Moses Pointed to the Messiah

The Better Prophet with a Better Exodus

In reading the OT and the NT (especially the gospels), one can quite clearly discern that Moses was a type that pointed to and prefigured Christ. We can look at two different ways Moses was clearly a type of Christ.

First, we can clearly see a connection between Moses and Jesus because both were prophets. Indeed, Moses was unparalleled in the OT: “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deut 34:10–12). Moses was a prophet—an unparalleled one at that too. While Israel did not see a prophet like him, Moses did say, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen” (Deut 15:18), and the Lord said to Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (18:18). So, there would be a prophet like Moses, and the people will listen to him. In this way, Moses acts as a template or type of the one who would come after him. Jesus is this fulfillment. Many times people thought Jesus was “the prophet” (Matt 21:11; John 6:14; 7:40). Acts 3:19–23 confirms such an understanding. 

However, Jesus is not just “like” Moses. Once again, Moses expressed unbelief (Num 20:10–12). On the other hand, Jesus never sinned and always trusted him who judges justly (1 Per 2:22–23). Further, whereas Moses spoke face to face with God, and spoke the words of God, he only saw his glory, but did not see God’s face (Exod 33:20), and so is just like everyone else—no one has seen God (John 1:18). On the other hand, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, (1) is the very Word of God (1:1, 14); (2) he was at the bosom of the Father (1:18); (3) he was sent by God and thus he has come from God (3:16); and therefore Jesus has seen God (6:46). As such, unlike Moses, Jesus Christ was the Word who is God (1:1; cf. Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20). Therefore, unlike Moses, Jesus “has made him [God] known” (John 1:18), and so, “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (1:17). Given these things, since there would be prophet like Moses, Moses serves as a type of the one to come, namely, Jesus Christ.

Second, Moses had a sequence of events that corresponds to and points to Jesus’s life. Moses survived Pharaoh’s infanticide (Exod 1:15–2:10). Likewise, Jesus survived Herod’s infanticide (Matt 2:13–23). As Moses fled out of Egypt (and so he went out of Egypt) (Exod 2:15), Jesus also came out of Egypt (Matt 2:14–15). And, as Moses led the people out of Egypt, that is, he led the Egyptian exodus (Exod 3:10; 12:29–42). Similarly, Jesus led an exodus or “departure” (Luke 9:31). Jesus’s departure was far greater than Moses’s, because the exodus Jesus led was not one from any earthly oppressor, but our greatest oppressor: sin and death.