Thursday, December 16

The Life of Moses

Here, we take a look at one of the "heroes" of the Bible: Moses. The common account is as follows: a man runs away from Egypt, becomes a shepherd, meets God who speaks through a burning bush, and after much strife, leads the Hebrews out of Egypt, to cross the Red Sea, after parting the sea - receiving the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, then wandering in the desert for forty years. (Photo Credit to: The Glue Society, Paramount Pictures - "The Ten Commandments;" 1956 - starring Charlton Heston)

While that is the basic overview of the Life of Moses, let us go a bit deeper: his birth, his life, death - and after life. For a full account, the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy contain the birth, life, and death of Moses. Moses was born (c.1500s-1200s BC) in Egypt to Amram, a member of the tribe of Levi, and his wife Jochebed. A few centuries before, Abraham's great grandson Joseph brought his family to live with him in Egypt. (See entry, "God Can Bring Good Out of Bad Situations," for more on Joseph and his account.)

After the death of Joseph, a new Pharaoh came to power, who enslaved the Hebrews. "Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile."

Pharaoh's Daughter Bithaih (also known as Thermuthis) found the baby, and, feeling sorry as well as realizing it was a Hebrew baby, took him out of the basket. Miriam, Moses' sister who had been watching from the reeds came over, and asked, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" She agreed, so Miriam went and got her and Moses' mother - Pharaoh's daughter paid her to watch Moses, meaning, "draw out," because she drew him out of the water - so Moses' mother nursed him, and when he grew older, he took her to Pharaoh's daughter.

When Moses became of age, he went to his people, and saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. After looking around, he took the Egyptian, killed him and hid him in the sand. Somehow, his act became known, so at the age of forty Moses fled Egypt from Pharaoh's wrath - and, after rescuing a priest of Midian's daughters from shepherds, he married the priest's (Jethro) daughter, Zipporah, and had a son, Gershom. For the next forty years, Moses lived a shepherd's life with his family in Midian.

Forty years later, Moses was tending the flock. After leading the flock to Horeb (some believe it was Mt. Sinai), something happened that would forever changed his life. "There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up." In short, the "angel of the Lord," or, "messenger of the Lord," who calls himself God while talking to Moses and proclaims himself as "I AM," was Jesus Christ, pre-incarnate. Jesus himself echoes his words in John 8:58, "'Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I AM!" Anytime we see The Angel of the Lord in the Hebrew Bible, he is usually called God in the same passage. Jesus is the only part of the Trinity that can physically appear. (See entries, "Who Is The Angel of The Lord," "The Holy Trinity (Part Two)")

After returning to Egypt, at the age of eighty, Moses, along with his brother Aaron, repeatedly tried to perform signs and miracles before Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. God sent 10 plagues on Egypt - water changed to blood, frogs, lice, flies, murrain upon beasts, boils, hail, locusts, darkness that could be felt - concluded with the death of the firstborn. When the Lord passed over Egypt, and the firstborn died, the Israelites (Hebrews) were protected. It was after this that Pharaoh let his people go. (Exodus 4:18-12:51)

C. Heston as Moses, "The Ten Commandments"
God led his people to the Red Sea. "By the Day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." (Exodus 13:21-22) Pharaoh's men tried to chase the Israelites, but God parted the Red Sea and allowed them to pass to the other side. But when the Egyptians tried to cross over, "He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving...." God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the water, and as he did, the "water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived." )

So it was that the Israelites were free from Egypt. They traveled to Mt. Sinai - where Moses received the law - and was given the Ten Commandments, which were inscribed by the very finger of God. After disobeying the Lord, however, Moses and the Israelites that were over the age of twenty at that time - save for Caleb and Joshua - were bound to roam the desert until they died. It was during these forty years that God gave the Israelites instructions to make the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and everything in them.

It was during these forty years that Moses recorded down the first five books of the Bible. Through Moses, the Holy Spirit began to write the Word. Genesis - which begins with the Creation of the Universe, follows the story of the fall of man, to the great flood across the Earth that wiped out all but 8 people - to the Tower of Babel and the dispersion of people across the Earth - to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The first eleven chapters are the history of our world. In Exodus, Moses recorded the account of his birth and life, leading up till the Tabernacle was made. In Leviticus, Moses conveys the Ceremonial Law given to the Israelites - which Jesus Christ fulfilled when he died, replacing it with the New Covenant. (See entry: "Covenants: The Old and the New") Numbers is the book in which Moses recorded the journey of Israel from Mt. Sinai to the Jordan River - including the number of people in each tribe.

Deuteronomy, is Moses' final address to the Israelites. Chapter 34 may have been written by Joshua, though some believe that God allowed Moses to write about his death before it occurred, as God told Moses about his death in Deuteronomy 32:48-52.  Several times he refers to the book, or the law, that he has recorded. Jesus, while on earth, also refers to the Law of Moses often - confirming that Moses penned the first five books. Moses also wrote a few of the Psalms and is believed to have written the book of Job.

Credit to: The Glue Society
After fighting long battles and wandering in the desert for forty years, and with Aaron and Miriam gone, having died before Moses, he addressed the Israelites one last time, and warned them not to fall away from God. After blessing them, "Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land - from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea..." (Deuteronomy 34:1-2)

"Then the Lord said to him, 'This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross over into it.' And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone." (Deuteronomy 34:4-7, 1406/1405 BC)

Moses left The Law, and the true account of the Creation of the Universe. To read the full account of the life of Moses, read Exodus-Deuteronomy. Moses is mentioned all throughout the Old and New Testament... but his death was not his last appearance. Over 1400 years later, the Creator entered into his creation to die for our sins. When Jesus Christ was 33, he was on a mountaintop with James, Peter, and John - The Transfiguration.

"As [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem." Peter and his companions awoke, and he offered to put up shelters for Moses and Elijah. "While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.' When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen." (Luke 9:28-36, also in Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:28, 2nd Peter 1:16-18)

Moses is an important figure in history. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, he wrote the first five books of the Bible with the Holy Spirit writing through him. (1st Corinthians 14:37) The Christian Martyr, Stephen, gave an overview of the Life of Moses in Acts 7:20-37. Before closing, let us take a look at his words - as the Holy Spirit spoke through him while he was on trial before Stephen was stoned. "At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his parents' home. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh's daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?' But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons."

"After forty years had passed, an angel [messenger - Jesus] appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say, 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.' This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel [which means messenger] who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness. This is Moses who told the Israelites, 'God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.' [Jesus] He was in the assembly of the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received the living words to pass on to us."

Thank you for taking the time to read this entry of "The Truth." Feel free to comment below, email, or visit the facebook page. If you have not already accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I would urge you to do so. We have broken the Ten Commandments, and for a clearer picture of Sin and Salvation, see entry, "Salvation and Repentance." Take Care, and may God bless. Troy Hillman

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