So many people have put together ideas and theories about what in the world the serpent in the Garden of Eden represents. I am going to add one more thought process to the mix. The Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) ascended upon Yeshua in the Jordan as a bird. A bird is an animal living the closest to where the Holy One dwells, in the heavens.
Psalm 123:1: Unto You, I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.
What animal lives closest to the earth? That would be a serpent. God created humans and beasts from the earth. What separates us from the animals is the Divine Breath placed inside of humans in the beginning. The serpent represents what comes from below, and the bird represents what comes from above.
Genesis 1:24: Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.
Genesis 2:7: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.
This serpent, called a beast of the field, talks and walks. I propose to you that it is representative of the tongue. I shared some thoughts with you in a post called Da Devil and Devarim about how the tongue is the crooked serpent mentioned in Isaiah 27:1, Revelation 12:9, and 20:2. The piercing serpent is symbolic of a proud human, one who pierces God-appointed boundaries.
Isaiah 27:1: In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing (piercing) serpent, Leviathan that twisted (crooked) serpent; And He will slay the reptile (dragon) that is in the sea.
Revelation 12:9: And the great dragon was thrown down—the ancient serpent, called the devil and satan, who deceives the whole world.
The serpent walks, just like the Scriptures describe the tongue as walking throughout the earth. God casts down the serpent, the wicked, and the proud.
Psalm 73:9: They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.
Psalm 147:6: The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.
Proverbs 8:13: The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate.
Just as the serpent could symbolize a wicked human who pierced into the Garden of God and twisted His words, planting seeds of doubt into Adam and Chavah, the serpent could also represent proud and twisted thoughts established as truth when we obey them. Thoughts are internal words. Word seeds can come from within or from the outside. We can either confirm God’s instructions or our own knowledge as truth by what we obey. Our job as humans is to be image bearers by internalizing the Wisdom of the Holy One, which produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These fruits contains seeds that produce after like kind. When we fail to be human, the Scriptures call us liars, or crooked and piercing serpents. When we speak twisted, untrue, or blasphemous words, we reflect the earthy part of ourselves and not the Divine part. Rabbi David Fohrman interprets God casting the serpent onto its belly as stripping it of its power in a lecture at Alephbeta.org. He says to be cast onto your belly is another way of saying that your arms and legs have been cut off. Good stuff!
Psalm 37:17: For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.
Bronze is an element that the Scriptures connect to Lashon hara or evil tongue.
Jeremiah 6:28: They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers. They are bronze and iron, they are all corrupters.
In Ezekiel 24:11, the bronze is burned and refined in a fire by God. Yeshua is the bronze serpent lifted from the earth and into a heavenly realm that becomes salvation to all who look upon and trust in it.
John 3:14-15: Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life!
Yeshua cleanses us from the crooked tongue and gives us a renewed heart that speaks, establishes, and plants truth as seeds into those around us. The Ruach HaKodesh is called the Spirit of Truth. It is a cleansed tongue. Serpent and Messiah have the same numerical value in the Gematria, a codified value for Hebrew letters. I think that is fascinating, don’t you?
Isaiah 53:9 NIV: He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.