How were the Israelites baptized in the wilderness?

BibleAsk Team

Baptized in the Wilderness

During their long years of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites had, to a great extent, lost their knowledge of the One God and His worship; many didn’t know Him, and it was the clear aim of Jehovah to deliver them from the slavery of Egypt that they might have a relationship with Him (Exodus 3:13–15, 18; 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13).

About their experience in baptism, the apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Church wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,  all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea“ (1 Corinthians 10:1,2).

The Lord split open the Red Sea and prepared the path for the Israelites to cross over to the other side (Exodus 14:21, 22). They were led by the cloud to the other side of the Red Sea, and then, as Moses commanded them to go forward, the Lord led the way for them, and they crossed over to the other side without harm.

This was an evidence of God’s favor and love. This experience of the children of Israel was symbolic of baptism. With the cloud above them and the sea on both sides, the Israelites were surrounded by water when they went through the Red Sea. Thus, they were baptized.

The Israelites’ experience may be thought of as representing cleansing from their past loyalty to sin in the dreaded Egyptian slavery, and a pledge of faithfulness to God through His prophet Moses. And by this experience they were dedicated to Moses as their leader (Exodus 14:13–16, 21, 22). They saw his authority and intended to listen to his instructions. As their “visible leader,” Moses gave to the people God’s laws and requirements. Therefore, it might be said that by being baptized “unto Moses” they were committed to obey Jehovah.

In this manner, the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian believers of all these unique provisions made for ancient Israel by the Lord, and illustrated that the children of Israel had as many clear guarantees against falling as those on which the church in Corinth relied on.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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