Online Bible College
Carelinks Home
FREE Literature
'Bible Lives' Home
Bible Books Home
Buy this Book!
Bible Lives  

4-8-1 God Manifestation In Moses 

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 did.

- 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) 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 manifested Him.

- 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, bodily form).

- 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.