The Rock is Christ: How to Read Exodus

Paul’s commentary on the Exodus teaches vital lessons about how to read Exodus and even the whole Old Testament.

Let’s stop with the hermeneutical gymnastics and affirm what Scripture literally teaches: Christ is the centre of the story of Exodus, the Bible, and the Universe. Let’s have the faith of Moses who “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Heb 11:26).  

 

Sometimes we under-appreciate Paul’s interpretation of the Old Testament. For instance, when he retells the Exodus story in 1 Corinthians 10, he sees the parting of the sea as a kind of baptism (Exod 14), the manna from heaven as spiritual food (Exod 16), the water as spiritual food (Exod 17) and the rock from which the water comes as Christ (Exod 17). In Paul’s words, “the Rock was Christ.”

Paul’s commentary on the Exodus teaches vital lessons about how to read Exodus and even the whole Old Testament.

First, Exodus is about God

The Old Testament is about God, the triune God. Christ is the bread of life, and he serves us living Water because he is the rock from which the Spirit flows. 

Some may object because Paul does not mention “the Spirit” here. I respond by saying: of course he does. Paul explains, “All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:3–4). Scripture knows of no other spirituality than a Spirituality in the Spirit of Jesus.

Paul did not write about esoteric spirituality. He wrote about the material means of Spiritualiy—the Spirit of God abiding in us, nourishing us, and growing us. Paul is about to tell the Corinthians that the second Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving Spirit. This grounds our Spirituality; we have the Spirit and are therefore Spiritual. 

Second, Exodus is about Jesus

The Exodus through and through concerns the triune God, especially the Logos of God. Who spoke from the burning bush and proclaimed the Law at Sinai? The Logos, the Word proceeding from God. 

Read More