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1 Corinthians 10:2

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And were all baptized unto Moses - Rather Into Moses - into the covenant of which Moses was the mediator; and by this typical baptism they were brought under the obligation of acting according to the Mosaic precepts, as Christians receiving Christian baptism are said to be baptized Into Christ, and are thereby brought under obligation to keep the precepts of the Gospel.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And were all baptized - In regard to the meaning of the word “baptized,” see the note at Matthew 3:6. We are not to suppose that the rite of baptism, as we understand it, was formally administered by Moses, or by any other person, to the Jews, for there is not the least evidence that any such rite was then known, and the very circumstances here referred to forbid such an interpretation. They were baptized “in the cloud” and “in the sea,” and this cannot be understood as a religious rite administered by the hand of man. It is to be remembered that the word “baptism” has two senses - the one referring to the application of water as a religious rite, in whatever mode it is done; and the other the sense of “dedicating, consecrating, initiating into,” or bringing under obligation to. And it is evidently in this latter sense that the word is used here, as denoting that they were devoted to Moses as a leader, they were brought under his laws, they became bound to obey him, they were placed under his protection and guidance by the miraculous interposition of God. This was done by the fact that their passing through the sea, and under the cloud, in this manner, brought them under the authority and direction of Moses as a leader, and was a public recognition of their being his followers, and being bound to obey his laws.

Unto Moses - ( εἰς eis). This is the same preposition which is used in the form of baptism prescribed in Matthew 28:19. See the note at that place. It means that they were thus devoted or dedicated to Moses; they received and acknowledged him as their ruler and guide; they professed subjection to his laws, and were brought under his authority. They were thus “initiated into” his religion, and thus recognized his divine mission, and bound themselves to obey his injunctions - Bloomfield.

In the cloud - This cannot be proved to mean that they were enveloped and, as it were, “immersed” in the cloud, for there is no evidence that the cloud thus enveloped them, or that they were immersed in it as a person is in water. The whole account in the Old Testament leads us to suppose that the cloud either passed before them as a pillar, or that it had the same form in the rear of their camp, or that it was suspended over them, and was thus the symbol of the divine protection. It would be altogether improbable that the dark cloud would pervade the camp. It would thus embarrass their movements, and there is not the slightest intheation in the Old Testament that it did. Nor is there any probability in the supposition of Dr. Gill and others, that the cloud. as it passed from the rear to the front of the camp, “let down a plentiful rain upon them, whereby they were in such a condition as if they had been all over dipped in water.” Because:

(1) There is not the slightest intheation of this in the Old Testament.

(2) The supposition is contrary to the very design of the cloud. It was not a natural cloud, but was a symbol of the divine presence and protection. It was not to give rain on the Israelites, or on the land, but it was to guide, and to be an emblem of the care of God.

(3) it is doing violence to the Scriptures to introduce suppositions in this manner without the slightest authority. It is further to be observed, that this supposition does by no means give any aid to the cause of the Baptist after all. In what conceivable sense were they, even on this supposition, “immersed?” Is it “immersion in water” when one is exposed to a shower of rain? We speak of being “sprinkled or drenched” by rain, but is it not a violation of all propriety of language to say that a man is “immersed” in a shower? If the supposition, therefore, is to be admitted, that rain fell from the cloud as it passed over the Jews, and that this is meant here by “baptism unto Moses,” then it would follow that “sprinkling” would be the mode referred to, since this is the only form that has resemblance to a falling shower. But the supposition is not necessary. Nor is it needful to suppose that water was applied to them at all. The thing itself is improbable; and the whole case is met by the simple supposition that the apostle means that they were initiated in this way into the religion of Moses, recognized his divine mission, and under the cloud became his followers and subject to his laws. And if this interpretation is correct, then it follows that the word “baptize” does not of necessity mean to “immerse.” (See Editors‘ Notes on Matthew 3:6 and Matthew 3:16.)

And in the sea - This is another expression that goes to determine the sense of the word “baptize.” The sea referred to here is the Red Sea, and the event was the passage through that sea. The fact in the case was, that the Lord caused a strong east wind to blow all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided Exodus 14:21, and the waters were a wall unto them on the right hand and on the left, Exodus 14:22. From this whole narrative it is evident that they passed through the sea without being “immersed” in it. The waters were driven into high adjacent walls for the very purpose that they might pass between them dry and safe. There is the fullest proof that they were not submerged in the water. Dr. Gill supposes that the water stood up above their heads, and that “they seemed to be immersed in it.” This might be true; but this is to give up the idea that the word baptize means always to immerse in water, since it is a fact, according to this supposition, that they were not thus immersed, but only seemed to be. And all that can be meant, therefore, is, that they were in this manner initiated into the religion of Moses, convinced of his divine mission, and brought under subjection to him as their leader, lawgiver, and guide. This passage is a very important one to prove that the word baptism does not necessarily mean entire immersion in water. It is perfectly clear that neither the cloud nor the waters touched them. “They went through the midst of the sea on dry ground.” It remains only to be asked whether, if immersion was the only mode of baptism known in the New Testament, the apostle Paul would have used the word not only so as not necessarily to imply that, but as necessarily to mean something else? (See Editors‘ Notes on Matthew 3:6 and Matthew 3:16.)

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
To dissuade the Corinthians from communion with idolaters, and security in any sinful course, the apostle sets before them the example of the Jewish nation of old. They were, by a miracle, led through the Red Sea, where the pursuing Egyptians were drowned. It was to them a typical baptism. The manna on which they fed was a type of Christ crucified, the Bread which came down from heaven, which whoso eateth shall live for ever. Christ is the Rock on which the Christian church is built; and of the streams that issue therefrom, all believers drink, and are refreshed. It typified the sacred influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to believers through Christ. But let none presume upon their great privileges, or profession of the truth; these will not secure heavenly happiness.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 315-6

It was this singlehearted purpose to win the race for eternal life that Paul longed to see revealed in the lives of the Corinthian believers. He knew that in order to reach Christ's ideal for them, they had before them a life struggle from which there would be no release. He entreated them to strive lawfully, day by day seeking for piety and moral excellence. He pleaded with them to lay aside every weight and to press forward to the goal of perfection in Christ. AA 315.1

Paul pointed the Corinthians to the experience of ancient Israel, to the blessings that rewarded their obedience, and to the judgments that followed their transgressions. He reminded them of the miraculous way in which the Hebrews were led from Egypt under the protection of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Thus they were safely conducted through the Red Sea, while the Egyptians, essaying to cross in like manner, were all drowned. By these acts God had acknowledged Israel as His church. They “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.” The Hebrews, in all their travels, had Christ as a leader. The smitten rock typified Christ, who was to be wounded for men's transgressions, that the stream of salvation might flow to all. AA 315.2

Notwithstanding the favor that God showed to the Hebrews, yet because of their lust for the luxuries left behind in Egypt, and because of their sin and rebellion, the judgments of God came upon them. The apostle enjoined the Corinthian believers to heed the lesson contained in Israel's experience. “Now these things were our examples,” he declared, “to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” He showed how love of ease and pleasure had prepared the way for sins that called forth the signal vengeance of God. It was when the children of Israel sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play, that they threw off the fear of God, which they had felt as they listened to the giving of the law; and, making a golden calf to represent God, they worshiped it. And it was after enjoying a luxurious feast connected with the worship of Baalpeor, that many of the Hebrews fell through licentiousness. The anger of God was aroused, and at His command “three and twenty thousand” were slain by the plague in one day. AA 315.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 652-3

The Lord designated a special family of the tribe of Levi to bear the ark; and others of the Levites were specially appointed of God to bear the tabernacle and all its furniture, and to perform the work of setting up and taking down the tabernacle. And if any man from curiosity or from lack of order got out of his place and touched any part of the sanctuary or furniture, or even came near any of the workmen, he was to be put to death. God did not leave His holy tabernacle to be borne, erected, and taken down, indiscriminately, by any tribe who might choose the office; but persons were chosen who could appreciate the sacredness of the work in which they were engaged. These men appointed of God were directed to impress upon the people the special sacredness of the ark and all that appertained thereunto, lest they should look upon these things without realizing their holiness and should be cut off from Israel. All things pertaining to the most holy place were to be looked upon with reverence. 1T 652.1

The travels of the children of Israel are faithfully described; the deliverance which the Lord wrought for them, their perfect organization and special order, their sin in murmuring against Moses and thus against God, their transgressions, their rebellions, their punishments, their carcasses strewn in the wilderness because of their unwillingness to submit to God's wise arrangements—this faithful picture is hung up before us as a warning lest we follow their example of disobedience and fall like them. 1T 652.2

“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 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. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 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. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Has God changed from a God of order? No; He is the same in the present dispensation as in the former. Paul says: “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” He is as particular now as then. And He designs that we should learn lessons of order and organization from the perfect order instituted in the days of Moses for the benefit of the children of Israel. 1T 652.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 172

God is no respecter of persons; but in every generation they that fear the Lord and work righteousness are accepted of Him; while those who are murmuring, unbelieving, and rebellious will not have His favor nor the blessings promised to those who love the truth and walk in it. Those who have the light and do not follow it, but disregard the requirements of God, will find that their blessings will be changed into curses and their mercies into judgments. God would have us learn humility and obedience as we read the history of ancient Israel, who were His chosen and peculiar people, but who brought their own destruction by following their own ways. 3T 172.1

The religion of the Bible is not detrimental to the health of the body or of the mind. The influence of the Spirit of God is the very best medicine that can be received by a sick man or woman. Heaven is all health, and the more deeply the heavenly influences are realized the more sure will be the recovery of the believing invalid. At some other health institutions they encourage amusements, plays, and dancing to get up an excitement, but are fearful as to the result of a religious interest. Dr. Jackson's theory in this respect is not only erroneous but dangerous. Yet he has talked this in such a manner that, were his instructions heeded, patients would be led to think that their recovery depended upon their having as few thoughts of God and heaven as possible. It is true that there are persons with ill-balanced minds who imagine themselves to be very religious and who impose upon themselves fasting and prayer to the injury of their health. These souls suffer themselves to be deceived. God has not required this of them. They have a pharisaical righteousness, which springs, not from Christ, but from themselves. They trust to their own good works for salvation and are seeking to buy heaven by meritorious works of their own instead of relying, as every sinner should, alone upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Christ and true godliness, today and forever, will be health to the body and strength to the soul. 3T 172.2

The cloud which has rested upon our Health Institute is lifting, and the blessing of God has attended the efforts made to place it upon a right basis and to correct the errors of those who through unfaithfulness brought great embarrassment upon it and discouragement upon its friends everywhere. 3T 173.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 98-103

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” TM 98.1

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