In a previous blog (Tzur Chayeinu-Rock of Our Lives, March 12, 2016), we began a study of rocks and stones in Scripture. We discovered that rocks can have either positive or negative connotations. Stones and rocks had various uses in Scripture including memorials of visions or significant events and witnesses to covenants. The most important Rock in Scripture is Yeshua, who produced the most significant event in our history and is the Mediator and Guarantee of our most important covenant (Matt 26:28, Heb 7:22).
A comment in the New Revised King James Bible led me to explore the word tzur further. I learned that not only is this word for rock or cliff a noun, but it can be a verb as well. I did not have to search long before I uncovered a treasure trove of meaningful information and symbolism. One cannot plunge anywhere in Scripture without encountering a bottomless depth. My exploration produced a wealth of pictures or images of our Rock, Yeshua, and the numerous roles He has in our lives. Each of these Scripture references uses the word tzur or a variation of it.
Yeshua (YHVH) is our Origin, the Rock from which we were cut (Is 51:1). We see a clearer picture in Deuteronomy 32:18. You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth. YHVH not only created us, but He gives us a new birth in Yeshua.
Yeshua is our Defender. A tzur is not only a mountain or a cliff, but it can contain caves or enclosures where we can hide. One of the definitions associated with tzur is “to enclose or barricade” (Song of Songs 8:9; Ps 139:5). David hid from the Philistines in or near a cave (1 Chron 11:15). Although the cave and rock were physical structures that David used as a stronghold, David discovered that his only true stronghold is YHVH (Ps 18:2, 27:1, 5). In Daniel 2:45, we see that the Rock that destroys the other nations is hewn from a mountain, but not with human hands, signifying Yeshua. Our Rock trains us for battle (Ps. 144:1, 2 Sam 22:35). Our Rock besieges our enemies and even us, when He needs to punish us or bring us back (Ex 23:22, Is 29:2).
Our Tzur is our Atonement (Ps. 62:6). It is appalling how quickly we can forget Yeshua’s sacrifice for us, yet we do, just as the Israelites forgot the Savior who rescued them from slavery to the Egyptians (Deut. 32:5). Perhaps that is one reason for circumcision. The instrument to be used was a sharp (surim) knife (flint) (Joshua 5:2-3). The males were to be cut in a vulnerable area of their bodies, causing them much pain, just as Yeshua made Himself vulnerable to severe pain at His crucifixion.
Yeshua, our Rock, is our Righteousness. Everything He does is perfect and everything He does is just and fair (Deut 32:4). In Judges 6:21, we have a picture both of YHVH accepting sacrifices offered to Him as well as the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua (the meat and the unleavened bread). YHVH is perfect holiness and righteousness (1 Sam 2:2).
Finally, our Rock, Yeshua, is our Eternal Life. My favorite Scripture in this study is the picture presented in Exodus 17:6. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Yeshua, our Rock, was struck on our behalf and out of Him flow rivers of living water. Yeshua Himself provides eternal life and is Life (John 11:25). With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (yeshua) (Is 12:3). Yeshua invites us to come to Him to drink (John 7:37).
Although I have always been attracted to mountains and cliffs, I will now look at them with a new appreciation as I reflect on our most important and awesome Rock. This article barely skims the surface. I encourage you to search for yourself in the treasure trove of Scripture perhaps beginning with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew 6696 and 6697. You will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.