Moses is one of greatest types of the Lord Jesus, in whom the Father
was supremely manifested. Because of this, it is fitting that we
should see a very high level of God manifestation in Moses. Indeed
it seems that God was manifest in Moses to a greater degree than
in any other Old Testament character. The following points are proof
enough of this:
- Yahweh said that He would give Joshua a charge; but Moses gave
Joshua the charge (Dt. 31:14,23).
- Yahweh anointed the priests (Lev. 7:36) - but in practice Moses
- Israel were led by God’s hand (Heb. 8:9; Is. 63:13); but in
practice by Moses’ hand (Ps. 77:20; Is. 63:12).
- Israel “chode with Moses...they strove with the Lord” (Num.
20:3,13) uses the same Hebrew word for both “chode” and “strove”.
To strive with Moses was to strive with the Lord- i.e. with the
guardian Angel that was so closely associated with Moses? Num.
20:4 continues rather strangely with the Israelites addressing
Moses in the plural: “The people chode with Moses, saying...Why
have ye [you plural] brought up...”. Could it be that even they
recognized his partnership with God? Likewise Num. 21:5: “And
the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have
ye [plural] brought us up out of Egypt to die?”.
- The pronouns often change (in Deuteronomy especially), showing
a confusion between the voice of God and that of Moses. Dt. 7:4
is an example: “They will turn away thy son from following me
(this is Moses speaking for God)...so will the anger of the Lord
be kindled against you”. Thus Moses’ comments on God’s words are
mixed up with the words of God Himself. There are other examples
of this in Dt. 7:11; 29:1,10,14,15 (“I” cp. “us”). Consider especially
Dt. 11:13,14: “If ye shall diligently hearken unto my commandments
which I command you this day, to love the Lord...that I will give
you the rain of your land...I will send grass in thy fields”.
The “I” here switches at ease between God and Moses. The Moses/God
pronouns are also mixed in Rom. 10:19.
- God is His word (Jn. 1:2). Moses is likewise spoken of as if
he is his word (Acts 15:21; 21:21; 26:22; 2 Cor. 3:18), so close
was his association with it. The words and commands of Moses were
those of God. “In the bush God spoke unto (Moses), saying, I am
the God of Abraham...Isaac and Jacob” (Mk. 12:26; Mt. 22:31; Ex.
3:6). Yet Lk. 20:37 says that “that the dead are raised, even
Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God
of Abraham” etc. Yet this was what God said of Himself.
- Likewise the Law was “a law...which I (Yahweh) have written”
(Ex. 24:12). Yet the Lord Jesus speaks of Moses writing
the precepts of the Law (Mk. 10:5). “The book of the low of Moses”
is parallel with “the book of the law of Yahweh” (Neh. 8:1; 2
Chron. 17:9); it was “the book of the law of Yahweh given by Moses”
(2 Chron. 34:14). His personal blessing of the people was that
of God (Dt. 33); and when he looked with pleasure upon the completed
tabernacle and blessed Israel, he was imitating God’s inspection
and blessing of the completed natural creation (Ex. 39:43). Yet
Israel tragically failed to appreciate the degree to which God
was manifest in the words of Moses, as they did with Christ. This
is shown by them asking for Moses to speak with them, not God;
they failed to realise that actually his voice was God’s voice.
They failed to see that commandments given ‘second hand’ really
are the voice of God (Ex. 20:19). Perhaps our appreciation of
inspiration is similar; we know the theory, but do we really see
the wonder of the fact that what we read is the awesome voice
of God Himself? And there are many other ‘first principles’ we
need to appreciate in practice.
- All the commands of Moses’ law were in order to teach Israel
to appreciate and respect the character and name of Yahweh (Dt.
28:58) - therefore all this commands were a manifestation of the
fundamental personality of the Father. Ditto for the words of
Jesus, who was the prophet who would speak God’s word as Moses
spoke it (Dt. 18:15-18). Because Jesus would speak God’s word
as Moses did, the words of Moses should be studied as much as
the words of Jesus - as Jesus himself said (Jn. 5:47). Yet do
we love the Law of Moses as David did? Or do we not incline
to be spiritually lazy, to be influenced by the (so called) New
Testament Christianity of the apostate religious world around
us? It is only by truly entering into the spirit of Moses’ words
that we can really understand our Lord - he said this himself.
And yet we would rather read Jesus’ words than those of Moses,
because we can’t be bothered to make the effort to understand
the spirit of our Lord as it is revealed there. And therefore
we complain (if we are honest) of a lack of sense that we are
having a real relationship with the Lord Jesus.
- Israel’s rejection of Moses was a rejection of the God who
was working through Moses to redeem them. Thus Korah and his followers
“strove against Moses... when they strove against Yahweh” (Num.
26:9 cp. 16:11). Moses understood that when Israel murmured against
him, they murmured against Yahweh (Ex. 16:2,7; Num. 17:5; 21:5).
They thrust Moses away from them (Acts 7:27,39)
- yet the same word is used in Rom. 11:2 concerning how God still
has not cast away Israel; He has not treated them as
they treated Him through their rejection of Moses and Jesus, who
- Because of the high degree of God manifestation in Moses, he
was so severely punished for not sanctifying Yahweh in the eyes
of Israel in his sin of smiting the rock. Israel provoking his
spirit to sin at this time is spoken of in the context of the
way in which they provoked God’s spirit (Ps. 106:7,29,33,43)
- such was God’s manifestation in Moses even while he was sinning.
And so God is manifest in sinful men like us too. Moses knew this,
he knew his closeness to God through manifestation, and yet he
yearned to see God physically, he struggled with his distance
from God (Ex. 33:18,20). The spirit of Christ in the Psalms is
similar. And for us too (although surely it is difficult to share
this enthusiasm if we refuse to accept God’s existence in a physical,
- Aaron asks: “Would it have been well pleasing in ths sight
of Yahweh?”, and then we read “And when Moses heard that, it was
well-pleasing in his sight” (Lev. 10:19,20 RV).
- We have seen that the time of Num. 10 and 11 was a spiritually
low period for Moses(1). Consider Num. 10:30; 11:11-13,22,23.
Yet in these very chapters there seems almost an emphasis on the
fact that God was manifest in Moses: “Moses heard the people weep”;
but they wept in the ears of Yahweh (Num. 11:10,18); “it displeased
the Lord; and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses
also was displeased” (11:1,10) shows the connection between them;
God has asked Moses to carry Israel “as a nursing father... unto
the land” (11:12), although Yahweh was their father who would
carry them to the land (Dt. 32:6; Hos. 11:1). That Yahweh is manifest
in His servants even in their times of weakness is both
comforting and sobering. It is because of this principle that
an apostate Israel caused Yahweh’s Name which they carried
to be mocked in the Gentile world (Ez. 20:39; 36:20; 39:7; 43:8).
Yahweh did not take that Name aways from them the moment they
sinned. Having been baptized into the Name, our behaviour in the
world, whether they appreciate it or not, is therefore a constant
exhibition of the Name.
This manifestation of God in a person leads to a mutuality between
them. There’s a nice example of the mutuality between God
and Moses in Ex. 33:1, where God says that Moses brought
up Israel out of Egypt; but in Ex. 32:11, Moses says [as frequently]
that God brought Israel out of Egypt. And we too can experience
this mutuality in relationship with the Father. Through Moses allowing
himself to become part of God manifestation, he found a confidence
to achieve that which felt impossible to him. He asks God: "Who
am I...?" to do the great things God required... and the answer
was "I will be who I will be" (Ex. 3:11-13).
Moses' sense of inadequacy was met by the principle of God's manifestation
in him; and so will ours be, if we participate in it.