“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” Numbers 12:3

 The Scriptures have recorded the many lives of men and women who have lived and died down through the centuries of time. Their characters have been described without embel­lishment or eulogy as men would paint the lives of heroes or villains, kings or vagrants. They are re­corded in Scripture that we may learn to avoid their mistakes and imitate their God like characteristics. Those described are men and women like ourselves from every walk of life, facing the issues of life in their generations such as we ourselves have to deal with in our generation. We look to those who, with the vision of the future before them were able to endure such “contradiction of sinners” against themselves and yet remain steadfast. Many endured cruel mockings and scourgings such as we have never experienced for we have “not yet resisted unto blood” in our strivings against sin.

Paramount above all, of course, is the life and character of the Lord himself who manifested in every thought and action the character of his Fa­ther and we are exhorted to follow in his steps; to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. Here was a character where there was nothing to hide, nothing of which to be ashamed, everything that was holy and good, reflecting the glorious character of Yahweh Himself and exhibit­ing in perfection all that was imperfectly seen in other men: yet men despised him, rejected him and misunderstood him.

There was another to whom we may look as an example of faith, courage, patience and Godly character and we have taken him as the theme of this current issue of The Lampstand—the man Mo­ses .Such was his character that the one to come—the Saviour of God’s people, the leader of a spiritual “exodus” of men and women from sin and death—was described as a “prophet like unto Moses”. As the leader of Yahweh’s people from the land of Egypt, the land of sin and death, Moses sought to create for them a vision of the Land to which they travelled and to bear their burden as they journeyed through the wilderness. The Book of Deuteronomy contains his words of exhortation, rebuke and encouragement as he reviews the way they have come and now stand on the borders of the Promised Land. He had stood in the presence of Yahweh to receive a Law for them and had saved them from a just annihilation when he pleaded before Yahweh as mediator on their behalf. Yet he acknowledged that Yahweh was right because He was angry with Moses for their sakes and therefore Moses was not able to enter the Land at that time. But he died in confidence of his future inheritance and glory, and in comparison with that the fact that he could not actually tread upon the soil of the Land in his lifetime was as nothing.

Moses was typical of the one who was to come to whom all the tribes of Israel would eventu­ally be gathered. He was the shadow: the Lord Jesus Christ was the substance of that shadow. As with all shadows, we see but the dark outline or silhouette a shape in two dimensions—but not “the very image”. A shadow is incomplete and lacks the necessary light that illuminates for us the actual substance. In this we have a salutary lesson which the apostle Paul is at pains to impress in his letter to the Hebrews: we should not mistake the shadow for the substance and we should take care when we try to build the substance from the shadow. Therefore Paul describes in Hebrews 3 how the Lord Jesus Christ was greater than Moses: “And Moses verily was faithful in all his [God’s] house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his [God’s] house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb 3:5,6).

We know that Moses will stand with the prophet like unto him—the Lord Jesus Christ—in the day of his glory even as he stood with the Lord on the mount and saw his glory and discussed his approaching ‘exodus’ (Luke 9:31, “decease” av). Moses died in faith knowing that after centuries of trial and affliction, his people would be compelled to listen to the voice of the one like unto him and that as the King of whom Balaam had spoken, the Lord would make Jerusalem a royal city and rule over all the earth (Num 24:19; Deut 30:6–8). He knew that this one to come would fulfil the prom­ise to Abraham, when his seed , along with Moses himself, would be clothed with immortality and inherit the Land for ever. And so the Divine tes­timony concerning him was written: “there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom Yahweh knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which Yahweh sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel”.

How great then is the “prophet like unto Moses” who, as the “son over God’s house” shall soon appear to redeem all Israel and to bring his people—his body—to their promised inheritance.