did burn incense‭‭ to it: and he called‭‭ it Nehushtan‭."
2 Kings 18:4, KJV

So as far as I know, that, my friends, is the real origin story of the medical symbol which is represented by a snake wrapped around a pole. To reiterate, it was not evil as some modern Christians would have you to believe. It was in fact mandated by God Himself, and it represented hope and healing for a rebellious and complaining people.

Please note that my sharing this origin story with you does NOT mean that I condone, agree with or am trying to excuse or justify the wicked and corrupt practices of the modern pharmaceutical industry. I most certainly am not. However, I also believe that we need to embrace a balanced view when it comes to the medical professional, and the pharmaceutical industry. I think you will agree with me when I say that a lot of good as well as a lot of evil, comes from both camps. The simple fact is that there is both good and bad in many things which pertain to this present world. While we need to expose the evil, this does not mean that we should ignore or throw out the good.

With these thoughts, I will bring this short article to a close. It is my hope that you have found it to be both informative and enlightening, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life as well. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!

For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to this article, and which are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server.

Science and Technology: The Forbidden Knowledge?
Divine Healing or Medical Healing?
Why Doesn't God Heal Me?

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