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 2001 James Melough


The account of Moses’ experience at the burning bush is recorded in Ex 3:1-5, and it is suggested that the reader review those verses before beginning this brief study of that bush as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ex 3:1.  “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.”

Ex 3:2.  “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Moses)in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”

Ex 3:3.  “And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”

Ex 3:5.  “And he (God) said, Draw not nigh higher: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

In Scripture the angel of the Lord is one of the OT descriptions of the Lord Jesus Christ, and here the appearance was in the desert, a figure or type of this world which is a spiritual desert.  The typological portrait is of Christ come down to earth to make atonement for sin. 

But it was specifically “the backside of the desert,” i.e., the west side, and in Scripture the west is the direction that  invariably speaks of approach or nearness to God, in contrast with the east which is always associated with sin and departure from God.  This is intended to remind us that the Lord’s earthly life was lived in unbroken nearness to, and communion with His Father.

The location is further specified as Horeb, which means a waster, and points us to Calvary the place of wasting, for it was there that the Lord Jesus Christ obediently submitted Himself to the outpouring of Divine wrath against sin, He dying there in your guilty place and mine.

The fact that the bush burned with fire, but was not consumed by the flame is the symbolic announcement of the truth that while the Lord submitted Himself to death at Calvary His death was different from that of all other men, as He Himself had already declared to His disciples, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I have power to lay it down of myself, and I have power to take it again,” Jn 10:17-18.

“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”  Moses turned aside in awestricken wonder, but it was very different when the type was fulfilled at Calvary, for the majority of those gathered around the cross were there to gloat, and mock the Lord’s dying agony, as it is written, “And sitting down they watched him there.... And they that passed by reviled him.... Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save.  If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him... The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth,” Mt 27:36-44.

“And he (God) said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

How great is the contrast between the type and the reality!  The type was invested with the reverential fear that becomes man in the presence of God, for we read that “Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God,” verse 6.  How terrible will be the judgment meted out at the great white throne to those who sat around the cross that day mocking and taunting God’s Son while He died as their Substitute to make possible the remission of their sins. 

He is a wise man who looks at Calvary with the same reverential wonder as did Moses at the burning bush, and accepts as his Savior the One Who fulfilled the type that day two thousand years ago.


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