1 Corinthians 10 has a unique usage of baptism. Paul is describing some of the stuff that happened to Israel as “examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”
The Old Testament isn’t just cute stories and moral tales. It’s a description of how God does a covenant and how people treat God’s covenants.
Israel was set apart by God. He freed them from slavery and brought them into salvation in their Promised Land. The beginning of their deliverance was going through the Red Sea.
The intro to salvation is baptism. Moses is a type of Christ (remember Jesus is the prophet who is greater than Moses).
It’s important to remember that the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant. This is stated a couple times in Hebrews.
Not everyone in the Old Covenant was saved spiritually. There were unbelieving Israelites who made it into the Promised Land. As you may recall, there were 40 years of rebellious wandering after their baptism into Moses before they made it safely into their Land. And also remember the people who went with Moses were all dead by the time they got there!
The New Covenant is better in that all members of the covenant are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. There are no unbelievers as part of the New Testament’s covenant people. This was not true of the Old Covenant.
Paul is tying all this Old Testament stuff together and pointing it to Christ.
–They ate the same spiritual bread—Jesus said He was the true bread from heaven.
–They all drank from the same rock—that Rock was Jesus.
–They were baptized in the same water and cloud—the cloud was the Spirit directing the people and water is typically a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
–They were baptized into Moses—who was a type of Christ.
Israel completely messed up though. It took them 40 years to make it into the Promised Land, and as the Old Testament progresses, we see that they didn’t last in that Land as they broke their end of the covenant.
Perhaps there is a warning here that doing things like eating bread or getting wet do not guarantee salvation. There’s more to it than the external, observable action.
Don’t play games. Learn from Israel’s testimony. Going through the motions with a group is not what saves the individual’s soul. Examine YOURSELF to see whether you’re in the faith.