and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;1 Corinthians 10:2(NASB)
How quickly any of us can stray from trusting the Lord with our whole heart to sinning against Him in thought, word, and deed. How easy it is for a Christian to fall from grace through idolatry, legalism, or by adopting a false gospel. And Paul used Israel's escape from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and their 40-year long wilderness wanderings to teach the Church this important lesson, "for they all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea", when they were rescued from Egypt, by faith - just as the Church are all baptised into Christ, when we are rescued from the slave-market of sin, by faith.
Just as Israel were redeemed and identified with Moses, so the Church is redeemed and identified with Christ. Just as redeemed Israel failed to live a victorious life that honoured the Lord, through unbelief, so the redeemed Christian can live a defeated life, and fail to complete the race of life honourably - through unbelief. Saved by faith, but failing to run the race victoriously. Saved by faith, but failing to LIVE by faith. And Paul used Israel's "baptism into Moses", and their subsequent failure, as a warning to the Church, not to fall from grace, into the same attitude of unbelief.
There are two types of baptism - a real baptism (Israel's spiritual baptism into Moses and the Christian's spiritual baptism into Christ), and a ritual or ceremonial baptism (where water symbolises a real baptism). A ritual baptism, (being baptised in water) represents a real baptism, (the baptism of the Holy Spirit at salvation). It means identification with something else. ISRAEL were identified with MOSES, and the CHURCH are identified with CHRIST. Israel were baptised into Moses, and the Church is baptised into Christ. Israel were under the protection of Moses and we are protected by Christ.
Moses was a 'TYPE' of Christ, and Israel's redemption is a witness of their salvation. Their sins were covered by the lamb's blood until JESUS, the true Messiah would come. The blood of the lambs that were slain, that first Passover, represented the blood of JESUS, the final Passover Lamb. And because Israel were covered by the blood of those little Passover lambs, they were declared righteous, like their forefather Abraham - and together with all Old Testament saints, the Israelites, who were saved from Egypt, had to wait for the Real Passover Lamb to come - the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the WHOLE world.
When Israel were baptised into Moses, or identified with Moses - they were ALSO identified with Christ, Who was to come. They were all identified/ baptised into Moses, "IN the Cloud and IN the Sea". Israel needed a DOUBLE identification. FIRST: identification with Moses, who brought them out of Egypt and SECOND: identification with Christ Who would pay the price for their sin. They not only needed to be identified with Moses, "in the sea", but also with Christ, "in the cloud". And so, "all were baptised into Moses - in the cloud and in the sea."
Everyone who passed through the sea, were baptised into Moses. All who were redeemed from Egypt were identified with him, because they passed through the Red Sea on dry land. They witnessed the incredible power of God. They saw the flowing waters of the Red Sea pile up in a heap. They watched the waters of the deep dry up, so they could cross the sea-bed on dry land. They watched as the Lord cast Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the waters. They saw the choicest of the officers of Egypt drowned in the Red Sea, through God's mighty power. Israel passed from death to life - by faith, on that momentous occasion.
Not only were they baptised into Moses through the crossing of the Red Sea, but were also baptised in the cloud - the Shekinah Glory of God, which overshadowed His redeemed people. It went before them and followed after them. It protected them from their enemies. It sheltered them from the bitter nights and shaded them from the blistering sun. Both the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night, represented an ever-present and constant reminder of God's glorious presence with His people and His faithfulness towards them.
At times we find it difficult to understand how a people, who had the visible Presence of God through the Pillars of Cloud and Fire, could fall into unbelief. Although they witnessed many, material miracles, and passed through the sea on dry ground, they failed to become a sanctified people. In spite of all the wonders they witnessed, they murmured against God, fell into disobedience, and failed to enter their promised rest - and it was all because of their unbelief. Justified in the eyes of God, but failing to become a sanctified people. And Paul gave us this example of Israel's failure as a warning to the Church not to fall into the same trap of unbelief.
Let us examine ourselves to see if we are falling into unbelief through worry, fear, anxious thoughts, or creeping disinterest. Let us remind ourselves that we were saved by faith and are to LIVE by faith and not by sight, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Let us anchor our faith on the Word of God - for faith comes by hearing the Word and not by seeing miracles.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I have been born from above, and am identified with Christ Jesus, my Lord, by faith. Thank You that I have been baptised into His Body and am one with Him. Thank You for the lessons I can learn from the Children of Israel who were all baptised into Moses, in the cloud, and in the sea. I pray that I would live a victorious life in Christ and not fall into unbelief, like Israel in the wilderness. Keep me low at the Cross and looking to Jesus - the Author and Finisher of my faith, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.