Moses is one of the best known types of Christ found in the Old Testament typology. His life, teaching, preaching and predictions as a major Old Testament prophet directly parallel Jesus’s life, death and resurrection. Below, you will find “Part 1” on Moses’s early life and the corresponding direct parallels to the life and ministry of Jesus. “Part 2”, which will be posted in the coming weeks, will contain the second half of Moses’s life.
Born under Foreign Rulers:
- Moses was born in Egypt many years after Joseph, who famously saved the region from famine, died. The current reigning pharaoh knew nothing of the Hebrew-Egyptian partnership and worried about the growing Jewish population and their influence within his land. Out of fear of being overthrown, he made the Hebrews his slaves and forced them into hard labor and oppression (Exodus 2:3-10).
- Jesus was born during the rule of the infamously power hungry, murderous and paranoid Herod the Great, the king of Judea (a client kingdom of Rome). Aside from Herod, the Romans were generally considered much less oppressive than the pharaoh of Moses’s day; however, the Jews’ activities were carefully monitored by the Roman government to ensure the peace was kept and no activity would lead to an overthrow (Franz, Gordon; Matthew 2).
Child of the Poor; Born to be a King:
- Moses’s mother was a Jewish slave; but he became a prince of Egypt. As a prince, he could have forsaken his heritage as a Hebrew and experienced the lavish riches and lifestyle of the royal Egyptian family. However, he was nursed by his biological mother and raised in his early years with his kinsmen. It was a bond he never forgot, eventually causing him to reject the Egyptians as his adopted family and resent the unfair treatment of his people (Exodus 2:11).
- Jesus was born in a manger, but He is the Son of God and often referred to as the “King of kings and Lord of lords”, which refers to a ruler who holds complete power to exercise dominion over His realm (GotQuestions). When He walked among His disciples, His intention was never to rule over men as a “king” in the traditional sense. For His followers who were vying for control, power and a special seat of honor, this caused a great amount of confusion (Matthew 20:20-28; Revelation 17:14, 19:16).
Lives Threatened at Birth:
- Pharaoh feared the Hebrews in Egypt and commanded the midwives of Jewish mothers to kill all newborn boys; however, the little boys were spared because the midwives feared God and protected them. As a result, God blessed the midwives for their faithfulness (Exodus 1:15-22).
- After Moses was born, his mother hid him to ensure his safety. When she no longer could keep him hidden, she placed Moses in a basket along the Nile to be noticed by Pharaoh’s daughter who had gone to the river to bathe. The Egyptian princess took pity on the baby in the basket, and Moses’ life was spared from death (Exodus 1:15-22).
- Jesus’ life was also threatened at birth. King Herod, who ruled over the land where Jesus was born, was paranoid and power hungry. In fact, the fear of losing his thrown consumed him to such a horrifying degree that he murdered his own family (Frankz, Gordon; Losch, Richard).
- After Herod heard the prophecy stating a king more powerful than he would be born in his land during his lifetime, he instructed his soldiers to murder all the little boys born within his kingdom to ensure no one could take his crown (Matthew 2:3-18).
- Moses was adopted into Pharaoh’s family; Jesus was adopted into Joseph’s family. Neither man was raised by his biological father (Exodus 2:10; Matthew 1:19-21).
Childhood in Egypt:
- Moses was raised as a prince of Egypt (Exodus 2:10).
- Mary and Joseph fled with Jesus to Egypt to hide him from King Herod (Matthew 2:13).
An Early Calling; Realized Years Later:
- Moses felt a deep calling to deliver his people, the Hebrews, from slavery. After Moses killed an Egyptian man for abusing a Hebrew slave, he fled to Midian and was unable to realize the calling on his life until 40 years later (Exodus 2:11-15, 3:7-10; Acts 7:25-30).
- At the age of twelve, Jesus spoke with the religious teachers in the Temple. He began His ministry when He was about 30 years old; and He completed His calling through His death, burial and resurrection at the age of 33 (Matthew 4:12-25; Luke 3:23).
Wandered through the Wilderness before Fulfilling Calling:
- The wilderness is used in the Bible as time of change, transition and revelation. Moses wandered through the wilderness when he fled Egypt (Exodus 3). In the wilderness, he married Zipporah, had children, and encountered God in the burning bush, changing the course of his life forever.
- Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. In the wilderness, He fasted and was tempted by the devil. The experience in the wilderness was a necessary precursor to Jesus’s ministry (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1).
Kept the Company of Gentiles:
- Moses married into a Midianite family and lived among them (Exodus 2:15; Acts 7:29).
- Jesus became a man, walked among them and died for them. He kept the company of tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes and didn’t mind offending the religious leaders (Mark 2:17; Luke 15:2-32; John 4:5-42, 15:13; Romans 2:11-17, 3:29, 5:8).
- Moses is most famous for parting the waters of the Red Sea, but through God’s awesome power, he also turned the river to blood and sent several other infamous plagues upon Egypt, changed his staff to a serpent, changed a healthy hand to one diseased with leprosy, and drew water from a rock (Exodus 4:1-9, 7:14-25, 8:1-32, 9:1-35, 10:1-27, 12:29-30, 12:17-14:31, 15:22-27, 17:1-7).
- Among many other miracles, Jesus healed the sick, cast out unclean spirits and demons, turned water into wine, raised the dead, healed the ear of the high priest’s servant, walked on water, rose from the dead, and multiplied loaves of bread and fish (on two separate occasions) for the men, women and children listening to His teachings (Matthew 8:5-34, 9:1-33, 12:10-22, 14:15-28, 15:32-39, 17:14-21, 20:30-34, 21:18-22; Mark 1:23-31, 40-45, 7:31-37, 8:22-26; Luke 5:1-11, 7:11-18, 8:43-48, 13:10-17, 14:1-4, 17:11-19, 22:50-51, 24:5-6; John 2:1-11, 4:46-47, 5:1-9, 9:1-38, 11:1-46 21:1-14).
Both were Tempted:
- Moses could have enjoyed the life of a prince, but his heart was with his kinsmen, the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:24-27).
- After 40 days of fasting, Jesus was tempted in wilderness to turn stones to bread, test God the Father and take the world as His kingdom. However, Jesus never sinned (Matthew 4:1-9).
- Moses watched over his father-in-law’s sheep (Exodus 3:1).
- Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:6-16).
Moved by Compassion for Israel:
- Moses saw the unfair treatment of his family and friends in Egypt, and felt called to rescue them (Acts 7:23-24).
- Jesus chose to die for us. Even as His own people called for His crucifixion, He asked the Father to forgive them (Luke 23:34).
Other Interesting Discoveries while Researching this Topic:
- When the mummy of the Egyptian pharaoh named Thutmoses II was discovered, scientists were surprised to find cyst-like scars covering his body, indicating he may have experienced the infamous plague of boils (www.bible.ca).
- “A Journey of Faith: A Study of the Life of Moses”, Bible.Org, https://bible.org/series/journey-faith-study-life-moses
- Frankz, Gordon, MA, “The Slaughter of the Innocents: Historical Fact or Legendary Fiction?”, Bible Archaeology.Org, http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/12/08/The-Slaughter-of-the-Innocents-Historical-Fact-or-Legendary-Fiction.aspx
- Losch, R. Richard, All the People in the Bible, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (2008), p. 155
- “New Evidence for Thutmose III as Exodus Pharaoh in 1446 BC”, Bible.ca, http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-date-1440bc.htm
- “What does it mean that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords?”, GotQuestions.Org, http://www.gotquestions.org/King-of-kings-Lord-of-lords.html