Nehushtan (Hebrew, NChShThN, “brass object”) is the serpent of brass made by Moses and placed on a pole (Numbers 21:8-9) to cure the Israelites of the venomous bites of the fiery serpents in the wilderness. The word Nehushtah “thing of brass” contains a Hebrew pun, the first three letters, NChSh, mean “serpent” and the final two, ThN, mean “dragon.”
In Christian interpretation, the lifting up of the brass serpent on a pole is generally held to be a prefigurement of Christ, to cure humanity from the “snakebite” of original sin. By Hebrew gematria there is some basis for this assumption, the numerical value of MShICH, “Messiah” and NChSh “serpent” are identical, 358.
During the first and second centuries CE the serpent was worshipped with reverence by the Christian Gnostic sects of the Ophites and Naasseners. These sects worshipped the Biblical serpent of the Garden of Eden that gave knowledge to Adam and Eve. The serpent was considered the hero because he supplied “gnosis” to the first people which God, considered the demiurge, kept from them.
Some magical theorists claim that Nehushtan, the brass serpent, resides in the upper astral plane possesses redemptive powers while Nachash, the serpent of the Tree of Knowledge, resides in the lower astral and possesses negative powers. A.G.H.
Greer, John Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 325