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10 And Moses [Moshe] and Aaron [Aharon] gathered the congregation [Kahal ] together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels [morim, contentious ones]; must we fetch you water [mayim] out of this rock?
11 And Moses [Moshe] lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water [mayim] came out abundantly, and the congregation [Edah] drank, and their beasts also.
12 And Yahweh spake unto Moses [Moshe] and Aaron [Aharon], Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify [honour] Me [as kadosh] in the eyes of the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land [Kahal into HaAretz] which I have given them.
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, saying, "Is the Lord among us, or not?"
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.
Having convened them, he addressed them, saying, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And he smote the rock twice; and the water came out abundantly, and they drank " (Numb. 20:10,12; Exod. 17:6). Moses in his indignation smote the rock once too often. in this he exceeded his commission; therefore the Lord said, "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."
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.