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1 Corinthians 10:1-5 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 3 mins 53 secs

Importance of the Old Testament; 1 Cor 10:1-5


1 Corinthians 10:1 NASB "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea." The Greek word translated "unaware" is AGNOEO [a)gnoew]. The A is the negative and the root comes from GNOSIS for knowledge. So with the negative it means ignorant. Paul doesn't want them to be ignorant. What a slam for the Corinthians in their arrogance thinking that they know it all! For "brethren" he uses the plural of ADLEPHOS [a)delfoj] which indicates that they are fellow believers. They are carnal, messed up, involved in all kinds of sin, but they are still believers. The emphasis in Christianity is on knowledge, it is not on feeling. Romans 12:2 says we are to renew our minds, we are not to be conformed to the world, yet mysticism and this emphasis on emotion is part of worldly thinking. That is cosmic thinking, according to the Scriptures. We are to renew our thinking, we are to think correctly, and the only way we can think correctly is to have correct knowledge, and the only way we can have correct knowledge is to study the Word; but it is not merely the acquisition of information about God or information about the Bible. You can know the Bible from Genesis 1 to revelation 22 but that doesn't mean you love God or know Him with EPIGNOSIS [e)pignwsij] knowledge in the soul.

Scripture teaches that when a pastor-teacher teaches the Word that under the filling of the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the truth of God's Word, and we have to exercise our positive volition at that point to understand it. He makes it understandable but that doesn't mean we understand it. We have to exercise our volition to think about it and comprehend it. When we believe it then it becomes GNOSIS [gnwsij], which is simply academic knowledge, and this is what enters into what the Bible calls the mind or the NOUS [nouj]. But at the core of our mind is what the Bible calls the heart, the KARDIA [kardia], the innermost part of our thinking. When it becomes GNOSIS, i.e. understood academic knowledge, at that point we choose whether or not to believer it—this is mine, this is what I believe, it is not what my church believes, what my pastor believes, what I am comfortable with; this is what I believe, what I am holding on to. Then the Holy Spirit transfers that into our KARDIA and there it becomes EPIGNOSIS. That prepositional prefix EPI means it is full or useable knowledge. And the Holy Spirit doesn't automatically use it for us, at this stage we have to use our volition one more time and decide to apply it. EPIGNOSIS is applicational for spiritual growth. When you are out of fellowship and operating in carnality and you just have academic knowledge you can apply it and it produces nothing more than simple morality, it is no different from any cult member that emphasizes nothing more than morality and it has no eternal value. It will not produce genuine spiritual growth.

So Paul says, "I want you to know something." The reason for emphasizing that statement is that one of the basics of Bible study is that when you look at a paragraph you identify within that paragraph your sentences. Those sentences present the logical progression of thought of the author. A sentence may be one verse in the Bible, or it may be several verses. In the KJV there is a tendency of the translators to try to make every verse an independent sentence because it would read better. This was an era when a lot of people didn't necessarily read or have their own Bibles to read and so the translators understood the importance of reading the Bible out loud. They would read the Bible out loud to the congregation, and so it was written in such a way that it would read well when it was read out loud. So they paid attendance to sentence structure, rhythm and cadence. If we look at this passage at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 10 the first sentence goes right down to the middle of verse four. "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; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them." That is where that sentence ends.

What is the main clause in that sentence? The first part of verse one: "For I do not want you to be unaware [ignorant], brethren." Everything else explains what they are not to be ignorant of. But that is the main idea, and why Paul is emphasizing knowledge. Before you can have EPIGNOSIS knowledge you have to have academic knowledge; before you have any kind of applicational knowledge in any field—surgery, law, education, auto-mechanics to computers, or whatever—you always know more and have learned more about the subject than you actually apply or can apply. You never apply all that you know; you only apply about 4 or 5% of what you know. So the issue isn't applying more of what you know, it is having more academic knowledge so that the percentage (which remains the same) will represent a larger amount of applicational knowledge. The key is learning more. We are never going to learn all there is to know about God but that is our job and that is what the Scriptures emphasize: that to love the Lord means we love His Word and we know His Word. Jesus said: "If you love me you will keep my word." Well to keep His Word you have to know His Word, and you can't know His Word unless it is a priority in your life and you study it day in and day out, listen to audio, and make it a regular part of your life. That is why Paul says: "I don't want you to be ignorant." We have to learn things in the spiritual life.

There are four things that he doesn't want them to be ignorant of and they are all emphasized by the word "all." He says, "I don't want you to be unaware that," and in the Greek grammar there is the word HOTI [o(ti]. It has three uses. The first use is causal and which we would translate "because." The next two uses have to do with quotes; it introduces either and indirect quote or a direct quote. It often is used in a kind of indirect sense where it says, "I don't want you to be ignorant of something," and then we could almost just translate it by putting a colon there in English, and then you list the items that you are not supposed to be ignorant of. These four items emphasize what God had provided in His grace for all the Jews. It didn't matter how rebellious they had been. Notice: all our fathers were under the cloud; all passed through the sea; all ate the same spiritual food; all drank the same spiritual drink. It was not just the ones who were trusting God. We are going to see that that section right there dealing with the cloud and the sea is analogous to the positional truth of what happens to every single believer at the instant of salvation. Then, verses three and four emphasize God's grace provision after salvation. In the history of Israel it is the Exodus event and the crossing of the red Sea, when they pass from servitude and slavery in Egypt to freedom, that is analogous to salvation when we move from slavery to the sin nature to the new freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. So it is the crossing of the Red Sea that is the picture from the Old Testament of what happens at salvation when we move from slavery to freedom and is the picture of positional truth in the life of the believer. God provided everything they needed for all of this. Then in the post-salvation or post-deliverance experience God provided spiritual nourishment for them. This is analogous to the Word of God, to Bible doctrine for the believer. All ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink: "for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ."

The emphasis here is that they all had something, they all were provided for in God's grace provision; however not all of them took advantage of this divine grace provision. Remember the context. Paul is challenging the self-absorbed arrogan5, self-indulgent Corinthians, with the law of love and the law of personal sacrifice: that you have to be willing to give up certain things at times in the spiritual life as you advance. The one thing that bothered the Jews in the wilderness was that they had to give up that good food back in Egypt. In order to understand this we have to go back and look at the Old Testament. This chapter is loaded with quotes and illusions to Old Testament events. One of the problems we face today is illiteracy in the church. People don't know their Old Testament. They don't read it; they don't go over it; they should be reading the Bible all the time. Every day you should read a chapter or two just so that you are aware of what is going on in the Scriptures. When Paul referred to these events in chapter ten his readers knew what he was talking about. He refers to ten or twelve different verses and sections of the Old Testament and in a brilliant way pulls all of these together, and each verse quotes from a different section and a different event. He just moves through this like a machine gun expecting his readers to be completely familiar with the entire history of Israel in the Old Testament in all of these passages. The problem is today that most people in most churches are not aware of these things.

Psalm 78:5 NASB "For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, [6] That the generation to come might know, {even} the children {yet} to be born, {That} they may arise and tell {them} to their children, [7] That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, [8] And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God." This is the interpretation of the Exodus generation. They were viewed by later generations as the worst generation in all of the history of Israel. God did not allow them to go into the land because they never really trusted Him. "A generation that did not prepare its heart," that is, they were not learning doctrine, did not apply doctrine, they were continuously rejecting doctrine; "And whose spirit [attitude] was not faithful to God," that is, the vast majority were believers who trusted God for salvation but they did not trust God to provide for them after salvation.

Psalm 78:9 NASB "The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, {Yet} they turned back in the day of battle. [10] They did not keep the covenant of God And refused to walk in His law; [11] They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them." This refers to the first battle they faced against the Amalekites when they came out of Egypt. They were originally losing until God turned the tide for them. They had seen the ten plagues in Egypt, the miracle of God parting the Red Sea, the miracle of God providing manna every day, the miracle of God bringing water out of the rock to supply for their physical nourishment every day, and yet they didn't trust God. [12] "He wrought wonders before their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. [13] He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap. [14] Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire. [15] He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave {them} abundant drink like the ocean depths." For forty years God provided water from the rock in abundance to provide the nourishment. Just think about how much water two-million people would consume in a day. These are fountains of water out of the rocks that God provides all along the way for forty years in the wilderness. Even though they were rebellious God nourished them and provided for them with the water and the manna, day in and day out, and that is His grace. Even though they rejected Him and were carnal and in rebellion God still provided for them. The principle is that God blesses us not on the basis of who we are or what we have done but He blesses us on the basis of His character. [16] "He brought forth streams also from the rock And caused waters to run down like rivers."

But how did they respond? Were they overjoyed with these miracles? Were they excited with this blessing? Did it stimulate them to greater obedience? No, just like most believers they sinned even more against him. [17] "Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. [18] And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire. [19] Then they spoke against God; They said, 'Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? [20] Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?' [21] Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel, [22] Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation." It resulted in divine discipline. So this psalm gives us the divine interpretation of their history, that that generation was the worst generation spiritually, even though they were saved. They were carnal and as a result never experienced the blessing that God had for them in terms of taking them into the promised land. They never got there.

Exodus chapter 14 describes the crossing of the Red Sea. The cloud symbolises the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ who is the leader and the guider of Israel. It is a picture of divine guidance as well as divine protection. Exodus 13:21 NASB "The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. [22] He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." God's grace is continuous, he always supplies whether we take advantage of it or not. The supply is continuous and it is more than enough. [10] "As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD." They are not trusting God at all. [13] "But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever." The principle of the faith-rest drill is to relax and let God handle the situation. The principle is to stand still and to not be afraid, not worry, these are mental attitude sins and it is a sign that we are not letting God handle the situation. We need to let God do the fighting. [14] "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent." 

Exodus 14:19 NASB "The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.' This is the protection aspect. Before he is leading; now He is going to go behind the Jews, between the armies of Pharaoh and the Jews, to protect them so that they can have the time to escape.

1 Corinthians 10:1 NASB "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea." This is symbolic, a type, i.e. a picture in the Old Testament of a spiritual truth or reality, or perhaps a physical reality in the life of Christ, in the New Testament. It foreshadows something in the New Testament. And this is a picture of positional truth. We know that because of something Paul says in verse 2: "and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." This ties these two verses together because we are talking about the cloud and the sea events. This signifies the baptism into Moses. Baptism for many people automatically means water, that somebody is going to get wet. There are eight baptisms in Scripture, some are dry and only three are wet. Those three are ritual baptisms: the baptism of John the Baptist, which was a baptism for the repentance of sins. The significance of baptism is identification and inauguration. John's baptism was an identification with the kingdom that was coming. The baptism of Jesus is not a baptism that is the same as all the other baptisms because Jesus didn't need to repent from sin. His baptism is inaugurating Him into His ministry and it is an identification with the Father's plan. Believer's baptism is when a new believer is baptised by immersion in water as a sign that he has been identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:1-13. This is what we call positional truth. In the dry baptisms there is Jesus' identification with our sins on the cross, the baptism of the cross. Those who were with Noah were identified with Noah. That is called the baptism of Noah in 1 Peter 3, and those who got wet were those who weren't baptised and they died. Same with Moses. The ones who remained dry were the ones who were identified with Moses. This is a picture of the fourth dry baptism or real baptism, and that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is our identification with Christ by means of the Holy Spirit.

So this is a picture here of positional truth, what God provided for all of that generation, their deliverance from slavery to Egypt. It is a picture of our deliverance from slavery to sin and all that God has provided and supplied for us, and what happens after they crossed the Red Sea is a picture of the ongoing spiritual life.