Sunday, March 26, 2017
I have just started reading Exodus and have come to the account of the conversation between Moses and God about going to Egypt to demand the freedom of the Hebrew people.
Moses' shepherding staff caught my eye and I made a note of it in my notes journal. It almost becomes its own character as the story unfolds and it got me thinking that it must symbolize something fundamental, like Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
When I tried to do research, I could find very little evidence to support my theory. Most commentaries note that a staff/rod symbolizes authority or power, but only one gave any hint of it being the Spirit. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary notes that
These miracles especially referred to the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It belonged to Him only, to cast the power of the devil out of the soul, and to heal the soul of the leprosy of sin; and so it was for Him first to cast the devil out of the body, and to heal the leprosy of the body.
So, by this reading, the staff is the embodiment of Jesus. Which makes sense as He is often The Angle of the Lord- sent to interact physically with the world.
Another commentary, DawnBible.com, attributes Aaron as the "Jesus" figure, since he took the Word to Pharaoh and the Hebrew people (since Moses claimed inadequacy). To me, that would make the staff of God/Moses/Aaron the Holy Spirit, since the Spirit is the power used on Earth.
So this blog draft is intended to help me track uses of the staff as I read and collect evidence at each usage...see if I can prove or disprove the theory to myself.
- Exodus 4:2 "What is in your hand?" "A staff."
God then makes the staff into a snake; makes Moses hand leprous, and speaks of making the Nile into blood as the three signs.
The staff-snake eventually eats the Pharaoh snakes, which could symbolize Jesus defeating the devil at Calvary.
It could symbolize the Holy Spirit as the power behind all three signs.
Or I could be seeing patterns where there are none.
- Exodus 4:17 "And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs."
This is what really caught my eye. God had basically told Moses that Moses was going to get Aaron as a mouthpiece, God as his teacher, and the staff for the signs. That puts the staff in rarefied air. Added to the fact that Aaron was supposed to be the Word (Jesus), and Moses was supposed to be "as God" to Aaron, that would make sense that the third part of the Trinity, the Spirit, would be represented by the third item on the list- the staff.
Check back for updates as I read on...
April 24, 2017
I did see the staff throughout Exodus, especially during the 10 plagues, but nothing struck me for adding to this post. He lifted his staff and signs and miracles occurred.
Today, I am readig Exodus, Chapter 14, the parting of the Red Sea. In verse 14:16 say, "And as for you (having just given a message to the people), lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it..." He doesn't say, lift up your staff and I will divide it. The lifting of the staff is the source of the power. To me further evidence of it being the Holy Spirit.
Then it gets really interesting...
In verse 14:19-21
The angel of Lord (which is supposed to be Jesus when the article 'the' is used) and the pillar of the Lord move behind the people (when they had been in front). Then Moses stretched out his hand and the LORD SWEPT BACK THE SEA. Again, to me, Jesus is the Angel of the Lord, the pillar is God--as He has been with them all along--and the Spirit was with Moses and in Moses and in the staff.
Friday, April 28, 2017 (vacation week)
I think I found another passage that proves my theory about Moses' staff being consistently symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
First, the caveat. This deals specifically with Aaron's rod. However, I found several commentaries that say that Aaron's rod and Moses' staff are the same. Either way, even if they are different, to me the staff or rod being the Holy Spirit can be true for both Moses and Aaron, since they performed different functions, but not of their own power and strength.
The Exodus story continues after the Red Sea event with a song of deliverance, immediately followed by whining and complaining about water and food. Don't get me wrong, those are legitimate needs, but come on, what the LORD have to do to prove that He'll take care of you... SO God makes the bitter water sweet at Marah and then introduces manna to train them in the advantages of following the law. Once the pattern is set and the Jews see the benefits of gathering according to the law and disadvantages of disobeying, God tells Moses to collect some manna and save it throughout the generations as a reminder of God's provision. Moses puts this in a jar.
Then, in Hebrews 9:4 we learn that this jar of "golden manna" went into the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, and eventually into the Ark of the Covenant. This Hebrews verse tells us there are three things in the Ark. Care to guess what they are? 1. the manna (Jesus is the bread of life and communion forever ties Jesus to that bread.) 2. The law tablets from Mt. Sinai (which I think we can safely associate with the heavenly Father and the law.) and finally, 3. Aaron's rod. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the power left behind by Christ. Sacred power held in the hands of those humans chosen by God to wield it.
It seems so obvious to me, I'm surprised that I can't find more on the topic...