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Paul writes:

1Co 10:10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 1Co 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 1Co 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

The Jews, having been marvelously saved after 400 years as slaves, grumbled about their provisions and the whole generation was executed. Is Paul saying that if a saint grumbles they too will be executed? Is he exaggerating? Or is the saint ever one pity party away from certain doom?

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In chapter 10, Paul provides some allegories around the story of Moses. Although not in the Bible, Rabbinic legend decided that a rock, from which a spring of fresh water poured, followed the Israelites wherever they went, and it is to this spring that Paul refers in 1 Corinthians 10:4. Psalm 42:9 refers to "God my rock" but here Paul says the rock is Christ. In 1 Corinthians 10:9, Paul warns against tempting Christ, reminding them that when the Israelites tempted God, he sent serpents to kill them:

Numbers 21:6: And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

The Corinthians will have recognised the allegories and understood that just as, in the Book of Exodus, God saved the Israelites, Jesus will be the one to save them. By verses 11-12, the Corinthians should be in fear for their lives if they sin. Then, in verse 13, he tells them that God does not want them to be tried beyond what they can bear:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Paul realises that if the Corinthians ignore his warning against grumbling and tempting Christ, they will not die en masse, as he implies. But he also realises that if it came to that, he will already have lost their allegiance, so he is willing to risk having his exaggeration exposed.

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  • Can you please restate the last question? Are you saying that rather than dying en masse there would be a relationship problem? – user10231 May 31 '16 at 2:30

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