Throughout this section we have been considering that part of Christians doctrine which is called “the doctrine of baptisms” (Heb. 6:2).
The New Testament actually refers to four distinct types of baptism: 1) the baptism of John the Baptist, 2) Christians baptism in water, 3) the baptism of suffering and 4) the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Of these four types of baptism, the two which are most directly related to the experience of all Christians believers in this dispensation are the second and the fourth – that is, Christians baptism in water and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. For this reason we have concentrated our attention mainly on these two forms of baptism.
The time has now come to see how they are related to each other and to the other parts of God’s plan and provision for professing Christians. We may put the question in this form: What part do baptism in water and baptism in the Holy Spirit play in the total plan of God for all New Testament believers?
We shall follow an approach to this question frequently employed by the writers of the New Testament. We shall view God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt as a type or pattern of the greater deliverance from the slavery of sin and Satan offered to the whole human race through Jesus Jesus. We will focus on three specific features of Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt and use these to illustrate three main elements in the salvation provided for all men through Jesus.
Salvation Through Blood
First of all, God sent His appointed deliverer, Moses, to Israel right where they were, in the midst of Egypt in their misery and slavery. There He saved them from wrath and from judgement through their faith in the blood of the sacrifice which He had appointed – the Passover lamb.
In the New Testament John the Baptist – the forerunner sent to prepare the way before Jesus – introduced Him with the words: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Thus he proclaimed Jesus as the appointed Saviour whose sacrificial death and shed blood would accomplish all that had been foreshadowed by the Passover lamb.
Looking back on Jesus’s death and resurrection, Paul says: “Jesus, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7).
The Passover lamb provided temporary deliverance for Israel from physical slavery. The sacrifice of Jesus Jesus provided eternal salvation for all who put their faith in His shed blood as the propitiation for their sins.
It was not God’s purpose, however, for Israel to remain any longer in Egypt. The very same night that the Passover was sacrificed, Israel began their exodus, no longer a rabble of slaves but now an army in ordered ranks. There was urgency in all that they did. They took their bread before it was leavened. They marched in haste, with their loins girded and their staves in their hands.
In like manner, God meets the sinner right where he is in the world and saves him in the depths of his need and bondage. But God does not leave the sinner there. Immediately He calls him out into a totally new way of life – a life of separation and sanctification.
A Double Baptism
Paul describes the next two stages in Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt.
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 baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Jesus (1 Cor. 10:1-4).
Just a little further on in the same chapter Paul relates these experiences of Israel in the Old Testament to corresponding experiences of professing Christians in the New Testament.
Now these things became our examples (1 Cor. 10:6).
Now all these things happened to them as examples [as types or patterns of behaviour], and they were written for our admonition [that is, to instruct and warn us], on whom the ends of the ages have come [that is, for us who now live in the closing dispensation of the present age] (1 Cor. 10:11).
In other words, Paul says these experiences of Israel in the Old Testament are not merely interesting historical events in the past, but they also contain an urgent and important message for us as professing Christians in this age. They are specially recorded, by divine direction, as patterns of behaviour which God intends to be carefully followed by all Christians believers in this dispensation.
With this in mind, let us consider carefully just what examples or lessons Paul sets before us in the first four verses of the chapter.
First of all we notice the very short but important word all occurs no less than five times. Paul says:
All our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink (1 Cor. 10:1-4, italics added).
Clearly, Paul is emphasising that all these examples or patterns are to be followed by all God’s believing people. God does not leave room for any exceptions. These things are for all His people.
What are the particular patterns to which Paul refers? There are four successive experiences:
1) all were under the cloud;
2) all passed through the sea;
3) all ate the same spiritual food;
4) all drank the same spiritual drink.
These four experiences are also to be followed by God’s people today:
1) passing under the cloud;
2) passing through the sea;
3) eating the same spiritual food;
4) drinking the same spiritual drink.
Just how do these four patterns relate to the experience of believers in this dispensation? What is their lesson for us as professing Christians today?
We notice, first of all, that these four experiences naturally fall into two distinct pairs. The first two – passing under the cloud and through the sea – were single experiences that occurred only once. The second two – eating and drinking spiritual food and drink – were continuing experiences that were regularly repeated over a long period of time.
Let us begin with the first pair of experiences – those that took place only once: passing under the cloud and through the sea. The key to understanding these is provided by a distinctive phrase which Paul uses in connection with them. He says: “All were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (v. 2). Plainly, therefore, these two experiences correspond to two forms of baptism, both of which God has ordained for all professing Christians in this dispensation.
What are the two forms of baptism represented by these two experiences? In the light of our previous studies, it is now easy for us to supply the answer. The baptism in the cloud for Israel corresponds to the baptism in the Holy Spirit for the Christians. The baptism in the sea for Israel corresponds to baptism in water for the Christians.
If we now examine the details of these two experiences of Israel, we shall see just how appropriate each of them is as a pattern of the corresponding experience for professing Christians today.
The historical account of Israel passing under the cloud and through the sea is described in Exodus. After the sacrifice of the Passover lamb in Egypt, the Israelites began their exodus from Egypt the same night. When they came to the Red Sea, they miraculously passed through it, as on dry land.
Baptism in the Cloud
The first mention of their passing under the cloud is found in Exodus 13:20-21.
So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
Paul says, “All our fathers were under the cloud” (1 Cor. 10). This leads us to understand that at a certain point on Israel’s journey out of Egypt, this unique, supernatural cloud came down over them from above and continued to rest over them.
Clearly this cloud was sensibly perceptible to Israel, and it took two different forms. By day it was a cloud, giving shadow from the heat of the sun. By night it was a pillar of fire, giving both light and warmth in the darkness and coldness of the night. By day and by night, it provided Israel with divine direction and guidance.
There are two further facts revealed about this wonderful cloud. First, God Himself – Jehovah – was personally present within the cloud. Second, this cloud served both to separate and to protect Israel from the Egyptians.
And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one [that is, to the Egyptians], and it gave light by night to the other [that is, to Israel], so that the one did not come near the other all that night (Ex. 14:19-20).
Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians (Ex. 14:24).
From this account we see that the Lord Himself – Jehovah – the great Angel of God – was in the cloud and moved in the cloud. It was in the cloud that He moved over Israel from their front to their rear and in the cloud that He interposed His own presence between Israel and the Egyptians, to separate and protect His own people from their enemies.
The cloud had a very different meaning and effect for the Egyptians. For the Egyptians, “it was a cloud and darkness,” but to Israel it “gave light at night” (Ex. 19:20). This cloud was darkness to Egypt, the people of this world; but it was light to Israel, the people of God.
Furthermore, when daylight came, the cloud was even more fearful for the Egyptians. As we read earlier:
The Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians (v. 24).
We have said that this cloud is a type or picture of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Let us now set out briefly, in order, the facts which we know about this cloud and see how perfectly each one of them applies to the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Let us now see how perfectly each of these facts relates to the baptism in the Holy Spirit and what this experience means for God’s people in this dispensation.
I will not leave you orphans; I [Myself personally] will come to you (John 14:18).
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).
Baptism in the Sea
Let us now turn to the baptism in the sea.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left (Ex. 14:21-22).
After this we read how the Egyptians attempted to follow Israel through the Red Sea.
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea (Ex. 14:27).
Side by side with this account in Exodus, we should also read a New Testament comment on the event.
By faith they [that is, Israel] passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned (Heb. 11:29, italics added).
In the light of these passages we can now list the main facts revealed about the passing of Israel through the Red Sea and see how perfectly each of them applies to Christians baptism in water.
Let us now see how perfectly each of these facts corresponds to Christians baptism in water and what this experience means for God’s people in this dispensation.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).
The Pattern of Salvation
We have seen that in their deliverance from Egypt, God’s people under the Old Testament shared in two experiences common to them all: They all passed under the cloud and through the sea, and they were all baptised in the cloud and in the sea. Let us now consider briefly the place that these two experiences occupied in God’s total plan of salvation for His people.
God delivered His people where they were, in Egypt, through their faith in the blood of the Passover sacrifice. However, once God had saved His people in Egypt, He no longer allowed them to remain there. On the contrary, He called them to march out the very same night of their deliverance, in haste, with their loins girded, no longer a mere rabble of slaves but now an army of men prepared for war.
When the Egyptians marched after the Israelites, intent upon bringing them back into bondage again, God’s next two stages of deliverance for His people consisted in making them pass under the cloud and through the sea. By these two experiences God achieved two main purposes for His people: 1) He completed their deliverance out of Egypt’s bondage; 2) He made the necessary provision for the new life into which He was leading them.
All these things are patterns of God’s plan of deliverance or salvation for His people in this present dispensation. Immediately after the initial experience of salvation, God still today calls the sinner out from his old life, his old habits and his old associations. This call to come out and be separate is just as clear as God’s call to Israel to come out of Egypt, for Paul says to professing Christians:
Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty (2 Cor. 6:17-18).
Still today also, Satan, the god of this world, seeks to do as Pharaoh did – pursue God’s people as they move out from his dominion and bring them back under his bondage.
Because of this God has made for His believing people today a double provision corresponding to the double baptism of Israel in the cloud and in the sea. God has ordained that, after salvation, all His believing people should be baptised both in water and in the Holy Spirit.
By this double baptism it is God’s intention that His people should finally be delivered from the association and dominion of this world and that the way back into the old life should forever be closed behind them. At the same time, God also makes the provision necessary for the new life into which He intends to lead His people.
Spiritual Food and Drink
Let us now consider briefly the other two experiences which God ordained for all His people under the Old Testament – eating the same spiritual food and drinking the same spiritual drink. Unlike the double baptism, which was never repeated, the food and drink represented God’s ongoing provision, of which His people had to partake regularly every day until they had completed their pilgrimage.
The spiritual food which God ordained for Israel was the manna which came down to them every morning. Israel lived on this supernatural food throughout the forty years of their pilgrimage through the wilderness.
Speaking of this in the New Testament, Paul describes it as spiritual food. In other words, Paul indicates that for us as professing Christians this manna corresponds not to the natural food with which we must feed our bodies, but to the spiritual, supernatural food with which we must feed our souls.
What, then, is this spiritual, supernatural food of the Christians? Jesus gives us the answer: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ ” (Matt. 4:4). The spiritual food appointed by God for all believers in this dispensation is God’s Word.
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 Jesus Himself. For Jesus said of Himself:
I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51).
Thus, it is through the written Word that the personal Word, the living bread from heaven, comes down to nourish the soul of the believer.
The ordinances for the gathering of manna by Israel are stated in Exodus 16. There are three main points: 1) it was gathered regularly; 2) it was gathered individually; 3) it was gathered early in the day.
The same three principles apply to the believer in this dispensation. Each Christians needs to feed upon God’s Word regularly, individually and early in the day.
River From the Rock
Finally, there is the appointed spiritual drink of God’s people. For Israel in the Old Testament this drink was a river that flowed out of a rock, and Paul tells us “that Rock was Jesus” (1 Cor. 10:4).
For the Christians, the divinely appointed drink is the river of the Holy Spirit, flowing forth from within his own inner being. For Jesus says of the Holy Spirit:
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-38).
For Israel this river flowed out of a smitten rock; for the Christians today this river flows out of the smitten side of the Saviour, for it was His atoning death upon the cross that purchased for all believers the indwelling fullness of the Holy Spirit.
The initial baptism in the Holy Spirit is a once-for-all experience that never needs to be repeated. But drinking from the river of the Spirit that now flows from within is something that each believer needs to do just as regularly as Israel drank from the rock in the desert.
For this reason Paul uses a continuing tense when he says: “Be [continually] filled [and refilled] with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Continual drinking of the Spirit leads to the outward expressions Paul describes in the next two verses.
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Jesus (Eph. 5:19-20).
Continual feeding on God’s Word and drinking of God’s Spirit are essential for a life of victory and fruitfulness. Israel would have perished in the wilderness without their daily portion of manna from heaven and living water from the rock. The believer today is no less dependent upon the daily manna of God’s Word and the daily filling, and refilling, of God’s Spirit.
Let us now apply the complete pattern to the experience of the Christians in this dispensation.
God has ordained for each believer today five experiences, each typified by an experience of Israel in the Old Testament: 1) salvation through faith in the blood of Jesus Jesus; 2) baptism in the Holy Spirit; 3) baptism in water; 4) daily feeding upon God’s Word; 5) daily drinking of God’s Spirit from within.
Of these five experiences, the first three – salvation, baptism in water and baptism in the Spirit – occur only once and need not be repeated. The last two – feeding upon God’s Word and drinking of God’s Spirit – are experiences which the believer must continue to practice regularly each day throughout his earthly pilgrimage.