This news should saddened all servants of God, not because of the death of fellow servants from snake bite, but for depicting the gospel of salvation with snake playing. This widely published event could cause seekers of the real saving truth of God to stumble and stay away.

Published on February 16, 2014

(NewsChannel4) MIDDLEBOROUGH, Ken. – A Kentucky pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling in church has died of a snakebite. Jamie Coots died Saturday evening after refusing to be treated, Middleborough police said. On “Snake Salvation,” the ardent Pentecostal believer said that he believed that a passage in the Bible suggests poisonous snake bites will not harm believers as long as they are anointed by God. The practice is illegal in most states but still goes on, primarily in the rural South. Coots was a third-generation “serpent handler” and aspired to one day pass the practice and his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, on to his adult son, Little Cody. The National Geographic show featured Coots and cast handling all kinds of poisonous snakes, copperheads, rattlers, cottonmouths. The channel’s website shows a picture of Coots, goateed, wearing a fedora. “Even after losing half of his finger to a snake bite and seeing others die from bites during services,” Coots “still believes he must take up serpents and follow the Holiness faith,” the website states. Sunday, National Geographic Channels spokeswoman Stephanie Montgomery sent CNN this statement: “In following Pastor Coots for our series Snake Salvation, we were constantly struck by his devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced. “Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith. We were honored to be allowed such unique access to Pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.” In February 2013, Coots was given one year of probation for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes. He was previously arrested in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes in his home, according to National Geographic. Tennessee banned snake handling in 1947 after five people were bitten in churches over two years’ time, the channel says on the show site. On one episode, Coots, who collected snakes, is shown trying to wrest a Western diamondback out of its nook under a rock deep in East Texas. He’s wearing a cowboy hat and a T-shirt that says “The answer to Y2K — JESUS.” The pastor is helped by his son and a couple of church members. “He’ll give up, just sooner or later,” one of the members says. “Just be careful. Ease him out.” The group bags two snakes, which a disappointed Coots says hardly justifies the trip to Texas. “Catching two snakes the first day, ‘course we’d hoped for more,” Coots says in the video. “We knew that the next day we was gonna have to try to hunt harder and hope for more snakes.”

What did the Lord Jesus said to do to fulfill the Grand Commission?

First let us quote what Matthew recorded in the following:

Matthews 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [19]  GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: [20]  TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark wrote:

Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE. [16]  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.[17]  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; [18] 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.

The Lord Jesus is very clear in His Grand Commission: GO YE THEREFORE…GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD… teaching them to observe His teaching which is interpreted by Mark to mean preach the gospel.

Let us focus on these highlighted issues above: was this pastor snake bitten while he was GOing INTO ALL THE WORLD? Was this pastor and his congregation preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the purest sense of the word? No,week after week they play with poisonous snake. If there is a mention about “TAKE UP SERPENTS” it was linked to GOing INTO THE WORLD to preach the gospel…while travelling on some beaten paths, a serpent struck and the Lord has sent him for that purpose, his life may be spared.

Had that actual event occurred before? Yes. Let us visit that particular event:

[Acts 28:3-5]  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. [4]  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. [5] And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. [6]  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.

Was Paul playing with the viper? No! It was accidental! He was not demonstrating his understanding of God’s word.

Than, even the Lord Jesus refused to demonstrate His sure inborn authorities as the begotten Son of God. Let us revisit this event:

Matthews 4:1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. [2]  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. [3]  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4]  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [5]  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, [6]  And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said unto him, IT IS WRITTEN AGAIN, THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD. [8]  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [9]  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [10]  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

This late pastor was doing what the Lord Jesus Christ said  we are not to do, he TEMPTed THE LORD our GOD! Now, are seeing the whys he died? The Lord has been long suffering in tolerating these kinds of disobedience which could very well drive people away from the real foundation of our faith.

Yes, our Lord God can save us from all harm; the four Jews who were thrown into fiery furnace and Daniel was thrown into hungry lions’ den without losing even a strand of their hair.[Daniel 3:20-28;6:16-25]

On the other hand, as a sovereign God, He could elect to let His people come home through cruel persecutions.

Christian Persecution : Martyr Killings of Christians doubles worldwide in 2013 (Jan 11, 2014)

Real faith is not challenging faith, which equates with challenging God at His word.


The way to be saved from the end time disasters and burning forever in the lake of fire, all He asks is, believe in His Son, Jesus Messiah, whom He had sent into the world to be the ultimate sin sacrifice. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY! This invitation is open to all: atheists, Judaism, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, for people of all walk and beliefs. Go and find a bible believing church; not the likes of the ones which I have disclosed in the article linked as follows:


Aaron Halim