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May 22, 2016
More Glory Than Moses
There are many similarities between Jesus and Moses, yet there is is a vast difference, too. In short, Moses showed the glory of God from what one might think of as mostly physical, while Jesus manifest God and proclaimed the supremacy of the spiritual. One of the primary reasons that Jesus was rejected by His fellow man, was that most Jews of His day were intent on having a physical kingdom. That is still a primary reason for men to reject Jesus today. Even among those who claim to accept Jesus are in reality rejecting Him by insisting that He return to earth as King on a physical throne with a physical land. This outlook drives not only religious systems, it also drives economies and political ideologies. If men can come to understand the similarities between Jesus and Moses, then the differences will be more pronounced. If the differences are more pronounced, then perhaps a better understanding of Jesus, who is due more glory than Moses, and His spiritual kingdom will be accepted. So, just what are some of the similarities?
Preserved in childhood—Moses was saved from the decree of Pharaoh (Exodus 1:22-2:10) and Christ from the slaughter commanded by Herod (Matthew 2:13-18). It is also interesting that Egypt played a role in both lives. Moses was born in Egypt and fled for safety, while Jesus was born in Judea and fled to Egypt for safety.
Confronted evil head on—Moses and Aaron stood directly before Pharaoh and his sorcerers of Egypt to follow God’s instructions (Exodus 7:10-12). Christ stood toe to toe with the devil in the temptations placed before Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10).
Fasted forty days—Moses ate no bread and drank no water as He was before the Lord writing the commandments of the Law, preparing to present God’s word to the people (Exodus 34:28). Jesus ate no bread and drank no water as He readied Himself to present God’s word in His ministry (Matthew 4:2).
Discredited by those who knew them best—Moses by his own brother and sister as they questioned his choice of wife and his right as leader (Numbers 12:1-2). Jesus was no acknowledged by his fellow townspeople of Nazareth who sought to cast him down headlong from the brow of the hill upon which the city was built (Luke 4:16-30). At first, Jesus’ own brothers did not believe on Him (John 7:5).
Lawgivers—God gave the law to the children of Israel through Moses (Exodus 20-23; 34-35). The new covenant of grace and truth was given to all the world through Jesus. “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Beginning a dispensation—Moses, for the Israelites, ushered in an age or dispensation which began with the giving of the Law at Sinai and lasting up until the death of Jesus. This period is sometimes known as the Mosaic or Jewish dispensation. Jesus inaugurated a new age beginning with His death on the cross and lasting until the end of time when He will return to execute judgment. He fulfilled all that was announced during the former age and promised to be with His people until the end of His age (Matthew 28:18-20). This period is often known as the Christian dispensation.
Willingly made great sacrifice—Moses gave up the honor, glory, and power of Egypt by refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter (Hebrews 11:24-27). Jesus gave up heaven in order to be “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
Saviors—Moses saved the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage by leading them through God’s mighty hand (Exodus 3-14:30). Jesus made possible the salvation of sinful man from the bondage of sin. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11).
Prophets—Moses prophesied about the one who would be a prophet like him: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus was that prophet (Acts 3:22; 7:37), who prophesied many things— even His own suffering and death, His coming again, and great judgment (Matthew 16:21-28; 25:31-46; John 14:1-3).
Mediators—Moses interceded for his people when God was ready to punish them because of their unbelief and failure to enter the promised land (Numbers 14:13). Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for His people (1Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 8:1). “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Fed a multitude—Moses through the manna which God gave the children of Israel in the wilderness, fed the multitude of his brothers of Israel (Exodus 16:13-36). Jesus, in a miraculous way, and on separate occasions, fed five thousand and four thousand, respectively, with a few loaves and fish (Matthew 14:15-21; 15:32-39).
Showed God’s power over nature—Moses when he stretched his hand over the Red Sea, showed God’s power over nature. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided” (Exodus 14:21). In many ways Jesus showed power. Also dealing with the great waters of a sea, He rebuked a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:26).
Radiant faces—Moses, when he came down from the mountain after being before God receiving the Law, had a glorious and radiant face (Exodus 34:35). Jesus, when He was transfigured on the mountain as He spoke with Elijah and Moses, “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matthew 17:2).
Endured murmurings—Moses continually had to deal with the Israelites’ complaints and murmurings as they experienced the hardships in the wilderness because of their sins (Exodus 15:24). Jesus, when the people opposed his teaching and practice, experienced much murmuring and animosity (Luke 15:2).
Seventy helpers—Moses, had the Lord instruct him to select seventy men to help him bear the burdens of the people (Numbers 11:16-17). Jesus selected seventy men and sent them out to assist in teaching and to proclaim, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:1-9).
Established memorials—Moses gave God's command to keep the Passover which was a memorial of God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt (Exodus 12:14). Jesus established a memorial of God’s deliverance of His obedient and faithful people through His won death (Luke 22:19-20).
Appeared after death—Moses appeared on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-5). Jesus made several appearances after his crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 1:3; 1Corinthians 15:5-7).
Though there are many points of similarity between Christ and Moses, there is also great difference. The writer of the book of Hebrews says that Jesus “has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house” (Hebrews 3:1-6). Moses did his great work in delivering the law of God to the people of Israel; but now that that law has served its purpose, and Jesus has fulfilled it completely, it has been taken out of the way, and, in a figure, has been nailed to the cross (Matthew 5:17-18; Colossians 2:14). Now, God speaks to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). When Moses and Elijah were on the mount being transfigured with Jesus, the voice of God spoke out, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Peter had wanted to treat all three equally by making tabernacles for each. God let it be known that Jesus stood superior—that His was the message to be heard.
For guidance through this life and for the eternal salvation of our souls we are to hear Jesus the Christ, the only Son of God, and the only Savior of man. Our obedience is to be to His gospel, God's power to save (Romans 1:16). Remember, Jesus is the one who said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). He is also the one who said, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.