Baptized in the Cloud and Sea

1 Cor. 10:2 says, “All [the Israelites] were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

But later we read that these things were symbols/examples for the church as well (see v. 6, 11).

God through Paul purposefully used the word, “baptized,” to describe their going through the Red Sea, as well as the cloud coming over them.

See, Moses is a type for Jesus in many ways. And the experiences of the Israelites under Moses are set forth as similar to the experiences of Christians under Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 10).

Water Baptism

Thus:

The Red Sea crossing is a symbol/type for baptism (Exod. 14:15-21; 1 Cor. 10:1-2)

  • Israel leaving Egypt by blood of Passover Lamb = Christians leaving the oppression of sin by the blood of Christ (Revelation 11:8; 1 Corinthians 5:7)
  • Israel walking under and out of a wall of water = Christian baptism.
  • Egyptians being covered by the water = sins being covered by water
  • Hebrews 11:29 – faith was necessary for their crossing the Red Sea, just as faith is necessary for baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).

Holy Spirit Baptism

Just as their crossing the Red Sea speaks to water baptism, so their being immersed (which is the meaning of “baptism”) in the cloud represents Christians being baptized in God’s Holy Spirit.

Consider:

  • The Hebrew word used for Spirit is ruah and the Greek word is pneuma. It properly means wind or breath, and would be visualized perfectly by a cloud.
  • Exodus 13:21, 22 shows that God was the cloud
  • Exodus 13:17-21 (specifically v. 21) shows that the cloud led Israel into the wilderness
  • Exodus 14:17-20 (specifically v. 20) shows that the cloud brought darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites
  • Exodus 16:10, 11; 19:9; 24:16 show that God spoke through the cloud
  • Exodus 19:9 shows that the cloud was for people to believe Moses (1 Cor. 10:2 shows that Moses was a type for Christ)…John 15:26 says: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me,” thus, the Holy Spirit came to testify of Jesus (it was a sign for people to believe Jesus).
  • Exodus 34:5 (see also Ex. 33:19) shows that the Lord’s name was proclaimed by the cloud and 1 Cor. 12:3 says: “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can SAY THAT JESUS IS LORD EXCEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
  • Exodus 40:36, 37 shows that Israel was only to go where the cloud dwells

Comparing the characteristics of the cloud to the Holy Spirit makes it very clear that the cloud mentioned in 1 Cor. 10:1, 2 is pointing to the Holy Spirit that the church is baptized in (which Paul spells out 2 chapters later, see 1 Cor. 12:13).

Thus, as the Israelites began their journeys with a water and cloud immersion (immersion being a synonym for the word baptism in the Greek), so Christians are to begin our journeys with a water and Holy Spirit baptism.

Brian

Moses Points to Jesus

Audio of “Moses Points to Jesus” (3 min, 10 sec)

The historical character of Moses is set forth by God as a type/shadow of Jesus. Just as Moses brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt, so Jesus brings his church out of the bondage of sin, and so forth.

Here are a few (of the many…I dare say hundreds) of other examples that show Moses is a type for Jesus:

  • Infants were killed when they were born, yet they escaped (Exod. 1-2; Matt. 1-2)
  • God reveals himself to both in the desert before their public ministry (Exod. 3; Matt. 4)
  • After they led God’s people to salvation, they were to meet with God and the people at a mountain (Exod. 3; Matt. 28)
  • The Israelites protested that Moses/Jesus would marry a Gentile bride (Num. 12:1; Acts 15)
  • The authentication of their ministry came from their power over the serpent and ability to heal (Exod. 4; Mark 1) – where serpent is a type for Satan (see 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 20:2; etc.)
  • Their first sign was turning water into blood/wine (Ex. 4; John 2)
  • They “baptized” God’s people in the cloud (= Holy Spirit) and water (Exod. 14; 1 Cor. 10)
  • They served as mediators between God and man (Exod. 19; 1 Tim. 2:5)
  • They ascended to God longer than the people planned, which prompted the people to rebel (Exod. 32; 2 Pet. 3)
  • They were willing to die on behalf of God’s people (Exod. 32:32; John 10)
  • There was controversy over their bodies after they died (Jude 1:9)

As I said, more could be added to this list.

Further, all of these events happened historically and truly as recorded. Thus, it shows God’s hand in writing Scripture and ordaining the events of history to point, ultimately, to Christ.

Praise be to God,

Brian

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 – Israel’s Sustenance and Ours

Introduction

Though the events of the Exodus are certainly accurate history, Paul sees these historical events as spiritual types/shadows that relate to our Christian walk today.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 – “these things became our examples,” “written for our admonition”
  • All were baptized…spiritual food…spiritual drink…spiritual Rock (1 Cor. 10:2-4)

“Spiritual Rock” (1 Corinthians 10:4)

The Rock represents Christ – “that Rock was Christ”.

  • Rock struck when Israelites thirsted (Exodus 17:1-7) = Christ crucified (Matt. 26:31)
    • Rocks were literally split when Christ died (Matt. 27:51)
    • Hebrew word for “rock” of Exodus 17:6 indicates a sunken rock (see Philip Mauro’s, The wonders of Bible chronology, 1970)
  • Rock spoken to (Numbers 20:1-13) = Christ glorified
    • Hebrew word for “rock” of Numbers 20 indicates an exalted or uplifted rock (see Philip Mauro’s, The wonders of Bible chronology, 1970)
    • Moses was forbidden from the Promised Land because he struck the rock when he was only supposed to speak to it (Num. 20:11-12). Like the rock, Christ only needed to be crucified once (Hebrews 6:6), and, after He was glorified, people could speak directly to Him.

“Spiritual Drink” (1 Corinthians 10:4)

The water that flowed from the rock represents the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Presence

  • John 7:37-39 – “‘rivers of living water,’…this He spoke concerning the Spirit.” According to the Jewish tradition of the time, Jesus shouted this on the same day that the Jews joyfully sang/chanted Isaiah 12:3, in commemoration of the waters that gushed forth from the rock. (see John Wesley’s commentary on John 7)
  • Striking the rock made way for the waters to flow. In a similar manner, Christ’s crucifixion made way for the Holy Spirit to come to all who believe.
  • After Christ was glorified, the Holy Spirit flowed down to all who called on Him (see Acts 2:33), just as the rock of Numbers 20.
  • “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them” (1 Cor. 10:4). “But as when it is said they ‘drank of the rock,’ it must mean that they drank of the water that flowed from the rock; so when it is said that the ‘rock followed’ or accompanied them, it must mean that the water that flowed from the rock accompanied them,” (see Albert Barnes’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 10). By receiving the water, they received the rock. Similarly, when we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive Christ’s presence (John 14:19, 23).

“Spiritual Food” (1 Corinthians 10:3)

The manna from heaven represents God’s Word and Christ’s Presence

  • Matt. 4:4 – Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” He is quoting here from Deuteronomy 8:3, directly comparing the manna from heaven with the Word of God.
    • Note: In addition to being compared with bread, God’s Word is also described as milk (1 Peter 2:2) and solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14). Thus, it nourishes us through all stages of maturity.
  • Manna came from heaven (Exodus 16:4a); God’s Word comes from heaven (Isaiah 55:10-11; 1 Thes. 2:13).
  • Collecting Manna tested the Israelites obedience (Exodus 16:4b); receiving and using God’s Word tests our obedience (James 1:22).
  • “As we feed by faith upon the written Word of God, we receive within ourselves the divine life of the personal Word, that is, Jesus Christ Himself [see John 6:51]…it is through the written Word that the personal Word, the living bread from heaven, comes down to nourish the soul of the believer.” (Derek Prince, The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Handbook, 1993). Thus, by receiving God’s Word we receive His presence and life, all depicted by the manna of Exodus.

Conclusion

The Israelites were sustained in the wilderness by bread and water, “lacking nothing” (Nehemiah 9:20-21). In a similar way, Christians who rely on, and seek after, God’s Word and Spirit will know the abundant life Christ promised (John 10:10b).

Two Warnings

  • Numbers 11 – When the Israelites complained that they needed more than bread and water, God gave them quail. The quail came from the sea, instead of the heavens or the rock (compare Revelation 17:15), and they feasted on its flesh. As a result, many Israelites died. This should be a warning to Christians: Are we seeking more than God’s Word and God’s Spirit?
  • Numbers 21:4-6 – Again, Israel complains that they are only given manna and water. For this, God send serpents that bite and kill them. Warning: Christians who are not satisfied with God’s Word and God’s Spirit will be susceptible to all kinds of destructive devices of the Enemy, “that serpent of old” (Revelation 20:2).

Is God Sovereign Over Satan?

God has always held authority over Satan.  For instance, in the O.T., God is seen as setting Satan’s limits, and authorizing what he could/couldn’t do (Job 1:12, 21; 2:6, 10; 42:11).  And in the N.T., Satan has to ask Jesus’ permission to affect Peter (Luke 22:31-32).  Further, we consistently see that activities of Satan aren’t completely devoid of God’s hand.  Consider:

  • 2 Sam. 24:1 says, “the LORD…incited David,” to number Israel.  But 1 Chron. 21:1, recounting the same event, says, “Satan…incited David to number Israel.”  One version says God did it, another says Satan, because God is ultimately sovereign over Satan.
  • In Job 1-2, we see clearly that Satan brought devastation on Job and his family.  Yet, in the middle of these events, we read, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away,” (Job 1:21-22), and at the end of the book, it says, “the evil/disaster that the Lord had brought,” (42:11).  Thus, both Satan and God are seen to be involved with Job’s calamities, with God ultimately sovereign over Satan.
  • Concerning Jesus’ crucifixion, we read, “The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him [Jesus],” (John 13:2), and “Satan entered into Judas…” (Lk. 22:3).  However, we also read that, “It was the will of the LORD to crush him [Jesus]; He [God] has put him [Jesus] to grief,” (Is. 53:10), “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed…” (Acts 2:23), and, “I [Jesus] lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord…This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18). See also John 18:11. Thus, it can rightly be said that both Jesus/God and Satan caused Jesus’ crucifixion. 
  • In 2 Cor. 12, Paul says that, “a messenger of Satan” was “given me [in context, from God],” (v. 7).  God did not remove this “thorn” in Paul’s flesh after Paul’s pleading with Him, but let it remain to produce something good in Paul (vv. 7-10).  Thus, God gave and used something that came from Satan for His purposes.
  • In 2 Thes. 2:9, we read of a deception that comes “by the activity of Satan.”  However, in v. 11, we read that, “God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false.”  Thus, God and Satan are both said to have a part in people being deluded (of course, God is not a deceiver and is fully willing to reveal to anyone willing to find Him; but for those who chose to disobey and live for themselves, God allows them to be deceived).

Passages such as these (and others) only make sense if God is the final authority and decider of what Satan can/can’t do, and if God is sovereignly using Satan’s activities for His purposes.

This does not mean, as some wrongfully assume, that God is therefore evil by actively permitting and using the activity of Satan, for, “God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one,” (James 1:13).  Rather, it seems more fitting to view God’s relationship with Satan the way God speaks of His relationship with Israel’s enemy, Assyria, in Isaiah 10:

Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger;
the staff in their hands is my fury!
Against a godless nation I send him,
and against the people of my wrath I command him,
to take spoil and seize plunder,
and to tread them down like the mire of the streets...
When the Lord has finished...He will punish...Assyria.
(Isaiah 10:5-12)

Parts of this passage show that God actively used Assyria (as a father uses a rod, for instance) for correction.  He sent/allowed Assyria to afflict His people for a short time in response to their sin. But, the bold text shows that He later would punish Assyria because of their arrogance and wickedness. 

Satan (like the Assyrians of Isaiah 10) is not operating outside of God’s sovereignty and dominion.  He is being used by God in response to sin, but will finally be terribly and eternally punished by God at the end of time (see Rev. 20)–as the Assyrians were later punished–when we no longer live in a sin-cursed world. 

Further, this does not mean that we do not resist and fight Satan.  God clearly teaches us to, “stand against,” “wrestle,” and “resist,” Satan (Eph. 6:11, 12; James 4:7).  Jesus/God says things like, “Be gone, Satan!” (Matt. 4:10) and, “The LORD rebuke you,” (Zech. 3:2), and that God, “will soon crush Satan under your [our] feet,” (Rom. 16:20).  However, neither are we guaranteed instant victory against Satan in this lifetime (see 2 Cor. 12:7-9; 1 Thess. 2:18; Heb. 2:8; etc.). Instead, fighting against our enemy is clearly used by God to grow us and ultimately glorify Him (see Exod. 23:28-30; Judges 2:21-3:2; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; etc.).

He is looking for people to rise up against Satan. If I could look you in the eye I’d say, “Be that person. Don’t shrink back. Don’t let Satan win.” And (I pray and hope that) having a revelation that God is ultimately in charge and laughs at Satan’s plans and has a sort of “leash” on him will give us tremendous confidence and victory over Satan in our lives.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Rom. 16:20)

Brian

Lame Huang’s Story, by Paul Hattaway

Recorded by Paul Hattaway, Asia Harvest, Oct 2019, Newsletter #160 (to receive these testimonies freely, sign up for the newsletter at asiaharvest.org):

On April 15, 1981, an elderly man of God named Huang Detang was lowered into a grave in Xiangshan County near Ningbo City. Huang had never been an ordained pastor, but had lived out his faith as an uneducated farmer. The surrounding communities had such respect for Huang that more than 400 people paid their final respects at his funeral, even though it had not been advertised.

Huang first believed the gospel when he was in his forties. Years later, he developed painful boils on his feet which caused him great agony and prevented him from working. Locals gave him the nickname, ‘Lame Huang.’

In his desperation, Huang cried out to Jesus for healing. A short time later he received a vivid dream, in which the Lord told him: “You must truly believe in Me, and I will heal you. You must witness for Me.”

In his dream, Huang thanked Jesus for the help he would receive and promised that once he could walk again he would share the gospel widely. Huang said the Lord told him: “A verbal promise is not enough. You must write a contract of indenture by which you offer yourself up as My servant.”

Huang had only a primary school education and didn’t know what a contract of indenture was or how to write one. He again cried out for God’s mercy and help, and received another dream, in which the Lord showed him how to word the contract. Huang composed the following document:

“I, Huang Detang, sign this indenture by which I offer myself up forever.

Because of my own uselessness, I have boils on my feet. They are very painful and I have nowhere to turn. I can only ask my gracious Savior, my Lord Jesus, to be merciful to me, a great sinner.

I now receive the precious Blood of the Lord as the ransom price which has redeemed me from death to life, and I know that the Lord will heal my feet, take my soul to the heavenly kingdom forever, and I will become a child of God with honor and glory.

Because I have nothing to repay the grace of God, I will most gladly dedicate my body and soul to Him. After my dedication, I am totally at the disposal of the Lord. No matter where I am sent, I will go.

Whether it is to the east, south, west or north, whether it is climbing mountains or crossing seas, cold or hot, whether I am hungry or thirsty, or if I suffer want and persecution, I will follow the Lord to the end and not be disheartened. No one in my family or among relatives and friends will be able to pose any obstacles or cause me to go back on my promise.

This indenture is the common wish of both parties and neither of them raises any objection. I sign it as evidence of my willingness.

Huang Detang.”

A short time after signing his unique contract with God, the boils on Huang’s feet disappeared and he was able to walk freely again.

Over the years, each of the points in Huang’s solemn contract was sorely tested, as God took Huang at his word and stretched his faith by sending him on dangerous adventures that resulted in thousands of people hearing the gospel. From the 1950s to the 1970s he ministered during the darkest days of Communist persecution, and was arrested and tortured by the authorities on several occasions.

Huang’s ministry was characterized by many instances of God prompting him to do things that made no rational sense, but with his indenture in mind, Huang obeyed the guidance of the Holy Spirit and remained true to his pledge, even when it resulted in great personal hardship.

On one occasion when Huang was preaching he heard the inner voice of the Spirit of God tell him, “Love the one in the last row!”

That night he was unable to sleep, and at dawn he met with the pastor and enquired who the person was had been sitting on the last row of the church. Huang was taken to a tiny shack, where he saw a bedridden man with only a tattered blanket on his bed and dirt covering every inch of the room. The man’s limbs were pale, and only when Huang saw the man in the light did he realize he was a leper.

Brother Huang asked the man how many years he had believed in Jesus, but he just shook his head to indicate he was not a Christian. He asked the leper why he had gone to the church service the previous night, and he replied that he had received a dream instructing him to go to the meeting because Jesus wanted to save him. On the day of the meeting he was able to get out of bed for the first time in months, and a neighbor helped him to the church.

Huang Detang didn’t know how he could help the man’s dire situation, as he was impoverished himself. Then the Lord told him, “Take off your jacket and give it to him.” Huang was afraid. His padded jacket was the only one he owned. It kept him warm as he walked through the mountains in winter, and he slept in it while on his preaching journeys. “Surely not, Lord. I have great need of it,” Huang argued.

The Holy Spirit said to him: “‘If you do not give it to him, what you preach is like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If you don’t have love, what use is it? If you don’t have love, you are not serving Me.’

Huang had to obey in tears, but as soon as he had given his jacket away he felt immensely relieved. He was without a jacket for many years and yet not once did he suffer frostbite.

Sometimes the demands that God placed on Huang were too difficult for other Christians to cope with, and they refused to be involved. For example, once the Lord directed him to share the gospel and demonstrate God’s love to a dishevelled prostitute, who was near death from syphilis. Huang shared the gospel and provided her with food and clothing. The ladies in the local church, however, did not want to stoop so low as to help such a wretched person, but due to God’s love demonstrated by Huang, the woman died a short time later as a follower of Jesus.

Huang continued witnessing for his Lord right up to his death in 1981, at the age of 96. Few people outside his home region in Zhejiang have ever heard of ‘Lame Huang,’ but in heaven he is known as the man who kept his contract with God.

Paul Hattaway, Asia Harvest, Oct 2019, Newsletter #160

Jesus’ Birthplace Known 700 Years Beforehand

Micah the prophet lived approximately 700 years before Jesus was born. We have a book of his writings and prophecies preserved in our Old Testament today.

Micah 5:2 says:

You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, 
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for Me [God] one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Here we have the “ruler of Israel” who would yet come (future tense). But He is said to be “from old, from ancient days” (in the past). So you have reference to an eternal figure (of sorts) who would be ruler over Israel.

Micah 5:2 shows that the passage is referring to the, “RULER OF ISRAEL, WHOSE GOINGS FORTH ARE FROM OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.”

In addition to Jesus’ genealogy proving his kingship over Israel, Matthew 27:37 shows Jesus to be labeled, “THE KING OF THE JEWS,” (Jesus being a king also fulfills the messianic prophecy of Psalm 2:6-9).

In regards to the Messiah having his, “GOINGS FORTH…FROM EVERLASTING,” Colossians 1:17 states that Jesus was, “BEFORE ALL THINGS.”

Thus, Micah 5:2 is talking about the Christ (which points, so far, to Jesus).

The first part of Micah 5:2 says that from, “BETHLEHEM EPHRATHAH,” the Messiah will come. The Jews of Jesus’ day likewise affirm Messiah would come from Bethlehem (Matt. 2:5; John 7:42).

So…what do we know about Bethlehem and was Jesus born there?

In speaking of Herod’s slaughter at Bethlehem, John Mcray comments on Bethlehem’s size by saying, “First, Bethlehem was probably no bigger than Nazareth, so how many babies of that age would there be in a village of five hundred or six hundred people? Not thousands, not hundreds, although certainly a few,” (as cited in Strobel’s, Case for Christ). Thus Bethelehem was not very large in Jesus’ day.

That said, Luke 2:4-7 (along with Matt. 2:1, 4) independently affirm that Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem.

Thus, Jesus’ very birthplace (a town composed of only a few hundred people) was known 700 years before he was born!

Only God could have written such a book. Praise His name!

Brian