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).
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.
- 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.