Question:

Hi Mr. Jeffrey,

I was reading this article: Immorality: The Forbidden Territory and found this statement:

"The Israelites even had Christ on their side! How often do we quote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)? The Israelites’ access to Christ did not allow most of them to reach heaven."

Is this right or did you mistakenly say Christ when you meant God? I read it and it seems odd to me.

Thank you.

Answer:

"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" (I Corinthians 10:1-4).

Paul is stating that while the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, they partook of blessings from Christ, as symbolized by the rock from which they received water. Too often when we read of God being involved, we assume that it was just God the Father, but the text does not limit it to just one part of the Godhead. Paul is helping us understand that the Son was there guiding and aiding the Israelites along with the Father and the Spirit. Christ is the spiritual rock (Matthew 16:18) that followed Israel and sustained them.

In another letter Paul stated:

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NASB).

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).

Some of the manuscripts have the additional word "Christ" added to the verse and many scholars believe that this was a marginal note to explain "him" that got copied into the text. That Paul was speaking of Christ can be seen by going back to Philippians 4:10, "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity." It is similar to another statement of Paul's: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service" (I Timothy 1:12). Thus, whether "Christ" was added to Philippians 4:13 or not, the meaning remains exactly the same.

 

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