The Book of 1 CORINTHIANS
James J. Barker
LEARNING BY EXAMPLE
- Twice in this passage, the apostle Paul tells us that "all these things happened unto them for ensamples (examples)" (I Cor. 10:11; cf. vs. 6).
- The same Greek word translated “examples” in verse 6 is translated “ensamples” in verse 11.
- The word "ensample" or "example" means type; all these things happened unto them for types: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
- A type was something designed by God to teach us a lesson – "and they are written for our admonition" (vs. 11).
- Types are emblems, designed by God to represent and prefigure some great and good things to come.
- W.G. Moorehead, one of the editors of the Scofield Bible, wrote this: "Types are pictures, object lessons, by which God taught His people concerning His grace and saving power" (ISBE).
- Here is a another definition: "A type is a person, or thing in the Bible which in the foreknowledge of God was designed to represent or prefigure some person, thing, or event that should appear in the future" (Carl Harwood, Handbook of Bible Types and Symbols, cited by Donald K. Campbell, Bib Sac, No. 447).
- Tonight, we will look at three great types from this passage: the cloud (vs. 1), the baptism unto Moses (vs. 2), and "that spiritual Rock that followed them" (vs. 4).
- We will compare these types with their antitypes by referring to the Old Testament. When we speak of an antitype, we are referring to the substance, which is always better than the shadow.
THE MOVING CLOUD (10:1).
- The moving cloud represented God’s guidance (cf. Ex. 13:21, 22).
- The cloud was the symbol and the evidence of God’s presence – when the cloud moved, they moved (cf.Numbers 9:15-23).
- The pillar of cloud and fire was the visible emblem of God’s presence (Nehemiah 9:19, 20).
- The way by which the pillar led seemed strange to the children of Israel, and when they found themselves hemmed in by the Red Sea in front and Pharaoh’s army behind, “they were sore afraid” (Exodus 14:10-12).
- Likewise, today, some Christians feel hemmed in, and they start doubting whether or not God can deliver them.
- We need to remember that "all these things happened unto them for examples" (I Cor. 10:11; cf. vs. 6).
- Just as God parted the Red Sea for them, He will provide for us, of that we can be sure.
- All through their pilgrim journey the Israelites were guided by the pillar of cloud and were never in the dark; and today those who are guided by the Holy Spirit "shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
- When God would talk with Moses we read that "the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD" (Ex. 34:5).
- "And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him..." (meaning Moses, Num. 11:25).
- They were all led by the cloud. Today we are led by the Holy Spirit.
- “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
- Today God speaks to us through His Word. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and makes it real to us.
- For the Israelites to move without the cloud was to wander off into confusion and failure. And for Christians to move without the guidance of God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit will likewise result in confusion and failure.
- Much more could be said about the Israelites being under the cloud, but I would like to move on to the next verse – they "were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (I Cor. 10:2).
THE BAPTISM UNTO MOSES (10:2).
- They "were all baptized unto Moses" (vs. 2) because Moses was God’s appointed leader. Someone has said that when God wants to do something, He appoints a man.
- He certainly doesn’t appoint a committee. Men put together committees, God appoints leaders (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Paul, et al).
- Someone has said that a committee is a group of the unwilling, chosen by the unfit, to do the unnecessary.
- Someone else said a committee is a group that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
- And… A committee is group of people who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.
- A committee did not lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
- The word "baptize" (10:2) has different meanings. When referring to the ordinance of baptism, it can only mean immersion, not sprinkling (cf. Acts 8:36-39).
- Our English word “baptize” comes from the Greek word baptizo, which means “immerse” and “submerge.”
- However, the word “baptize” is used in various ways in the New Testament. For example, our Lord said to James and John, the sons of Zebedee, “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matt. 20:22).
- The word "baptize" can mean to "identify." “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3).
- When we were baptized, we identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 6:3, 4).
- But here the Israelites were "baptized unto Moses" (vs. 2). And yet they never got wet; they passed over dry ground when God parted the Red Sea for them. It was the Egyptians who got all wet!
- By the way, some liberals teach that the correct reading should be the "Reed Sea" and they insist that the water was only a few inches deep. That would even be more of a miracle – the entire Egyptian army drowning in a few inches of water!
- But the liberals are wrong (as usual). God says: "Now all these things happened" (I Cor. 10:11).
- They were "baptized unto Moses" because they identified with Moses. And they were identified with Moses by his faith (Heb.11:27-29). They lacked faith but Moses did not.
- They wanted to go back to Egypt, they murmured and complained, they blamed Moses for everything. But Moses had faith.
- And Moses went down to the water and smote the Red Sea as God commanded. Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea on dry ground.
- They identified with Moses and his leadership. “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Ex. 14:31).
- Paul says: "Now these things were our examples" (vs. 6), or types. This is a beautiful picture of salvation. The Lord Jesus went through the waters of death for us. And now we are brought through by His death and resurrection.
- Have you been brought through? Have you been saved?
- And if you have been saved, have you obeyed the Lord and followed Him in believers’ baptism? When we are baptized, we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
- No other mode but immersion fits this beautiful picture. If you have never been Scripturally baptized, let me encourage you to do so.
- As the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they were "baptized unto Moses" – this speaks of unity. Soon they would be wandering through the wilderness and murmuring – this speaks of disunity.
- Therefore, enjoyment of high privileges does not guarantee entry into final blessing. Remember only two of those original pilgrims made it to the Promised Land – Caleb and Joshua.
THE ROCK THAT FOLLOWED THEM (10:3, 4).
- An old Jewish legend claims that a literal rock followed the Israelites through the wilderness, and some rabbis have taught this.
- However, the apostle Paul tells us it was a "spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (vs. 4).
- The manna from heaven was "spiritual meat" (vs. 3), i.e. "spiritual food" because it was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Jesus said: "I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:48-51).
- What does this mean for us? (cf. John 6:47).
- And just as the manna from heaven was "spiritual meat," Christ is "that spiritual Rock that followed them" (vs. 4).
- The Bible says that "they drank of that spiritual Rock" (vs. 4; cf. Ex.17:5-7). Like Christ, the Rock had to be smitten.
- And like Christ, the Rock poured forth its hidden treasures (cf. John 4:14; 7:37, 38). Because of Calvary, Christ gives us the Holy Spirit.
- In the Old Testament, the Rock was Jehovah (Deut. 32:15). The Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims translation deliberately mistranslates this because they want their followers to think that Peter is the Rock.
- “He forsook God who made him, and departed from God his savior” (Douay-Rheims translation). But the Hebrew word tsür means, “Rock.”
- The Bible teaches that Christ is the Rock (cf. 32:18, 30, 31, 37).
- Psalm 18:2 says, "The LORD (Jehovah) is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
- Therefore, if "that Rock was Christ" (I Cor. 10:4b), then Christ is Jehovah, our fortress, our deliverer, and our God. Is He your deliverer? Is He your fortress, and your deliverer, and your God?
- Let us turn now to verse 5: "But with many of them God was not well pleased…" Is God well pleased with you?
- For the children of Israel, God’s displeasure meant premature death (vs. 5b). Those who rebel against God scarcely realize how they are cutting short their lives.
- Although they all left Egypt, "many" (10:5, quite an understatement, since only two entered the Promised Land) still had Egypt in their hearts.
- Notice "all" (vss. 1, 2, 3, 4), and "many" (vs. 5).
- "Overthrown in the wilderness" (vs. 5) means their bodies were scattered around the wilderness. Why were they overthrown? Lust, idolatry, tempting Christ (vss. 6-9).
- How did they "tempt Christ" (vs. 9)? By speaking against God and against God’s appointed leader -- Moses.
- In verses 7-10, there are many examples given from incidents record in Exodus 17 and 32; Numbers 14, 21 and 25.
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