I want you to know, brothers, 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 drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.
1 Corinthians 10:4 is often referred to as proof that Jesus, the Anointed of Jehovah (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 2:36; 10:38; Hebrews 1:9), was actually Jehovah. Usually several scriptures from the Old Testament are referred to in which Jehovah is called "Rock," and then it is claimed that Paul, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 10:4, is saying that Jesus is Jehovah, the One spoken of as "Rock" in the Old Testament.
Of course, the Hebrew word for rock is used in many different ways in the Old Testament; it does not always refer to Jehovah.
Yes, the spiritual "rock" was Christ, that is, that rock that Jehovah had provided by means of his spirit is a type of Jesus. There is nothing in this that means that Jesus "was" Jehovah. The food -- the manna -- and drink -- the water -- provided by Jehovah through his holy spirit is a type of the food and drink provided through Jesus. Jesus himself tells us this. (John 6:48-58) There is nothing in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 that proves that Jesus is Jehovah who provided the rock, and the manna, and the drink through the rock.
Let us look at 1 Corinthians 10:4 and its context to see exactly what is being spoken of here.
1 Corinthians 10:1
ou thelw gar humas agnoein adelphoi hoti
NOT I AM WILLING FOR YOU TO BE IGNORANT, BROTHERS, THAT
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hoi pateres heemwn pantes hupo teen nepheleen
THE FATHERS OF US ALL (ONES) UNDER THE CLOUD
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eesan kai pantes dia tees thalassees
THEY WERE AND ALL (ONES) THROUGH THE SEA
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THEY WENT THROUGH,
1 Corinthians 10:2
kai pantes eis ton mwuseen ebaptisanto en tee
AND ALL (ONES) INTO THE MOSES THEY WERE BAPTIZED IN THE
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nephelee kai en tee thalassee
CLOUD AND IN THE SEA,
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1 Corinthians 10:3
kai pantes to auto pneumatikon brwma ephagon
AND ALL (ONES) THE VERY SPIRITUAL THING EATEN THEY ATE
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1 Corinthians 10:4
kai pantes to auto pneumatikon epion poma
AND ALL (ONES) THE VERY SPIRITUAL THEY DRANK DRINK,
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epinon gar ek pneumatikees akolouthousees
THEY WERE DRINKING FOR OUT OF SPIRITUAL FOLLOWING*
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petras hee petra de een ho christos
ROCK MASS, THE ROCK MASS BUT WAS THE CHRIST;
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1 Corinthians 10:5
all ouk en tois pleiosin autwn eeudokeesen ho
BUT NOT IN THE MORE (ONES) OF THEM THOUGHT WELL THE
0235 3756 1722 3588 4119 0846_92 2106 3588
theos katestrwtheesan gar en tee ereemw
GOD, THEY WERE STREWN DOWN FOR IN THE DESOLATE [PLACE].
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1 Corinthians 10:6
tauta de tupoi heemwn egeneetheesan eis to
THESE (THINGS) BUT TYPES OF US THEY OCCURRED, INTO THE
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mee einai heemas epithumeetas kakwn kathws
NOT TO BE US DESIRERS OF BAD (THINGS), ACCORDING AS
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ALSO THOSE DESIRED.
2548 1937 -- Westcott & Hort Interlinear.
*Greek, Strong's #190 = Akoloutheo: (1) to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him (2) to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; side with his party
The account of the rock referred to is recorded in the Old Testament in Exodus 17. It should become apparent that the rock referred to is the one which Moses struck and from which water issued forth. Many wish to turn what Paul said around to make it appear that Jesus "was" the rock. Actually, Paul refers to the rock that Moses struck, saying, that "rock was Christ," -- he did not say that Jesus "was" that rock. In doing so, he designates the "rock" that Moses struck as a "type," as he mentions in verse 6, of Jesus.
Nor did Paul say: Christ is [present tense] that rock, as many seem to assume. What Paul actually said was "that rock was [past tense] Christ," that rock from which the Israelites drank did physically exist in the past and it was [represented, signified] Christ, who was to come afterwards as a spiritual rock. Of course, Jesus never was a literal "rock" -- Paul is speaking figuratively, typically. Paul is here drawing an illustration of how the "rock" that the Israelites drank from spiritually represents, prefigures, Jesus. (1 Corinthians 10:6,11) In verse 3 Paul tells us of the spiritual food which the Israelites ate, that is, the manna, food which was provided by means of God's spirit. (Jesus had earlier referred to this manna as representing himself. -- John 6:31-58) Then Paul tells of a spiritual rock -- a miraculous rock provided by Jehovah through his spirit -- from which they drank. (Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 78) The rock and its water, provided spiritually by Jehovah, Paul tells us figuratively foreshadows the spiritual rock who followed them, that is, who came later. -- 1 Corinthians 10:3,4.
In other words, Paul is giving examples [Greek transliteration: tupoi, types] in the history of the nation of Israel that are a benefit to the Christian, as shown in verse 6. There is the type, the foreshadow, and that which followed the type, that is the reality. The type, or shadow, comes before the reality. The spiritual rock that followed the type that preceded it was Christ.
It was Moses, who at the beginning of his experience as a servant of Jehovah was so very meek, so very humble, but who, at the conclusion of his career, was hindered from entering the promised land as a punishment for spiritual pride or self-assurance, when he should have given Jehovah the glory. Let us note the circumstances: Moses, as Jehovah's special servant, had led Israel out of Egypt across the Red Sea into the wilderness, en route for Canaan. He performed, by Jehovah's direction, several miracles on the journey. One of them was the smiting of the rock when the people were famished for water. God directed him to smite the rock; and from that rock flowed an abundant stream of water for the refreshment of the people.
The people, however, were not appreciative, and showed great lack of faith in God as well as Moses. (Exodus 32) Thus, Paul says: "with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness." -- 1 Corinthians 10:5, World English Bible translation -- WEB.
These things, Paul says, are "types" [tupoi] for us, for the Christian who is following Christ, that we may not desire what is bad. -- 1 Corinthians 10:6.
Thus, according to the Bible, that rock from which water flowed was a picture -- a type -- of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4.) It was by Jehovah's arrangement that this "rock" was smitten, that the water of life might flow from Jesus for all of Adam's race who would become Israelites indeed and come out of Egypt -- out of the world -- out of sin -- out of the kingdom of the Adversary into obedience and fellowship with Jehovah.
Forty years after this time of the smiting of the rock, when Israel had been journeying to and fro, waiting for the time to come that they might be permitted to enter Canaan, their wandering led again into this district, so barren and devoid of water. The people cried to Moses and Moses cried to Jehovah on their behalf as to what should be done. Jehovah's answer was that Moses should speak to the rock which previously he had smitten, and that water would come forth. But during these forty years in which Moses had dealt with the Israelites as a father with his children, he had naturally gained a great deal of self-assurance. He could hardly pass through such experiences and still be the meekest man in all the earth. So now, neglecting the command of Jehovah, Moses went to the rock and smote it a second time with his rod, shouting to the people: "Ye rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:1-12) Moses was taking the glory to himself instead of ascribing it all to Jehovah. Soon Moses realized the great mistake he had made. While many may consider this a small mistake, yet Jehovah on this account denied him the privilege of going into the land of Canaan, granting him instead merely the opportunity of seeing it from across the River Jordan, and burying him there.
There is nothing in any of this to lead us to the conclusion that this rock was an angel of Jehovah, as some have claimed. Paul says this rock followed the Israelites, which many have evidently assumed refers to the angel of Jehovah following the Israelites around in the wilderness. In reality there is nothing at all in the scriptures about an angel of Jehovah following the Israelites.
Some have referred to Exodus 13:21,22 and Exodus 32:34 (Psalm 14:19) as support that the rock Paul referred to is Jesus as an angel of Jehovah.
Exodus 13:21 - Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night:
Exodus 13:22 - the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, didn't depart from before the people.
Paul does use this in reference to the protection that Jehovah was giving to the Israelites. (1 Corinthians 10:1) This scripture is in reference to what happened before the Israelites ate the manna, or drank the water from the rock. Thus, by confusing this with the "rock", many have been led into believing something that Paul was not saying.
By comparing this with Exodus 32:34, many would have us assume that the "angel of Jehovah" is actually Jehovah himself in Exodus 13:21,22, and then we are to further supposed to assume that "Jehovah" and "the angel of Jehovah" in these verses are actually Jesus in his prehuman existence. A lot of assumptions. At this point, we should also note that Jehovah said he had come down to bring his people out of Eygpt. (Exodus 3:8) Then he tells Moses to bring his people out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10) Both Jehovah (Exodus 6:6; 12:51; 13:3; Deuteronomy 5:15; 26:8; 32:12) and Moses (Exodus 3:10; 15:22; 32:7; 33:1; Acts 7:35,36) are said to lead, bring, or deliver (save) God's people out of Egypt. Most would not even consider thinking that Moses is Jehovah because of this. Most can see that Jehovah led the Isrealites out of Egypt by means of his servant, Moses. (Psalm 77:20; Hosea 12:13) It should also be evident that Jehovah did consider himself present with the Israelites through, by means of, his angel. There is no reason to assume that the angel (messenger) of Jehovah is acually Jehovah of whom he is the angel (messenger), or that there are two Jehovahs being spoken of, one allegedly the father of the other.
However, the scripture does not say that Jehovah "followed" the Israelites as Paul spoke of the rock that followed them; the scripture says that Jehovah "went before them", not following them. (Some claim that the scripture should read "accompanied them", as going alongside of them. The Greek word, however, means this only in the sense of following, as a disciple or servant accompanies or attends to his master. Jehovah does not accompany the Israelites as though Israel was Jehovah's master. The context, however, shows that Paul is speaking of the things he spoke of as types.)
In Exodus 32:34, Jehovah speaks to Moses:
Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.
Notice, however, that this angel does not follow the Israelites around in wilderness and into the promised land, but rather this angel was to "go before" Israel.
In reality, there is nothing that gives us any reason to think that when Paul referred to the "rock" as representing Jesus, that he meant that Jesus was the "angel of Jehovah" who went before the Israelites.