JESUS AND MOSES- SIMILARITIES OF THEIR LIVES
The life of Moses in many ways parallels the life of Jesus. The role Moses plays in delivering the Israelites from the Egyptians and leading them to the Promised Land God had prepared for them foreshadows Jesus bringing salvation to humanity. In fact, Moses told the Israelites, “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” (Deuteronomy 18:15). This promised Prophet is Messiah—Jesus fulfils that promise. Here are some of the similarities in their stories.
Moses and Jesus were both born during times when God’s people were being oppressed. Moses was born when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and Jesus was born when Israel was under Roman rule.
2.0 SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JESUS AND MOSES LIVES
- Moses and Jesus were both born during times when God’s people were being oppressed. Moses was born when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and Jesus was born when Israel was under Roman rule. At the time when Moses was born, the Egyptians ruled over the Israelites (Exodus 1:8-10). At the time when Jesus was born, the Romans ruled over the Israelites (Luke 2:1-5). Each was born when the Hebrew nation was occupied and at a low point in history.
- During the time of Moses, Pharaoh ordered a mass killing of every Hebrew baby under the age of 2 years old. During the time of Jesus, King Herod ordered a mass killing of every Hebrew baby under the age of 2 years old. Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew sons to be killed upon birth. When this was not executed by the midwives, Pharaoh then ordered all sons to be killed (Exodus 1:16-22). King Herod ordered all Hebrew sons to be killed upon birth (Matthew 2:16).
- They both were hidden as babies because the leaders of the time wanted them dead. Pharaoh ordered all Hebrew males to be murdered to control the growth of the population. When he was three months old, Moses’ mother put him in a basket along the Nile river where he was found and adopted by a daughter of Pharaoh (Exodus 2). King Herod feared the prophecies of Jesus’ birth and ordered all boys under two be killed in Bethlehem. Jesus’ parents fled to Egypt until Herod had died (Matthew 2). When Moses was born, his mother hid him for three months in Egypt (Exodus 2:2). Jesus was hid in Egypt for an unspecified amount of time after birth (Matthew 2:13).
- Moses was named as such because he was drawn out of the water (Exodus 2:10). Jesus went straightway out of the water after being baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11). Drawing from the well of water is a symbol of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). The name Jesus means salvation.
- Moses was inconceivably both royalty and slave at the same time, being a prince but also a Hebrew. Jesus is inconceivably both God and man at the same time, being the transcendent Son of God but also a descendent Son of Man.
- Moses was raised by a man, Pharaoh, who was not his natural father (Exodus 2:9-10). Jesus was raised by a man who was not his natural father (Luke 2:33). In this case, Jesus did not have a natural father.
- Both Moses and Jesus are unrecognized by their own people as God’s elect (Acts 7:27). On one occasion, the people try to stone them both (Exodus17:4; Numbers 14:10; John 10:31–33; 11:8). Moses was initially rejected by his people and took a gentile bride, Zipporah (Exodus 2:11-14 and 16-21). Jesus was initially rejected by his people and took a gentile bride, the Church (2 Corinthians 11:2).
- Moses saw his brethren being treated unfairly by the Egyptians and had compassion on them (Exodus 2:11). Jesus saw his brethren as needing a shepherd and had compassion on them (Mark 6:34). Moses took his flock to the Promised Land and Jesus promised His flock heaven.
- Moses was at a well and was kind to the daughters of the Midian priests. He watered their flock, which was not a common practice at that time (Exodus 2:17). Jesus was at a well and was kind to a Samaritan woman. He offered her water (John 4:9-11). This practice was also uncommon. The water Jesus offered was the water of salvation.
- Moses remained in exile in a foreign land until the King of Egypt (Pharaoh) died (Exodus 2:23). Jesus was in exile in a foreign land (Egypt) until King Herod died. (Matthew 2: 19-20)
- Moses’ ministry started supernaturally with the burning bush and God speaking to Him (Exodus 3: 2-4). Jesus’ ministry started supernaturally when the dove descended on Him and a voice from Heaven spoke (Matthew 3:16-17). It is at this point when each gave Revelation to the people.
- Moses was sent by God to “come down” and deliver His people to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8). Jesus was sent by God to “come down” deliver His people to Heaven (Luke 4:18). You can say that Heaven is now the Promised Land.
- Moses performed many public miracles following God’s direction (Exodus 4:4-9). Jesus performed many public miracles following God’s direction (John 5:19-20). The specific miracles differed but each occurred only due to God’s power.
- Moses liberated the Hebrews so that they may serve God (Exodus 9:1). Jesus liberated mankind so that mankind may serve God (Hebrews 9:14 and 12:28).
- Moses used the blood of a lamb to protect the Israelites from death. The blood was also used to free the Israelites from bondage (Exodus 12). Jesus was the Lamb of God who protected mankind from death. The blood was also used to free mankind from the bondage of sin. (John 1:29 and Hebrews 9:11-15)
- Moses used a covenant meal (Passover) for Israel to remember their Lord’s deliverance (Exodus 12:25-27). Jesus used a covenant meal (Last Supper) for his disciples to remember their Lord’s deliverance (Luke 22:14-20).
- Moses was used to reveal the healing power of God (Exodus 15:26). Jesus was used to reveal the healing power of God (Matthew 4:23).
- Moses fed the multitude of Israelites in a supernatural way (Exodus 16:16). Jesus fed a multitude in a supernatural way (Matthew 14:13-21; Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 6:30-44; Mark 8:1-10; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14).
- Moses gave the Israelites bread from Heaven called Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:27-36). Jesus said He was the bread from heaven that gives life to the world (John 6:33).
- Moses instructed his people to gather bread (Manna) daily (Exodus 16:20-21). Jesus instructed His disciples to feed their souls with spiritual bread daily (Matthew 6:11).
- Moses feared being stoned by the Israelites (Exodus 17:4). The people were ready to stone Jesus (John 10:31). Each was for different reasons but does demonstrate the spiritual condition of the people.
- Moses received the 10 commandments from God on Mount Sinai. Jesus reinterpreted the 10 commandments from God in his Sermon on the Mount. Moses received God’s Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:3). Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount with the promise to fulfil God’s Law (Matthew 5:1-17). God gave Moses commandments to teach His people (Exodus 24:12). God gave Jesus commandments to teach His people (John 13:34) The mountain Jesus was on is unnamed but the correlation to both Moses and Jesus using a mountain in reveal matters of God’s Law is important.
- Moses was the judge for Israel and the final authority for decision making (Exodus 18-22). Jesus will return as the judge for mankind (2 Corinthians 5:10 and 2 Timothy 4:1).
- Moses was a mouthpiece for God by speaking the Words God gave Him. (Exodus 19:7-8). Jesus was a mouthpiece for God by speaking the Words God gave Him. (John 8:28-29)
- God came to Moses in a thick cloud (Exodus 19:9 and 24:16). God came to Jesus in a thick cloud (Mark 9:7).
- Moses sprinkled the blood of the first covenant on the people (Exodus 24:8). Jesus used the blood of the new covenant, His own blood, to sanctify the people (Hebrews 13:12).
- Moses interceded with God on behalf of the people of Israel (Exodus 32:11-14). Jesus interceded with God on behalf of mankind, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 by being the final sacrifice for sin (Matthew 20:28).
- Moses went through the wilderness and was doubtful to God before he began his ministry to redeem the Israelites. Jesus went through the wilderness and was tempted by Satan before he began his ministry to redeem the world. Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights upon receiving the Torah from God (Exodus 34:28). Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights when He was tempted in the wilderness before he began his ministry to redeem the world (Matthew 4:1-2).
- Moses’ face shone with the glory of God (Exodus 34:29). Jesus’ face shone with the glory of God (Matthew 17:1-12).
- God told Moses how He wanted to be worshipped using the Tabernacle (Exodus 40). God told Jesus how He wanted to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
- Moses commanded the children of Israel to keep their lamps burning continuously (Leviticus 24:2). Jesus commanded His children to let their light shine continuously before men (Matthew 5:15-16).
- Moses’ brethren criticized and challenged Him. (Numbers 12:1-2). Jesus’ brethren criticized and challenged Him. (John 7:5 and Matthew 13:57)
- Moses asked God to pardon the inequity of His people (Numbers 14:19) and God listened (Numbers 14:20). Jesus asked God to forgive the inequity of those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34) and God listened (John 11:41-42).
- Moses said the little ones would enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:31). Jesus said the Kingdom of God belonged to the little ones (Mark 10:14).
- God showed the Israelites that Moses was sent from Him using signs and wonders (Numbers 16:28). Jesus told the people that His works were to prove the Father was in Him and He was in the Father (John 14:10-11).
- Moses made a serpent on a pole and the Israelites were healed and saved from their deadly snakebites when they looked upon it (Numbers 21:9). Jesus was lifted on a pole (the cross) and those who looked up on Him by faith were healed and saved from sin, the serpent’s sting of death (John 3:14-15).
- Moses chose 12 men to go out and bring fruit (Deuteronomy 1:23). Jesus chose 12 men and sent them out to bear fruit (Matthew 10:1).
- Moses said that in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses a truth would be established (Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus said that anywhere 2 or 3 witnesses would gather in His name, He would be in their midst. Jesus is the Truth (Matthew 18:20).
- Moses reappeared after His death (Matthew 17:3). Jesus reappeared after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).
- Moses worked as a shepherd of livestock in Midian (Exodus 3:1) as well as worked as a shepherd of God’s people (Psalms 77:20). Jesus called Himself the “good shepherd” (John 10: 11-16).
As a summary, both submitted themselves to the Will of God and served God until the end of their physical lives. They did the Will of God and spoke His Word, guiding a people from darkness into light. Both had extraordinary gifts and miraculous power, given to them by God, who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing. The Israelites and later mankind learned how to worship, fast, and be pure in action as well as in spirit. The unity of a nation was achieved, even if for a short time, and now the unity of over 1 billion people is possible due to the sovereignty and authority of both Moses and Jesus. While there are numerous similarities between Moses and Jesus, there is one major difference: Moses was only human. Due to his faith in God he did many amazing things, but ultimately, he was still a sinner in need of forgiveness. Jesus, on the other hand, is both human and God. He lived a perfect life and defeated sin. It is through faith in Him that we can be forgiven and receive salvation. Let us not make the mistake of putting Moses on a pedestal, but rather look to the one he was pointing us to all along—Jesus Christ.