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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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  • Does Exodus 6:6 not answer your question? Apr 13, 2021 at 14:30
  • "'I am YHVH, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments." (אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָה֒ וְהֽוֹצֵאתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֗ם מִתַּ֨חַת֙ סִבְלֹ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵֽעֲבֹֽדָתָ֑ם וְגָֽאַלְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים ) Apr 13, 2021 at 14:31
  • 1
    You seem to be asking if "Jesus" is HaShem. Apr 13, 2021 at 14:37
  • 1
    "The LORD" is a traditional English translation of the Tetragrammaton, distinct from other uses of "Lord"
    – Henry
    Apr 13, 2021 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, 2021 at 3:22

7 Answers 7

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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.
    – Steve
    Apr 13, 2021 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, 2021 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, 2021 at 0:46
  • How do you support your claims? Please give us some references. In 1 Corinthians10:4, Paul claimed that "the Rock was Christ". And Paul was not only a Jew, but a Pharisee, and as a Pharisee he knew the Torah very well. And even, he was taught by no other than Rabban Gamaliel I - a leading figure in 1st century Judaism.
    – Leonard
    Apr 5, 2022 at 13:33
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To translate “the Rock was Christ” from 1 Cor 10:4 is biased. It should be “that rock was anointed”.

The word christ (christos, mashiach, anointed, anointed one) is NOT exclusively used (in scripture) to the begotten Son of ELOHIM (Son of David) alone.

The Anglo word “christ” is an approximate transliteration from the common Greek word “christos”, which in turn is a translation from the Hebrew “mashiach” (meaning anointed/ anointed one). “Messiah” is the Anglo transliteration of the Hebrew “mashiach”.

That “rock” which followed the children of YisraEL in the wilderness was a literal rock which was anointed by the Spirit, so that it could miraculously follow and provide water for the children of YisraEL in the wilderness.

The writer’s purpose in 1 Cor 10 is reflected in v6:

1 Cor 10:6 (KJV)

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

It was NOT the writer’s intent to introduce a whole new topic/ proclamation about “Christ’s OT Pre-existence”.

If latter was actually the case, then the writer should have quoted various other OT events of such “pre-existence” to support such a radical teaching. Translation/ interpretation based on context is critical.

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    – agarza
    Apr 3, 2022 at 20:10
  • Welcome to Hermeneutics! You have some interesting ideas here. I took your other Answer and combined it into this one because of overlapping content. While I may not agree, I am interested in your way of looking deeply at the text. But, others are concerned about the quality of this Answer. Could you please tone down the language of "bias", or at least explain the nature of the bias in a way that does not distract from the main Question. Also, please explain how the insight here addresses the Question.
    – Jesse
    Apr 7, 2022 at 15:12
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Who was the Rock in the Old Testament? God or Christ?

Christ is God, so as worded, the question doesn't make sense.

Perhaps it should instead be: Who was the Rock in the Old Testament? The Father or Christ?

In that case, the simple answer is: Christ.

The YHWH of the Hebrew Scriptures is the being that was later incarnated as Jesus. It was he that dealt with humanity right from the beginning of their creation. Until Jesus revealed his Father to the world, no one even knew of the Father's existence.

See this (and similar postings) for more details: contradiction - How can John 1:18 say that "No man has seen God" when the Bible says that Abraham, Moses, Job and others have? - Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange

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Yes, definitely Paul affirms the pre-existence of Christ who led the Israelites through the desert, for He is that Angel in whom is God's name, that is to say, the Angel having not His own angelic-creaturely name (like Michael or Raphael etc.) but bearing in Him the name of the Creator God and having the divine authority to forgive or not (Exodus 23:21), which authority angels cannot and do not have; for He is Daniel's "Son of the Man" to whom all dominion and power is given by the Father (Daniel 7:13), and who, therefore, unlike angels who are His servants that worship Him (Hebrews 1:4-14) was with God before the creation of those angels and the entire universe (1 Enoch 48:3), and can do judgment because of being the Son of Man (John 5:27). The same unique Angel who leads the Israelites through the desert is called Jehovah by David (Psalm 68:4-7)*

(*just in passing, thus Jehovah Witnesists in order to be true Jehovah Witnesists, consistently in conformity with the evidence of the Scripture, they must worship both Father and the Son, for the divine name Jehovah applies to both).

Now, both Father-God and the Logos-God, i.e. the unique Angel in whom is God's name, are Rock metaphorically, for they ontologically act only together, their activity being one activity, just like the sun enlightens only through its rays and cannot accomplish the enlightening activity without them, so that we can say metaphorically both "the sun is rock of our visibility" and the "sun's rays are rock of our visibility"; thus, the Father is "Rock of our salvation" and the Son is "Rock of our salvation", to say nothing about H.Ghost who also in no lesser terms is "Rock of our salvation".

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  • @Down-voter My anonymous admirer, may you have nobler events this day than anonymously down-voting posts while being perfectly unable to indicate reasons. Apr 4, 2022 at 12:07
  • Jesus was not the only one to pre-exist - "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5) Apr 4, 2022 at 12:17
  • @anothertheory One thing is to pre-exist in the knowledge of God (for in this way even Hitler, amoeba and viruses pre-existed in His knowledge), and another thing is to pre-exist in reality and ontology, which only the Lord Jesus Christ had, for He pre-existed both before He adopted human nature some two thousand years ago and also even before the created universe started to exist, for He and the Father created it together. Apr 4, 2022 at 13:12
  • @ levan Gigineishvili - this was a general comment to ALL. Jesus came to fulfil what came before not to change - all these things came after Jesus by Paul (who had no authority at the time or even trusted) & Gospels written by who knows. Jesus did not even come to the gentiles. He had a miracle birth (not God born through a vagina, that's insulting to God), Melchizedek does not even have a beginning or end and Adam had no parents. Still only 1 God - FYI albeit I don't agree with you, I did not down vote you I never do. people just down vote because they don't agree. Apr 5, 2022 at 11:47
  • @anothertheory He came to fulfill, but this fulfilling entailed a change of what was and its development through self annihilation; thus, the law of “love your neighbor” is developed to the point of self-annihilation because nobody can be saved now through it unless one regards also an enemy a neighbor and loves him, but this nobody can do but through Christ; thus Christ shows the limitations of law and fulfill it by abolishing it and substituting it by His grace through faith. “I give you new commandment”, “new” in sense of not heard before in the history of mankind since creation of world. Apr 5, 2022 at 13:01
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1Cor “10:1 Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the pillar of cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 and were all baptized with Mosheh in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 and all ate the same food from the RUACH; 10:4 and all drank the same drink from the RUACH - for indeed, they drank from a RUACH sent rock that followed them, and that rock was anointed463. 10:5 However with most of them, ELOHIM was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” BTC Footnote 463: “463 Vs 10:4 – ‘anointed (mashiach, christos)’ - Refers to that Spirit anointed rock which the people drank from. Vs 1-4 is to remind believers that being fellow partakers of spiritual or anointed provision is no guarantee that one cannot fall into sin and its consequences thereof, just as happened to our forefathers in the wilderness (vs 5-6, 11).”

Excerpt From Book of The Covenant 5th Ed

Much confusion arises because many people are ignorant of the fact that the word “christ” (mashiach, anointed) is not the name of the Messiah. It is inserted as “YaHshua ha-Mashiach” (the Christ), or “Mashiach YaHshua” to mean that YaHshua is THAT prophesied Messiah.

Hence, using this word “christ” in a question like “Is Christ YHWH” or “Is YHWH Christ” is invalid, because we know that YHWH is the One Who anoints His only begotten Son, servants, angels,etc. No one is in a position to anoint YHWH, the Almighty.

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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/…
    – user38524
    Apr 14, 2021 at 2:34
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    @spirit Wondering why you bother asking a Q if you award the 'correct' answer after only 2 hours.
    – Steve
    Apr 14, 2021 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.
    – user38524
    Apr 14, 2021 at 3:32
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    That's fine, but why so early? What's the hurry? Surely it would discourage other answers...
    – Steve
    Apr 14, 2021 at 3:35
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    -1 Even if "rock" is used as a metaphor (i.e. "spiritual" rock) it is clear Paul taught Jesus was that Rock and so existed during the OT times. It is disingenuous to maintain Jesus cannot exist until He finally comes in human form while at the same time agreeing with but failing to apply the Scripture which states He did exist as spirit. Apr 14, 2021 at 11:46

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