by Dr. Brad Black
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A while back, I did a blog on a word study of, ďI amĒ and I got a lot of positive feedback on it so I thought I would do another word study on one of my favorite words, ďRockĒ
First, in the Bible letís see what the Rock represents. Look at Matt. 16:13-18
13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Jesus asks His disciples who they believe He is. Peter answers that Jesus is the Christ, which is Greek for Messiah. Messiah is a Hebrew word. Then, Jesus answers very interestingly, He says to Peter, (which is Hebrew for rock), I will build my church on this rock. This has a double meaning; the first meaning is that Jesus will build his church on Peter. This is shown in the book of Acts in the early church where Peter is the leader who gets the early church going. The second meaning is the one that most people miss, and may be the most important. That is that Jesus is the rock. Jesus is the Messiah and this fact is what the church is built on. The whole basis of the church is that Jesus is the Messiah who came save the world, and without HIM, there is no church.
It is even clearer that Jesus is the rock in 1 Cor. 10:3-4.
1 Corinthians 10:3-4 (King James Version)
3And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
This leads me to what I really want to show you about the rock, letís look at the Old Testament where Moses is dealing with the Hebrew people and God tells Moses to strike the rock.
1And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
2Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
3And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
4And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
6Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?
Now several years later, when they are getting ready to go up to the land of Israel, they come to the same place and again there is no water. God tells Moses to speak to the rock. Look at what Moses does, and what Godís reaction is.
1Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.
2And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
3And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!
4And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
5And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
6And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
7And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
8Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
9And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
11And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
12And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
13This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.
Moses struck the rock twice instead of talking to the rock the second time as God told him. God gives Moses and Aaron a very strong punishment for disobeying. After putting up with the terrible Hebrew people in the dessert for all of the forty years, God will not allow them to enter the Promised Land. It is hard to understand why God is so hard on this mistake and seems to be more forgiving on other mistakes.
Now letís take a closer look at this. If Jesus is the rock, the first time He comes He is whipped and beaten before the crucifixion. The second time Jesus comes, we as Christians will be with Jesus, and we will talk to him face to face. You see, Moses messed up Godís foreshadowing. The rock in the dessert is a foreshadowing of Jesus. Moses was to get water from the rock the first time by striking it, but the second time he came to the rock he was only to talk to it. In seminary, I learned that foreshadowing of Jesus in the Old Testament is called a Type of Christ. I even took a whole class on the Types of Christ. Therefore, the rock is a type of Christ and one of my favorites. Now you see why God punished Moses and Aaron so much is they did not obey and ruined a picture of Christ.
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