Paul Warns the Corinthian Believers of God’s Past Dealings with the Faithless among Israel
1 Corinthians 10:1-5 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; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. KJV
Paul having declared to these Corinthian believers and to us how he so purposed to live out his Christian life in this wicked world making his life clearly distinctive, distinguishable, and different from the people without faith in Christ or a living hope in our Lord Jesus Christ became just like the top quality athletes with their bodies treating it roughly and harshly so he would not be looked upon as a phony or hypocrite or false prophet who spoke one thing but lived another. Paul wanted to use that illustration for them to stir each one of them and us individually to self-examination that they and we would prove ourselves before God to truly have been born again of His Spirit by the new desires within them and us to yearn for and long for righteousness and to be willing to make any necessary sacrifices or to put away anything or anyone that would impede or be a hindrance or an obstacle to them and us living a life that is obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Paul now immediately with the thought implanted in their minds to live such a disciplined life before the Lord Jesus to be pleasing to Him begins to refresh, remind, and even re-teach them what happened to those people of Israel that proved with their faithless and ungodly lives that they were not truly God’s people.
Paul warns them that although nearly 3 million people came “out of Egypt” (which is a picture of sins enslavement for us) all of them did not truly believe and it was made manifest or revealed or evident or visible with the desires of their wicked hearts left unmoved and unchanged. All of them witnessed the miraculous work of God on their behalf by parting the Red Sea right before them opening up a passage for them to cross over into safety and away from the evil Pharaoh of Egypt (who was a picture of satan) and out of bondage, Paul says it in this manner, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Paul does not want these Corinthian believers and us to be uninformed or lack understanding or be ignorant of the fact and reality that every one of them made a so-called profession of faith and received a symbolic baptism into Moses as they crossed that Red Sea. Paul teaches them of how our Lord Jesus fed these people supernaturally after the provisions that they brought out of Egypt ran out as he says, “All ate the same spiritual food” (1 Corinthians 10:3) but many of the people did nothing but gripe and complain to Moses even after all they had witnessed our Lord do for them.
Paul no doubt opened up the Old Testament during the year and half he spent their teaching them the Word of God (Acts 18:11) and reminds them again in this letter surely going back to Moses writings in the Book of Exodus when Moses wrote, “Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction” (Exodus 16:1-4). Paul says, “All drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Paul declares that the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night was in reality the Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with them day and night protecting them and providing for their every need and leading them, as Nehemiah declared it in this manner, “You, in Your great compassion, Did not forsake them in the wilderness; The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, To guide them on their way, Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go. You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst. Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell” (Nehemiah 9:19-21). The people constantly despite all our Lord Jesus did through Moses to provide for them displayed their faithlessness with the fruit of their lips and their actions as also declared by Nehemiah with these words, “But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments. They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness; And You did not forsake them” (Nehemiah 9:16-17). Although our Lord Jesus did not forsake or leave them, yet Paul says this, “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness” (1 Corinthians 10:5).
As Nehemiah told us above that our Lord did not leave them, it was the remnant or small part or portion that our Lord Jesus did not forsake because Paul declares that “with many of them God was not well pleased.” The first very striking and significant English word Paul uses is many translated by the Greek word pleion which means greater in quantity or the major portion. In truth the major portion of the people that came “out of Egypt” were faithless and despite the mighty works of our Lord Jesus Christ in clear view for them their hearts were not changed and they did not trust Him. The second very striking and significant English phrase Paul uses in verse 5 is “was not well pleased” which is translated by one Greek word eudokeo which means to think well of, that is, approve of, specifically to approbate or to sanction or to accept as valid.
Our Lord Jesus Christ (who is the discerner of hearts (Matthew 9:4)) knew the major portion of the people were unbelievers as the Apostle John documents His reaction, response, and reception of many of the Jews during the days He walked the earth as the God-Man with these words, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25). Therefore, because of this truth and reality concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, He allowed that faithless “major portion” that faithless “greater in quantity” to all perish or die in the wilderness, so Paul warns them and us that our Lord Jesus sees and knows the truth about the true spiritual condition of every person or soul who professes faith in Him (Matthew 7:21-23). Our Lord Jesus Christ did not accept or validate the faith of the majority of the people of Israel and so He destroyed the entire “major portion” in the wilderness.
“Men may enjoy many and great spiritual privileges in this world, and yet come short of eternal life. Many of those who were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and sea, that is, had their faith of his divine commission confirmed by these miracles, were yet overthrown in the wilderness, and never saw the promised land. Let none presume upon their great privileges, or profession of the truth; these will not secure heavenly happiness, nor prevent judgments here on earth, except the root of the matter be in us.” Matthew Henry
“It is certainly not enough for someone to say ‘I believe in God’ because as James declares, ‘You believe that God is One. You do well; the demons also believe, and tremble’ (James 2:19), therefore, any faith in God that does not produce a life of love for and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, holiness in practice, and purity in sexual conduct is no better than demon faith.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…