There is plenty of opportunity to draw our own conclusions from such verses. God has made it possible to understand them without doing so.
- There are no texts that show Jesus/Christ being in the desert with the Israelites.
- There is neither any validity to Jesus 'following' the Israelites around the desert - or as the NIV (typically) stretches it to, "that accompanied them"
- God is not a 'rock', but some of His attributes resemble the characteristics of a rock.
- Jesus is similarly, not a 'rock', but has some similarities with those of a rock.
The context here is of the water coming from the 'rock'. The 'spiritual rock'.
While the Israelites generally had vague concepts of who was to come, their leaders had a clearer vision of the Messiah who would become their Saviour, their Lord as David described.
Later Paul and others show us the connections with Israelite practices and experiences with those of the new age of Christ. There are so many, here are a few that are pertinent.
- the manna - Jesus the True Bread
- the tabernacle - Jesus, the logos of God dwelling with us.
- the offerings and sacrifices - Jesus the perfect Lamb
- their baptism in the sea - baptism in Jesus.
The OT people knew of the one who would come - nothing about the one who already was. There is an earie silence regarding anything about a pre-existing son of God, let alone a 'God the Son'. But a resounding description of the one God would send eventually - Abraham saw this day of Christ (John 8:56) and was glad to have been given a glimpse of who was coming. Moses knew of the age to come and was willing to give up his place to save the stubborn, hard-hearted Israelites. (Ex 32:32)
Paul is expressing yet another way how all things, in heaven and earth, are reconciled in Christ. All things find their true meaning in Jesus. Rom 11:36
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
Jesus is the 'place/person/rock' from which living water flows - nowhere else.
The Israelites desperately needed water to drink - so do we, but from Christ. He is our true drink.
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. John 6:54-5
All the things God had them abide by, looked forward to a supremely greater fulfilment in Christ. Everything God did in OT times looked forward to the one who would replace the 'shadow' of the Old Covenant practices. His son would be the Perfect Lamb, Ultimate High Priest, Gracious King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
That's why Christ 'followed' them. Not in an accompaniment, but in time - foretold since Gen 3 of the 'seed of the woman'.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.
God is all these things to all His people, now His son is them too - who He made Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) and now gives His spirit through.
Therefore, since He has been exalted at the right hand of God, and has received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear. Acts 2:33
Who was the Rock in the Old Testament? God or Christ?
As can be seen by the numerous titles given to God and subsequently also given to Jesus like Saviour, King, Lord, Alpha and Omega etc, 'rock' is also an expression shared for both God and His son in various settings. There is no doubt Paul has declared this particular rock was Christ as it represents the source of living water or true drink that was to come for the salvation of all men. Even though the Israelites were very physically oriented under God's rulership and provision, they were part of a spiritual provision yet to be fully revealed as Paul is careful to outline.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud, and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.
Does 1 Cor 10:1-5 imply that Jesus pre-existed his incarnation?
No, Paul isn't implying anything about such a strange idea - here or anywhere else in his inspired writings.
If so, how can we reconcile this with David claiming God to be his Rock? Were there two Rocks?
There is only one ROCK, God. Paul is explaining how the rock - Jesus, was always planned to be the image and the form of the main Rock. There is only one Rock - just as there is only one God.