Snakes, it seems, are a somewhat regular part of church services, especially among Pentecostals in the South. The idea is that if the snake handler believes enough, the snake won’t hurt them.
And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. 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 16:17-18)
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)
Even if they do get bitten, if they believe enough, they will survive:
And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
Unfortunately, God sometimes gets distracted, or something. 60-year-old John David Brock of Bell County, Kentucky was bitten on the left arm while handling a snake for a church service at the Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church. The fact that he was bitten didn’t sway Brock’s faith. He refused medical service and he died.
Not everyone who gets bit and refuses medical care dies. This former snake handler claims to have been bitten many times, and he lived without medical care. Here’s that video:
Brock is far from the first to die from handling snakes. Just last year, a snake handling pastor, also in Kentucky, died after refusing medical treatment. According to a study, at least 92 people have died from handling snakes, and laws have been passed to prevent these deaths, but they do little. Snake handlers know about the risks and they are perfectly willing to take them.
Featured image via Pixabay.