Have you ever played the game “Snakes And Ladders”? It is a household game that originated in India where you roll a dice and the number you see indicated on the dice you move that number of spaces on a gameboard filled with snakes and ladders. If you land on a square where you see the head of a snake you go all the way down to the tail and you fall far behind your rivals in the game. However, if you land on a square where you see the bottom of a ladder you go all the way to the top of that ladder. Where have you seen that concept before? I believe subconsciously or consciously this game was influenced by the Bible. Snakes and Ladders is the contest between evil and good that rages in each heart. Let us see what parallels there are in the Bible.
Who does the snake represent?
From as early as the third chapter of the Bible we see the Devil using a snake to deceive Eve causing what is commonly known as “the fall of man” paralleled by going down the snake in the game. Incidentally in some countries the game is called “Chutes and ladders”, “chutes” being the French word for “fall” hence we get the word “parachute.”
The following are the two main Bible references to the snake as Satan:
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Who does the ladder represent?
Just as Genesis, the first book in the Bible tells us who the snake symbolizes, Genesis presents the symbol of the ladder but it is the book of John that explains who the ladder represents.
“And he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
It becomes clear that Jesus is the ladder as reference to this is made in the book of John, which says:
“And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man [Jesus]”
Life is not a game. It is a contest, a war. Everyone is “on board” whether they like it or not. It is not about chance but about choice. At each step of the way we will face trials and tribulations. There will be ups and downs - a ladder and a snake. Which side are you on – the ladder or the snake? No one can be neutral in the battle for the mind. In Matthew 12:30, Jesus says “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Joel 3:14 states “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” What will your decision be?