1 Corinthians 10:1-11

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. (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 God’s 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 captivity.
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 wilderness.
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 serpents.
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 won’t 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 destroyer.
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 wasn’t 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 day’s work. They weren’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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.