QUESTION: Matthew 10:16‑17, serpents, men?
ANSWER: Behold I send ye forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver ye up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. These are serpent men, beware of the Jews they have the synagogues. Jesus is making this clear to His disciples. When He said: I send you forth as sheep among wolves, He is already telling you what kind of men to look out for. Sheep is the symbol of Israel, and the sheep of His pasture, His Household and race.
So He says: I send you forth as sheep among wolves, these workers for Lucifer, Lucifer’s helpers. And then He goes on: Be ye just as wise as the serpents and as harmless as doves. In other words be diplomatic, be careful, but beware of these men who move up to you and say, come into our council. Don’t let them persuade us, don’t be taken in by them, because if you do they will deliver you up to their synagogues and scourge you. But you will be brought before governors, and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the nations they control, see? So when they deliver you up, don’t worry about what you are to say, for in the same hour this shall be given you as to what you are to say. For it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaks in you.
This was the disciples He was talking to who were farmers, fishermen, doctors, tax collectors, they filled all these walks of life, and although they had challenge in the ministry they had not been endued with the force which would charge them and bring all things to their remembrance. So they were naturally a little bit disturbed as to how it would be if they got into a tight spot, so Jesus told them who to be careful of and if they got in a spot they would be given the things to say. And that Spirit of the Father was in them so they would say the right things. This was so they wouldn’t be apprehensive as to what would happen, in such a spot.