Because of Their Murmuring, the Israelites Are Plagued with Fiery Serpents. Moses Lifts Up a Serpent of Brass—Symbolizing Jesus Christ—to Save Those Who Look Thereon
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
Elder Carl B. Cook said:
“Why is it a challenge to consistently look up in our lives? Perhaps we lack the faith that such a simple act can solve our problems. For example, when the children of Israel were bitten by poisonous serpents, Moses was commanded to raise up a brass serpent on a pole. The brass serpent represented Christ. Those who looked up at the serpent, as admonished by the prophet, were healed (see Numbers 21:8–9). But many others failed to look up, and they perished (see 1 Nephi 17:41).
“Alma agreed that the reason the Israelites did not look to the serpent was that they did not believe doing so would heal them. Alma’s words are relevant to us today:
“‘O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful . . . ?
“‘If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for [our] sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead’ (Alma 33:21–22; see also verses 19–20).”
(“It Is Better to Look Up,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 34.)