THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST
Leslie M. John
”And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (1 Corinthians 10:4-6)
Writing to Corinthians Apostle Paul says to them that they should not be ignorant that the children of Israel, during the period of Moses, passed under the cloud, and passed through the Red sea, which signified that they were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ.
It was when the children of Israel were redeemed from the bondage of slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt that they had their physical deliverance. Except for their doubting nature, and rebellion, they could have entered the Promised Land very quickly after coming out of Egypt; but because they murmured against the LORD again and again, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years.
The children of Israel left wilderness of ”Sin” and came to Rephidim, where there was no water for them to drink. They, who were slaves under Pharaoh for four hundred years, murmured against God. They chided with Moses and demanded water to drink. When Moses asked them as to why they were tempting the LORD, they in their thirst, retorted asking if he brought them from out of Egypt to kill them, their children and their cattle with thirst.
Moses was deeply distressed and cried to the Lord to help him know as to what he should do to the children of Israel, who were ready to stone him. The LORD answered and said to him to take with him the elders of Israel and his rod that he used to smite the river in order to turn the waters into blood, and go to the rock in Horeb.
The LORD said to Moses to smite the said rock upon which He will stand and water will come out of it that the people may drink. Moses obeyed the LORD in the sight of the elders of Israel. Thus the children of Israel drank water from the rock. Moses called the place ”Massah” ( which means temptation), and ”Meribah” (which means chiding or strife), because the children of Israel tempted the LORD and doubted if He was there among them or not (cf. Exodus 17:1-7)
A similar situation occurred when the children of Israel dwelt in Kadesh in the desert of ”Zin”, where there was no water. They gathered together and strove with Moses and Aaron and questioned if God wanted that they die in the wilderness just as their fathers died in Egypt when they were slaves. They also questioned Moses and Aaron as to why they brought them out of the land of Egypt if their desire was not to see that their cattle die? They called the place as ”evil place” and said the place had neither seed, nor figs, or vines, or pomegranates, or water to drink.
The glory of the LORD appeared to them there and the LORD spoke to Moses when Moses and Aaron went out unto the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation and fell prostrate before the LORD. The LORD said to him to take his rod, which he used for turning the river water into blood, and gather the children of Israel and Aaron, and speak to the rock before their eyes. The LORD said that the rock will give forth his water, and that Moses shall bring forth the water out of the rock and give them and their cattle to drink.
As commanded by God Moses took the rod from before the LORD. He and Aaron gathered the children of Israel before the rock and Moses spoke angrily to them and called them ‘rebels’. In his anger he asked them if they should bring forth water from the rock and lifted up his hand and smote it with his rod twice.
No doubt, water came forth abundantly and the congregation and their cattle drank from the rock; but the act of Moses was highly displeasing to the LORD. The LORD knew the needs of His people and provided water to them and their cattle; but the anger of Moses towards the children of Israel seemed to be greater than the displeasure of the LORD towards the children of Israel. God counted the violation by Moses of His command as very serious disobedience.
There was reason why the LORD said to Moses to speak to the rock rather than strike it. First time, when they were at Rephidim the LORD said Moses to smite the rock and it gave water but second time when they were at Kadesh in the desert of Zin the LORD said to Moses to speak to the rock and it will give forth his water; but alas! Moses smote it. That Rock was Christ and He was to be smitten only once, in future, while in his incarnation as Savior. When Moses smote the Rock the Lord, the intended purpose was not shown to the people of Israel and he did not sanctify the LORD in the midst of the children of Israel.
”Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:51)
Later, speaking to Joshua, Moses recollected his error. He said the LORD did not accept his repentance because his disobedience was great and it projected a wrong meaning to the offer that the LORD made. The LORD said to him that he shall not go over Jordan and he should go the top of Pisgah, and lift his eyes in all the four directions and see the land with his eyes. (cf. Numbers 20:8-10; Deuteronomy 3:21-29; 1 Corinthians 10:4, 6)
However, Moses appeared to Peter, James and his brother John at the transfiguration of Lord Jesus and it shows that Moses is in heaven. We have, therefore, enough reason to believe that he will come as one of the two witnesses and bear testimony for the Lord thus completing his unfinished assignment.