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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

The Smitten Rock

Art Sadlier

From Sound the Trumpet!, January 2014

Speaking of Israel in the wilderness Paul said in I Corinthians 10:4, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." The rock that brought forth water in the wilderness, when it was smitten by Moses; was a symbol or a type of Christ. It foretold the smiting of Christ on the cross by which the water of life would be offered to the whole world.

Early in their wilderness wanderings Israel came to Rephidim where there was no water. The people murmured against Moses and God spoke to Moses in Exodus 17:6, "Behold, 1 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." The beautiful type was given.

Much later in their wanderings Israel came to Kadesh. Again there was no water and again Israel murmured against Moses. Moses and Aaron went to the Tabernacle to seek from the Lord what they should do. Again God was quick to answer Moses, we read in Numbers 20:8, "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."

This time the command was not to strike the Rock but to speak to the Rock. We have here a beautiful type of Christ's death on the cross. Christ was only to be smitten once, He was to make one sacrifice for sin. "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." (Hebrews 10:12)

Today, the Roman Catholic Church sacrifices Christ in the Mass every week. They crucify Christ over and over again. This destroys the gospel message concerning the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice. It prevents people from trusting in the sufficiency Christ to save them.

The Lord was greatly displeased with Moses when he struck the rock, "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." (Num. 20:12) Moses had destroyed the type of Christ's death on the cross. The life of Moses was not without sin and every time he sinned God was quick to forgive the penitent man.

But this time there is a new element in his sin, the type of Christ's death was very precious to God and Moses had violated it. The Lord was bound to confirm His commitment to His plan of salvation. Although Moses was forgiven the Lord would drive home His commitment to His plan and so He made it clear that Moses would not bring Israel into the Promised Land.

Moses had spent 40 years in anticipation of that moment but now it was denied to him. Moses lost a blessing that could never be restored in this life.

There is no sin that will not be forgiven to the penitent believer. David said, "... a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:17)

The Lord actually delights in a contrite spirit, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)

There are some sins that, although they are forgiven, result in a loss of blessing in this life, a blessing that cannot be restored. Moses experienced that.

I think of two other types which are given to display great truth about our Saviour's death, types we need to be very careful not to violate.

One is the Lord's Table. We read about temporal judgment on those who violate this pattern. "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (I Corinthians 11:28-30)

Another is the marriage ceremony. In the marriage ceremony the Bride is a type of the Church. Literally she is presented to her husband as a chaste virgin, the Jewish man would not accept her if she was not a virgin. In this type, the Bride is a picture of the church as a chaste virgin being presented to Christ, her bridegroom. In the marriage supper of the Lamb the Bride is adorned in fine linen, clean and white as a symbol of the imputed righteousness of Christ and as a symbol of the practical righteousness produced in the believer's life by the Holy Spirit.

Only a pure Bride is acceptable to Christ. She is to be covered, even to the point of wearing veil; nothing of the flesh is to be seen in the presence of the heavenly Bridegroom at the marriage supper. This is the type to be seen in the believer's marriage. The marriage of the believer is a type that is precious to God.

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:7-9)

Types and patterns are important to God even in the New Testament era as seen in the Lord's Supper. One can hardly expect the blessing of God on the marriage where this ignored.

Obedience is the source of blessing.