This week a preacher in Kentucky was bitten by a snake and died. According to reports, this preacher had been handling snakes in the past and was also injured by them. The reason the man was handling snakes was his belief that Mark 16:17-18 commanded him to do so. But in Mark 16:17-18, Jesus is speaking of those days of the book of Acts, where certain Christians performed miracles after having the power given to them by an Apostles (Acts 8:18).
The confrontation with snakes and poison weren’t to be demonstrations before audiences, but rather God’s assurance that He wouldn’t allow any harm to come to His servants (Acts 23:11, 27:21-26, 28:1-6).
Religious snake handlers of today get hurt by the snakes they handle, but notice that Jesus said that snakes and poison wouldn’t hurt those of whom Mark 16:16-17 was speaking. No preacher is to be handling snakes today because the period of Mark 16:17-18 was during the infancy of the church when miracles confirmed the word (Mark 16:19-20; Hebrews 2:1-4).
I’m sorry this preacher is dead, but he was doing something based upon his misunderstanding of the scripture (2 Peter 3:16).
Hope to hear from you or see you at the services.