For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 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, Rome.

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 Israel.

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.” 

It 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. 

In 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 sinners.

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.



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough