182 – THE ROD
Israel was in Egypt for centuries. The people were under a very heavy yoke, for the new king of Egypt had not known Joseph (Ex. 1:7-8). Israel paid heavy duties and built cities under Egypt’s oppression(Ex. 1:11). Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, when he saw the affliction of his people, was determined to deliver them from their terrible bondage. (Ex. 3:7-8). Jehovah chose Moses for this great task, a man that had been adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh, who had received sophisticated instruction in the Egyptian science and art of war. This took place when his mother brought him to the daughter of Pharaoh (Ex. 2:5-10). Moses saw an Egyptian hurt a Hebrew, and killed him to protect his brothers. The news reached Pharaoh, who sought to kill Moses. Moses fled to the land of Midian, and stayed there for forty years. At that time, when he was already eighty years old, Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, in the wilderness, in Horeb, when an angel of Jehovah appeared in the middle of a bush burning with fire, and told him: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them” (Ex. 3:7-8). After Jehovah convinced him to return to Egypt with the great mission, Moses told him: “What if they will not believe me?” (Ex. 4:1). Then Jehovah told him, “‘What is that in your hand?’ And he said, ‘A staff.’ Then he said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But Jehovah said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail’—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand” (Ex. 4:2-4). The rod that Moses used was not a common rod, for Moses performed strange wonders with it. Moses, then, said farewell to his father-in-law, and went back to Egypt. When they took him into the presence of Pharaoh, he demanded the deliverance of Israel, the people of Jehovah. Pharaoh refused. Moses, then, threw his rod on the ground and it turned into a serpent. Pharaoh’s magicians did the same with their enchantments, and their rods became serpents also. But, surprise!!! The rod of Moses devoured their rods. Or better, Aaron and Moses’ serpent devoured the serpents of the magicians of Egypt. Pharaoh, hardened by Jehovah, did not allow the people to depart. The rod of Moses had great power (Ex. 7:10-13).
The power was not Moses’ or Aaron’s, but the rod’s. “Then Jehovah said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over the rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.”’ So Moses and Aaron did even as Jehovah had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood” (Ex. 7:19-20). “Then Jehovah said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.”’ And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt” (Ex. 8: 16-17). “Now Jehovah said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand towards the sky, that hail may fall on the land of Egypt; on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. And Moses stretched out his staff towards the sky, and Jehovah sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth” (Ex. 9:22-24). “Then Jehovah said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt and eat every plant of the land, even all that the hail has left.’ So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and Jehovah directed an east wind on the land all that day and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts” (Ex. 10:12-13).
It is not difficult to see that the power that brought all the plagues on Egypt was not of Moses, but of the rod. Moses did not send the plagues, but the rod of Jehovah worked them all. We read when Moses, in obedience to Jehovah, left the land of Midian to return to Egypt, “So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand” (Ex. 4:20). Jehovah had also said to Moses, “And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform signs” (Ex. 4:17). The rod was of Jehovah, and not of Moses, and the rod performed the plagues and signs, not Moses. In the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, when the earth opened up and all of them went down alive to their sepulcher, Moses declared,“By this you shall know that Jehovah has sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing” (Num. 16:28). There are other passages that declare that the rod was Jehovah’s: (Ex. 17:9; Num. 20:8-9). The power of Jehovah was not in Moses, but in the rod. And the rod of Jehovah was that that struck the rock two times (Num. 21:11). The rod was a picture of Jesus Christ—the Apostle Paul revealed this truth: “And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). Jehovah hurt Christ two times with his rod. The first time was the dishonor (John 1:11; 7:20; 8:48-49; Matt. 12:24). They called Jesus Beelzebub and full of demons. The second time was on the cross when they killed him (Acts 2:36; 5:30). The Romans were not responsible for Jesus’ death, but the princes of the priests incited the people. Paul said: “But we speak God’s wisdom in mystery, the hidden wisdom, which god predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:7-8).
Now that we know who is the Rock that was struck two times, and we know that the rod that struck it is the rod of Jehovah, and that the power of Jehovah is in the rod, let us decipher who is the rod, to disclose the mystery. Let us review the text we mentioned in the beginning, when Jehovah charged Moses with the deliverance of Israel: “And Jehovah said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ And he said, ‘A staff.’ Then he said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But Jehovah said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail’—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand” (Ex. 4:2-4). Satan is the power of Jehovah, and Moses delivered Israel from Egypt with the power of Satan, that is, the serpent, for the rod is Satan. This great revelation gives rest to the hearts of the Christians, for God, the Father, who is love, and who wants to save all men, could not be the author of all those plagues and curses. What makes it complicated is the fact that what is written is that the rod belonged to Jehovah, that is, Satan is not Jehovah’s adversary, but the power of Jehovah is his great instrument(Num. 20:8-9; Ex. 4:20-21; 4:17; Ex. 17:9).
We can now understand with clarity the words of the prophet Amos: “And though they conceals themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, from there I will command the serpent and it will bite them” (Amos 9:3)
There is yet one more thing that offends heaven. It is the irrepressible desire that Christians have to rule on the earth with a rod of iron. Well, know that in Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15, where we read that Christ will rule with a rod of iron, the text has been altered. In the Greek originals we read that Christ will herd as a shepherd. There is no iron rod. The text has been corrupted. (Read the New Testament Interpreted Verse By Verse, by Russell Norman Champlin). To rule with a rod of iron is to rule with the power of Satan.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira