Aaron’s staff/rod which budded (the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.”-Numbers 17:8) was made from the almond tree. The almond tree is the first to blossom after the winter, a resurrection after the death of winter. As Christ was the first resurrected from the dead, and of the dead, we too were raised in Christ in the Resurrection from the dead, though still await our physical resurrection as part of the general resurrection of the dead.
On Israel’s travels through the wilderness post-Egypt everything did not seem so easy. The people grumbled and grumbled. Korah, and about 250 men who were Levites, questioned the authority of Moses and Aaron as their leaders above them (Numbers 16). Moses answered them, “Now listen, Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the Israelite community to bring you near to Himself, to perform the work at the Lord’s tabernacle, and to stand before the community to minister to them? Are you seeking the priesthood as well? Therefore, it is you and all your followers who have conspired against the Lord! As for Aaron, who is he that you should complain about him?”
Moses then told Aaron, Korah and the other Levites to take firepans and offer incense before the Lord. This part of the narrative ends with the opening of the earth underneath Korah and the others and swallowing them all up except Moses and Aaron.
The people continued to grumble, blaming Moses for the death of Korah’s household and the others and their households. A plague started in the Israelite camp. Verses 46-50 of Numbers Chapter 16, “ Then Moses told Aaron to take a firepan, place fire from the altar in it, and add incense. Aaron did just that; he took his firepan and made atonement for the people. He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was halted. Aaron then returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, since the plague had been halted”.
The power struggle was settled so it seems, but to know who God’s anointed (set asides) were, was decided by God who instructed Moses to get the 12 staffs from the leaders from each ancestral house and place them on the ground before the Lord in the Holy Place before the Ark of the Testimony (Numbers 17). “ The staff of the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid Myself of the Israelites’ complaints that they have been making about you.” It happened as the Lord said. In verse 8 Aaron’s staff from the house of Levi had sprouted and produced buds and bloomed with blossoms, and it yielded ripe almonds (NASB)! Moses was told to put Aaron’s staff back in front of the testimony to be kept as a sign for the rebels, so that you may put an end to their complaints before Me, or else they will die. So Moses did what the Lord commanded him. This was a testimony to the people of Israel of Aaron’s authority given by the Lord himself. The authority as the High Priest compared to the Levites as the priests. Aaron, as the High Priest, went once a year on the Day of Atonement into the Holy of Holies, behind the veil, to do his High Priestly duties. Since the cross, the veil is no longer there, being torn in two. With confidence we enter the most holy place by his blood by the new and living way opened for us through the curtain of his body, our great high priest (Hebrews 10:19-22). There is where our authority rests, we are in Christ. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession so that you may proclaim the praises or excellencies of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 NASB).