Appreciating the Greater Moses
“Jehovah God will raise up for you from among your brothers a prophet like me. You must listen to him.”—ACTS 3:22.
1. How has Jesus Christ influenced history?
TWO thousand years ago, the birth of a certain male child caused a multitude of angels in heaven to praise God in the hearing of some shepherds. (Luke 2:8-14) Thirty years later, that child, now an adult, began a ministry that lasted just three and a half years and yet changed history. The noted 19th-century historian Philip Schaff was moved to state of this young man: “Without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise, than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.” That remarkable young man was, of course, Jesus Christ.
2. What did the apostle John say about Jesus and His ministry?
2 The apostle John wrote an account of Jesus’ ministry and said in conclusion: “There are, in fact, many other things also which Jesus did, which, if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose, the world itself could not contain the scrolls written.” (John 21:25) John knew that he could record only a fraction of all that Jesus said and did during those eventful three and a half years. Still, the historic events reported by John in his Gospel are of immense value.
3. How can we deepen our insight into Jesus’ role in God’s purpose?
3 Besides the four important Gospel accounts, other Bible passages provide faith-strengthening details about Jesus’ life. For instance, the Bible accounts of certain faithful men who lived before Jesus contain information that deepens our insight into Jesus’ role in God’s purpose. Let us consider some of these.
Men of God Who Prefigured the Christ
4, 5. Who foreshadowed Jesus, and in what ways?
4 John and the other three Gospel writers point to Moses, David, and Solomon as men who foreshadowed Jesus as God’s Anointed One and designated King. In what way did those ancient servants of God provide foregleams of Jesus, and what can we learn from these accounts?
5 In brief, the Bible tells us that Moses was a prophet, a mediator, and a deliverer. So is Jesus. David was a shepherd and a king who conquered Israel’s enemies. Jesus too is a shepherd and a conquering king. (Ezek. 37:24, 25) While still faithful, Solomon was a wise ruler, and under his kingship Israel enjoyed peace. (1 Ki. 4:25, 29) Jesus too is supremely wise and is called “Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6) Clearly, Christ Jesus’ role resembles that of those earlier men but Jesus’ place in God’s purpose is superlative. First, let us compare Jesus with Moses and see how such a comparison helps us to appreciate more fully Jesus’ role in God’s purpose.
Moses—A Forerunner of Jesus
6. How did the apostle Peter explain the necessity of listening to Jesus?
6 Shortly after Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter quoted a prophecy by Moses that was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Peter was standing before a crowd of worshippers in the temple. The people were “surprised out of their wits” when Peter and John healed a beggar who was lame from birth, and they all ran to investigate. Peter explained that this astonishing act was a result of Jehovah’s holy spirit operating through Jesus Christ. Then, quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, he said: “In fact, Moses said, ‘Jehovah God will raise up for you from among your brothers a prophet like me. You must listen to him according to all the things he speaks to you.’”—Acts 3:11, 22, 23; read Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19.
7. Why could Peter’s audience understand his statements about a prophet greater than Moses?
7 Those words of Moses were likely familiar to Peter’s audience. As Jews, they had a high regard for Moses. (Deut. 34:10) With keen anticipation, they looked forward to the coming of a prophet greater than Moses. That prophet would prove to be not just a messiah, an anointed one of God like Moses, but the Messiah, “the Christ of God, the Chosen One” of Jehovah.—Luke 23:35; Heb. 11:26.
Similarities Between Jesus and Moses
8. What are some similarities between the life of Moses and that of Jesus?
8 In some respects, the earthly life of Jesus resembled the life of Moses. For instance, as babes, both Moses and Jesus escaped death at the hands of a tyrannical ruler. (Ex. 1:22–2:10; Matt. 2:7-14) In addition, both were ‘called out of Egypt.’ The prophet Hosea stated: “When Israel was a boy, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hos. 11:1) Hosea’s words pointed back to the time when the nation of Israel, under its divinely appointed leader, Moses, was led out of Egypt. (Ex. 4:22, 23; 12:29-37) However, Hosea’s words referred not only to a past event but also to a future one. His words were a prophecy that was fulfilled when Joseph and Mary returned from Egypt with Jesus after the death of King Herod.—Matt. 2:15, 19-23.
9. (a) What miracles did Moses and Jesus perform? (b) Give other similarities between Jesus and Moses. (See the box “Additional Ways in Which Jesus Was Like Moses,” on page 26.)
9 Both Moses and Jesus performed miracles, thus demonstrating that they had Jehovah’s backing. Indeed, Moses was the first human on record to perform miracles. (Ex. 4:1-9) For example, Moses performed miracles involving water when at his command the waters of the Nile and its reedy pools became blood, the Red Sea was parted, and water came gushing out of rock in the desert. (Ex. 7:19-21; 14:21; 17:5-7) Jesus too performed miracles involving water. His very first miracle was that of turning water into wine at a wedding feast. (John 2:1-11) Later, he calmed the turbulent Sea of Galilee. And on one occasion, he even walked on water! (Matt. 8:23-27; 14:23-25) Some other similarities between Moses and the Greater Moses, Jesus, can be seen in the box on page 26.
Appreciate Christ as a Prophet
10. What is a true prophet, and why was Moses one?
10 Most people think of a prophet as someone who foretells the future, but that is only part of a prophet’s responsibility. A true prophet is an inspired spokesman for Jehovah, one who proclaims “the magnificent things of God.” (Acts 2:11, 16, 17) Among other things, his prophesying could include announcing future events, revealing aspects of Jehovah’s purpose, or proclaiming God’s judgments. Moses was such a prophet. He foretold each of the Ten Plagues that befell Egypt. He introduced the Law covenant at Sinai. And he instructed the nation in God’s will. Yet, a prophet greater than Moses was to come eventually.
11. How did Jesus fulfill the role of a prophet greater than Moses?
11 Later, in the first century, Zechariah acted as a prophet in revealing God’s purpose regarding his son, John. (Luke 1:76) That son became John the Baptizer, who announced the coming of the long-awaited prophet greater than Moses—Jesus Christ. (John 1:23-36) As a prophet, Jesus foretold many things. For example, he spoke about his own death, foretelling how he would die, where he would die, and at whose hands he would die. (Matt. 20:17-19) To the surprise of his listeners, Jesus also foretold the destruction of Jerusalem with its temple. (Mark 13:1, 2) His prophecies reach right down to our own time.—Matt. 24:3-41.
12. (a) How did Jesus lay the foundation for a global preaching campaign? (b) Why do we follow Jesus’ example today?
12 In addition to being a prophet, Jesus was a preacher and a teacher. He preached the good news of God’s Kingdom, and no one spoke with greater boldness than he did. (Luke 4:16-21, 43) As a teacher, he had no equal. “Never has another man spoken like this,” said some who heard him. (John 7:46) Jesus was zealous in his efforts to spread the good news, and he inspired his followers with that same zeal for the Kingdom. Thus, he laid the foundation for a global preaching and teaching campaign that is still continuing. (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 5:42) Last year, some seven million of Christ’s followers spent about 1,500,000,000 hours in preaching the good news of the Kingdom and teaching interested ones Bible truths. Do you have a meaningful share in that work?
13. What will help us to “stay awake”?
13 There is no question that Jehovah fulfilled the prophecy to raise up a prophet like Moses. How does that knowledge affect you? Does it give you more confidence in the fulfillment of inspired prophecies that have to do with our immediate future? Yes, meditating on the example of the Greater Moses moves us to “stay awake and keep our senses” as to what God will soon do.—1 Thess. 5:2, 6.
Value Christ as Mediator
14. How was Moses a mediator between the Israelites and God?
14 Like Moses, Jesus was a mediator. A mediator acts as a bridge between two parties. Moses mediated the Law covenant between Jehovah and the Israelites. If the sons of Jacob obeyed the laws of God, they would remain God’s special property, his congregation. (Ex. 19:3-8) That covenant stayed in force from 1513 B.C.E. until the first century C.E.
15. How is Jesus a superior mediator?
15 In 33 C.E., Jehovah initiated a better covenant with a new Israel, “the Israel of God,” which became a worldwide congregation made up of anointed Christians. (Gal. 6:16) While the covenant mediated by Moses included laws written by God on stone, the covenant mediated by Jesus is superior. Its laws are inscribed by God on human hearts. (Read 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:10.) Thus, “the Israel of God” is now God’s special property, ‘a nation producing the fruits’ of the Messianic Kingdom. (Matt. 21:43) Members of that spiritual nation are the participants in that new covenant. Still, they are not the only ones to benefit from it. Untold multitudes, even many who at present are asleep in death, will receive everlasting blessings because of that superlative covenant.
Esteem Christ as Deliverer
16. (a) In what ways did Jehovah use Moses to deliver Israel? (b) According to Exodus 14:13, who is the Source of salvation?
16 On their last night before the Exodus, some of the offspring of Israel were in grave danger. Soon, God’s angel would pass through the land of Egypt, killing all the firstborn. Jehovah told Moses that the firstborn of Israel would be saved if the Israelites took the blood of the Passover lamb and sprinkled it on the lintels and doorposts of their doorways. (Ex. 12:1-13, 21-23) So it proved to be. Later, the whole nation was in serious danger. They were trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian war chariots. Jehovah again provided deliverance through Moses, who miraculously parted the waters of that sea.—Ex. 14:13, 21.
17, 18. In what ways is Jesus a greater deliverer than Moses?
17 Great as those acts of deliverance were, the deliverance Jehovah performed through Jesus is much greater. Jesus is the means by which obedient ones are delivered from slavery to sin. (Rom. 5:12, 18) And that deliverance is “an everlasting deliverance.” (Heb. 9:11, 12) The name Jesus means “Jehovah Is Salvation.” Jesus, as our Deliverer, or Savior, not only rescues us from our past sins but also opens the way for us to enjoy a better future. By delivering them from slavery to sin, Jesus saves his followers from the wrath of God and brings them into a loving relationship with Jehovah.—Matt. 1:21.
18 The deliverance from sin that Jesus provides will in due time include freedom from its grim effects—sickness and even death. To visualize what that will mean, consider what happened when Jesus went to the home of a certain man named Jairus, whose 12-year-old daughter had died. Jesus reassured Jairus: “Have no fear, only put forth faith, and she will be saved.” (Luke 8:41, 42, 49, 50) True to his words, the girl rose from the dead! Can you imagine the joy of her parents? Then you have an idea of the surpassing joy that will be ours when “all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus’] voice and come out” in the resurrection. (John 5:28, 29) Truly, Jesus is a Savior, our Deliverer!—Read Acts 5:31; Titus 1:4; Rev. 7:10.
19, 20. (a) How does meditating on Jesus’ role as the Greater Moses affect us? (b) What will the next article consider?
19 Knowing that we can be instrumental in helping people to benefit from Jesus’ saving acts impels us to share in the preaching and teaching work. (Isa. 61:1-3) Further, meditating on Jesus’ role as the Greater Moses deepens our confidence that he will deliver his followers when he comes to execute judgment upon the wicked.—Matt. 25:31-34, 41, 46; Rev. 7:9, 14.
20 Yes, Jesus is the Greater Moses. He did many marvelous things that Moses could never have done. Jesus’ words as a prophet and his actions as a mediator affect the entire human family. As a Deliverer, Jesus brings not temporary but eternal salvation for redeemable mankind. Yet, there is more to learn about Jesus from the faithful men of old. The next article will discuss how he was the Greater David and the Greater Solomon.
Can You Explain?
How is Jesus greater than Moses as
• a prophet?
• a mediator?
• a deliverer?
[Box/Picture on page 26]
Additional Ways in Which Jesus Was Like Moses