TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
Like his brother Aaron who
typifies Christ as our great High Priest, Moses is also a type of Christ, but as a
Prophet. In Dt 18:15 he declared to the
children of Israel, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the
midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken,” and in
34:10 it is written, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto
Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”
The first point of
similarity between Moses and Christ is found in connection with his birth.
In Ac 7:20 it is recorded that “... Moses was born, and was exceeding
fair....” In his physical perfection
we see foreshadowed the moral perfection of his great Antitype.
He was born while Israel was
under the dominion of a great world power, Egypt.
The Lord was born while Israel was under the dominion of a great world power,
Because Pharaoh had decreed
the death of all male Hebrew infants, it was necessary for Moses’ mother to remove
him from the house, and hide him in the ark. Because
of a similar decree of Herod, it was necessary for the parents of Jesus to take Him
out of “the house” of Israel, and hide him in Egypt.
The discovery of Moses by
Pharaoh’s daughter, and her adoption of him, caused his true identity to be
concealed. It was so with Christ.
His true identity was concealed under the wrong belief that He was the son of
Joseph, and not the Son of God.
In Exodus chapter two we
learn of Moses’ compassion for his oppressed brethren, both at the hand of the
Egyptians, and at the hand of one another. This
adumbrates the compassion of Christ for His brethren, both at the hand of Rome, and
of their own heartless religious rulers. In
Dt 2:12 it is recorded that Moses slew an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, and in
that slaying of the Egyptian oppressor we have a symbolic picture of Christ slaying
the enemy (Satan) at Calvary; and in his attempt on the second day to reconcile two
quarreling Hebrews, we have a picture of the Lord’s attempt, through the
post-resurrection gospel, to reconcile to God, and to one another, the nation of
Israel. But as Moses was rejected, so
also was Christ. Their unbelief after
His resurrection was as adamant as when they had had Him crucified.
This rejection by his own
people, following the incident of the second day, resulted in Moses’ flight to
Midian, where he remained separated from his brethren for forty years, and where he
received a Gentile bride. This
foreshadows Israel’s rejection of the resurrected Christ presented to them in the
gospel preached by the apostles. The
result of that rejection is that He has been separated from Israel for the past two
thousand years; but during that time there is being prepared for Him a Gentile bride,
the Church; and as Moses received his bride before returning to deliver his people
Israel, so will Christ receive His bride before returning to deliver His people
Forty is the Biblical number
of testing. During those forty years of
Moses’ absence, Israel was tested in Egypt, and the result was that the end of that
period found them in an even more
terrible bondage than that from which he had risked his life to deliver them.
The type finds its fulfillment in Israel and Christ; for that rebellious
nation has been tested in what Egypt represents (the world), during the long interval
of Christ’s absence. The end of that
era will find them also in a far more terrible bondage than that which they were
enduring two thousand years ago, and from which Christ gave His life to deliver them,
had they but believed. They have yet to
experience the terrible tribulation judgments.
The bitter bondage
experienced during those forty years, however, had produced a changed heart in
Israel. When Moses returned they received him, and under his leadership, went out of
Egypt’s bondage, a free redeemed people, given Canaan with its milk and honey for
an inheritance. The type will be
fulfilled when the tribulation judgments will have brought Israel to repentance.
As a broken repentant Israel received the returning Moses, so will a broken
repentant Israel receive the returning Christ. And
as that redeemed Israel followed Moses out of Egypt’s tears and bondage to enjoy
the riches of Canaan, so will a redeemed Israel yet follow Christ out of the terrible
tribulation judgments into the enjoyment of the millennial kingdom.
In connection with the
deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt God sent plagues, and in
response to the plague of hail Pharaoh said, “Intreat the Lord ... that there be no
more mighty thunderings and hail....” Ex 9:28.
(In Scripture, thunder and hail are almost invariably used to represent the
wrath and judgment of God). In reply,
Moses said, “As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands
unto the Lord, and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there by any more hail,”
verse 29; and in verse 33 we read, “And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh,
and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the
rain was not poured upon the earth.”
isn’t difficult to see here a picture of Calvary.
As Moses turned from the presence of
the ruler of the world, as represented by Pharaoh, and went out of the city to stop
the plague, so did Christ go out of the city of Jerusalem from the presence of the
ruler of the world, as represented by Pilate, to end a far more terrible danger - the
judgment of a Holy God Who must, because He is absolutely righteous, execute the
sentence of death against all who have broken His law.
verse 29 Moses not only declared that he would stop the plague,
he declared also HOW: “I will spread abroad my hands unto
the Lord.” The Lord Jesus Christ in
the course of His earthly ministry also declared not only that He would “stop the
plague” (cause the wrath of God to cease), He also declared HOW,“And as Moses
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up,”
Jn 3:14. That “lifting up” involved
the “spreading abroad” of His hands on the cross.
As the lifting up of Moses’ hands brought an end to the plague of hail, so
has the “lifting up” of Christ’s hands brought
an end to the wrath of God against every believer.
A further typological
picture of Moses is presented in Dt 1:37 where he declared to Israel, “The Lord was
angry with me for your sakes,” and in 3:26, in response to his plea that he be
allowed to enter Canaan with the Israelites, it is recorded that, “The Lord was
wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let
it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.”
Few will have difficulty seeing the fulfillment of this type in Christ’s
plea in Gethsemane when He asked that if it were possible He might not have to drink
the terrible cup of judgment and death at Calvary on the morrow, but it was not the
Father’s will, for apart from the Lord’s death there could be no salvation for
Dt 4:21-22 continues to add
details to the symbolic picture, “Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your
sakes, and sware that I should not ... go in unto that good land.... But I must die
in this land.” Moses must die before
Israel could enter Canaan; and Christ had to die to make it possible for all who
would trust Him as Savior to enter heaven.
Dt 34:5 records his death,
“So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the
word of the Lord.” That he didn’t
die of “natural” causes is certified in its being recorded that, “... his eye
was not dim, nor his natural force abated,” Dt 34:7.
Christ’s death was also the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord as recorded
in the Scriptures, and it too was not by “natural” causes.
He laid it down of His own will in obedience to the Father’s will, for the
redemption of men’s souls.
But the scriptural account
of Moses life doesn’t end with the record of his death.
In Mt 17:3 we see him again in glory on the mount of transfiguration talking
with his great antitype, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Nor does the scriptural record conclude with the mention of the Lord’s
death. He too is seen in resurrection
glory as the mighty Conqueror of death.