Paul's quotations (use of "baptism into Moses" in NT)

Dan Wagner Dan.Wagner at
Fri Mar 2 19:23:41 EST 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Samuel Payne [mailto:sam at]
> Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 03:43
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Paul's quotations
> > but they can never alter or reinterpret the meaning of a passage.
> So Paul NEVER alters or reinterprets his quotations from the 
> Hebrew? 
> He also claims that the Israelites were baptised "into Moses" 
> (1 Cor. 10.2)
> so as to be able to draw a parallel with his ideas of baptism 

> "into" Jesus.
> But the claim is completely false. There is no such idea in 
> the account in
> Exodus.

1 Cor. 10 "baptism" is an easy one if only you understand NT theology and
the way the term is used. If anyone was ever "baptized" into something, it
was Israel into the Mosaic leadership (and law). I suggest you start with a
study of passages like Romans 6 and the way it applies baptism--which has
nothing to do, directly, with water. It was Moses who interceded for the
people in the desert so that their needs were provided for by God. God was
ready to destroy them, but by their association with Moses, they were
spared. Without Moses and his intercession, the people had no chance. So
also without this same kind of association with Christ, "Christians" are
without hope (cf. Gal. 3:27). As the Jews were Moses' disciples, so
Christians are Christ's disciples (cf. Jn. 9:28). Paul is arguing theology,
not literal baptism with H20, although the graphic situation he paints
(directly from the OT text) of the cloud above and the sea on both sides
reinforces the "baptism" imagery.

> There are other cases, but a couple of examples is all that 
> is needed to
> disprove a 'NEVER'. If you claim that Ephesians is not by 
> Paul, well it
> certainly claims to be! And it is certainly part of the 
> Christian scriptures
> anyway.

Yes, i'm referring to all the NT, not just Paul.

> It is better not to make so many wild assertions that are so easily
> disproved - particularly among critical scholars. 

Potentially true, but this is one i've carefully thought through / studied
for a long time and still have not found any reason to set aside. The only
problem with setting it before critical scholars is that everybody has their
own pet passage in the NT which they are so sure must reflect a false
underderstanding of the OT, so i get a lot of flak!

> It draws 
> attention to
> one's faulty logic and discredits the other things one stands for.

Only for those who don't take it seriously and just assume it's ridiculous.

> The
> alternative, of course, is the excellent solution of the 
> great scholar,
> Albert Schweitzer. When he found he was unable to find a satisfactory
> "historical Jesus" academically, he became a third world 
> missionary instead.
> The natives didn't argue with him, or question his interpretations.

I'm sorry, but not i'm going out to deceive anybody and say things i don't
really believe or can't defend, simply because my audience is naive. In
fact, i've already spent time teaching in Africa, and one of my purposes was
to teach them to think critically--with a significant degree of success
among several. 

Furthermore, i don't know what Schweitzer was preaching, but i doubt it was
the same Gospel i believe/teach because i found major resistance to it among
naive "natives," generally speaking. The real Gospel is thoroughly hated by
much of the populace there just like anywhere else.

Also, i don't think your slanted generalizations about 3rd-world people
being uncritical are very professional. I can show you boatloads of
uncritical, unthinking people in the USA or any European country with which
i'm familiar. And i had several African students who were very careful

Dan Wagner

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