Aaron’s rod symbolizes the power of God specifically in the confrontation with a rebellious Israel. What it is is an immediate show of God’s power before the eyes of the people of Israel. From a dead stick, God can cause life to bud forth instantaneously. This is a truth of God seen throughout Scripture.
God did this publically in the early days of the nation of Israel in order to confirm the divine appointment on his chosen men. First of all, it was for them, and cannot be expected that God would always do the same thing, especially in our day. Secondly, it immediately became a symbol of God’s promises to Israel, and it was kept in the ark of the covenant to that end, to remind Israel of God’s faithfulness, and implicitly, Isreal’s unfaithfulness.
Aaron’s Rod. (Num 17:1-13 and Heb 9:4): Immediately after the incidents connected with the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram against the leadership of Moses and the priestly primacy of Aaron (Nu 16), it became necessary to indicate and emphasize the Divine appointment of Aaron. Therefore, at the command of Yahweh, Moses directs that twelve almond rods, one for each tribe with the prince’s name engraved thereon, be placed within the Tent of the Testimony. When Moses entered the tent the following day, he found that Aaron’s rod had budded, blossomed and borne fruit, “the three stages of vegetable life being thus simultaneously visible.” When the miraculous sign was seen by the people, they accepted it as final; nor was there ever again any question of Aaron’s priestly right. The rod was kept “before the testimony” in the sanctuary ever after as a token of the Divine will (Num 17:10). The writer of Hebrews, probably following a later Jewish tradition, mentions the rod as kept in the Holy of Holies within the ark (Heb 9:4; compare 1Ki 8:9). See PRIEST, III.