Moses - a Type of Christ?

Question
I read a few years ago that Moses was a type of Christ. I cannot remember the author or the book, but his list was extensive. Can you assist me?
Answer

A. W. Pink in his book, Gleanings in Genesis lists some similarities between Moses and Christ. He says:

1. His nationality. Moses was an Israelite (Ex. 2:1, 2). So, according to the flesh, was Christ.

2. His Birth. This occurred when his nation was under the dominion of a hostile power, when they were groaning under the rule of a Gentile king (Ex. 1). So the Jews were in bondage to the Romans when Christ was born (Matthew 2:1 cf. Luke 24: 21).

3. His Person. "In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair to God" (Acts 7:20). How blessedly did he, in this, foreshadow the Beloved of the Father! His estimate of the "fairness" of that Child which lay in Bethlehem's manger, was evidenced by the sending of the angels to say unto the shepherds, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).

4. His Infancy. In infancy his life was endangered, imperiled by the reigning king, for Pharaoh had given orders that, "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river" (Ex. 1:22). How this reminds us of Matthew 2:16: "Then Herod . . . sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof!"

5. His Adoption. Though, previously, he was the child of another, he yet was made the son of Pharaoh's daughter: "And became her son" (Ex. 2:10). Thus he had a mother, but no father! What anointed eye can fail to see prefigured here the mystery of the Virgin-birth! Christ was the Son of Another, even the Son of God. But, born into this world, He had a mother, but no human father. Yet was He, as it were, adopted by Joseph: see Matthew 1:19-21.

6. His Childhood. This was spent in Egypt. So also was Christ's: "Behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word" (Matthew 2:13). Thus was fulfilled God's ancient oracle, " And called My Son out of Egypt." (Hosea 11:1).

7. His Sympathy for Israel. He was filled with a deep compassion for his suffering kinsmen according to the flesh, and he yearned for their deliverance. Beautifully does this come out in Acts 7:23, 24, "And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren of the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him." So too Christ was filled with pity toward His enslaved people, and love brought Him here to deliver them.

8. His early knowledge of his Mission. Long years before he actually entered upon his great work, Moses discerned, "how that God by his hand would deliver them" (Acts 7:25). So as a Boy of twelve, Christ said to His perplexed mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49).

9. His condescending Grace. Though legally the "son of Pharaoh's daughter," yet he regarded the Hebrew slaves as his brethren: "And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren" (Ex. 2:11). So it is with Christ: "He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Heb. 2:11).

10. His great Renunciation. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt" (Heb. 11:24-26). What a foreshadowing was this of Him "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant" (Phil. 2:6, 7)! Like Moses, Christ too voluntarily relinquished riches, glory, and a kingly palace.

11. His Rejection by his brethren. "And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?" (Acts 7:26, 27). This is very sad; sadder still is it to read of Christ, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11). This same line in the typical picture was before us when we considered Joseph. But mark this difference: In the case of Joseph, it was his brethren's enmity against his person (Gen. 37:4); here with Moses, it was his brethren's enmity against his mission. Joseph was personally hated; Moses officially refused - who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?" So it was with Christ. Israel said, "We will not have this Man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14).

12. His Sojourning among the Gentiles. "But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian (Ex. 2:15). Following Christ's rejection by the Jews, we read, "God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name" (Acts 15:14).

13. His Seat on the well. Away from his own land, we read of Moses, "And he sat down by a well" (Ex. 2:15). So the only time we read of the Lord Jesus seated by the well, was when He was outside Israel's borders, in Samaria (John 4:4, 6).

14. His Shepherdhood. "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law" (Ex. 3:1). This is the character which Christ sustains to His elect among the Gentiles: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one flock, one Shepherd" (John 10:16).

15. His Season of Seclusion. Before he entered upon his real mission, Moses spent many years in obscurity. Who had supposed that this one, there "at the backside of the desert," was destined to such an honorable future? So it was with the incarnate Son of God. Before He began His public ministry, He was hidden away in despised Nazareth. Who that saw Him there in the carpenter's shop, dreamed that He was ordained of God to the work of redemption!

16. His Commission from God. He was called of God to emancipate His people from the house of bondage: "Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt" (Ex. 3:10). So Christ was sent forth into this world to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

17. His Apostleship. Thus he was God's apostle unto Israel, for "apostle" signifies one "sent forth": "Now therefore go" (Ex. 4:12). So Christ was the Sent One of God (John 9:4 etc); yea, in Hebrews 3:1 He is designated the Apostle."

18. His Credentials. His commission from God was confirmed by power to work miracles. So also Christ's mission was authenticated by wondrous signs (Matthew 11:4, 5). It should be noted that Moses is the first one mentioned in the O. T. that performed miracles; so is Christ in the N. T. - John the Baptist performed none (John 10:41).

19. His first Miracles. Moses wrought many wonders, but it is most striking to observe that his first two miraculous signs were power over the serpent, and power over leprosy (Ex. 4:6-9). So after Christ began His public ministry, we read first of His power over Satan (Matthew 4:10, 11), and then His power over leprosy (Matthew 8:3).

20. His Return to his own land. In Exodus 4:19 we read, "And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life." The antitype of this is found in Matthew 2:19, "An angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young Child's life!"

21. His Acceptance by his brethren. This is recorded in Exodus 4:29-31. How different was this from his first appearing before and rejection by the Hebrews (Ex. 2)! How beautifully it prefigured Israel's acceptance of their Messiah at His second appearing!

22. His powerful Rod. Moses now wielded a rod of mighty power: see Exodus 9:23; 10:13; 14:16. So also it is written of Christ, "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron" (Ps. 2:9).

23. His Announcing solemn Judgments. Again and again he warned Pharaoh and his people of the sore punishment of God if they continued to defy him. So also Christ declared, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

24. His deliverance of Israel. Moses perfectly fulfilled his God-given commission and led Israel out of the house of bondage: "The same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer" (Acts 7:35). So Christ affirmed, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).

25. His Headship. Remarkably is this brought out in 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2, "All our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Morea." So obedient Christians are "baptized unto Jesus Christ" (Rom. 6:3).

26. His Leadership of Israel's Praise. "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel" (Ex. 15:1) Of Christ too it is written, "In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee" (Ps. 22:22).

27. His Authority challenged. This is recorded in Numbers 16:3; the antitype in Matthew 21:23.

28. His person Envied. See Psalm 106:16, and compare Mark 15:10.

29. His person opposed. Though Israel were so deeply indebted to Moses, yet again and again we find them "murmuring" against him: Exodus 15:24, 16:2, etc. For the N. T. parallel see Luke 15:2, John 6:41.

30. His life Threatened. So fiercely did the ungrateful Hebrews oppose Moses that, on one occasion, they were ready to "stone" him (Ex. 17:4). How this brings to mind what we read of in John 8:59, 10:31!

31. His Sorrows. Moses felt keenly the base ingratitude of the people. Mark his plaintive plea as recorded in Numbers 11:11, 14. So too the Lord Jesus suffered from the reproaches of the people: He was "the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

32. His unwearied Love. Though misunderstood, envied, and opposed, nothing could alienate the affections of Moses from his people. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it" (Song 8:7). Beautifully is this seen in Exodus 32. After Israel repudiated Jehovah and had worshipped the golden calf, after the Lord has disowned them as His people (Ex. 32:7), Moses supplicates God on their behalf, saying "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin - ; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written" (vv. 31:32). How this reminds us of Him who "having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1)!

33. His Forgiving spirit. "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses... Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us?" (Num. 12:1, 2). But he answered not a word. How this pointed to Him who, when He was reviled, reviled not again" (1 Pet. 2:23). When Miriam was stricken with leprosy because of her revolt against her brother, we are told, " Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech Thee" (Num. 12:13).

34. His Prayerfulness. An example of this has just been before us, but many other instances are recorded. Moses was, pre-eminently, a man of prayer. At every crisis he sought unto the Lord: see Exodus 5:22, 8:12, 9:33, 14:15, 15:25, 17:4, etc. Note how often in Luke's Gospel Christ is also presented as a Man of prayer.

35. His Meekness. "Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Num. 12:3) cf. Matthew 11:29.

36. His Faithfulness. "Moses verily was faithful in all his house" (Heb. 3:5). So Christ is "The faithful and true Witness" (Rev. 3:14).

37. His providing Israel with water. See Numbers 20:11 and compare John 4:14, 7:37.

38. His Prophetic office. Deuteronomy 18:18 and compare John 7:16, 8:28.

39. His Priestly activities. "Moses and Aaron among His priests" (Ps. 99:6). Illustrations are found in Leviticus 8: "And Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar... and he took all the fat... and burned it upon the altar" (vv. 15, 16 and see 19:23). So Christ, as Priest, "offered Himself without spot to God" (Heb. 9:14).

40. His Kingly rule. "Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun" (Deut. 33:4, 5). So Christ is King in Zion, and will yet be over the Jews (Luke 1:32, 33).

41. His Judgeship. "Moses sat to judge the people: and they stood by Moses from the morning until the evening" (Ex. 18:13). Compare 2 Corinthians 5:10.

42. His Leadership. Moses was the head and director of God's people, as He said to him, "Lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken" (Ex. 32:34). So Christ is called, "The Captain of their salvation" (Heb. 2:10).

43. His Mediation. What a remarkable word was that of Moses to Israel, "I stood between the Lord and you" (Deut. 5:5): "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).

44. His Election. In Psalm 106:23 he is called, " Moses His chosen." So God says of Christ, "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold, Mine elect" (Isa. 42:1).

45. His Covenant-engagement. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel" (Ex. 34:27): so Christ is denominated, "The Mediator of a better covenant" (Heb. 8:6).

46. His sending forth of the Twelve. "These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land" (Num. 13:16 see previous verses). So Christ sent forth twelve apostles (Matthew 10:5).

47. His Appointing of the Seventy. " And Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people" (Num. 11:24). So Christ selected seventy (Luke 10:1).

48. His Wisdom. "Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Compare Colossians 2:3.

49. His Might. "And was mighty in words and in deeds" (Acts 7:22). Behold the antitype of this in Matthew 113:34: "They were astonished, and said, Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?"

50. His Intercession. "And Moses brought their cause before the Lord" (Num. 27:5). Compare Hebrews 7:25.

51. His Intimate Communion with God. "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face" (Ex. 34:10). So, on earth, Christ was "The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father" (John 1:18). It is striking to behold in Exodus 31 to 34 how Moses passed and re-passed between Jehovah in the mount and the camp of the congregation: expressive of his equal access to heaven and earth - compare John 3:13.

52. His Knowledge of God. See Psalm 103:7 and cf. John 5:20.

53. His holy Anger. See Exodus 32:19 and cf. Mark 3:5, etc.

54. His Message. He was the mouthpiece of God: "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord" (Ex. 24:3). Compare Hebrews 1:2.

55. His Commandments. See Deuteronomy 4:2 and cf. Matthew 28:20.

56. His Written Revelation. See Exodus 31:13 and cf. Revelation 1:1.

57. His Fasting. See Exodus 34:28 and cf. Matthew 4:2.

58. His Transfiguration on the mount. See Exodus 34:29, 35 and cf. Matthew 17:2.

59. His Place Outside the Camp. See Exodus 33:7 and cf. Hebrews 13:13.

60. His Arraigning of the responsible head. See Exodus 32:21 and cf. Revelation 2:12, 13.

61. His Praying for Israel's Forgiveness. See Numbers 14:19 and cf. Luke 23:34.

62. His Washing his Brethren with Water. "And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water" (Lev. 8:6). Who can fail to see in that a foreshadowing of what is recorded in John 13:5: "After that He poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet!"

63. His Prophecies. See Deuteronomy 28 and 33 and cf. Matthew 24 and Luke 21. 64. His Rewarding God's servants. See Numbers 7:6, 32:33, 40 and cf. Revelation 22:12.

65. His perfect Obedience. "Thus did Moses according to all that the Lord commanded, so did he" (Ex. 40:16). What a lovely foreshadowing was this of Him who could say, "I have kept My Father's commandments" (John 16:10)!

66. His erecting the Tabernacle. See Exodus 40:2, and cf. Zechariah 6:12.

67. His Completing of his Work. "So Moses finished the work" (Ex. 40:33). What a blessed prefiguration was this of Him who declared, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do" (John 17:4).

68. His Blessing of the People. "And Moses blessed them" (Ex. 39:43). So too we read in Luke 24:50, "And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them."

69. His Anointing of God's House. "And Moses took the anointing oil (the O. T. emblem of the Holy Spirit), and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein" (Lev. 8:10). Carefully compare Acts 2:1-3, 33.

70. His Unabated Strength. "His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated" (Deut. 34:7): compare Matthew 27:50, and note the loud voice."

71. His Death was for the benefit of God's people. It went ill with Moses for their sakes" (Ps. 106:32); "But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes" (Deut. 3:26). What marvelous foreshadowings of the Cross were these!

72. His Appointing of another Comforter. Moses did not leave his people comfortless, but gave them a successor: see Deuteronomy 31:23 and cf. John 14:16, 18.

73. His giving an Inheritance. "The land which Moses gave you on this side of Jordan" (Josh. 1:14): in Christ believers "have obtained an inheritance" (Eph. 1:11).

74. His Death necessary before Israel could enter Canaan. "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to thee" (Josh. 1:2). "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (John 12:24).

75. His Second Appearing. Moses was one of the two Old Testament characters which returned to this earth in New Testament times (Matthew 17:3) - type of Christ's second coming to the earth. Our space is already exhausted so we shall leave it with our readers to search the Scriptures for at least twenty-five other points in which Moses foreshadowed our Lord. The subject is well-nigh exhaustless. And a most blessed subject it is, demonstrating anew the Divine authorship of the Bible. May the Lord bless to many this very imperfect attempt to show that "in the volume of the Book" it is written of Christ.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).