Moses and Jesus, Comparatively Speaking (PT 2)
“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, “They always go astray in their heart; And they did not know My ways”; As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest.’ ” Heb 3:7-11
In chapter three, the inspired writer of the Hebrew letter has moved from Jesus’ superiority over the angels to the superiority of Jesus to Moses, and in particular in the context, His superiority over Moses as “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Heb. 3:1b). The Holy Spirit specifically through the writer tells us to “consider Jesus” in those roles.
Last week we considered Moses’ experiences as spokesman and faithful servant for the LORD to the hardened hearts of that accountable generation that had come out of Egypt. The repercussions that befell that unbelieving generation delivered from bondage because they did not heed His voice through His servant Moses, are lessons to the church to “hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” (Heb. 3:6b) It is upon this statement that the inspired writer appends the quote from Psalm 95:7b-11. “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness; when your fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though they had seen My work. For forty years I loathed that generation, and said they are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know My ways. Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest.” NAS
Jesus and Moses, Comparatively Speaking
Now, let’s do as the writer tells us, let’s briefly consider Jesus in comparison to Moses as our Apostle. Last week we noted it took eighty years of preparation to bring His servant Moses to the point where he was ready to be sent out of Midian to the nation of Israel enslaved in Egypt with the message of deliverance. Moses was to bring them to Mt. Sinai in Arabia (Midian) to receive the Law and become partakers of His covenant. The authority of Moses’ message was backed by the works (wonders, miracles) of God witnessed by the people. Moses, as the faithful servant over the house of Israel became a type of the prophet that the LORD would once more raise up among the people. The one of which He said, “You shall listen to him.” (Deut. 18:15b)
After Moses, the LORD sent “His servants the prophets again and again” (Jer. 25:4), who spoke to the fathers, many times accompanied by the works of the LORD in the form of fulfilled prophesies. After approximately 4000 years of preparation, the Father sent His son from heaven to take on flesh and blood and make His appearance among the people with a message of deliverance, the prophesied kingdom and the spiritual Promised Land according to His servants’ prophecies.
Jesus, like Moses, wrangled with a quarrelsome unbelieving people constantly wanting to test Him, and His message from the Father. His proof that he was speaking on behalf of and with the blessing of the Father was to tell the religious leadership (the Jews) to “believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:38) Jesus’ choice of words was deliberate. The Jews knew the Psalms, they knew that He was referring directly to that which spoke of Moses and Israel’s hardened hearts in testing the LORD and rejecting His ways, even though Moses’ words were backed by the LORD’s works. Three and a half years the Jews witnessed His works, culminating in the ultimate proof of the authority of His words spoken on behalf of the Father by fulfilling all the prophecies concerning the Messiah and then being raised from the dead- accompanied by eye witness accounts.
When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount along with Moses and Elijah, the Father said to the three witnesses present, Peter, James, and John, “This is my beloved Son, My Chosen One, with Whom I am well pleased, listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35) Who’s the ultimate authority according to the Father? The Son. Kind of sounds familiar to Deut. 18:15, doesn’t it? The transfiguration was but a partial fulfillment of Moses’ statement concerning the prophet to be raised up. It was completely fulfilled when the apostles witnessed Him being raised up off the earth and into heaven, and by revelation, seated upon the throne. Just as Moses brought the people of God to a mountain (Sinai), so our Lord has brought us to Mt Zion, into His and the Father’s presence in heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22) to be participants in a better covenant, of heavenly spiritual things. Thus, we are called “partakers of a heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:11).
Does the world send us trials as Israel experienced in the wilderness? Sure. The answer? Read your Bible and hear His voice. The Bible has been preserved so it can be proven to be true by accurately bearing witness to the works of the Father, from external things to internal prophecies. The Messianic prophecies offered and fulfilled, are proof that Jesus Christ is the son of God. This faithful Son over His house is the only one who’s come back from the dead and told us He’s accomplished our victory over death and granted us eternal life through His resurrection and ascension. Moses didn’t do that. One way of looking at this is that He’s saved the best for last. “In these last days he has spoken to us in His son.” (Heb 1:2) Believe and obey, “listen to Him”, and you shall surely enter His rest. Amen.