365 Prophecies: Prophecy 52
The Messiah shall be referred to as “The Rock.”
Old Testament Prediction:
2 Samuel 23:3 “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
1 Corinthians 10:4 “and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
In Prophecy 28, we first learned of Israel’s encounter with the Rock in the desert:
Exodus 17:6 “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
As the Rock is struck, water flows out to quench the thirst of those who drink from it, giving them life.
It is not until we arrive at the New Testament Book of 1 Corinthians that Paul tells us that this rock in the desert which was struck was really Jesus Christ:
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
Jesus would be struck only once for our sins. Any person who comes to Him in confession of those sins has the assurance that all his record of wrong has been removed, and a new life has begun.
Hebrews 10:12 But this Man (Jesus Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…
On this second occasion before the Rock, the people have been wandering in the desert for 38 years because of their constant complaining. A journey from Egypt to Canaan which should have only taken 11 days has taken nearly 40 years. As a new generation of people return to the Rock, they are instructed to simply speak and water will flow out to quench their thirst.
Numbers 20:7-12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
The location for the Rock at Horeb near the campsite of the children of Israel.
A closeup of the Rock at Horeb, showing the split from where the water flowed out and then down into the camp of Israel below.
The problem for Moses with this second generation of people before the Rock is their constant complaining.
“Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod…
The Rock represents the Messiah who would be struck once for our sins; thereafter, all that we must do is speak to Him and He will provide all that we need. We learned in Prophecy 28 that because Moses misrepresented the Lord here before the people, God forbids him from entering the promised land. By striking the Rock a second time, Moses changes the meaning of the Messiah being struck only once for our sins and distorts the plan of salvation that was to be understood by this Old Testament illustration. The entire purpose of the Old Testament is to give us a basis for understanding the future salvation that God promised through the Messiah. Jesus told the leaders of Israel that what Moses wrote concerning the scriptures, was all about Him.
John 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. (ESV)
The Rock in the desert typified the coming Messiah. Only once would the Savior of the world be required to atone for our sins. Since Jesus has died once for the sins of every person, there is no further sacrifice or work that is required.
From Moses error and the penalty that he suffered, we understand how important it is to properly represent the Lord and His plan of salvation to other people. If we imply that a person must perform a certain work or ritual in an effort to make themselves acceptable to God, instead of simply coming through the sacrifice that Jesus has already made for us, this is a misrepresentation of God’s salvation. If we imply that God is impatient, hateful, spiteful, or full of vengeance instead of loving, patient and kind towards people, we have misrepresented Him.
As a result of his error, Moses will die in the desert and not be permitted to enter the land that the Lord has promised His people.
Numbers 20:24 Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for Moses shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.
Later in the New Testament, Paul comments on those who complained against the Lord, as well as Moses who misrepresented the Lord; that they could not enter the rest the Lord planned for them because of their disobedience.
Hebrews 3:18 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (ESV)
We also learn by this 52nd prophecy that the title of “Rock” as it is attributed to the Messiah, came from the example of this Rock that was struck in the desert.
The entire generation who came to this Rock 38 years before, has already died in the desert. This new generation has a second opportunity to trust the Lord and enter into the land. Unfortunately, this generation also complains against the Lord, causing Moses to become angry and forfeit his opportunity to enter into the land that God promised.
The importance of believing what God has said and responding to it accordingly, as well as correctly representing Him and the salvation He offers, is of great importance. Despite the error of Moses and the people who came to this rock the second time, if we carefully examine the Old Testament account of these failures we notice the incredible grace of the Lord.
• There is no mention by God of the previous sins which took place when the former generation came to this rock, after much complaining. Even in the midst of all of their failures, the Lord does not bring up their past sins.
• When Jesus forgave you, He buried your sins in the depth of the sea, and they will never be heard from again. This is why we should not dig up our past mistakes, dwell on them, or revisit them ever again.
• These were God’s chosen people, but they never lived up to their true potential. Let us make sure that we enter into all that the Lord has planned for us by trusting Him.
• We have been called to serve the Lord. If we will not believe what He has said and begin to submit our lives, our time, our family and our finances to His Lordship, then we are not living up to the full potential that is available to us.
Numbers 20:4-5 Did you bring the Lord’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? this land has no grain, figs, grapes, or pomegranates. and there is no water to drink!
One of the benefits of studying history is that we can discover the mistakes of former generations and not repeat them. Apparently the children of those who formerly complained against the Lord after He delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh, were not paying attention. Repeating the error of those who died in the desert, this new generation also grumbles against the Lord.
These children of those who were formerly disobedient, were too young to remember the hardships their parents went through when they lived as slaves in Egypt for 400 years. Apparently, the parents of this new generation did not teach their sons and daughters to trust the Lord and warn them not to repeat the same mistakes that they had made.
If we fail to teach our children about our past mistakes in serving the Lord and what we learned from Him through those experiences, then they very well may repeat some of the same errors that we have made. Many parents are ashamed to admit past mistakes to their children for fear of appearing weak or foolish. In reality, the lessons that we teach our kids from our past mistakes will be treasured reminders that they will likely never forget.
Numbers 20:6 Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground. then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them…
Notice here that on each occasion when the people begin to complain against the Lord, Moses’ response was to fall on his face before God. As he and Aaron lay prostrate, the Glorious presence of the Lord appears. What was it like to see the Lord’s Glory right before their eyes? One of the promises of God is that all of us who love Him will someday see Him in all of His bright shining glory. When we are taken from this earth at the Rapture, we will be gathered before the Lord in our glorified bodies. All around the throne of God in heaven, we will each fall on our faces before the Lord in worship. When we look up, we will see Him in all of His resplendent glory. The light of His presence will fill heaven, and we will see even more of God’s glory than what Moses saw here in this description from the Book of Numbers Chapter 20.
The people whom Moses has been leading through the desert have once again failed to trust in the Lord. Moses is sick at heart, and he has grown weary of their constant murmuring. The Lord patiently instructed Moses to go before the Rock and speak to it. Moses’ anger spills over into his actions and he does not speak to the rock, He takes his staff and strikes it twice.
We can never please the Lord when we refuse to trust Him. When we complain about our lives after having surrendered them to Jesus, it is a slap in His face to grumble against the way He leads us. All of our trials are really intended to bring us to a place where we will make a decision whether or not we are going to trust Him. Instead of doubts and complaining, perhaps we should remember that He does love us and always has our interest at heart. Remember that the Lord is more interested in developing your character than your comfort. Trials, difficulties and suffering will always benefit us in a positive way, if we view them as a loving part of His plan to develop our character.
Character is who we are when under trials.
When we are in a time of difficulty, on many occasions we are at our worst. Instead, those moments should allow the inner person who is becoming more and more like Jesus to shine forth in patience, grace and trust towards the Lord. A good and patient bearing of all life’s’ problems because we trust in the Lord, is a sure sign that we have fully committed ourselves to His will and believe that He has a good plan intended for us.
One of the ways that we can develop a change in our attitude when things start to go wrong is to add up all the wonderful blessings that we have in our life presently. As we realize that the Lord has been faithful to provide all that we have needed in the past, we will understand that He will also be there to take care of our future. We should thank and praise the Lord for the people and material blessings that we have already been able to enjoy. When we do, very quickly our attitude towards our present suffering will change, as we consider that the Lord will also take us through our present difficulties and remain faithful.
Moses’ failure at the Rock is intended as an encouragement for us.
Despite Moses’ failure, God will not fail His people. Even though the instruments that the Lord often uses are subject to defect and failure, He still wants to use men and women to serve Him and tell others about His love for them. Every person who serves the Lord will, at one time or another, fail Him. I have done so, many times. I have hurt people, disappointed them, and made mistakes which caused suffering to my dear friend to whom I was trying to love and serve. For all those mistakes and pain I caused, I am truly sorry. I am a defective instrument in the hands of a great and merciful God. I am always amazed that He would use a man like me to do anything for Him. The reality is that He does use us and will continue to use us even when we fail Him and others, as long as we recognize our errors, repent from our sins, and come back and serve the Lord again with all of our heart.
Numbers 20:12 but the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”
It is important to notice that although Moses did not follow the Lord’s instructions to speak to the Rock, water still flowed out and met the people’s need. Pastors and Bible teachers are not perfect men and they are not perfect teachers. On some occasions, we fail to teach what we should. On other occasions, we say too much. Other times, we teach things which are more our opinion rather than what God has said. Still the Lord will bless His word as it goes out to the people, and the water of that word will refresh and cause growth in those who come to hear it. Even when the word of God is not perfectly delivered, God will bless the attempts of men who try to do their best. The problem today is not that the word of God is always delivered perfectly but that it is not delivered at all. Pastors are not teaching the people the full counsel of God’s word, from Genesis to Revelation. They are teaching positive and motivational sermons which have very little to do with the word of God. As a result, the people do not know what God has to say to them and their lives are handicapped by a lack of the word of God.
Finally, the point of this exercise in Numbers 20 is that the Rock that Moses struck, when he should have spoken, was intended to be a representation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, as He is revealed in the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 10:1-5 …For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
Whatever your need might be today, because Jesus is the Rock of our salvation who was struck once for our sins, He has fully paid for those sins. All that you must do today is come to Him and speak to Him. Ask anything of the Lord and you will find that He always has time for you and cares deeply for you and your life. Jesus will be as the waters of Meribah which flowed from the Rock at Horeb. He will fill you, refresh you and cause your joy to overflow to all those around you. Jesus is the Rock of the Old Testament, prophecy number 52.
 Graphic Illustration by Rob Robinson