“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” [Matthew 3:7]
John the Baptist was a man filled with the Spirit of God from his mother’s womb at about six months from conception. As he grew into the ministry, he became a fiery preacher and was afraid of no one. Everyone acknowledged that he was sent by God, too.
Generation of Vipers? Why would he call those who were supposed to be the Crème de la Crème clergy in God’s own chosen nation a generation of vipers? John was not alone in his conclusion. Jesus also had something to say:
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” [Matthew 23:33]
These are two people, filled with the Holy Spirit, saying exactly the same thing pointedly to the religious leaders. God was talking to the people, for “at the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.” [Deuteronomy 17:6]
But why would the Holy Spirit call human beings’ vipers? How did a human being become a serpent? First, we need to understand the true nature of a viper. A snake is known for its subtlety, but a viper is poisonous and is as dangerous as it gets.
Some seven years ago I had a dream about a huge serpent; I found myself always going to a particularly quiet spot in an uncompleted building, there I would meditate and fellowship with God.
Then one day, as usual, as I was about sitting down to read my Bible and meditate, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Look further into this room behind where you normally sit.” As I looked beyond a fragile wooden fence that I usually use as a backrest when sat on the steps of that doorway, I saw a giant snake in the darkness, it looked like a cross between a viper and an anaconda, it was huge. The eyes were red and just looking at it struck horror and dread.
In wisdom, I didn’t linger in my view, but pretended I didn’t see it lest it should react and I would be its next meal for that day because if it threw itself to attack me, the flimsy barrier would be tossed aside like tin foil. So, I sat as if I saw nothing and continued in my usual format. However, I was extremely apprehensive for any movement that might take place behind me.
After the worship and meditation, I left. I went to get an army’s jerry can of petrol and soaked the whole building (how I managed that with a can was a mystery but the building was soaked) and set it on fire! Then I woke up. The serpent was thoroughly engulfed and burnt!
At the time, I was at a conference, and I shared it with the brethren. No one really gave a satisfactory explanation. But, I kept pondering what it could really mean. Was there some witch or demonic power on the hunt for my life or what? A serpent was not meant to be monitoring a person in his house, but it should have been in the forest.
Well, I couldn’t care less because justice was served – the serpent was roasted! I will share more about this dream later in this article.
What Are Vipers Really Like?
Vipers, especially the Gaboon viper, spend most of their time lying in wait among leaf litter, camouflaged and ready to strike. They have two fangs (power of expression) with which they can attack their preys.
In fact, Gaboon vipers’ real claims to fame are their extraordinary long fangs — the longest of any snake, said Savitzky. Gaboon vipers’ fangs can be up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. They also have potent venom.
To be likened to a viper is not to be taken lightly at all. Imagine the serpent in the Garden of Eden is a human being, using all forms of persuasion tricks to get the control of Eve’s soul. It is even worse than that.
The Old Serpent
The first person in Scriptures who exhibited the cunningness of a viper was Satan. He exhibited anger and rebellion towards God. He refused doing what he was created to do, and through pride, started a rebellion. In fact, the Bible calls him the Old Serpent who accuses (Revelation 12:9).
Like other serpents, they have forked tongues, limbless bodies, scaly skin, are extremely flexible and move by slithering around.
Satan, the Bible describes him, as the father of lies and a murderer from the Beginning. He destroys people with his lying tongue, flattery and pressured persuasion to turn away from the truth of God. Eve in the Garden can testify about that and so would Jesus in the wilderness.
“Has God said….?” How many times have that same phrase been the beginning of the exhibition of a lying tongue? Discouragement from following God all the way. The implantation of seeds of doubt and unbelief that leads to phrases such as “It is not possible”, “I am not able”.
The nature of Satan, the Old Serpent is to manifest like a viper, camouflaging through acts of cruelty, filthy words, murder, adultery, hatred, variance, malice, blasphemy, wrath, arrogance, and such like. Actions that lead to death.
Knowing all these characteristics about the viper puts into perspective what the Holy Spirit was saying through John and Jesus.
Jesus said to the people who revel in these behaviours, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” [John 8:44]
See how the devil looks just like the viper. The viper stalks its prey, the devil stalks his prey too. The viper kills its prey, the devil goes about … seeking whom to devour. “He comes to steal, kill and destroy”.
These are not the only characteristics of the Serpent in the Garden. He instigates strife, one of his deadliest weapons against the church. “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” [James 3:16]
The Flesh and The Viper
Corruption in the human soul is referred to as the flesh. This is not the same as the physical body. The Bible says the body is the temple of God (John 2:19), but the flesh is the enemy of His Spirit (Galatians 5:17).
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like;” [Galatians 5:19-21]
Ever heard of a preacher pick a Scripture and twist it so badly that it completely negates what God actually said? For example, an exaggerated view of grace. How many are living in lifestyles that even unbelievers would dread to consider?
I recently met a believer while working as a contractor and he claimed not to have anything to do with the devil, but I soon discovered that he was “living in sin” (fornication) with another so-called believer. When I said that is not right, he was swift to reply, “Who is not living in sin?” He has been deceived under an exaggerated view of grace.
These people who have an exaggerated view of grace indirectly claim, “We have Abraham to our father.” That is, once saved, always saved.
In Genesis 49:17, Jacob prophesied to his son, Dan: “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, A horned snake in the path, that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward.” What is that? A person with the nature of a viper!
A human being whose acts and behaves just like a viper.”
Back to that dream of a huge serpent. A few years later, the Lord later opened my understanding to the real meaning of the dream. What that building represented was my soul and in that soul, hid a dangerous ungodly trait, it was feeding secretly and growing quietly through different forms of worldliness.
It was waiting for the time when the devil will come knocking for fellowship with it and it would respond to him. This would have manifested in a devastating way and people would say, “That was out-of-character for him to do such a thing”.
“Oh no, that is not me, I am not worldly,” you say. Really? How do you respond when people flatter you? How do you react when watching a TV programme and an ungodly advert or scene shows up? When you hear the news that a prostitute just died of AIDs, what is your response – another one bites the dust, isn’t it? Ever considered that Christ died for her just as He did for you?
When you find yourself in a tight spot, don’t you unhesitatingly deny Christ and say that you would repent later? It is called friendship with the world.
But thanks be to God who reveals the inner secrets of our lives, most of which we are even ignorant. When I discovered this, I declared a holy war against it and fought the good fight.
Some of these things have been there for generations and are always seeking continuum. Some call it generational issues. People noticed that their parents had this weak trait and later discovered that so was their grandparents and great grandparents and so on!
Venomous and Deadly!
“Vipers in general tend to have enzymetic venom that affects general tissues,” Alan Savitzky said, a professor of biological sciences at Utah State University specializing in the biology of snakes.
He continues, “It causes intense swelling, pain and necrosis, which is cell death and decay. It also functions as an anticoagulant. Death usually occurs from a dramatic collapse in blood pressure.”
This professor reveals to us that there are two types of bites exhibited by the viper – dry and wet bites. The dry bite does not involve the ejection of venom, hence does not really kill, but the wet bite involves venom and it suffocates life in the prey.
Viperine venom (words that kill) is typically haemotoxic (blood toxins), necrotising (death of tissue), and anticoagulant (preventing the blood from clotting).
“In addition to killing prey and injuring predators, viper venom helps vipers digest their food,” according to Nicolae Sfetcu, author of “Reptiles: Crocodiles, Alligators, Lizards, Snakes, Turtles” (Lulu Press, 2011).
“Since they swallow their prey whole, digesting it is a big job not helped by vipers’ generally inefficient digestive systems. The venom breaks down lipids, acids and proteins in the prey during the digestive process,” adds Jessie Szalay, Live Science Contributor.
Some of these natural traits in you are so poisonous that it kills. In some families where these traits are pronounced, people don’t live long in those families – they die young. One of those poisonous traits is bitterness.
The gall of bitterness is as lethal as a viper’s venom. It eats into the fabric of the body, causing things such as aggressive cancers. Another is anger, which can terminate a life through strokes or heart failure. Another is unforgiveness, which is classified in medical books as a disease.
Some so-called Christian parents are so controlling that they don’t realise that they are practising witchcraft in the homes of their children. They want to control how their son should love his wife or their daughter should submit to her own husband. Wives and husbands don’t trust each other because of these things in them!
“Their tongues are like deadly arrows. They speak deceitfully. People speak politely to their neighbours, but they think of ways to set traps for them.” [Jeremiah 9:8 God’s Word Version]
It is very easy to point at another and quickly conclude that it is the man or that woman who has it in him or her. That may be very true, but YOU also have it in you, too! Don’t try to get “holier than thou”, you have these things in your soul.
Are you still arguing your case about these things? According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, says, “Refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way.” He called them “emotional wounds or disorders”.
Find the Vipers
These are things are embedded deep in the soul. They are the things that would cause the impulse in a pastor to commit adultery or steal church funds.
A study in The Lancet showed that 29 percent of people who survived Russell’s Viper bites later suffered from hypopituitarism, which results in men losing facial and pubic hair, women their curves – from weight loss – and both sexes their sex drive and fertility. The loss of mental abilities in victims has also been observed by medics.
Just one of these things could cause untold destruction! Acknowledge them in your life and destroy them before they destroy you.
They are the things that would not allow a man to be satisfied with his wife at home, but would still have eyes full of adultery just like a hypnotic serpent. They are things that make a woman not to be submissive to her own husband at home but would get weak in the knees at a stranger’s tongue of flattery or pockets, making her foolish enough to tear down her home.
How many times has someone offended you or done something around you and you strategically seek for a revenge? Being vengeful is an act of a human viper.
These viperine nature were the things that made Abraham lied when asked about Sarah his wife. It continued in Isaac and he lied about his wife as well. Jacob did the same and by the time he would recognise it, he passed it to Dan!
Jesus said, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” [Matthew 13:15]
It is the arrogance (another viperine nature) in a man that would make him say, “I don’t have any of these natures in me”.
Jesus says to the church (which includes you) in Revelation 3:17, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
Jesus cleansed His temple. It wasn’t His fault, but He cleansed it. “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;” [John 2:14-15]
How to Handle These Vipers?
Go into your temple (your soul – mind, will, emotions and intellect), and do what Jesus did – search for the sellers and buyers of materialism, weights that does so easily beset you, secret sins, those bad habits that everyone knows that you are justifying with the phrase, “that’s the way I am”, the rebellion towards God’s truth, the irresponsible lifestyle, the justification of fornication (pre-marital sex) or adultery, seeking to always control your partner, etc – drive them out!
One of my favourite spots in the movie, The Passion of Christ, was the opening scene where Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. At some point, a viper was crawling around Him and Jesus waited until when the viper was about to strike that He struck its head by stamping with such a ferocity that no snake on earth could have survived the force.
That is the same way every viperine nature should be treated and eliminated. Of course, due to the fact that it had been occupying your soul for such a long period, it would be painful initially, but what such peace and joy after it has been eliminated!
No one is blaming you for them being there, but it would become your fault when they are exposed to you and you either ignore them or embrace them.
If you are without repentance after noticing ANY of these traits (or such like) in your life, then you are part of the generation of vipers!
The generation of Christ (Isaiah 53:8) are those who are constantly going to the Riverbank of the Blood of Christ to repent and wash their soul.
Your nature must either be getting weightier as it turns into gold or lighter as it disintegrates away like rusty iron.
Make a scourge of small cords and drive them out of God’s temple! Confession of these sins is not enough, you must repent (turn completely away) from them. John the Baptist said it this way:
“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” [Luke 3:8]
Repentance is the only way of changing from being a brood of vipers. Genuine repentance – the one you seriously mean. Not half-hearted like King Saul after Samuel condemned his actions. Repentance leads to victory.
When you start gaining victory over the viperine nature, no matter where they are coming from at you, it will not have any effect on or in you again, even physically.
In Acts 28:3, we have this account, “Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire. The heat forced a poisonous snake out of the brushwood. The snake bit Paul’s hand and wouldn’t let go.”
Then you will truly experience what Jesus promised:
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” [Luke 10:19]
“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” [Mark 16:18]