Saturday, October 11, 2008

Moses and Jesus

“On that same day the LORD [Yahweh] told Moses, "Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."
(Deuteronomy 32:48-52)

Moses, as lawgiver, represents the Torah. The biblical law or commandments are sometimes collectively referred to as “the law of Moses.” Moses was a “type” of the Law. Yet, Moses did not make it to the Promised Land. If even Moses (who was the mediator between God and the Israelites), because of one sin he committed, was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, how much less can the average person expect to enter the eternal Promised Land by their own works?

Earlier in his life, Joshua was called, simply, ‘Hoshea’ (Numbers 13:8,16), meaning “salvation.” But later, Moses changed his name to ‘Joshua,’ meaning “The Lord saves” (or, “the Lord gives victory”). This same name (the Greek form of which is Jesus) was given to Mary’s firstborn son (Matthew 1:21).

The Law cannot save us. Joshua (Hebrew: Hoshea, Yeshua or Jeshua; Greek: Jesus) took over and replaced Moses (who symbolizes the Law) to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Just as Moses is an Old Testament type for the Law, so Joshua is an Old Testament type for Jesus (Yeshua). Jesus alone can lead us into the Promised Land.

Only complete trust in the shed blood of Christ can save a person from God’s wrath and bring them into Heaven, the eternal Promised Land.

11 comments:

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Good points...but, as I'm sure you know, there is not a strict dichotomy between Moses and Joshua when it comes to being a "type" of Christ. In Deut. 18:15-18, which is in the context of "covenant mediation" we read of "the Prophet" like Moses to come.

And since, of course, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law itself, not only the Law but everything within the context of the Law (the Tabernacle/Temple, the Sacrifices, the Priesthood, etc.,including Moses himself and other individuals) becomes a "type" of Christ in many ways.

But as you point out, there are also ways in which Moses can be seen as a "type" of the Law and Joshua as a "type" of Christ in contradisction to one another in certain points of Gospel emphasis.

As I'm sure you know, "typology" is not "analogy"; it is always "historically" based and proceeds from and is directed by the historical meaning and context in which it is found.

Sometimes people think of "typology" as unrestrained "analogy" that has no constraint placed upon it. The constraint is the historical condition placed upon it. We don't look for Jesus under every rock or in every reference to wood; we let the Scripture paint His portrait as He is revealed throughout the Scripture from the beginning (Gen. 3:15ff.)

GGM

Jeff said...

GGM,

Good points...but, as I'm sure you know, there is not a strict dichotomy between Moses and Joshua when it comes to being a "type" of Christ.

I generally agree with your comment. Moses is not a type of Christ. He is a type of the Law. Joshua, on the other hand, is a type of Christ. The name 'Jesus' is the Greek form of 'Joshua,' and, in the sense that Joshua was God's chosen servant to bring Moses' work to completion and establish Israel in the Promised Land, in that role Joshua was a striking Old Testament type or foreshadowing of Christ. The temporary, earthly rest in the Promised Land gained under Joshua pointed to a rest that is spiritual and eternal (Hebrews 4:6-8).

In Deut. 18:15-18, which is in the context of "covenant mediation" we read of "the Prophet" like Moses to come.

Deuteronomy 18 indicates that a series of prophets is meant, so is a collective reference to the prophets who will follow. However, it is the basis for the Messianic expectation and has unique fulfillment in Jesus.

And, of course, in Matthew 3:3 and John 1:23, John the Baptist identifies himself as being the fulfillment of the prophet talked about in Isaiah 40:3, so he would be one of those included in the series of prophets included in Deuteronomy 18.

Jeff said...

Moses is not a type of Christ. He is a type of the Law.

I do want to add, however, especially in reference to your comment, that Jesus was/is indeed the fulfillment of the Law.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"I generally agree with your comment"

And I yours...

"Moses is not a type of Christ. He is a type of the Law"

...except here.

As one of the "premier" types of Christ, Moses acted as Mediator between God and His people. The entire life of Moses was a picture of Christ and you cannot read Moses' life as the one who God used for His purposes in bringing Israel out of bondage, as the one who mediated God's will and message to the people, as the one who mediated God's presence with the people, etc. as anything other than the foreshadowing of Christ.

The the prophet mentioned in Deut. 18 does, as you suggest, refer to a series of prophets; but only as they lead to the One Prophet of God's choosing who will complete His work.

As with all "types", the correspondence breaks down at some points because the "type" is not the "fulfillment"; but you can't read Moses and not see that he, in his person, "speaks" of Jesus.

As much as we agree on many issues, Moses most definitely IS a "type" of Christ and he is one of the most powerful "types" of Christ found in the Scripture.

I guess this may be the first issue where we have absolutely no common ground. That's cool. :-)

Neither of us (or anyone, for that matter) knows perfectly...but we're both striving to know our Lord as best we can so that we can love Him as best as we can. It's our relationship with our Lord that is the most important...not how much doctrine we (think) we know (and I include myself).

GGM

Jeff said...

I guess this may be the first issue where we have absolutely no common ground. That's cool. :-)

Actually, that is not the case. Now that you bring it up (which I wasn't thinking about when I wrote my comment), I agree that Moses is a 'type' of Christ in the sense that he was a mediator between God and man. In that sense, the Levites and priests were also, in a very limited sense, 'types' of Christ. And, as you said, in the sense that Moses led the people out of bondage, that could be considered a 'type' of Christ as well.

However, I believe that Moses is more often associated with the Law than he is with being a type of Christ...but that's a minor point.

As with all "types", the correspondence breaks down at some points because the "type" is not the "fulfillment"...

I agree.

Neither of us (or anyone, for that matter) knows perfectly...but we're both striving to know our Lord as best we can so that we can love Him as best as we can. It's our relationship with our Lord that is the most important...not how much doctrine we (think) we know (and I include myself).

Excellent point!

satire and theology said...

Those seem like pretty balanced points by both of you.

Jeff said...

Those seem like pretty balanced points by both of you.

Thanks, Russ, for your unifying comment.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

I'm pleased to know that we aren't in complete disagreement on this issue. Obviously it seems that we disagree with each other over the magnitude and scope of the relation of Moses to Jesus, but I'm glad that we're at least on the same page.

In John 5, Jesus tells the Jews that He doesn't condemn them for their unbelief before the Father because Moses condemns them. They had put their hope in Moses (in the Law that he "gave"); but Jesus says that if they believed Moses, if they had believed his writings, they would believe Him because Moses wrote of Him. So "The Law" is really the writings about Jesus. And the Jews stood condemned before the Father because Jesus was now present before them but they didn't believe what Moses had said (written).

So even though Moses is associated mostly in our minds with the Law, his association with the Law is really association with Christ. And as various historical circumstances and objects were "types" of Christ as they prophesied of Him (the "exodus" from Egypt, the Passover, the Sacrifices, etc., and Noah's "Ark", the Tabernacle/Temple with its furnishings, etc. ), so were various people also "types" of Christ (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek, Isaac, Moses, the Nation of Israel, etc.).

People, places, things, historical circumstances are all sources of typology that God uses to paint the picture of Christ. This is how Jesus could say that all the Scripture (all the Old Testament) testifies of Him; because of the "typology" that exists all throughout the Scripture. All of the OT is "prophetic" and the main prophetic "tool", so-to-speak, is typology.

Anyway, I think I'll do a future post on typology and my understanding of Moses' place in it. I'm not necessarily trying to convince you of anything here; I'm just trying to help you and others understand where I'm coming from when I link Moses to Jesus so strongly.

Good "talking" with you, Jeff.

Jason

Jeff said...

GGM,

I'm pleased to know that we aren't in complete disagreement on this issue. Obviously it seems that we disagree with each other over the magnitude and scope of the relation of Moses to Jesus, but I'm glad that we're at least on the same page.

Yes, that is good.

And as various historical circumstances and objects were "types" of Christ as they prophesied of Him (the "exodus" from Egypt, the Passover, the Sacrifices, etc., and Noah's "Ark", the Tabernacle/Temple with its furnishings, etc. ), so were various people also "types" of Christ (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek, Isaac, Moses...

I basically agree.

the Nation of Israel,

I generally agree with the others, but I do not see any way that the nation of Israel was ever a type of Christ.

but Jesus says that if they believed Moses, if they had believed his writings, they would believe Him because Moses wrote of Him. So "The Law" is really the writings about Jesus. And the Jews stood condemned before the Father because Jesus was now present before them but they didn't believe what Moses had said (written).

So even though Moses is associated mostly in our minds with the Law, his association with the Law is really association with Christ.


When I talk about "the Law," I'm referring specifically to the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were not a type of Christ.

In contrast, when Jesus said:

"For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:46,47)

Jesus was referring to the books of Moses, also called the books of the Law. I assume that you are referring to the same thing.

Jesus was referring, at least in part, to:

1. That He would be the seed of a woman...
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)

2. That He would be a descendant of Abraham...
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)

3. That He would be a descendant of Isaac...
"And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him" (Genesis 17:19)

4. That He would be a descendant of Jacob...
"I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Seth." (Numbers 24:17)

5. That He would be from the tribe of Judah...
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (Genesis 49:10)

6. That He would be that Prophet...the man God requires every man to hear...
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:18,19)

Good "talking" with you, Jeff.

And good "talking" (posting/commenting) with you, too, Jason.

Greg said...

Interesting debate you guys have going here. But to comment on the original post, I think that's an interesting analogy that I don't think I saw before. In this context, I think you're spot-on, Jeff. Just like God pointed Moses to the Promised Land (which I have often seen preached as a type of the second covenant, with the exodus and time in the desert being associated with the first), so the first covenant points to the second.

Jeff said...

Greg,

Interesting debate you guys have going here. But to comment on the original post, I think that's an interesting analogy that I don't think I saw before. In this context, I think you're spot-on, Jeff. Just like God pointed Moses to the Promised Land (which I have often seen preached as a type of the second covenant, with the exodus and time in the desert being associated with the first), so the first covenant points to the second.

Thank you very much for dropping by, for your comment, and for your encouragement! I appreciate your comment!

The Bible is incredible, including in the sense that, no matter how many times you read it, you can always find new things that you never saw before (if the person reading it is a Christian and has the Holy Spirit indwelling them). No other book (or collection of books, which the Bible really is) can do that, in that same sense.

Redemption through Christ was something that God planned from the beginning, so all the Old Testament only builds up to that, and the New Testament, through the end of Revelation, builds toward the culmination of that.

"Great Googly Moogly!" and I generally agree on most things, I think (we have had discussions on a friend's blog site as well, and I have also commented on GGM's site before), but just as with anybody (whether Christian or non-
Christian), there's always something that you don't totally agree on.