“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” (Hebrews 3:3)
The story of Moses is ultimately not about him. His life foreshadows the One Moses wrote about—Jesus Christ.
Centuries before Jesus’ incarnation, God used people, places, and events to teach us about His Son. He inspired the Old Testament authors to pen promises and predictions which found their consummation in Christ. Moses’ story is no exception. The exodus from Egypt foreshadowed the greatest exodus imaginable.
Approach this blog post with an open Bible and an open mind. For starters, I’ll give a concise narrative so you can see how Moses’ life points to Christ’s. Then, we’ll slow down and marvel at three mountaintop meetings: Mount Sinai, Mount Nebo, and the Mount of Transfiguration.
Pharaoh issued an order to hurl all the Hebrew baby boys into the Nile river. As a result, Moses’ mom saved her son from impending death. Later in Moses’ life, God called him out of the desert to begin his mission. He led the Israelites out of captivity and toward the Promised Land. At Mount Sinai, Moses mediated God’s message to the twelve tribes of Israel.
God leveraged Moses’ narrative to foreshadow Jesus. For example, king Herod gave orders to kill all the Bethlehem boys two years old and younger. As a result, Jesus’ mother saved her Son from impending death. God drew Jesus out of Egypt. Later in Jesus’ life, He came out of the desert to undertake the mission God had for Him. Christ leads people out of bondage and toward the Promised Land. At the sermon on the Mount, Christ mediated God’s message to the twelve Disciples. Jesus is the greater Moses.
1,446 B.C. (Before Christ)
It’s crucial to understand what a covenant is, because it’s how God relates to us. For one, it’s much more than a contract; It’s a mutual partnership with a shared goal. A covenant is an agreement, PLUS a divine sanction. In this legally binding partnership between God and man, Yahweh makes promises that He keeps, and He gives His creatures commandments. Keep the commandments, earn a blessing; break them, suffer a curse.
The Mosaic Covenant
At Mount Sinai, God made a covenant with the Israelite nation, and Moses was the mediator of it, meaning, Moses was the middle-man between the Israelites and Yahweh. When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, he informed the Israelites that if they obeyed God’s commandments, Yahweh would bless them so that they could fulfill God’s goal of blessing the nations. After mediating the covenant, Moses ratified it by sacrificing animals.
In those days, they did not sign covenants with ink; they sealed them with blood.
New Covenant Promised
At Mount Sinai, what did God give the Israelite nation? Commandments and the tabernacle. In other words, law and love. Although Yahweh was a Husband to them, they were unfaithful to Him. They broke the Old Covenant, and forgot the goal. So eight centuries later, God promised He’d one day establish a new covenant:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The Birthday of the New Covenant
Contrary to popular belief, the new covenant didn’t begin during Pentecost. Nor was it birthed when Jesus was born. Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, inaugurated it during the supreme festival which commemorated the Old Covenant—the Passover.
Jesus and His disciples gathered in an upper room. Candles flickered. As the disciples reclined at the wooden table, they hung on every word from the Word. The aroma of new wine permeated the furnished room. As Jesus led the Seder, everything seemed to be going as prescribed by the Law of Moses. It was a ritual the disciples could recite in their sleep. Then, much to their surprise, something marvelous happened… Jesus deviated! “What’s Jesus doing? This is not the custom.” Midway through the Passover ritual, Jesus took the cup and announced, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.” At the summit of the celebration of the old covenant, Christ inducted the new covenant. And a few hours later, Jesus ratified it, not with the blood of lambs, but with His blood; The blood of the Lamb of God.
Blessing and Curse
Because man didn’t keep his side of the covenant, God’s Son became a Man to fulfill BOTH sides! Jesus, the faithful Israelite, obeyed the Law, earning the Father’s blessing. Yet, out of His overwhelming love for us, Christ transferred His blessing to us and absorbed our curse on Mount Calvary!
Why were you blessed? So that you, along with the new Israel Christ is building, can bless the nations. God blessed you to be a blessing.
Do you see it, now? The cross of Christ is the most beautiful collision of law and love.
1,406 B.C. (Before Christ)
Moses viewed the Promised Land from Mount Nebo, but God banned him from leading the Israelites into it. Instead, Moses perished there, and Joshua (whose name is Yeshua in Hebrew, or Jesus in Greek), got the honor of leading God’s people into the Promised Land. Through this foreshadowing, we behold how God used Moses as a picture, or poster-child of the Law, in the way the Law can never lead people into heaven; Only Joshua (Jesus) can.
The Lord of Salvation
If you’ve sought to earn your ticket to the Promised Land by obeying the Law, stare at the cross. What was the cross for, if you can save yourself? You can never be good enough. If you’ve ever broken one command—just one—you’re guilty of breaking the entire Law (James 2:10). So, to enter the Promised Land, you must trust in the finished work of the greater Moses. The same NAME that commissioned the mediator of the Old Covenant was claimed by the Mediator of the New: “I Am the Door!”
Mount of Transfiguration
1,400 years later…
With whom did Jesus commune on the Mount of Transfiguration? Elijah, and Moses. Where’s this Mount located? In the Promised Land! Moses’ requests to enter the Promised Land with God, and to see God’s Glory, Yahweh satisfied on this Mount. Moses beheld the dazzling embodiment of God’s Glory.
What did they discuss? Christ’s departure, or in Greek, His exodus. Who better to talk about a mass exodus than the Midianite shepherd?
The Greatest Exodus
Yet, Moses’ exodus dwindled into mere insignificance, compared to the exodus that was about to take place; the largest exodus in human history—the cross of Christ! Moses led thousands out of Egypt, but when the Roman soldiers lifted Christ from the Earth, He drew all people to Himself. All who are in Christ were crucified and buried with Him. Moses lost many in the wilderness, yet Christ will lose none. The Midianite shepherd had to confront Pharaoh, the most powerful monarch on planet Earth during his time, but who did Christ oppose? Satan himself! Through the incarnate Word of God, the Father declared, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”
Mount Sinai, Mount Nebo, and the Mount of Transfiguration form a “ridge” that finds its peak at Mount Calvary. There, on the summit, the greater Moses drew you out of “Egypt,” liberating you from the penalty and power of sin. And one day, Yeshua will take you by the hand and lead you across the “Jordan river,” into the Promised Land where He’ll free you from the presence of sin.
Written by Logan Stogner, 2022 copyright
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/rudall30
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