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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
1 Corinthians 10

 

 

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Verse 1-2

ISRAEL BAPTIZED INTO MOSES

1. For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under a cloud and all passed through the sea,

2. And were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” The 77th Psalm says, “The clouds poured forth water” on that memorable occasion when the awful violence of the east wind seems to have been a potent agent in actually dividing the sea, and producing such a vast amount of spray as to accumulate in clouds over them, pouring out water as they passed through the sea. This baptism significantly consecrated them all to Moses, their deliverer out of Egyptian bondage, and their leader to the promised land. That very transaction forever absorbed their allegiance to Pharaoh, who emblematizes the devil. They had spent all their lives in his kingdom, abject slaves under his cruel lash. Now they go out leaving him, his kingdom and all of their hard bondage forever. Moses, the mediator of the old covenant, vividly emblematizes Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant of redemption, which is retrospective, taking in Abel and the antediluvians, and prospective, reaching down to the end of time. In a similar manner our water baptism signifies regeneration, i. e., our departure out of the devil’s kingdom, our eternal absolution from his yoke of bondage, our reception of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, and our identification with Him forever.


Verse 4

4. And they all drank that spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them, and Christ was the Rock.” Moses was but a man representing Christ, who had not yet come incarnate, consequently types and symbols were necessary to represent Him and His kingdom. Yet we see He was there in their midst, as He preached the first gospel sermon to the fallen race in Eden, was with His people before the flood, and in all the patriarchal ages. So Christ is as real in the Old Testament as in the New; the Prophet, Priest, and King of His true people in all ages.


Verse 5

5. Awful retributions overtook Israel in the wilderness, because they sinned.


Verse 6

6. And these things became our types, that we should not covet evil things as they also lusted after them.” The national life of Israel, from Egypt to Canaan, typifies the experience of individual Christians in our dispensation.


Verse 7

7. Neither be ye idolaters as some of them, as has been written: The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” Idolatry is fearfully prevalent in the churches of the present day. The people worship water gods, day gods, sectarian gods, creed gods, money gods, and many others.

This verse sweeps away all church festivals at a single dash. As in olden time, they are invariably connected with idolatry. “They sat down to eat and rose up to play.” This is literally verified in the churches all around us.

They have their festivals, followed by plays of different sorts. All religion is spirituality, feeding the soul and not the body, physical festivity being inimical and impedimental to true spiritual life and prosperity.


Verse 8

8. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and fell in one day twenty-three thousand.” All deflection from God after the world is spiritual fornication, whose sweeping spiritual ruin is here vividly symbolized by twenty-three thousand in one day dropping dead. When churches reject sanctification, they always go after worldly gods, i. e., side-track away into spiritual fornication, as sanctification is simple holy wedlock with Jesus, which the Holy Ghost wants to celebrate, every recusant of course deciding in favor of rival lovers inimical to Jesus. The reason why we see the wholesale apostasy in all denominations is because God has brought on them the test of the Holiness gospel. Hence they are bound to receive it or backslide. Perhaps the Jews would have remained loyal to Jehovah many centuries if He had not sent to them His Son, who became to them an immediate stumbling block, because they rejected Him, then and there apostatizing and becoming a hiss and by-word in all the earth, rejected of God and reprobated.


Verse 10

SANCTIFICATION TAKES OUT THE MURMUR

10. Murmur ye not as some of them murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” Unsanctified people are never satisfied. In the winter it is too cold, in the summer too hot, in the spring too wet, and in the fall too dry. Sanctified people are always perfectly pleased with the weather and everything else which God manages. They shout amid the snow storms of winter, so beautifully emblematic of the blood-washed robes they wear. They praise the Lord for the sultry summer heat, so delectably relieved by the delicious cooling shade-trees which God planted with His own hands, that we might gather under them and press the Holiness camp-meetings through all the long sultry summer. They leap and shout amid the refreshing vernal showers, assured that their Heavenly Father is sending them down to awaken the sweet May flowers from their long winter sleep. They give glory to God amid all the clouds of dust which eclipse an autumnal sun, bringing on the delectable Indian summer, affording blessed opportunity to gather in the delicious fruits of the prolific summer and store them away for the oncoming winter, whose dreary icy tread will be cheered by an abundant supply of potatoes, nuts and apples. Lord, help us to get saved from all our fret and worry.


Verse 11

11. These things happened unto them typically, and were written for the admonition of us unto whom the ends of the ages have come down.” The dealings of God with His ancient people are invaluable helps to us by way of incentives to holiness and admonition against sin. We are living in the last age preceding the glorious kingdom. The Eden age wound up with the sad calamity of the Fall; the Antediluvian with the Flood; the Patriarchal with Egyptian slavery, plagues and destruction in the Red Sea; the Mosaic with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, a million perishing by sword, pestilence and famine, another million sold into slavery, and the scathed and peeled remnant expatriated to the ends of the earth. The Johanic and Messianic dispensation wound up in bloody martyrdom — John beheaded and Jesus crucified. So ours is the last, launched in its full-orbed glory on the day of Pentecost and hastening on to its culmination in the great Tribulation, which Jesus says will be more calamitous than any of the preceding judgments winding up the former dispensations. Hence we should all be on the lookout, assured the end is nigh.


Verse 12

TEMPTATION

12. So let him that thinketh he stands take heed lest he may fall.” This verse is clear and conclusive, settling the question beyond all controversy as to our constant liability to fall, and forfeit our probation. A dogma has prevailed flatly contradictory of this clear Pauline statement, i. e., that all who have once enjoyed the salvation of the Lord will ere long reach the kingdom of glory, i. e., that the backslider goes to Hell. Not only the opposite, but the very contradictory, of this dogma is true. Let us begin with Satan and take an invoice of Hell’s inmates. The devil himself was once the bright archangel Lucifer, enjoying ineffable bliss among the angels in Heaven. Pursuant to the perfect freedom and momentous responsibility appertaining to the created intelligences of all worlds, who were originally on probation, he kept not his first estate (Judges 1:6), but fell (Isaiah

1 Corinthians 14:12), many others following his sad example; “kept not their first estate,”

but, leaving their own habitation, were cast out to suffer adamantine chains and penal fires forever. We must remember God never created a devil, could not, as it is impossible for evil to emanate from good. Therefore all the devils in Hell were at one time angels living in the kingdom of God; the wonderful redemption of Christ so effectually reaches the whole human race that all are born in the kingdom of God like the prodigal son and his older brother, and only get out by sinning out, and we see in the case of the elder brother that he never did get out. The conclusion from God’s Word is irresistible: the whole human race, through the redemption of Christ, is born in a justified state, not the children of the devil, as in that case dying infants would all go to Hell, but the children of God, heirs of the covenant.

Hence we see, as in the case of the prodigal son, that every sinner converted is simply a backslider reclaimed, having been a citizen of the kingdom in his infancy before he backslid out. Hence you see the utter falsity of the dogma that every backslider will be saved. Instead of there being no backslider in Hell, there are none in the bottomless pit but backsliders: Satan himself at the beginning an old backslider; all the devils following on, fallen angels, and then every human being, having enjoyed the salvation of the Lord in infancy, now backslidden, fallen and become the inmate of hopeless despair. Never forget the wholesome Pauline admonition, “Let him that thinketh he stand take heed lest he fall.”


Verse 13

13. No temptation hath overtaken us except human.” If we should encounter superhuman temptations, we would certainly go down under them. But, since Christ Himself is a man, He is sure to give His victory over every human temptation. “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but with the temptation will also make a way of escape by which you shall bear up under it.” It does not mean that He will take away the temptation, as in that case we would miss a blessing; because temptation is certainly one of the greatest sources of blessing this side of Heaven, as we always gain strength by the battle and courage by the victory. The soldier who fights no battles, wins no victories and will never wear the laurel crown. Hence you need not expect to get where you will have no temptations, as in that case you would have to go out of this world, which is thronged with evil spirits, Satanic and human, besetting you with temptations on every side. But as these temptations are only human, and none of them superhuman, and our Savior Himself is a man, He is certain to give us all the help we need to triumph over every foe and have victory in every temptation. He does not promise to take us out of temptation, “but to make a way of escape by which we shall be able to bear up under it.” Hence the soldier is not relieved of the battlefield, but he is not only immortal, but invulnerable. Therefore it is fun to fight and conquer and achieve. This Scripture certainly covers all the ground on the temptation problem, assuring you that victory is always at hand, and a glorious blessing for you in every temptation. You enter the battlefield with victory in sight, and the mount of triumph cheering you onward.


Verse 19

THE COMMUNION

19. As the blood in the human system is the vitalizer of the whole body, circulating into every member, so the blood of Christ circulates into every member of His mystical body, in Heaven and in earth, imparting to all His own vitality. Hence close communion is out of harmony with the life of Christ, common to all the members of His body and interpenetrating all, great and small. This blood, which is the life, is emblematized by the wine which should be participated in alike by all the members of our Lord’s body. The bread also emblematizes the body of Christ, and is consequently to be the common participation of all. Since bread is the staff of physical life on which every human body subsists, so it typifies Christ, the Creator and Nourisher of every human spirit. Hence the Eucharist is the visible bond of union, identifying the saints of all ages and nations with the one body of Christ.


Verses 20-22

DEMON WORSHIP

20. But those things which they sacrifice, they really sacrifice to demons, and not to God: I do not wish you to be the communicants of demons.

21. You are not able to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons:you are not able to partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”

22. Whether shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Whether are we stronger than He?” Here he warns the Corinthians against the communion of demons, i. e., devil worship. All the Grecian gods were but the personifications of the evil passions, tempers, lusts, and ambitions peculiar to fallen humanity; as the demons, resident in human hearts and flying through the air, make it their constant enterprise to stir up the evil tempers, passions, lusts predilections in fallen humanity, doing their utmost to lead people into conservatism and subordination to these demons. Hence the heathen world in all ages has been full of demon worship. The Greek philosophers, in their writings, actually used the word “demon.” The great Socrates stated that his guardian demon made revelations to him and held communion with him. Millions of heathens, Moslems and Romanists, as well as doubtless many Protestants, this day worship demons. The vast sectarian diversity in the Christian world is really another manifestation of the Pagan polytheism, in which the heathens worship many gods, variant in character and attributes, like the diversified and even warring sects of Christendom. Oh! how many today are groping in demon worship! The Greek has “demon” in this paragraph, where E.V. has “devil,” a word which properly applies to Satan himself, the innumerable subordinate evil spirits thronging earth and Hell being denominated demons. They are prone to dress up in the habiliments of angels (such as they once were, and hence know how to play the angel), and pass themselves for the Holy Ghost, thus deceiving the people by millions, leading them into demon worship, thinking they are worshipping God. Such is the case with the millions who profess and practice a sinning religion, which they get from the demons, because God has none such. Our sacramental boards are crowded by carnal, wicked people who actually, as Paul here says, “drink not the cup of the Lord, but the cup of demons, and sit not at the table of the Lord, but the table of demons.”


Verse 23-24

23-24. All things are not lawful, but all things are not profitable: all things are lawful, but all things do not edify.” We must remember that the way to Heaven is much narrower than the law. Many things are lawful which the clear light of God’s Spirit, Word and Providence would have us deny. In Paul’s cloudless spiritual day he could see that offering meat to an idol did not hurt it; hence it was lawful for him to eat it, but not expedient if some one walking in a dimmer light should stumble over his example. “Let no one seek his own, but that of another.” It was Cain the fratricide who said to God: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Certainly you are your brother’s keeper.


Verse 25

25. Eat everything sold in market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake.” Certainly we have broad liberties amid the clear light of the Pentecostal dispensation. We need not Judaize on swine nor anything else. Yet we must live hygienically, pursuant to our constant duty to our own body, mind and spirit; and we must live prudently, not only on the questions of eating and drinking, but of all others, for the sake of our neighbors.


Verse 26

26. For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of the same.” Hence you have a right to enjoy all the bounty of earth in harmony with hygiene and the diversified interests of God’s kingdom, of which you are a member for this world and all eternity. “If any one of the unbelievers call you, and you wish to go, eat everything set before you, asking no questions for conscience sake.” Hence we have broad liberties and we are not to bring our conscience in the matter as we are walking in the clear light of God. Hence, so far as we personally are concerned, our liberties are unbounded.


Verse 28

28. But if any one may say to you, ‘This is offered to an idol,’ eat not for the sake of him who delivered you the information and his conscience.


Verse 29

29. I say not the conscience of yourself, but of the other one. Hence you see from this that you are bound in all the transactions of life to keep a constant outlook for the interest of others, watching, praying and asking God to keep you from becoming a stumbling-block to any, and make you a constant inspiration for good to all who come within your influence.


Verses 29-31

29-31. Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all things to the glory of God.” Obedience to this simple and beautiful commandment of God becomes easy and natural when we have Christ crowned within, because He keeps His arms about us, and His almighty hand beneath us and His heavenly wing over us, so that we rest like a tired child in its mother’s arms, free from all solicitude, knowing that it is perfectly safe.


Verse 32

32. Be ye without offense both to Jews and Greeks and to the Church of God.”


Verse 33

33. As I indeed please all in all things, seeking not my own profit, but that of the many in order that they may be saved.” God help us to live in the daily appreciation and application of this plain, beautiful apostolic precept.

The Jews and Gentiles differed more widely in their religious, socialistic and manneristic peculiarities than any denominations now in America. Yet they were united in all the gospel churches, enjoying ample provisions of grace to live together in perfect fraternity and Christian fellowship.

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-10.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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