Songs From Numbers: High and Lifted Up


Each week, we go through the books of the Bible, looking at a song that illustrates a passage from each book.

Numbers 21 tells the story of how the Israelites rebelled against Moses and against God, asking: “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread” (Numbers 21:5, KJV).

God replied by sending fiery serpents among the people; many of the Israelites died from bites from these snakes. This brought the Israelites to repentance; they confessed their sin, and asked Moses to pray that God would take the serpents away from them.

God told Moses: “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (verse 8, KJV). Moses did.

Dianne Wilkinson used this passage as a starting point for one of the all-time greatest Cathedrals anthems, “High and Lifted Up”:

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6 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Best album, by far from this line up. Every song was a winner, but this was definitely the stand out track. Glenn Payne was the most consistent singer I have ever heard but this type of song was his bread and butter. Thanks Daniel for bringing back this gem.

  2. I love this. It reminded me that I made a post on this song a while back. I looked it up, and realized it was my first post on Southern Gospel Critique. Furthermore, it was three years ago today! It must have been the Lord!

    • Wow! How neat! And congratulations on three years!

  3. Powerful truth filled song by a group of powerful singers.

    There was a time I used to wonder why God instructed Moses to lift high a bronze serpent to symbolise Jesus. Why not lift a bronze lamb to represent the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? Further study of the word revealed to me such texts as 1 Cor. 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Then I understood that when Jesus, “the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world,” was lifted up, in the likeness of sinful flesh, He was made to be sin for us as every sin on Him was laid. The bronze serpent was therefore a sound representation of Him at the cross. This also serves to show just how dreadful the load He bore was; so dreadful that a serpent was fit for His representation. No wonder He felt the heavy weight of separation and bitterly cried out to His Father. And how sad that it was our sins that put Him there, but how amazing that grace will always be greater than sin.

    No wonder such songs as High and Lifted Up never fail to command praise from my heart each time I listen to them.

  4. Oh, my, Daniel…what a wonderful blessing to see and hear this live performance! Pat is right…Glen was amazing on this kind of song. I am eternally blessed that some of the songs these great men sang were mine. I miss them!