In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron. As a result, Yahweh caused the earth to open its mouth and swallow the three rebels and their families, so that they all went down alive into the pit. Then the earth closed over them. This should have been enough to convince everyone that Aaron was indeed Yahweh's choice to be High Priest. Nonetheless, to further confirm the authority and priesthood of Aaron, God had all twelve heads of the twelve tribes bring their rods to Moses. Each rod, including Aaron's, had its owner's name written on it. All twelve rods were then laid together overnight in the tabernacle. The next morning all the rods still looked the same, except for Aaron's. Aaron's rod had budded, blossomed, and bore almonds. Yahweh told Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from Me, that they die not" (Num. 17:10).
This story is a prophetic picture of the Resurrection of Yeshua. Just as twelve dead sticks were laid in the darkness of the Tabernacle, so every spiritual leader in history--including Yeshua--has died and been laid in the darkness of the tomb. God imparted new life into only one of the twelve dead sticks, namely Aaron's, and He imparted resurrection life into only one spiritual leader, Yeshua of Nazareth. The priesthood of Aaron was confirmed by the resurrection life in his staff. Yeshua's position as God's Anointed One and as our High Priest is confirmed by His Resurrection. Aaron's resurrected rod became a token against the rebels, to silence their murmurings. Yeshua's Resurrection is likewise a token against rebels. When Yeshua is revealed to the world on Judgment Day as the resurrected Son of God, every mouth will be stopped. No rebel will be able to murmur a word against Him or against His authority.
The story of Aaron's rod also teaches us something about our own personal spiritual experience. We are called to undergo the same experience that Aaron's rod went through. The stick that served as Aaron's rod had to be cut from its tree. It could no longer receive the life-giving sap from which it had always drawn its life. The stick had to die to become the rod of Aaron. In a similar way, a disciple of Yeshua has to be "cut off" from the flow of life that he formerly knew as an unregenerated sinner. A disciple can no longer live according to his old nature. The carnal, selfish desires for sinful pleasures must be cut off and cease their flow into the disciple's mind and heart. A disciple must die to the world, the flesh, and the self. Just as Aaron's rod had to pass the night in the darkness of the Tabernacle, so a disciple has to pass through "the dark night of the soul."
Aaron's rod waited through the darkness of the night for God to impart life into it. When Aaron's rod emerged from the darkness of the night, the light of day revealed the life and the fruit which God had imparted to the dead stick. If you wait for God to impart spiritual life into you, you will emerge from the dark night of the soul, and the light of Yeshua will reveal God's resurrection life and the fruit of the Spirit. The life of our Risen Lord will flow into you. It will revitalize you, energize you, and produce a harvest of spiritual fruit.
This is what the world needs to see--a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, that fruit which is described by the Apostle Paul as "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22f). It is significant that these qualities are not called "works," but rather "the fruit of the Spirit." These qualities are not achieved by the works of our own fleshly abilities. As a matter of fact, when Paul lists these qualities, he is contrasting the fruit of the Spirit to the works of the flesh. ("Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, etc.," Gal. 5:19-21).
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are not works that we do. These are qualities that God produces in us by the life and flow of the Holy Spirit, just as He produces apples by the flow of the life-giving sap in the apple tree. An apple tree produces apples because the tree comes from an apple seed. We produce the fruit of the Spirit because we are born of the Spirit. God's creation of fruit trees on the third day of Creation is a picture of how we bear fruit as a result of the Messiah's Resurrection on the third day. We, too, are "the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself" (Gen. 1:11). The seed in us is "the Seed of the woman," the virgin-born Messiah who came to crush the serpent's head. (See Genesis 3:15.) Yeshua is the Seed in us that causes us to bear the fruit of the Spirit and prevents us from living a sinful life and manifesting the works of the flesh. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9).
The fruit of the Spirit is what the world needs to see Yeshua's disciples bearing. The life and fruit on Aaron's rod was the confirmation that silenced the murmurings of the rebels. As we manifest the life of Yeshua and bear the fruit of the Spirit, it will put to shame those rebels who murmur against the authority of our High Priest Yeshua.
There is no substitute for the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit there can be no fruit of the Spirit. For an apple tree to produce apples, the sap must flow. For you to bear the fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit must be flowing in your life. As a matter of fact, if the Holy Spirit is not moving in your life, I would question whether the Holy Spirit is even there. Why do I make such a statement? Because the Hebrew and Greek words translated "spirit" (ruach and pneuma) both mean "breath" or "wind" as well as "spirit." Breath and wind are the movement of air. If there is no movement of air, there is no breath or wind present. If there is no movement of the Holy Spirit, there is no Spirit present.
There is no substitute for a bountiful harvest of fruit produced by the moving and flowing of the Holy Spirit. Even strict obedience to the commandments of the Torah is no substitute. Obedience to the commandments is extremely important (and without obedience fruit cannot be borne), but external obedience is not the primary manifestation that will confirm Yeshua's authority in the eyes of the world. It is the fruit of the Spirit--especially love, the first and primary fruit--that will confirm Yeshua's authority and our status as His disciples: "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).
"By this...if ye have love one to another." Not by your strict adherence to a list of rigid rules, not by your knowledge of the Bible, not by your eloquence as a preacher, but by this, if ye have love one to another. This in no way minimizes the importance of obeying the commandments, studying the Scriptures, and preaching. These (and many other activities that could be added to the list) are extremely important, but if they are performed without love for the brethren, they are futile, because the two most important commandments are to love God and to love our fellow man. And the only way to manifest a love that is the fruit of the Spirit (rather than a shallow surface love) is to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through your life like sap flows through a tree. "The trees of the Lord are full of sap" (Ps. 104:16). Amen, may it be so, and may the sap of God's Spirit flow freely in your life!
Get to know Daniel's funnier side through his Reverend Twistruth comic book series from his own pen!
This set of three volumes shine a humorous light on how church doctrines and Scripture get seriously twisted.
Click here to go to Gates of Eden's SHOP . . . scroll down the page to find these unique books!
Image: Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die, Old Testament Bible Projector Slides #466, free download from St-Takla.org