Have you struck the Rock twice?
By Brother Mike (10-25-18; 30 minutes)
In this message, I ask the question, have you struck the rock twice? I say this because we will be looking into Numbers 20:1-13 in which we find an account wherein Moses was commanded to speak to a rock, and as he did, Yahweh would bring forth water from this rock to quench the thirst of His people in the dry wilderness. But, instead of speaking to the rock as commanded, Moses strikes the rock twice, and this disobedience results in his not being permitted into the promised land. Most of us probably know the meaning to the literal historical account, namely that Moses got angry over the complaining of the Israelites about having no water, so Moses in his anger and frustration with the Israelites disobeyed the Lord, and did not speak to the rock as commanded, but he struck the rock twice with his rod. But, what could all this be teaching us today? Is there more to this account than what meets the eye? Why did Moses strike the rock twice instead of once or more times? And, why was Moses so severely punished for what seems to be a simple mistake in anger?
These questions and more will be answered in this message. May our Lord, Jesus Christ, open our eyes to this very interesting account as we begin by reading the account in Numbers 20:1-13.
There we read,
Then 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
In this account, we find that the children of Israel became angry with Moses and Aaron who were their leaders because they had been led to a place where there was no water to drink. This wasn't the first time that the Israelites had no water, for the children of Israel lacked water in another earlier account in the Bible as well where Moses was instructed by Yahweh to strike a rock with his rod, and when he did, water came forth to satisfy the thirst of the Israelites. We read of this earlier account in Exodus 17:1-7 where we read,
And 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
2 Wherefore 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 ?
3 And 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 ?
4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me .
5 And 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 .
6 Behold, 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 .
7 And 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 ?
So, the Israelites should have known that Yahweh could easily bring forth water through Moses to satisfy their needs because He had done it before, and they should have simply requested it from Yahweh and Moses. Instead, they were angry with Moses and rebuked and reproved Moses and Aaron for having brought them out into the wilderness where there was no water. They said,
Numbers 20:3 . . .
Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD
4 And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there ?
5 And 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 .
So, the Israelites complained and rebuked their leader Moses for having led them in the way that he did.
But, what does all this have to do with us today? Well, plenty: Have you ever gotten to the point of being frustrated with God as the Israelites had because of how he has led your life? Have you ever just gotten tired of waiting for the return of the Lord because He seems to always delay His coming? Or, perhaps you are just sick and tired of God because He never seems to answer your prayers. Or, perhaps, you have become fed up with Christ because He just keeps leading you from one tribulation to another, or because He just keeps stacking upon you many hardships? Perhaps, like the Israelites, you find yourself complaining to Christ because He has led you to a place where there seems to be no spiritual water. I mean, He has led you into Judgment Day where no more eternal salvation is possible. Have you just had enough as you find yourself virtually rebuking Christ because He hasn't yet returned to put an end to your misery? I am sure that if we are honest, we have all had times wherein we were angry with God for one reason or another, and we have cried out to Him, Why have you led me in this way?
But, in our passage, we find that the Israelites were specifically upset with Moses because there was no water. Even though they had earlier seen Yahweh provide water for them through Moses when Moses had struck the rock at Mount Horeb; nevertheless, they began to complain and reprove Moses because, once again, there was no water. Of course, there always was water if they only requested it from Moses, but, instead of requesting it of Moses, they would rather complain and rebuke Moses for the way that he had led them through the wilderness. This is like we are when instead of going into prayer and supplication to Christ, we rather become angry and argue with our Master about how He has led our lives into a place where there no longer seems to be any words from Him (spiritual water) to quench our spiritual thirst.
Now, what was the cure for not having any water to drink? Well, we read,
And 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
7 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying ,
8 Take 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 .
So, the cure for their lack of water was for Moses to speak to the rock, and then it would bring forth water for the Israelites to drink. Moses was not told to strike the rock as he was told to in the earlier account, but he was told in this later account to speak unto the rock, and the rock would then bring forth all the water that God's people needed to survive in the barren wilderness. And, this is true also for us today: as we find ourselves in this barren wilderness of the world without any water of God's Word to quench our thirst, we are to speak to the rock. And, who is the rock? Why it is Jesus Christ Himself. He is the rock as we read in 1Corinthians 10,
And [the Israelites in the wilderness] did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ
So, as we sojourn in this world, the way that we obtain the waters of God's Word is we speak to the Rock; that is, we speak to Jesus Christ in prayer, and through our prayers, Christ will give us spiritual waters to drink of His Word. We are not to argue and complain to Christ, but we are to speak with Christ and request that He give us fresh water to drink from His Word. And, when we do this, will He give us that fresh water from His Word? Well, let's read what happens when Moses does what the Lord commanded him. We read,
And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him
10 And 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 ?
11 And 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 .
We see, then, that when Moses pled with the Lord to give the people water to drink, the Lord did so. But, what is so interesting is that Moses did not obey the Lord. No, rather he struck the rock twice instead of speaking to the rock. Remember, Yahweh told Moses to speak to the rock, and water would come forth, but Moses disobeyed Yahweh and instead struck the rock twice. Nevertheless, water came gushing forth, which is encouraging to us because it tells us that even if after we have prayed to the Lord for water from His Word that we then go and disobey the Lord, He can still answer our prayer and give us the drink from His Word that we prayed for. Of course, this shouldn't give license for any us to go out and disobey the Lord, but it does reflect the wonderful kindness of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
But, now, why does Moses strike the rock twice? In the literal historical account, we will probably say that he struck the rock twice because his anger with the people got the better of him, and so He didn't pay careful attention to what the Lord had instructed him, namely to speak to the rock, but instead he struck the rock twice in anger.
Yet, there is a deeper spiritual meaning to this account. Remember, the rock is a picture of Jesus Christ Himself. So, what is the striking of the rock a picture of? We read in Matthew 26:31 when Jesus was in the garden of gethsemane with His disciples just before He was taken to be crucified,
Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite [strike] the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad
And, again, we read the same thing in Mark 14,
And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite [strike] the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered
Now, this reference to smiting the shepherd is referring to Christ being smitten or struck for the sins of His people. So, the striking of the Rock (Christ) by Moses in our account is a picture of Christ being stricken by God for the sins of His people Israel. This means that in the earlier account when Moses obeyed the Lord and struck the rock once, it was a picture of the atonement in 33 AD when Christ died or was struck for the sins of His people on the cross. The result was that the waters of the gospel sprung forth to the elect in the wilderness of this world. But, in the later account when Moses disobeyed the Lord and struck the rock twice, it was saying that the atonement in 33 AD was not sufficient to pay for the sins of the elect, so Christ had to be struck or die for the elect twice. Thus, the rock was struck twice. And, now, we can understand why Moses was instructed in the later account to speak to the rock instead of to strike the rock: it was because the Rock (Christ) had already been struck for the sins of the elect in the earlier account, and, so, the Rock (Christ) didn't need to be struck again for the sins of the elect, for the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross in 33 AD was sufficient to pay for the sins God's people. But, all that now needed to be done to bring forth the waters of God's Word was to speak to the Rock (Christ) in prayer, and the waters of Yahweh's Word would gush out in abundance to His people. It was not necessary to strike the rock again, and, thus, Yahweh instructed Moses to simply speak to the rock.
But, the sad commentary is that Moses did not obey the Lord to speak to the rock, but he struck the rock twice. This is a picture of those who today say that Christ had to die or be stricken twice for His elect. Once at or before the foundation of the world, and once again on the cross in 33 AD as a demonstration of what He did at or before the foundation of the world. These are those who, like Moses, do not see that the atonement of Christ in 33 AD on the cross was all sufficient, so they have created their own gospel which says that Christ had to have died twice. Once for the sins of His people at or before the foundation of the world, and once as a demonstration in 33 AD on the cross. This striking of the Rock twice is a completely different gospel than the one that says that Christ, the Rock, only had to be struck once (see
The demonstration gospel is a false gospel
We read of Moses's punishment in verse 12 of our account in Numbers 20. It reads,
And 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
In other words, neither Moses nor Aaron were permitted into the promised land. And, this is exactly what will be the punishment of those who follow the false demonstration gospel. They will not be permitted into the promised land, and the promise land, in this case, is heaven, which means that those who teach and follow the gospel that says that Christ paid for sins at or before the foundation of the world, and that He merely demonstrated this in 33 AD on the cross, will not go to heaven because what they are teaching is a false gospel. It does not recognize that the atonement for our sins in 33 AD on the cross was all sufficient to pay for the sins of God's elect. No, rather, they say that Christ had to die or be struck twice. Once for sins at or before the foundation of the world, and once again on the cross in 33 AD as a demonstration of what had happened earlier at or before the foundation of the world. And, so, we now know why Moses received such a harsh punishment for something that just seemed like a simple mistake in anger. It was because the striking of the Rock (Christ) twice was a picture of following a false gospel. And, the following of a false gospel cannot save, but it can only condemn those who follow it to death. And, so, all those who today follow the demonstration gospel are destined for death without ever being permitted to see the promised land. They do not have eternal life; they do not follow the true Christ who once and for all paid for sins on the cross in 33 AD, but they follow a false Christ who they imagine paid for sins at or before the foundation of the world, and who they think but demonstrated all this on the cross in 33 AD. For a further refutation of this false gospel, I encourage you to click on each of the following links and take the time to carefully read each study (what you believe with respect to this doctrine is more important than you think):
The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World
Christ died for sin in 33 AD; not before the world
When Did Christ Die For Sin?
The phrase, from the foundation of the world . . .
Could you be going after strange flesh
The Final Test ,
God Cannot Lie! ,
Without shedding of blood is no remission of sin .
Now, in conclusion, I must ask the question again, have you, like Moses, struck the rock twice? I mean, do you believe that Christ had to be struck twice: Once at or before the foundation of the world for sins, and once in 33 AD on the cross as a demonstration? If so, then scripture reveals your fate. You will not be permitted into heaven, the promised land, but you will die outside of heaven on the relatively soon to come Last Day of Judgment Day in which we now find ourselves when you will be brought forth (whether you have already passed on, or whether you will still remain) to be condemned to eternal death in the fires of eternal destruction. But, on the other hand, if you have only struck the rock once; that is, you believe that Christ was struck only once for our sins on the cross in 33 AD, and now all you must do to access the waters from the Rock is speak to Him, then you can expect to enter the promised land, heaven, and you will never die because you have eternal life through the faith of Jesus Christ which was granted to us.
Now, to the true elect of Yahweh, may the LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace .