The Unconsumed Burning Bush

After leaving his oppressed brethren to suffer in Egypt for forty years, one day Moses led the

flock of sheep he was shepherding across the desert to a secluded spot at the foot of the Mount of God, presumably for some uninterrupted communion with the Shepherd of his own soul.

Forty years earlier Moses had a burden for his suffering race and had sensed a call from God to deliver his people from the oppression of the Egyptians to whom they had been slaves of injustice for a number of centuries. Disappointed in his own abilities and in the failure of his brethren to understand his calling, Moses apparently tossed this special calling aside and fled into the desert away from the daily reminder of his oppressed people. Here he found increased satisfaction and contentment in the establishment of his own little family unit, (Ex 2:21,22) as well as in the quietness and peace of the desert.

Meanwhile, as his surroundings tended to cause him to forget about his enslaved people, the marks of oppression in Egypt which had existed forty years earlier, had been fanned into a heated blazing flame.

Moses was now in need of a renewal of his calling and a reminder of the increasing fires of oppression his brethren were enduring.

To meet this need God chose to use an unconsumed burning bush from which to call Moses again. From this burning but unconsumed bush God told Moses, “I have surely the affliction of my people which are in Egypt and have heard their cry... Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” Ex. 3:7,10.

That the unconsumed bush is a type of the indestructible nation of Israel and that the fire is a type of Israel's suffering and oppression seems clear from the rehearsal of Moses when he reminded Israel forty years after their deliverance that “the Lord hath taken you and brought you forth out of the iron furnace even out of Egypt to be unto Him a people of inheritance...” Deut. 4:20.

Centuries later when the nation of Israel was again under the tyranny of a ruthless Gentile world monarch, the enraged Nebuchadnezzar, in an effort to destroy Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, threw them bound into a burning fiery furnace, but the Angel of the Lord (the fourth person Nebuchadnezzar saw) was protecting them, and the Jewish “bush” again could not be consumed.

There are many other Scriptures which use fire as a symbol of Israel's sufferings both in a historical setting and prophetically. In Isaiah 43:2 the prophet promises Israel “When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned.” Truly they are “a brand plucked out of the fire,” (Zech. 3:2) which cannot be consumed.

They were plucked out of Egypt's furnace of fire; they were saved in Babylon's burning fiery furnace, and they were spared from Haman's scheming fires of extinction, etc., etc.

During the past several thousand years the Hebrew race has been scattered throughout the nations of the world, and it is nothing short of a miracle that while many times the fires of anti-Semitism have burned furiously the Jews have not been absorbed or consumed in these nations. This cannot be said of any other race or nation in the world.

And now in recent years, since the formation of an independent State, Israel has been continuously surrounded by enemies and armament fires seeking her destruction or extinction as a nation.

In 1948, the day after the Israeli State was established, there was an enemy invasion to destroy them. This was repeated again in 1956 and in 1967, and now again in 1973, but the “bush” has come through each of these fires unconsumed.

Will the fires continue to burn? And will the “bush” continue to be unconsumed? Yea, the fires will continue to burn with increasing intensity, and the bush will be unconsumed until Israel again groans under the fires of hostility and oppression and persecution and cries out in true repentance for the Salvation of God.

Speaking for God, Zechariah says, “Behold, I make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all people round about, when they shall be in siege against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it all shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered against it...

“And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and they shall morn for him . . .

“In that day there shall be a fountain open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanliness. Zech. 12: 2, 3, 9, 10. 13:1.

“And I will bring a third part through the fire and they shall call upon my name, and 1 will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” Zech. 13:9

The Apostle Paul clinches this prophecy when he declares that there shall come out of Zion a deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, and all [living] Israel will be saved.

The “Bush” will then live on but the fires will no longer burn.

“O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. . . for of Him, and through Him and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

Aaron M. Shank

December 1973