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Jesus the spiritual rock?

A verse that is very often used to prove the preexistence of Jesus is 1 Corinthians 10-4

1 Corinthians 10 – 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.


It is asserted that Paul here is telling us that Jesus was the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness and so he was saying that Jesus literally preexisted, which he would have had to have done had he been the rock in the wilderness long before he ever became human.


Some who argue against this understanding and say that this does not prove Jesus literally preexisted tend, almost entirely, to focus on the rock at Horeb, which Moses smote to bring forth water. This however is only part of the answer. It is not the full answer.  (The rock of Horeb did not follow the Israelites in the wilderness.)


When we actually delve a little deeper into the passage in Corinthians and not simply take this one verse alone out of context, we will see we get a rather different understanding to what Paul actually meant.


The first thing we need to understand is that it is God that is called or referred to as the rock, over and over and over in the Old Testament.  There is literally verse after verse after verse that can be used to show this. I will simply post just a few.


Deuteronomy 32- 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways arejudgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Deuteronomy 32-15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

Deuteronomy 32-18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

1 Samuel 2-2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

2 samuel 22- 32 For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?


David calls The Lord his rock.


Psalm 18-2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tow

Psalm 28-1 [ Psalm 28 ] [ A Psalm of David. ] Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.


He is also referred to the rock of (my) salvation.


2 Samuel 22-47 The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.


And also the God of (my) Salvation.


Psalm 18-46 The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.


The rock that followed them in the wilderness was GOD. (this is not a reference to the rock of Horeb) The rock of Horeb did not follow them in the wilderness, God did. He sustained them with literal food and literal water.



Now we need to understand the Spiritual rock. In order to interpret 1 Corinthians 10-4 as Jesus literally preexisting the simple fact that Paul refers to Christ as the SPIRITUAL rock, that followed them, (those in the wilderness) needs to be ignored.


1 Corinthians 10 – 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

(1 Corinthians 10-3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat


The Israelites however drank literal physical water and they ate literal physical food


It is the SPIRITUAL that is the significance here. The Israelites ate SPIRITUAL food and  drank of a SPIRITUAL drink from the SPIRITUAL rock which is Christ.


Paul is not saying that Jesus literally existed (preexisted his human incarnation).


Paul is talking, as he specifically states about a spiritual rock. The reference to the rock being spiritual and not literal.


We know that it was God who followed them and it was God who literally provided them with literal, physical food and water for them to survive.


Exodus 16-  15And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

Exodus 17- 5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Jesus refers to this manna that was provided by God (and also stated that those provided with this manna eventually died.


John 6-  49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.


However Jesus then states that whoever eats the bread that he provides will not die, not physically but spiritually. He is comparing one with the other.

John 6- 50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.


A physical and a spiritual


Jesus is the spiritual bread and he is the spiritual water


John 4- 13Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.


The Israelites were given literal food and water in the wilderness and we see that Paul refers to the the things that happened in the wilderness were to be examples for us


1 Corinthians 10-  11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.


The physical was an example of the spiritual. The reference to the spiritual rock that followed them simply means that the physical being an example of the spiritual.


And it is THIS that Paul is referring to when he says that they ate the same spiritual meat and drank the same spiritual drink.


1 Corinthians 10- 1Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

The physical being a shadow of the spiritual what was to come which we know is also compared between the law and Christ.


Colossians 2- 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

The spiritual being likened to the physical, by Paul.


Jesus built his house (his church) upon the foundation of a rock.


Matthew 16-18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


The rock that Jesus built his rock upon was that he is the Christ.


Matthew 16-  15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.


It is upon the rock, the spiritual revelation, of the fact that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus built his church. This is a spiritual rock.


Jesus being the Christ is the rock of our salvation.


A house founded upon a rock cannot be shaken.

Luke 6-48 he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.


And so when Paul says that the spiritual rock was CHRIST, he is saying the spiritual saves in the same way that the physical did only one saved physically (which does not profit ) and the other saves spiritually which gives eternal life .


John 6-63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.


Now we do also have the rock of Horeb. Just as Moses smote the rock to bring forth the waters. Jesus was smote in order that he would bring forth the spiritual water.


This being again an example, a comparison.


Paul is NOT trying to claim Jesus literally preexisted. He is simply showing that the physical was an example of the spiritual making a comparison between the two.  


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