Numbers 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
Let's suppose a Bible student, someone that understands Christ spoke in parables, comes to this verse in the book of Numbers. What conclusions would the Bible student come to as he searched the Bible to find information to help him understand this verse?
Well, to begin with, the Bible student could quickly find that the 'rock', as it's used in the Bible represents Christ:
1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Curiously, the verse in Numbers 20:11 is speaking of Christ (the Rock) being smitten twice.
Next, as he searched for the spiritual meaning of the man Moses, the individual that God used to pen the first five books of the Bible, which are known as the law, he would discover that Moses is often used synonymously with the law of God:
Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John:
Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets;
It was Moses (the law) that smote the Rock (Christ) twice. That's kind of unusual. What could it mean?
After that, the Bible student began to look up the word "smote". He learned that it's a word that means to kill, to punish, or, to give stripes to. And since the Rock (Christ) was the One smitten twice. He searched the Bible to see if the word “smite” was used in connection with Christ anywhere else. He found out, that yes, it was, in a well known passage in the book of Isaiah:
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
The Messiah (Christ) was smitten of God. And Moses, picturing the law of God, is really a representation of the law of God.
It was fairly easy to see the spiritual meaning of the water coming out of the Rock and the congregation drinking---the Bible student understood that it ties in with the gospel that flowed forth as a result of Christ's atonement (His smiting), and the congregation typified the people that drink of Christ and experience salvation.
The Bible student then summarized the things he had learned:
1. The Rock was Christ
2. The law (Moses) smote the Rock (Christ)
3. The smiting by the law was a picture of killing the Rock (Christ)
4. It was done twice
5. The water flowed forth so the congregation could drink (gospel water quenched spiritual thirst of God's elect)
The Bible student felt that the conclusions were carefully reached and sound. Yet, something troubled him. Why did Moses (the law) smite (kill) the Rock (Christ) twice?
Bible students throughout history could never answer that particular question. It is only in our day, and only because we are living at the time of the end, a time when the Lord has opened up the Scriptures to reveal much truth, that we can finally answer the question as to why Moses smote the Rock twice.
Let's follow the same Biblical hermeneutic as before. Since the Rock (Christ) was smitten (killed) we know that Christ's death is in view. Now, as we search the Bible for information concerning Christ's death, what do we find? We find that the Bible clearly indicates that Christ died on the cross in 33 AD. Let's call this death #1.
Does the Bible tell us any additional information about the death of Christ? Some possible second death some where? Anywhere?
The answer is yes, the Bible does speak of Christ dying at another point, not in time, but in eternity past:
Revelation 13:8 ... in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
According to this direct Biblical statement, Christ (the Lamb) was slain (smitten) at the foundation of the world. This we will call death #2.
Alright, it seems we now have a match with the language found in Numbers 20:11. The Rock was smitten by Moses twice. Which, following our typical method of comparing Scripture with Scripture and searching for the deeper spiritual meaning of things, clearly points to Christ dying two times. And dying at the hands of the law of God, or at the hands of God Himself.
And, our search of the Bible has revealed that it does indeed speak of two deaths for Christ. One, taking place at the foundation of the world. And the second, occurring on the cross in 33 AD.
This Bible study has been carefully done according to the Biblical methodology God gives all Bible students for coming to truth.
The conclusion fits in perfectly with the doctrine of Christ making payment for sins at the foundation of the world (the first time Moses, or the law smote Him); and also with Christ demonstrating that atoning work in time, in history, as He went to the cross (the second time Moses, or the law smote Him).
Verses like this are not to be hidden from. Not to be avoided and overlooked. They are to be taken into account, and examined and explained. And the explanation must harmonize with all else the Bible says.