I heard someone say they thought Moses striking the rock in to get water
in Exodus 17 and then the second time being told to speak to it, was
supposed to be a model of the first and second coming of Christ that Moses
messed up. (1st he had to be “struck” and killed and the second he didn?
t?). That seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Is that what you think God
was really trying to model? And if it was, then why did he allow Moses to
mess this one up making it stand out from all the other models in the Old


If you get a copy of my book From Shadow to Reality (, I
provide my proposal for how to judge whether an event or thing in the Old
Testament is legitimately a type of foreshadow. Some of the principles

1. If a New Testament writer says it is one, then it is!

2. If both the general situation and the specifics of the situation are
consistent as foreshadows of the same thing, then it is probably
3. If there is a parallel passage which is confirmed as a type/prefigure,
then this one is probably one as well.
4. etc. See the book.

By this set of guidelines, I do not believe that Moses striking the rock
and then speaking to it is a foreshadow of the two “comings” of Jesus.
This is a huge stretch in my opinion. The details do not match. Besides,
Moses did not even do these two things. He was asked to do the one, but
actually did the other. How can an idea and an actual event be
foreshadows of two actual events? This does not work, in my opinion.

I believe that this is a straightforward account of what happens. The
point of it is that in this case Moses was not faithful. It was this sin
which resulted in God choosing to not let him enter the Promised Land. I
believe that God did not allow Moses to enter for another reason. Israel
had already been baptized into Moses in the Red Sea. God wanted them to
be baptized into Joshua in the Jordan river. So, I believe the event in
question was used by God to set up an important type/antitype between the
baptism into Joshua, the circumcision of Israel right after that (which
shows the type/antitype relationship between baptism and circumcision, see
Coll 2:12), and New Testament baptism. Having said that, I definitely do
not see Moses striking the rock as a foreshadow of the first coming of
Jesus. That is a big stretch, and I prefer not to make teaching points
out of things which are a big stretch. I prefer to make points that are
clearly justified biblically.

John Oakes, PhD

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