Myth 61-66: Since Israel was destroyed in the desert for pursuing evil, so shall believers.

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Myths:

61. lust after evil things and be killed by God 1Co 10:5
62. become an idolater 1Co 10:7
63. become a fornicator 1Cor 10:8
64. tempt Christ and be destroyed 1Cor 10:9
65. murmur and be destroyed of the destroyer. 1Cor 10:10
66. fail to take the way God gives you to escape temptation 1Cor 10:13

10 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. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Dear friends, this is perhaps one of the most difficult passages to debunk. This is because it requires a deep discernment into the word. The first thing we need to note is the issue Paul  is addressing here. Is he dealing with the issue of salvation here?

Chapter 10 starts off with the word “For”. This simply means it is a continuation from an earlier thought. It is important to know that the earliest manuscripts in Paul’s letters do not contain chapter and verses. Hence the 1st letter to Corinth is a continual letter without chapter divisions. That is why it is always good to read the letters in one seating rather than to pick up chapter by chapter.

What then was the issue Paul was dealing with here? A clue would be found in these verses:

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 32 Do not be a stumbling block to either Jews or Greeks, or to the church of God; 33 even as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage but that of the many, so that they may be saved.”

Now look at chapter 8.

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If someone presumes to know something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if someone loves God, he is known by God.

Therefore, as to the eating of food sacrificed to idols, we know that “an idol has no genuine reality” and that “there is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

However, not everyone has this knowledge. But some, because in former times they were involved with idols, eat this food as though it were an idol sacrifice, and thus their conscience, being weak, is defiledFood does not bring us close to God. We are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone should see you who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of the one who is weak be emboldened to eat food sacrificed to idols? 11 And so the one who is weak, the brother for whom Christ died, will be destroyed by your knowledge. 12 So when you sin against your brothers and wound their conscience, being weak, you are sinning against Christ13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to stumble.

Notice 1 Corinthians 9 and 10 is sandwiched in between?

Now look at 1 Corinthians 9.

12 If others have a share in this right over you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but endure all things lest we place some obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred rites in the temple eat food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?14 In the same way, the Lord gave instructions to those who proclaim the gospel that they should get their living from the gospel.

15 But I have not used any of these rights (the rights to collect monies). And I am not writing this so that something will be done for me; for it would be better for me rather to die—no one shall take away my ground for boasting!16 If I preach the gospel, I do not have a ground for boasting, for I am compelled to do so. Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward. But if unwillingly, I have been entrusted with a charge. 18 What then is my reward? That when I preach I may present the gospel free of charge (being accused from preaching the gospel for money), and so not make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all,

20 To the Jews I became as a Jew that I might win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) that I might win those under the law.21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from the law of God but subject to the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law22 To the weak I became weak that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its benefits.

24 Do you not know that all who run in the stadium compete but only one receives the prize? So run that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we for an imperishable one. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box like one flailing the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, so that having preached to others I myself should not be disqualified.

As you can see from 1 Corinthians 9 Paul is now using an example of the right to collect monies from the churches to preach the Gospel as an example of not insisting to eat food belonging to idols so that people are not stumble. He says he curtails his freedom (although he is free from the law) to win Jews people under the law for Christ. He also uses his freedom to win Gentiles for Jesus but living away from the law of Moses but yet practicing the Law of Christ in loving them. So you can see if you read 1 Corinthians 9 you would note that Paul is saying to the Corinth church this message.

DO NOT USE YOUR FREEDOM TO STUMBLE SOMEONE FROM COMING TO CHRIST or the faith of your fellow believers!

See the paramount consideration that is in Paul’s mind from these verses:

a)       that having preached to others I myself should not be disqualified;

b)      I do all things for the sake of the gospel;

c)      so that I might win as many as possible;

d)      Do not be a stumbling block to either Jews or Greeks, or to the church of God; 33 even as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage but that of the many, so that they may be saved.”

So the issue here is not the salvation of believers but the salvation of non believers. Paul is saying your conduct is of utmost important not for the sake of just the church but the unbelievers! Let’s face before God you are spotless cleansed and without wrinkle. See Ephesians 5:25. But on earth non believers (even some believers) judge you on your conduct.

Hence Paul argues you should not insist on doing whatever you are free to do so that you may win others for Christ. Does this mean that they will lose their salvation? The answer is an obvious no.

So chapter 10 is a continuing thought from chapter 9. It thus must be read on the theme of “being wrong to insist of doing what you want to do when it stumbles fellow believers and non-believers”.

Let’s read it again.

10 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. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was ChristNevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they didDo not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.”

Look at this. Paul is not referring to the Christians but the ancestors who were led by Christ. Reading this alone you may think these people had not hope.

But read on, things are different for the believer.

13 No trial has overtaken you that is not distinctively human; and God is faithful; he will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear, but with the trial will also provide the way through, so that you will be able to endure it.

See! It does not mean there is no way out. In fact it says you are able to bear the test! But I want us to note that the issue here is still insisting on their own wants.

Verse 6: “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” is translated in the message as “We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did”.

Now does this means that by taking food belonging to idols you will be destroyed? So who is Paul referring to that “if one were take up idolatry he will be destroyed?”

You got it right unbelievers. The fellow Jews or Gentiles who were not saved yet. What does Paul speak like that? It is because in the culture of the day then, to eat food belonging to idols is to eat from either a temple or food served in a pagan’s house or a pagan restaurant. This culture is still very much rampant in Asia. The unbelievers think if you eat the same food, you worship their idol or that you believe their idol is God. In the case of a Jew, if they see you eating food belonging to an idol, you are an idol worshipper.

Let’s now examine the verse: ““The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a]

Its extracted from Exodus 32.

“The Golden Calf

32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corruptThey have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”

Look at this very important event. Note this very important event. The people made a golden calf AFTER THE 10 COMMANDMENTS WERE GIVEN TO MOSES. AFTER THE LORD’S FIRE BURNT AT SINAI. AFTER THE PEOPLE SAID WHATEVER THE LORD SAID THEY WILL DO. Please note in order for us to appreciate this very important event in Exodus 19, the word “we will do” is the same word used by Adam and Eve when they “sow fig leaves” together. It is the word “to accomplish”. If  may add by their own strength, flesh and wisdom.

Was it God’s original intent to bring the Hebrews to receive the covenant of Moses (the 10 commandments)?

This passage precedes the passage where the 10 was given.
Exodus 19:5
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Note God said to Moses, ‘keep my covenant.’. Whose covenant is this?

It is very important for us to this. Let’s look …at the beginning of the book of Exodus.

Exodus 2:24
24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.

Abraham. Not Moses.

Again we see it here.

Exodus 6:2-5
2 God also said to Moses, ‘I am the LORD 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

Paul confirms this in Galatians.

Galatians 3:17-18
17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

This means God’s covenant with Abraham is not the same with the 10.

Romans 4:2-3
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

When Abraham’s covenant was cut Abraham could do nothing but observe he was dreaming. When Jacob’s covenant was cut Jacob was dreaming. They could observe but could not do anything to participate. What about Isaac? When was his covenant cut? The answer is this. On Mount Moriah when he allowed himself to be tied down. He too became a covenantor by just observing being totally resting. The covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the covenant that rests totally on what God will do. It is a covenant of pure belief. It’s God plus nothing.IT IS PURELY BASED ON GRACE! Not a mixture of law and grace.At Sinai the people wanted to participate by doing. ‘Whatever you say we will do.’ They said to God. They replaced the covenant of rest with the covenant of doing. . Suddenly God distanced himself and told the people if they draw near they will die.

Then the 10 commandments were given. The promise given to Abraham was postponed. The Hebrews thus entered a new covenant called the covenant of Moses. A covenant which required man’s participation especially in the area of obedience to the 10.

Why then was the 10 given then? To show you can’t do it. To show you are a sinner.

Paul goes on to say.

Galatians 3:21-22
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

So the 10 was to lock us up under the control of sin. Not to free us. So why did the children of Israel form a calf thinking it was God? Because they were under the power of the Law that produced in them the sinful desires. They were producing what Adam and Eve had produced. “Dead works!” It is very important to note that they were not worshipping a foreign God but that they had thought that Yahweh is a golden calf.

What was the way out?

See what Moses said. God could have wiped out the whole nation and turn Moses into a nation. Moses however appealed to God via … (NOTE THIS) the covenant God had with Abraham. The covenant of grace and not the Law.

See: 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”

You see God’s original intent had always to deal with us by faith since the days of Abraham. Hebrews 11 will tell you that.

As such the law that saves you is not the 10 but the law of Christ. It is this. Belief.

In the New Testament John dictates it in his first epistle.

1 John 3:23
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Believe! You cannot be save by a gospel which mixes grace and law.

Galatians 5:4
4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

The law of Abraham’s covenant is this believe and righteousness shall be credited to you. 

This is what Paul meant by in Romans.

Romans 3:21-22
Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

This is the righteousness the Law and the Prophets are talking about.

So when Paul warns us about the people being punished for idolatry, what is he really saying? He is not saying we will be destroyed. He is actually saying this. Remember the covenant of Abraham, how Abraham was made righteous by his faith. Practice true grace. It is ok to curtail your freedom to love others. So that they may come to know Christ.

Dear friends, it is my personal concern at times I see many grace believers mocking or scolding people who have yet understand the Gospel of Grace (the true Gospel) or even labeling people who tithe as “thieves”, aren’t we behaving like people who are freed but use this “freedom” to destroy the faith of others? Really is this the way of grace? I have been also like this child. I took take to criticism of speakers who speak poorly or leaders who preach so much law but who are immoral. Seriously Christianity is not about me but the WHOLE body of Christ. For that I have been immature. For that I have been wrong. I am free but for the love of the body of my savior, I chose to grow up. Gently correct those who are wrong. Use your freedom to save. Not to condemn.

Peace.

7 Comments

  1. Great Post brother Simon……. Grace can’t be tempered with Law…… Mixture will kill people……. The letter kill but the spirit gives live……. You just blessed me so much with this post……… Thanks Jesus…….

  2. This is really good Simon. I loved the point you made about Abraham Isaac and Jacob resting and having no part in the covenant God made with them. Such edification for this saint. Blessings, peace and grace brother!

  3. This has been really good. I love your perspective and I agree wholeheartedly. However, I still have some questions about the other verses you mentioned. For instance, “We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.” In context of what you’re saying, what does this verse mean? And, ” So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” What is the falling he is talking about? And “We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.” What does it mean to test Christ or to grumble? Thanks so much, I love your thoughts! God bless!

    1. There are already articles in the blog site which address such verses. There is a search button and column on the top right corner of the blog site. Just type these key words and it will lead you to the relevant notes.

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