NIV 1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.

This appears to be an allusion to Psalm 105:39:

NIV Psalm 105:39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night.

However the Exodus account speaks of the cloud preceding the Israelites as a cloudy pillar:

NIV Exodus 13:21 The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

The cloud "settling over the tabernacle" indicated that LORD would have them remained camped and when it preceded them they would move:

NIV Numbers 9:18 At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped.

Paul seems to associating all of the ancestors being "under the cloud" as a kind of baptism:

NIV 1 Corinthians 11:2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

So was the cloud that preceded the advancing people and settled over the tabernacle also a "cover" over the people at an unspecified time?

It seems that Paul has the "passing through the sea" as an effective picture of water baptism. What was the "covering of all the ancestors with a cloud" and what does it add to the imagery of water baptism?

And by pointing out that the Israelites were "baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" is he pointing out that being baptized into Moses did not shield them from God punishing their fornication or that, by extension that being baptized into Christ will not shield the believer from being punished for their fornication?

And if the latter, is he only undercutting the value of water baptism or of participation in Christ?


3 Answers 3


In Exodus chapter 14 verse 19 we find that this pillar of cloudes can hide the sun and create darkness above the Egypts when the Israelities trying to cross the sea.

So this pillar of clouds could change it's appereance above the Israelities too - as decribed on other places in the Bible.

Hope it answers to your question(s) (-:


I believe I've found the solution:

KJV Exo 14:19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:  Exo 14:20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.  Exo 14:21  And 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 dry land, and the waters were divided.  Exo 14:22  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

Paul's allusion is to this event. So to answer the interpretation part of the question, note that it is associated with Israel's baptism in the sea. I note also that the mikveh of the holy cloud passing over the camp as it moved to the rear forms a baptism and the cloud becomes a partition between the holy camp and their old life.


The baptism associated with the cloud and sea represents a pathway to salvation and righteousness via coming to Christ. Christ said I am the Way, The Truth and the Life no one comes to the Lord but by me. Also Christ said in Mark 16 vs 16-20. He that believe and is baptized shall be save but he that believes not shall be condemned. So the coming to Christ in order to reach Our Father is through baptism; so when the Hebrews left Egypt which represents bondage and passed through the sea which represent a gateway to righteousness leading to Christ the waters were divided which represents freedom or salvation(Being saved) or rescued. As they crossed they were on dry land (wilderness) which represent change in mind, body and spirit, then as they looked back behold the sea closed or the gateway shut and all their Egyptian enemies were no more. Now as they were in the wilderness they were lead by Moses which represent the law leading to Christ who later would come and sanctify,Justify and glorify so that through Him all the Laws and the Prophets could be fulfilled. Thus you have the baptism of Christ.

Fitz Gabbidon

  • 1
    Hi Fitzgerald and welcome to the site. Thanks for posting. However, it appears you are answering a different question. Please reread the question. Thanks. Also, please take the site tour: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 14:35

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