REPENTANCE, BELIEF, AND RESTORATION (SALVATION)
EXEMPLIFIED THROUGH THE ROD OF GOD
(Exo 4:1-5) And Moses answered [God] and said [while Moses was attentively standing barefoot near the bush that burned with fire, and was not consumed], But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground [i.e., separate yourself from it]. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent [a symbol of sin; most likely the poisonous cobra, a primary symbol of Egyptian power]; and Moses fled from before it [fled from the threat of it]. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand [the shadow of the Hand ministry: 1 Sam 17:40; Eph 4:11], and caught it [illustrating godly obedience and righteous discernment], and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
1. A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller: The rod was, in fact, an extension of the owner’s own right arm. It stood as a symbol of his strength, his power, his authority in any serious situation. The rod was what he relied on to safeguard both himself and his flock in danger. And it was, furthermore, the instrument he used to discipline and correct any wayward sheep that insisted on wandering away. The rod speaks, therefore, of the spoken Word, the expressed intent, the extended activity of God’s mind and will in dealing with men. It implies the authority of divinity. It carries with it the convicting power and irrefutable impact of “Thus saith the Lord.”
2. (Num 12:3) (Now the man Moses was very meek [Heb: humble], above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
3. (Gal 5:22,23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness [Gk: humbleness], temperance [Gk: self-control]: against such there is no law.
a. repent = Gk: to think differently.
b. Commentary: How does a person exercise self-control? He must “think differently” than he did previously else he will not control or alter the actions of his old self. As a new creature in Christ he must think God’s new thoughts rather than the old thoughts of the old man.
4. “and caught it” = Heb: seized it, was courageous, bound it [as his hand wrapped around it], restrained it, conquered it: prevailed, waxed stronger.
5. Commentary: Please note that the serpent (Gen 3:1) represents sin. Whose rod was it? Moses’ rod, but Moses himself was ultimately an extension of authority and power of God, and the wooden rod an extension upon an extension. Moses’ own sin, when it was seen apart from him, was revealed to him as a deadly serpent. We can only see (understand) our own sin as a deadly serpent when our spiritual eyes are open and we have been imputed for righteousness, i.e., born again spiritual men. The unsaved natural man cannot see his sin as a deadly serpent, because his spiritual eyes are closed, and he does not (cannot) see his sin, nor can he see the serpent, for he himself is the serpent (Eccl 3:18). (The New Found Family group seeks to expose our sin.)
6. Commentary: Through Moses’ obedience and trust (faith) in God, his own sin was miraculously transformed (Rom 12:2: metamorphosed) into a powerful tool, an instrument for God’s use. Soon thereafter this rod was used to trigger the occurrences of the ten plagues upon Egypt. And this same rod of wood (representing mankind) is presently being further transformed into “a rod of iron” of judgment (Psa 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15, i.e., transformed into the Word of God).
7. Commentary: Throughout the dramatic presentation of both of these miracles, rod into serpent and serpent into rod, Pharaoh and the observing Egyptian officials were furiously interpreting (rightfully so when seen through natural eyes) and personally identifying with the writhing serpent thrown to the ground which was the cultural symbol of their supreme power, as they themselves being cast down, subject to and controlled by the meek hand of lowly Moses (“take it by the tail”), and by close extension his God Jehovah, and the Israelites as a nation.
THE DOCTRINE OF RESTORATION ILLUSTRATED: SERPENT TO ROD
(Gen 3:1-4) Now the serpent was more subtle [Heb: cunning (usually in a bad sense): crafty] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Commentary: Let us now turn our attention to the second but “more subtle” (Gen 3:1) miracle, the transforming (Rom 12:2) of the serpent back into a rod. Is there any doubt that this is the “more subtle,” less noticeable of the two miracles? Where have you ever noted talk or commentary of it before? In the Garden of Eden there were only fruit trees “whose seed is in itself” (Gen 1:11). Throughout the Bible, men and women are associated with and symbolized as trees (Psa 1:3, et.al.), and we may therefore safely assume that Adam and Woman also represented trees “whose seed is in itself” but are composed of wood. Moses’ rod was derived from wood, and is thus a symbol of man. Prior to eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Woman were young but pure fruit trees, having not yet produced fruit (or had they already produced a different kind of fruit for the Lord rather than bodies called “fellowship”?).
Commentary: Nevertheless, Adam and Woman heard and heeded the serpent, i.e., they ingested the words of the serpent, physically symbolized by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good (Lucifer) and evil (Satan). By means of this decisive action they disobeyed God and obeyed the serpent, i.e., they prioritized and gave authority (and thus their covering) to the serpent’s words over God’s Word (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exo 20:3) and thereby deserted God by switching their allegiances (syn: loyalty, commitment, faithfulness) and their hearing ear to the serpent. They then themselves became as serpents (Eccl 3:18), having and conforming to serpent thoughts and were no longer welcome inhabitants of Eden (Heb: [God’s] pleasure: delight), but had become alienated strangers at enmity to God, and to His Garden, and to His pleasure, and to His delight.
Commentary: Hence, the wooden rods representing Adam and Woman (and Moses) were transformed by the first miracle into serpents (alas, we now are all born serpents), and then by the second wonderful miracle the serpents were transformed or restored back into rods (with incalculably more Holy Ghost power, e.g., from wood into iron, but much more), which symbolizes their salvation and restoration back into the Garden of Eden, but now as orderly and godly rods, “who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14b), being found proficient skillful soldiers eternally fixed in ordained service to our loving and mighty God.