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SPIRITUAL ROCK (πνευματική πέτρα, spiritual rock). This expression occurs only in
Change to the imperfect epinon shows their continual access to the supernatural source of supply. The Israelites were blessed by the water from the rock that Moses smote at Rephidim (
Of “that Rock was Christ” he writes:
He definitely states here in symbolic form the prëexistence of Christ. But surely “we must not disgrace Paul by making him say that the pre-incarnate Christ followed the march of Israel in the shape of a lump of rock” (Hofmann). He does mean that Christ was the source of the water which saved the Israelites from perishing (Robertson and Plummer) as he is the source of supply for us today (ibid., p. 152).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Having a spiritual significance: supernatural, manifesting the power of the Divine Spirit; allegorically applied to Christ as fulfilling the type in the smitten rock in the desert, from which water miraculously burst forth to nourish the Israelites. A tradition current among the Jews affirms that this rock followed the people in their journeyings and gave forth a living stream for their supply. Paul made this ever-flowing rock a beautiful and accurate symbol of Christ: "The rock was Christ" (
Without the characterizing word "spiritual," this figurative term, with the same significance, is common to the Scriptures; applied
(1) to Yahweh, God: "Rock of his salvation," "their rock is not as our Rock" (
(2) to the foundation-stone of Christian confession and testimony (
(3) in Christian hymnology to Jesus crucified and spear-pierced: "Rock of ages, cleft for me."
Dwight M. Pratt