1 Corinthians 10:1-11
(Exo 13:22 KJV) He took not away
the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the
people. Paul then tells these people that all Israel passed
through the sea as God parted it. Paul seems to be setting up a corporate example as he
mentions the ancient nation and hopes that history will not repeat itself in the church.
1 Corinthians 10:2
And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
Paul now states that the nation of Israel was baptized unto Moses. This baptism that he
was speaking of was the uniting of the nation of Israel with Moses. The nation of Israel
had been led by Moses and the covenant of law was given through Moses. This means that
Israel was following Moses, who was under Gods direction, in not only the physical
aspects of those directions, but were also under the spiritual aspects. This direction was
in effect even when they came out of Egypt. There was a common responsibility that Israel
had and that was obedience to God. At the time of the cloud and Red Sea crossing, it was
the beginning of their dealings with God and the covenant of Sinai.
1 Corinthians 10:3
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
They were not only under the cloud and the pillar of fire, but they, as a nation, were
subjected to the spiritual law of God. This is not common or corporate grace, but the law
which was given was a spiritual law. (Rom 7:14 KJV)
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. The entire nation was subject to the law of God as they agreed in Exodus 19.
(Exo 19:8 KJV) And all the people answered together,
and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses
returned the words of the people unto the LORD. Of course, we know what happened when they
tried to keep that law in the flesh. They failed miserably and eventually went into
1 Corinthians 10:4
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that
followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Israel did not realize it but the Great I Am of Sinai was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The picture that is given is taken from two separate but related incidents. The first
incident, Moses was told to strike the rock and the water would flow out. (Exo 17:6 KJV) Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock
in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the
people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. The Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross once for all the Elect of God. This
is represented by Moses striking the rock and the water flowed. When Christ went to the
cross, spiritual water flowed from His children as a result of Him being smitten. (John 7:38 KJV) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath
said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
The second incident took place at Kadesh when there was no water. God had told Moses to
speak to the rock which would result in the giving of water. (Num
20:8 KJV) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy
brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water,
and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the
congregation and their beasts drink. Moses was obviously so angry with the people
that he disobeyed God and struck the rock instead of speaking to it. (Num 20:11 KJV) And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he
smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and
their beasts also. Now this second striking of the rock represented the Lord
Jesus being sacrificed a second time, which of course, would never happen. Jesus was
crucified only once and after this He was never to die again, so the spiritual picture of
what Moses did was wrong.
Now this event caused God to keep Moses from going into the promised land but there is a
greater spiritual meaning as to why Moses was refused entrance. Moses was a representative
of the law and no person can ever get to Heaven by trying to keep the law. It was Joshua
who brought the nation of Israel into the land. Joshua is the Hebrew name of Jesus. A
great spiritual picture. So trying to keep the law will prevent you from going to Heaven
because Heaven is attainable only through the shed blood of Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:5
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the
When one reads the wilderness trek of Israel, they will see that God sent many judgments
among the people because of their impenitence. They continuously murmured against God,
they verbally attacked Moses, they were gluttonous, etc. So God judged the sins of these
people. They seemed to go from one sin on to another sin, and it never seemed to end. In
fact, they were referred to as stiffnecked and rebellious people. (Exo 32:9 KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this
people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: (Deu 9:24 KJV) Ye have been
rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. Can you see the spiritual
paradigm Paul is bringing into the picture?
1 Corinthians 10:6
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things,
as they also lusted.
Paul now reveals the reason he mentioned the nation of Israel. He wants this church to
look at the results of lusting after the things which God prohibits. He wants this church
to study and ponder this issue because if they begin to lust after things, then they will
also begin to feel the chastisement of God upon them. Paul wants them to be as obedient as
they can and not to desire the things which will cause them to drift away from God. This
is also to be an example in our personal Christian walk that we must be careful not to
lust after things which will cause us to sin and derail us.
1 Corinthians 10:7
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat
down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
With the massive amounts of idolatry in the city of Corinth, it would not be impossible
for someone to go after the lifestyle of the idolater. Paul is warning them to watch
themselves because the people of Israel did the same thing that the pagans in Corinth are
doing. (Exo 32:6 KJV) And they rose up early on the morrow,
and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat
and to drink, and rose up to play.
As we see in this verse from Exodus, the Israelites, who should have known better had
rallied around the golden calf, they started out by having a feast in the manner of the
pagan and then after they were all eaten and drunk up, they rose up to play. This was the
normal method of an orgy. First, there was a feast, then after everyone was sufficiently
fed and drunk, then they began to have an orgy. This is how the worship of false gods took
place. Paul is warning them that they are not to engage in any type of banqueting which
can lead to some type of worship of a false god or to derail the Christians in that
church. Remember, Paul was concerned about the weaker brethren and how easily they could
be led astray since they were not yet well grounded in the Word.
1 Corinthians 10:8
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three
and twenty thousand.
Not only are we not to engage in physical fornication, but the Christian must also watch
that they do not fall into spiritual fornication, which is the trading of the true Gospel
for one that is false. Paul brings up a serious matter in this verse. He is reminding this
church, that when Israel was committing fornication, God judged and took the lives of
twenty three thousand people in one day but we see that this entire situation took the
lives of twenty four thousand in total. God does not take fornication lightly. You can
read the entire scenario in Numbers 25:1-9
1 Corinthians 10:9
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of
Tempt - test or try
The Israelites were testing Christ in the wilderness with all their sinful actions. The
result was that the majority was destroyed for their disobedience. God even sent serpents
among the people. (Num 21:6 KJV) And the LORD sent fiery
serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Paul is conveying this bit of history to remind the people of Corinth that if they do the
same thing, testing Christ by seeing how far they can push Him, then the same situation
will happen to them. The Lord wont send fiery serpents but He will definitely send
chastisement into the church. God even reserves the right to take home believers who
continue to walk a sinful path. (John 15:2 KJV) Every branch
in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit,
he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. We must also realize that in our
personal Christian walk, we can experience chastisement if we walk contrary to the word of
God. We always put our best foot forward in church on Sunday but the real us comes out
when we are alone and separated from the other brethren.
1 Corinthians 10:10
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the
Murmur - To grumble or complain in a low voice
Here is probably one of the biggest sins of the Christian. It is grumbling, because we
are never satisfied. Some people grumble so much that if they found a $20 bill on the
ground, they would complain it wasnt two tens. The Israelites grumbled or murmured
against the Lord because they had just come out of Egypt and there they received some
excellent food. Now they were hungry and all they had was Manna but they wanted more. They
forgot that the reason they were fed so well was because they were slaves and were
expected to put out a long days work. They werent fed because the Egyptians
loved them, they were fed well because they were considered low class work horses. They
forgot that God had freed them from slavery and not a tropical island paradise. Many
Christians grumble because they dont like the position they are placed in. They look
at others and say, why should they have more then me. So they blame God for
treating them unfairly. If God was to treat us fairly, then He would have to include our
sins when He looks at us, which means we would still be unsaved. God deals with us
according to mercy not fairness. It sounds strange but think about it.
1 Corinthians 10:11
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our
admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Paul sums up the prior ten verses saying that the reason those things happened to Israel
was also to be an example to us. According to the Scriptures, the last days began at the
cross and because there will be no great length of time to the return of Christ, such as
the length from Adam and Eve to the time of Christ which was thousands of years, we are
being admonished that the time is short and we dont have the luxury of living
worldly. We are to concentrate on getting the Gospel out to the nations. If Christians
would just accept the position God has placed them in, then they would begin to operate
from that vantage point and would know what their strengths are. Then they would stop
looking at others and grumbling because they dont have the same material goods or
spiritual gifts they have. (1 Tim 6:8 KJV) And having food
and raiment let us be therewith content. (Phil 4:11 KJV) Not that I speak in respect of
want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Reading these verses where Israel sinned against the Lord by fornicating with false
religions or murmuring should be a wake up call to every dissatisfied Christian.
- 1 Corinthians 10:1
- Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers
were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
- Since there were probably some Jews in the church at Corinth, Paul begins a section
about the comparison between the Israelites who came out of Egypt under Moses and the
church conditions at Corinth. Paul tells them that the whole nation of Israel was under
the cloud, which was the pillar of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. It
was the cloud and pillar which God used to tell the Israelites when it was time to move on
to the next location.