March 31, 2014
Zechariah 3:8, 9; Exodus 33:18-23
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
This is a conundrum! Here I have been blogging about The Seven-Faceted Stone prophesied in Zechariah 3:8 and 3:9 – seven different ways Jesus is portrayed in scripture as the Stone or the Rock – and now I have found an eighth way He is depicted as such! How can a Seven-Faceted Stone have an eighth facet?!! But this is an important facet of Jesus Christ, and worth the blog to examine it. Once more, here is the scripture from Zechariah 3:8 and 9:
…behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch….For behold, upon the
stone that I have set before Joshua, upon that one stone are seven eyes or
facets….Behold, I will carve upon it its inscription, says the LORD of hosts,
and I will remove the iniquity and guilt of this land in a single day….
And here is the eighth facet derived from Exodus 33:18 through 23…
8. Jesus Christ is Split Rock – the Safe Place to Hide!
…[Moses] said [to the Lord], “Please, show me Your glory.” And He [God]
said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the
name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,
and will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said,
“You cannot see my face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD
said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be,
while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will
cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and
you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.
Moses had just gone through a rough time with the Israelites he was leading to the Promised Land of Canaan. While he was up on Mount Sinai receiving God’s commandments, the people were at the base of the mountain having made an idol of a golden calf. And now they were worshiping this idol in a drunken orgy! Moses had come down the mountain, saw their apostasy, and in anger smashed the table of Ten Commandments to pieces. God’s resulting judgment led to three thousand Jews killed in retribution for their idolatry. Moses needed a fresh vision for the task ahead – if he was to lead the nation to their new homeland! And so he pleaded with God to show him His glory.
God agreed, but for Moses’ own protection, God hid him in the cleft of a split rock, covering him with His hand when He passed by so he would not be overcome and die from being directly confronted with the overpowering glory of God! With God’s hand removed, Moses could only see God’s back, and the reduced glory associated with that view would be survivable.
How does this incident relate to The Rock, Christ Jesus? Since God said “…no [mortal] man can see me and live,” Moses could not look directly upon the face of God. In I Timothy 6:14 through 16, Paul writes, “…our Lord Jesus Christ…is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” Sinful man cannot exist in the direct, glorious and holy presence of God. That sinful nature will be totally destroyed! Since sinful mortal man only has the old sinful nature, he will cease to exist in the presence of God. But if one is born again with a new sinless godly nature, then the old will be destroyed and the new will shine forth forever!
This is the privilege of being a Christian: our new nature can behold God and grow into His likeness more and more. The old nature dies off increasingly as we see the Lord’s glory. The process will be completed as recorded in I John 3:2: “…we know that, when He [Jesus] is revealed, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”
The secret of it all is that just as Moses was hidden and covered in the cleft of the rock, so are we hidden and covered in Jesus Christ. In Him we are given the invitation in Hebrews 4:14 through 16:
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have
not a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in
all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly
to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in
time of need.
We are invited to “…come boldly to the throne of grace…,” into the very presence of God!
Six chapters later, in Hebrews 10:19 through 22, it is written:
…having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and liv-
ing way, which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh; and
having a High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart
in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water.
Only the Jewish high priest could enter the Holiest – or the Holy of Holies – and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement with the blood of the sacrificial animal (see Hebrews 9:7). But the temple veil – that separated off that place in which God’s shekinah glory was one time manifested – was ripped by God Himself from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross (see Matthew 27:50 and 51). Now the way is open into God’s glorious presence – but only if you are hidden in the Rock Christ Jesus!
One more application of Jesus Christ – the Split Rock – the Safe Place to Hide: Nothing can ever happen to the believer outside of the will of God! Until God says it is time for this mortal life to end, we are in all ways safe in Jesus! Yes, hard things can touch us, but it is only by God’s permission, and only for our good and Christian growth! As it says in Deuteronomy 33:27 – one of my favorite verses – “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms….”
So rest securely in the safe arms – the Cleft Rock – of Jesus Christ!