Hebrews and Moses

Many have seen The Ten Commandments. For some reason this movie – about one of the major events in the Old Testament is shown on the networks at Easter.

Maybe because of it’s close proximity to the time of the Passover (which Jesus fulfilled and completed in the cross).

Nonetheless, Moses has always been a prominent figure for the Jewish people. The author of Hebrews knew they had a hang up with honoring Moses and so compares him to Christ (who was Moses’ Creator and God).

From the beginning, Moses was set apart and protected by God. At the time he was born, the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt.

But because of God’s blessing, they multiplied until Pharaoh feared for his kingdom and ordered all Jewish males exterminated at birth.

Moses’mother kept him safe as long as she could then placed him in a secure basket in the Nile.

We all know the story of his discovery by Pharaoh’s daughter, his being raised by his own Hebrew mother and then brought to Pharoah’s palace to be groomed as a prince.

Years later, after killing an Egyptian for cruelty to a Hebrew, he was driven from Egypt to live a rural life in Midian. Again, the familiar story of God speaking through the burning bush follows. God had a greater plan for Moses.

This man of God was reluctant to become the leader God had created him to be, but after receiving several signs from God, he returned to Egypt, joined with his brother Aaron and went to speak to Pharaoh.

Pharaoh was unimpressed with his signs from God – the staff turning to a snake, the hand made sick with leprosy then healed, etc. And so, hard heart intact, he endured ten plagues from the hand of God. Interestingly, each plague brought shame to the various Egyptian gods.

The final plague brought a requirement of the Hebrew people that lived with them for centuries. They are to sacrifice a perfect lamb, spread it’s blood over the door frames of their homes and get ready to leave Egypt.

Those who had the blood over them were saved from the Angel of Death as he passed over Egypt – killing the first-born male of man and beast. This was the first Passover, a celebration which survives today in the Jewish faith.

Just as God said he would, Pharaoh begs Moses to take the Hebrew people out of Egypt. The Egyptian people even forced them to take gifts of jewelry, clothing and other goods to hasten their departure.

On their way out of town, so to speak, they hit the Red Sea. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that Pharaoh had changed his mind and was charging toward them. Thus, the miracle of the Red Sea parting.

The waters separated at Moses command (under God’s direction), and the Hebrews walked easily across. When they safely reached the other side, the waters caved in, destroying the pursuing Egyptians.

Thus, the people were directed into the wilderness outside Egypt (where no one bothered them for fear of Moses and their God). While they were there, God fed them with manna from heaven and occasionally quail, and they drank water from a rock struck my Moses.

God brought Moses up a mountain called Sinai where God revealed Himself to him. Moses actually saw God – as God – up close and because of this, his face radiated light or some other visual representation of God’s glory.

During this encounter God gave him the Ten Commandments for the people to follow. This collection is ultimately called the Law of Moses. Wandering in the desert, God brought them order and instruction in the form of these Ten Commandments and other laws that fell under those ten categories.

Even though he is not able to build the Tabernacle, he designed it per God’s instructions, and put the plans together for the Ark of the Covenant. The Law of Moses eventually includes the first five books of the Bible – which he wrote in their entirety – called the Pentatuch.

It is difficult to find another person in the Bible that performed as many miracles as Moses. Even though several others saw God in the flesh (a pre-incarnate Christ) such as Abraham, Jacob, and Joshua, none but Moses saw God as Himself.

Interestingly, God only allowed Moses to see His back as He passed by. Even that caused him to radiate glory so much that he had to cover his face for a long time.

One must remember, when reading the book of Hebrews, that there is no greater or more esteemed character in the Jewish mind than Moses. They even believed him to be greater than the angels (which, as we have seen in previous blog posts here, was a really big deal).

Therefore when the author compared Christ to Moses and showed Him to be superior in His Office, Work and Person, the readers understood quickly the superiority of Christ to all things they exalted.

They struggled with following Moses more than God Himself.

The book of Hebrews helped them to change that, and see Christ as the real Person of God who had cancelled out their sins by offering Himself as a sacrifice that ended all sacrifices, and fulfilled the law by offering grace.

The true Leader and Messiah of God’s people is Jesus.

3 Comments

  1. You might wish to correct the tablets’ image. It’s backwards! This is not likely obvious to many readers, since “The Ten Commandments” made the historically more correct decision to use Paleo-Hebrew script, but for those who do, the writing is total nonsense!

    1. Yep. You’re right. Actually, we were just looking for something familiar to catch the eye, and didn’t mind that it wasn’t legible. Thanks for noticing! It’s good to hear from serious scholars. Funny, there’s even a Greek phi in the mix. Someone just wrote jibberish. 🙂 Caught your eye though, right?

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