What did Paul mean when he said “our fathers” were “baptized into Moses”?

“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).

Paul here is referring to a figurative experience of baptism. As the Israelites were guided by the cloud to the shore of the Red Sea, Moses commanded them to go forward. God miraculously opened the way for them and they went through the sea unharmed to the other side. They passed through the Red See with the water walls on each side. They were enveloped by water, and in this sense were baptized. Their experience represents their cleansing and deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, and their willingness to be faithful to God through His appointed representative, Moses.

During their long period of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites had to a great extent lost their knowledge of the true God and His worship; many were unacquainted with Him, and it was the desire of God to deliver them from bondage that they might have a relationship with Him (Ex. 3:13–15, 18; 5:1; 6:6, 7; 7:16; Ex. 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13).

God appointed Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and to instruct them concerning His laws and plans for them (Ex. 3:10). The evidence of God’s acceptance of Moses as His representative was witnessed by the Israelites in their passage through the Red Sea. And in the wilderness, God supplied their needs of food and drink miraculously through the ministry of His servant, Moses.

By this experience they were dedicated to Moses as their leader (Ex. 14:13–16, 21, 22). They recognized his authority and bound themselves to obey his instructions. As their “visible leader,” Moses passed on to the people God’s laws and requirements. Therefore, it might be said that by being baptized “unto Moses” they were pledged to obey God and serve Him.

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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