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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 Yahweh?

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?

The people, not yet tamed by the discipline which afterwards subdued them, became unmanageable on the subject. They gathered round Moses and upbraided him...It was not he who had brought them into that predicament, except as an obedient instrument...

But a headstrong people, goaded by want, are impervious to the appeals of reason. Moses did not know what to do in the midst of their turbulence, and in the face of their manifest need of water...

4 And Moses cried unto Yahweh, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

The smiting of The Rock - (cutting off Messiah)

5 And Yahweh 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.

And if Moses had had no other than his own resources, he never could have got out of the difficulty. How can mortal man provide water in an arid wilderness? And how can leadership be maintained in the absence of the commonest wants of nature? As already remarked, the whole affair must have ended in blank disaster if it had been a human enterprise. But it was not a human, but a divine enterprise.

Visible Hand of God Ch 15

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.

Having been baptized into Moses they looked to him for meat and drink. The angel had brought them out by his hand into a waste and howling wilderness, under a promise to give them a land flowing with milk and honey. But after three days the nation found itself without water; and though soon after they found some, it was so bitter they could not drink it. And they murmured against Moses.

The Lord heard them and healed the waters. A month after their departure from Egypt, their provision failed them. Again they murmured against Moses and his prophet; and turned back in their hearts to the land of their affliction. But God heard them, and gave them bread and meat to the full, and continued to them this sustenance for forty years [Ex.16:35], until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan.

One would have supposed that after giving them bread from heaven all their murmurings would have ceased. But when they came to Rephidim and found no water they murmured again, and were ready to stone Moses, and tempted God...

Though the manna still fell, the rebellious-hearted Israelites questioned the presence of the Lord among them! Though tempted, He still bore with them; but yet was angry with Moses for their sakes. He commanded him to go to the rock in Horeb, on the top of which he would take his stand. He was then to smite it, and to speak to the rock before their eyes, that it might give forth water...

These incidents had a secondary import which is found in the antitypes of the forty-second generation. Thousands of Israelites and Gentiles believed the gospel of the kingdom, and were baptized into Christ.

As a whole they constituted "a holy nation" -- a nation within the nation -- which fed upon the true bread of heaven, and drank of the water of life by faith in the things of Christ.

But they were and are still strangers and sojourners in the world, which to them is like the wilderness of Arabia to Israel of the fourth generation. But there have been multitudes in Christ, as there were in Moses, who did run well but were afterwards hindred. They turned back in their hearts to Egypt, loving the present world, and not having faith enough to get the mastery over it.

Now, the apostle likens such to those of the fourth generation who were murmurers, and faithless, and whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, from which they will never arise to enter the land of Israel under Shiloh. "They did all eat the same spiritual meat," says he; "and did all drink the same spititual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was (or represented) 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" (1 Cor. 10:3-6).

Their faith was addressed through sensible objects; ours through written testimony. But for the most part professors look not beyond "the things which are seen and temporal." Whether in Moses, or professedly in Christ, they are mere creatures of sensation, who walk by sight and not by faith.

Let us, reader, not be of this number; but let us rejoice in hope of the promise made to the fathers, though at present it seemeth not to the eye of sense to grow. "If a man eat of this bread (the spiritual) he shall live in the Age (EIS TON AIONA);" and, drinking of the blood of Christ, which is the spiritual drink represented by Horeb's stream, the Rock of Israel will raise him up at the last day to life in the age to come (EIS ZOEN AIONION.) But if, after their example, we love the present world, though we may have believed and obeyed the truth in the beginning, we shall come under the sentence of exclusion from 

"the rest which remains for the people of God."

Elpis Israel 2.4.

The Yahweh nissi altar - He shall be my Ensign

15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Yahweh nissi:

The Altar of Burnt-Offering prefigured the Messiah's Body in sacrificial manifestation.

The idea of an altar of sacrifice representing a personal and divine plurality is frequent in Scripture. Thus, Jacob erected an altar at Shalem, in the land of Canaan, and called it AIL-ELOHAI YISRAAIL, that is, the "Strength of the Mighty Ones of Israel" (Gen. 33:20); and Moses, before the law was given, and in memory of the victory of Joshua over Amalek, "built an altar, and called the name of it YAHWEH-NISSI"; that is,

He shall be my Ensign--

He who was symbolized by the altar (Exod. 17:15; Isa. 11:10, 12; 18:3; 31:9; Zech. 9:16).

This Yahweh-nissi-altar was superseded by an altar overlaid with plates of brass. These plates represented "the flesh of sin" purified by fiery-trial.

Phanerosis - And At His Feet As The Aspect Of Glowing Brass