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HE WHO OVERCOMES SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS,

and I will be his God and he shall be My son

1 Corinthians 10 (part 6) SUBSTANCE of CHRIST

1 Corinthians Chapter 10
Our Journey
(part 6)

The SUBSTANCE Of CHRIST

 

 

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”  
- 1Cor 10:1-4 NKJV

Interestingly, Paul is telling us here that long before the Man Jesus was born, on their journey in the wilderness, the Israelite’s were partakers of the substance of Messiah. Having been “saved” and “baptized”, God provided them the substance of Christ in addition to the food and drink for their physical nourishment brought forth for them.

“They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that went with them. That rock was the Messiah.”
- 1Cor 10:3-4 ISV

After their miraculous deliverance from bondage, and having seen all God’s signs in Egypt, the people began to complain almost immediately about their condition to Moses and Aaron, and in Exodus 17 we read the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.” (Ex 17:2)

(We’ll see this attitude echoed elsewhere in both Testaments, as the people look only at the tangible things which the Lord blesses us with, often to the neglect of that which may be spiritual but is Eternal.)

“And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
– Ex 17:5-6 NKJV

For sure, this incident, as well as the one in Numbers 20:2-11, were examples of God’s physical sustenance for the people. These miracles, along with the manna, are mentioned several times in Scripture, long after the recipients of the food & drink had passed. But God provided much more for His people then, even as He does now.

In Psalm 78 Asaph tells us about God’s provision, which on the surface may seemed to have been only physical, but (and perhaps I’m reading more into the text than is there) I believe we can see two kinds of each the food and the drink in the words of the temple musician who had a gift of prophecy -

“He split rocks in the wilderness,
    and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
16 He brought streams also out of the rock.”

- Psalm 78:15-16 WEB

Through Moses, God opened the rocks are brought forth water for the people and their cattle to drink. Yes, God provided them actual water as “He split rocks in the wilderness”, but the Word declares there was “spiritual food and drink” and that the rock from which they drank was “the Messiah.” I see this in verse 16 as He also brought streams out of the (R)ock”, that Paul says “was Christ.” (Do with that what you will, but I find the distinction Asaph seems to be making very interesting; and we will see the same in a moment when looking at the bread.)

More than once in Scripture the Messiah (God the Savior) is referred to as the Rock, including several times in the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, where Moses speaks of God’s chosen people as Jeshurun” – the one made and meant to be “level, straight, upright” – as having rebelled against Him and “lightly esteemed” the Rock from whom that “spiritual food and drink” was offered.

“then he forsook God who made him
    and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.”

- Deut 32:15b ESV

May we never lightly esteem, or take for granted, our Lord & Savior, but rather ever declare as the Psalmist -

“In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.”

- Psalm 62:7 NKJV

And from that Rock, may we receive the food and drink He offers, for it is the very substance of God (by which Jesus Himself lives) that He promises to those who truly “hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

Did not Jesus tell the woman at the well that He would have given her “living water” (John 4:11); and we know from Scripture that God Himself is “the fountain of living waters.” (Jer 2:13, 17:13)

Christ was offering the “living water”, that “spiritual drink” to the woman here, and to others throughout His earthly ministry. Through Christ comes the Eternal Life of God. Is our primary focus on the things of this life and the ‘here & now’, or on the Eternal Christ who offers us the everlasting Kingdom of God?

Then we have the “food”, or “bread.” I’m sure we’re familiar with the physical manna God sent the people to eat in the wilderness.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.””
– Ex 16:4 NAS

And again, Asaph writes in Psalm 78, I believe, of both the physical and spiritual meat granted to Israel -

“He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them food from heaven.
25 Man did eat the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.”

- Psalm 78:24-25 NAS

We know God provides us with physical nourishment to all the earth. (Starvation is caused in great part by the greed and selfishness of unregenerate man). He gives us our “daily bread”, which even here can be both physical and spiritual.  Matthew 6:31-33 tells us that our heavenly Father will satisfy our natural hunger if we “seek His Kingdom and righteousness.” But there is also the “Hidden manna” given to the overcoming saints in Revelation 2:17. This is the substance, the nature, the transforming Life of Christ that the nominal church-goer will not receive. This in itself is another in-depth study for another time.

But, back to the manna that God rained down for His people to eat on their journey…

Interestingly, we see that along with God’s provision came a test. He would meet their needs and in return His desire was that they meet His needs. God was (and is) looking for a people through whom His Light would shine and drive out the darkness. But only in a totally surrendered and obedient people can He dwell. I believe that if they had filled themselves with the spiritual food from the Rock, they would have obeyed God’s commands without question or complaint.||

As God told those He called to be His own “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” -

“If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and do them…
“I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.
12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be My people."
(Lev 26:3,11-12)

This promise sounds familiar doesn’t it?
We read this promise in Jeremiah 7, Ezekiel 37, Zechariah 13, and Revelation 21.

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
 – Rev 21:3 NKJV

God wants to freely “walk among” His creation. He desires to stroll in the cool of the day in Eden with Adam once again. And, in fact, He was, in a visible form, present His people on their journey and even into the Promised Land. The “cloud by day and fire by night” was His Presence among them on their journey. And in the apportioned land of Israel, the cloud of God’s “glory filled the temple” that had been built by Solomon. (2Chron 5)

But instead of True worship of the Lord and continual partaking of His substance, Israel rebelled and continually disobeyed, causing Him to leave His people; and “the Glory departed.” (Ezekiel 10)

The people continually failed to remember what God had done and called them to, and neglected to “teach their children” the ways of the Lord. So, each generation must be disciplined, taught and tested. For God will not dwell with rebellious sons. It started with Israel in the Exodus. Having been saved and baptized, they were to live as God designed, being the light of His Presence on the earth, and raising their children to love and fear the Lord. The generation to leave Egypt was the first to which He revealed His commands and also gave the means by which they could faithfully walk in His will and ways.

 

You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” – Deut 8:2-3 NKJV
 

Having been fed physically and spiritually as well, God’s chosen ones were being tested in the realm of obedience. Would they go out for the “bread from heaven” each day, or try to stockpile it? Likewise, our challenge is to seek Jesus every day, not resting on an experience we had in the past. What we may have gained in Christ yesterday will not sustain us today. We need to be partaking of His substance each and every day, spending time in communion with Him. We may have been “saved”, as Israel was from bondage, and started our journey… but are we staying the course? Will we obtain the inheritance destined for us? Will we even be permitted to enter the Promised Land?

And as to us, the Israelites were given “all things that pertain to Life and godliness”, to enable them to receive the promise. As well as food and drink to nourish the body, spiritual sustenance was provided for them on their journey.

“You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger,
And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst,
And told them to go in to possess the land
Which You had sworn to give them.”

- Nem 9:15 NKJV

Indeed, as we’ve been studying in this series, these had been saved and baptized, and were now given of the substance of Christ to sustain them in their time of testing & trials meant to prepare and prove them to obtain the promise. And although we may not realize it, the Scripture says, “the Gospel had been preached to them as it is to us.” But the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb 4:2)

Looking only at the physical provision; not laying hold of the spiritual substance of Christ given them, those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience” (Heb 4:6). They missed God’s rest and their inheritance. Although it was promised to them, and they had been saved & baptized into Christ, they did not obtain the promise. And God said,

“As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’”

although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
- Heb 4:3b NKJV

His works were (are) finished. Israel would indeed enter the land (God’s Kingdom indeed will be established on earth). But not all who had been saved entered (will enter). The promise to the whole will be fulfilled by God’s sovereignty; the promise to the individual must be worked out and attained to. This Truth is sorely missed in the bulk of modern preaching. We cannot claim the promises if we do not meet the conditions. The love of God will not bless those who are disobedient; and we’re talking about “saved” people here. “Judgment begins with the household of God”, not with the heathen.

The Scripture tells us who are the ones who will stand in the day of testing and become one who can abide with the “consuming fire” unharmed and “enter the rest of God.”

These are they who walk in repentance from worldly ways and self-centeredness, and strive to be obedient to His commands. Their reward in this life is safety in Christ and the provision of His substance.

“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
He who despises the gain of oppressions,
Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes,
Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed,
And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
16 He will dwell on high;
His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks;
Bread will be given him,
His water will be sure.”

- Isaiah 33:14-16 NKJV

Indeed, this promise is the churches always. To those who truly “repent” and “overcome”, Jesus will give some of the hidden manna to eat.” (Rev 2:17)

Yes, this word we’ve been studying on Israel’s experiences - their failures as a whole, as well as the successes of those who God deemed righteous - is for us; as our main study portion of Scripture in 1Cor 10 tells us -

“Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” – 1Cor 10:11 HCSB

Do we receive the Word of the Lord and truly believe all that He taught? We may have “accepted” His blood atonement and begun our journey, but are we actually receiving of His substance daily?

Is this not the charge given to us? To be partakers of the Bread of Life each day, and to drink of the water of Life?

“Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
– John 6:30-35 NKJV

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day could still not look past the physical provision. Today, as well, it seems we look at the size of a church congregation or the material wealth of the individual as the mark of God’s blessing or spiritual growth. Yet, the Scripture teaches that God looks at our inner man that is to be being transformed by the very substance of Christ, rather than the outward appearance. Are we rich by the world’s standards, or are we “rich toward God”?

As we travel through our own personal wilderness, what are we doing with the spiritual food and drink our Lord offers? Are partaking that we may be conformed into His image?
Is our journey one of repentance, self-denial and obedience? Are we being nourished and strengthened by His substance? This must be done by faith. We must “decrease that He may increase” in us. We must relinquish our lives & will to Him.

“As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.”  – Col 2:6-7 AMPC

Israel was given the “bread from heaven” to sustain them on their journey through the wilderness. We are told to ask the Father to “give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11), that will sustain us on our own journey. Jesus said it is only by partaking continually of His body and blood that we will have Eternal Life.

 “I am the Bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” – John 6:48-51 NKJV

The Messiah’s sacrifice was for “the world”, that all may have an opportunity at Life. Those called, who truly take advantage of this opportunity, will be raised in that Day and appear as He is: “Life-giving spirits” in “flesh and bone”, having been “conformed into His image”, now prepared to minister “healing to the nations.”

 

“Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven… He who eats this bread will live forever.”
- John 6:53-58 NKJV
 

Again, the Israelite’s had the opportunity to partake of, and benefit from, Christ’s substance, but did not. Because of their disobedience, the gospel did not profit them. They lacked faith in what God had said concerning the blessings and curses. And the writer of Hebrews warns us not to fall short as they did, by not believing all that God has declared by His Word that was manifested in the flesh. That Word being Messiah Jesus (John 1:14).

And here in John 6, as Jesus is speaking to those who followed Him because He had provided for them physical food (the multiplied bread & fish on the mountain), He emphasized that they needed to be more concerned with partaking of the spiritual food and drink that was His substance, His “flesh and blood.”

 

This “feeds” or “eats” is not a one time thing. The Greek wording, as well as common sense, tells us this must be a continual partaking of His flesh and blood if we are to be “raised up at the Last Day.” (Which I personally believe is the First Resurrection.)

Will Christ raise up someone to be a “life-giving spirit” and able to impart Eternal Life to others, who ‘received Christ’ perhaps when they were a teenager at a youth camp, but then fed not on the substance of Christ for the last 30-40 years of their life? Of course not. Such a one may be allowed to enter the Kingdom at the Second Resurrection, as one among the “sheep” of the nations, but they certainly will not appear with Christ “as He is”, a “son of God”, when the Son of Man comes on the clouds at the last Trumpet blast.

Only those who are “receiving” of Christ continually, through the trials and tribulations of life will be “appear with Him as He is” when He returns, having truly been made new by putting off the old man and putting on the new. Can we believe this? For this is the “rest of God” – being conformed into the image of His Firstborn Son, living by Him as He lives by the Father, doing only that which is pleasing to Him.

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” - Heb 4:1-2 NKJV

Let’s wrap up this section looking briefly at the interaction of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well.

“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
- John 4:7-14

As usual, the woman, as others we’ve mentioned, was looking at the physical “water” that would satisfy her natural thirst, while Jesus was speaking about the spiritual water that brings Eternal Life.

Those asking for and partaking of this water that the Lord offers, will not only be filled with it themselves, but also will become vessels through which God can bring Life to others: now and in Eternity. His Life in the overcoming Elect will be to minister healing and salvation to the nations whom Christ welcomes into the Kingdom at the Second Resurrection. The Israelites whom God had delivered from bondage missed out on the opportunity to be salvation to the nations back then because they did not believe.

So… will we believe what the Spirit is saying to us now, through the written Word of God?
 

 

The promise and prophecy to God’s chosen ones, the counterpart for Messiah, we find in Isaiah -

“It is not enough for you to be My Servant
raising up the tribes of Jacob
and restoring the protected ones of Israel.
I will also make you a light for the nations,
to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”

- Isaiah 49:6 HCSB

I believe the “you” here is Messiah, Christ: Head and Body. These were called, then chosen because they accepted the call and partook of the Divine nature.

And for their faithfulness, they became wells of living water to which the Lord will lead the sheep of the nations in that Day.

“This is what the Lord says:
I will answer you in a time of favor,
and I will help you in the day of salvation.
I will keep you, and I will appoint you
to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land,
to make them possess the desolate inheritances,
saying to the prisoners: Come out,
and to those who are in darkness: Show yourselves.
They will feed along the pathways,
and their pastures will be on all the barren heights.
10 They will not hunger or thirst,
the scorching heat or sun will not strike them;
for their compassionate One will guide them,
and lead them to springs of water.”

- Isaiah 49:8-10 HCSB

Those who, in this life, made partaking of the substance of the Lord their top priority, were actually transformed by the renewing of their mind, and inwardly conformed into the image of the Son of God, will appear with Him as He is in that Day. These First Resurrection saints are the “wife of the Lamb”, His complete and perfect counterpart, having been made by feeding on Him, are now able to offer Eternal Life to the people of the nations dwelling on the new earth.

Let me point out… we’re not introducing a new thing here. God, nor His purpose, has changed. These passages have been here since the Scriptures were written.

Our traditional picture of the “saved” spending eternity in heaven has clouded the True Biblical vision of the restoration of God’s creation, and the convergence of the spiritual and physical realms at the culmination of this age. And as we’ve been studying here, (using only the Scripture as our guide) the purpose of being conformed into the image of God’s Son, being made one with Him by partaking of His substance, is to be filled with His Divine nature, now able to offer that Life to others on the new earth. This we read in the final chapter of the last Book of the Scripture -

“the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of Life freely.”
 – Rev 22:17 NKJV

May He be our portion today & every day; ‘til we are filled with all the fullness of God.

God’s wisdom and understanding to us all,
Michael

To Him Who Overcomes


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