Bible Question:

Who did Moses baptize?

Bible Answer:

The passage you are apparently referring to is found in 1 Corinthians.

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

The Cloud

The Greek word for “baptism” refers to immersion into water. Among Christians baptism is an act of obedience that should occur after a person believes that Jesus is God and wants Him to forgive his or her sins. But the meaning of baptism in this passage is different. In 1 Cor. 10:1-4 we are told that the Israelites were “under a cloud” and “passed through the sea.” This is symbolic language. When a Christian is baptized, the person is put “under” the water and is “passed” through it. The Apostle Paul uses this wording to refer to the time that the Israelites passed through the Red Sea with the cloud of God above them. They were under the cloud.

So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. And it came about at the morning watch, that the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion . . . (NASB) Exodus 14:20-24

The cloud was not a rain cloud. It was God’s cloud. It hid God’s glory. It went wherever God went. The cloud moved before the Israelites. This was no ordinary cloud. Notice that the cloud gave a tremendous amount of light at night. It gave light at night to the Israelites.

The Israelites were led by Moses through the sea and under the cloud. Together they ate God’s bread, which was called manna (Ex. 16:32-35) and they drank God’s water – the water God provided from a rock (Ex. 17:1-7). The cloud, sea, food, and water were not normal or ordinary. They were extraordinary. So the Holy Spirit calls them spiritual food and drink.

What Is The Message?

Why did the Holy Spirit write these words? The answer comes in the next verse.

Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 10:5

Even though these men and women had these great experiences, they did not believe God. They saw God’s miracles but they never really trusted God. They doubted God. When Moses went up on Mount Sinai to talk with God, they made idols to other gods and committed sexual sins. They had wonderful, amazing experiences with God’s power but it had almost no impact on them.


How were they baptized into Moses? They had a wonderful spiritual experience under Moses’ divinely inspired leadership. During the exodus they accepted and submitted to Moses’ leadership, but yet they never believed and submitted to God – the One who empowered Moses! God calls each Christian to experience His wonder and power through submission and trust.