I understand that to be baptized into someone, as we are into Christ, is to be placed ‘into’ that person so that what is true of them and their experience is applied to the one who is baptized, but what I don’t understand is what was ‘of Moses’ that was applied to the Israelites?
1 Corinthians 10:2
NLT - 2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.
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I would say that the concept of being baptized into Moses was a reference to the Israelites being set apart from other nations through the Law that God gave to them through Moses following their exodus from Egypt, with the passing of Israel through the divided waters of the Red Sea representing a prefigurement of the use of water in baptism to set aside Christians as disciples of Christ. The Mosaic Law then acted as Israel's caretaker or guardian until the coming of Christ (Galatians 3:24).
I think that to be baptized into someone is more akin to being immersed in their ways, in a manner that transforms you at the deepest level of your character. So to be baptized "into Moses" meant that as the Israelites came out of slavery - and had to learn to be free - they were immersed into "the ways of Moses" and they began to have a transformed character. Their character would resemble that which they are following. The warning from Paul, of course, is that the transformation was not sufficient to keep them from sinning. Waters - in both the Old Testament and the New Testament convey an image of descent and judgment. But the judgment is a transforming judgment. Separating the "wheat from the chaff" in our lives. Getting rid of the old self to put on the new. On the other side, water also creates new life. The same waters in Exodus that represent judgment also create a new life for the nation of Israel. The same can be said of the waters of Christ's baptism. When we are baptized it represents dying to self and creating new life on the other side. See 1 Pet. 3:20-21 and Rom. 6:2 as examples. Finally, the word Baptizo - Strongs 907 - has a range of meanings which can include the activities that we normally think of like baptism but it can also be used in the sense of a pickling process. Here is an example: The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. E.g. Mark 16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptised shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle! Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989. So "baptized into Moses" would be an immersion into the agent of "Moses" character." When we are baptized by the Holy Spirit or a "baptism" by suffering - it is an immersion in that particular "agent" (Holy Spirit or suffering) that brings about a permanent change in the person. Like a cucumber is no longer a cucumber - rather, it is a pickle and cannot go back to its original state. After Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension, the Holy Spirit was delivered and just like living water, believers were "immersed" in the Holy Spirit and it's brought about the necessary transformation at a more permanent level.
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