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Psalms 18:2 (ESV):

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

1 Corinthians 10:1-5 (ESV):

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

David very clearly refers to God as his Rock. Of course, not literally, but in a metaphorical or spiritual sense. However, 1 Cor 10:1-5 reveals that Christ was the spiritual Rock that followed and sustained the Israelites when the they left Egypt guided by Moses.

Questions:

  1. Does 1 Cor 10:1-5 imply that Jesus pre-existed his incarnation (in order to be the spiritual Rock of the Israelites at the time of Moses)?
  2. If so, how can we reconcile this with David claiming God to be his Rock? Were there two Rocks?
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  • Dear down-voter: I would love to read your thoughts, so I can learn how to write better questions ;) Apr 13 at 14:26
  • Does Exodus 6:6 not answer your question? Apr 13 at 14:30
  • 1
    You seem to be asking if "Jesus" is HaShem. Apr 13 at 14:37
  • 1
    "The LORD" is a traditional English translation of the Tetragrammaton, distinct from other uses of "Lord"
    – Henry
    Apr 13 at 15:23
  • 1
    You could ask the same thing about psalm 23 the Lord is my Shepherd and a Jesus claiming to be the true Shepherd. Did Jesus preexist? Clearly according to Himself John 17 twice He points out that He had a glory before Creation. He pre dates everyone and everything, He predates heaven, the hosts of heaven, the earth and all that is in it. It boggles my mind how anyone reading the text would opt to show loyalty to a creed rather than the Scriptures. Apr 14 at 3:22
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Rocks
Another question asks about the translation philosophy of the Septuagint (LXX) which, with one exception, replaced "rock" with some other term.

Psalm 18 [17] is one example of rocks (plural) and how the LXX treats them:

The LORD is my rock (סַֽלְעִי) and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock (צוּרִי), in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
(Psalm 18:2 ESV)

The Lord is my firmness and my refuge and my rescuer; my God is my helper, and I will hope in him, my protector and horn of my deliverance. (LXX-Psalm 17:3)

Both "rocks" in the Hebrew text were changed

  • The LORD is my rock [סַֽלְעִי] becomes the Lord is my firmness [στερέωμά].
  • My God, my rock [צוּרִי] becomes My God is my helper [βοηθός].

Even though the LXX changes both "rocks" it does preserve an aspect of the original text which the majority of English translations ignore; namely, David has two different "rocks," first סֶלַע then צוּר. This is an important element in understanding what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (1 Corinthians 10)

Paul uses πέτρα for rock. During the Exodus there were two water from rock events. The first was from the rock [הַצּוּר] at Horeb (cf. Exodus 17:1-7). The second was from the rock [סֶלַע] at Meribah (cf. Numbers 20:2:13). In the Hebrew text, there are not only two different rock events; there are two different "rocks." The second event is a rock [סֶלַע] which corresponds to the LORD is my rock in Psalm 18.

Much of Psalm 18 is found in David's song of praise to the LORD see 2 Samuel 22 and with respect to both "rocks," it is here the lone exception in the LXX which preserves "rock" is found:

1 And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said, “The LORD is my rock (סלעי) and my fortress and my deliverer, 3 my God, my rock (צורי), in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. (2 Samuel 22)

1 And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, in the day in which the Lord rescued him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul. 2 And the song was thus: O Lord, my rock (πέτρα), and my fortress, and my deliverer 3 my God; he shall be to me my guard, I will trust in him: my protector, and the horn of my salvation, my helper, and my sure refuge; thou shalt save me from the unjust man. (LXX-2 Samuel 22)

Here the LXX rendered סלע as rock πέτρα when referring to the LORD. Yet צור was not called rock when referring to God. The textual connection to the letter to the Corinthians, makes two implications: the water-rock event is the second one and the Rock is the LORD

Additional support for this connection is found from comparing the two water-rock events. In the first, the LORD is specifically not the rock:

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock (הַצּוּר), and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:6)

At Horeb the rock is צוּר and the LORD's presence is distinct from the rock. This is not true in the second event. At Meribah, there is no mention of the LORD by or on the rock. Instead, Moses was instructed to speak to the Rock. So that Rock was Christ may be applied directly at Meribah, which cannot be said of the rock at Horeb.

Conclusion
Clearly Paul states the rock was Christ and Christ claimed to be in existence before the Exodus (cf. John 8:58). In particular, from the Hebrew and Greek texts of the OT, Paul is pointing specifically to the rock at Meribah. At Meribah the LORD instructed Moses to speak to the rock, in other words, speak to Christ. Since he struck the rock we do not know whether Christ would have also physically manifested Himself when Moses spoke, we only know what took place when Moses struck Christ.

In addition, there are two types of rocks both literally and figuratively. One typically is used to refer to the LORD and the other to God. The different "rocks" are found together in Exodus, Numbers, 2 Samuel, and Psalms.

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David was a Jew, not a Christian. In Judaism, the Messiah is not God (the Greek word translated as "Christ" means Messiah). Christians have reinterpreted the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) to be about Jesus, when a Jewish reading says no such thing. The ancient Jews had no concept of a Man-God (i.e. Jesus Christ), so David was explicitly talking about God, the one and only God, not Jesus Christ. By claiming that Jesus is in the Old Testament, the claim is that Jews don't know their own religion, and that Christians understand Judaism better than Jews do.

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  • some biblical references would be good to support your answer.
    – steveowen
    Apr 13 at 23:49
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    Paul of Tarsus, author of 1 Corinthians, was a Jew, educated by one of the most respected rabbis of his day. All of the earliest Christians were Jews, as of course was Jesus of Nazareth himself. By characterizing assertions that Jesus is in the Old Testament as claims that Christians understand Judaisim better than Jews do, the claim is that only people adhering to a particular religious orthodoxy are legitimate inheritors of the Old Testament. How about we instead just say that today, Christians and Jews have divergent interpretations? Apr 14 at 0:32
  • This is not to imply that David meant anything other than God when he wrote "The Lord is my rock", "My God is my rock", and "Who is the rock except for God?", of course. To whatever extent that OP is proposing differently, they seem to be lacking in foundation. Not every appearance of the work "rock" can plausibly be interpreted as a reference to Jesus, even by those who are inclined to make such interpretations in general. Apr 14 at 0:46
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What was hidden from David and other psalmists in the OT was revealed to Paul in the NT.

Psalm 78:15

He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as abundant as the seas.

Psalm 105:41

He opened a rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert.

David uses rock poetically as a metaphor in Psalms 18:2

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul points out the spiritual reality that the rock was Christ:

and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Does 1 Cor 10:1-5 imply that Jesus pre-existed his incarnation (in order to be the spiritual Rock of the Israelites at the time of Moses)?

True.

If so, how can we reconcile this with David claiming God to be his Rock?

God, including the pre-incarnate Christ, was David's Rock. He wrote in Psalm 110

1The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

David had only a vague understanding of the lord. It was not revealed to him but it was revealed more clearly to Paul as the pre-incarnate Christ.

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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.

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  • That's why Christ 'followed' them. Not in an accompaniment, but in time - foretold since Gen 3 of the 'seed of the woman'. - are you talking about notional pre-existence here? If so, you might find this interesting: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/58403/… Apr 14 at 2:34
  • We don't need 'fancy terminology' to complicate and confuse what is plainly revealed and recorded. Jesus was born ~4BC, so he could hardly be 4000 years earlier now can he? Unless you want to make stuff up, which happens a lot around here.
    – steveowen
    Apr 14 at 2:48
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    @spirit Wondering why you bother asking a Q if you award the 'correct' answer after only 2 hours.
    – steveowen
    Apr 14 at 3:30
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    I'm open to change the accepted answer if a new answer with a more compelling argument is posted. I've actually done this a couple times in the past. Apr 14 at 3:32
  • 2
    That's fine, but why so early? What's the hurry? Surely it would discourage other answers...
    – steveowen
    Apr 14 at 3:35

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