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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:
The thoughts I will share with you today are from my co-authoredbook series Called to Canaan. By way of brief introduction, this is a series of books which applies the journey of ancient Israel, from Egypt to Canaan, with the spiritual journey of the End-time children of God. This connection between literal Israel and the final saints was first explained by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12.
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 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. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12.
When he wrote 1 Corinthians 10:1-12, Paul was not writing to Jews. He was writing to a mixed multitude in Corinth, composed of both Jews and Gentiles who had accepted Yahshua as the Messiah. And this God’s Standard Operating Procedure, for Moses also led a mixed multitude to become the congregation of Israel.
Numbers chapter thirty-three provides the listing of Israel’s forty-two campsites, faithfully recorded by Moses. As 1 Corinthians 10:11 explains, the camp experiences in this list are the tests which the people of God will face in the End of the World.
Everything about this Wilderness Journey, even the numbers, holds great significance. The fact that there were 42 recorded camp locations in the Wilderness is not just an interesting fact, rather it is a message bearing deep spiritual Truths:
- As we have already stated, from Egypt to Canaan, a total of 42 campsites, with their related lessons and tests, are listed by Moses (in Numbers 33).
- Yahweh’s sealing Name, translated into the KJV Bible as “I AM THAT I AM,” is 42 letters long in Hebrew:
אב”ג ית”ץ קר”ע שט”ן נג”ד יכ”ש בט”ר צת”ג חק”ב טנ”ע יג”ל פז”ק שק”ו צי”ת
- Forty-two is also the number indicating the duration of the final Antichrist’s reign. Signifying the extreme testing God’s people will face in their confrontation with the Antichrist. (Revelation 11:2; 13:5).Forty-two is made up of 6x7. Six is the number signifying man’s failure and weakness. Seven is the number of God’s perfection and strength. Thus 42 reveals the keys to Sanctification and Victorious Christian living.Two bears came out of the woods and slew forty-two young men, who were showing disrespect to God and His servant Elisha (2 Kings 2:24). Thus we see a connection between the number 42 and Divine Judgment.The phrase 'little children' appears forty-two times in the Old Testament, connecting the message of 42 with the process of becoming sons of the living God.Minus the 6 cities of refuge, the tribe of Levi was given 42 cities as part of their inheritance in the land of milk and honey. (Numbers 6 – 7) This reveals a connection between the faithful priesthood and their Heavenly Inheritance.Matthew records 42 patriarchs in the genealogy of Yahshua, connecting 42 with the Everlasting Covenant.“The Life” as referred to in John 14:6, occurs 42 times in Scripture, the first being the record of the angel guarding the way to the Tree of Life. This reveals that 42 signifies everlasting Life, and the steps one takes to regain it.Showing the Covenant, there are 42 lines in each column of Torah text.Being the very heart of the Torah and the root system of all Truth, it is significant that the Torah text known as the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) is 42 words in Hebrew.Psalms 100, a praise to the Creator God’s most exalted Name, contains 42 words.Deepening the connection to the Sealing Message of 42, one must note that there are 42 days between the last day of Unleavened Bread (the time of getting sin out of the life) and Pentecost (the infilling of the Holy Spirit, or the Latter Rain, and the final Sealing).The deceiver tries to mimic the significant things of Yahweh, for we see that Balaam offered 42 sacrifices trying to curse Israel (Num. 23:1, 14, 29). However, it is notable that Israel could not be cursed by the 42 – signifying God’s eternal blessing and Covenant.Forty two is connected with Light, specifically being the Light of the World. We see this in that it is the sum of the Menorah parts (knobs, flowers, and branches) Ex. 25:31-40.
Being these things in mind, let's turn our attention to the Bible reading in Exodus for today. As we have seen, Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan involved staying in 42 campsites (listed in Numbers 33). In our Bible reading today, we read about Elim and Rephidim. Alush, which was listed in Numbers 33, is unmentioned here in the Exodus account. For today, I'd like to focus on Rephidim. This was the place where Israel camped when water flowed from the rock.
Only a hint of detail regarding the spiritual lessons of this tenth campsite (since leaving Egypt), is recorded in Numbers Chapter thirty-three. But, the lessons and experiences of Israel, which took place at the camp of Rephidim, are some of the most important in their wilderness journey. For this reason, the abbreviated account in Numbers is greatly enhanced by the details found in Exodus Chapter Seventeen.
And all the congregation of the Children of Israel… 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... 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? Exodus 17:1-7.
True physical thirst is not a pleasant experience. Dehydration can be painful... Extreme thirst may produce such symptoms as headaches, muscle cramps, a sudden episode of visual “snow,” decreased blood pressure, dry mouth and thick saliva, and dizziness or fainting when standing up. Some hallucinate; some have seizures. Untreated, dehydration generally results in delirium, unconsciousness, swelling of the tongue and in extreme cases death. People over fifty are most susceptible to dehydration symptoms, since the sense of thirst diminishes with age.
Having passed through the mere discomfort of thirst in Alush, by Rephidim the need for water had reached a fevered pitch. Throughout the camp, could be found misery, uncertainty, the bellowing of cattle, the sobs of children, the curses of strong men, and the complaining of the worried women. The joys of Pi Hahiroth, Etham and Dophkah were long forgotten. Gone also, with the good times and victories, was the spirit of patience and praise. Yet, it is especially in times of trial that we are most instructed to rejoice.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations: Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience, But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing, James 1:2-4
To review the events which took place while Israel camped at Rephidim, read the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of Exodus. As the Scriptures plainly record, Rephidim was a place of chaos, bitterness, and rowdiness.
While this chaos was overtly caused by dehydration, in truth thirst was only the catalyst. Thebacksliding, faithlessness, and murderous thoughts, (Exodus 17:4), manifested at Rephidim were rooted in self-absorbed rebellion and in a lack of submission and trust toward Yahweh.
Moses was burdened and deeply troubled. Seeking to meet the people’s angry demands, he walked with the elders out of the camp looking for water, and asking Yahweh for direction. The Heavenly Father revealed to him a large rock near Mount Horeb. Moses assembled the elders and struck the rock, and water gushed out, (Exodus 17:6). This was no small miracle. For the volume of water which sprang from this rock had to fill a moderate lake, or it never could have assuaged the thirst of a few million people and their livestock.
Actually, the idea of striking a rock in order to release water isn’t as foreign as it may sound. The late archaeologist, Michael Blaine, after traveling extensively through this area, noted that the native Bedouins use a similar technique to find water. Calcium deposits form over the places where water has been, as the moisture from the last rain disappears. By striking the calcium crust, which has formed over the water source, it can be broken away. This allows the water below the crust to flow again, making it appear that striking the rock has produced water, when actually the strike merely released it.
But, as archaeological evidence amply proves, the miracle in Rephidim cannot be explained by the Bedouin rock-striking technique.
The Bedouin technique simply allowed water from an underground spring to flow again, which formerly flowed through a crack in the rock. But, the water Yahweh provided at Rephidim didn’t flow through the rock, having been sourced from a hidden spring. It flowed from the rock, itself, as it says in Exodus 17:6:
"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."
|The Rock of Rephidim is massive - the lower area here would have held the water - enough for 2 million people and cattle|
|Close up of the huge rock - notice the split doesn't go all the way down!|
Ron Wyatt, of Wyatt Archaeological Research, located the rock Moses struck at Rephidim (pictured above and on the left). Documented in Wyatt's visits to Jebel el Lawz, in the 1980’s, and later by Jim and Penny Caldwell, in 1992; there is compelling evidence to support Wyatt’s claim that this is indeed the Rock Yahweh used to provide water for the multitude. First, the rock is monumental in size, standing nearly six stories tall upon a two-hundred foot tall mount. It is located near Rephidim at the foot of Mount Horeb. As the pictures reveal, it is split through the middle, yet the split does not fully cleave the rock in half. It is still joined at the base, lest anyone question whether the water actually came from the rock itself.
“Water is a symbol of the Water of Life, (representing) the Spirit’s life-giving work in the heart and soul. ”
|The Altar stones of Jehovah-nissi still stand, which Moses erected at Rephidim|
About 200 yards from this rock, stands an altar constructed of stones. This is also consistent with the Exodus record of what took place at Rephidim.
“And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi,” Exodus 17:15.
This region also features a plain, large enough to accommodate a battle. But, let us not get too far ahead of our story. First, we will delve into the spiritual significance of the water having flowed from a rock.
Water, here, is a symbol of the Water of Life, which is representative of the Spirit’s life-giving work in the heart and soul. The Children of Israel were physically thirsty, but their spiritual need for Living Water was even greater. Having been reduced to backbiting, rebellion, and murderous rage; the people amply revealed the harsh dryness of their own spiritual condition. This deeper thirst could not be quenched by any water to be found in the world around them.
One must note with a bit of irony that Yahweh chose to bring water, symbolic of life, from a rock. Evolutionists teach that all life on earth came from the earth itself. In other words, they claim life came from a rock. Yet, in making this claim, they have failed to reverence and worship the right “Rock.” Yahshua is the only true Rock, from which the Water of Life can flow. Nothing else will substitute. There is no Source of Life, other than Yahshua, the true Rock.
“From Messiah, the stricken Rock , flows water to bring life and strength to repentant sinners.”
“Surely He (Yahshua) hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:4-5.
It is out of His mercy, rather than any merits of our own, that Yahweh provides the water. That same, Life-giving water, which, in symbol, flowed from the riven Side of the Saviour – the Lamb of God, is still available to the spiritually thirsty today. Yahweh is faithful to provide for our needs, just as He has promised. Literally and figuratively, we serve the One Who fills even the harshest deserts with pools of Living Water.
“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I the LORD, will hear them; I the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water,” Isaiah 41:17.