Rock of Ages


Brother Royce Ellis

First Corinthians 10 tells us that Christ was the Rock that followed the Jews throughout the wilderness as they fled Egypt’s bondage. 

Although not named in the Old Testament, Paul makes it clear that when the Israelites were disobedient in the desert, it was Christ whom they tempted. (1 Co 10).  God had before told them He would have a presence among them.  Exodus 23:20-21 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.  :21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.

The theme of Christ as a Rock, or more importantly, the Rock, runs throughout scripture. We are familiar with the story of Moses smiting the rock to bring forth water.  Christ was represented by that Rock, and Moses was prevented from entering the Promised Land for striking it the second time, when he had been instructed to ‘speak to the rock.’ (Num 20:8)

Jacob rested his head on stones and dreamed of a ladder with angels ascending and descending.  (Gen 28:12-18 ) He made the rock into an altar and memorial.

In Judges 13, after a visit and follow up from an angel, Manoah and his barren wife were instructed in the manner in which they were to raise their future son, Samson. The angel foretold the coming child.  Although Manoah didn’t realize he was speaking with an angel, he implored the messenger to break bread with them.

Jdg 13:16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.  :17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?  :18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?  :19  So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.  :20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.

Manoah desired to name the future child after the visitor, but the Angel prevented it.  We would not be out of line suggesting this angel is a theophany, an Old Testament appearance of Christ.  Manoah is given a preview of the bodily sacrifice Christ would make under the fiery judgment, on this altar, going up to God as a sweet savor for his people.  Surely this is a foretelling of his offering to God in Hebrews 10.14.  While Manoah sacrificed a kid goat, Christ stood on this rock as a lamb slain.  We see this rock again in 1 Samuel chapter 6 as the Ark of the Covenant returns from the Philistines.

The Lord delivered the Ark to Joshua’s field, where it was placed on the altar made by Manoah.  It even came with two milchkine for a fresh sacrifice.  The Ark is placed upon the same rock altar, upon which the angel ascended in fire.

Deu 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Deu 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

Deu 32:18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

2Sa 22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

2Sa 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

Psa 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

In the New Testament, Jesus instructs a wise man to build his house upon a rock.  He did likewise. The first time the word church is used in the gospel, Jesus speaks of himself as a rock.  (Mat 16:18)  

From his earthly birth, we find the Rock upon another rock.  Five miles from the Temple in the little town of Bethlehem, there is a building called the Tower of the Fold.  It was near there that the Levitical shepherds tended the sheep and the flock.  In the fall of the year, not yet the birthing time for lambs, they were in the field when they received an angelic announcement.

When lambs were born of this flock, they were immediately wrapped to protect them from trashing about and harming themselves before they could be inspected by the temple priests to ensure there is no spot of blemish on them, making them suitable for Passover sacrifice. They are swaddled and placed in a small bowl rock manger to keep them safe immediately after being born.  When the shepherds heard the good tidings in Luke 2 they understood exactly what the sign they were given was, and where to find the new King.  Only one manger fits that description.  Linguists say the article “a” was used by the King James translators, to smooth the flow of the reading, but the article “the” was more likely and more accurate.

Luk 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a [the] manger.

Luk 23:52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

At his death, He was taken from the cross and laid on a stone (wherein no man was ever laid) and is again swaddled, a perfect lamb that will present Himself to the Father, spotless, as He becomes our high priest forever.

Jhn 20:11But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, :12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Compare this to description of the most holy place:  Exo 37:8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 

On this rock, where his body lay three days and three nights we are left with a final picture of the true mercy seat, with the sprinkling of redeeming blood.

In Genesis, Jacob forecasts the futures of the twelve tribes of Israel as he blesses his sons, and says of Joseph - a figure of Christ: Gen 49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

Christ our rock came into this world as a spotless lamb, swaddled and placed on a rock, destined to be a shepherd.  He led His people and died under God’s fiery judgment which should have been on us.  He was again swaddled and placed on a rock, the mercy seat, as a spotless sacrifice, who became the High priest that today intercedes for us.

Peter, in speaking of Jesus says: To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 1Pe 2:4-8.